Internet appliances, cable and DSL modems, and a wide variety of software applications will dominate the product exhibits at the RetailVision show kicking off Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Attending the show are about 260 vendors and a mix of traditional retailers, e-tailers and click & mortar chains. Despite the strong growth of the electronic commerce sector, VisionEvents marketing VP Dennis Masella does not see that segment overshadowing the other retailers at the event.
"We will have e-tailers as well as retailers at RetailVision," he said. "We see RetailVision as a whole channel coming together, including superstores, catalog merchants, mass merchants, consumer electronics chains, price clubs, etc. Every category attends."
VisionEvents has created a separate show geared toward online retailers and called e-tailVision. This will take care of the needs specific to the dedicated e-commerce company.
"e-tailVision is a new emerging channel that has definitely different needs and interests than brick & mortar stores," Masella said. "It will focus on these specific issues. For example, content is a bigger issue with e-tailers. So e-tailVision is a different event, it is more helping that channel develop."
The three-day show will officially kick off Wednesday at 8 a.m. with a keynote address by Cisco's corporate marketing VP Keith Fox. His topic is The Internet-Powered Retail Environment, which will cover changes taking place in the Internet, the web retail landscape, and the effect the Internet is having on channel dynamics. In addition, he will discuss technologies and techniques companies can use to be successful in this environment.
With more consumers gaining access to broadband, vendors are quickly lining up their cable and DSL modem offerings. Doxport, Hawking, Linksys and Samsung will all have products at RetailVision.
Universal Serial Bus hub makers will be on hand, with Compucable, Keyspan, Minds At Work and New Media all showing devices - which either give older PCs without USB ports the ability to use newer peripherals and game controllers, or expand the capabilities of PCs that are equipped with the ports.
The number of companies showing off their newest web devices reflects the growing interest Internet appliances are gaining among consumers. Unlike a PC, these products are only intended to access the Internet or handle e-mail and lack the technical amenities offered by a full-size computer. Cidco, Infogear, PocketScience and Vestel are among the companies showing these devices at RetailVision.
Analysts from the GartnerGroup's Dataquest subsidiary will be at RetailVision, including Charles Smulders, analyst for PC worldwide program, and Todd Hansen, home networking analyst.
Hansen's presentation will explore how home networking will eventually emerge as a platform for consumers to receive and distribute entertainment and information. He will go over his ideas on how networking will evolve from its current data-centric state to full-integration into the household's other appliance devices. Smulders' topic was not ready for release as of press time.