|Georgia World Congress Center|
CTIA WIRELESS 2004 is the largest, most comprehensive telecom trade show in the US. Around 800 exhibitors had signed up to present their products and services this year and all the exhibit space has been sold-out - a definite sign that the telecommunication industry is back on its feet. The CTIA event draws attendees from a dozen of different industries, serving the different aspects of wireless - providers, users, developers, buyers and manufacturers. The 2004 edition of the trade show took place in Atlanta, Georgia.
|The show's floor|
Some interesting facts I'd like to point out. For the first time I saw WI-FI and Bluetooth technologies utilized in the "real world" - or for something different then just connect my handsfree to my phone via Bluetooth, or connect to the Internet wirelessly while I am in my bed. T-Mobile and Cisco had provided free WI-FI access to all attendees. According to CTIA, last year nearly 50% of attendees took advantage of this service. According to the instructions, all one had to do is power up their laptop and open a web browser and the registration and log-in site should have come up. Well, they were wrong. It took me 15 minutes to change all my settings in order to be able to connect. Everywhere else I had used WI-FI, I never had to do this. Once connected, I experienced several disconnects, I had to move several times to look for a better "position". My experience just made me think that WI-FI still has a long way to go before it is ready to be fully utilized not just me having internet on my laptop in my bed.
The other trendy technology I saw "working" was Bluetooth. Several movie
poster size kiosks had been set-up in several places. Instructions were
written on them, showing how the users of Palm OS, Series 60 over Symbian and
Microsoft Pocket PC could connect and retrieve the schedule of all
conferences and keynotes. I tried it with my Nokia 3650 (Series 60 over Symbian
OS). I had to go to Contacts, go to SEND and select Bluetooth. Then the
phone started looking for devices around it. The instructions said to look for
device called Jack. Around 10 seconds later I found Jack. Then I had to send
"him" SMS with my phone number. 5 second later, Jack sent me back a message
which contained a Symbian application, which I installed. Then I started it and
I had the conference schedule on my phone. Infrared was also supported by the
kiosks. I think that in the near future we will start to see more concepts like
the one I described. I hope to be able to walk into a grocery store and receive
the list of all items on sale on my phone, then using LBS (location based
services) to be directed to the exact position of an item that I want.