The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Log on, or lap it up, flipping work melts tech boundaries

New Delhi, Dec. 7: Convergence is the name of the game — and gizmo networking is the way to go.

As customers round the world start snapping up a fistful of devices to stay connected with their offices and homes, equipment vendors realise that if they have to stay in business they’ve got to ensure that the products they sell can connect with each other, bridging the chasm created by differing technologies and standards.

Picture this: you are working on a PowerPoint presentation on a computer in the office and have to suddenly leave on another assignment. You can’t possibly lug your desktop along. You should be able to transfer all the work on to your Palmtop or your laptop so that you can continue work while you travel. And if you need to tweak it just that bit while you are out with friends on a lazy Sunday, may be you can use your mobile phone to give the presentation that added splash of colour.

Or, if you are an ardent cricket fan and do not want to miss a ball, then the equipment and service should be able to offer you the smooth sailing from TV to palmtop or laptop and then to mobile, irrespective of the technology used by the service providers for each product.

It isn’t an utopian dream: the backroom boffins are working to resolve precisely these problems and it won’t be long before you can flip work on to a gaggle of new devices as easily as you flip channels on your television.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the leading consultants, in its technology forecast 2003-2005 has predicted that the trend will first happen in the business segment and will be replicated in the day-to-day use soon.

This year’s technology forecast has identified technology trends that will help companies achieve greater transparency and accountability. It has predicted that new standards like eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and improvements in business intelligence and integration technologies can help corporations by giving them a real-time view of operations and allow executives to make decisions quickly and effectively.

Terry Retter, director of strategy and technical programs at PricewaterhouseCoopers global technology centre said, “Corporate transparency continues to be at the forefront of discussion in the business world and provides an important incentive for businesses to make use of these capabilities.”

XBRL is an electronic format to simplify the flow of financial statements, performance reports, accounting records and other financial information between software programmes. Currently, there are no standards that would allow financial information to be automatically communicated between different applications.

Retter also said the future would witness collaboration between technologies like 3G and wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi).

“Telecom firms may not be the only suppliers or service providers as there would be third party service providers. Like in Vonage, a small service provider in the US who offers a box to be installed at homes for $45 per month that will give a combined connectivity to telephone, TV or any other communications device, replacing the $200 per month service.”

“The telecom revenues will drop till the consumers are willing to pay for high-end services. This will not be the trend in few countries but a worldwide phenomena,” said Retter.

Retter said passenger aircraft in future are likely to have two switches — one for ethernet connectivity for internet or intranet and one for power connectivity along the passenger seat. The shopping plazas will have microsensor technologies that will be able to track each product picked up and placed on the counter till checked out.

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