The 7 Biggest Wireless Surprises Coming in 2004
Who stands to gain the most?
By: David Geer
Mar. 1, 2004 12:00 AM
Wireless is taking off in a big way, but some surprises await us. How do you predict the seven biggest surprises about to hit the wireless industry?
I spoke with two well-connected "ringers" who have a keen sense of the industry. I absorbed their combined input and pooled seven responses.
Attorney Robert Rini is a telecommunications and technology partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, Washington, DC. Mr. Rini represents wireless technology interests before Congress, the FCC, and other courts and government agencies. He is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association.
Here are what they think will be the seven surprises (in no particular order):
1) Wi-Fi - Less, and More, Than Expected
With as much money as has been invested in Wi-Fi, in 2004 we will see that written down. However, Wi-Fi will remain popular where it is available. "Cellphones with Wi-Fi will do better than those [without]," predicts Lightman.
Despite slow growth, certain areas will be heavily populated with Wi-Fi. This will impact the industry in a few ways. "With fixed Wi-Fi, you will see roaming, enabled by IPv6," says Lightman. Where Wi-Fi is grossly populated, you will see that signals don't necessarily make good neighbors. "Wi-Fi [will fail] to live up to expectations because of all the interference between unlicensed users. There will be more congestion and customer dissatisfaction than we expect," says Rini.
2) Camera Phones Drive Unexpected Cultural Changes
Camera phones will be so commonplace that where we saw some PVC footage in the news and in the courts, we will constantly see newsworthy and litigation-worthy camera phone footage.
Journalistic accuracy will be challenged and enhanced as most every story can and probably will be caught with still and streaming digital images. Opportunity will create a rise in the number of lawsuits filed and won. This will affect liability and therefore insurance costs.
"Every kid in America will have a cellphone. We will have an explosion of victim documentation or attempted victim documentation. We'll see a rise of community policing [that will be] watching these phones. This will change lawsuits and the nature of evidence and proceedings," says Lightman.
3) Sensors Seize Myriad Application Opportunities
New and existing sensors will be resourced in more beneficial and cost-effective ways by aggregating data over the wireless (to wired) Internet. Useful analyses of compiled data will thrust sensor installs into high gear. Both the usefulness and types of data to be had will spawn sensor-enabled applications for all sorts of high (and low) priority needs.
4) The Wireless War
We'll see it, but I doubt it will be uncut or non-selective material. Military technologies for acquiring and sharing the images via futuristically small devices attached to each soldier have existed for a few years.
Mark Our Words
5) The Wireless (Political) Platforms
An even bigger surprise would be if any candidate comes up with a competent solution. Bigger still is would be said candidate getting elected and following through. (Of course, I predict that these surprises won't happen, which is unfortunate, but no surprise.)
6) Convergence, Ads, and Entertainment
"Asian companies, particularly Korean companies, will be advantaged because they have more people using 3G per capita than any place on earth," says Lightman. "If you combine that with Samsung's home entertainment centers, you are going to find mobile phones being used as remote control devices for what is called ‘the 10-foot experience.' If you combine that with Microsoft's Media Center, you'll start to see this blurring of lines between two businesses that are starting to come together. Microsoft will make bigger advances into the mobile phone market. They've been trying for years but [this] year I think that remotes will give them an opportunity to get in there."
7) Fixed Wireless Returns
Note: Nextel is among the largest holders of MDS spectrum. Nextel's industry market is a large market, but push come to shove, no one is going to want to carry two cellphones. Given that for many at least one phone must be carried for the job that puts food on the table, which phone do you think will be kept, and which discarded? Can we say market intersection?
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