Free stuff.  Isn’t that what conferences are about?  There was no shortage of swag at this evening’s RSA Conference 2009Welcome Reception, but nothing really jumped out as the uber-cool itemof 2009.  Although there were no serious attempts to beat thecompetition via swag, there was plenty of one-upmanship when it came totechnology.

I had a chance to talk two vendors offering phone based two-factorauthentication.  Authentify offers a solution which usesvoice/behaviour biometrics, while Phone Factor is PIN based.  It seemsto me that the use of biometrics gives Authentify a technologicaladvantage, which is what they argue.  Shortly after, I raised thispoint with someone from Phone Factor, who proceeded to offer a solidlist of acceptable reasons why would you by Phone Factor anyways.

For each member of the competition, a vendor must always have anargument that sets themselves apart.  This one-upmanship is what makesthe RSA Conference Exhibition Hall so tiring: once you complete a firstpass of all the vendors, you are forced to take a second pass in orderto get clarification by asking deeper questions.  I made a good starttonight, but my second pass is a must for tomorrow.

Here’s to hoping I won’t need a third pass.  My feet hurt enough already.