Editors share perspectives from vendors about products, services, technologies, and industry directions.

The number of attendees and exhibitors at TechEd was the largest since 2000. Signs of growth in the technology sector were everywhere, and sometimes the indicators of recovery surprised me. I tend to think of solutions for keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switching, remote access, and serial connectivity as necessary but not very indicative of industry trends. Chuck Pheterson of Avocent (www.avocent.com) made me think about how growth in serial connectivity solutions reflects industry revitalization. Chuck commented, "Several factors are driving the current growth in serial connectivity solutions. For example, growth in the telco market has resulted in a large number of PBX systems, which are serially managed. In the past, telcos had to include PC systems in each central office to manage these PBX systems. Serial hubs act as a PC replacement in central offices, allowing for centralized processing and management." Serial hubs encapsulate serial traffic over IP networks, so you can place serial ports at the point of need and expand slot-bound computers. "For example," Chuck explained, "you can extend a PC-based cash register to support credit card transactions even if all PCI slots are full. Also, serial hubs allow for redundancy, which is critical in security and point-of-sale applications."