Following is an Opening Address by Mr. Alan Wong, Director of Information
Technology Services at the "Wireless Forum 2003"
Dr. Keung, Mr. Duck, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be invited to the Wireless Forum 2003 and have the opportunity to share with you our views on wireless technology.
In Hong Kong, about 6.4 million people are mobile phone subscribers. That is more than 90% of the population. Among them, 0.36 million people are using the 2.5G services. The number of 2.5G users was increasing at a rate of 10% each month during the first half of 2003. It is still going up.
The prices of the mobile phone and other mobile devices are coming down all the time and have become very affordable. New style handsets with attractive screens and user-friendly features can support much higher data speed and capacity. There is little doubt that when the 3G services are fully launched, together with the complementary wireless and mobile technologies, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), wi-fi¡M Bluetooth, J2ME and mobile security, the impact will reach beyond the consumer market.
Enterprises will face another major wave of transformation in the way they operate and reach out to their customers, who will then be "online", if line is still the right word, truly anytime, anywhere and through different means. The final piece of wire, between our workstation and the wall, would become optional. That will unleash great opportunities for our enterprises. What is more important, that will unleash great opportunities for our InfoComm industry.
But in order to realize the full potential of "ubiquitous" services, we will have to address a number of issues that pose both challenges and opportunities to us all. The consumers need mobile devices and user interfaces, for example input methods, that are truly user-friendly and multi-media with good quality, for example high resolution images. They need content and services that deliver value. They need a stable, reliable and secure channel to conduct e-Business. They need interconnectivity among carriers and interoperability among systems to deliver seamless services. The IT and the telecomm industries and professions have individually been making steady progress in all these areas. The developments in the wireless technology bring bigger challenges in interoperability and integration but the opportunities and rewards will be even bigger. And I am confident that this phase of convergence in the InfoComm technologies will deliver spectacular synergies.
We recently set up a Working Group on the Promotion of Wireless Services and Technology under the Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee (IIAC). It's objective is to examine the obstacles that the industry and the business community would face on the adoption of wireless services and technology in enterprises and to recommend concrete measures to overcome them. Industry experts and I will be working on this in the next three months and I invite you all to contribute your views.
The government is also providing funding support for a Wireless Solutions Development Center (WSDC) to be set up at Cyberport in the 4th quarter of 2003. The project is undertaken by the Wireless Technology Industry Association (WTIA). The mission of the Development Centre is to support developing Hong Kong into the regional mobile and wireless hub in the Asia Pacific Region. It aims to generate a viable market demand on mobile and wireless solutions by providing marketing support; to act as the focus for all stakeholders, that is, operators, developers, user industry and the community to interact; and to provide infrastructure support to mobile and wireless developers.
Within the government, we will also identify services that can exploit the wireless and mobile technologies so as to provide more convenient public services, and to enhance the productivity of our knowledge workers and field workers.
This Forum today has assembled experts from the information and communications industry and the academia. It provides an excellent opportunity to share experience and exchange views to help us all ride this new wave of development, to sow the seed for closer co-operation and to make new business contacts. I wish you all a most rewarding and enjoyable day.
End/Thursday, August 7, 2003