Telecoms 'dominated innovation' in 2003

Broadband, Wi-Fi and IP networking were the top technologies of 2003, according to BT's top research minds

Some of the greatest advances in the IT sector this year have come in the field of high-speed networking, experts at BT Exact said on Thursday.

According to a group of the telco's top technologists and futurologists, the areas of mobile working using Wi-Fi, broadband, and IP networking all saw very significant progress in 2003. Having been three of the best-utilised new technologies of the year, BT Exact is predicting that they will spawn a surge of useful applications during this decade.

"2003 has seen big strides forward for a number of technologies that have been on the radar for some time now, such as broadband and WiFi," said Stewart Davies, chief executive of BT Exact. "Next year is going to be even more exciting with technologies such as 3G and smart cards reaching fruition and the real beginnings of other radical technologies that are going to shape our worlds as 21st century citizens."

After a painfully slow start, the creation of Broadband Britain is going well at present. Just over three million people have signed up, and there is a clear path to near-universal broadband availability within a few years.

Wi-Fi also appears to be doing well. Although some analysts claim there isn't a business case for running public access wireless networks, hundreds of Wi-Fi hot spots are being created every week across Britain.

Other top technologies of 2003, according to BT Exact, were voice photo messaging, genetic engineering and liquid crystal display screens.

BT Exact forecast that 3G, smart cards and the controversial RFID technology will be the hot technologies in 2004, as they have all reached a point where they are ready to flourish in the IT sector.