IP isn't hype. That, at least, is obvious from the 2006 ISC West product floor.
And now that everyone knows that the change to IP is happening fast (perhaps faster than many initially would have believed possible), the challenge our industry is facing is one of training. There have been some remedies to that. Anixter recently published its IP networking guide (we've looked at this document and it's worth a read), and then kicked off an IP training seminar series that will be touring the U.S. this month and next. Lantronix has had a popular set of networking training modules on their site's learning center. At this show, Jim Gompers and Reed Exhibitions put together the IP Institute, a well-received day-long program which sought to educate industry professionals on IP security essentials. These offerings have all proven to be a big help in keeping our industry on the cutting (and well-trained) edge
Now, from across the pond comes the IP UserGroup. This group, which has been established in the U.K. for some years, is essentially an industry consortium and education program for 1) security companies producing IP-based products and 2) dealers/integrators and end users needing to stay abreast on proper implementation of IP networked security technologies. It's also the founding organization of up-and-coming U.K. security show IIPSEC, not to be confused with the similarly named IFSEC.
The UserGroup, which was started in the U.K. but has spread worldwide, is comprised of almost 10,000 people and has spread to 68 countries. The group is set up as an industry organization and relies heavily on vendor support for its programs. Far from being just a charity IP training program, the UserGroup markets IP solutions from suppliers to its member users through e-zines, its website and its mini-expos called IP-in-Action. But despite a heavy marketing engine (the group sends some 150,000 newsletters and bulletins each year), the IP User Group does still have education at its core.
Paul Hennings, the program's leader and the founder of the U.K.'s IP UserGroup, says the organization's goal is "to help your industry understand what IP is all about," and that the IP UserGroup is "reacting to a lack of IP education in the U.S."
The group kicked off its membership drive in Las Vegas at ISC West in booth #22146, and plans to start IP-in-Action shows this August in the U.S. The group has already seen a good deal of buy-in from technology corporations, with DVTel, Dallmeier, Milestone Systems, Codestuff and Cisco Systems announced as charter members of the organization. The IP UserGroup's U.S. website is www.ipusergroupusa.com, or head by their ISC West 2006 booth to pick up more information.