Archive for January, 2001

VODAFONE NZ – NEW SERVICES FOR 2000 – JANUARY 2001

Monday, January 1st, 2001

A busy year for the company, 2000 saw the introduction of key new services. In April, the My Vodafone portal was introduced and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) services became commercially available in May. Vodafone technicians also made the first GPRS call on a network in New Zealand, signalling the imminent arrival of continuous Internet content on mobiles.

Vodafone’s New Zealand customers became the first in the world to experience its totally mobile Internet portal, Vizzavi. It differed from My Portal in that it has the same look and feel around the world as well as an extended range of services for the New Zealand market.

In addition, Vodafone moved into mobile phone banking with an alliance with ASB Bank to trial the technology. The two-month trial used 150 ASB Bank customers who could check balances, statements, forex, lending and investment rates. The trial used visually displayed information.

In the same 12-month period, Vodafone scored again when it announced that electronics retailer Dick Smith Electronics would only stock Vodafone services and products at the expense of Telecom. The move signalled Vodafone’s move away from the business market and into more consumer/domestic sales.

There was little doubt Vodafone’s presence and its third share of the market gave the sector a shot in the arm. The company offered mobile users the full range of mobile services including callerID, faxMail, Text Messaging, e-mailPreview, and its Prepay product. A range of WAP and text-based information products were also available. Vodafone NZ claimed it boosted the market to such an extent that 50,000 New Zealanders would be new mobile users every month. Vodafone’s growth indicated that New Zealanders are less cautious about buying services from a cell phone only company than they used to be and the rest of the country is catching up with the early-adopters business sector.

For more information, see separate report: Vodafone New Zealand.

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WCC wins UNESCO New Zealand Digital Access Award – November 2003

Monday, January 1st, 2001

In August 2001, WCC was the inaugural recipient of the UNESCO New Zealand Digital Access Award, for its innovative endeavours in promoting empowerment, participation and access for all in the knowledge society.

WCC was one of the first local authorities to recognise the emerging knowledge economy and the importance of building a ‘digitally literate’ community. As early as 1986, WCC had launched its own internal computer network called City Net. The following year, the Council installed fibre optic cable between its buildings and later to other buildings in the city, creating one of the world’s first city-wide broadband networks. In 1992, well before the Internet emerged in New Zealand, the council provided dial-up access to one of its computers, facilitating public access to council information.

In September 1995, the Council approved an InfoCity Strategy, drawing on the 2020 Vision developed in 1994. One of the key elements of the vision was ‘a smart city with an innovative and responsive economy’. In 1996, the council established the 2020 Community Trust, a partnership between the Council, the Community and local Businesses, with the aim of ‘ensuring that every citizen is equipped with the essential values, information, skills and opportunities to fully participate in creating the Information Society’.

In 1997, WCC assisted in the establishment of a computer recycling operation in the city, and provided an establishment grant for (e)-vision, a digital media centre in downtown Wellington.

Other initiatives from the 2020 Trust include Marae Net, which aims to ‘wire-up’ and install recycled computers in Marae and other community centres, Living Heritage, a partnership with the National Library and Sun, to assist schools create and maintain an online ‘living’ heritage resource on the Web, and Smart Wellington Digital Breakfast Series, a monthly forum to promote awareness and understanding of the implications of the emerging digital economy.

Wellington’s business brand Smart Wellington was launched in 2000 to highlight Wellington’s business strengths in information communication technologies. In the same year, WCC became the first signatory to the Helsinki Declaration in Australasia, which aims to inspire cities to address digital divide and knowledge economy issues and reduce the gap between information-rich and information-poor within and between cities.

In July 2001, WCC teamed up with Jujitsu to open a free computer room in one of the city’s biggest council apartment blocks where about 450 residents at Newtown Park Flats would get free access to computers, the Internet, training and ongoing support.

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BREAKTHROUGH IN QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY -JANUARY 2001

Monday, January 1st, 2001

A photon ‘turnstile’ that releases one light particle at a time, marking a major advance in the field of quantum cryptography, was created by researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lasers, which emit tens of thousands of photons at once, have provided the most control over photons, until now.

The turnstile, described in a recent issue of Science, could lead to the development of a quantum encryption system by permitting physicists to transmit a stream of single photons that holds the key to an encrypted message. If the stream is intercepted by an outsider, the key would become scrambled as a single photon cannot be examined without changing its properties, according to quantum mechanics principles. The sender would be alerted to the interception and could stop the transmission.

The UC-Santa Barbara team built the turnstile by placing "quantum dots," or crystals with groups of positive and negative atoms, on a semiconductor. The entire structure was pulsed with a laser, causing the turnstile to emit a single photon.

The research centre reported that although the turnstile is an important breakthrough, several obstacles still exist for quantum cryptography. For example, further research is necessary to find a way to make the turnstile function at a higher temperature.

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FUTURE TRENDS IN PAGING – JANUARY 2001

Monday, January 1st, 2001

Communication services are converging. Paging has been incorporated into cellular and cordless telephony as a cost effective way to receive messages, possibly limiting the future of pager-only devices.

The paging services market is divided into three segments. One-way paging, two-way paging and telemetry paging services. Traditionally, one-way paging dominated the market; however, it is being replaced by both two-way and telemetry services, particularly in developed nations. According to study undertaken in 1999 by Frost & Sullivan, the US has experienced an increase in the overall market growth rate due to two-way paging and telemetry services. These services are quickly advancing and will account for close to half of market revenues within five years. One-way paging has diminished rapidly as profits have been eroded by the impact of newer technologies. Telemetry service is an area that may experience some growth. Many see potential for the service in a variety of business applications ranging from vending machines to utility meters.

Paging carriers will have to focus on marketing issues and concentrate on particular segments such as youth, especially as competition increases from Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). Paging carriers must use advanced two-way paging services capable of sending and receiving substantial amounts of data if they are to remain competitive. At the same time, they must also retain their low cost advantage over cellular mobile phones if they are to survive.

The industry’s growth rate has fallen during the last two to three years. However, manufacturers and paging operators will not simply disregard the massive investment they have made in paging technology and infrastructure over the years. The gloomy view of a cellular dominated world is not shared by all analysts. According to Global Wireless, there are still many developing countries that will drive the paging market. Thailand, for example, had 1.4 million paging users in 1999 and ranked 11th in a list of the top 20 international paging markets. At the end of September 2000, Thailand had moved to number nine on the list with 1.64 million subscribers. Mexico is another positive paging market growing from 585,000 subscribers in 1999 to 825,000 in 2000.

Developed countries are now concentrating on particular market segments. For example, Japanese paging carriers are targeting corporate users. Some US carriers are targeting users between ages 18-24 by merging Internet applications with messaging, such as wireless chat sessions. According to Yankee Group, several companies, including Apple and Hewlett-Packard, are planning to aggressively promote two-way pagers to the mass market. They have predicted sales of two-way pagers to be 24 million by 2001 and 54 million in 2003.

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USA SEEDS THE NET – JANUARY 2001

Monday, January 1st, 2001

Applications are being accepted by the federal government for a one-year pilot program that will provide low-interest loans to telecommunications carriers wanting to deliver broadband access outside the metropolitan area to communities of 20,000 people or less.

Broadband service is necessary for some Web applications that are important for rural communities such as distance education. Carriers have avoided thinly populated areas as building broadband infrastructure is expensive and carriers use customer density to help offset costs.

Loans will be offered with an average interest rate that is about 2% lower than the best deal from the private sector. Interest in the program is reported to be high and if it is successful the program may become permanent.

The program is a similar one to the one the government took on to promote rural electrification development. It is hoped that the availability of Internet connections in rural areas will attract businesses to these areas.

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