March 23, 2006



Posted: 05.01.05

CTIA Take-Aways

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By Eric Zeman and Michelle Maisto

The CTIA Wireless 2005 show, held in the sprawling Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from March 14 through 16 in New Orleans, proved an informative week for the industry. With nearly 1,000 exhibitors and over 35,000 attendees, CTIA Wireless boasts to be representative of the broad-based vertical that is “all things wireless,” ranging from network infrastructure to components to wireless services to end-user hardware, applications and accessories.

Product and partnership announcements abounded and the show floor thrummed with activity. Among the many meetings we took, we saw interesting new offerings from:

JP Mobile, which is now offering a wireless e-mail subscription service for mobile professionals called SureWave Mobile Connect. Aimed at making things easier for enterprise IT staff, it requires no server and no support. Everything is managed by the subscriber, who simply downloads the program from JP Mobile’s Web site.

TruePosition continues to roll out its wireless location technologies and solutions and has hit a milestone with its high-accuracy wireless location infrastructure in the United States, covering over 150 million people. TruePosition delivers over a half million E911 locations each month.

Junxion has been a house favorite since we first laid eyes on its little green box, which, when coupled with a wireless PC Card (any PC Card), enables multiple users with either Wi-Fi or Ethernet capable devices to simultaneously enjoy one high-speed connection. Users can also share files and network printing, which makes it ideal for everything from small offices to mobile work groups to executive limousines. Our favorite use of the Junxion Box, however—coming on the heels of our April issue, in which we discussed how enterprises are dealing with the security risks inherent to accommodating visiting contractors and other temporary workers—is for enterprises to sign them out to visitors; it allows the visitor high-speed access, and the corporate network remains untouched.

Junxion received a few good plugs at the Ericsson both, where Novatel Wireless VP of business development Brad Weinert was on hand to discuss Novatel’s partnership with Junxion and the impact it anticipates Junxion will have on PC Card sales. The Ericsson folks were also using the Junxion Box to stream VoIP, offer a hotspot and route EV-DO connectivity to an Xbox Live it had set up (for playing online with off-site players) on a flat-screen TV that filled us with want.

Sierra Wireless had several announcements, including partnerships with Citrix’s GoToMeeting (demonstrated with the AirCard 775 over EDGE networks), the AirCard 580’s new availability for Sprint’s EV-DO customers and the company’s continued development of HSDPA network cards, which should be available in the second half of 2005.

Sprint’s Business Solutions group announced an industry first: Wireless Data Service Level Agreements for business customers. The SLAs will back the performance of Sprint PCS’s wireless network with credits to businesses with corporate-sponsored wireless subscribers.

Action Engine will offer its Action Engine Mobile Application Platform software to the enterprise market through a collaboration with Microsoft. The solution will allow enterprises to offer an interconnected set of applications, running on Windows Mobile–based devices, to deliver customized content and information to on-the-go employees.

In the ESPRE booth, CEO Pete Ianace was streaming Star Wars from a laptop to another enormous flatscreen; the quality was so flawless, however, that passersby likely assumed it was simply a DVD. Surprisingly seamless, quick-loading video is the name of the game at ESPRE, which owns a unique compression algorithm that enables it to offer real-time encoding of video compression. This is the first wireless PDA audio-video collaboration solution we’ve heard of, offering such digital dynamos as TV-quality video e-mail, eight-way video conferencing without an MCU and, among other offerings, real-time two-way voice and video. The latter is an important development for first-responders. Ianace described how an officer might wear a helmet with an attached camera, enabling experts or superiors elsewhere to not only see what’s going on and communicate with the officer but to control the camera’s movement if they choose. Imagine a bomb specialist, 50 miles from the scene, able to walk an officer through the dismantling of a bomb; or a surgeon, wearing the headpiece, able to receive consultation or allow others to watch; or even race fans, able to hear a driver communicate with his pit crew while receiving a dashboard view. The possibilities are extensive, and ESPRE is poised to embrace them.

IPWireless announced its Mobile Broadband Gateway (MBG), a pocket-sized, battery-powered device that uses UMTS TDD (the 3G standard for high-speed data) as backhaul to give users a fully mobile personal hotspot. The MBG is integrated with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so users can connect to the Internet wherever they are.

Intellisync revised its Mobile Suite software to give companies a single source for extending any enterprise information—databases, CRM, SFA, ERP, custom data and Web-based content—to any mobile device. And that data can be delivered in real time, continuously, pushed/triggered by events or scheduled for off-peak times.

And lastly, vying for position as our favorite new discovery, is Digit Wireless’ Fastap phone. “The reason we exist is to replace the full button key pad with something that works better,” said Thomas Boyle, Digit’s executive director of marketing. The Fastap’s design gives each number and letter its own button in a unique arrangement; this ergonomic design eliminates crowding on the keypad, and a timing algorithm knows to register the correct button if more than one is accidentally pressed. The design is so easy-to-use, reports Digit Wireless, that Telus Mobility clients who use Fastap LG 6190 phones send twice as many text messages as clients on other PCS phones.

The design is the work of Digit CEO David Levy, who, in a former life at Apple, innovated laptop design by pushing back the keyboard to make way for a palmrest and later introducing the touchpad.
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