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

ViziApps: A Great Tool for the Citizen Developer Revolution

Recently I had to prototype an iOS app for a project I am working on and did a lot of research to...

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Execution, Flexibility, Safety, Ease of Use Key to Digital Success - Lessons from Gitex 2016

The etisalat and Nissan Smart Car collaboration, the robot policeman, and James Baresse's presentation on three needs for digital payment system success...

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Are You Managing Hours or Outcomes?

Another consultant is having a trying experience with a client. The client wants to see the consultant in the office more,...

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Whatever Happened to Dialogic Boards?

I stopped wearing Dialogic shirts in airports many many years ago, simply because I often got stopped by people who used our...

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ORBCOMM Looks to Become Complete IoT Solutions Service Provider

One of the topics discussed often among communications service providers is whether they want to be relegated to dumb pipes or they...

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Your Phone Just Ate Your Car Key

Are you ready for your new digital future? It’s a great question to ask as the role your mobile phone plays in...

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Doing Business in a Busy, Blurred Environment

Logging on to LinkedIn these days, I have to remind myself that it is in fact LI and not Facebook. The...

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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?
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
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

Will 'Portability' Lure Businesses to WiMAX?

August 26, 2009

When WiMAX providers talk about the technology's attributes, cellular-like mobility is usually near the top of the list. But for many business users WiMAX's simple portability -- the ability to pick up and move your broadband connection -- may prove to be a more powerful economic and operational lure, the kind of money-saving, hassle-free attribute that gets CIOs interested and gets POs signed.

The power and potential attractiveness of WiMAX's simple portability was one of the surprising themes we picked up on during the reporting and writing of our latest Sidecut Report, titled the Sidecut Reports WiMAX Business Deployment Guide. Available now as a free download, the report also includes a basic primer on what WiMAX is, and where and how businesses can connect to WiMAX services, and some broadband pricing comparisons.

And while there are potentially many customers who might eventually take advantage of WiMAX's ability to support real broadband connectivity while in motion -- we are thinking here of commuters in Chicago and New York, markets that are already on the Clearwire launch schedule -- for right now it's easy to say that most business computing is done by bodies at rest; by people sitting at a desk, a cubicle, a coffeehouse table or somewhere else well lighted and generally stable. Right now those workers' broadband needs are either met by a wired network, or by a Wi-Fi access point tied into a backbone via either DSL or cable modem.

The twist WiMAX adds into this work equation is the ability to unplug that beefy backhaul and move it across the cube, across the hall, across campus or across town -- delivering workspace flexibility not just for individuals, but for entire workgroups who could theoretically be supported by WiMAX services' rather robust plans.