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!