Internet World Japan 2001, the annual
industry exposition, shows how Internet business is shaping up after the
dot-com shakeup. Kristen McQuillin reports on a three-for-one show.
Scores of venture-capital-funded dot-coms breathed their
last gasp after the close of last year’s Internet World. This year’s
show focused on consolidation, efficiency, and the bottom line for the
Internet-based companies that survived. “E-business is not about web-based
business. E-business is about web-enabled ways of doing the usual operations
of business more effectively,” said Sam Halabi, vice president of product
architecture at Extreme Networks, in his keynote speech.
aside, saving money and turning a profit is back in style for Internet
businesses. Flyers used phrases like “total cost of ownership,”
“business consolidation” and “cost-savings” to highlight the
benefits of shelling out cash on new products. Despite the focus on
cost-cutting, the 56 vendors at the show were providing lots of swag—pens,
phone straps, candy, even a whiteboard—to anyone willing to fill out a
questionnaire. But at times it seemed the staff outnumbered the visitors
despite an almost deafening roar of presenters showing off the latest
hardcore hardware and software products.
is the current buzzword among Internet companies in Japan, and networking
hardware manufacturers dominated the floor space with routers, hubs and
switches for the broadband wiring closet. Flamboyantly purple rack-mounted
hardware at Extreme Network’s booth highlighted their Ethernet Everywhere
concept—24/7 high-speed access to everything—that will help businesses
to boost productivity. Apparently they haven’t learned about the recent
changes in Japan’s “death by overwork” criteria. Cisco Systems’
latest range of products includes nifty IP phones that plug into an office
network. As a bonus, the phones come in Cisco’s signature shade of blue.
Media Japan 2001
On the other side of the room, “co-located with Internet
World Japan” according to the brochure, Streaming Media Japan 2001 offered
more lively booths. Although this show had only 34 exhibitors, most of the
innovation in the conference center was concentrated here. Streaming video
is the hot new child of digital media. Whether it’s being presented live
or on-demand, sending video across the Internet requires specialized
authoring hardware and software plus a good dose of broadband.
big names in video authoring, Adobe Systems and Real Networks, drew plenty
of attention and big crowds with demos of their latest products. Competitors
flocked to one of Real’s lunchtime demonstrations after carefully tucking
their exhibitor badges into pockets. A number of less-renowned players put
their own products through the paces and gathered equally large crowds.
media producers with big dreams but not enough space for a studio, Globe
Caster Studio combines a switcher, editor, character generator and effects
to allow a single operator to control an entire broadcast. Add a camera
equipped with Globe Caster’s Holoset Chroma Key Technology, a special ring
of lights that fits onto a video camera and reflects back the right chroma
color for blue screen effects, and some on-screen talent and you’ve got
yourself a virtual newsroom. Price tag: about US$30,000.
a chance to see some of these technologies in action, visit Kyoshin
Technosonic’s Techno Square. This streaming media showroom showcases the
industry’s tools of the trade so you can try out the goods before you buy.
Techno Square is open weekday mornings and afternoons (3F Shibuya Higashi
Guchi Bldg, 2-22-3 Shibuya, tel: 03-5467-3170).
of the exhibiting vendors were showing off their streaming servers—the
hardware components that push the video out to the Internet. Emblaze
System’s turnkey products allow content producers to encode and compress
their video, and stream it to wireless devices including mobile phones and
PDAs. Streaming servers by NEC, Pinnacle, and Canopus offer mix-and-match
The orphan child of this three-fold exhibition, DEMO Japan
collected 16 venture capital firms into a corner of the conference center.
Attendance in this area was lackluster, but it’s heartening that there is
still money to be had for Internet-based ideas with a good business model.