pbn_logo.gif (6296 bytes)


Hawaii Techies Take a Look
at the Latest Developments

(Part 1 of 2)

By Shakil Ahmed

It seems as if every day new products appear on the radar screen. Frankly, it’s hard even for experts to keep up with the deluge of the latest bleeding edge hardware, software and networking products. In this column I’d like to look at a few new technologies that I believe will change the way we do business in Hawaii. These include Broadband Technology, Voice Recognition, Thin Screen Imaging and Internet Faxing. There’s another phenomenon that we should also pay attention to--the prospect of the Internet becoming a Universal Network--a sort of central nervous system for businesses throughout our state and the nation. Some of these technologies may seem pretty far out but a few of have already landed on our doorsteps. The others may show up quicker than you think so it’s good to be aware of what’s coming down the highway. My main concern is what these new technologies will mean to us in Hawaii how they will change the way we live and work.

What I decided to do is tap some of the best minds in our state and get their opinions on how these trends will affect doing business in our state.

The Broadband Explosion

You've probably read in the papers that Intel and AMD now have chips that almost fly out the door at one gigahertz. That's all well and good but it doesn't mean a thing in today's wired world if you don't have bandwidth. Trends indicate that in only five years over half of all Internet users around the nation will have high speed connections as opposed to analog modems. In our state, I believe the numbers could even be higher.

Why? Broadband communications is vital given our geographic isolation and I strongly believe it will lead to the growth of even more Hawaii-based businesses that cater to the Mainland and beyond. There is no question that it's a key factor in the growth of the new economy in the Aloha State.

The good news is that it's only going to get better in terms of cost of bandwidth and availability. According to Mike Meyer, founder of Wave Internet, a Honolulu based e-commerce marketing company, "Broadband Internet connectivity is essential for business already and is increasingly important for many residential users. The rapid expansion of broadband access at monthly rates equivalent to the average family's cable TV bill is a driving force in the growth of e-business and the new economy. As a result the perceived cost of broadband access continues to shrink in comparison to the value of high speed connectivity to the Internet economy."

His Master's Voice

As I've mentioned in an earlier article (PBN January 21, 2000) voice-recognition software has been around for years. It's not quite ready for prime time but vendors are steadily improving voice recognition products. In addition, voice recognition software requires an enormous amount of computing power, so you'll need a fast machine to use it effectively. The latest versions work pretty well - but there's still plenty of room for improvement. For example, making voice recognition products that accept dictation as accurately as a professional typist is a ways off. From what we see, within the next 18 months, there should be voice recognition products suitable for business use. This would be especially helpful for employees who may be not be able to use a keyboard or mouse.

There is one Hawaii company, Ergo Linguistic Technologies, that specializes in this technology and I asked the President, Dr. Philip A. Bralich, what he thought the future would bring us in this arena.

"Probably the most valuable example of a business use for this technology," said Phil, "is in the area of telephone use of the Internet. This is where a cell phone will take voice commands and relay them to your office computer for screening messages, transferring files or sending and receiving email. The same cell phone will also be used to issue web commands to a voice-only stock site for trades and research or perhaps an internet bank where cell phone messages will be used to transfer funds, make payments, make withdrawals and so forth. All this is currently in the works. Every day new web sites such as AnswerLogic, AskJeeves, NetbyTel and so forth pop up to take on one or more of the voice challenges in this vast new market area. This new technology is especially applicable for Hawaii businesses and end-users. Given our isolation this technology will help allow people to do business from the most remote corners of our state."

In our next column, we'll explore the new thin screen technologies, Internet-based faxing and how the Internet's "Universal Network" is rapidly changing the way we do business here. Stay tuned!

Shakil Ahmed is the founder of PDC Systems, a Honolulu computer and networking company established in 1991. Questions or comments should be addressed to askshak@pdcsystems.com

Pacific Business News - April 22, 2000

ruler3.gif (618 bytes)
Home / About Pac-Tech / PR Services / Clients / Clips--Hawaii--National