CDMA or GSM :Internet of Things and lost things?

Recently, On a business trip to the City of Pune, India…I happened to misplace and lose my smartphone. As my smartphone was from a CDMA service provider in the U.S., I haven’t been able to use it in India, except for browsing the internet and using WhatsApp application. The first thing that came to my mind when I lost my phone was about all the important data stored in it as well as the phone numbers, which I have misplaced. Second thing that alarmed me was the possibility of my smartphone being misused by a stranger who is able to find it. Now, Our smartphones and hence the future Internet of Things (IoT) devices are as critical part of our identity just like how we protect our social security number in United States. Hence, I decided to file a police complaint at local police station in Mumbai after arrival from my trip.

When we talk about Internet of Things, we need to talk about these issues and come up with solutions to these problems. Firstly, Since I cannot make use of a CDMA network in India as my smartphone was programmed for a CDMA network in the U.S., I need to buy another spare phone for use in India, unless I have a dual SIM phone. This is very cumbersome for any customer and when industry plans to transition to Internet of Things, It should be possible to not just easily migrate from one CDMA services provider to another in a different country but it should also be possible for any device connected on the IoT worldwide network to be able to connect and be traced anywhere in the global network.

While the present business models prevalent in global semiconductor industry are trying to achieve this through Mergers and Acquisitions, if you have not read a recent press release ‘Can the chip sector get even smaller in 2016?by Therse Polleti, she provides an insight into the fact that

…as the industry’s ability to continue the previous pace of Moore’s Law slows, there may not be much innovation happening, especially because there are only a small number of semiconductor startups working on new technologies.

I had mentioned this would happen in my 2014 Volume ‘Mass Capitalism : A Blueprint for Economic Revival’. In that volume, I also mentioned that today’s global semiconductor industry needs an innovative business model such that it would help in a robust growth of small businesses and allow innovations to flourish. Only when there is a sustainable growth and progress of innovation through growth of new start-ups, could the new investments come into the economy. While, Fabless business model has been given credit in growth of new start-ups and new innovation, the ignorance of common sense macroeconomics has made this business model unsustainable. Hence, The present fabless business model needs to be tweaked so that it leads to a sustainable macroeconomic progress to drive the progress of Moore’s law.

As mentioned on back cover of my second volume ‘Sustaining Moore’s Law: Uncertainty Leading to a Certainty of IoT Revolution,

…Since its inception in 1965 until recent times, this law has been used in the semiconductor industry to guide investments for long-term planning as well as to set targets for research and development. These investments have helped in a productive utilization of wealth, which created more employment opportunities for semiconductor industry professionals. In this way, the development of Moore’s Law has helped sustain the progress of today’s knowledge-based economy. While Moore’s Law has, on one hand, helped drive investments toward technological and economic growth, thereby benefiting the consumers with more powerful electronic gadgets, Moore’s Law has indirectly also helped to fuel other innovations in the global economy. However, the Law of diminishing returns is now questioning the sustainability of further evolution of Moore’s Law and its ability to sustain the progress of today’s knowledge based economy. The lack of liquidity in the global economy is truly bringing the entire industry to a standstill and the dark clouds of an economic depression are hovering over the global economy.

This shows the importance of a sustainable progress of Moore’s Law for today’s knowledge based global economy. This progress of Moore’s Law also has an important role in driving investments towards the creation of an ecosystem to usher the 4th industrial revolution in form of ‘The Internet of Things’. So, How can such an industrial revolution ensure a more collaborative business model where it would be much easier for any user to migrate to another CDMA network of a different CDMA service provider without much hassle? With IoT revolution, it should be feasible for network user to track a lost smartphone or other connected device, in any part of network. Thus, Global semiconductor industry is indeed looking to a new collaborative business model where IoT service providers have deep collaboration thereby benefiting the end user.

From my knowledge of CDMA technology during my employment at Qualcomm Inc., I can conclude that it would be much easier to have a decentralized economic planning and high quality data and voice in a semiconductor ecosystem with CDMA. However, The lack of cross industry collaboration would make it impossible to implement in a global IoT network connected purely on CDMA. However, It would be much easier for CDMA’s competitor, the GSM service providers to provide a new SIM card to any consumer and let the user start using their smartphones in any country on GSM network.

Hence, I believe that it should be the CDMA service providers who should take initiative in ushering a collaborative semiconductor ecosystem for expanding their consumer base in the upcoming 4th industrial revolution. Without more collaboration and cross network agreements between CDMA service providers across different countries, I belive that more subscribers, who frequently travel internationally , would opt out of their CDMA service and migrate to smartphones that use a GSM service, due to present connectedness and ease of transition between GSM service providers. The GSM users already have much more flexibility in making use of their IoT products such as smartphones across the global IoT ecosystem without much hassle.

However, CDMA has an added feature of securing the smartphones and hence CDMA technology would be even better when it comes to the ability to track lost smartphones in a global IoT ecosystem. This increased collaboration can be made feasible in global IoT ecosystem using CDMA services with three tier business model that has been elaborated in my second volume ‘Sustaining Moore’s Law: Uncertainty Leading to a Certainty of IoT Revolution.

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