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Transatlantic Information Technology In the Forefront of Innovation

by R.E.Curtice

Ties between U.S. and UK IT industries are very important for both economies. Wireless , optical networking, broadband infrastructure, digital media are all areas that resources are available in the U.K. for American firms when they began to think about the European market. Dale E. Smith, Vice Consul Information & Communication Technology Advisor for the British Consulate spoke to Inside Report about the coordination of efforts.

How does this Transatlantic business work?

There's a company, for instance, called Broadbeam (Proven Solutions in Mobility) that is based in New Jersey. It is a company focused on the area of bringing wireless LAN (local area networks) to with wireless 3G networks. I working on their going beyond the current system they have in place with the London Ambulance Service. Our service enables the London Ambulance Service to "roam" on a 3G Network, onto a Wi-Fi network , to a 2.5 G network, to a 3 G network, to a Wi-Fi network essentially oblivious to the owners.

So they have this broadband mobile service coverage footprint that wouldn't be possible short of having sophisticated technology tying these fundamentally different networks together. The over-the -air transfer rate for Wi-Fi is eleven megabytes per second; the over-the-air data rate for the 3G networks is in the hundred kilobyte range . So the idea is that when you have large files, the system automatically detects and goes to a signal that supports that. It's the idea of always the best connection (ABC). It's smart enough to recognize which network is most economical , and if you have business policies to determine how that occurs, you can have those set up. And give the user the experience of always-on broadband.

There is another company who has developed a software package that allows a video to be embedded in an e-mail message, not as an attachment. The idea being that you don't want to be stopped at the firewalls. It goes right through the firewalls and will show up in your preview screen in Outlook in much the same way you'd see a Flash animation. Who'd use this? Any company that does any serious e-mail marketing. These are very high compression video algorithms.

Since there is a high-level of game development in the UK, is such coordination part of your business plan?

Yes, we will certainly be looking out to bring another mission to E3 next year. It will be a very significant mission, not just companies. We will probably bring some academics also.

Academics in game development?

Yes. A lot of software development in games is actually going on in British universities. If you go to places like Sunderland University in Northeast England, they have a strong base in developing computer games there. There is also a number of universities around England with similar profiles. What perhaps explain the phenomena recognizing that games are useful learning activities for the X, Y or Z generations who are comfortable with the interface. We do have universities looking at how games operate in the learning environment.

You have a sheet promoting "The Perfect Storm." Can you tell us about that?

Yes again. It tells how three technology sectors are coming together in the UK. We have five licensed 3G operators, our broadband subscribership just went over 2.6 million, Internet adoption, quietly underway for some time now, gives rise to the technology equivalent of "The Perfect Storm." In the eye of this storm there is the almost unspoken promise of truly ubiquitous mobile broadband service (MBS). As an emerging market opportunity, MBS could provide the next wave of investment. Technologists working on enterprise over IP (VoIP) solutions will find the VoIP over public Wi-Fi networks opens up new opportunities for innovation.

In conclusion, how does the UK promote the electronic facilities?

We have a goal of any household in the UK that wishes to subscribe to broadband by the end of the year will be able to do so. The government plays that role of setting the goal and challenging industry to meet that goal. If industry doesn't meet that goal, the regulators will be after them. We have a very robust regulatory body for telecommunications in the UK. It has just merged since we have called all the regulators who are responsible for communication telephone, TV, etc. and pulled them into one body called OFFCOMM. This body has civil powers to make sure there is there is a free-market function which should allow those broadband targets to be met. And if you look at the numbers you'd see that the UK has the most competitive broadband market among the G7. ||