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

Unified Communications Murkiness

Everyone is talking about UC these days.  But what is it?  And why hasn’t everyone deployed it yet? First of all, UC...

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HPE Composable Infrastructure Turns Data Centers into a Mini-Google

Fans of search engine history likely know that Google benefited greatly due to the timing of its launch. Whereas Yahoo launched when...

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See a Top 10 Tech Speaker at IoT Evolution in July

The tech space is moving so incredibly quickly that you have to attend conferences, webinars and scour the news to be aware...

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SIP Trunks and Whaaaat???...Gateways...but not SBCs?

Back in March, I wrote a blog about the PSTN sunset. But in reality legacy technologies are still in use.  I know this since...

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Waiting on the Channel

Whether it is TPX CEO Richard Jalkut or other channel executives, providers are impatiently waiting on the channel to jump off...

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Solving the Data Analytics Skills Gap

Data analytics is doing absolutely amazing things for companies... Recently, Vodafone worked with a venture-backed company Celonis to improve efficiency. The results...

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Don't Judge the Microsoft Surface Pro by its Reviews

Disclosure: we use an iPad Pro and iPhone and a Microsoft Surface Book on a daily basis so you can see we...

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New marketing message comes through loud and 'Clear' in Vegas

July 23, 2009

Our quick impression from a full day and a half spent inside the Clearwire bubble, at the company's "official" market-launching event in Las Vegas on July 21: The nascent national WiMAX-providing company seems well past its sometimes-confusing stumbles of 2008 and into full execution mode, showing it can put on a confident, coherent local event even as its overall marketing, pricing and demographic messages remain somewhat a work in progress.



The ability to stage a fairly seamless, fun and informative day on the small stage of Las Vegas still doesn't answer how Clearwire will fare when it takes on the bigger challenges of market launches in places like Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia, which still lie ahead on the company's ambitious 2009 rollout schedule. But embedded within the Vegas-flavored parts of Tuesday's proceedings were some new, strong marketing messages, which, if coupled with continued execution on the networking side of things, should bring cheer to Clearwire investors, partners and customers as the WiMAX express rolls onward.

While we'll dive deeper into some of the proceedings and interviews we conducted during the event in later posts and reports, Clearwire followers should remember the line "more for less," which we heard quite often Tuesday and will likely hear again and again at subsequent launches. Until now, a big problem with Clearwire's WiMAX offering has been that the company itself didn't know how to best position it -- how exactly do you best pitch a service that delivers wireline-like broadband with the mobility of a cell phone? Before the Vegas event, you could and often would get different answers depending on which Clearwire executive you spoke to.

Tuesday, several different executives all seemed to be "on message" with the cost-saving idea, making it pretty obvious to anyone listening that Clearwire's promise was mainly about giving you more of what you need -- mainly Internet access -- for less.







Are you Looking for Working? Can you help with BTOP?

July 23, 2009

I volunteered to help the NTIA with its broadband Stimulus evaluation, but before I get a chance to look at them, three of 4GWE speakers are working with various states for build out strategies. 

One of them told me he was only going to bid on ten and that has since doubled because the states have approached him.

This is to the point where he needs more people to write the proposals make the calls do the work, so he asked if I wanted to get involved.

Since I had volunteered already, I did not want to.  Some of the states he is applying for I know of other proposals.  Hmmn, I wonder if unserved can go to overserved in a year.  

Standard thought is that when three competitors exist real competition exists.
I have never understood if they would count a comprehensive view of data, video, voice as a single competitor or not. 

After a long delay the stimulus may be having the desired effect. even if it is just on paper so far.  I expect the monies for CAPex are going to be 2010 2Q.

On paper most of these proposals make a lot of sense to me, One of our speakers is augmenting a state I work in with some localized NAPs to connect regional fiber rings that are too isolated and do not support the communities connnectivity.  A few states made deals in the buildout era for fiber by the highway that is not supporting the local communities.  An analogy would be a highway with no off ramps. (Is I66 a good example?)

Lets see how the process continues, but I have to say after waiting for Washington to get the act (bill?) together, this is coming along nicely.


Tags: 4GWE, BTOP, NTIA, Rural Utilities Service, Stimulus

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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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