IEEE Spectrum Predicts Winning and Losing Technologies for 2005

Citywide Wireless Network, Broadband TV Via Telephone Wires, Hybrid Electric

Cars and More Powerful Semiconductors Are Technologies to Watch in 2005

Jan 03, 2005, 00:00 ET from IEEE Spectrum

    NEW YORK, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Municipal broadband wireless networking,
 broadband television from telephone companies, battery-operated cars and
 microchip wafer polishing for more powerful semiconductors have been
 identified by the editors of IEEE Spectrum as "winners" in a new special issue
 highlighting the best and worst of global technology.
     For the report, the magazine's editors considered more than 50
 possibilities and selected winners and losers for 2005.
     "There are lessons to be learned from both sides of the win/lose equation,
 including how projects fail even when they start out looking great on paper,
 and what makes a successful project tick," said Glenn Zorpette, executive
 editor, IEEE Spectrum. "To pick the winning and losing projects, we judged
 their feasibility and whether or not what they are trying to accomplish is
     The results showcased some new and exciting technologies that have the
 potential to make major impacts on web surfing, computer use, television
 watching and automobile driving.  The losers included technologies designed to
 thwart terrorists, improve energy use, help students learn science and protect
 intellectual property.
     IEEE Spectrum's technology winners are:
      * Las Vegas's Metro Mesh Network pilot program to create a citywide
        broadband mobile wireless technology. This robust and easy-to-deploy
        technology will allow the city to serve a wide range of needs, from
        emergency responder communications to traffic light management. This
        new network is being developed by Cheetah Wireless Technologies,
        MeshNetworks and the City of Las Vegas Traffic Engineering Department.
      * Electrochemical Mechanical Planarization from Applied Materials, Inc.,
        Santa Clara, Calif., whose goal is to make possible the next-generation
        of smaller, faster, cheaper microchips.
      * Internet-Protocol Television, delivering dozens of channels of video
        programming through a relatively low-speed broadband connection (2.2
        megabits per second). This technology allows telephone carriers to
        compete with cable providers using their legacy copper networks instead
        of an expensive optical-fiber upgrade. The technology is under
        development in Zurich, Switzerland by Swisscom AG and Microsoft Corp.
      * Ultracapacitor Development Project, under way in Yongin, Korea by
        NessCap to reduce the cost of ultracapacitors and find new markets for
        them. Ultracapacitors are superior to batteries in many respects and
        are expected to be used increasingly to improve the performance of
        hybrid-electric and fuel-cell cars.
     Mr. Zorpette said that the magazine's editors considered specific
 projects, not companies or classes of technology.  "For winners, the project
 must in some sense be novel; its beneficial social, economic or environmental
 outcomes must outweigh any negatives. The likelihood of the project's success
 must be evident from the fact that the project seems clearly poised to
 capitalize on clear-cut trends in business, technology, society or
 government," he said.
     This year's losers were selected based on several factors. The technology
 must have negative outcomes that outweigh its positives. Its poor chances of
 success are evident because the project is at odds with trends in its niche.
 Or the project's technology didn't work or seems to have a good chance of not
     The losers include electronic passports being developed by the U.S.
 Department of State, among others, to thwart terrorists and the Bavarian
 Solarpark created to partially replace Germany's nuclear and fossil fuel power
 plants with homegrown solar power. Additional losers are Digital Aristotle
 from Vulcan, Inc., Seattle, an artificial intelligence project that creates
 electronic tutors for science students; and AACS (Advanced Access Content
 System), being developed by IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic (Matsushita
 Electric), Sony, Toshiba, Disney and Warner Bros. Studios, to copy-protect
 next-generation DVDs.
     To come up with their final lists of winners and losers, the IEEE Spectrum
 staff relied heavily on the global resources of the IEEE, a professional
 organization whose members include nearly 400,000 engineers, computer experts
 and technologists.
     The January 2005 issue of IEEE Spectrum is available by subscription, on
 many newsstands throughout the Northeastern United States and online at
     About IEEE Spectrum
     IEEE Spectrum is published monthly by IEEE, the world's largest
 organization of technology professionals and business leaders. Over 385,000
 executives, engineers, and computer scientists at the world's largest
 companies and universities look to IEEE Spectrum each month for the latest
 news and most accurate information about new important technology
 developments.  IEEE Spectrum readership comprises the largest concentration of
 high-tech professionals and senior managers of any publication in its niche.
 IEEE Spectrum also communicates through its Web site, IEEE Spectrum Online
 (  Its content includes numerous news stories
 and features beyond those featured in the print magazine.