Monthly Archives: October 2009

A standard for the Internet of Things?

You probably remember the strategic importance for China to become a leader in standard-setting. Mobile telephony, digital TV, wireless Internet, no technology seems to escape the appetite of Chinese engineers to participate in defining the trajectories of tomorrow’s technologies.

Their focus has now turned to the Internet of Things. Earlier last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) National IT Standardization Technical Committee has established a working group of sensor network experts to create a draft national standard for the Internet of Things.

They come in the footsteps of Europe’s Casagras project (including participants from France, the UK, Japan, Korea and…China) which aims at establishing standards for the communications and encoding used for the objects of the Internet of Things.

While China and other countries had little to say in the “standardization of the Internet”, it will be interesting to see whether a different (and functional) governance model emerges from opening participation to other countries.

P.S.: Casagras, which stands for Coordination And Support Action for Global RFID-related Activities and Standardisation, has just issued its final report on RFID and the inclusive model for the Internet of Things

Fake semiconductors?

Counterfeit semiconductors are an increasing problem. At least, that’s what the Director of the Semiconductor Industry Association testified in front of the U.S. Trade Policy Staff Committee on China’s compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO).

They can result in anything from a consumer paying for a fast computer but getting a slow computer, to more serious problems including failures in applications involving health and safety. In fact nowadays semiconductors are found everywhere, including in medical equipment, automotive or aerospace applications, or communications infrastructure for first responders.

Before you skin your computer to check if Intel is really inside, you should know that the most common problem is a remarked product, where the counterfeiter scrapes off the marking on the outside of an integrated circuit and remarks it with a different brand, speed, or part number. So, next time your computer slows down, don’t immediately blame Microsoft or your anti-virus provider…

Here comes the CPhone…

A lot of attention has been going to the debut of China Mobile’s OPhone and to the soon-to-be launched iPhone – China Unicom’s first job will be to “convert” the estimated 10 million users who own smuggled iPhones (mainly the older 3G and 2G models) and subscribe to China Mobile…
So, what has been the answer of China Telecom, who owns the third licence of for mobile services? The Cphone! The Android-operated CPhone has been designed and developed by Access (a Japanese provider of advanced software technologies for mobiles). According to insiders, the CPhone is a touch-screen handset with a flash animation style user interface. It is integrated with an RSS news feed function, mobile mail, mobile Internet browser and China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) chip and service. cphone.jpg
The phone will retail for approximately RMB 1,500 (USD 220). That compares quite favorably against the pricey iPhone RMB 4000 (USD 585) or to a smuggled 3GS 16GB costs RMB 5,500 (USD 800). Let’s see what the ratio of price/brand sensitive Chinese consumers is.

The turning point?

Once every 3 years the world of telecommunication comes together under the aegis of the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union.
This year, any visitor would be struck by the massive presence of Chinese companies. Equipment manufacturers (like ZTE or Huawei) are displaying their latest technologies. Chinese operators have made the trip to Geneva as well – China Mobile is even a premium sponsor of the event.The presence of China Mobile and China Unicom can in part be explained by a public relations effort – showing [off] their technological savvy (3G, LTE). Part may be an effort to build brands for future market penetration. portfolio1.jpg
Let’s see when the Swisscom and T-Mobile of this world will have to defend their home turf against China Mobile!

After the compass and gunpowder

You have probably been bored numerous time with the four great inventions of ancient China – namely the compass, gunpowder, papermaking and printing – and how close the middle kingdom was of doing its industrial revolution during the Sung dynasty (960 AD-1280 AD).

A millenium later, it is time to look back at the major technological development of the People’s Republic. For its 60th birthday, the official news agency Xinhua has highlighted the following achievements in the field of science and technology:
- Li Siguang’s theory on geomechanics which allowed the discovery of the Daqinq oil field (1959)
- the explosion of China’s first atomic bomb in Xinjiang (1964) which projected the country in the league of nuclear powers
- Yuan Longping’s development of hybrid rice varieties (in the 1970s) which helped China move towards autonomy
- connection to the Internet (May 1994)
- the launch of China’s first lunar exploration satellite (2007) and the coining of a new word for a Chinese traveling in space (taikonaut)

Nowadays, China cooperates with foreign multinationals (when it doesn’t buy them out) to explore oil at home and abroad; it plans to build 50 nuclear reactors over the next 10 years, to plant the Chinese flag on the moon. Finally, it quietly became the country with the largest number of netizens.

Let’s see what the next 60 years bring us!