The Antidote

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-03-05 Print this article Print

The Antidote

Even though the wireless web is rife with problems, they arent insurmountable.

Ultimately, content providers like Yahoo! expect to see a large consumer marketplace emerge, with much more market segmentation to follow. Not only will devices have to be more user-friendly, but theyll be geared toward certain types of users. For example, some devices could be designed to sit on a belt, which could be ideal for a man, while others should be small enough to fit into a purse for some women. "One day I envision someone will pick up a tie and match it to their device," Ranganathan said. "Or have a device for work and take another one for an evening party."

Though service providers acknowledge security needs serious attention, they say its one aspect of the wireless Web technology that doesnt worry them too much. "In this country we see this over and over again. We saw it with the adoption of credit cards and ATMs [automated teller machines]. Its the same story," Ranganathan said. As with many new technologies, users may be wary of security faults with the transfer of information wirelessly, but they will likely warm up to the concept with time. "If you are secure and you tell your friends about it, it drives the feeling of comfort."

Operators can also offer multiple levels of security, depending on the type of information exchanged. "If they are confidential records or credit-card information, it will need a different degree of security than just e-mail," PricewaterhouseCoopers Dube said.

Many of the issues slowing the wireless Internet have been around for a couple of years. But never before have they been as important as they are about to be.

"The whole hype around the wireless industry has slowed down. Now were focusing on real solutions," Ranganathan said. "Last year, we had a lot of hype and media attention and talk about things that were irrelevant at that point — there were no customers anyway."


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