The Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) has launched its annual IT&T conference and exhibition, now2000.
The non-profit telecommunications industry body will finance the exhibition solely from sponsorship provided by 14 participating companies including Cisco, Davnet, Nortel, Equant, NEC and Melbourne IT.
ATUG's managing director, Allan Horsley, said the organisation expected to see a significant shift in the demographics of the exhibition's visitors. He said that in past years the majority of the exhibition's visitors were technical people. "This [now2000] is for business people, not just techos."
Research director for Melbourne IT, Bruce Tonkin, said the aim for the entire IT&T industry this year, and consequently for the now2000 exhibition, was to prove that the Internet could be as reliable a mode of communication and transaction as the telephone.
Samsung's director of telecommunications, Les Chapman, said the electronics company would demonstrate various examples of technological convergence at the exhibition, including a mobile phone equipped with a TV screen, a wristwatch equipped with a mobile phone unit and a mobile phone equipped with an MP3 Internet music downloading device, which allows users to download music off the Internet onto mobile phone handsets.
The exhibition will run from April 4-6 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour. ATUG expects the 79 companies represented at the exhibition to attract about 20,000 visitors.