Change constant in wireless markets

Change constant in wireless markets

Mobile and wireless technologies are driving the biggest changes in corporate data collection for a decade, according to Gartner. But as an increasingly complicated array of technologies from a myriad of vendors continue to blur the boundaries between work and leisure, it seems it is still anyone’s guess which will win the bettle for the hearts of end users and which will fade into oblivion.

Analyst, Nick Inglebrecht, shared some of his mobile and wireless visions for the next five years with delegates at this year’s Gartner Symposium.

In terms of mobile phone technologies, Inglebrecht said the evolution from 2G to 3G was being hyped by network operators that were often failing to deliver the transfer rates they promised. Operators were also being forced to dramatically scale back data revenue estimates, which Inglebrecht said they had hoped would reach 50 per cent by 2005 but now looked likely to hit 25 per cent at best.

But 2004 would be a great year for “handset freaks” as the number of models with colour screens, polyphonic ring tones and built-in cameras continued to spiral.

While mobile phones remain a fashion market, it is a very valuable one and Inglerbrecht said he would watch the operating system battle between Microsoft and Symbian with interest.

He was critical of Bluetooth technology, which he said was “almost working but still a struggle and may be taken over by 802.15.3”. Of more interest in the short-term wireless space were meshed networks, which replace the wired backbone of existing Wi-Fi networks with a virtual wireless version. In reality, Inglebrecht said none of the existing wireless technologies would be the eventual winners because they all had trade offs like limited bandwidth or battery life.

While hotspot numbers are growing phenomenally — Inglebrecht highlighted the efforts of companies such as SkyNetGlobal and Airnet in the local market — interoperability continues to be a headache for roaming agreements. He said that finding out which service providers could deliver roaming to the places people needed them would be a slow process. Cost was also still a problem.

In conclusion, Inglebrecht said the real-time enterprise would have to become a mobile enterprise eventually but that change was inevitable. n

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