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Speech by GCIO at Mobile Enterprise 2006

Following is the speech by the Government Chief Information Officer, Mr Howard Dickson, at the opening ceremony of the "Mobile Enterprise 2006" Conference today (June 27) (English only):

John (Chiu), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning! I am pleased to be invited to speak at the "Mobile Enterprise 2006" Conference. I would like to congratulate the Wireless Technology Industry Association (WTIA), the Hong Kong Wireless Development Centre and the Hong Kong Productivity Council for staging this conference with such a rich programme and providing an excellent opportunity to foster collaboration and partnership amongst various bodies in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

     Mobile technology has become part and parcel of our daily lives. Today, there are about 200 3G networks in commercial operation with more than 270 million subscribers in over 80 countries worldwide. Statistics show that the largest percentage of mobile data services and applications in major regions are mainly on SMS messaging and followed by handset personalisation like downloading the ring tones, wallpapers, and screensavers.

     Apart from the popularity of these consumer-based services, enterprise-based applications are also starting to become mass-market mobile solutions from the increased capacity of the ICT infrastructure. While use of mobile office, mobile information services and location-based services is likely to continue to grow, more imaginative solutions will be in the spotlight as more people extend their applications from the world of desktop computers to mobile devices.

     Meanwhile, Fixed to Mobile Convergence (FMC) has become one of the crucial strategic issues in the industry. The FMC focuses on moving towards realisation of the vision of ubiquity and being able to mix and match the wired and wireless services. The boundary between voice and data, fixed and mobile networks is dissolving, but the bandwidth and coverage are widening. FMC is gaining momentum in both technology development and market forces. Though this evolution presents regulatory challenges, it has given rise to new opportunities in investments and consumer benefits.

     In Hong Kong, we have developed an excellent ICT infrastructure and have almost ubiquitous mobile phone coverage over the territory. The penetration rate of mobile phone has increased to 124% with a total number of subscribers over 8.6 million. While 3G is increasing its popularity, the first commercial HSDPA-enabled mobile broadband service (sometimes referred to as 3.5G) in Hong Kong has been launched recently. It is expected that more territory-wide high-speed data services will come to our mobile market. Both consumers and business enterprises will experience better services such as voice and video over IP applications.

     All along, the Government has been promoting and facilitating the development and adoption of wireless and mobile services and technology (WMST), which is one of the focus areas of technological development identified in our Digital 21 Strategy. In this regard, a task force led by my office was set up with representatives from the industry, academia and the Government to facilitate and drive the development and adoption of WMST in Hong Kong.  

     In the adoption of WMST applications by the Government, we have deployed some 170 applications in 56 bureaus and departments (66%). Amongst these applications, the top three application areas are mobile office, mobile information access and technology-enhanced field operation. We are sure that more opportunities in other business or operational areas will be explored and applied in the Government in the near future.

     The adoption of RFID has also gathered momentum recently. The Government has not only deployed RFID applications internally, but has also provided sponsorship to universities and industry support organisations on research and development of the technology. This will help wider adoption of the technology for the logistics and supply chain industries, which in turn will improve the competitive edge of the Hong Kong industries in the global environment.

     In the Mainland of China, a new 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, has been announced recently. To enable local ICT industry to explore the Mainland's mobile application market, the Government has sponsored the provision of TD-SCDMA facilities in the Cyberport. This initiative, under the management of the WTIA, aims to facilitate the development of TD-SCDMA based applications and to leverage on this platform to create opportunities for the industry in Hong Kong.

     Sustaining our effort, we will continue to co-operate and partner with the local industry, the Mainland and other overseas countries to expedite the sharing of skills and knowledge on the WMST.

     In addition to developing our infrastructure, there is also potential for Hong Kong developers to look into the need for new form factors of equipment to facilitate the easy access to our wireless and mobile network.

     Why are we still carrying computers across oceans when Palms, Blackberrys, iPods etc can more than carry our personal identity and data files?

     Imagine the utility of a portable mobile device that can properly support not only user identification and authentication functions but also provide authenticated and secure access to personal data and applications. This device could then be used to transform any generically configured computer for personal use and connected to both wired and wireless networks easily.

     Imagine the plug and play advantages for support, upgrade and the inclusion of novice users, including children and elderly. All we need to do is break away from the 25/40-year-old configuration model. Think about it, there is a large untapped market out there!

     Remember that once the concepts of a moving and round world were heresy.

     I wish the conference every success.

     Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Issued at HKT 10:55