Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama strikes right chords for science and technology!

Finally, the USA has Barack Obama as its 44th president! There are bound to be lots of expectations from the new president of the United States.

Very interestingly, and aptly, Obama referred to science and technology in his inaugural speech. Surely, it is not a place for any US president to detail his policy, but from what everyone heard, the new President struck the right chords.

Savor some of these extracts from his inaugural speech:

"The state of the economy calls for action—bold and swift—and we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together."

"We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost."

"We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

Wonderful! The US President clearly hinted at the role science will play during his tenure. Also, his suggestion of 'harnessing the sun and the winds' points to the growing importance of renewable energy, hybrid cars, and of course, solar photovoltaics.

I've indicated in an earlier blog post that Obama's, New Energy for America Plan could have a significant impact on the US solar industry.

The plan's provisions include:
• A federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires 10 percent of electricity consumed in the US to come from renewable sources by 2012.
• A $150 billion investment over 10 years in research, technologydemonstration and commercial deployment of clean energy technology.
• Extension of production tax credits for five years to encourage renewable energy production.
• A cap-and-trade system of carbon credits to provide an incentive for businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The focus on healthcare could see more attention on medical electronics -- just my guess -- and use it to provide affordable healthcare services.

I'd be very interested to see even more activity on hybrid cars. Closer to home we have had two great prototypes of hybrid/fuel-efficient cars last year -- the Chimera, said to be India's first plug-in hybrid car, and the Garuda.

As I am about to unwind for the day, I received a press release from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), USA, where the CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro congratulated Barack Obama on becoming the 44th President of the United States of America, saying: "On behalf of its 2,200 consumer technology member companies, CEA congratulates President Obama, our first digital president, on his inauguration."

Indeed, Obama is the USA's and the world's first digital president! I'd go on to add that he's the world's first Web 2.0 president! For instance, the amount of activity on Facebook has been overwhelming. Take a look for yourself!

Oh, in case you happen to visit the White House web site, it's brand new! The site says: " will be a central part of President Obama's pledge to make his the most transparent and accountable administration in American history."

Friday, January 9, 2009

D-day's here for TD-SCDMA! Take a bow!!

It is indeed a major triumph for TD-SCDMA! After years of waiting, this 3G technology has finally been awarded a 3G license -- in the form of a license from the MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology), China, to China Mobile -- China's biggest mobile phone operator.

I recall late 1999, when a good friend, Shih ying Tan, of Siemens, first apprised me about this particular technology, and I was able to discuss it in-depth with first, Siemens, while at Global Sources, in 2000, and later, with Dr. Li Shi-he, while at Wireless Week, the next year. Dr. Li is apprised as the father of TD in China! Sorry, I could not locate that link on Wireless Week.

I also spoke with Marco Principato at Siemens, while at Wireless Week, in 2001. The link will take you to that interview. So, it's been a personal delight for me that this technology has finally arrived!

I also traveled to Munich, Germany in August 2001, to meet Klaus Maler, who was then general manager, TD-SCDMA, for Siemens Information and Mobile Communications. I've also mentioned earlier that it was way, way back in September-October 2002, when the Chinese government allocated 155MHz of spectrum to TD-SCDMA!

What you should appreciate and be amazed about is the tremendous foresight of the Chinese government! Way back, it had decided to go ahead with TD-SCDMA! Way back, it allocated spectrum for this 3G technology! And well, most China followers, including yours truly, were aware that China Mobile would probably get the 3G license!

Knowing China reasonably well, China Mobile will surely leave no stones unturned in making TD-SCDMA its top priority, and developing it extremely well. Also, I am sure, China would be looking to sell this technology to other countries.

If you compare this with India, the differences are stark! TD-SCDMA is hardly talked about, and most dismiss it as a 'China' technology! Two, we have wonderfully entangled ourselves in the famous 'spectrum tangle' for years. So, allocating separate frequency for any technology is absolutely unheard of! Three, developing our own technology -- far from it!

Anyhow, I am sure the Indian regulators will think their way through, as they've always done, and proper 3G would be a reality soon.

Coming back to China, the MIIT needs to be lauded for its great work and backing for TD-SCDMA! The technology itself has been close to being written off on so many instances, only to come back strongly! And how!!

I am certain that in the forthcoming telecom shows, such as those organized by the ITU, as well as CommunicAsia, we will get to see more of TD-SCDMA. More press coverage will be surely happening.

The D-day has arrived. Take a bow, TD-SCDMA