Tech pundit Bob Cringley's annual predictions are always a good read. Here are his wireless predictions:
->WiMax will be a huge story by summer, but widespread adoption of the wireless networking technology will take at least another two years. In the meantime, though, nobody will make money on WiFi, but it will become ubiquitous anyway, especially with the arrival of 802.11n.
( I'm not sure WiMAX can be much more of a "huge" story than it is already. I would add that Wi-Fi will become known more for the applications it supports [see below] than for simply providing Internet access.)
-> VoIP will continue to shatter the telephone industry with the arrival of WiFi phones, which might finally be the killer app for hotspots. Eventually, all the backbone suppliers will figure out that VoIP is their salvation and will either start their own VoIP companies or ally with big VoIP players.
(I agree. Wi-Fi phones [standalone or embedded within PDAs and cellular handsets] are going to give carriers a reason to invest in hotspots; they're a lot cheaper than base stations and can often be partially supported by the venue.)
-> Two thousand five will NOT be the year for UltraWide Band (UWB) networking or Power Line Networking, but both will do really well in 2006.
(After spending time at CES, it's safe to say we'll see commercial UWB products, primarily for wireless USB. However, we will also see a blending of power line and UWB technology for pretty nifty hi-def home networking. But much of this will take until 2006 I'm afraid.)
You can read Bob's full list of predictions here.
October 04, 2004
I attended an Ultra-Wideband (UWB) event recently and was pleased to hear the moderator, Peter Meade (editor of UWB Insider), basically say "Let's get on it with already."
UWB should have been on the market a year ago. I first wrote about the technology in January 2003 and I was told back then, by multiple vendors, to expect to see it by Christmas of that year. Well, here we are a good year later and still nothing much has changed. Now I'm hearing that we'll see product by Christmas of this year. This time I know the silicon is ready, but I'm still not holding my breath.
The vendors have been stuck in a brutal standards battle, which The Economist does a good job of documenting. I think we're all well aware of the Betamax/VHS war and how that played out and I understand that nobody wants another standards battle on their hands. But there are other technologies out there that could pose real or perceived competition to UWB, namely Wi-Fi (to be followed by WiMAX), and they are already out there.
Furthermore, there is no reason why high-end A/V components can't succeed using proprietary UWB technology. It's not the ideal solution for the customer or vendor, but I have yet to see how it will prevent sales at this tier. And assuming one standard does prevail, there is no reason that dongle-like converters can't be used on proprietary devices to solve incompatabilities. Not an elegant solution, but easier to resolve than a Betamax box than won't play VHS.
UWB is an amazing technology and at a minimum is poised to eliminate dozens of annoying UWB and video cables in every home. But it could do so much more, provided it gets going quickly.
| Category: Ultra-Wideband (UWB)