Trendlines from 4/15/08: New, Hot, Unexpected

In this issue: The cap on H-1B visas; Corporate mash-ups; Face-reading computers; The lapsing landline; China and RFID; Banning of social networks; The value of big monitors; Efficiency in IT shops; and By the numbers, including IT modernization.

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Hanging Up on Landline

The cell phone has finally passed the landline as the hardest communication technology for people to give up. It also beat out the Internet, television, e-mail and the BlackBerry (or other wireless e-mail devices).

People say it would be harder to give up:

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

2007 2002
Cell phone 51% 38%
Internet 45% 38%
Television 43% 47%
Landline telephone 40% 63%
E-mail 37% 35%
Blackberry or wireless e-mail device 36% 6%

China Emerges as Largest RFID Market

Radio frequency identification technology has generated considerable buzz among American businesses. However, the largest concentration of RFID applications in use isn't in the U.S. Look instead to China.

The Chinese government's national identification card program is currently the biggest RFID project in the world in terms of overall value, according to the recent ID TechEx report, "RFID in China 2008-2018." The rollout has an overall estimated worth of $6 billion, which includes all the associated RFID tags and systems, such as card readers.

The Chinese ID card project began in 2005. Once it has been completed at the end of this year, nearly 1 billion government ID cards embedded with an RFID chip will have been issued, states a recent ABI Research report.

"Unfortunately, all good things must end," writes ABI's Research Director Michael Liard, noting the project's upcoming conclusion. "That one program generated significant revenue for local vendors and stood out in terms of its size and scope. However, China must prepare for RFID's next wave and the applications that will keep China in the RFID spotlight.

According to ABI Research, a wide range of application initiatives are on tap in China: transportation ticketing, animal tagging, anticounterfeiting, real-time location systems, asset tracking, e-ticketing and contactless payments. The total market revenue for all those projects in 2008 will reach nearly $1.4 billion, states the report.

-Thomas Wailgum

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