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The VORTEX 2003 conference begins this coming Sunday (5/18). I am looking forward to seeing many friends and colleagues from the industry and the media. It will also be exciting to participate in a debate on Tuesday morning with Peter A. Bernstein, President, infonautics Consulting, Inc. entitled “Why-Fi: Will 802.11 be the most disruptive technology since the Internet?”

The conference organizers say that “In this head-to-head debate, two of the industry’s most saavy soothsayers will explore the impact of WiFi. Will WiFi be a profit machine and the death knell for other network technologies and business plans? Or will WiFi be a flash in the pan, generating lots of press and hype but little real ROI? Find out as our wireless experts square off on just how disruptive 802.11 will be”.

John Gallant, president and editorial director at Network World, promises that this will be a true debate, following an honest-to-goodness real debate format. He says the premise is, “Will 802.11 be the most disruptive technology since the Internet?” I will be arguing the affirmative and Peter will be arguing the negative. John Gallant’s goal is to explore whether WiFi will “lead to wonderful, profitable new business opportunities (or not), will change society (or not), will threaten other major businesses (or not).”

Here is the format:
Each participant gets the following:

5- minute opening statement to make the case
2-minute rebuttal of opponent’s opener
3-minute secondary statement to continue making the case
1-minute. rebuttal of opponent’s secondary speech
3-minute closing statement

John flipped a virtual coin and the affirmative statement will begin the debate. Audience members will vote at the end! This should be a lot of fun.