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Friday, August 26, 2005

WiMax : Stage Set For Disruption

We are regularly tracking the developments around Wimax here, here, here. Wired writes, going by what was spoken about in the recently concluded Intel developer’s conference – within the next10 years - we will sit in our living rooms watching films as they premiere at local theaters, carry on video conferences across the globe and chat using VOIP services. Intel envisions that wireless internet networks will eventually be ubiquitous and ultra-fast, enabled by WiMax that allows for citywide broadband networks. Instead of the services we use today for voice and video, we'll turn to wideband audio and new systems for transmitting movies online. Intel's disruptive bets go beyond wireless technology. With a stake in Skype, - intel is well positioned provide a boon to makers of home-theater systems and providers of next-generation voice-over-IP services. "Their dedication to the use of WiMax for the delivery of high-quality content is an interesting shift," said Andy Castonguay, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "Essentially what that's going to do is really drive a number of competitive delivery models in a way that could potentially shake up a number of industries here in the U.S. and potentially overseas."
WiMax, uses unlicensed spectrum and a network of antennas to deliver high-speed wireless service over a radius of several miles, & is among the leading up-and-coming disrupters. The technology is not in widespread use, but it may be soon. Now more than 100 trials are currently under way across the globe. Several cities in the US are looking at deploying wireless broadband within their borders. But while citywide wireless broadband sounds enticing to laptop owners, phone and cable companies that have invested heavily in providing high-speed internet over wired networks have reason to take a dim view. Sean Maloney, points out Intel’s plans to support mobility ubiquity rests on the fact that the number of voice lines worldwide skyrocketed with the proliferation of cellular phones, which made the phone truly personal. At the same time, the Internet has unleashed an insatiable demand for computing power. Now, if we can deliver ubiquitous broadband based on open standards and drive performance and power innovation on computing and phone platforms, mobile computing has the potential for continued dramatic growth.
Add in the competitive threat of other services, such as high-quality, or "wideband," VOIP and direct-to-PC movies, and a broad range of industries could be vulnerable. "(WiMax) could also be a direct threat to the movie theater industry, the DVD industry and any number of content-delivery platforms that exist out there," said Castonguay. On the downside, it's unlikely that wireless broadband networks built to today's standards would be fast enough to support Intel's rosy vision of the home of the future, says Joseph Byrne, senior analyst with the Linley Group. High-definition video, in particular, would be "exceedingly difficult" to deliver over today's WiMax networks Really powerful technology indeed - no doubt that this can disrupt all the three C's - in the convergence industry.

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