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Dialling a better future

Written by  Jing Wang
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Jing WangIssue:Asia-Pacific I 2010
Article no.:8
Topic:Dialling a better future
Author:Jing Wang
Title:Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific & Middle East and Africa
Organisation:Qualcomm
PDF size:185KB

About author

Jing Wang is Executive Vice President of Qualcomm Asia Pacific & Middle East and Africa; he is also a member of the company’s executive and investment committees. Jing Wang serves as a director on the boards of both Qualcomm Wireless Communication Technologies (China) Ltd., and Qualcomm Wireless Semi-Conductor Technologies Ltd., two wholly foreign owned enterprises established in China. Jing Wang is also the vice chairman of the board of directors of Tianyi BREW Technologies Ltd., a joint venture between China Telecom and Qualcomm. Prior to his current role, Jing Wang was instrumental in driving the growth of CDMA in Greater China and Southeast Asia; he joined Qualcomm as a senior vice president. In 2005, major media in mainland China and Hong Kong named Jing Wang as one of the ‘Ten Most Valuable CEOs’ in China. In 2007, the same group of major media honoured him with their award for‘Sustained Value’. He received his bachelor's degree from Anhui University, an LL.M from the People's University of China, Department of Law, and an LL.M from the University of Virginia School of Law.

 

Article abstract

Sixty per cent of the world’s people have mobile phones; one phone uses little power, but billions need a lot. New chipsets and lower power displays reduce drain on batteries and improve battery lifespan since fewer recharge cycles are necessary. Very thin solar panels, designed for mobile handsets, and solar panels for cellular base stations provide environmentally sound power sources. New technologies and smarter antennas reduce wasted transmission energy and higher data rates mean base stations can serve more callers.

 

Full Article

The telecommunications industry thrives on envisioning the demands and trends of the future. While this makes the industry fascinating, unrelenting focus on what-comes-next means that the here-and-now is sometimes overlooked. That’s regrettable, because telecommunications can have a dramatic impact on the here-and-now, especially with regards to environment and energy issues. In an era when such issues are dominating headlines, it is critical for us as an industry to keep this mind. The vision our industry shares is one of a connected global society where people always have instant access to information and each other. Turning an ambitious vision into reality is hard, but if I’ve learned one thing during my career it is that our industry has risen to every challenge and surpassed every expectation. Familiarity sometimes obscures the basic truth that modern telecommunications technology is miraculous. This drive to innovate and to lead the development of technology makes me optimistic that our industry can rise to the challenge of enabling sustainability. A friendlier device The handset is the most familiar manifestation of wireless telecommunications, and a good place to start. Current ITU estimates suggest that more than 60 per cent of the world’s people have a mobile handset; the impact of handsets cannot be ignored. There has been a rush of innovation to make handsets more ecologically friendly, including more sustainable production techniques and biodegradable and recyclable materials, better power management and reduced use of potentially hazardous chemicals. Power management is also a key area of innovation. Modern devices access more data more often, and are correspondingly power-hungry. While a single phone doesn’t demand much power, billions of phones need a lot of power. New, smarter chipsets are reducing the power drawn from batteries, helping to improve battery life and, thus, battery lifespan since fewer recharge cycles are necessary. Furthermore, by 2012 most phones will charge through a standard mini-USB port, reducing the need for multiple or replacement charging devices. In an industry that ships hundreds of millions of units a year, these changes make a difference, with fewer batteries and chargers. For the growing number of people using mobile phones in rural or developing areas there is even an alternative to batteries: the sun. Solar panels as thin as .8mm have been designed for the wireless industry, providing up to four hours of talk time for every charge period. Solar handsets for these markets include a hand-sized solar array that will power one minute of talking or two hours of standby for ten minutes of charging, not to mention water resistance, an 8 megapixel camera and a VGA display. Displays have been a particular hot spot. New, friendlier displays are fast being adopted, however. Among the new display technologies are OLED (organic light-emitting diode) and innovative, reflective MEMS displays for mobile devices that offer low power consumption and great quality in even in bright sunlight. Reflective MEMS ((MicroElectroMechanical Systems)) displays create colour by mimicking the same phenomenon that makes a butterfly's wings shimmer. By harnessing natural light, these reflective displays eliminate power-hungry backlights, leaving more battery time for talking or accessing data and reducing the frequency of battery charges. There is another area to tackle as well. Handsets are, after all, useless without a network and networks rely on base stations and backbones that all need power. Increases in data rates and usage potentially mean increases in power consumption. But there is a positive side to that story as well. More sophisticated networks can manage capacity and base station power intelligently. New technologies and smarter antennas are reducing energy waste in transmission. Higher data rates mean each base station can serve more callers. Solar power can also help power base stations as well as handsets so networks that can support more people and more services without drawing more power. Transformative technology Making ‘greener’ handsets and devices and optimizing network power consumption is something that the industry must work toward. It is also worth remembering that the services that wireless telecommunications make possible can help enable sustainability. Through a project called Wireless Reach we have been bringing wireless connectivity and specially designed services to communities around the world that have never had access to mobile telecommunications before. Many Wireless Reach beneficiaries are farmers or fishermen for whom better access to information means more efficiency and less waste of food and resources. Wireless Reach is just a beginning, but it has great promise. Wireless telecommunications can connect people and systems to data and services from any location within network coverage. With wireless coverage increasingly available throughout the world, the possibility of using wireless data access to support environmental projects in remote locations is growing. Wireless access can make constant monitoring of remote areas possible, keep researchers connected to their support base and give communities access to information and, in many ways, support the economic and environmental development in remote regions. Our own backyard Industry leaders should set an example through their commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment. There has been progress in these areas, but we must continuously assess our processes and practices to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption, waste and emissions. It’s important to tackle the problem both in how we design technologies and products, and in how we operate as companies. Hopefully, some of the steps we are taking will inspire other companies as well. These include running a co-generation plant that recycles the waste heat that is normally lost; generating 500kw of power via solar panels; designing buildings to make better use of natural light, and launching a hybrid shuttle bus service between company buildings. One thing we are very conscious of is e-waste. In addition to engineering increasingly friendly products, we have launched e-waste recycling drives. Employees are invited to hand over their old or damaged electronic devices ranging from batteries to television sets. Events like this involve employees directly, educate them, and keep thousands of pounds of electronic waste out of local landfills. Finally, since we took an idea from butterflies for MEMS displays we felt it was only fair to give something back to them. In Taiwan, where MEMS displays are made, we cooperated with our Taiwanese partner, Foxlink to donate NT$1 million to the Longtan Elementary School’s butterfly garden. This will turn the school campus into a butterfly habitat that will not only help the students study butterflies, but reflect Taiwan’s history as the ‘butterfly kingdom’. Wireless networks to grass roots We remain committed to designing devices and enabling services that are more sustainable and have the potential to benefit the entire wireless value chain. That’s good for the earth, and it’s good for business. Helping our partners to make devices that adhere to environmental stewardship policies gives them a competitive advantage. The industry also increasingly understands the importance of giving back to the communities and people that ultimately motivate our innovation and quest for success. This is where there is an opportunity not only to make products more ecologically sustainable, but to use technology to help communities improve their own environments. Sometimes, it is the headline breakthroughs that drive great technological leaps. Sometimes it is the incremental changes in how we lead our lives and conduct business. Telecommunications companies have harnessed complex technology and created a new world that is empowering people in ways never before possible. The sector has also begun to appreciate its role in a system that, no matter what kind of technology we use, we all have to share.

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