Upbeat Opening Showcases Blurring Business Lines

For the traditional telecom crowd, USTelecoms opening remarks were an exciting multimedia affair set against the backdrop of contemporary music and MTV-style sound bites and images. As Marshall McLuhan would say, the medium is the message. This departure of form is in line with a key theme of the show: business lines are blurring.

The landscape is changing, said USTelecom Chairman Gene South, CEO and general manager of Lakedale Communications. The phone guys are the TV guys. The TV guys are the phone guys. Dot-coms are everybody. Who is who? See if you can tell the difference.

Souths challenge was followed by a visual quiz set to The Cures ditty, Why Cant I Be You? Questions posed to the audience were to identify which phone guy had signed 300 content deals, which cable guy was in talks to buy AOL, which phone guy is set to offer IPTV to 18 million homes by 2008, which cable guy is the No. 2 provider of VoIP behind Vonage and which dot-com is offering PC-to-PC calling.

The answers, of course, are Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., SBC Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable and, finally, Yahoo!, Google and MSN. (The last one was a trick question with a three-part answer.)

Its a new world and an exciting world, says Walter B. McCormick, president and CEO of USTelecom, sponsor of TELECOM 05. Whats next? If you blink you might miss it.

McCormick said USTelecom spoke to members, attendees and exhibitors about the future of the industry and everyone said it is a new world in communications and its time for a new trade show for the new converged marketplace.

As part of the new order, he says companies are asking, Where do I fit in? Figuring out the future is the object of this weeks show, McCormick says.

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