Vivato’s WiFi Switch

Vivato has launched its “Wi-Fi phased-array antenna/switch, an indoor office system that can serve up to 150 users at 11 Mbps at distances up to 300 meters for about $9,000.” Analyses Glenn Fleishmann:

The Vivato unit is a switch not an access point.

Let that sink in, and you’ll realize what it means: each user has the potential through steered and focused beams to receive a full Wi-Fi speed connection without interfering with other users.

for many kinds of installations, primarily large venue hot spot and enterprise-scale campus or building projects, Vivato radically changes the deployment and maintenance costs and complexity, while so dramatically increasing network throughput on a per-client basis that it practically cannot be compared to any other product currently on the market.

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Microsoft’s Connectix Deal

Connectix is a virtual machine software company, much like VMware. Microsoft acquired a part of their business which, according to Adds News.com, makes “software that lets a single computer perform like several independent computers running their own operating systems. It makes client software that permits Windows to run on a Macintosh, and server software that has yet to be released.” This is important because Microsoft will soon end support for Windows 95, 98 and NT4. Writes News.com:

The ability to consolidate Windows NT 4 servers is “a pretty powerful concept,” said Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC. “This scenario is that customers can run their NT 4 applications on modern hardware, and not be saddled with the support of older systems. Microsoft has for some time been talking about how Windows Server 2003 will be such a good platform for moving NT 4 customers. The fact that (Microsoft is) talking about that confirms that they are having a hard time moving these customers.”

Web Services Evolution

Writes Eric Newcomer (News.com):

Today we sit at a fork in the road of Web services evolution. There are two paths that the industry can take, with each path leading to a distinct and different future. One road leads to a truly standardized world where corporations fully reap the benefits of Web services by untangling the “spaghetti mess” of IT systems. The second road leads back to yesteryear, where proprietary systems ruled the day, maximizing vendor service and maintenance revenue, and killing end-user flexibility and return on investment.

The path we take to the future may well depend upon the outcome of the current standoff around intellectual property rights in two key areas: orchestration and reliable messaging.

Bill Gates Interview

PC Magazine has an interview with Gates. A few quotes:

The common thread for everything I do is this idea of a Web-services architecture. What does that mean? It means taking components of software and systems and having them be self-describing, so that you can aim them, ask them what their capabilities are, and communicate with them using a standard protocol.

I use a tablet all the time. All my notes are on the tablet. The tablet is an incredible thing. I didn’t used to wear a watch. Now I have a SPOT watch, which I wear all the time. The watch is just a little thing to wear. Because it has my calendar, it knows when I’m going home and it knows that at that time there are about four pieces of traffic data that I care a lot about receiving. I can also check the Sonics and Trailblazer basketball scores by just clicking to see them…The effect of “glanceability” is very important with these watches. With a handheld today, you have to initiate a connection and you have huge latency.

[The consumer software market isn’t doing that well.] If you benchmark it by evaluating the number of apps that you buy per PC or that you use per PC, it hasn’t grown for many years. It grew in absolute terms because PCs went up, but that per-PC number is an issue.

Brazil’s Hopes

The Economist has a survey on Brazil.

The gap between Brazilians’ dreams and their reality is enormous. Although by international definitions Brazil is a middle-income rather than a poor country, its glaringly unequal income distribution means that the poorest 50% account for 10% of national income – and so do the richest 1%. Brazil’s educational performance has, until very recently, been dismal. Despite recent improvements in environmental health standards, 19% of households still lack running water. Poor communities on the peripheries of Brazil’s cities suffer from a plague of violent crimes.

Much of the hope for a new and prosperous future lies on Brazil’s new president, Lula da Silva.

TECH TALK: The Rs 5,000 PC Ecosystem: Moreover

The markets for the Rs 5,000 PC (5KPC) are not limited to the ones we discussed schools, colleges, government, bank branches, SMEs, telecentres and homes. The 5KPC opens up new markets which hitherto would have been inconceivable given the costs hotel rooms (why lug a laptop), hospital rooms (why be deprived of connectivity when one is unwell), factory floors (so that even the blue-collar workers can now be connected), point-of-sale terminals (for lotteries or merchandise) are some examples. The 5KPC enables a computer wherever it can be imagined. Think of the 5KPC as a disruptive innovation it opens up new markets where it can delight users, and then over time, it can target even mainstream users.

In fact, the opportunity for the 5KPC is not just limited to the developing countries. There is an interesting discontinuity in the worlds existing markets. As organisations in countries like the US seek to upgrade three- or four-old PCs, the USD 100 PC can be a very interesting alternative to minimise support costs and get off the treadmill of enforced obsolescence. In fact, the upgrades may be forced upon tens of millions of users as Microsoft seeks to end support for its older Windows operating systems in June. As CIOs consider alternatives, theyd do well to look at the USD 100 PC and open-source software.

By themselves, the 5KPC and many of the ideas discussed in the past columns are not new. Whats new is the markets that need to be targeted, and the focus on value-added aggregation putting together whole solutions for different verticals. In a sense, the markets need an iMode-like solution with hardware (the 5KPC), software (open-source components) and network connectivity (via WiFi, cable, dial-up or LAN) integrated together. In fact, much like iMode, the additional services that can be layered on top will be the key.

For emerging markets, the 5KPC offers an opportunity to leapfrog in terms of computing and a connected citizenry. It is very difficult to imagine the impact of making technology available to whole nations in a very short period of time. In fact, in countries like India, the two revolutions of computing and communications could run in parallel making available suddenly voice and data services to the masses in their homes and offices. By making technology a utility, the 5KPC can herald the creation of a New World Order.

The 5KPC is an idea whose time has come. It is an idea which by itself will not bridge the digital divide, increase growth rates or eliminate poverty. But for the worlds poorest countries, the 5KPC can be an equaliser. It can open up new vistas and fire up peoples imaginations. After that, it is to the individuals and the enterprises to convert these openings into dramatically better futures. It is up to this generation of entrepreneurs to go and build out the 5KPC Ecosystem. The Next 90% is waiting.

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