impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for
their presentation is provided or available." � �Thomas Mann, 1896
Can Take It With You:
Author: Mike Ellsworth
by: Stratvantage Consulting, LLC
This white paper
is already obsolete.
fast wireless technology is moving today. Each day, almost each hour of each
day, brings a new announcement of a wireless feature or capability. Part of
the reason why is the huge range of wireless options being developed today,
� This area includes standard person-to-person telephone features over a
cellular network as well as PCS features such as emailing to the phone,
instant messaging, and paging. Also included in this segment are unified
messaging efforts that bring together voice mail, email, and wireless
These services range from traditional paging services, to interactive
paging, Web browsing on PDAs and browser-equipped phones and pagers, and
wireless access to corporate resources such as documents and email.
Commerce-enabled mobile phones are making m-commerce, or mobile commerce,
a reality in Japan and Europe, where you can buy a cute icon for your
phone, play a game with a remote opponent, or do your banking wirelessly.
In various stages of adoption are location-based services that allow
purchasing (and advertising) based on proximity to a vendor.
One type of location-based services specializes in assisting navigation
through detailed maps and Global Positioning Service (GPS) wireless
satellite connectivity. Another service involves tracking physical assets
as diverse as trucks and telephone central office equipment through Radio
Frequency (RF) tags that may also have GPS capabilities built in.
and LAN Services
� These services allow more-traditional computing devices such as
laptops to connect in an �always on� network.
They include fixed wireless efforts such as those based on the
802.11b, or Wi-Fi, standard that create local Neighborhood Area Networks (NANs),
longer haul services that connect corporate sites together, airborne and
satellite services that provide high-speed Internet access, and Personal
Area Networking (PANs) such as Bluetooth.
Wireless Broadband Services
� Often sold as an
alternative to the slow �last mile� to the home, fixed wireless
services typically use roof-mounted antennas to deliver fast broadband
connections. Also included are satellite broadband and access services
delivered via aircraft stationed in the stratosphere above major cities.
� While not strictly a wireless initiative, the development of voice
services from voice navigation on cell phones or in cars (OnStar) to
Internet-driven information services such as TellMe or those based on
technology from Nuance to voice recognition will profoundly affect
Your car is rapidly becoming your office, with GPS navigation, emergency,
and concierge services as well as access to email, the Web, and corporate
What happens when the phone and the pager and the PDA converge into a
single device? Well, it depends a lot on from which direction the
convergence comes. Converged devices from cell phone makers tend to look
and act more like phones than computers. On the other hand, devices from
PDA or handheld computer makers look and act more like computers than
phones. And some devices are descended from pagers that have incorporated
So it�s a
broad field, and one rife with both opportunity and pitfalls. Wireless
technology is moving so fast that if you blink, you�ll miss something.
introduction of PCS phone services in 1994, the US wireless industry has
evolved from a niche player that offered expensive voice services on clunky,
First Generation (1G) analog equipment, to a nearly ubiquitous presence in
corporate and consumer America. At the same time, non-voice-based information
services on wireless phones have proliferated.
Most cell phones
purchased today have the ability to not only receive email and other short
messages and to act as pagers, but also to browse the Web, compose emails and
Instant Messages (IM) and keep track of appointments and other personal
information. While nearly half (48 percent) of all cell phones bought at
retail in Q2 2000 were Net-ready � a tenfold jump from the same period in
1999, according to the NPD Group
today there are 18 million wireless Web users in the US, according to
In fact, many new phones can play MP3 music files or receive FM broadcasts.
or m-commerce, is also developing rapidly. Today, for example, Sprint
customers can buy books at Amazon using their phones and send gifts using the
recipient�s email address.
wireless phone capabilities are even more advanced.
In Europe, m-commerce enables users to purchase many goods and services
and even doing banking using their wireless phones. Deutche Telekom, in fact, is even considering issuing its own
electronic currency. In Japan, 26 million NTT DoCoMo customers enjoy
sophisticated services including news
feeds, games, video and music on phones that
include color screen models. Users
pay for services through charges on their monthly bills.
In the sections
that follow, we take a look at evolving devices and cellular networks, the
trends affecting mobile professionals, and the convergence of personal
devices. In addition, we make recommendations on how businesses can take
advantage of wireless opportunities, including a look at wireless application
Services and Cellular Networks Are Evolving
1998 the number of US wireless telephone subscribers has more than
doubled, to 130 million. Subscribers use their cell phones an average
of 422 minutes a month, up 75 percent from two years ago. Wireless service
providers have tripled the number of cell sites since 1997 to more than
114,000, which is six times the number available in 1995.
US lags the rest of the world in wireless development, but South Korea
puts us all in the shade. More than half of Korea's 15 million households
have broadband service, more than 60 percent of South Koreans carry cell
phones, and one South Korean telco is already providing 3G (Third
Sachs Equity Research predicts there will be more than a billion mobile
phone users worldwide by 2003.
all the hype about wireless, Gartner Dataquest said that overall global mobile
phone sales to consumers went down by 3.2 percent to 399.6 million
units in 2001. The company says reasons for the drop include saturated
European markets, a decrease in subsidies by telecommunications operators
and gray, unlisted imports from overstocked distributors. The Yankee Group
predicts that in 2002, about 436 million handsets will be sold worldwide,
increasing to 596 million by 2005.
generation General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) networks, featuring faster
data transfer speeds, have gotten an unexpectedly lukewarm reception
from US users, according to John Filar Atwood, an equity research analyst
for Multex Investor.
is a G?
networks have undergone two major generational changes in the last 10 years
and are in the midst of a third.
� First generation cell phones were based on analog technology and handled
� Second generation cell phones are digital and most offer data services
like text messaging and Web access.
� A transitional generation of phones is being introduced today featuring
higher speed data access. General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), being rolled
out in the US by AT&T and VoiceStream, features roughly 40Kbps data
access. Verizon has released and Sprint is readying CDMA2000 1XRTT networks
that feature up to 144Kbps data access.
� Third generation networks must support at least 384Kbps data access. SK
Telecom in South Korea and NTT DoCoMo in Japan have rolled out the only
commercial 3G networks so far.
The big deal in
wireless phone services is the introduction of so-called 3G, or Third
Generation, services. The major intent of these services is to provide
higher-bandwidth data access, although cellular network operators will get
more voice capacity as well.
phone networks are considered 2G, or Second Generation, and are based on two
(or two-and-a-half, if you�re picky) competing standards:
(Global System for Mobile communication) is the
standard in most of the world outside North America. GSM is based on the
TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) standard, which is used by AT&T
in the US. In GSM/TDMA systems, cell phones share a radio channel in turn,
with each getting a time slice in which to transmit. VoiceStream and
Cingular use GSM in the US, and AT&T is converting its network to the
� Invented by Qualcomm, CDMA (Code Division Multiple
Access) networks exist mostly in North America, where they support 80 to
90 percent of cell phones. In CDMA systems, cell phones all talk at once,
but use different identifiers to sort out the conversations. Experts claim
that CDMA can support many more cell phones per channel than competing
strategies. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA in the US.
The goal of all
cellular network providers is to transition to 3G services, primarily to be
able to provide high speed data services, including streaming audio and video,
to phones and other devices. The 3G standard is defined by the International
Telecommunications Union. Unfortunately, the ITU will not require all 3G cell
phones to work on competing networks. It has created a specification known as
IMT-2000 that defines requirements of 3G networks, but it has stopped short of
mandating the type of network scheme necessary to fulfill the requirements.
network must meet several requirements to be certified as IMT-2000, or 3G.
Among them are a minimum 144Kbps data throughput in a mobile situation,
384Kbps for pedestrian use and 2 megabits per second for fixed use. There are
other required parameters such as voice quality and capacity, but the speed
requirements are generally the ones most focused upon.
Since the ITU
couldn�t achieve their goal of allowing devices to roam on any network in
the world, they�ve settled for blessing divergent standards under the
IMT-2000 umbrella. Among them are:
� Known in Europe as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System),
and as FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile multimedia Access, a branded service of NTT
DoCoMo) in Japan, the standard is capable of meeting the 384Kbps
transmission rates required of 3G. In Japan, DoCoMo, who created the W-CDMA
standard, enables FOMA users to send and receive video on a compact phone
with a color screen. Unfortunately, UMTS and FOMA are not compatible,
despite being based on the same standard.
Developed by Qualcomm, which created the original CDMA standard,
CDMA2000 has three phases:
with data rates up to 144 Kbps (also known as 1X). In the US, Sprint and
Verizon are currently rolling out 1XRTT networks. Some critics claim
this standard does not qualify as 3G.
with data rates up to 2Mbps (also known as 3X).
versions of the CDMA2000 1X EV standard: CDMA2000
(�Data Only�), which will use separate frequencies for data and
voice; CDMA2000 1X EV-DV (�Data and Voice�), which will
integrate voice and data on the same frequency band.
� The TD-CDMA standard was developed by Siemens, and then modified in
collaboration with the Chinese government to become TD-SCDMA. Its main
claim to fame is rather technical: It doesn�t require paired spectrum,
which means it doesn�t require one radio frequency for outgoing data and
a separate one for incoming. Instead, this standard rapidly switches
between receiving and transmitting on the same frequency, thus removing
the requirement to say, �Over� and preserving the ability to interrupt
the other party during a phone call. These standards are mostly of
interest because of their adoption by populous China.
how they get there, cellular network operators are planning on reaping
significant revenues from new 3G services.
directly to 3G systems is prohibitively expensive for most cellular network
vendors, the industry is pursuing a variety of so-called 2.5G solutions:
offerings that are better than 2G, but don�t meet 3G criteria. Some vendors
are hyping their 2.5G solutions, such as Sprint and Verizon�s 1XRTT, as full
3G. (Critics of such hype say if the standard can�t do 2Mbps stationary
connections, it�s not 3G.) Others are adopting 2.5G solutions as a less
expensive way to eventually migrate to 3G.
The two most
popular 2.5G transition standards, GPRS and EDGE, help network operators make
a critical transition from circuit-switched networks (in which there are
dedicated resources for every conversation, like on the wired telephone
network) to packet-switched networks (in which each transmission is broken
into chunks which are routed separately, like the Internet).
� General Packet Radio Service is a TDMA standard
closer to GSM than to AT&T�s TDMA. Primarily a software upgrade to
existing GSM systems, GPRS overlays a packet-switched architecture onto
the normal GSM network, which is circuit-switched. Data rates can reach
50Kbps or more, but are likely to be 20 to 40Kbps in the real world.
AT&T is currently rolling out GPRS service into more than 30 US
markets, and VoiceStream launched its GPRS service, branded iStream, in
November 2001. Some critics
claim that data rates and voice quality will suffer in real world use of
the technology as users compete for bandwidth.
� Enhanced Data rates for Global (or GSM) Evolution is a faster standard
than GPRS, reaching speeds of up to 473Kbps. Implementing the standard
involves replacing network transceivers at cell sites, and many operators
are opting to go to GPRS first.
of this wonderful evolution, however, will require wireless spectrum
allocations. In Europe, telecom companies have practically bankrupted
themselves in spectrum auctions that earned various governments many billions
of dollars. The situation is so bad many governments are working with
operators to restructure or forgive some of the auction payments. In any
event, many European cellular operators have spent so much money acquiring
spectrum for 3G services that they can�t afford to develop the networks
the US, no spectrum has been auctioned specifically for 3G services, and the
first such auction may be two years off. Additionally, the previous round of
regional spectrum auctions for 2G services have fragmented the radio spectrum,
causing headaches for operators. Thus, cellular network vendors are opting for
2.5G solutions that can maximize the use of their currently allocated
One effect of
all this 3G activity on businesses is likely to be increased costs for
replacing cell phones. In the US, cellular network vendors are going to go
through at least two steps, and in some cases three steps, to get to 3G. Each
step will probably require new cell phones to take advantage of its benefits.
In some cases, old phones will continue to work on the new network, albeit
without access to the new features. But in other cases, it�s not at all
clear that old phones will not be obsolete.
for example. Current AT&T subscriber phones can access three separate
network types: the old analog network, and the 2G TDMA network at either of
two radio frequencies. AT&T is rapidly converting its network to GSM �
which is not compatible with TDMA � and GPRS. The company�s plans for how
long the TDMA network will remain in place are not known but, despite being
relatively well fixed for spectrum (�We have more spectrum than any of our
competitors�, Mohan Gynar, AT&T Wireless president of mobility services,
there will be pressure to obsolete those TDMA phones as soon as possible.
may not be a problem for some businesses that are already used to the roughly
24-month turnover time for cell phones we�ve been experiencing for the past
few years. The problem, however, becomes multiplied because the GSM/GPRS
phones that AT&T will sell you will probably need to be replaced when the
company switches to the next migration step, EDGE, in a year or so. EDGE uses
a completely different radio signaling technology and thus will require new
phones. So unless AT&T makes TDMA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE phones available, you�ll
be buying another phone when EDGE rolls out.
If your business is planning on making a bulk purchase of cell
phones, be sure to ask your carrier what network changes are planned and
how often you�ll need to replace those phones over the next three years.
This is especially important if you are considering buying converged
PDA/cell phone devices, which carry a higher price tag. There�s more about
converged devices later in this white paper.
be sure to accurately assess exactly what it is going to cost your organization to
support wireless use. Avoid being blindsided by hidden costs by examining
the total cost of ownership of these devices.
The cost of the phones is only one
thing to worry about, however. Supporting your cell phone and PDA users as
they try to leverage new wireless data capabilities could end up costing even
more than equipping the users in the first place. GartnerGroup
says, �Like the Titanic's encounter with a hidden iceberg, the connectivity
and support costs associated with personal productivity and communications
devices (PDAs, cell phones, etc.) may be a looming budget disaster.�
your business is planning on making a bulk purchase of cell phones, be sure to
ask your carrier what network changes are planned and how often you�ll need
to replace those phones over the next three years. This is especially
important if you are considering buying converged PDA/cell phone devices,
which carry a higher price tag. There�s more about converged devices later
in this white paper.
be sure to accurately assess what it is going to cost your organization to
support wireless use. Avoid being blindsided by hidden costs by examining the
total cost of ownership of these devices.
55 percent of the corporate and 63 percent of the small company workforce
will be either remote or mobile during 2002, Cahners In-Stat found.
ResearchPortal.com report found that mobile professionals (full-time professionals
over age 17 who spend 20 percent or more of their time working away from
their primary working environment) in the finance industry spend more than
20 percent of their e-mail time on a handheld device such as the
BlackBerry or a PDA. Mobile workers in the Information Technology,
Utilities, and Construction industries all spent more than 10 percent of
their email time with a small device.
firm Daratech estimated that a construction project could save from 5
percent to 10 percent using wireless and Web-based technologies.
Worldwide, such tools could save as much as $400 billion annually by 2004.
PDAs Get Connected
Although they are slow,
current cell phone networks do have advantages over wireless LAN technologies.
Primary among them are range and coverage.
Cell phones can communicate with base stations at
distances of a mile or more whereas devices based on the 802.11b (Wi-Fi)
standard are limited to 100 meters, and Bluetooth devices are limited to 10
It�s not all about phones, after
all. There are a myriad of devices that are going wireless. One very important
category for businesses to consider is the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).
Wireless access from this type of device is relatively recent: 3Com released
the Palm VII Connected Organizer on a trial basis in May 1999. The Palm VII
and its successor, the Palm i705, access Palm�s wireless service, Palm.Net�,
which runs on BellSouth�s Mobitex network. Vendors such as OmniSky (now part
of Earthlink) offer connectivity based on the Novatel Wireless Minstrel V�
modem, which snaps on to existing Palm V or other models.
Operating System (PalmOS) is showing up in all kinds of other wireless devices
as well, including phones from Kyocera and Samsung, and the Handspring Trēo.
We consider these converged devices in a subsequent section.
The PDA platform
is the focus of another kind of convergence as well. While Palm.Net and
OmniSky/Earthlink�s networks are based on a relatively slow (19.2Kbps,
although vendors claim speeds up to 50Kbps with compression) cell phone
technology called CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data), vendors are currently
offering Bluetooth, 802.11b, and GPRS (General Packet Radio System)
connectivity for the platform.
Bluetooth is the
short range (30 meters) solution spearheaded by cell phone maker Ericsson, and
positioned as a replacement for wires in connecting a device to peripherals
such as headsets or printers.
known as Wi-Fi, is a longer range (100 meters) and faster (11Mbps) technology.
As previously explained, GPRS is a 2.5G cell phone technology offering up to
40Kbps transmission speed.
In addition to
data networking, cell phone capabilities are now offered for various PDA
devices. One of the first was the Handspring VisorPhone, a Springboard add-on
module that plugs into a Handspring Visor Palm-based PDA and turns it into a
cell phone on the Cingular Wireless or VoiceStream networks. A similar module
called the Sprint PCS Wireless Web Digital Link� adds data capabilities as
well as phone service to the Handspring. Sprint plans a software upgrade for
the unit to 3G technology that will enable faster data transmission.
wireless PDA entries are currently based on the Pocket PC operating system but
later this year will feature the SmartPhone
operating system. Users of Pocket PCs can also add wireless modems from Enfora,
Novatel, and Sierra Wireless based on CDPD or connect via cable to their cell
phones that feature wireless data service.
devices have also gotten into the wireless act.
Research In Motion (RIM) sells several models of its
BlackBerry two-way interactive pager. Concentrating primarily on wireless�
killer app, email, the BlackBerry can also synch with your Personal
Information Manager�s (PIM) appointment, to do, and calendar capabilities.
The new BlackBerry 5810 offers GPRS connectivity and a microbrowser for
Cell phone maker
Motorola, which has lagged in development of a PDA/phone combined device, saw
its pager division fill the gap by integrating a cell phone with a pager.
Their first effort, the Motorola v100 has been topped by the more recently
released Accompli� 009 Personal Communicator, which features GPRS
network access as well as PDA functions.
mobile professional really wants is to carry a single device to replace the
separate devices for paging, personal organizer, Internet access, and voice
communications needs. In the ideal world, road warriors wouldn�t need to lug
a laptop, pager, PDA, and cell phone along. Happily there are solutions
currently available and even more coming. Cell phone makers are morphing their
phones into PDAs. PDA makers are morphing their devices into phones. And, as
we�ve seen with the Motorola devices, pager makers are morphing their
devices into phones and PDAs.
of the first converged cell
phones available in the US was Kyocera's year-old Smartphone. The device
combines a CDMA digital wireless phone, Web access and a Palm handheld
computer in a small 7.34-ounce package. Despite its small size, the device
looks hefty next to the newer color Samsung I300.
In Europe, the
Nokia Communicator has been available for some time. The latest version of the
device, the 9210i, is based on the Symbian operating system and features a
color screen with 4096 colors, email, productivity applications (word
processor, spreadsheet, presentation viewer), Web browsing and WAP application
access, a Flash player, and video and audio streaming (using the Real One
player) on certain cell phone networks.
Perhaps the best
option for those looking for a converged device with some staying power is Handspring�s
Trēo� Communicator, an
elegant melding of Palm PDA functionality with wireless phone and data
services. The Trēo
is a combined Palm-compatible PDA and a GSM cell phone with GPRS data access
(with service from either VoiceStream or Cingular). It�s
got everything except a cell phone partner with true national coverage: 16MB
of memory, SMS message service, a thumb keyboard like the BlackBerry, wireless
email that can access corporate email servers behind firewalls,
and the award-winning wireless web browser, Blazer�.
VoiceStream offers PDA wireless
access to their GPRS iStream network, as long as you have a PocketPC-based PDA
that can accept a PC Card modem like the Sierra Wireless AirCard�
555. VoiceStream's network coverage is improving, but still lags the others.
Verizon offers the same deal: get
an AirCard modem and your PDA can use their 1XRTT Express Network.
Both VoiceStream and AT&T
Wireless have inked deals to bring GSM voice and GPRS data services to
Research in Motion�s BlackBerry pager. The BlackBerry 5810 Wireless Handheld�
is already available for use on Rogers AT&T Wireless in Canada. RIM has
joined with Motorola and Nextel to develop a device that will run on
Nextel�s network, although is will use Motorola�s iDen networking
technology to connect at only 9600bps.
Palm is said to be working on a
next-generation PDA with GSM voice capability and GPRS data capability that
should be ready in the fall.
which is based on the full-blown Windows CE operating system, unlike Microsoft�s
impending SmartPhones, features data access via the slow CDMA standard. The
device has built-in Bluetooth short-range networking capabilities. It also has
a 4-inch, 640x480 resolution, 256-color TFT LCD screen, thus bringing portable
devices into the range of desktop PCs circa 1990. Even more interesting, PC-Ephone
family of 802.11a products and plans to make them available in their
phones this year. (802.11a is five times faster than the 802.11b Wi-Fi
devices based on Microsoft�s
Pocket PC operating system probably offer one of the best protections against
obsolescence, since most feature a PC Card slot. As standards change,
businesses can swap out obsolete PC Card modems for newer ones while
maintaining their investments in the device itself.
is planning on getting into the phone side of convergence through their
SmartPhone effort. This undertaking will produce phones that feature Pocket
Outlook, Pocket Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player.
Microsoft and VoiceStream recently announced
With the average cell phone user
getting a new phone every two years or so, businesses have become accustomed
to replacing their workers� cell phones. With the PDA-integrated phones
costing north of $300, however, the decision to upgrade becomes a little
If you don't want to wait for the
various network upgrades that are impending, be aware that current converged
devices like the Kyocera or Samsung phones are not likely to be able to
transition to GPRS or EDGE networks.
It may make more sense to get a
device that supports GPRS access. Unfortunately, the devices offered by US
GPRS operators use the phone form factor, and thus share all the disadvantages
of trying to use a cell phone for Web access. One option is buying a connector
kit that allows you to use a GPRS or 1XRTT cell phone for wireless data
your business is planning on investing in converged devices, be sure to ask
your carrier what your options are for upgrading the data access feature as
the network changes.
immediate access to GPRS networks, consider either the Handspring Trēo or
a PocketPC PDA and modem combination.
Because of their
usability problems, avoid converged devices based on the cell phone form
factor. Such devices are also more likely to become obsolete before the end of
their useful lives.
Advantage of the Opportunity
With all the
hype, it�s hard to determine exactly where and when the business
opportunities represented by wireless devices will materialize. Equally hard is figuring out how these changes in commerce
and information access will affect businesses� processes and prospects. If
your organization wants to take the wireless plunge and develop your own
wireless applications, first you need to identify the business problem to
solve. Next match the wireless application to the problem. Finally, determine
the kinds of wireless devices you want to support and the functions you want
In the future,
the scope of wireless applications is likely to include pretty much any kind
of computing. Today, however, applications are limited by the restrictions
imposed by the devices and networks currently available.
phones present a challenging applications development environment. Developers
of applications for phones must work within the following limitations:
Less powerful CPUs �
you can�t count on lots of
speed and graphics-processing capabilities
Limited memory (RAM and ROM) �
typically a few
megabytes or less Restricted power consumption � any
computation-intensive applications can quickly draw down the battery
Small displays �
most phones display less than a
dozen lines of 20 to 30 characters; PDAs and converged devices may offer
screens up to 640x480 pixels
Difficult input devices �
it�s difficult to type
using only 12 keys, and thumb keyboards have given rise to new repetitive
Limited bandwidth �
speeds are typically 9600bps to
19.2Kbps and it will be awhile before they match even wired modem speeds
often gateways and other translators stand between the Internet and
most devices have no physical security and transmit text in the
clear; additionally, the servers receiving information may be vulnerable
Despite these limitations, there are many fertile areas for development. Below
is a list of some potential application areas you can start exploiting today.
Force Automation �
Sales people spend between 20 percent and 80
percent of their day away from a PC terminal or wired computing device.
The wireless phone can provide instant, direct access to the latest
pricing and competitive information, sales lead and contact information,
the latest news from the office, and data-sheets or brochures.
Delivery and service personnel can keep abreast of schedule
changes, update order records, and order replacement parts
Delivery of Content �
Get current information about weather, traffic
alerts, news and stocks
With wireless banking already popular in Europe, US banks will
bring ATM features such as balance and funds transfer as well as bill
payment to the display of a wireless handset
M-commerce, electronic commerce over wireless may turn
into one of the most lucrative uses of the new technology. Financial
companies like Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank AG, MasterCard and
Visa are betting that it will be.
Email was the original killer app that drove connectivity on the
early Internet. It remains the most ubiquitous application on wireless
The Holy Grail of mobile computing is the convergence of
telephone, browser, and organizer. Remote synchronization of phone lists,
calendar, to do lists, and appointments while away from the office will
become a popular application.
IM is one of the killer apps of the Internet, at least
for teenagers around the world. The hassle of pecking out messages using
the telephone keypad would seem to severely hamper the adoption of this
technology, however. Predictive text services like those available on some
help make message composition less of a chore. VoiceStream now offers
phones with AOL�s Instant Messenger built in and Openwave recently
announced new software that will allow cell phone users to send IMs to MSN
Instant Messenger subscribers.
Another natural application for untethered devices is real-time
auction notifications. Being informed when overbid or when a desired item
comes up for auction is a real value-added application that benefits from
being set free of the PC. Equally valuable is the ability to interact with
the auction and increase your bid.
Where computers have gone, games have quickly followed. It will be
the same for wireless devices, many of which already feature built-in
games. Networked wireless games will be limited for a time by the low
bandwidth available, but by the end of the decade, expect to be able to
play networked Quake on your phone.
Which of these
applications are your employees likely to want first? ResearchPortal did a
survey of people who were planning on buying a cell phone. They asked what
features these prospective customers considered to be most valuable.
The sample included both consumers and mobile professionals and the
answers are revealing.
instant messaging (which we imagine includes paging functions) was the most
desired feature by mobile professionals.
Equally surprising was the fact that consumers rated both messaging and
email more highly than did the professionals.
Understandably, professionals ranked the ability to manage Personal
Information Manager (PIM) data higher than did consumers.
A Delphi Group
study found that wireless email was likely the first application to be
employed in business. Interestingly,
the next in line were Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which we assume
includes PIM data access, and content management, and that implies the ability
to edit documents on wireless devices.
are a variety of access protocols and methodologies in use in wireless
Selecting the devices you want to
support necessarily affects the standard you will end up dealing with. Also, the functions you want to deliver can determine which
devices you support.
As you embark on
developing your first wireless application, the myriad of options for
functionality and devices makes it very important to choose a manageable
feature set and a manageable device set.
The table that follows lists wireless functions and which devices are
most suitable for their delivery.
POP3 or MS Exchange
PalmOS PDAs with OmniSky, Novatel, Palm VII with third party software,
most mobile phones
phones (particularly GSM-based), BlackBerry, Palm i705, PocketPC-based
PDAs (PDAs don�t typically have �always on� wireless access, but
some phones (PDAs typically require wired synching via cradles)
Any Web Page
PDAs with OmniSky, Novatel, Palm VII with third party software, Palm
i705, PocketPC PDAs
(web clipping), mobile phones
like Netbility�s WLServer, Information Builders� WebFocus and
others, custom portal development
PocketPC PDAs with third party software, some mobile phones, custom
A key point to
remember when selecting the devices to support revolves around the immediacy
of access. In the past, PDA-based
access was not instant because the devices are not �always on.� This means
the user must take steps to access wireless information. In the case of the
Palm VII, the user must raise the antenna and take one or more steps to select
and activate an application to receive the information. The new generation of
devices like the BlackBerry (and similar pagers), the new Palm i705, and
mobile phones, by contrast, can receive messages with little or no delay.
Another point to
keep in mind is that with custom development, virtually any kind of
informational or interactive application can be ported to almost any wireless
device. The real key here is support. The number of different devices you need
to support could determine how difficult your support efforts become.
This becomes especially apparent if you need to make copies of or
modification to your existing Web content to support a device.
The key to
staying on top of wireless developments will, unfortunately, be flexibility.
New services and standards are evolving almost daily, and the state of the art
moves very rapidly. That�s why subscribing to an information service such as
CTOMentor is a must to avoid being overtaken by events.
One thing is for
certain: Devices will be a significant part of the future of computing. It is
very likely that by the end of this decade, you will not longer sit down at a
personal computer to do computing. Computing will have disappeared into the
environment and you�ll have access anywhere.
predict a gold rush mentality in the wireless marketplace over the next
several years. If this is so, it is best to remember who really made money in
the original gold rush: the merchants who sold picks and shovels to the
miners. It could be that the real wireless winners will be tool and
The key traits
of the wireless winners will be speed to market, flexibility and innovation.
So it�s never too early to dive into the wireless market and see how it can
transform your business.
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