February 16, 2004
By Galen Gruman, editorial director, IT Wireless
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NEW 2004 EDITION:THE ESSENTIAL WIRELESS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES GUIDE!
A subscriber exclusive! IT Wireless's 2004 Essential Products & Services Guide is now available to subscribers. The 28-page PDF document contains a listing of key vendors and service providers grouped by category, with summaries of their offerings and contact information. Categories include wireless network and client hardware, network and client software, and IT services. This edition also features an alphabetical company index.Download the 2004 directory now!


PRODUCT SCAN
The Latest in Wireless Products and Tech

Colubris Networks has released several wireless access devices, including the CN3200 and CN320 for public hot-spot networks and the CN1250 and CN1220 for enterprise networks. It has also released the Colubris Networks Management System, a central management console for configuring, monitoring and troubleshooting a network of intelligent wireless LAN access equipment for both markets. The new devices include software selectable a/b/g radios, U/L plenum-rated enclosure, subnet roaming, power-over-Ethernet support, and virtual access point technology, which lets network managers deliver up to 16 different Wi-Fi services through a single device. This makes roaming services easier for public hot-spot operators; it also lets enterprise network managers deliver services tailored to the unique requirements of specific user groups, such as different classes of employees, contractors, supply-chain partners, and corporate guests.

Extended Systems has updated its OneBridge Mobile Solutions Platform so mobile device users can have live, instant access to corporate databases. Its IP-based push technology, previously used just to enable instant access to email, can now push other data into the field, so mobile employees — such as field service workers and sales representatives — can receive information from corporate databases wirelessly, with no user initiation required.

Vernier Networks has updated its Network Systems wireless LAN management software to version 4. The new edition adds an administrative console to streamline wireless network management by presenting a centralized, system-level view of all Vernier products installed in the customer's LAN. Another new feature maps business policies to network security based on individual user identity, location, and time. The reporting engine provides flexible historical views of user-level network activity for trending, forensics, and troubleshooting, in addition to real-time monitoring of activity across the mobile network. Vernier says its distributed architecture supports more than 10,000 users per domain, while providing stateful failover of the control server.

SMC Networks is updating its line of 802.11g devices to ship with GlobespanVirata’s Prism Nitro XM Xtreme Multimedia technology, which lets clients bypass access points to communicate directly via a secure point-to-point link at speeds of up to 140Mbps, accelerating communication while eliminating problems with obstacles and distance from the access point. Existing SMC 802.11g devices can be upgraded with a free firmware patch, available at www.smc.com. Also, SMC has released the Wireless High Gain 11dBi Flat Panel Antenna, a low-profile, wide-dispersion directional antenna that adds range without adding bulk. Replacing the antenna on any 802.11b or 802.11b/g wireless router or access point with a detachable antenna, it extends point-to-point range to as much as nine miles under optimal conditions. Also, the new SMCANT-LP Lightning Protector provides surge protection to safeguard expensive electronic equipment. Its N-Female to N-Male bulkhead connectors let users integrate it into an existing wireless network without adding cable, and it can be used with or without amplification. Finally, SMC will release in March a new access point for the enterprise, the 802.11a/b/g-compatible EliteConnect SMC2552W-G, that offers Wi-Fi Protected Access, up to 152-bit WEP encryption, AES, 802.1x authentication access control with key rotation (MD5, EAP-TLS per user per session key, EAP-TTLS per user per session key, session key and broadcast key rotation, and PEAP), support for Funk Odyssey and Microsoft Radius Server, up to 256 MAC address authentication, open/share authentication, disabled SSID broadcast, and up to 16 virtual LANs.

Intermec Technologies has introduced the RFID-ready CV60, a rugged vehicle-mounted computer to integrate radiofrequency identification (RFID) with both Bluetooth technology and a wireless base station. Intermec says this communication integration allows easy upgrading to RFID, eliminates the need for an external base station to communicate with wireless scanners, simplifies installation, reduces lifetime cost of ownership, and provides a safer and less cluttered workspace for vehicle operators. The CV60 is the second generation of RFID forklift readers from Intermec. The CV60 and its predecessor, the 5055 vehicle-mounted terminal, are designed for data-collection applications in warehousing and distribution, manufacturing, transportation, and customer service.

For integration and consultant services, enterprises now have two new resources:

In other product news:

In technology news, new wireless technology with enough bandwidth to carry cable television signals from a wall-mounted outlet to a TV anywhere in the home could be on the market in 2005. The Multiband OFDM Alliance says it will publish standards for the technology in May and expects products with the technology, known as Ultra Wideband, to ship in 2005. Ultra Wideband operates at a lower power than the 802.11b wireless LAN standard but can handle much larger amounts of data, including streaming video.

Also, Nextel Communications will use a proprietary data network for its high-speed wide-area data services. It has already launched the first segment of that network in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area earlier this month. Nextel is using technology from Flarion Technologies, which has spent several years promoting OFDM technology as an alternative to cellular data and 802.11-like technologies. Nextel uses Motorola's iDen cellular technology for its networks; that technology supports data as well as voice but at slower speeds than newer technologies such as GPRS, CDMA2000, and OFDM. Nextel has carved a good niche for itself among blue-collar and white-collar workers, thanks in part to the push-to-talk walkie-talkie feature supported by iDen.

Got a great product or technology tip? Send it to news@it-wireless.com.

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MARKET SCAN
The Latest in the Wireless Marketplace

ABI: Meeting RFID Deployment Demand

As supply-chain-based radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags, readers, software, and electronic product code (EPC) guidelines rapidly adapt to meet large retailer mandates, tying together the increasingly complex solutions becomes a larger challenge. Larger hardware and software spends require heavy reader, software, and system integration service investment. To date, integration has been a secondary concern in RFID project planning. This is rapidly changing, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retailer RFID integrator staffing demands will skyrocket over the next five years, predicts research firm ABI. RFID integration revenue will surpass that of RFID product revenue by 2007, it estimates.

Full-scale RFID rollouts will likely be an extension of the early-stage compliance-level solutions put in place for the 2005 deadlines for separate efforts by Wal-Mart, Metro AG, and the U.S. Defense Dept. As these systems are extended further into event and workflow management, RFID solutions will need to adapt to legacy IT and logistics settings. Warehouse management software and supply-chain execution companies, including Catalyst International, Manhattan Associates, Provia, and RedPrairie, are all actively extending their logistics solutions to incorporate RFID. Moreover, according to a recent ABI report, enterprise software and systems giants IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Sun are also working on building RFID into existing suite offerings.

Incorporating RFID into existing IT and logistics infrastructure affects multiple business processes and areas. "Larger RFID solutions aim not just to track outbound Wal-Mart or Tesco inventory," says ABI senior analyst Erik Michielsen, "but also to create real-time visibility tracking, from customer through the warehouse domain and into the enterprise IT systems." Any changes to existing enterprise systems require architectural mapping, systems programming and testing, and company-wide change management implementations. Companies with deep experience in this space — including Accenture, BearingPoint, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, IBM, and Unisys — are increasing their focus on RFID "but have a long way to go to meet staffing needs that will support an RFID supply chain integration market that will surpass $1 billion by 2006," adds Michielsen.

Gartner: PDA Market Shifts

PDA vendors are beginning to feel the impact that smartphones and enhanced mobile phones are having on the industry, as worldwide PDA shipments totaled 11.5 million units in 2003, a 5.3% decline from 2002, according to preliminary results from Gartner.

"Through the end of 2004, smartphones will generally have a negative impact on the low end of the PDA market, as many individual users will find the personal information management (PIM) and email capabilities of smartphones acceptable," says Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "These users will tend to become less interested in low-end PDAs that have provided these capabilities. This will primarily impact the Palm OS because a relatively high percentage of Palm OS users rely on these devices solely for their PIM capabilities. Smartphones will become more important in the enterprise market in 2005, at which point we expect to see increasing erosion of the Microsoft side of the market."

Research in Motion (RIM) thrived in the fourth quarter of 2003, as shipments totaled, 259,000 units, nearly equaling the total it shipped in all of 2002. RIM posted the strongest growth rate among top-tier vendors in 2003, as shipments increased 121% from 2002. About 35% to 40% of recent RIM shipments were upgrades of older RIM devices. RIM's subscriber base is now about 1 million users worldwide.

Gartner analysts say that Hewlett-Packard was the most aggressive vendor in the second half of 2003, as it released seven new PDA models that hit price points ranging from $199 to $599. PalmOne did well with the Tungsten T3 for the midrange PDA market, but PalmOne, Sony, Dell, and Toshiba found the majority of demand for their products in the fourth quarter of 2003 was for sub-$250 models.

In the U.S. PDA market, PalmOne was still the No. 1 vendor based on shipments in 2003; however, it suffered a double-digit decline. In 2002, the company accounted for more than half of all PDA shipments, but in 2003, its market share slipped to 43.3%.

Preliminary U.S. PDA Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2003 (Units)


Company

2003 Shipments

2003 Market Share (%)

2002 Shipments

2002 Market Share (%)

Growth (%)

PalmOne

2,537,300

43.4

3,265,000

54.8

-22.3

Hewlett-Packard

887,500

15.2

677,828

11.4

30.9

Sony

866,500

14.8

859,000

14.4

0.9

Research in Motion

435,500

7.5

75,000

1.3

480.7

Dell

433,000

7.4

196,000

3.3

120.9

Toshiba

178,361

3.1

236,989

4.0

-24.7

Others

504,530

8.6

653,536

11.0

-22.8

Total

5,842,691

100.0

5,963,353

100.0

-2.0

Note: Totals include cellular PDAs such as RIM BlackBerry 7230, but not smartphones. PalmOne results include Handspring shipments. Source: Gartner, January 2004

On a regional basis, Asia/Pacific contributed to much of the worldwide decline in PDA sales. PDA shipments in Asia/Pacific declined 30% in 2003, and dropped 25% in Japan. PDA shipments in Western Europe increased 12%.

"The U.S. market continues to consume just over half of all PDA shipments, and the U.S. PDA market is the key segment for overall growth," Kort says. "However, a weakening U.S. dollar is forcing U.S. PDA prices up because most PDAs and their components are manufactured in Asian markets, particularly Taiwan. Therefore, we expect good results in Europe but mediocre sales in North America in 2004."


For advertising information, contact Manny Sawit at (510) 583-0855 or msawit@it-wireless.com


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