The Year of More It Came in Really Small Packages

By Kukec, Anna Marie | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 26, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Year of More It Came in Really Small Packages


Kukec, Anna Marie, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Anna Marie Kukec Daily Herald Business Writer

This was the year of "more."

More electronic devices were smaller, packed with more features, which led to more traffic on the Internet and more dollars in industry pockets.

This year also set the stage for seamless mobility, where those products could work together, often wirelessly. And in the background, more cable and telephone companies continued to upgrade their networks with fiber optic technology to help combine services for the future.

What do some of the top local technology executives think about this year's innovations? Here's what they had to say:

More handhelds

Krish Prabhu, CEO and president of Tellabs Inc., Naperville: If you just think of everything that your handheld device can do, it's incredible what you can do with your cell phone, your BlackBerry, the iPod and portable gaming consoles. All of these products use low-cost storage and operate with low power. If you just listen to the iPods, they have incredible sound quality. Other devices have good quality pictures. Overall, this year has shown an incredible jump in handhelds.

At Tellabs, we saw our customers, the phone companies, transforming their networks from copper to fiber optics. That bodes well for the Internet, with fiber reaching more and more homes and businesses. You can connect to the Internet almost instantaneously now. Once the Internet becomes instantaneous, usage goes up and that makes the Internet more powerful.

More security

John Edwardson, CEO of CDW Corp., Vernon Hills: First, Voice over Internet Protocol (Internet-based phone systems) has been big. We at CDW have been using VoIP internally for about five years now. For bigger companies, VoIP has been used for a number of years. Now, we saw more use externally. The biggest market for pure affordability has been for the small businesses, and it's gaining momentum, and it will be getting bigger for a number of years to come. It's just the beginning for using VoIP.

Second, Unified Threat Management, or UTM, is being used for security risks. You're probably aware of this with your business or your home computers. But everyone in the world wants to get inside your computer. A number of attempts by everyone in the world have been trying to get into CDW's computer system. It's unbelievable. The advent of UTM has made it easier for IT managers to deal with growing numbers of security risks.

UTM combines common applications such as anti-virus, anti-spam, content filtering, intrusion prevention and others into one platform, often on a hardware appliance. Companies used to have to deal with all of these issues separately. By integrating all of these, managing security risks becomes much more coordinated and effective.

Joe Hartnett, president and CEO of U.S. Robotics, Schaumburg: VoIP was the major technology of 2005. We began to really see this take off.

We also saw the emergence of Skype (Technologies SA), which is VoIP peer-to-peer service and includes instant messaging. You can get on a broadband connection and make a call live from Taiwan to the United States and it won't cost anything.

More cell phones

Jonathan Ruff, senior director of technology applications for Motorola Inc., Schaumburg: This year saw two major advancements: First, the whole issue to move the content in your home and playing it anywhere, anytime, truly becoming mobile content.

Second, this was the year of design. You saw more cool and iconic handsets and more colors.

At Motorola, we also had music on cell phones, allowing you to play music irrespective to where you are ... It showed true convergence.

Patricia Russo, CEO of Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J., Naperville and Lisle: The major carriers provided customers with faster and better bandwidth connectivity thanks to advances in such technologies as DSL and 3G high-speed wireless data access. …

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