Saturday, October 23, 2004

Home phones face uncertain future

BBC NEWS Technology is running a report on the latrest research from Nokia on mobile phones replacing fixed residential lines. The only time that people are using their Home phone is for when they intend to have a longer call, with mobiles used for shorter calls.

Whilst this is interesting what is more so is the fact that last nights newsnight (also on the BBC) had a short feature on VoIP with the head of BT Retail as well as the Founder of Skype explaining how very soon all calls would be vertually free thanks to new technology. Whilst a very basic primer from there Business Correspondent it was a usefull wake-up call for all those middle class new kunkies who cannot sleep on a Friday night!

Having worked with VoIP as my telephone service for the last 18 months I do see that potentially we could all become users but I don't see the fast take-up spoken of by BT. I think that VoIP could become the same replacement of traditional communications that the FAX was in relation to the Stamp. Some will use it but many others are happy with the current system and thus unlikely to change just for the sake of a few pennies saved on calls.

Just a thought but somehow I think that we are not going to see the brave new world for quite sometime, just look at the speed that 3G has been started for more evidence.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Heathcare Standards

For the last two years my sister has been fighting with a brain tummor. For most of this year she has been undergoing chemotherapy in an attempt to finish off the part of the tummor that was unable to be cut out.

Over the Summer she did well but as the seasons turned so has her health. At the end of September she was notified that they intended to stop paying sick pay and she was going to be pensioned off. Now what this means is that she will be paid a lower sum than the half salary she is on and when she is terminal no need to pay her husband death benefit. Now in the private sector that is fine you have a free market, BUT my sister is a civil servant! As such she has always worked for the government, first as a nurse and now as an administrator in the prision service. The Civil Service had decided that her pension fund was not funded and so she has been forced to make additional payments for the last five years since returning to work.

This weekend my sister has been admitted into hospital with an infection that has caused here to feel unwell. As its the weekend the usual hospital does not have a bed available and so she has been put up in the local hospital on a medical ward. This means that rather than treatment by specialists she is being looked after nurses who have little understanding of her treatment. My brother in law is with my sister as much as possible as a contractor that means no pay! More importantly as my sister at present cannot speak, the tummor is growing on her frontal lobe, it is her husband and daughters who can help her. I spent this afternoon with them today and I although angre that hospitals cannot cope thanks to cronic underinvestment but also saw what a real family and love is all about.

And do you know what it is not about money, its about time and space, must go time to put my youngest to bed with a story and hot chocolate.

Friday, October 15, 2004

You Can't always get what you want

Andy Gill'sreview of RL Burnside's latest album made me interested in finding out more. So I went off to HMV locally to see if they had it in stock, no joy. The assistant asked if I wanted to order the album and then had to appologise because her system would not allow her to do so. The same for Virgin, WHSmiths and Borders.

This also made me think as all these stores had a TOP 20 Albums listed but none were the same. The Assistant at WHSmith told me that it was not the official list but rather an internal one...perhaps thats why they are not selling much at present. The good news is that I have been able to buy the album online and the disk is in transit because Mr Burnside you see is not mainstream and as he is in his 80's The Music Download sites don't have his music available. Here is the thing FAT POSSUM has been working hard to promote this Album and so they have got the reviews to get not just me asking to buy it; but the stores have decided that its too much of a risk to stock.

Thank good for the internet shop which along with Google allowed me to trackdown what I wanted.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Could BT's "Broadband Voice" service be a winner

Phones without borders shouts Michael Pollitt in The Independent. In a well written feature on BTs consumer play for VOIP he has not just bought the PR hype for the service but he has done some foot work in terms of just how and why you might wish to use your broadband line as a second telephone line.

My only issue is that he does not undertake any real analysis of just who may use the service and how that may effect the fortunes of not just BT but its rivals. Convergence is the watch word of all those at present in the telecoms space or the fact that the time taken to deploy such a service will make the roll out of cable television seam rapid. My opinion is that the real sticking point is that most are lazy when it comes to changing providers and cost today is not much of an issue thanks to price plans such as BT Together.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Wireless Security - Mobile Security: One Size Does Not Fit All

Mark Long has writen an interesting feature over at Wireless Newsfactor about the problems of security.

At present wireless devices are limited on there bandwidth unless they use the battery draining WiFi. Thus the security needed to protect data is limited to password protect, and lets face it thats not great as the number of passwords anyone has is limited to their ability to remember them.

You cannot use a VPN as that congests the already limited bandwidth faster than a month of Supersizing at McDonalds!

How ever as we become more mobile we need to become more security aware, the same thing happens with money when we leave our house. What is needed is not more smart devices just smart users. I remember a conversation a few years ago with a headhunter who was not overly concerned about the fact that he had left his Palm in the back of a taxi on the way over to my office. It was only after I asked if any of the documents relating to the assignment he was conducting for me were on the device that he became concerned and even then he said they were of little use to onthers. Needless to say he and I have not done business since.

When I first started using mobiles thay had a pin number, that was needed to un-lock the handset so that you could make calls. As more people got mobiles in an effort to make it easier for users we no longer see pin numbers. Hence when a phone is lost the lucky finder can read all you messages and copy your numbers, but the network can disable the sim so that no calls are made from it!

What is the best way forward for security? Get smarter users with dummer devices!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Let me take you by the hand

Just been talking to one of those I met at the Symbian exhibition earlier this week who thanked me for helping navigate the show.

They said that in most of the shows they attended time is short and what is needed is someone who can scout the exhibits and arrange meetings with people who understand the product they are premoting rather than hijacked by hospitality girls harvesting business cards and handing out freebees. Is this not the function of the event organisor?

If you want me to give up time in my busy diary don't you have to facilitate a great experience. The fall in the market has ment that the bloated show has ended (only downside is that the level of goodies have fallen) and so it does not take too long to scout the site. Does it need better PR from the exhibitors to promote the features and benefits of their clients?

Would you be prepaired to pay for a show guide who walked you to your meetings and insured that you got face time with the relivant people on the stands?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Symbian Developer Event

Spent the afternoon at the Symbian Event and this year saw some real signs that Mobile Developers are able to launch without the Network Owners.

One of those that impressed is Cognima and if you view the Blog on their site my smiling face is shown. Cognima offer a solution that makes MMS messages very easy to load/send without pushing too many buttons. After catching up with them I bumped into a senior exec from one of the Networks who said that they needed something to make Picture Messaging easier. So guess who I introduced?

Nokia and Sony Ericsson had more people around them than others showing off just what can be done with their new handsets,

Monday, October 04, 2004

Giving cellular the blues

|BT Pulls the plug on Bluephone cannot be good news for companies like Norwood Systems who have spent the last five years pushing Bluetooth for in building substition of GSM. I am sure that with those involved in the Alliance will make Convergence work. But I think that 21st Century Networks will take a long time to work rather than the rapid delivery that BT hopes will come about. The problem is the legacy network needs to be supported and serviced and unlike television BT has not said that they will switch off the non-IP telephony. Without the forced adoption of new technology by customers then the arrival of converged telephony is going to be a long time coming.