Hot technologies on the back burner

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

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 and the people that manufacture them, deliver them 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.’s coverage of RFID reflected this kind of wait-and-see attitude. By this time next year, we may be telling a different story.

Retailers consider hype vs. reality of RFID
11/15/2004 5:00:00 PM – A Deloitte report predicts widespread adoption, but not before clearing some major hurdles. Hudson’s Bay Co., Future Shop and Canadian Tire weigh in

Radio-frequency scanners should be connected with back-end IT systems
9/14/2004 4:16:34 PM – Software vendors have yet to develop good tools for acquiring data: analyst

Wal-Mart puts RFID on the map
8/18/2004 3:59:14 PM – Now it’s time for industries to discuss the technology’s potential for use and abuse

Why it’s coming:

RFID beyond supply chain
9/9/2004 5:00:00 PM – Producers of the technology say that Wal-Mart is grabbing all the attention, but most users aren’t retailers. What are they doing with it? Collecting garbage or maybe skiing

RFID fuels supply chain efficiency at Conros
7/8/2004 5:04:28 PM – Toronto-based manufacturer of fire logs turns to radio frequency identification as means of tracking inventory on store shelves.

Linux on the desktop

Wal-Mart has been selling Linux-equipped computers for a while now, 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 than 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.

Desktop Linux users peer into Longhorn gap
8/30/2004 5:00:00 PM – Open source watchers assess MS delay and its impact on their market

CDN Newsmaker’s Profile: Alec Taylor, Director, Platform Strategy, Microsoft Canada
12/16/2004 4:05:48 PM – Number 24: Showing up on trade show floors of Linux Conferences, Alec Taylor says users won’t be migrating from Windows to Linux any time soon

Linux takes Microsoft rivalry to the desktop
8/17/2004 5:00:00 PM – The open source operating system has made significant inroads in the server market, but is only just coming to grips with the PC. Experts tell us when it’s going to get there. Also: Microsoft on why it may never make it

Why it’s coming:

<a href= code creates application ecosystem
11/26/2004 5:00:00 PM – Vendors like Microsoft are making the building blocks of software available so they can be used over and over. Indigo tells us about its ‘Lego-style’ Web site

A tale of two open source cities
4/30/2004 5:00:00 PM – Municipal departments within Toronto and Calgary break the public sector mold by proving they can improve their IT infrastructure using Linux. Plus: How open source opens up career paths

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’s news coverage by becoming snarled up in legal machinations. Calgary-based Wi-LAN said in July 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 in 2005.

Intel charts course to WiMax system-on-a-chip
9/8/2004 5:00:00 PM – Canadian developer welcomes technology that offers expanded coverage

Wi-LAN takes Cisco Canada to court over Wi-Fi patents
7/19/2004 5:00:00 PM – Calgary firm takes “”risky strategy”” to cash in on OFDM, analyst says

Telecom Ottawa installs antenna to extend WiFi range
2/17/2004 5:00:00 PM – BelAir system places single access point to cover 30-storey buildings

Why it’s coming:

So far, we’ve published little to suggest that it is. But watch this space. . . .

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