Korean IT Puts Its Best Foot Forward

— August 01, 2007

Each year South Korea's IT heavyweights gather in Seoul for the Solutions and Contents Exhibition (SEK), widely regarded as Korea's most important ICT conference. From the start of this year's exhibition, the close ties between government and industry that help define the Korean IT economy were clear; a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a chorus line of officials, including the head of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), was followed by a whirlwind tour of the show floor.

Mobile technology was well represented: Korea's leading handset makers, Samsung and LG, trotted out their latest and greatest. There was evidence of the growing 3.5G HSDPA rollout in the number of HSDPA-enabled handsets that leverage the speedy network technology for fast data connectivity and advanced services such as video calling. Although Korea initially focused on CDMA technology and followed it through to EV-DO for 3G (deployed by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel in the United States), it's now driving hard on the WCDMA path. This will translate into increased competition in the WCDMA space, and that can only be a good thing.

Carrier KT, which launched WiBRO (the Korean version of WiMAX) a year ago was boasting of the accomplishment and issued WiBRO USB adapters to foreign press so they could experience being connected at speeds of a megabit and more. WiBRO now claims 12,000 subscribers in Korea, which isn't much compared to the hoards of cellular 3G users. When asked why uptake had been slow, Ki-Hun Paek, director of the ICT cooperation office of the MIC, blamed a lack of device availability and said that subscriptions should rise markedly going forward.

As the first U.S. WiMAX networks blink online, American eyes will be on the Korean experience with the technology. When questioned about the need for WiBRO/WiMAX in the face of increasingly capable 3G rollouts, Paek said that the networks are truly complementary because WiMAX is IP focused while 3G is still optimized for voice traffic. KT (which offers a combined HSDPA and WiBRO laptop modem) pitted the technologies against each other at its booth in bandwidth tests, in a demonstration that showed WiBRO delivering 10 times the bandwidth of
the slower but more widely deployed HSDPA.

Both HSDPA and WiBRO are elements of a comprehensive national technology roadmap known as "IT839," which defines eight services, three infrastructures and nine product categories that the MIC deems essential to developing Korea's IT economy. The plan also emphasizes software development, with the MIC helping SMBs to market their products outside of Korea.
--Peter M. Ferenczi
In The News
VENTYX has acquired GLOBAL ENERGY DECISIONS, a provider of software, data and advisory services to the utility industry. The deal will create the world's largest utilities software provider, with more than 800 customers worldwide, concentrated in North America and Europe.
TANLA MOBILE has teamed up with SKYPE to connect users via SMS. Tanla is using its mobile message delivery platform to connect to Skype SMS, thereby enabling customers to use their Skype credit to send text messages from their computer to mobile phones around the world.
HEWLETT-PACKARD officials are hoping the acquisition of POLYSERVE will help the
computer manufacturer to gain leverage in the enterprise-class network-attached storage (NAS) market. The merger enables HP to extend its NAS technology to the fastest-growing segment of the storage market.
TELECO dealers can now purchase TIGERPAW SOFTWARE solutions and services at
discounted rates, thanks to a partnership between the two companies. TELECO, a leading telecommunications provider, is the nation's largest distributor of Toshiba business telephones. Tigerpaw develops customer relationship management and professional service automation software for the telecommunications industry. 
The WESTERN STATES CONTRACTING ALLIANCE (WSCA) has renewed a contract with CINGULAR that is expected to generate nearly $2 billion in total revenue over the next four years. The new contract gives state and local subscribers in 50 states the ability to purchase voice and data services--including 3G services--from Cingular. The WSCA contract has already garnered Cingular more than 1 million government subscribers.
SEAMOBILE has expanded and strengthened its presence in the European market with the acquisition of GEOLINK, a provider of satellite-based broadband communications and networking services. The merger is Seamobile's second in 15 months--in May 2006 the company acquired Maritime Telecommunications Network. Both acquisitions have helped expand SeaMobile's subscriber base, enabling it to provide broadband satellite, wireless voice and data, Internet
connectivity and other services to more than 300 maritime vessels worldwide.
MOBITEL SLOVENIA has joined forces with NOKIA for a hosted push-to-talk solution trial in the Slovenian market. According to terms of the deal, Nokia is hosting push-to-talk and presence services for Mobitel by integrating a commercial Open Mobile Alliance--compliant platform. The trial is initially being targeted at business users.  
TREMCO is rolling out a speech-enabled software
solution from DATRIA for its field service technicians. The technicians will use Datria Ticket Management to communicate in real-time with Tremco's existing service management solutions from SAP. Using their cell phones to connect to SAP, technicians answer questions posed to them by Datria about their work, schedule, equipment
and materials used. Ticket Management converts their responses into data and updates the service management solution.
TELECOM ITALIA SPARKLE has chosen UNIFI COMMUNICATIONS for international voice services. Headquartered in Rome, Telecom Italia Sparkle provides international telecom services to fixed and mobile operators, ISPs and multinational companies. Integrating its network with UNIFI gives Telecom Italia access to UNIFI's global VoIP network, which comprises more than 100 countries.
MOBILKOM AUSTRIA is deploying O3SIS' SyncML platform to its customers. Compatible with more than 400 handsets, the O3SIS XPAnywhere desktop add-in lets users synchronize their
contact and address book data between mobile devices, the Web and desktop computers. The synchronization technology is based on Open Mobile Alliance standards and is performed automatically over the mobile network.
MOTOROLA is deploying an advanced radio frequency return path product from VECIMA NETWORKS in its broadband cable systems. Motorola chose to deploy the Vecima product due to the company's expertise in two-way RF design. Vecima designs, manufactures and sells products that enable broadband access to cable, wireless and telephony networks.
ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES, a designer and manufacturer of floors, ceilings and cabinets, is arming its field sales reps with a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) solution from SAGE SOFTWARE. The company has given its field sales reps BlackBerry devicess that contain a SalesLogix mobile CRM application to help the reps track customer data and leads.

The WIFI ALLIANCE has begun certifying wireless routers, networking cards, microchips and other DRAFT N products, otherwise known as 802.11n. Draft N products reportedly offer better reach through walls and into dead spots and use multiple radios to send and receive data.
FINNAIR is making it possible for business travelers to stay connected even at 35,000 feet. The airline is allowing passengers to send mobile text messages and emails on flights to the Far East. The service--accessible on satellite phones provided at each seat--is available on routes from Helsinki to Tokyo and Nagoya (Japan), and to Shanghai, China. Passengers also can read and answer messages and mail sent from the ground.
ARUBA NETWORKS, EXTREME NETWORKS, IDENTITY ENGINES, TIPPING POINT and TRAPEZE NETWORKS have teamed up to develop open source standards for building secure networking technologies. Called the OPENSEA (Open Security Edge Access)
ALLIANCE, the companies are focused on helping enterprises roll out secure wireless or wired networks.
Mobile Device, Where Art Thou?
The frenzy surrounding the launch of one of the most hyped consumer product introductions in recent memory, the Apple iPhone, provides a nice segue into part one in a series of four columns related to the importance of developing and maintaining a secure enterprise mobility strategy.
At last year's RSA Conference, information was presented that showed that, on average, the typical employee owns 4.5 mobile devices. I prefer easy calculations, so let's agree on 5. By all accounts, if the same study was completed next year, I would expect the number to roughly double. An extreme prediction, but justifiably so. How many mobile devices do you own? How many mobile devices do you use daily that have been provided by your organization? How many laptops, cell phones, USB memory drives, iPods, portable gaming platforms, SecureDigital cards, GPS devices, etc., do you utilize? Have you attended a conference or seminar lately where mobile devices were not used as a lure to get you to stop by a booth or to collect your contact information? I haven't.

While we all enjoy new gadgets, the effect of utilizing newly acquired mobile devices could have unintended consequences for enterprises. Based on my prediction of 10 mobile devices per user for 2008, how would an organization the size of IBM, for example, securely manage the menagerie of mobile devices available today that can store and transmit sensitive information? At today's count of 355,766 employees, IBM has to manage sensitive information on 3,557,660 mobile devices. How many employees and contractors are in your organization? (Now you know why I like easy math).

To help guide organizations down the path of developing a secure enterprise mobility strategy, I have penned Ben's Laws of Mobile Data Security. The first of which is: You can't stop mobile device proliferation. You can try, but good luck! Did you give or receive a mobile device for a recent occasion: Mother's Day, Father's Day, a birthday? Now you know why; mobile device proliferation is consumer driven.

The remaining three laws on developing and maintaining a secure enterprise mobility strategy will be discussed in upcoming issues. See you next month.
The Future's Internet
IPv6 is hard to understand, and it's not your fault. It's not as easy as, say, Y2K or the North American Numbering Plan. But if IPv6 isn't being included in your company's network and mobile enterprise strategy by now, then it is your fault.

"China is planning to adopt IPv6 more rapidly than any other country in the world. -- Beijing is heavily pushing IPv6, an initiative that could help China catch up with the U.S., which has dominated net development so far..." BusinessWeek printed those words in a series of articles on "The Innovation Economy" in 2004. Yet today many U.S. companies still do not have IPv6 plans in place and remain blissfully ignorant regarding their vendors', carriers', partners', distributors' and even competitors' plans. The adoption rate for IPv6 in the U.S. is a stagnant 5 to 7 percent, according to research firm TheInfoPro.

Now in its 40s, the Internet is finally growing up, and key to its maturity is the transition from Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) to version 6. (Don't ask what happened to v5.) In a nutshell, we're talking about migrating from an antiquated 32-bit address scheme to a 128-bit numbering scheme that'll allow not just everyone on earth to have an IP address but, theoretically, every cell in their bodies, too.

Why is this important? Over 80 percent of all available IP addresses are now exhausted. And no wonder--while IPv4 gave us a little less than 4.3 billion IP addresses, by 2011 market research firm Informa expects to see about 4 billion cell phones toted worldwide. IPv4 addresses are slated to run out between 2011 and 2013.

By then we may see over a trillion IP-enabled devices when considering the world beyond PCs--TVs, MP3 players, cameras, game consoles, automobiles, appliances, meters, toys and even light bulbs--that want to "talk."

How does this affect your business? Do phrases such as "IP-based network convergence," "multi-functional networked devices," "always on," "ubiquitous communications," "embedded networking," and "wireless broadband" get tossed about in your company? If so, you need to start mapping your IPv6 strategy now.

Sure, it's complex and it may bring some overhaul. Sure, your vendors may not quite be prepared. Sure, security issues need to be resolved. But migration to IPv6 is unavoidable in the long-term. Don't wait for the competition to pull ahead, leaving you behind slapping your forehead and saying: "I shoulda had a v6! //  
--Mead Eblan


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