Mobile
Commentary
2/1/2008
05:39 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina
Commentary
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Wireless Technologies Of The Future: RFID And Navigation?

Yesterday I got the chance to attend an event in New York City, hosted by ABI Research. The firm put together a few panels on important trends in mobile and wireless, and I found RFID and navigation to be particularly interesting.

Yesterday I got the chance to attend an event in New York City, hosted by ABI Research. The firm put together a few panels on important trends in mobile and wireless, and I found RFID and navigation to be particularly interesting.RFID

Closed-loop applications currently drive RFID, which includes asset management and assembly-line operations. The real opportunity is for open-loop applications like item-level tagging, according to Mike Liard, an analyst at ABI who follows RFID and contactless technology.

ABI believes there will be several killer applications for the technology, including item-level tagging in the retail and pharmaceutical industries; RFID chips in ID documents; RFID used to eliminate labor-intensive processes like retail promotions; and contactless payments and ticketing.

But going forward, issues of security and privacy will need to be addressed, Liard said. For example, retailers that place RFID tags on individual pieces of clothing will have to remove the tags before a consumer leaves the store. The same goes for issuing RFID-based passports and ID cards. There are even discussions in Wisconsin and California to implant RFID in citizens. So how closely will people be tracked?

Telematics And Navigation

There has been a high level of innovation, especially when it comes to personal navigation devices, or PNDs, as they're called. This year, PNDs will continue to be very successful and will increasingly come with connectivity options for Internet access, said ABI's telematics and navigation analyst, Dominique Bonte.

Other popular navigation gadgets are handsets, outdoor GPS, factory-installed systems, and new form factors like the Nokia N800 Internet tablet with built-in GPS.

Last year, handset-based navigation became very popular, especially in the United States. Europe is still the leader in handset navigation, but by 2012, Asia is expected to catch up. ABI doesn't see handsets being used for all purposes and believes that they'll coexist with other devices, such as PNDs.

Carriers will start launching services on top of navigation, including local search, social networking, games, ads and coupons, emergency response, and people and vehicle tracking (for businesses).

Any other interesting mobile and wireless technologies come to mind? Let us know.

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