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<p>During the last downturn, companies invested between $10 billion and $15 billion in supply chain planning programs. However, most efforts were directed toward internal planning and execution, rather than coordination with trading partners.</p>

Until recently, corporations have been reluctant to adopt wireless LANs, primarily because of security concerns,” Greg Collins, Dell'Oro's senior director of wireless LAN research, said in a statement. Now with the improvements in management, encryption, and user authentication, wireless LAN will penetrate larger corporations because the technology improves productivity by allowing users to connect to the network from anywhere.”

The move, and last year's opening of an R&D operation in Bangalore India is part of the internationalization of our research and development strategy,” said Scott Kriens, chairman, at a Beijing press conference.

The China site will focus on developing network and security solutions for small-and-medium-sized businesses around the world. It also may develop entirely new product lines, a Juniper spokesperson confirmed. The spokesperson said that the new facility also is likely to support Juniper's product position” in China, and may become involved in potential business partnerships” or relationships with local vendors.

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Kriens said the China R&D center also will leverage” the Chinese origins of Netscreen Technologies, the network security solutions firm that Juniper acquired earlier this year.

While 90 percent of staff at the center will be hired locally, Juniper executives confirmed that a few Chinese-speaking professionals will be redeployed there from U.S. facilities.

Tokyo — A new flat-panel television technology from Canon and Toshiba is likely to face fierce competition from the makers of plasma and liquid-crystal displays.

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While the new joint venture, SED Inc., claims CRT picture quality for its panel in a slimmer form factor, the company begins operations next month just as plasma display panel prices are falling and LCD sizes are gradually scaling up.

Nevertheless, officials at Canon Inc. and Toshiba Corp. express confidence in their $1.8 billion venture and expect to be producing their first 50-inch glass panels by next summer.

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The partners took the wraps off their surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) panels last week. Despite the competition the technology faces in the large-flat-panel TV market against established LCD and PDP technologies, it can succeed in time, insisted Canon and Toshiba officials.

After a five-year research push, the joint venture will begin to develop, produce and market the SED panels next month. Canon and Toshiba, who are equal partners in the venture, plan to build a volume production fab that will begin operating by 2007.

While PCI Express, HyperTransport and RapidIO have simplified interfacing, the cost of device interconnect in design time and dollars continues to rise. In response, companies are now increasingly turning to standardized types of performance interconnects.

Proprietary ASICs, for instance, served well in a market that was booming and in which network and telecom hardware OEMs were more focused on building market share than controlling costs. But in a world of slower growth and constrained budgets, standards hold significantly more appeal. As the ASICs become outdated, there is not enough market to generate an ROI on an ASIC expenditure,” said iSuppli's Rebello.

Moving away from ASICs, some customers are increasingly turning to technologies that give them more design flexibility. FPGA technology is catching the attention of many customers because it allows them to quickly design devices in-house without costly chip maker participation. Yet as interconnect standards take stronger hold, many customers are beginning to find a growing number of off-the-shelf components to meet their needs.

Customers can't just blow their budgets on R&D, so they're looking for ways to partner with semiconductor suppliers that are selling standard products,” said Mario Montana, product management director for Integrated Device Technology Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.).

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