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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Review of the Clearwire Guerrila Marketing Campaign

July 23, 2009

It's not a phone, it's the Internet.

I went to Las Vegas to attend the market launch by Clearwire.

The launch is reaching out to a population of 1.7 Million in a 638 mile area.  The launch today continues the road show by Clearwire as they open up new areas around the country.  The obvious goal is to keep the bandwagon going.  The momentum is certainly heading that way, the stock (NASDAQ: CLWR) has doubled since last year and the company is expanding their rollout strategy.  However, the goal is not upgrading existing customers, but to get new customers.  It's an uphill battle that requires putting Gorilla Marketing to work. 

On Local TV:  Clearwire embraced the town of Las Vegas by having the mayor cut the cat 5 cord and donating 20 WiMAX netbooks to the Virtual High School. Taking a shot at Verizon, Clearwire's commercial features cupcakes with sprinkles, like the sprinkles of the Verizon add, except here the sprinkles shower down from the sky beyond the Skittle showers of commercials gone by. The event ended with 500 balloons containing gifts of service and other gifts being dropped on to the local audience.

Street Warfare: The truck is green, with glass panels surrounding two rooms.  A living room area and complete with laptop and HD Screen, the second room resembles an office which includes a chair, a desk and of course a laptop.  As the truck is driven around Las Vegas, Clearwire employees work in the living room and the office.  On the body of the truck is the statement declaring this is not a truck it's a mobile office.







The Internet as a Bundle

July 22, 2009

I have posted in the Newsletter about the Clearwire launch yesterday, but I was struck by the conversations with the company employees.  They were using the Internet service with their own preferences,

One of them always had a device open with them in the car to listen to their choice in music via Internet Radio.

The other was using an iTouch to watch his slingbox and commenting on the fact that the video was smooth and unblocked.

Another was a Hulu user who was talking about getting a great stream of video to his home TV.

And of course they all used Skype.

Bottom line it was not a triple play. There service is access to the Interet and the bundle is what you choose to do on it.

Pretty straight forward and suggests a very focused business plan.

If you are not trying to run a three services to the same place, can you build the one service cheaper?

I think operationally the answer is yes. 

Tags: Clear, clearwire

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Samsung Selling Mondi MID for Clear WiMAX, $449 Unlocked

July 22, 2009

When we told you this morning that the Samsung Mondi MID was going to be available soon, we didn't know that soon means now! After chatting with Samsung's Kim Titus, he told us the device is available now in an unlocked format directly from Samsung for $449 ($454.94 with shipping). And on Aug. 1, Titus said the Mondi will also be available in Clear stores and Best Buy locations in all live Clearwire markets (Baltimore, Portland, Ore., Atlanta and Las Vegas), at the $449 unlocked price as well as a $349 option with a two-year Clear contract.

We played around with the device a bit at the Clearwire Las Vegas launch event, and were impressed how well the touch-screen and software keyboard works. There is a hard keyboard too.

Clearing the Way to Las Vegas Clearwire Launch

July 20, 2009

Our speakers from Clearwire have invited us to this weeks launch in Las Vegas.

While I am looking forward to hearing them speak at 4gwe.  They are excited about the opportunity now in front of them.  Some analysts were afraid of a price war, but in Clearwire's case they are clearly ready, willing and able where available.

The stock (Nasdaq: CLWR) is on an up swing making the write downs of the past a brillant move for their investors.  Recent announcements from Comcast about reselling the service is also good for their bottom line. 

I will be reporting more form Las Vegas so stay tuned.



Tags: Clearwire, Comcast

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CrowdSourcing gets an Open Source

July 20, 2009

A friend pointed out to me the release of Reuter's Handbook of Journalism
He was seeing this as a blow against paid content.  I am still trying to get my arms around what will happen in the paid content world.  I can make a case for a few models, but the thing I believe the most in is that revenues for specific content go down, while diving down to specific demographics of the audience will get a higher premium.

But the story here is more interesting if we think of Reuter's making an attempt to put some structure in the way user generated content is presented.

We can look at the release of this document as an attempt to set a standard for journalism for all.  In effect doing crowdsourcing in a set way.

Recent events in Iran showed the power of the mobile devices to deliver the message of what is happening on the street.  Not everything that happened was to the positive when it came to cell phones.

However, if Reuters is able to influence the market of would be journalists, they in effect have crowdsourced reporting and given themselves an advantage in editing and selecting of content in a more timely manner.

And that's been Reuter's history is to be the first with the information.

From a business perspective information has a shelf life that impacts the market, the quicker you have corraborated valuable information the more likely you can make a good choice from a business perspective.



Tags: Iran, Nokia, Open Source, PPV, Reuters, crowdsourcing

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Thinking About the Digits

July 17, 2009

I had a meeting yesterday talking about my favorite topic.  Identity.

From the discussion of identity all sorts of issues swirl around in my brain, federation, interconnection and interoperability, the principles of end to end on the Internet and even IPv6.

My bell head really shows up when it comes to URIs.  I just dont agree that I am going to be able to search for the person I want in this modern world without somehow using a phone number.

I am going to the doctor today, and in looking for his number on the web, I was struck by how many sites wanted to tell me about the doctor without actually getting me to him. 

I don't want to look like an old man that says "when I want your opinion, I will give it to you", but please help me know that you and I are talking about the same doctor.  Give me an identifier that helps me call if I want to.

While Search is alive and well directory is still a mess on the Internet and I am actively looking to improve it.

I believe that phone numbers are better than email in pushing out information in public.  You give out an email and you worry about who is using it and how cheap it is to get to you.  You give out a phone number and you know it will cost them to call you, so you trust it will be for a good purpose.

Plus you are used to being public about your phone number, or you paid extra for not being listed.  Email's spam problem got so bad, people use social networks as their only email.

Mind you I am open networker so my perspective is skewed, but here is the best anecdotal evidence I have.  My daughter wont let me see her on facebook, but she knows I need to have her phone number. 

Clearly the dynamics are changing, but I think a phone number is the best identifier to share publicly.

Tags: URIs, enum, facebook, phone numbers

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Apple vs. Palm Part 2.0

July 16, 2009

It's official Apple has proven themselves to be just one more brick in the walled garden.

Apple provided their equivalent of the Carterphone decision was needed when they blocked the PalmPre from using Itunes.  In other words, it was okay to let people on windows use it, but not for them to have it.

Very interesting.

We are definitely in a new phase.  This reminds me of when all the wanna-bes wanted to attach to AIM and both sides had teams of developers.
Eventually of course the problem was no longer that interesting.

Legally, Apple has the right to do what it wants.  Its a free software package.

The questions is does that show them as a good partner to the companies who look to make revenue from the downloads.

Is this an opportunity for Limewire to support the legitimate revenue models?
It should be interesting to see what happens.

Tags: Apple, Limewire, Palm, PalmPre, iPhone.















It's Time to Develop Again

July 16, 2009

Carriers are dealing with a saturated marketplace that makes it hard for the innovative to make headway.  A price war seems like the most logical answer to some friends of mine and in fact, some companies like Clearwire have been leading the battle on both fronts.  However their innovation strategy is to be an enabler and not focus of solutions.

In my continuing conversations with my fellows, the web apps are always the most interesting to talk about, but video is something worth seeing.  So far the apps have been more about the specific applications and I am not sure they match up to the way we normally live.

But Video is different.  Its more natural in my mind and its a logical place to embedded new applications.  Unlike a phone where to expect an interaction almost always interferes with proper use, Video and external controls are not normally next to each other anymore.

So we have the expectation of interacting beyond DTMF.

As I listened to a VC friend yesterday I was struck by his expectations for mobile video. 

The Video he wants expects on mobile is interesting.  Unlike voice where the expectation is you move the phone to side and out of sight.  He is looking for the display and the control to be better blended.

I was thinking of a video kindle when he talked.  But candidly the kindle's interface except for turning pages is primitive at best.

All of this is from the adoption of ATSC 2.0 and the adoption of the H.264 codec including Scalable Video Coding [SVC].

Today's Radvision Webinar I moderated is a good place to start looking at what is possible.  We are definitely going down a new direction in Video and its worth your time to understand the paradigm is about to shift.

Tags: ATSC 2.0, Clearwire, H.264, Mobile Video, Radvision, SVC, Scalable Video Coding, VC, Video

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The Smart Approach: WiMAX Goes to College

July 15, 2009

A university campus prides in its cohesiveness, in its connectivity.  Campuses have always organized programs to bring their students together socially.  Now universities want to unify their students technologically.
In the past, students were able to connect to the Internet in various locations on campus via Wi-Fi--usually in the library, the cafeteria, the dorms, and several other isolated spots.  In an age of online communications, the Internet connection has become vital to a university's makeup. 

The 4GWE Newsletter will come out today: Me vs. GigaOM?

July 15, 2009

I hope you are a subscriber...Turns out I have taken a contrarian view from our friend's at Gigaom.  The second paragraph in particular is mind boggling to me.

The App Store is just the latest game changer to come out of Apple's Cupertino labs, and it has been a smashing success. The company today announced that 1.5 billion applications have been downloaded, with the latest 500 million downloads coming since just April. Approximately 65,000 apps are available for more than 40 million App Store-capable devices (the various forms of the iPhone and iPod Touch), and 98 percent of iPhone users have downloaded at least one app. AdMob founder Omar Hamoui thinks the App Store will be a $5 billion business in two years, though it looks like a relatively small number of apps will capture the lion's share of that revenue -- of course, like any consumer industry, advertising helps (subscription required). Some even think the iPhone is the hottest gaming platform out there; the rate at which downloads are growing would excite any investor:

This is just so much KewlAid, I dont know where to start.

First of all, lets segment this a bit better.  I would say the story here is not the store but the device.  After a lunch meeting a friend ask me the advice of should he buy and Iphone or and ITouch.  I told the the Itouch was the answer. 

Apple has made the best handheld game on the market, and if you have to you can justify having it by buying it as a phone.  A pansy way out of having spending the big bucks on a pocketgame.

But when you go the app store what you discover is that of the 65,000 apps the long tail is very long and the good stuff that takes real advantage of the game function is less than 2% (Anyone want to help really quantify this?).

I have called the rest technocrud, but candidly that is giving crud a bad name.

Opportunistic applications are better equated to viruses.  And let me tell you some of them are really annoying.

So if the AppStore turns into a $5Billion dollar business, I will be looking at the Jim Carrey Riddler role in Batman 2 as prophetic.

If you have the ability to deliver things on the Internet why in the world would you allow yourself to be constrained by an app store.

I do give Josh credit for his predictive powers  Two years ago, I predicted Apple would be bigger than Google.