Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Open Letter to LinkedIn

What started as a neat online rolodex evolved into a business networking site, but now is a lousy version of Facebook....

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API of the Week: Stitch Labs Adds Flexibility to Omnichannel Commerce

As the number of sales channels explodes, companies look to automation to help them manage inventory across them all. From Amazon to...

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ITW and the Importance of Services

As many of you know, ITW has historically been about wholesale voice minutes exchange.  But as voice minutes exchange has lessened in...

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All About the API: The One Developer Event You Need

OK, I am going to start off by taking back the headline of this post... There isn't one of anything you need....

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API of the Week: Use Flowroute to Access the Multibillion Dollar Telecom API Space

Flowroute is one of the companies in technology that “gets it” when it comes to APIs. Yes, I know APIs aren’t new…...

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API of the Week: Vidyo APIs Add Value All Around Us

If you want your company to have a tremendous valuation, make it an integral part of a platform which allows others to...

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The Growing Importance of VoWiFi Beyond VoLTE

Last week, I wrote about the importance of VoWiFi as an extension to the VoLTE strategy.  When you look at the chart...

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Voice on 4G? Inevitable... But Not Anytime Soon

September 1, 2009

With back to back sessions this afternoon at the 4GWE Conference, it's tough to cram all this great info into short blog posts (but of course that won't stop us from trying). In a panel this afternoon about Giving Voice to 4G, the bottom line seemed to be that given the advanced characteristics of 4G delivery technologies (mainly LTE, but WiMAX too), it shouldn't be a problem to eventually add voice to a 4G wireless service. The harder part? Trying to decide which technological path to take, and how to mix voice in without killing off existing 2G and 3G services, which rely on voice margins for profit.

Mehmet Balos, CTO of Genband, did a good job of explaining the different methods being considered for Voice over 4G -- basically either a 2G-compatible direction, a method called VoLGA, or a full-blown IMS.

Mobile Social Applications: How Carriers Can Help the Conversation

September 1, 2009

The panel here at 4GWE on Mobile Social Applications picked up a theme from Brough Turner's earlier presentation -- that there is a big potential audience for applications that make use of mobile data owned by the provider, such as a user's location, their status, etc., especially when linked in a sharing fashion, such as on Facebook or Twitter.

Troy Cross, head of sales at voice-recognition supplier Vlingo, said that mobile access to social networking applications "allows you to connect to your friends faster," a "significant behaviorial change" as opposed to updating Facebook only when you are sitting behind a PC or laptop.

Shoshana Loeb, executive director and chief scientist at Telcordia, said there will be personal tradeoffs that will determine how successful mobile social media devices and applications will be -- such as cost for perceived value, and whether or not people feel comfortable allowing personal data like location to be shared.

"The technology allows you to lose your privacy much more easily" than in the past, Loeb said, guessing that governments everywhere will soon look more closely at the privacy concerns of mobile customers. Vlingo's Cross also predicted a "tsnuami" of regulation related to use of mobile data while driving, as consumers go on beyond simple "texting while driving" to trying to update a Facebook page while behind the wheel.

Nokia's Timothy Jasionowski opined that the industry now is at the state of "throwing rocks at each other," but that widespread availability of GPS-enabled phones has "opened up a giant laboratory" for experimentation. One unanswered question from the audience: How can corporations make use of mobile social networking technologies? Ideas?







Brough Turner: App Developers Will Lead Mobile Innovation

September 1, 2009

If there was one key takeaway from Brough Turner's excellent kickoff presentation Tuesday at the 4GWE conference it was that application developers, and not the carriers themselves, will lead the way when it comes to the next opportunities for the mobile Web.

"The initiative has passed to application developers, and that's something the [service] providers now concede," said Turner, at the end of a far-reaching look back at the development of mobile data usage, and where the future lies.

Some key trends for the future as identified by Turner:

-- Apple's iPhone and its app store are the wave of the future everyone else will copy. "It's just an easier method of discovery and distribution," said Turner.

-- More and more smartphones will ship from multiple providers. "The iPhone has shown what is possible, and everyone's scrambling to provide a similar rich browsing experience," Turner said.

-- There won't be a PC-like consolidation of the mobile platform market anytime soon, due to the wide choice of devices, operating systems and presentation methods -- none of which has established a Windows-like superiority over any other. Turner said that at least three to five mobile formats -- iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and perhaps one more -- should remain relevant enough for the near future to continue to attract developer attention.









Does your 4G Device Communicate of Compute?

September 1, 2009

Does your 4G Device Communicate or Compute?
(4G2-02)
Tuesday - 09/01/09,  10:30-11:45am
Cell phones provide texting, email, browsing and picture taking capabilities. Many consumers think of their phone as a computer while the computer manufacturers see computing opportunities for mobile internet devices. What leading applications will drive manufacturers to build a cell phone that computes or a computer to communicate? In a 4G world, how many devices is the consumer willing to own?



The 4GWE Conference is Connected at 4G Speed -- Thanks Towerstream

September 1, 2009

This is how fast we are connected here at the LA Convention Center... thanks to
a WiMAX link from Towerstream:
 

Tags: 4G, Towerstream, WiMAX

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4GWE: Beyond the Phone: Mobile Internet Devices

September 1, 2009

Beyond the Phone: Mobile Internet Devices
(4G2-01)
Tuesday - 09/01/09,  9:00-10:15am
Mobile Internet Devices will enable exciting new applications for the broadband consumer. How will smartphones and netbooks change the way we work and play. What are the major differences between these two categories of devices and will they eventually blend into one type of device? What unique services will MID's provide access to?



Skype Sale has 4GWE Buzzing

September 1, 2009

Talk about a wake-up call -- as folks file in for today's 4G Wireless Evolution conference here in Los Angeles, everyone is talking about the sale of Skype to some Silicon Valley private investors at a valuation of $2.75 billion.

Though the news of the deal was first reported last week by TechCrunch, we like our old pal Om's take on why eBay shareholders shouldn't feel so good about the deal. For VoIP veterans on hand here in Los Angeles, the deal brings back memories of the 2005 VON Fall show in Boston, when the first "Skype Sale" deal put a big number on the enthusiasm behind Internet voice. What does the current deal tell us about the state of the industry in 2009? That is one topic we are sure to hear more about this week at 4GWE and IT Expo.

Towerstream Delivers 4G to 4GWE

September 1, 2009

I am sitting at the Staples Convention center on a 22 MB pipe reaching out to the world at a speed I can't replicate at my home, in the car, in the office.

The reason is that Towerstream delivered a WiMAX service to the 4GWE for us to show what is available today.

We have closed the network but our participants will be able to zoom out on the net.

Zoom Zoom is not only for Nissan.

Tags: 22MB, Towerstream, WiMAX

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Thats a lot of Stimulus

August 27, 2009

Over 2,200 Applications
Over 25 B Requested (4 B has been Allocated)

WASHINGTON- The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced today that they received almost 2,200
applications requesting nearly $28 billion in funding for proposed broadband
projects reaching all 50 U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia.
This is the first round of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding
aimed at expanding broadband access and adoption to help bridge the
technological divide and create jobs building Internet infrastructure, with $4
billion available through loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations. 
 
The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and RUS to expand
access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize
$4.7 billion to deploy broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas
in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage
sustainable adoption of broadband service.
















No Degrees of Separation: SMS vs. Mobile IM

August 27, 2009

Some good friends and I keep a dialogue going about the industry.  We don't make public our views, so as to protect the people from being exposed with their views versus their consulting / job opportunities.

A thread that I thought was intriguing was about the reason SMS / txting has not been successfully bypassed by IM.  It may be that the price is right to avoid the cross elastics.

But I think there is a simpler answer.  Signalling on IM on a mobile phone requires a learning curve and a redirection, while texting is via SMS is an embedded application.  So the cost to do the IM is in the time, and the cost to do the SMS is nominal.

I bring this up, because of the discussion about Apple's iPhone coming to China. In the article IDC states that about 7% of the iPhone market share is in Asia.  Previously, I have pointed out that Telefonica has not gotten the boost ATT has from the iPhone.  

I think China Unicom will have a big enough market that the opportunity itself will change the marketshare.  While Touchscreens are hot according to the article and my expectation is that will point to more gaming being done and less phone calls.

The reality is that Kanji characters are very easily navigated by the Asian market with alphabetic keyboards.  Spelling phonetically on the alpha the kanji characters appear on the screen until the option of four or five appears and bingo they mouse over to it.

It will be interesting to see if the that kind of a mix on a touch screen can be duplicated.  On my gPhone, this feature is less that spectacular for english, so the touch screens may be need to go through a few generations of optimization for this to work properly.

But the iPhone is to fun not to be bought and with China's software development capability, I have high expectations for the App Store, although it may be jointly owned with China Unicom in the end due to China's restrictions.

Tags: Apple, China Unicom, IM, SMS, Txt, gphone, iPhone, txting