From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 20 Nov 2002 - 16:51:04 GMT
Here is the next step in the process, a story from Info World.
Comdex: Chips drive next Internet boom, says Halla
By Matt Berger
November 20, 2002 6:20 am PT
LAS VEGAS -- Mark your calendars for June 21, 2003. On that date, the
technology industry will resurrect itself, and experience a rate of growth
surpassing all those before it.
That prediction is based on a homemade equation incorporating a dash of
chaos theory and a spoonful of neural modelling cooked up at the request of
Brian Halla, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of National
Semiconductor. Like other top executives speaking here, Halla delivered a
keynote presentation Tuesday at the Comdex computer industry trade show that
was high on economic optimism.
The Internet boom has not yet occurred despite popular belief that it is
already passed, he said, and the proliferation of wireless Internet, as well
as computer chips built into common household devices, will help launch the
next wave of growth.
"A mature business? Absolutely not," Halla said. "As an industry we've only
released a couple of interesting products. We've only scratched the
Driving Halla's predicted economic boom will be the utilization of the vast
Internet infrastructure that has already been laid down. It will also
require billions of microprocessors that allow electronic devices to consume
less power and communicate with other devices wirelessly. Halla estimated
that in the next few years many people will individually own hundreds to
thousands of devices powered by semiconductors.
That's good news for National Semiconductor, which makes chips that power
displays, wireless devices, digital cameras and appliances such as set top
Halla detailed Tuesday a new chip it has produced with the help of Microsoft
that it expects will be at the center of this chip boom. Still under
development, the chip could eventually feature always-on 802.11b
connectivity or integrated support for ultra wide band radio, a short-range
wireless technology that uses lower power than 802.11 or Bluetooth. Most
importantly, Halla said these chips could be manufactured at very low costs.
"They can be embedded in virtually anything you can think of, almost for
free," he said.
National Semiconductor's chip is being designed to power devices based on an
initiative announced Sunday by Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief
software architect, called Smart Personal Objects Technology, or SPOT. The
concept is to stuff inexpensive chips into common everyday objects, such as
wrist watches and alarm clocks, that allow those objects to collect
information from the Internet.
Gates offered an example Sunday night of an alarm clock that could self tune
its time by synchronizing with an atomic clock, as well as set the alarm and
deliver relevant information such as weather or traffic conditions.
"We've been working on [the chip] for a couple of years," Halla said.
Halla's predictions for a world full of computing devices based on
microprocessors with integrated network connectivity hold water, according
to some attendees and analysts who attended his keynote.
"I think it's an awesome idea. I think the technology is right. And, I think
the time is here," said Fred Hart, a programmer with Opto 22, an industry
automation manufacturing company in Temecula, Calif. "It's going to
facilitate machine to machine connectivity. And there's billions and
billions of machines that we rely on today that could use this technology to
increase efficiency and reduce costs."
Tim Bajarin, president of research company Creative Strategies, in Campbell,
Calif., noted that the initiative Halla described is moving closer toward
"The bottom line is the concept of building a radio chip into all these
devices, and making all of the devices interconnected, is actually the way
we're going," he said, noting that most semiconductor makers, including
Intel, are pursuing similar technologies.
"In the end we're driving toward a wireless connection pretty much to every
device. That includes things we already have today, but it's eventually
going to include things like alarm clock and radios," Bajarin said.
With the announcement of the new chip set under development, Halla
reiterated his theory that the IT industry is headed toward yet another
economic boom in the near future. He compared the recent boom and bust of
the Internet to the build out of the railroads in the late 19th century.
A glut followed the railroad boom, but it was followed by another wave of
unprecedented growth as people began to come up with new ideas to make use
of the foundation that had been laid, he explained.
"We overbuild; we have a glut. That's where we are today. The period that
follows after the glut is when the new ideas get incubated," he said.
Matt Berger is a San Francisco-based correspondent for the IDG News Service,
an InfoWorld affiliate.
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