I wonder what is the point of the opening keynotes at RSA? Yesterday, Art Coviello, the CEO of RSA delivered another version of pretty much the same speech that delegates have heard in the last three years.

With a dazzling high def backdrop  of coral reefs and pretty fish he called for collaboration among vendors to build a "vendor eco system" and for a "common development process". He dropped in more phrases like "decouping" while at the same time calling for "dynamic controls that could be linked". Linked and decoupled - is that possible? I didn't really understand that bit. He said that Web 2.0 had proved the power of mash ups so why not in the security industry?

Coviello had another pop at the vendors (of which he is one) suggesting that practitioners wanted to buy single solutions and were tired of piecemeal deployment by multiple vendors. Do they? Are they? That's not what I heard in later track sessions and around the show -- it seems that practitioners actually like the ability to compare, contrast and shop around. That's why there's a bloody great expo attached to the Conference. And the competition among vendors large and small is what drives this $12bn industry and the innovation stuff that Coviello is so fond of peppering his keynotes with.

If Coviello's failure to say anything new was no surprise what came next was. This was Symantec new boy Enriqe T Salem. After years of John Thompson saying precisely nothing in his RSA keynote many must have thought that here was the perfect opportunity for Salem to nail his colours -- to make an impact. To say, "Here I am - this is what I am about and this is how I am going to turn this sucker around".

Instead we got a nervous, error-prone speech that told us: Symantec stops lots of malware, we need to move to operational security (whatever that is), Symantec has a new web-based security management tool and Symantec does lots of research. So, nothing.

A missed opportunity if ever there was one. Because, as I discovered there is a lot of good feeling towards Salem, people want him to succeed. And because today, Dave DeWalt will deliver HIS keynote at RSA and he will have seen Salem's effort. He might not say much either but you can be damn sure he will leave his audience in no doubt about who's driving the McAfee juggernaut.

RSA Keynotes