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 ;-)