Well, the Interop New York show is done, and I'm seeing e-mails flying around on the engineer listserv about how and where gear used during the show should be shipped to their owners. Surprise, all that gear you've been seeing at the Interop shows is contributed by sponsors in return for marketing at the show. So it's now that time of year where equipment vendors can toss in their $0.02 worth and submit a proposal as to how their solution will rock the world and make the InteropNET the best ever.
The first part of the process is the "Request for Proposal" where potential sponsors submit plans on what kind of gear they think will work, what kind of engineering personnel would be provided, what kinds of marketing they'd like to do as part of the InteropNET, and most importantly, what kinds of new technology they would provide and show off at the show.
Next is the evaluation process, and I'm not even going to guess as to just how that process works. However, I do know that the best and baddest tech isn't always the one that wins. Remember that this is a collaborative effort and the InteropNET really is supposed to showcase advances in networking technology. It does also have to work, and to that end, the best and the baddest might not be an appropriate fit in the puzzle of tech that is the InteropNET. The job of evaluating the proposal sits on the shoulders of the InteropNET lead engineer (right now it's Geoff Horne) in cooperation with the show management and marketing. (Remember, this is a for-profit show, and it's all about marketing all those sparkly bits of tech.)
Once show management has determined which proposals will best fit the theme and the needs of the upcoming show season, the winners are notified and everyone is invited to converge for an engineering meeting someplace in Northern California. This is also the first time the volunteer engineering staff officially meets up with the vendor engineers, and this is where controlled chaos reigns as everyone pushes to get their tech bits highlighted as best as possible.