Friday, February 24, 2006

Wireless VoIP 101

This weeks carnival of the mobilists as well as picking up my post on rethinking the mobile device has a post from Martin Sauter on Wireless VoIP in which he outlines the various technologies on available for such services.

However he does not mention the service I picked up yesterday on Spain's trial of VoIP using Disk On Key technology. In trying to discover more on the Start-Up that has developed the technology I spoke with someone who said that I should also take a look at Tatara Systems. In doing so I discover that they have quitely been used in deployments by both O2 and Vodafone but the PR has been extremely poor or the Networks don't want too many people asking questions about lower call prices.

My To DO list now has yet more Companies to meet in trying to get the information needed to make a judgement.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Who says that you need a handset for Mobile VoIP?

In catching up on my reading after Barcelona I finally picked up this story from Telecom's Tsunami, the original page link no longer works.

This looks like an enhancement to the standard services one gets with a connect card from one of the Mobile Networks but it does look like a cool enterprise solution, something that the networks don't usually seem able to do. Guess in reading this I am going to have to do some work around DOK services most of my clients are still trying to get a view on WirelessVoIP.

Off to read some more and will post more once I have finished.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Re-thinking the mobile device

Mark Lowenstein, Managing Director of Mobile Ecosystem, has written for the latest edition of Vodafone's journal an article on next generation useability.

Mark has placed voice at the centre of 3G wireless which continues a theme from discussions I had last week in Barcelona. Senior members of McKinsey's mobile group have said that enhanced voice is the key to unlock mobile revenues, this is a something that a number of executives from the networks are also speaking about.

With the third generation of mobile upon us can we hope that networks can be designed and maintained in an intelligent manner that would allow speach engines to be more than IVR? Can I expect my MNO to install a system that places voice at the centre to run unified messaging and PIM, or will it just be blue sky thinking from the visionary planners?

I hope that the networks do understand that the business is fundementally about communication, with this being so voice is at the centre of it with text and instant messaging adjucts. Other data services such as email, blogging and surfing are not things on which to build a business but are likely to be central services for advanced users. Mobile TV and M-Commerce are not likely to be more than hype in terms of genuine products that western users will pay to use.

VoIP is not the elephant in the room that some make it out to be. For most of us VoIP is additional calls rather than substition in the same way that email means that we communicate with more people more frequently than we ever did when letters were written and stamps needed to send them.

With these concepts it will be interesting to see if the handset manufacturers can adopt a "build to order" concept as outlined by Mark. This would see a genuine personalisation far bigger than even iXi Mobile saw when they developed the PMG concept. However I do thing it is something that has potential just as I have a number of systems to play music on, if I have to pay full price for handsets then I want to specifiy what features and what software my handset will carry. This is something that we could do today using Widgets from someone like Opera, in the future the system could become drag and drop.

The only downside of such a vision is that it turns the Networks into little more than bit pipes and alas that is the last thing that the Marketing guys want to be even if they started out working for FMCG firms.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Another Sony Ericsson handset that I just love

One of the few upsides of 3GSM was that for me it provided an opportunity to view to what every handset maker hopes that we will be using over the coming year without having to visit Carphone Warehouse.

The problem was that with everyone in Hall 8 it was like the crush found in most supermakets on Christmas Eve. However amoung the handsets that got my attention was the new 3G walkman phone from Sony Ericsson the W950i. Like the recently launched M600i it has a large touchscreen and jogdial. However it also has a 4GB memory and uses a Walkman player to play music. I was lucky enough to be able to spend 10 minutes using the phone and I might just for go the M600 and its Blackberry like push email for this handset. One of the interesting techie things is that the DRM system look different from what we have now with some music locked and others not so allowing for better distribution, but I was unable to get much information on this thanks to the fact that the people on the stand had not been fully briefed.

However a black cloud might be the strategy adopted by Sony Ericsson when it comes to selling handsets in the UK. The last 3G Walkman handset was launched exclusively by Vodafone at Christmas and will not be available on any other network until after Easter. I have a contract with Orange and no wish to churn onto Vodafone which means that if the practice continues then I might just be able to get the free upgrade for Christmas. Alternatively I will just buy one the next time I am in Europe from an Orange shop and except that I have to forgo the free handset. Lucky for me I still have a few friends and I should have the handset when they are launched in the UK for free but then I am not the normal customer.

My view on Barcelona

So I went to 3GSM at the start of the week. First impressions were blunted by the travel issues, but unlike some my delays were caused by the delights of Britsh Airports rather than the distance traveled. Yes getting to the conference was a lot better than when it was in France.

Once I was at the site I thought that it might as well have been in Hanover becuae this was no longer the congress it had started out as. Informa and the GSMA have turned the whole thing into a trade fair. I have not problem with the fact that it has no become a big commercial event rather than somewhere that you came to in an effort to build bridges and cemment ralationships. However with this now just one big shop window and everyone trying to sell to everyone perhaps its time to review whats it all about?

I for one spent a little time in the exhibition halls. I did a quick spin around two of the giant halls before heading off to talk with people who were based away from the main area in Hospitality suites. The more enlightened had decided to make use of the near by hotels whilst others use the large sheds to try and create rooms but lacked any facilities compared to the hotels. The downside of all this walking is that in an effort to pack as much as possible in my feet to a pounding and by the end of the day I was not a happy bunny.

I managed to bunp into a few friends whilst there and they like me were questioning the value of the event, two were unhappy that they seemed to waste time meeting co-workers rather than spending time with clients.

The most interesting point was that of the thirty people I spoke with only ONE was there to attend the conference and he worked for the GSMA. This I think proves that it has now become little more than a trade fair and as such I can give it a miss every other year by alternating it with CeBIT. The problem for the organisors is that the exhibitors who pay for this event might start taking the same view and like me decide that they need not attend and that the whole thing impodes on itself.

Perhaps now is the time for everyone to review what GSM World is about and how best it can meet the needs of the Mobile industry? It is evident that we need some global event as well as local ones in an effort to expand the business and show off. However too many people thinking like me and we will not have many more events like Barcelona.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Yet another new key pad for us to learn!

I got a press release today about new handset from Sony Ericsson due to be in the Shops by the summer. The interesting thing is when you look at the image of image of the phone and see that it has a rather interesting arrangement when it comes to text entry. Gone is the standard 3/4 letters spread across the 2-9 keys and we get a Qwerty keypad spread across all the keypad.

When you look at the details for the phone you get to see that it will use the Symbian software found in smartphones which I think gives a clue that this could be a handset that focuses on being more than just a phone whilst being not too big. It should give the user a machine that does more than just texting when it comes to messaging whilst still maintainging the small size that most of us want.

Reading the small print on what you get the interesting feature for me is that it comes with Stero Bluetooth. Will this mean that we can expect to see voice becoming an important element of the data features once third parties get involved? Last week another Press Release spoke of France Telecom's work on Stero VoIP, perhaps that might just make it over to Orange in the next few years, thats thats another posting!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Etiquet Reminder Cards

mopocket has a great post on getting mobile users to remember that they are in public and thus should acknowledge the fact that most people are not interested in what we are talking about.

The Society of Hand Held Hushing just raised a smile and the Dear Phone User cards are something that I think we could all do with a stack. I have downloaded the pdf all I need to do now is dust off and power up my printer (being a laptop owner I just don't do paper that much now).