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Home Page Editorial
October 28, 2001)

From Publisher and Managing Editor's Desk... 

Fall Comdex as a Showcase for Mobile/Wireless Technology 

In the past, Fall Comdex was the show where new innovative technologies in the computer industry were showcased. In fact, vendors furiously work to demonstrate their hot new products at this show. This year, with September 11, 2001 events still in our minds, it was not business as usual. Crowds were thinner and vendors were not encroaching upon each other's space on the floor. With almost two weeks over, it is time to make some comments on the Fall Comdex In Las Vegas this year. 

  1. Comdex & Wireless - While most marketing communications leaders agree that the Fall Comdex is undoubtedly the most important event in information technology arena, it is still not considered the most popular show in wireless and mobile computing. Comdex's eMobility event is gaining ground and acceptance but it still is considered IT-oriented. Wireless IT show by CTIA held during September every year and telecommunications shows like SuperComm attract more attention among wireless and mobile computing vendors and professionals, it appears. Unfortunately, wireless and telecommunications vendors feel uncomfortable in IT surroundings and do not get same undivided attention at Comdex. If consumer devices is your main focus, you go to CES show in Las Vegas in January. Nonetheless, Comdex is where the IT professionals try to go the most and it really is a good venue to make an impact among IT decision-makers.
  2. Devices - There were a number of handheld devices like Handspring's Treo and Nokia's 9290 that were making a point of convergence of PDA and phone-based devices. Pocket PC was trying to make a different point - that compatibility with various incarnations of Microsoft Windows OSes is still important. We are left with the impression that Nokia, Handspring and Palm are still going after the consumer and the business professional. These devices are not headed towards the enterprise except for e-mail and voice-mail communications. Any meaningful enterprise application (we mean operational business application) demands to show a fair bit of data on the screen and requires a reasonable amount of input which none of these devices support. Second comment on devices is that handheld devices are still evolving and are still not mature. IT professionals should allow for thorough testing, some heartburns and sell patience to their user population. We are on the first phase of the adoption curve and maturization cycle. You can review the experiences of David Berlind on ZDNet site to get his perspective when he tried to use these devices with present day network infrastructure - not very pretty.
  3. Telematics - We are impressed with DaimlerChrysler's experiment with InfoFueling - "Fillerup with wireless Data".  This is a concept that combines Telematics and wireless LAN integration, using gas station as a hot spot. The DriveBy InfoFuelling system involves sending data (e.g. road maps, directions, music or video) without actually stopping and getting out of the car. Data is transferred as cars pass by this info kiosk (a transceiver site, some e-commerce application software and content). The hot spot that DaimlerChrysler showed was based on 802.11a standard that allows 54 Mbps wireless LAN speed - future speeds at 100 Mbps can be supported at slightly reduced distances from the kiosk. Please review our proposal in our editorial of August 2001 to get our views on this type of technology. We want to applaud DaimlerChrysler for this technology initiative and we think this should move at highway speed in due course, if not fly. 
  4. Bluetooth - Cambridge Silicon Radio made some announcements that are indicating a trend towards lower Bluetooth chip costs and this technology supporting 80.11b and 802.11a standards in a complimenting and supporting role. We have come to the conclusion that Bluetooth is getting some bite and will start showing up in new products in 2002 onwards.
  5. Wireless Networks - Comdex is the wrong spot to make wireless wide area network announcements. Wireless LANs do show up at Comdex and are now gaining ground as components of integrated wireless LAN/WAN networks in a small but gradually-increasing way. Of course, eMobility conference sessions gave realistic assessment of migration towards 2.5G and 3G networks. GPRS seems to be winning as an interim standard with both Verizon, AT&T and Cingular pushing their initiatives to boost up the network capacity and speed. Other providers like Bell Mobility in Canada are pursuing 1xRTT CDMA path. We welcome this competition and dual network approach. GSM/GPRS strategy is more pragmatic and affordable for most network providers who can utilize within existing spectrum licenses. 1xRTT CDMA is more efficient network technology from spectrum utilization perspective but would cost more. 
  6. MobileIP - Mobile IP (version 6) where you can take your IP address with you wherever you go has an Interesting future but a lot has still to be done by the industry before enterprises and carriers can start implementing it. We do not agree with Amin of AT& T that is about 2 years away. We also do not agree that 3G will be implemented with Mobile IPv6. IPv6 will take longer than that in fixed line environment. o how can wireless networks be ahead of it. Therefore, enterprise network designers need not worry about MobileIP during the next twelve months. However, wireless network providers need to start thinking and do careful planning to set themselves up for it in future. You can do your long term planning without it. 
  7. Wireless Security: It did get enough attention at the Fall Comdex and rightly so. Go to Kelly McCoulf's coverage of this topic at key3media site. 

For your comments, click here

Chander Dhawan - Your Site's Principal Consultant and Publisher

Related Resources:
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