Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ignoring ignorance on GPS!

I have been really amused to find that GPS or global positioning systems and navigation are finding their way among the top 10 telelcom and/or technology trends for 2009!

To follow this tribe of enthusiastic analysts, I also mentioned GPS and navigation among the top trends to watch out for in 2009! However, it is really hilarious and amusing to find GPS being suddenly talked about so much!

Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks of Mumbai on 26/11/08 have probably turned the spotlight on GPS.

No matter, GPS is a technology around for close to a decade now. I remember seeing the first devices used in cars in Korea, back in 1998-99. Then, in 2000, I, along with a colleague, Pamela Yu (at Global Sources), were invited by Nokia and Citybus in Hong Kong, to showcase GPS solutions on Citybus. At that point of time, HS-CSD (high-speed circuit-switched data), had just taken its bow! In fact, Nokia was also showing off its HSCSD solutions. Come to think of it, no one even talks of HS-CSD now!

Back to GPS! Citybus and Nokia showed me a wonderful GPS network, which tracked all Citybus vehicles. And well, Nokia even demonstrated how a HSCSD phone could be used with GPS inside vehicles in Hong Kong!

In 2000-01, Japan produced first devices with GPS built in! At 2000 ITU Telecom Asia, I remember discussing with NTT DoCoMo regarding the accuracy of these devices in times of distress or emergencies.

Cut back to 2003, Geneva, ITU Telecom World, and prior to that, CommunicAsia. GPS has been present all the times! Why, if someone even cared to check Global Sources, or even Alibaba, they'd be spoilt for choice.

During several trips to Shenzhen, and also during the various China Sourcing Fairs, I came across GPS, embedded into various devices -- PMPs, MP3/MP4 players, etc. Since it has been in the mobile phone for some time, there's always no doubt of it not making an appearance elsewhere.

In India, I believe, the problem lies more with not having ready, detailed maps of places. However, this is a problem that is being addressed.

Recently, a colleague, a youngster, who's just started his career, quizzed me about GPS, where a client had told him that GPS can't be used in mobile phones! The moment I heard this, it immediately stuck me that this so-called client, who mentioned such a thing about GPS, isn't even aware of the industry, or rather, does not have a telecom background!

This is the Internet world. All the information I've given above, has been available on the Internet for a long time. No excuses, if people can't look it up!

God bless us all from ignorance! ;) Ignoring ignorance? At your own peril!

Wishing everyone a very happy 2009!

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