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By Carl Weinschenk

The world of telecommunications is changing at a rapid pace. There are numerous technologies entering or near the spotlight. To name a few, companies will have to make decisions about 3G, Bluetooth, ultrawideband, Zigby, RFID, WiMax, Wi-Fi, near-field communications, advanced USB—just to name a few. Nobody is sure how these technologies will compete or complement each other.

This is almost too much for a small company—one without an expert on staff—to follow. There is one thing a company should do, however: Make sure that escape clauses from telecommunications contracts aren’t onerous.

Consider WiMax and 3G. WiMax is on the cusp of becoming a viable alternative to 3G cellular networks. Each has its advantages: WiMax will offer higher capacity, while 3G will remain far more ubiquitous well into the future. Will 3G be as fast as the carriers claim? Will WiMax rollout quickly, or will the standards-process bog down?

It's impossible at this point to say how the market will develop. It's also impossible to determine precisely what any company's needs will be going forward. For this reason, organizations must make sure that they don't paint themselves into a corner with long-term telecommunications deals. Of course, the longer a company commits to a carrier the better the rates it will get. The key, however, is to make it possible to leave as both the technology and the company's evolving needs coalesce.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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