Dec 28, 2000|
3G: A logical evolution
Seventies saw the birth of cellular phones of the first generation (1G). These were the analog mobile phones known as AMPS (Advanced Analog Phones System). 1G phones lasted thorough most of the 80s.
The 1990s saw cellulars go digital. It was due to 2G technologies, which resulted in improved bandwidth and introduction of multimedia. Much of this technology is still in use. The present stage of mobile wireless communications can be termed as 2.5 G. So what does 3G have in store?
|Usability on all popular modes like cellular telephone,
e-mail, paging, fax, videoconferencing, and web browsing
|Broad bandwidth and high speed
A 3G phone will be multifunctional and will work as a telephone, computer, television, newspaper, library, diary and may be even a credit card in contrast to the first and early second generation phones, which provide only voice services. Of course, the demand is consumer driven from those who wanted access to the Internet irrespective of their location.
One of the gainers will be the Indian software Industry that will provide the software solutions for 3G. Already, Hughes has entered into the area. SAS is another company (Silicon automation systems) that is interested.
According to NASSCOM, in 1998 telecommunications software exports (excluding MNC captive outputs) were worth Rs 13 bn (US $275 m), or 10% of India's total software exports. By 2002, this figure is expected to touch Rs 140 bn (US $ 3 bn), 25% of the total.
Recognising the potential the Indian software industry is taking a lot of interest in this area. The latest to join the communications software arena is Infosys. The predominant players in the past have been Motorola India Electronics, Mahindra-British Telecom, Hughes Software Systems, Cisco, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
Telecommunication software is going to keep the cash registers of Indian companies ringing for some time to come.
What will separate the men from the boys in the telecommunications software industry will be the ability to develop technologies that are usable at the ground level and not some scientific fantasy. There is also another concern, that of usability. Researchers, engineers, and marketers are faced with the challenge of accurately predicting how much technology consumers will actually be willing to pay for and more importantly what is the user experience with the technology. We have seen how things have gone with WAP (Wireless application protocol). It initially had a lot of promise but high costs and unsatisfactory user experience did create a set of disgruntled customers.
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