Friday, December 02, 2005

Keeping it simple

Out of interest, I went and bought a "Pay as you go" handset to see what i-mode was all about. I was interested on two levels, speaking with a senior executive at a rival I was told that they had been surprised by how well O2 had done; secondly I was talking with a member of the European executive team at NEC and they spoke about how hard their engineers had worked to get the service up.

First impressions when I saw the NEC was, this is a grest phone at a very good price. Next to my 3G handset it is half the size, it has a great key pad and a bright screen. What I like is that this is a phone and as such has a great phone features in terms of looks it is in the iPod Nano design school.

From the network side, topping up was easy and in registering the handset I got another £2.50 worth of calls and one month of use.

Still playing what you can and will post an update when I have finished. Put hats off to O2 in remembering that they are a MOBILE phone company and not a media business, hope that the Spanish remember this and carry on the service.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Informa says MNOs are losing control of the ecosystem

Mark Newman the head of research over at analysts Informa has written an article on how networks are frustrated with the fact that phone users are more interested in the handset rather than the network. He says that this has led to networks spending heavily on creating stronger brands, hence the full page adverts from Orange and Vodafone which talk about experience rather than show handsets.

Mark goes on to say "Players such as Vodafone and T-Mobile are reviewing their roles in the content business. They are becoming interested in off-portal strategies and helping customers find the services they want rather than actually providing - and taking revenues from -those services. People might choose to buy the N92 for its mobile TV feature and then decide later to add a voice-telephony capability."

This point of view is something that I have found interesing since attending Mobile Monday last week in London. In talking about the issue I found the analogy of MNO's being like a branch of WHSmith when it comes to selling books is a good one. What we see available from a Network Operator does not match anything like what the consumer wants in terms of personalisation, what the offer is the top 100 in terms of music, news, entertainment etc. If you are seeking something a little more specialist then you have to go an purchase it from somewhere else. A Network will not offer the best data solution for customers until they have finished building a broadband network. The way in which GPRS was deployed shows that it was not until they had a reasonable coverage that the networks focused on the development of portals.

With the handset manufacturers we see them fighting not to become the Pepsi of phones, we have seen with a strategy towards OEM handsets the networks are not looking to to hang on the coat tails of Nokia. Nokia itself is not the power is once was, many youngsters now see Motorola, Samsung and SonyEricsson as better handsets thanks to better industrial design and advertising.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

FT says that wireless addiction could be new OCD

Catch up after a weekend away and today I get the opportunity to read the Mobility Special in the Weekend edition of the FT.

In typical fashion Richard Waters has written an excellent article on how academics are viewing the development of Wireless in its impact on Social Habits. The work of Keio University in Japan is highlighted, and a quick Google brings up Mizuko Ito's paper on Personal Portable Pedestrian from a Conference in Korea last year. In this paper the author expands on the arguement of the FT article that mobile has effected the development of new Urban Ecologies. It is the social rules of the Japanese Train system for example that have fueled the development of mobile data because of the high level of social regulation means that users put their phones in "manner mode"

The interesting thing is that most mobile communication was done with a small circle of close friends and family, generally 2-5 others but no more than 10. This being the case what is the effect on online social communites such as LinkedIn and Ryze where we are encouraged to build networks in the hundreds?

This "tele-coccoon" is a socail formation that rely on text messaging to share an always onb relationship with their small intimate community signaling their unavailability from the group with messages such as "I'm taking a bath now" and sending good night messgaes.

In developing such indept relationships are we not at risk of developing some form of OCD which will see problems with withdrawl and anxity given the quality of network coverage here in Europe.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Buying high

So after many attempts O2 has found someone to buy them. Today Telefonica agreed to take control of O2 for £18billion.

Looking at the deal you have to say that the price has a strategic premium to it. In talking with others today once the news had broken the question is can Telefonica pull this purchase off?

Todate the Spanish have a very poor record on integrating businesses it had paid for rather than grown. What is needed is an executive team that will deliver benefits for Telefonica using the power of the worlds fifth biggest mobile firm. What Telefonica has done in buying O2 could well have killed the FreeMove group it created with T-Mobile, Orange and TIM.

Just how long are we going to see O2 survive as a brand, can we assume that just like Abbey, Telefonica will add their name once they complete the purchase in January 2006?

How much more are the Spanish prepared to invest in the network once they have bought it? At present O2 needs cash spent on speeding the launch of 3G services. As well as new services money also needs to be spent on developers so that customers can try products before they buy? Will we see the Labs return in Marlow and Ealing that O2 closed?

Just wonder what we can see in a years time once the deal is done and if for once Telefonica can find the people to make this work before the current O2 execs head for the hills with pockets full of cash?

UPDATE James Enck has posted his views on the deal, and like me he cannot see the value in such a purchase. Guess they guys in Madrid might like to spend money with the Strategy Houses rather than the Investment Banks!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mobile Search

The Pondering Primate posts on why Mobile Search is not working for the major players in Online Search. He says that what is needed is for the likes of Google / MSN & Yahoo! to realise that before the bombard me with adverts they first off need to give me some information.

I have to say that for me Mobile Search is about more than Mobile Info it needs to take into consideration my location and thus the context for my search. For example, my Network Operator knows what my standard region is and thus when I ask "Where is the nearest cash machine" in Central London I am looking for a machine that does not charge me to take out money and when I ask for the same in Germany I just want some money so show me the closest one.

With Mobile Search we need services like AQA, which I have commented on before, for the same reason that the Guiness Book of Records started to solve Pub Questions. We also need something like WhereOnEarth (recently bought by Yahoo!) to tell us how to find the way out of a strange town. A few years ago Orange predicted such a service with the arrival of 3G, well we have 3G but still no adequate serch services.

When do you think someone is going to develop a useable version of RSS for mobiles, perhaps with the launch of OperaMini we could see Mobile Search develop because at present a service based on SMS does not make sence to the user.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Google Wallet!?!?!?!

Whilst looking at what was happening with Mobile Search over on SearchEngineWatch this little nugget was near the top of the list. As the poster said it might just be Google doing some simple housekeeping. Then again in might just be the start of Google's payment system.

So if I take the view that Google are about to do something the the payments world and also make the logical deduction that Google were a major player on T-Mobile's new Web'n'Walk service, could that also be why SIM-PAY failed? Maybe I have been reading to many Grisham novels.

Wired overview of 4G

Wired has a great special report on how new developments in wireless might to deliver on the vision of Mobile Broadband Conecticity. Taking the view that the public has heard it all before it does a good job on outlining the new software-based systems that could form the backbone for 4G networks.

A key view is
Indeed, at least when it comes to mobile phones, consumers have been disappointed with the speed, stability and general clunkiness of "the internet on wireless" for years. And while limited applications such as e-mail have worked well, broader internet surfing has been less than stellar.

Meanwhile, broadband-thirsty wireless users have turned to Wi-Fi "hot spots" and 3G data services such as Verizon Wireless' "Broadband Access" and Sprint/Nextel's "Wireless High-Speed Data" products, which have enabled wireless broadband primarily on laptops.

The main problem is that these services are ones that will be launched and run by Networks that base their whole business on voice calls. Both SMS and Blackberry use has come from outside the product development teams of the mobile networks.

Before anyone becomes interested in have I got a 3G, 4G or 2.5G service the first thing that has to happen is that you have to have a service that we want to use. I am on my third 3G handset in 12 months and this is the first one that users of Motorola's Razr would be happy to carry. They still don't see the point of video calls and are not much concerned for faster surfing of a web that is limited.

Perhaps what is needed is someone to work on a search engine for mobile devices so that users can get the content they want that fits onto their handsets.

Looking at people who have been buying PDA's recently what is interesting is that they are using the device for a number of things, such as an GPS system and MP3 player as well as the PIM functions, Now who would have thought that when we were looking at the first iPAQs and colour Palms?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

3's vision for the future

Bob Fuller (CEO of 3, former Executive at Orange) set out his view of a 3G Future. Gone are the old predictions from his time at Orange, the future now is about being a media company with banking services!

Guess that he might need to go get the gang back together if he is to see the sucessful IPO of his former employer. He might be pushing the useage of 3G the problem is that now other networks also have a 3G service he has to find a reason for customers to stay. Rumour has it that at present he is suffering a churm rate in the 40% region which will make it difficult to get the city interested in investing.

Perhaps his case could be helped when his competitors start pushing the 3G lifestyle, once O2 has shown us just what i-mode is we could rush off and sign up for 3G assuming that they do as well as they did with the silver surfer ;-)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Peter's viral networks

Bit slow on this one because its been a busy week.

Peter Cochrane (Former CTO of BT) blogs on Silicon about free spectrum for wireless. Over tea and toast this morning it was like being in the eye of the storm that was 3G spectrum bids five years ago when Peter was saying that everyone had overpaid. At that time Peter said that the mobile market was close to saturated, today he is talking about machine-to-machine systems that uses free spectrum for RFiD.

As a futurologist Peter is looking at the development of peer-to-peer radio with dumb receivers that need very little energy to power up. This he says is the smart evolution of the current Wi-Fi based systems that have given works the ability to work wire-free. I just guess that like me Peter has yet to sit down and wade through the recent White Papers from Qualcomm and Nokia that say that the present "standards" for WiMAX just don't add up and need development.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A new digital pen

Yesterday saw the PR launch of a new digital pen called the VPen. Like the ANOTO based devices it has a bluetooth chip to allow connection to a number of devcise and uses handwriting recognition software. The difference is that unlike ANOTO you can write on any surface and the prototype is the size of a highlighter pen.

Having been a user of the ANOTO system for over a year I have to say that although the technology is excellent. It is far more social to take notes with a pen and paper than a computer when in a meeting you are not putting up a barrier for example, it also works outside in bright sunlight. A number of people who having seen me using my Pen have asked about it and then gone and got the technology themselves. The problem is that over half who have purchased the equipment have then given up using it, the problem is that they don't like the fact that it is a ball point in an ugly case. Why they ask if the clever technology is the OCR camera why can't the manufacture put it in a fountain pen, preferably one that looks like a Mont Blanc?

I have to say that I don't know why they have not got the IDEO guys to look at the technology and make it more human?

At the end of the day we were all tought to use a pencil and paper why before we were introduced to a keyboard and so why don't were use a handwriting device for input?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Smartphone Show

Spent the best part of the day at the Symbian show. For me the highlight was finally updating my handset with Opera Mini.

The buzz was around the new P990 handset from Sony Ericsson. Was lucky to get a one-to-one demo from Product Marketing who spent 30 minutes with me showing what the new UIQ 3 interface was all about. Well lets just say that the bug list is long! On the plus side what we do get is an excellent 2Meg camera with autofocus and zoom which works in Portrate & Landscape with the cover open and closed. The closing remarks were most telling "once this handset comes to market in early 2006 we will have fixed the bugs and have alot of personalisation by the network.

Had a great meeting with TI who have a great story in the development of chip families for wireless.

Intellisync have a good story to tell on how thay are competing in the push email and messaging space. They are worth looking at if you are think do I use Visto or Blackberry for email.

Also had to spend a lot of time with a number of developers who were spinning hopes and dreams in a similar manner to the boom. All I have to say to them is remember the mobile phone is just that a phone and also before you do a deal with OEMs think about the fact that we already have 1 Billion handsets out being used and it takes over 4 years to update them. Don't believe me, just ask the guys that did solutions for MMS!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is That it?

So yesterday T-Mobile launched its new data service, called Web'n'Walk.

All I can say it that I am underwhelmed, if this is the great leap forward I think I have just stepped in a puddle. If people are asking "Whats it all about?" When they see an Orange advert just wait for them to see the demo on the website.

So T-Mobile has said that the solution for mobile data is Google. Guess they don't expect people to surf on the phone just want them to use a hotspot.

Can't see the executives at O2, Orange and Vodaphone thinking we need to update what we are doing.

Then when I think lets give it a go we come across the problem that my UMTS handset won't work because what they have built the software for is the MDA handsets. So it just gets worse, T-Mobile have built a walled garden for PDA's guess they think this is a big niche but personally I guess we are looking at another lame duck.

Now I had hoped for more than this, most of all what I was looking for was Opera to extend its mobile browser download service. I am using a K600i from Sony Ericsson and would very much like to improve the browser to Opera which I have been using since my PSION days. In Norway that launched a service that let you download Opera Lite for mobile using text messaging. But hey this is something that T-Mobile does not want to do as at present what they are looking for moving new devices and getting more 12 month contracts away.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Thr rebirth of cool?

Orange have gone back to its roots in producing adverts that make you say thats cool but what has it to do Mobile Phones? Having been bought by France Telecom, Orange has lost a lot of its percieved value; thanks to campaigns such as "The Business Man" and "Phone Trainer". Perhaps with the new content alongside the new ads people will once again aspire to be bright and own an Orange phone.

James Enck posts on the Black Out advert and does not like it. Asking would Coke post an advert that says "A Day without Cook is Paradise". Just wait to he sees the Brazilian Street Sweeper!

The poster adverts that use the word OFF with a record collection that shows that at some times it is better to switch off are great. I like the adverts, if they get one stupid driver to realise that they are not capable of talking whilst driving or worse still if it stops White Van Man from texting whilst trying to run me off the road then they work for me. Also if it helps educate those that I meet that it is good maners to say that I wish to connect with you and so I will turn off my phone then we might just be able to get some work done.

Sometime we don't need to be connected. After all we do not see beer companies tell us that there product is great at breakfast!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TV on you mobile

Last Thursday I was up in Oxford and managed to get a look at the launch of O2's trial into mobile TV. I was able to have a demo of what mobile TV might be.

Now the first observation is that since getting Broadband at home I watch a lot less TV, (no I am not part of the 29% who go BB for Porn, before you ask). Thus if I am watching less television because I think that most of what is produced is rubish why would I want to be able to watch on my 3G phone?

The next observation is that looking at the video I have downloaded since getting 3G it has been news reports on 7/7, cricket clips etc, rather than popular TV. The ability to get a download of last nights must see TV woulod be an aid at those watercooler moments. At times it does help to be able to share in others joy.

The Mobile networks just don't have enough bandwidth for streaming TV. The former CEO of Peoplesoft said that the average office worker spends 210 minutes a day at work surfing the web on non-work related sites. One of the businesses he is looking at writes software that allows companies to limit employee surfing rather than blocking it totally. If such filtering software where to be a success then the ability to watch on you phone could be a money maker if the pictures could be streamed.

My only issue is if we are to see TV on a phone is what is going to happen to make it safe? It seams that most people do not regard the rules on using your phone to make calls, some even send text messages which is very dangerous especially if you are on the Motorway. The TV in my Car is limited to only show the picture if the car is traveling at less than 5MPH. What is the Mobile network going to do to provide a presence based lock on mobile TV? If my wife and kids are killed by someone looking at TV on a mobile whilst driving can I sue the Mobile company?

The Mobile Networks need to find data services to replace voice revenue. I am sure that Mobile TV will be one of many services trialed in an effort to get subscribers to pay for lost voice income. I am jst not sure that something as boring as TV can give the Networks the recurring revenue they need.

Become a Borg

Alice Hill has a great feature on how Bluetooth headsets are the new anti social device in that they scare the locals. As you walk and talk, no one can see the hanset and thus most feel that you are talking to thin air.

I have said for sometime that the arrival of Bluetooth headsets means that we are coming closer to that Star Trek moment when we push a button on our clothes and start talking. I find my HBH-660 headset pared with my K600i from Sony Ericsson means that I am safe walking and talking in that in enables me to use my phone in the street without running over people!

I just want the designers to make the headset even smaller, how long will it before before I am once again have an earing just this time it's my headset?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Africa's view on M-Commerce

Have just caught up on MTN's developments for M-Commerce in South Africa which sees them linking their network with a bank. This move is somewhat similar to what we have seen with Globe Telecom in that it allows users to take money out as well as peer-to-peer payments.

The system also allows the state to pay benefits and merchants to transfer funds. Thus in areas that historically not been served by Banks due to the history of South Africa people now are enfranchised. With over 80 Million mobiles, and a tradition of migrant workers the Country looks like a classic example of now M-Commerce could be deployed.

I think that M-Banking will be somethiong that is pushed from the poorer countries into the developed ones. Where I live we have ATM machines in 13 sites, most of the people have credit cards as well as bank accounts and as such do not see the need for M-Commerce. The only service that most people want is a system that allows for the electronic top up of Pre Pay accounts on a peer to peer basis, and only then when they have school aged children. However in a country that does not have a strong banking system, with limited products for the low income sector a system that replaces the branch networks of retail banking becomes an important tool in empowering others.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Economist - Telecoms and the Internet

Today's Economist has a Special Report on Telecoms and the internet, following this weeks purchase by eBay of Skype.

Analysis looks at those networks that are vulnerable to VoIP because of the high percentage of revenue from Voice calls. For pure mobile operators VoIP could be an "enormous problem". Mobile operators face a far greater challenge than fixed-line carriers. Voice accounts for the bulk of their business and they cannot (at least today) offer broadband access as easily as the cable and fixed-line companies. New "third-generation" networks are supposed to make possible new data services to compensate for flat and even declining revenues from voice calls, but consumer adoption has been slow.

Now the problem is that to date the Mobile Networks have not been able to build any data product, SMS and Ringtones were developed by third parties and have been a success despite the networks. Have been using Orange's 3G network for nine months I have to say that I am disappointed by what is available. So far I have only been able to make three video calls and send very few MMS messages. What the new service means is that thanks to bluetooth I have given up my datacard.

Gartner says that PayPal is the 600lb Gorilla for Micropayments

Silicon yesterday carried a story on a new report from Gartner Analyst Avivah Litan on PayPal's new Micropayment System. In her note, she says that vendors should abandon other payment systems when it comes to micropayments and adopt PayPal.

Just why do the Banking industry feel that we will have just one solution for payment? I cannot see the solution to micropayments being something that is just available for online payments. The system that will work for micropayments will have to include some form of mobile payments and on my reading I cannot see PayPal making any headway in this space.

Micropayments is an important issue and the system that works will have to be available on multiple platforms in realtime with some form of dispute resolution. Failure to address all these areas will mean that we will not have found THE solution that works. Thinking ahead the system needs to work not just in the economies that are dominated by credit based solutions but also in cash societies, this in itself means that we are unlikely to discover a solution in the US.

Friday, September 09, 2005

One eyed view on convergence!

The last two days has seen a number of people ask me about the Moto i-Tunes handset, today's Independent has a good round up of first impressions.

In chatting with Ged Carrol last night I said that the first issue had to be just where was the business model for such a device? Looking at the revenues made by Mobile Networks from downloads I cannot see them standing back at letting Apple take all the money.

The next issue is just what does Moto thing they are doing? We have seen that they have been able to design great handsets and then they release the ROKR! Just what does the design team feel, I cannot think that they were listened to when/if they were asked to comment on the handset. The marriage of Apple's design team with the guys who did the Razr and Pebbel should have developed something that had people running to the store to get one. Insead we have Frankinstein's monster that will most likely have people declining the offer of a free handset and instead paying for a Samsung or Sony Ericsson handset.

Just glad that I will not have to hide the fact that I have a Walkman Phone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Coke Machine's to sell Mobile Content

Inspired Networks have struck a deal with deal with Coke in the Republic of Ireland to sell mobile content from vending machines. Interesting expansion for Coke as they are looking to get more kids to keep drinking soft drinks following the "Jamie Oliver" backlash.

As well as getting the content "over the air" customers will be able to get content via Bluetooth. Whilst I have been an envangelist for Bluetooth for a long time I have to say that using it for content makes Digital Rights Management a headache and I have to ask just how will Inspired resolve disputes. How many times have we seen people punch a vending machine that does not give them an over priced drink or a chocolate? Just imagine how much more upset your going to feel when you buy a ringtone and it does not arrive especially when you have feed the machine with £3 plus in small change ;-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Making mobile better

Wireless Week has a feature on International Calling. Mark Lowenstein looks at how Americans see the downside of Roaming. Thus the story is written with an American eye which ask why have the networks dragged their feet on services.

The issue is that some carriers make 40% of there profit from Roaming charges whilst on 10% of the volume comes from International calls. With such a high margin only regulation will see the situation change.

As we return from our vacations those who are contract will discover just what it cost to take our phones away with us. I for one have discovered the variable cost of UMTS data roaming whilst in Europe this month in my efforts to follow the third Ashes test. All I can say is that I wish that France Telecom stop dragging their feet on the roll out of Freemove which should see a lowering in Roaming costs in an effort to compete with Vodafone.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Nokia & Kineto to work together on UMA

Kinto Wireless and Nokia have signed an agreement to work together on Unlicensed Mobile Access.

Nokia will use Kinto's technology to allow networks to build networks similar to the BT Bluephone that brings Fixed and Mobile networks together. My observation is just where is the need for such technology?

With the current tarrifs available from a mobile network it is difficult to see the case for cost reduction. As for improved network coverage, we could move towards picocells to connect to the network rather than use a VoIP based solution. I am sure that both Kineto and Nokia can make a case for use to buy the technology but I cannot see just what the market it is!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

BT plans a portal for its mobile customers

New Media Age reports that BT has asked Content companies to bid for its new Portal. No details are yet available but NWA says that it will compete with the likes of VodafoneLive and Orange World.

Now I can remember that we have BT Mobile to thank for "Surf the Mobile Net" when they controlled Cellnet. I just hope that those involved have learnt from their experiences, otherwise we could expect something quite horrendous! Wonder if Yahoo! will responder to the bid request as a way to get further coverage in the mobile space.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mobiles for Social Change

The Guardian has a great piece on how the rise of Mobile phones in Africa is effecting change. The latest Peer-2-Peer mobile payment scam is that you buy a pre-paid scratch card and text the code so that some one else can use the credit!

This allows for users to pay "taxes" without having to meet someone face-to-face.

Just wonder how long it will be before the 419ers send my a text message offering me millions via pre-paided credits?

Another reason why SIMPAY was a good idea and the Networks should get on with making M-commerce work, guess I should have another coffee with the GSM Association guys and see if they might make something happen.

Friday, July 29, 2005

What's best for Mobile Data

Quocirca have published a report about why Walled Gardens are bad news for Mobile Networks. This will be good news for my Friends Ajit & Tony who spent the last year writing a book called Open Gardens where they talk about the need to open the network.

The problem it that Tony has discovered that with an Open Portal the mobile network will cut off funds for developers and reduce assistance to small companies looking to create the reason that users would wish to visit a portal. Lets face it the only reason most over the age of 25 have for going online via our phone is to discover the latest news on travel disruptions (I have to say that the past four weeks in London Orange have been excellent at keeping users up to date with events following terror insidents thanks to Sky News.) I am not in the market for new themes or ringtones and hence the traditional mobile data services are of very little interest and I work in the industry!

The real problem with Mobile Portals is that the fact that the device and bandwidth are limited compared to a PC means that the services need to be location and presence based. The ability to deliver such services is limited by the fact that Mobile Network Operators do not wish to give access via SS7 to the network for fear of revenue srinkage (remember the days of Phone cloning where someone was able to "copy" a SIM and run up hugh bills?). Thus what we face at the moment is a situation that the Mobile Operator is in a Catch 22 situation which sees them damded if they do and damed if they don't.

In the past few months speaking to others about mobile data services I have heard stories of Networks reconciling billing using an speadsheet and macros from hell built by temps, content prviders only abile to collect 90p in the £. When you add the "Jamster effect" which sees parent's very un-happy to discover that "junior" has been mugged, you have to ask just why would anyone thing that a mobile phone is for anything more than talking on ;-)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Is your phone watching you?

Wired has a great story on MIT Media Lab reseachers Nathan Eagle, who has been working on a project that uses mobiles to track were you went, how long you slept and what calls you took or bumped.

Using Bluetooth enabled phones Eagle stored the actions of over 100 people amd then was able to predict what people are likely to do next. He got it right 85% time with professors. Not only diagle his PhD it also allowed users to search just what they did and how much they did not.

They article also speaks of a new start-up that allows social introductions based on what you did which might be fun when placed against the likes of Ryze and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fins use phones for ID cards

SmartTrust has signed agreements with three Finnish operators, including Elisa, who will issue new SIM cards - containing the State Certificate - to subscribers.

This is a great idea in a country with a population less than that of London but can HM Goverment adopt a similar solution here in Britain? Also in a country where a number of people do not have a mobile and others have more than one how do we cope with multiple sims or the disadvantaged?

Also is it a reasonable excuse that the battery is flat officer and so cannot provide a copy of my ID?

All is theory as I cannot see us having ID cards for a good few years and then we can expect a wait of quite sometime before we move to another media. Thus I am most likely to be very old before they allow me to replace plastic with sim card unless I move!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mobile phones as a tool of social change

The FT-IT review this week has an article on how the developing countries are using mobile phones to effect change. Amoung the networks featured was an Operator from Afganistan that claims to be creating a "middle class", we also have Alcatel helping african farmers sell produce at the best price/location.

Over the past few weeks I have been talking to a number of people who are working on social mobile projects in developing countries. This weeks Economist has a feature on how the GSM Association is effecting change with the introduction of low cost mobile handsets.

It all just goes to show that there is a lot more in 2G mobile and its not all about video calling and mobile internet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

ATM on your mobile

This week another mobile commerce play comes out into the public this time we have Sun Microsystems and Morse fronting up a system that lets you view your bank account and top up your mobile on your phone. This is a technology looking for a market and I have to say that I cannot see anyone wanting to use an ATM that does not give you any hard cash.

I am sure that we will see more technology firms that want to try and enter the market now that SIMPAY hased closed.

Using your phone in the car causes car crashes has news of an Australian report that regardless of handsfree you are more likely to have a car crash.

Looking in more detail you see the study was 456 drivers in Perth who were hospitalised! Might be a self selecting survey.

I have to say that handsfree is better than holding the phone even in the snailpaced London traffic. But what is also more important is the network operators have to discover a way of limiting text use in the car!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Lets swap ipods

is a great idea from The Independent. They got Charlotte Church and Dylan Jones to exchange ipods and then comment on what they found and how it expanded horizons.

I would be interested in seeing what some of my clients would think of what I have on my MP3 player and if it could effect the business we do. Perhaps its just a hangover from the Live8 event!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

BT Bluephone Launch

The Business says that BT will give Bluephone the Green Light this week. A friend called this evening to tell me that the PR launch is tomorrow and was I going and what should he ask given the opportunity.

My thought was how are BT going to package Bluephone and who was the phone aimed at?

BT settled on Bluetooth when that was the most viable technology for a connection to a fixed line base station. Now it is clearly obvious that a Wi-Fi connection would be superior and rumour has it that version 1.1 will substitute Wi-Fi for Bluetooth.

Nonetheless BT looks determined to press ahead with an offering that will be outmoded virtually at launch.

The difference is that BT's service - in conjunction with Vodafone - will enable a landline call to 'hand over' to a cellular link. We all know how badly that technology worked with 3G where 2G to 3G calls failed to make the link reliably for ages. Why should the Bluephone perform any better?

And anyway, the real answer is to use one of the few existing GSM plus Wi-Fi handset to make a Skype connexion via a home base station and then swap to cellular outside the home.

BT needs a very clever trick up its sleeve to make the Bluephone fly. Including a new name for the Bluephone.

No Need to go to school today!

Just read about Coventry University's plan to narrowcast lectures via 3G phones. Now I am all for extending education but one of the benefits I found to attending the lecture hall was to socialise as well as gfet a better understanding of my course work. I also seem to remember that my fellow arts students were quite fit and so when the speaker was boring we had something else to listen to.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The future is out there, but will users pay for it?

FT-IT review has a report on the latest research from Analysys on a Wireless Services Roadmap.

They look at the fact that ARPU is higher for 3G users than 2G, and thus the networks are looking at how they can increase speed again so that we can adopt 4G technologies such as WiMAX. In giving faster connection we can have DVB-H and improve web browsing, e-mail and video calling. My only observation is just how many people want to watch TV on a tiny device. Also just how can we power such devices as at present my wireless laptop last for three hours without charging?

I think that teh adoption of wireless data services is about blue collar solutions that allow workers to work smarter rather than technology that allows managers to work slowly anywhere. Once the networks get that and start developing technologies that remove latency in the network then we could see mobile take off once again just how the research firms have been predicting.

Friday, May 27, 2005

M-Payment in Japan

My attention has been tuned into the world of mobile payments over the last week and Google alerts delivered this story from Business Week. The interesting comment for me is "This is a completely new sector for DoCoMo and is part of our aim to move into areas where we are not so dependent on communication usage," Masao Nakamura, DoCoMo's chief executive, told reporters on announcing the Sumitomo deal. "Our entry into the credit-card business will be a turning point for us."

Now DoCoMo is in a very different possition to any other Mobile Network in that they are in the business of shifting tin more than selling airtime and they do so very well. But this is a company that can afford to pay $935m to buy a stake in the second biggest retail bank in Japan. I can remember reading reports that said Banks would buy phone companies as a technology channel to customers.

The sidebar shows that In Japan customers already using 2D barcodes to order goods from a catalogue as well as tickets for the movies and small godes from vending machines. Next year they will replace credit cards and train tickets. Just wonder how long it is going to take for the technology to travel West to Europe?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Its a question of lifecycles

I have just got back from Athens having presented on the potential for mobile commerce to European bankers for HP. The event as a whole was interesting in that it provided me with a view on a sector todate that I have had little to do with other than as customer. The main theme was Transforming Payments, which although mundane was interesting when split between Wholesale and Retail. The interesting thing is that a business started 600 years ago by Italians is very much resistance to change even when forced by regulation and law. The similarity with the mobile telecoms world is that some of those that have been behind the times are making leaps of faith to jump ahead in banking.

Today in talking over my experience someone pointed out that the management teams in Mobile are focused on the day-to-day business and to them ten months is a cycle whilst ten years is a cycle in Banking and as such any change is slow and resisted even when forced. In debating this point he highlighted that trying to get his group to look at the medium term (next three years) he was told that in such a period they could all have lost their jobs twice and so lets focus on the hear and now! More than one of the Industry Speakers had over thirty years experience with their current employer (would I like the pension they have from such service.)

As for my views on M-Commerce well the launch of SIMPAY this summer in Europe will hope seed the education of subscibers following the failure of m-pay by the networks. The focus will be on payments below €10 and it will be for content based services rather than face to face transactions in order to limit the need for dispute resolution. Outside the developed economies we could see services such as G-Cash in Phillipines that remove cash from the system with text messages used for token exchange of funds without the need for expensive card transaction services.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Is that a Guru in your pocket?

Wired has an article about a new service called Cellphedia, which it calls a wireless Wikipedia they call themselves the 1st Ubiquitous Social Encyclopedia!

Looking at the service it seems to have a few difference to the British based AQA that I have written about before. The service was part of a post grad course. Unlike the British service a users question is answered by other users who claim to have specialist knowledge in a specific site. As well as sending the reply to the person requesting info the response in posted on a website and the first person to respond is rewarded for doing so.

The most interesting vox pop is this:-

"Jimmy Wales, president of the Wikimedia Foundation and founder of Wikipedia, said he's seen Cellphedia but hasn't used the site. He said he thinks Cellphedia sounds like a great idea, and that Wikipedia is actually in talks with Nokia about creating a Wikipedia client on Nokia cell phones."

Now if one of the handset guys starts putting Peer-2-Peer based services such as this on a device then we could see something very interesting develop. I guess it depends on the price structure and who gets paid for what as to if the service is a success. But tghe plus side is that this is one of the interesting services to come out of America now that they are understanding SMS.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Nokia Sensor technology uses Bluetooth to find a friend!

Digging around on the Nokia site I found info on Nokia Sensors. Using Bluetooth you can connect Peer-2-Peer for Social Networking and File Sharing.

Nokia has created a great microsite that has a demo, free download of the software and FAQ's to outline how to use the saoftware.

Some of this stuff is great in that it can enable users to link and communicate without the use of a Mobile Network so perhaps the next time I am on the tube with friends we can keep "chatting" whilst travelling or when in a conference that has no network coverage.

My only concern is the Free File sharing side of the service could be something that limits Nokia's development of DRM technology and the uptake on new content.

Another new horizon - Software Defined Radio (SDR)

Over at TheFeature there is a great piece on Software Defined Radio. For a long time this has been flagged as the ultimate radio as it selects the best network to use dependent on the type of service you require and what spectrum is available.

This could see the most effective system giving broadcast qualitity services which would make BT's Bluephone project look as sleek as a barge!

The problem is that the technology was outlines many years ago and working parties in BOTH the US & Europe set the standards for SDR over two years ago and still we are no closer to a commercial device. Could it be because the manufacturers are busy building 3G, Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM chip based products which they need to make revenue from for the R&D spend?

I don't expect to see any inteligent radio device before my five year old finishes secondary school, but she might get one when she finishes University!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

DRM Fight mars mobile music development

Cnet has an article on how the mobile networks are fighting over the format used to stop copying of mobile music. Now I know that a few legal guys are looking at the mobile carriers as ideal cases to suit for P2P.

I have been watching the development of mobile music for quite some time, ever since a scientist in the FT Labs showed me what MPEG7 was all about. The solution will only come once we have developed a usable standard that is just that something used by everyone regardless of device/platform.

I for one don't think that Mobile Music will be something that works for me because I am just not interested in the current pop music and the Networks don't think that someone like me would be interested enough to pay £3 for a Paul Weller ringtone.

It's about the experience

This last week has been an interesting one for me.

I have been talking to a number of people who work in the industry about Mobile and just whats the problem.

The first issue is with the Mobile Network Operators.

Yes you were ripped off by Governments to stay in the game with 3G but get over it and move on. Build the networks out just like you did when we went digital and stick to what you should be good at, namely network optimisation and billing. Do not think that you understand data or can run a portal live that to guy who specialise. Invest in customer care and promote the fact to your customers.

The next issue is with Users

Just because you can talk and move does not mean that you have to all the time. Remember that the calling whilst driving laws are for a specific reason to keep other road users safe as well as your self. Remember that not everyone wants to hear you conversation and so try not to use your phone in quite public places like a cinema or restaurant. Therefore before you take/make that next call just think is it important or can I do this later in a better way?

Then we have the Content Guys

Try and remember that I have a mobile phone because I multitask, believe me if it was not for the fact that I need to make calls outside of the Home/Office then I would not pay over £100 per week to use such a poor service. This being the case then can you not try and segment me and try and understand that during the day I act as a Partner, Parent, Employee, Employer, Supplier, Client and Consumer sometime I am more than one of these things at anyone one time! This being the case I find it perfectly normal to seek train details, gifts, music and news in the space of 5 minutes. Just because I looked at a music site does not mean that I want to be spammed by you with offers for a new ringtone/wallpaper etc. I am a middleaged man with some disposable income at present and so yes I can pay for what I want but my Music education was in the late 70's - mid -80's and so I have little need for Dance music however it would have been good to kknow about Jill Scott sooner and my liking of Jazz does not include Jamie Callum or Katie Melua for me any way.

One for the Finance Guys

I would like to be able to store on my SIM card some of the details from my Payment cards. The SIM and the Smartcard look the same, my handset has a keypad with numbers, so when are you going to get with the program and not make me waste time putting in my full card numnber etc. Can you get your guys and Mobey Forum to talk with the Networks guys at SIMPAY and fix this before then end of the summer.

Sitting and talking with a number of executives it has become obvious that all involved have too many Accountants and NOT enough Economists, they need to employee more Sociologists than Economists and more Anthropologists than Sociologists. If they started employing people who tried to understand the customer rather than control costs maybe the customer would use the service more. It is not about the unit cost I pay for the service it is about the experience and utility the service provides. In the early days Orange was great because they tried to focus on the experience not the phone, now they focus on the technology and are not as cool.`

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

T-Mobile backs away from 3G

Trade mag, Mobile Today has a well written feature on the slooooow launch of 3G by T-Mobile.

A year ago I was offered a combined 3G & WiFi datacard from T-mobile which I was interested in until I saw the pricing. This was a product that is aimed firmly at the business user and to get value for money I would have to drink a lot of coffee in Starbucks whilst using a T-Mobile Hotspot. I spoke with some contacts and they said that the voice service was just about to be launched. The T-Mobile lost its Chief Marketing Officer (he is now the President of Google for EMEA) and we have yet to see 3G as a voice service.

I gave up on T-Mobile at Christmas and left after nine years paying my contract every month to join Orange because they were offering 3G voice. My handset can link with BOTH my PDA and Laptop to allow me to use it as a modem when needed and my price plan is such that the data used falls into my monthly allowance.

Now I am disappointed that T-Mobile does not want to launch anytime soon and that here in Britain is is happy to become the carrier for MVNOs. As well as the delayed launch of 3G I am also hearing that it is pulling out of the portal business and closing T-Zones. As a former employee of One-2-One it is disappointing to see a company that was at one stage a leader in Mobile products fall apart as the result of cost reduction programmes.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Vodafone taps Visto for Email solution

CBR has a new item on the sellection of Visto rather than RIM by Vodafone for there new email service.

Now at the moment a lot of people are very excited by the number of companies that could knock RIM off the number one spot in terms of wireless email. The reason for this excitement is that Microsoft have been showing a number of people its new offering code named Magneto. To get a feel of the people talking about it look at Debi Jones and Guy Kewney who have both been talking about Microsofts plans on their sites.

Why the interest in wireless email?

Is it because as we work just like the memo of our parents day we need something to show that we have been productive with our day and so we send a large number of e-mails to as many as possible to show just how busy we are. Is it that we are no longer comfortable talking with people and so feel a lot better firing off a quick note? Or could it be that we percieve ourselves to be so important that we just must be connected at all times hence the Blackberry and Phone about us all the time?

How would you like to pay?

I have been doing some work on mobile payments. My first experience of Mobile Wallet was not a happy one, a small mono screen, slow connection speeds and complex interface made for a frustrating time. However the Mobile networks are starting to come together on micro payments with the launch of Simpay.

This Summer we will see a service launched in Spain that allows the phone user to make payments for content not just on the mobile phones network but also other peoples websites. They will settle the payment on there phone bill and authorise the payment with a simple pin number. We can expect to see the service in London in time for Christmas shopping.

With the role out of SIMPAY we can expect to see a number of retailers getting excited as they see an opportunity to charge for Papers, Coffee, etc. using a mobile phone and pay a lower charge in terms of transaction fee. The reason is that the mobile network gets money from the text messages sent to authorise and pay the bill, they also want to increase my experience as a 3G customer.

If SIMPAY takes off it will mean that on weekends I can leave the house with just my Keys and Phone. Hopefully within a few years I can use my phone to start the car and open the door of my house but that will take time for another new technology to take off called near field communication.

Just a little plug for my favorite browser.

Download Opera

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Remember when...

James Enck has posted a great thumbnail on his early experiences with Orange having found a spacehopper in his shed that was given to him as part of a loyality scheme.

The iten has reminded him that how just a short time ago Mobile was still not mass market and Orange was fun. Happy days! I can remember when Orange had an Imaginear, Prophets and ran Futurology not only were thay agreat brand marketing company they also invested in technology to bring about change quicker. To see what was spoken about before they were owned by France Telecom look at when Kenny Hirschhorn wrote about what he hoped would happen in 2005!

As for me well I have Orange corkscrews, bags, pen knives, watches and a brolly.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Just what's up with Sky?

I have always been a fan of Greg Dyke, today in The Independent's media review he has written another great comment on Why Sky fails compared to HBO in the US.

"We now know that Dawn Airey, the managing director of Sky Networks, is a great fan of Home Box Office (HBO) - the US cable channel responsible for such outstanding dramas as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City and Band of Brothers. We know this because she told us so in her recent, inspiring Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, which was broadcast on BBC television. But in her lecture, Airey ducked the real question: why hasn't anything remotely similar to HBO emerged from pay television in Britain?

Airey did claim that such programmes were only possible because of the advent of multi-channel subscription television which is, she says, "liberating the creative genius of the programme maker". Well, it certainly has in the US, where, during the past decade or so, HBO has transformed itself from a channel playing movies and big boxing matches into the cable channel smart people have to have - and pay for - because of the quality of its drama production. But that still doesn't answer the question, why hasn't it happened here?"

Mr Dyke goes on to say that whilst Sky has been creative in News & Sport it has not been so in Drama. He argues quite well that this is becuase Sky is the Monopoly broadcasters and as such has not commissioned Drama because of the production costs.

I have to say that whilst we have had some success with Drama here in the UK most is dire rubbish and with the consumer moving away from broadcast to narrow cast it can only mean more reality TV and UK's Top 100 type cheap broadcasting. The real problem is that we have developed a generation that does not watch TV. Look at young people today and they flick from one channel to another faster than us niddle aged folk and see just what it was that flashed before our eyes. My nephew resently stated life was not worth living during a recent outage of his adsl connection, he watched no TV prefering to game online when not playing music in a local band. Because we as parents have placed TV's & Video Games in childrens bedroom we have failed to educate todays youngster how to watch TV. Thus just like the parents who are killing our kids with too much junk food we are killing TV by not showing our kids the benefits of sitting and watching good television. The only problem is just what is good program making?


The US Trade Magazine has another interesting Mobile Phone Report from BBDO; this week they tell us about some research into cultural differences to answering the phone whilst making Love. The bad news is that over one in five Germans and Spanards have stopped making love to take a phone call, if your lover is Italian they are least likely to take the call and a sixth of Americans have stopped making love to take a call on their cell phone.

Now the Advertising agency says that the perpose of the study was to figure how people use there mobile phones and the results show an anxity amount users to missing calls. I find this interesting to some extent as its my experience that some people who have too many calls are more than happy to drop some.

Maybe its because I am a fat old man soon to be forty but I can say that I am most unlikely to take a call on my mobile whilst enjoying some quality time with my partner; the opportunities are few and far between and if I were to take the call in might just means that they would become even fewer!

On the other front an Associate last week did complain that whilst he was trying to make love with his wife he gave up when he saw that she was writing an email on her Blackberry! At the time we just suspected that he was too drunk to perform rather than his wife was suffering from "Communication Anxity" ;-)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Mastermind in your pocket

The Independent has a technology feature on a new mobile company called AQA, (Any Questions Answered)which will attempted to reply to a question sent by text message for £1. More than just a call centre staffed by pale skinned uber geeks who can drive google faster than you it uses a number of researchers as well as search engine who are able to reply in 160 carracters.

The story has some simple comments about how the service can be used to cheat in pub quizes and no school exams. The examples given however seem to be more general such as "what numbers should I play in the lottery?"

Not sure if this is just a small opportunity or something bigger, but hey I said to the founders of Shazam that I did not see the business being a hit so what do I know about the future!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Blogs in the machine

Weekend FT has a feature on how some Blogs are not as trustworthy as those written by Journalist. Now as a well written article its well done it argues that the ability to take on the mainstream media(MSM) technology has allowed us all to post comment.

The issue is that how do we establish the credability of the writer of a Blog. Some of those bloging have stong principles however others can be bought. In the technology world we have the recent spat between Engadget and Gizmodo over sponsorship of CeBIT reporting. The guys at Engadget had declined the money and when their biggest rival took Siemens cash with strings attached they published just what they had been offered and why the turned it down. Now in the MSM when were we told that the wonderful luxury hotel holiday was the reult of a free trip from BA?

The difficult issue is that we all have our price, the question is one of context. You can get we to evangelise your technology for a realatively small amount my soul costs more!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Didn't see that coming, did you?

Weekend FT has a great article on Futurology - the business of looking at the future and attempting to predict it. Following the demise of the empire we see that a number of businesses have given up thinking wht might be and how we can achieve it.

Orange at one time had a Chief Imagineer, Head of Prophecy, Visionary Planners all working in Futurology. They had the ear of the CEO and his board and so were able to help the business put together the technology needed to make "the future bright". Not only were they able to wisper thoughts they had money to burn on fancy office space and other businesses such as Wildfire.

Now that they are part of France Telecom the Prophets have become Product Managers, the Imagineer has gone off to write and play music. They now have a Strategy Group staffed by clones from the leading business schools. It is my opinion that it is worse off for losing the people who were prepared to question and think big thoughts. Now instead we have a business full of Product Managers who are not interested in being the best, all they want is to be better than the others! In doing so I as a customer am frustrated that some of the best technology I see is not available to me. Others are not happy that the customer service ethic has declined and so hope that the grass is greener on the other side and are leaving to join David Beckham!

Why does this happen? Because those with passion have been replaced by engineers who think that they can segment me into a box. The problem is that in the course of the day, I have a number of roles, parent, employee, consultant, consumer, communter, parent and as such have different demands on my mobile network. It is no longer a function of price it is a question of service and coverage, after 20 years I do no expect to have ubiqutious connectivity, I want data as well as voice services, as for messaging how about working out the best context to deliver them to me.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Big Opportunity for the Smallest Screen

Multicasting has started to feature large on my radar screen at the moment. For the last few years it has been called tomorrow's internet. Now we have Nokia & Crown Castle in one corner and Qualcomm in the other developing technology that allows broadcast quality messages to be sent to a select group similar to videoconferencing and teleconferencing.

Now the delivery of mobile video is something that I am not that impressed with at present, a two minute highlight video is not broadcasting but with the development of multimedia services based around the same technology used for Freeview makes for a very different case. To start off with we have mobile networks looking at quality networks built with little/no latenacy, then we have the coverage limited to specific areas. What we could see is an opportunity for venues such as golf courses capable of showing replays without the benefit of big on site screens.

Is the development of such a service the content golden egg, or is it just another pipe dream? I for one will not be a fan, the though of listening to breakfast TV when stuck at the points on the tube is just the thing that would send me into a rage rather than sedate me!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The curse of the Blackberry

Infoconomy has a great feature on how the must have pocket accessory for senior executives has a dark side - and those in IT know all about it.

The bottom line is that this little box in your pocket has far more status than value. Those that push it say the device is important in that it allows constant communication. The issue is that the mobile networks don't have the coverage necessary to make it the device as sold.

RIM feels that it has come up with the iPod for the executive class, I think that they have come up with email plague. The problem is that the messaging market is developing and presence is more important, I communicate more with IM and voice than I do with email because when I want to communicate I prefer a two way process and with email its not aways on. The thing that convinced me that Blackberry was not for me was the fact that not all those at the top of the mobile operators were carrying one, despite the fact they had two or more handsets!

On top of that we have RSI reports that too much usage was a bad thing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Opera, the Forgotten Browser!

Wired Newshas an interview with the CEO of Opera Software in which they outline that Firefox has stollen most of his clothes. The article goes on to give the good news that "the show ain't over till the fat lady sings" And Opera intends to put on a grand performance this year that hopefully will see the browser take off in North America and Asia with its new version.

I am an Opera fan having first bought the browser for my Psion PDA some five years ago. I use Opera on my laptop and am at present a very happy user of the beta version which has added sound. When running Ad-Aware on my laptop I have very few hits compared to when running it on my childrens machine with IE. The same is also true for Spyware, Pop Ups etc.

My only gripe is with site owners who have configured themselves only for IE which means that I have to put switch to see what I want or go somewhere else!

Here is to a great year at the Opera!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Lucy Kellaway: I refuse to hobnob for advantage

Lucy Kellaway wrote in yesterdays FT that she was not attending Davos this week despite that fact that her profile is high enough to be invited!

Davos is the winter get together in Switzerland where you can meet the great and the good and enjoy some skiing.

She tells the story of a successful businessman who at 60 has decided that networking was a waste of time. Nothing positive had happened from all the events he had attended in the past, what he liked was the ego boost of seeing and been seen and over time his ego no longer needed tickling by glad handing over warm white wine and canapes.

Kellerway goes on to say that the point of networking is to meet someone more important than you are. But if everything goes to a party to network, the whole exercise becomes self-defeating.

Whilst I agree that groups such as Ryze, Tribe, Ecademy and Spoke are only going to make money for the founders who are selling the snake oil of importance, power and connectivity. These are networks that seem to work on a numbers basis that grow buy getting as many as possible to join because the life span of members is limited.

However the point of Davos is that it is an invitation event that therefore controls the quality of those attending. This means that for those of us in business Davos is good, for a journalist on the FT yes its limited because she can get to see almost anyone. I will be going to Davos hopefully I well meat some more interesting people, it might not result in business quickly but it does help with introductions for people who don't have a brand name employer. My advice is just do not sell what you do be interesting and then others will ask your help opinion and realise that your time has an economic value.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Digital Pen: Mightier Than a Keyboard?

internet.comhas an a review of Logitech's io2 Digital Writing Pen which uses Anoto technology platform to enable digital capture of your handwriting. This is something that I have been using for the last nine months thanks to friends at Destiny Wireless. I think that this year we will see a major drive in Digital Pen uptake.

What I like about the technology is that rather than hiding behind my laptop at meetings I can use a Black & Red notebook to take notes in a meeting and then back at my desk these notes are digitised and transfered into either my electronic notebook or emailed to others. The impressive feature with my Nokia pen is the ability to change colours electronically when taking mind notes.

When others have seen the technology in action they have asked about it and are now looking at ways to use the pen within their business, it is just like my experiences with my PSION pda when they were first on the market. This is a technology that sells itself via demonstration rather than ROI calculations.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Futures Bright

Having given up on T-Mobile after ten years "service" I find myself a member of the Orange network.

I now have a 3G handset and better coverage at home. The handset is in someways similar to my previous one in that I have stayed loyal to Sony Ericsson and so the text input and address book have some common features. In terms of the network based services well a lot has changed first off I have a customer service team who are seeking to help me make the most of my phone and the network. Thus this blog is being posted via my Orange phone as it the modem at the present because I cannot find a hotspot.

What does 3G mean at present well it does seem to give better voice coverage, just as I get to the tube station I "drop back" onto the 2G network and so those that I talk to can hear the difference. As for data on my phone well it is interesting getting Sky news video on my phone but I never was a big consummer of wallpaper, ringtones etc. and so as far as Orange are concerned I am not a big user of data.

So far the experience has been good, lets see what happens this week when I leave the UK and try and use my phone in Italy!