|Europe I 2007
|Convergence, convenience and mobility
|Vice President Intel Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager
Christian Morales is Intel’s Vice President of the Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Mr Morales has held various senior international management roles in sales, channel operations and general management. He brings extensive experience in marketing and building brand awareness for new product segments, as well as expanding and driving business into new and emerging markets. Prior to his current role, Mr Morales was Intel’s Vice President of the Sales and Marketing Group and co-General Manager of Asia-Pacific. He joined Intel as a field sales engineer and rose to director for Spain and Portugal, and then to senior positions managing Western European channels and OEMs. Christian Morales graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from the Electricity, Mechanics and Electronics Engineering School in Paris. In 1990, he completed the Young Managers Programme in the MBA programme at Insead.
Convergence and connectivity have changed the way we access information. Information now comes to people; they do not have to find a fixed telephone to communicate or a desk-top computer to access information. New types of wireless access, especially WiFi and WiMAX, based upon open standards, are making affordable, personal, wireless broadband connectivity a reality. This will accelerate the Internet shift towards two-way, interactive data sharing that has been driven by consumers, but is now having a powerful impact upon businesses.
Work – it used to be a ‘place’ where people went and a personal computer was a desk fixture alongside the telephone. What a difference wireless has made! Today, there’s been a seismic shift in perception and lifestyle. Work is something most people ‘do’ rather than a ‘place’ to which they go. Increasingly, people work from home or spend more time travelling to meet their customers and business partners. With their laptop and mobile phone, their ‘office’ travels with them. In fact, this is true of the 80 per cent of our staff who have already swapped their desktop PC for a laptop. Such flexibility is possible because of the widespread availability and continuously improving performance of mobile computing and communications devices. Convergence means they are often one and the same thing. For years we have been committed to driving forward the convergence of computing and communications. Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. Silicon integration leads to a dramatic drop in manufacturing costs. So what does this mean for telecommunications? Innovations in shrinking transistor size dramatically improve performance and power efficiency and mean that advanced technology can be delivered for computing and communications. Performance meets portability But what is the impact for mobility? Performance meets portability. We are working with the industry really to push forward the performance of mobile devices. And, even more exciting, we are simultaneously working to increase power efficiency and battery life, reduce the size and weight of devices and provide greater options for wireless connectivity. Big goals but just think: 25 years ago, one of the first portable PCs weighed 12kgs and had a 4.7MHz processor while a laptop today, weighing just 1.5kg, has a processor of up to 2.13GHz. Pretty impressive but it doesn’t stop there. Innovations in silicon and high-volume production are enabling next generation computing and the cost-effective convergence of computing, communications and consumer electronics. The result? Whole new types of devices, combined with Internet access, are blurring the distinction between computing and communicating. A new category called the Ultra Mobile PC, UMPC, is emerging. The idea is to develop small, ultra-mobile devices with full PC capabilities, Internet access for anytime connectivity, with the ability to recognise and adapt to their environments virtually anytime and anywhere. Why? Because today’s consumers are technology savvy and they want technology to make their lives easier, more fun and more efficient. Above all, the desire to communicate is paramount and using the Internet is as natural as using the phone. Open standards for a mobile society The impact is clear. People want a truly mobile society and, in order to make it a reality, a reliable communications infrastructure is needed to provide sufficient breadth of coverage for wide-spread, high-speed Internet access. This infrastructure also needs to be flexible enough to cater for all the different scenarios in which people will want to communicate, now and in the future: from their homes, offices, while visiting clients or customers and while on the move – literally. A testament to this desire is that WiFi1 technology has grown rapidly in popularity. Pyramid Research2 estimates that the number of WiFi users in Western Europe in 2005 was 24.9 million people and that this figure will rise to 63.75 million by 2009. Open standards are a substantial driving force behind this growth. This has allowed telecoms and networking equipment vendors to roll out products, which are interoperable with equipment from other vendors so they work seamlessly together. Adherence to standards also gives companies the opportunity to build products in high volumes, thereby reducing the cost of wireless technology to the consumer. Just think, in 2000 WiFi access that delivered 1Mbit/s of data cost in the region of US$750; today, it costs around US$25. Amazing to think that 30 times less cost can typically deliver 30 times the performance! Speculation that demand for ‘the Internet, everywhere’ is hype or corporate mantra is not substantiated, as WiFi’s success amply demonstrates: people really do want Internet access at anytime, anywhere and from any device. It’s probably not such a surprise then that, given this demand for mobile computing, WiFi is now seen to have limitations, chiefly in terms of range. What if people want to make the best use of their time while commuting or travelling? A computer user has to be within 50-100m of an access point to get online with WiFi. And that access point must itself be connected to the Internet backbone using some form of high-bandwidth technology. The wireless vision Perceived shortcomings of WiFi are being addressed and new implementations of wireless technology are coming on-stream in response to consumer demand. Existing mobile telephony operators are offering 3G services, which expand the bandwidth available over their existing voice-telephony networks to offer higher bandwidth data services. Typically, these are being used by mobile phone users to access video and audio content. Another long-range broadband wireless technology, WiMAX, will offer access at much greater distances than is possible with WiFi. Like WiFi, WiMAX is based on open standards developed by the IEEE and products are certified by the WiMAX Forum, a group of more than 400 companies spanning the gamut of products in the wider telecommunications eco-system. These include telecoms/networking equipment vendors, service providers and computer and semiconductor companies. The first products certified by the WiMAX Forum1 came out in January 2006 – crucially this means that products from different vendors can interoperate. In fact, the demand for high-bandwidth networking is already driving acceptance of fixed WiMAX products. The imminent arrival of products that meet the recently ratified standard for mobile WiMAX connectivity will provide even more exciting opportunities for broadband wireless communications – imagine enjoying high-speed wireless Internet access while on a coach or train while it moves from within the coverage of one WiMAX access point to another! Nomadic and mobile operations offered by WiMAX mean that the connection becomes associated with the person not a location – enabling true personal broadband. This vision is not restricted to the developed world. In countries without an existing wired broadband infrastructure, the range and bandwidth of WiMAX allows it to be used to provide coverage to people hitherto not served by broadband infrastructure. In developing countries and emerging economies it can be deployed quickly and economically in almost any type of geography without requiring extensive installations or pre-existing infrastructures. The possibilities are immense! Co-existence, convergence and convenience The take up of WiFi technology has shown that the convenience of wireless access is irresistible to consumers. The added benefits of WiMAX will be even more so, provided that the industry can make the acquisition and use of such technology as cost-effective and transparent to the user as possible. In addition to 3G services, Local and Personal Area Network, LAN, and, PAN, technology standards such as Bluetooth1 and Ultra-wideband can be used in shorter range hotspot networks, and eventually people should be able to move seamlessly between the shorter range data networks as well as cellular networks and WiMAX citywide networks. That is true convergence: the ability to use the service most appropriate and convenient to the user at any given time. Such convergence will only come about through the co-existence of the various technologies. Mobile computer manufacturers and silicon providers will have to build the enabling hardware for all wireless standards into mobile computing and telephony products. Service providers will have to facilitate users who want to make use of their networks as and when they need them. Co-existence between standards will lead to convergence of services, resulting in greater convenience for the consumer. Connectivity for communication Consumers are already finding that convenient connectivity is fuelling their creativity; access to high-bandwidth products and services is driving fantastic new usage models for computing and communicating. They are also accelerating the emergence of the next exciting phase of the Internet revolution, sometimes called Web 2.0, which sees a shift away from one-way communication – users accessing static Web sites – to two-way communication in which individuals are transmitting and sharing data on a really interactive basis. Grandparents can see videos of grandchildren living on different continents; aspiring artists will have new channels to publish their work; home bound people can become entrepreneurs. This shift has been driven by consumers and is now having a powerful impact on businesses. New and innovative ways of doing business are being enabled by easy-to-use high-bandwidth wireless services. The growth of globalisation has led to a need for greater collaboration across boundaries and now companies are using two-way multimedia-enhanced communications to deliver smart new interactive services to customers, partners and employees wherever they are based. The future of wireless broadband is bright, and the WiMAX standard promises a flexibility that is central to this vision. The impact for consumers? Fast, cheap Internet, anywhere, anytime. That’s why we are working with the industry to establish standards and enable devices that will hasten the arrival of, and access to, the interactive services that will make the vision a reality. A faster, more ubiquitous and cost-effective network will deliver the Internet, everywhere – unwiring nations around the world. Add to the mix lightweight, energy-efficient mobile devices that deliver increased performance and multimedia capabilities and consumers will get the connectivity they desire for convenient communication.