It’s being billed as the Edmonton event where technology and innovation click.
Entering its second year, the Computer and Technology Showcase’s 2003 edition, with a focus on security and product solutions, will allow Greater Edmonton area businesses to keep abreast of new technologies and improve their business practices, show organizers say.
The June 17 and 18 event, which will feature a trade fair and seminars, takes place at the Shaw Conference Centre from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
“Last year’s show was a good, solid event. People view our event as one that brings national companies to the Edmonton region,” said Edmonton event director Barbie Souza.
“We give business people a chance to see, hear, touch and try out the equipment they’ve been reading about.”
While 75 exhibitors, including Mitel Networks, Xerox Canada, Tandberg, Minolta and LG Electronics, will be on hand to display some of the latest technology solutions, there will also be seminars examining security and technological issues.
“We have found that security has been an ongoing topic of interest,” said Souza, adding that interest has become even stronger since 9/11.
Const. Allen La Fontaine, of the RCMP’s Technological Crime Unit, will also speak about the vulnerabilities of business computer systems.
La Fontaine said while headlines may point to major security breaches elsewhere in the world, Edmonton has its own fair share of incidents. “Denial of service” attacks, such as the one perpetrated by Montreal’s Mafiaboy in 2000 that shut down CNN.com and Amazon, are also happening in Edmonton, said La Fontaine.
Wireless devices, ranging from keyboards to PDAs, present another set of problems. With the right equipment, someone can record the keystrokes from a wireless keyboard and gain control of important files or documents. Improperly installed wireless networks can “leak,” he said, and signals can be captured from outside a building.
La Fontaine tells of a scam in Ontario where a person calls pretending to be an IT person from head office and gets staff to change passwords, which allows the con artist system access.
“Vigilance is important,” added La Fontaine. Run a good virus protection program – he has discovered that a lot of people and businesses don’t – along with a firewall and your risk will be reduced tremendously, he said. He also suggests computers should be shut off when not in use overnight, especially those with always-on Internet connections.
Meanwhile, for an opportunity to learn how to drive Internet traffic to your website, Trevor Poapst of The Business Link’s E-Future Centre will demystify the topic by illustrating the top 15 methods.
“The most important way to drive traffic to your website is to make sure there is valuable targeted content for that particular audience,” said Poapst, the E-Future Centre’s co-ordinator. “You can get them there, but if the content isn’t there, then you’ve lost them.
“Another would be including your web address on all of your marketing and promotions material, and more importantly why it (the website) is important to them. There should be some compelling reason why they should visit. On the Internet, you’re dealing with a very short attention span, and if they go elsewhere, they won’t return.”
The upcoming Computer and Technology Showcase is produced by Event Management Services, a regional technology conference provider that will present 17 shows in the U.S. and Canada in 2003, each tailored to the individual market.
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the company on this year’s Edmonton edition.
It was success with the Calgary edition that was behind the Portland, Ore., company’s decision to expand into Edmonton last year, said Souza.
This year’s Calgary edition, scheduled for the end of October, is still in the planning stages. It will also have a heavy security focus.