Wireless All the Rage at CeBIT Show

More than 8,000 high-tech vendors from around the globe convened here last week at the CeBIT fair

More than 8,000 high-tech vendors from around the globe convened here last week at the CeBIT fair to show a vast array of products ranging from storage devices to new e-business software to security wares. But for the second year in a row, the talk of the largest technology conference in the world was wireless and mobile communications.

From the opening keynote by Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, who called for governments and vendors to work together for more ubiquitous wireless solutions, to the products announced by such industry giants as Computer Associates International Inc., Siemens AG and Nokia Corp., mobile computing stole the show again.

At the same time, across the pond and due west in Las Vegas, another conference, the CTIA Wireless show, highlighted the latest in wireless technologies (see story above).

With the explosion of mobile communication, evidenced by the rapid multiplication of mobile phones and personal digital assistants in use around the world, Fiorina said it was time for companies and governments to shape a cohesive plan for dealing with the mobile and wireless technology boom.

"How many of us are really taking the time to think about the real needs of the mobile culture thats beginning to emerge?" she asked.

Nevertheless, HP moved forward last week with new mobile devices, including the Jornada 525 Pocket PC and Jornada 710 handheld PC. HP also previewed a Bluetooth-enabled printer, the DeskJet 995c.

Other vendors were here to push mobile e-business solutions. CA, of Islandia, N.Y., unveiled an initiative to bring its myriad e-commerce applications into the wireless arena.

Through partnerships with such companies as Nokia, Motorola Inc. and systems integrator Electronic Data Systems Corp., CA is offering its software—such as its eTrust security product and Unicenter TNG e-business infrastructure—to help businesses connect their employees mobile devices with the enterprises networks.

Siemens, of Munich, Germany, continued on the plan outlined at last years CeBIT to give businesses the tools they need to migrate their communications from Time Division Multiple Access to IP. Bernd Kuhlin, president of Siemens Enterprise Networks Division, said that within 10 years, IP will be the predominant protocol for mobile communications.

Siemens this year plans to roll out products tied to its HiPath and Surpass programs to help enterprise customers and network operators continue the migration to IP without interruption to their businesses.