The promise of RFID is a fluid supply chain — pick, pack, ship, it’ll all be easier with these little tags that hold more information than bar codes and don’t require line of sight to read them. Everything from a Buick to a bar of soap can be tagged so the people that manufacture, deliver and

sell them will have better and more up to date information. The problem is individual tags are still priced out of the reach of mass adoption, and some retailers are skittish about getting involved with a technology that has yet to be proven. U.S. retailers like Target are blazing the trails and other retailers — not to mention, other industries — may follow suit. But not many have so far.

CDN’s coverage of RFID reflected this kind of wait-and-see attitude. By this time next year, we may be telling a different story. For example, a Deloitte report predicts widespread adoption, but not before clearing some major hurdles.

CDN’s coverage of RFID reflected this kind of wait-and-see attitude. By this time next year, we may be telling a different story. For example, a Deloitte report predicts widespread adoption, but not before clearing some major hurdles.

Linux on the desktop

Wal-Mart has been selling Linux-equipped computers for a while but there’s little to suggest that they appeal to people other than hobbyists and open source enthusiasts. Likewise, Linux desktops in the enterprise remain a novelty. However, of all three “almost made it” technologies listed here, this one seems the most likely to take off in 2005.

Government is already attuned to the possibilities open source provides for personal computing and more vendors are gearing for an enterprise push — notably HP and Novell. By this time next year, we may be publishing more stories about actual deployments and fewer about why the technology isn’t ready yet.

WIMAX (802.16)

Heir to the Wi-Fi throne, WIMAX promises coverage areas of more than 10 miles, broadband speeds without wires and enterprise-class service for remote areas. Motorola, Cisco, Ericsson and more than 150 other companies are members of an organization called the WIMAX Forum, which bodes well for the future.

With all this thought leadership in wireless technology ready and willing to invest in WIMAX, surely it will come of age sooner rather than later.

Another line of thought is that there’s too much interest and not enough action. So far, WIMAX has made its biggest impact on CDN’s news coverage by becoming snarled up in legal machinations. Calgary-based Wi-LAN said in July it is suing Cisco Canada for using OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) in its Linksys and Aeronet products. OFDM, a modulation technology, is used in 802.11a/g standards as well as WIMAX.

But with Intel announcing its first system-on-chip design to support WIMAX, we will no doubt be hearing more about this promising technology this year.

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