Site:                Toshiba Corporation
                      Digital Media Equipment Systems & Services Company
                      1-1, Asahigaoka 3-chome, Hino City
                      Tokyo 191-8555 Japan

Date Visited:  31 May 1999

WTEC Attendees: T. Itoh (report author), L. Young, W. Stark, N. Moayeri

Hosts:            Mr. Shigekazu Hori, Deputy General Manager, Mobile Computing & Communications Development Center
                      M. Ishibe, in charge of silicon technology
                      N. Sugi, in charge of systems hardware
                      T. Hirose, in charge of software
                      S. Saito
                      T. Saeki

BACKGROUND

Toshiba is one of the largest enterprises in Japan engaged in worldwide operation. It had net sales of $48 billion in 1998. Toshiba operates many research, development, and manufacturing sites and organizations all over the world. Recent reorganizations have streamlined operations.

SYNOPSIS

Mr. Hori explained the operation of this organization and the work on system LSI and terminals developments for GSM, W-CDMA, and wireless access. He provided interesting statistics quite different from the United States in terms of the use of the wireless handset. In Japan, ~ 35% of wireless traffic is data, as opposed to 5% in the United States. However, within this rate, 80% is short message service and digital data transfer; and only 20% is PC-based data transactions. This is largely due to cultural specifics among the younger generation. PHS systems are more aggressive for data service. Toshiba has recently introduced a handset called TEGACKY (Te Ga Ki means handwriting) that is a pen-based no-voice handset. This is used frequently even in crowded trains and subways to transmit handwritten messages.

Toshiba is working on products for W-CDMA to be introduced in early 2001.

Researchers are also working on fixed wired systems similar to LMDS at 24 GHz and 28 GHz (with 200 MHz bandwidth).

DISCUSSIONS OF FUTURE APPLICATIONS AND ISSUES

Mr. Hori asked his staff to prepare some responses to the WTEC questionnaire "Wireless Communication Technology Issues and Questions." Questions and Mr. Hori's responses follow:

What are the important emerging applications for wireless communication over the next 5, 10, and 15 years in the following areas?

What technologies will be important for wireless communications in 5, 10, and 15 years to satisfy these applications?

Can conventional wireless communication technologies meet the requirements of these applications in 5, 10, and 15 years?

Is a major change expected in the leading technologies used for wireless communication in the next 15 years?

What are the prospects for breaking the bottlenecks?

Mr. Hori provided the following observations:

CONCLUSIONS

The future technological direction at this site seems to be significantly influenced by cultural aspects in Japan. Toshiba has tried new applications and products to fit the Japanese market. In addition, Toshiba would like to mix the software/system issues with hardware. The company insists that mobile IP will be the key technology in 3G wireless communication.


Published: July 2000; WTEC Hyper-Librarian