Welcome back to reality. Labor Day weekend signifies the end of summer and the day after Labor Day is always a tough news day. Most of the news is a retake or remake of last week's news or items that "broke" over the weekend. But there are some gems hidden out there. Most noteworthy are the continued dance card being played by T-Mobile where interested buyers come along and kick the tires, look under the hood and make an offer. Don't be surprised to see USA private equity come in along with, or without Illiad, and some sort of John Legere management led buyout or even a consortium that involves Vodafone in some way....Apple gets knocked around for the Celbrity Photo Scandal but will survive....but in their own way just served app developers notice about health and fitness data and how it relates to marketing...Uber has to fight the Germans as the courts are looking to slow them down.. All this and more, SO ON WITH THE NEWS...
Iliad in Talks with Third Parties About Possible Fresh Bid for T-Mobile US
French telecommunications company Iliad SA said it isn't giving up its pursuit of T-Mobile US Inc. and is considering teaming up with partners possibly to make a better offer for the U.S.'s fourth-largest mobile operator by subscribers. Iliad saidMonday that it was in talks with several potential partners-industrial and financial...
Lawful intercept by authorities, hopefully with a proper search warrant issued by a judge, is being challenged across the USA as mobile networks upgrade to LTE/4G and refarm their 2G spectrum. Technology that makes it possible is now on the market, but municipalities need to upgrade.
Cities scramble to upgrade 'stingray' tracking as end of 2G network looms
Documents released last week by the City of Oakland revealthat it is one of a handful of American jurisdictions attempting to upgrade an existing cellular surveillance system, commonly known as a stingray.
Google has entered the game of crowdfunding via YouTube. This creates a whole new way to build audience, grow followers and supporters all at the same time and likely will either compliment or put some additional competition towards sites like Tilt, KickStarter and Indiegogo but as pal and cofounder of Velocity Growth Jeff Belk (ex Qualcomm CMO/CSO) likes to say, "crowdfunding is like the Gold Rush and everyone's panning for gold."
YouTube launches fan funding for independent content creators
Google-owned YouTube has launched a donation feature for YouTube channels, which could act as a crowdfunding tool to get entrepreneurs off the ground. YouTube's bread-and-butter is content created by independent channels worldwide, and to further encourage this business branch, the company has now launched fan-based donations.
Somtimes building a better mousetrap can lead to comparisons that aren't fair. Other times starting a crowdfunding campaign can be problematic or overly frivolous.
Kickstarter users fundraise for products already sold on Amazon
What do crowdfunding Web site Kickstarter and online retailer Amazon.com have in common? Too much, critics charge. Kickstarter fans, who have become a bit prickly over what they feel are too many frivolous campaigns, are seeing another worrisome trend crop up: entrepreneurs turning to the fundraising Web site to develop products that are already available elsewhere.
Apple is laying out some rules about information and apps. In doing so Apple is being both industry consistent and also setting a new line in the sand to insure the development of mHealth technology.
Apple Bars Developers From Sharing Health Data
Apple has warned developers that they must not provide advertisers with personal data that they collect from applications built using the company's health software. The policy-consistent with the standards of companies such as FitBit-establishes a higher standard of privacy for health monitoring devices.
For years developer have been asking Apple "why didn't my app get approved" only to receive mostly non answers. In a move towards greater transparency Apple has put out a checklist. Is this the complete story? No way, but it's a start.
Apple Developer Rules Made Clear
Before you develop your app, it's important to become familiar with the technical, content, and design criteria that we use to review all apps. We've highlighted some of the most common issues that cause apps to get rejected to help you better prepare your apps before submitting them for review.
Funny how the iCloud Celebrity Photo hacks occured just before the iPhone 6 launch..hmmm. The conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one. Net net, nothing is really that secure.
Nude celebs on iCloud? The timing for Apple Inc. couldn't be worse.
The story had everything going for it. Hundreds of nude photos (some real) of Jennifer Lawrence and other A-list Hollywood celebrities. A security vulnerability (since closed) in Apple's iCloud. Hackers armed with a new "brute force" attack script. False accusations by the amateur detectives on the Internet.
Poor Skype. Everyone wants your users. And someone will get them is my guess. Of late Skype's performance has been having issues but the service is also now in its second decade of life and upstarts in technology can come along at any moment and change the game. Here's one.
Out in the Open: Hackers Build a Skype That's Not Controlled by Microsoft
The web forum 4chan is known mostly as a place to share juvenile and, to put it mildly, politically incorrect images. But it's also the birthplace of one of the latest attempts to subvert the NSA's mass surveillance program. When whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that full extent of the NSA's activities last year, members of...
Uber is facing a challenge in Germany. My guess is eventually this all ends up at the EU level not at the country by country level as a battle for consumer's choice vs. monopoly control of the taxi and limo industry.
German court orders Uber to suspend services across the country
Uber is banned across Germany, at least for now. It emergedon Tuesday that the Frankfurt Regional Court imposed a preliminary injunction on Uber last week, ahead of a full court case over the service's legality. As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, the court said Uber was illegal because its drivers do not carry the appropriate permits.
Google on Thursday introduced Project Wing, a drone-based delivery project it has been working on quietly for the past two years. Members of the Google[x] team - aka "Moonshots" -- recently held field tests of the technology in Australia.
Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar relax PED rules
Australian carriers Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar have all relaxed their rules on the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) in-flight following a change in policy by the country's Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The development means passengers can use their PEDs from gate-to-gate, whereas previously they had to switch them off during taxiing, take-off and landing.
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I've been remiss in publishing so over the past few days I've started to write again. Onmy blog, in the new LinkedIn Pulse (have you noticed how much LinkedIn has gotten into content?) and now again, here in the Comunicano Daily.
This month will go down as one of the most memorable in Apple history, and already the hype machine is in full gear. Venture Beat is calling it current CEO Tim Cook's Waterloo in so many words, casting doubt about him and saying the iWatch is a make or break play for him as the successor to Steve Jobs (I think its not make or break given how well Apple is doing as a company under Cook's reign.) For starters, moves are already underway to make Apple a major player in payments the same way they have disrupted mobile devices and content as the second and third news items surrounding Visa, MasterCard and American Express all will prove out.
It's going to be a big show in Cupertino September 9th. We'll see at least one new phone. But most importantly we'll see what could be called the first product of the Cook era, an Apple smartwatch. The unveiling will be held at the Flint Center in Cupertino, the same venue where the world got its first look at the Mac.
Apple Inc. plans to turn its next iPhone into a mobile wallet through a partnership with major payment networks, banks and retailers, according a person familiar with the situation. The agreement includes Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express Co. and will be unveiled on Sept.
Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system, according to sources familiar with the talks. American Express is one of several partners Apple will need to sign up before it can launch its new payments plan, which sources say it plans to announce at its September 9 product event.
How dominant is Apple? Just look at how the iPad is walloping the rest of the devices when it comes to email. It's even eating into the iPhone's share but what's eye opening is that Windows is not doing that well either when you realize Microsoft has tried tablets too.
How Europeans email
As email turns 32 years old tomorrow, US-based email delivery service provider SendGrid has done a global study on email engagement. Today, the company is releasing Europe-specific data on 'email opens', based on an analysis of 8 billion unique emails sent by over 125,000 companies (including the likes of Uber, Spotify, Airbnb, Foursquare and Pinterest) over two 10-day periods in 2013 and 2014.
The FCC under Tom Wheeler will be controversial. Figuring out what side of the fence they are on will be a wait and see, but one things for sure, big telco isn't exactly sitting on their hands waiting. Regulatory work, lobbying and supporting political campaigns is running at a fever pitch, and with it, the Internet economy.
Can the FCC clear the way for cities to build broadband? Legal fight heats up over agency's powers
Gripes about internet speed are common across the country, but in certain towns the complaints have a special twist: the fact that local utilities want to offer faster broadband infrastructure, but state governments - at the apparent behest of the telecom industry - have passed laws to prevent them from doing so.
State Sen. Janice Bowling, a Republican from Tullahoma, Tennessee, says she was surprised by AT&T's adversarial reaction to her bill to allow cities to expand their broadband networks. Janice Bowling, a 67-year-old grandmother and Republican state senator from rural Tennessee, thought it only made sense that the city of Tullahoma be able to offer its local high-speed Internet service to areas beyond the city limits.
Between the FCC and patent trolls, those delivering service have to watch over both shoulders. Now AT&T is exercising its war chest taking on a former large shareholder, Cox Communications, over some very fundamentally basic functions that appear to have patents in place.
It's made-for-TV patent war, as AT&T sues Cox
The majority of patent lawsuits today are brought by "patent trolls" that do nothing but sue-but suits between actual competitors do still happen. Case in point: AT&T has sued Cox Communications, saying that Cox has infringed seven AT&T patents covering everything from DVRs to methods for hiding "packet loss or frame erasure" over a network.
I'm a regular user of UBER, the car service that makes life easier to get around. Of late they have been in the press with a war between they and rival Lyft over driver poaching and alleged trickery. The bottom line is just as there is Coke and Pepsi, there's going to be Lyft and Uber. Competition is good for the consumer, otherwise you end up with what we have in the way of "public transit."
Uber and Lyft Have Become Indistinguishable Commodities
If you need a ride, pull out your phone and load up the Lyft app. Or try Uber. Really, it doesn't matter which you pick. Though the two ride-sharing giants have carried on like the bitterest of enemies recently, their services have become pretty much indistinguishable.
We're big believers in the concept of "the story" as part of positioning and messaging. Telling the story is changing marketing communications and how it relates to the brand. and, it's all changing.
From Storytelling to Experiences: The Next Chapter in Marketing Communications
The past decade has seen the marketing communications industry increasingly emphasize the importance of storytelling as a way for brands to better communicate with their audiences. From logo and corporate colours, to website content and advertising campaigns, to staff members and business cards, everything about an organization is now considered a part of its overall brand story.
So here's the deal. I'm using Gramofon in my living room to play music, much the same way I can use Chromecast or Apple TV, but I'm also sharing WiFi without letting guests onto my primary network as it is built by FON. My wallet that I use everyday is from Tight and I carry a TrackR in it. What I'm finding is that like my LinkedIn post of a week or so ago, I'm finding products I can use every day, not at the store, or even in Amazon but in the world of startups in the rewards funded universe. Go find your next product there today, or better yet, come up with an idea and float it and see what happens.
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We live in a era where "right now" and "immediately" are pretty much common place. In Las Veags and New York you can have breakfast or dinner at any time, day or night. Services like UPS, FedEx and even Amazon are delivering the goods you want overnight and even same day in some markets in the USA. Companies like UBER and Lyft make it easy to get reliable transportation in an ever growing number of major metropolitan areas around the world. And, thanks to the Internet, services that used to take days or weeks are now available to us in an instant.
Over the past week I've been experimenting with Fiverr, a service where for $5.00 or more people all around the world will deliver basic entry level or better work almost immediately. Pal David Coleman and I are working on a new project together and we needed a logo. And we needed it now. For $85.00 I secured two logo concepts, source files and finished art all in less than one day. We needed letterhead but the logo designer wasn't available so for $5.00 plus another $10.00 for one day and source files, plus a Word template for Letterhead. Total cost, $100.00 all in less than 48 hours. Is the work as good as what I see from a longtime graphic designer I work with? No. But we're getting what we need to have an MVP level presentation off the ground and looking far more professional than if either of us had tried our hand at graphics.
In an era where services like 99Designs and eLance provide a range of professionals new arrivals to the world of the On Demand Society are flourishing. My next trial will be with TaskRabbit....so stay tuned.
A few years back, before he zapped it and wound it down, Ken Camp authored a blog all about Real Time Communications. He was obviously ahead of his time with the name because today, more and more of what we are hearing about is RTC, and specifically WebRTC.
While companies like Blue Jeans Networks, Twilio and TokBox seem to be in the news a lot because they're inside the San Francisco and Silicon Valley echo chamber for news generation, there's more companies outthere doing new, novel and eventually game changing innovatinve stuff. As a matter of fact some of these companies are at the forefront of what's about to happen, so let's name names.
Temasys Corporation based in Singapore makes it easy to build, deploy and manage WebRTC. Think of them as a combination of Twilio and Amazon Web Services for real time communication. Dr. Alex Gouaillard is one of the key drivers in the industry shaping the WebRTC standard within the IETF and W3C working groups. Already Temasys has released the first plug-in that makes WebRTC work on Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari web browsers. Temasys is already working with IBM.
Hookflash's Erik Lagerway has been around reat time voice communications since he started XTEN which is now known as CounterPath. Today, he's leading Hookflash and championing the effort around ORTC which is all about making WebRTC more mobile via their ORTC API.
Pexip was started by a bunch of very smart executives who built Tandberg's video conferncing solutions and then went to work at Cisco. They're attacking the same area that Vidtel, which was quietly acquired by Fidelity Investments, was taking to make collaboratoon interoperable between platforms in the cloud. Pexip's core strength is the ability to virtualize meeting and collaboration rooms in the cloud, on the fly. The big benefit to Pexip is their ability to be interoperable with Cisco's Jabber and Microsoft Lync via their Infinity Connect platform and apps for iOS and Android.
As second company playing in this same space is Acano which is all about video, audio and web Integration for collaboration. They look at incompatability as the problem their coSpaces platform solves. Their video does a very good job at demontrating how Acano works across so many diverging modes of collaboration devices.
Looking back over history my first Messenger was AOL's AIM and then quickly I was using ICQ. Yahoo Messenger came along about the same time as Windows Messenger which actually was able to access the SIP stack buried inside Windows 98. It was back then that I made my first VoIP call via Webley's never released VoIP platform.
Skype pretty much wiped out all the IM clients but today other are really taking their place. Mobile apps like WhatsApp and a few others rule the roost in mobile, the reduction in cost for SMS and services like GoogleVoice have also taken the need for IM down a peg, but with services like Slack and HipChat taking a bigger piece of the desktop and knowledge worker messaging activity, greater interoperability with other apps and hooks into them via API access from IFTTT and Zapier even Skype's days may be numbered.
To me, the move by VZW is a catchup play. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS which was the first to offer HD voice but reading the number of "requirements" for what Verizon Wireless is offering leave me wondering if we're really anywhere yet:
HD Voice and Video Calling work only when both people are in the Verizon 4G LTE coverage area and are using VoLTE-enabled smartphones from Verizon
Those three requirements-in the LTE footprint, using a VoLTE phone and being on Verizon remind me when SMS between mobile operators didn't exist. This means a T-Mobile, AT&T, Truphone, Sprint or any other operator's customer calling someone on another network using the same phone with VoLTE/HD capabilities, on a network which enables HD Voice and Video to work, won't have a call of higher quality.
This all gets into the lack of true peering, interoperability and only adds to the inconsistency between carriers and the lip service standards are really give. Next issue is how already existing HD Voice based conferencing services like Voxeet, UberConference, ZIPDX, Calliflower, GoToMeeting, etc, which already have "HD" quality calling via their apps or WebRTC will be handled. Nowhere have i seen of any real interconnectivity despite Eli Katz's XConnect has had an HDVoice interconnect around for years.
To me, true HD voice and video won't be here until it's as transparent and fully functional as SMS is on delivery but just like iMessage and WhatsApp have outmoded the mobile operators. Today, we have Skype but given how easy it is to deprecate service quality between operators and networks, without the FCC stepping in and making sure quality won't be disrupted.,
This also raises issues in my mind around Net Neutrality, here in the USA at least, a topic that long time friend, Craig Walkeropinied about in the Wall Street Journal this past Sunday. To that end, my question is given how landlines/wireline connectivity is being deprecated by the telcos in favor of wireless, why isn't the doctrine of Equal Access from the 80's where any long distance carrier was to have the ability to deliver LD while the Regional Bell Operating Company provided the connectivity to the premise being applied to mobile?
SideNote-->When you think about it, Walker's prior company, GrandCentral, really was the first alternative Long Distance provider for mobile which was a disguied as a Find Me, Follow Me service, but really only works easily on Android devices with the ALD model really become integrated, and that's at the device level, not in the network. And, we all know that the network is really where Google is going with things, but that example demonstrates why apps contriol the smarts of the network, while the operators in the middle remain "dumb pipes."
This week my Gramofon arrived. In case you don't know what a Gramofon is, it's the streaming connector and router from the team behind FON that lets you connect a speaker system and send your online audio to them much like AirPlay or Chromecast. But what FON is really doing is creating the connective tissue of the Internet one access point at a time that allows any FONERO (that's a user and ower of a FON device) to connect to another FONERO's FON or Gramofon for free. As an early backer of FON's Gramofon Kickstarter campaign, I was able to get mine before commercial release as campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo are becoming the way to find new, cool and cutting edge products that fit my digital lifestyle long before they end up at BestBuy or Amazon, which I posted about yesterday on LinkedIn.
For me, I've been a FONERO since the start, often frustrated at my inability to find FON hotspots that were really working, but the more I traveled to Europe the more I was finding FON's technology being deployed by the fixed line and wireless Internet providers making it easier to connect in more places. At the heart of the Gramofon is Qualcomm's Allplay, an OEM neutral set of chips that lets speakers and mobile devices that run iOS or Android connect.
What this all means is very simple to me. Today the Gramofon streams music. Next will likely come a VideoFon for streaming your favorite video network like Hulu and Netflix, but for now I'm able to stream services like WahWah and Spotify to my Gramofon and maybe one day, SiriusXM whose mix of DJ's on so many of their channels brings great tales about musical history from great story tellers like Andrew Loog Oldham and now Michael Des Barres on Steve Van Zandt's Underground Garage.
But what is really happening is a changing of the guard. In the old days Sony and Panasonic were the mass market music brands. Now it's an Apple or Android device that's the receiver that has replaced the radio or the Walkman the same way that Apple's iPhone and the plethora of Android devices have replaced the phones from Ericsson and Nokia.
The games are changing as are the players, and the Internet era has caused the disruption. Companies like FON are working with the mobile operators to bascially make them smarter pipes, but the smarts are coming from outside, not inside. And those transitions are better for all of us, as long as we stay net neutral.
A few news items passed my eyes this morning, and it got me thinking about a conversation that Truphone Founder and CTO James Tagg and I had last week during IT Expo in Las Vegas. James, who invented mobile VoIP and the touch screen technology we all use at airports and other kiosks, remarked that while we are seeing faster speeds, we're not seeing services coming along that can really take advantage of them, except to download a movie or upload massive databases. His comment reminded me of the Wendy's TV commercial of a distant time, "Where's the Beef?"
But that's not stopping the carriers, information service providers and mobile operators from entering into the race to be first and fastests.
To me, until such time as the "beef" is there, all these speed claims are more about "mine being bigger than yours" but we will start to see new companies come along who are indeed developing the next big thing, and those companies will be the "Wendy's" while everyone else will still be "McDonalds."
3 the original 3G carrier with operations in Hong Kong, the UK and elsewhere has once again made a move with Skype, following their efforts in the past to make Skype an integral part of their service offering.
In Hong Kong, for $69 HK Dollars a month, or $8.90 USD, under a new collaborative agreement with Skype the mobile operator will offer its customers Skype’s Unlimited World calling plan the ability make calls to mobile and landline phones to both Skype and non-Skype users on mobiles in eight destinations, plus landlines in 63 countries and regions, for a monthly fee of just HK$69 over a contract duration of 12 months.
What this basically does is concede to Skype their international long distance traffic over their data network, while allowing the operator to keep the local voice traffic on their network as well as the roaming traffic which pays a higher margin. What the deal doesn't include yet is video calling but that already goes over the data network as part of someone's data plan. What this also does is set a bar that other VOIP providers with apps would have to pay to access the 3 network in HK and be assured some level of quality. How this impacts those will only be learned from those in Hong Kong so in some ways this is much like the Netflix deal with Comcast but only really for mobile.
Don't be surprised to see deals on Nokia Handsets with Windows Phone to come out soon too in Hong Kong, as well to find in a short while that Skype deals like these come from other mobile operators around the world so they can push more data plans, which is exactly what 3 did in the UK when they first had the Skype Phone.