The 29th edition of FOSE  opened today at the Washington Convention Center with a three-day slate of exhibits, demonstrations, discussions and meetings on IT and government.
About 100,000 square feet of space on the show floor will host more than 500 exhibitors, featuring everything from new keychain gadgets and desktop PC applications to storage area networks and data-sharing tools.
Also on the floor are theaters and pavilions that will host discussions on topics ranging from systems consolidation and enterprise architectures to the Defense Department's Global Information Grid and the Homeland Security Department's border systems project.
A Linux Pavilion, focusing on Linux systems for government, is new this year, and the SAN Pavilion has been expanded to the Data Center Storage Theater. They'll join the established DOD, E-Town and Homeland Security theaters, which will offer targeted sessions and, Wednesday afternoon, host briefings from the various federal CXO councils.
Away from the show floor, vendors and government officials will hold forth in a variety of educational sessions hosted by the Federal Information Managers Council, the General Services Administration, Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and the Greater Washington Initiative.
FOSE on the air
If you're stuck in traffic on the way to the convention center, you can also get FOSE on the radio. With selected broadcasts on WAMU 88.5 FM and WTOP 1500 AM, and an all-day Wednesday broadcast from FOSE on WMAL 630 AM. The Best of FOSE awards ceremony will be broadcast at 2 p.m. Thursday on WTOP.
FOSE serves as a sort of barometer for trends in government IT, said Lorenz Hassenstein, vice president of trade shows for PostNewsweek Tech Media, which owns FOSE and publishes GCN.
Pervasive topics this year include homeland security, biometrics, cybersecurity and e-government, with a heavy emphasis on integration, he said, particularly in areas such as tagging and sharing data.
"I see FOSE as a technology show" that takes in the bigger picture, Hassenstein said. "Information technology is the keystone, allowing government to drive efficiencies throughout the financial, human capital and procurement disciplines, along with so many other critical activities."."
He said there also is a broader Defense presence, with the Army, Air Force and Marines joining the Navy, which "did a lot of the heavy lifting last year," and a growing presence of small, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses.
The show also has a growing international flair, with exhibits from several countries and delegations from a total of eight nations.