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September 2008

Posts from August 2008

How To Tether You Computer To Your Cell Phone and Not Pay A Lot

David Aiello has a great solution to those of you who have a cell phone and a laptop and want to stay connected. It's called tethering, and with the Nokia E71 it's been made easier by JoikuSpot, a Working Anywhere Approved solution.

Why is this important? Simple. When you don't have WiFi nearby you can connect and be Working Anywhere there's a 3G connection.

Dave takes us through not only why it works, but how to save some money too, as long as you're in the right AT&T Go Phone enabled markets. Unlike AT&T's full rate plan, Go Phone isn't all across the USA so if you're not in a major market, you may not find coverage as plentiful.

Yankee Group Lays Off 20 Analysts? Sounds Like the Newspaper Business

Over the summer many a reporter and newsroom writer has been offered a package to leave. Some weren't so lucky, getting a good-bye hand shake and a few weeks pay.

Now today comes word came to me that one of the more established analyst firms, The Yankee Group has laid off 20 or so analysts, some of whom were in the mobile and Internet/Networking/Telecom space.

Are we seeing the end of an era? In my mind we are. For years analysts have played a crucial role, but it has been the big firms where the mainstream media has looked for insight, just as the clients of the analyst firms have looked as well for market guidance and a sounding board.

Now, with a very connected environment, the independent analyst armed with a laptop, a VoIP line, a conference bridge and a web site can rise up and rival the bigger firms and provide the kind of custom insight they used to look to the big firms for.

What's more, the rise of the blogs have created an unbelievable wealth of information, much of it first hand that is starting to fill in the gaps that previously the private, controlled circulation, analyst reports used to fill. These bloggers, like pals Martin Geddes, Dean Bubley, Jon Arnold, James Enck and others are part of the breed of analyst who like the journalists who left the traditional world, are now blazing new trails via the net versus the ivory tower.

Just as we talk about Web 2.0, Voice 2.0 and PR 2.0, we can now add analyst 2.0 to the equation.

New Rules for E911 and VoIP

The Federal Computer Weekly has news about the FCC and E911.

While this story isn't exactly new, I think it's safe to say that by this time next year we'll be seeing more new rules that VoIP operators have to comply with to keep people safe and in touch. That said, one has to wonder how many years it will be before a mobile 911 call goes to an operator in less than 10 minutes.

The statewide systems are over taxed and under-funded. The legislation and funding for those systems is really where the FCC should look next.

EQO Goes Boldly Where No Other Mobile VoIP Client Has Gone Before

Ok, so I took the line and some journalistic license in the headline, but the news out of Vancouver from EQO is simply this.

EQO has announced an IM and Mobile VOIP client for the Blackberry Bold that just came out this week. That makes me wonder if they'll have it working on the new Storm as well which Verizon will be carrying. Historically Verizon has had a mixed view of WiFi and VoIP. For example, Skype works on the Windows Mobile devices and those have WiFi, so we'll have to see what happens.

More Mobile VoIP Clients Out

VoIP News in the UK reports about a new mobile VoIP client from Vyke being released.

This comes on the heals of the Wall Street Journal and Business Week stories of last week and this week.

Clearly this shows that Mobile VoIP is very much alive and well and that the interest is jumping from the insider, early adopter crowd to being in the mainstream more and more each week.

With Mobile WiMax going live next week from XOHM in Baltimore the traditional carriers in the mobile industry will begin being challenged on multiple fronts. Those fronts range from more WiFi capable phones, to WiMax. What's more, as the enterprise market begins to adopt more VoIP across the office campus (as well as video) the need for cellular will drop as will the average revenue from voice. To make up for that, the data side will have to carry the ball.

In the end the mobile guys will offer VoIP, just like T-Mobile has with their UMA play. It's all just a matter of time.

Looking Ahead To September

September is already shaping up to be a very busy month.

The early part of the month has me on the road meeting with some clients, gearing up for 2009 efforts as well as Q4 launches. That's week one.

Week two is DEMO in San Diego on the 7th, 8th and 9th for me, while for others the TechCrunch 50 happens at the same time in the Bay Area. Right on the heals of that is CTIA along with some showcase events like Mobile Focus and Showstoppers.

Week three is IT Expo in Los Angeles (16-18) and GigaOm's Mobilize in San Francisco (on the 18th).

Week Four is Showstoppers in NY, but with Digital Life now cancelled at least that's the last event for a while.


If You Sell Them Data Plans They Will Adopt

Wireless Intelligence, a UK mobile consultancy, has a very well written PDF file about Italian mobile operator TIM, that points out how SMS has slowed as the users are moving to Instant Messaging and Email driving more data plan sales for TIM.

This supports the kind of thing we're seeing with clients Palringo in the IM space and from Nokia with their new email client that went into public beta this past month.

Basically, if you give the public an easy to use, full-featured application for their mobile device that mimics the capabilities they are used to on the PC, you end up with better adoption.

As Wireless Intelligence writes, data plan adoption is increasing which means 3G is finally going to get its just due. Unfortunately, here in the USA 3G capacity is still going to be an issue until AT&T spends another chunk of change to increase capacity. All those new iPhones and new Nokia N and E series devices love to be on 3G networks, and the new applications that ride on them relish the added speed. With T-Mobile rolling out a new data network nationwide that delivers the same kind of speeds, but on different frequencies, the availability of 3G will only get better, and with that, a greater shift to these new applications.

From the Department of Stupid Is as Stupid Does-Aircell

I have to thank one of my readers who pointed out to me the fact that Aircell is already in the business of making VoIP work in the skies. It seems they are already marketing SIP based phones for the business aviation market selling against others with similar products.

They're also selling a voice ready in flight communications system and a Broadband DSL in the sky product, both of which offer voice options, the former being Satellite based Iridium and the latter being IP, meaning anything can likely work over it.

Candidly, its easy to see why the folks at Aircell are being so fast to shift the blame to American Airlines about the no VoIP "policy". If they don't it could quickly dampen their sales efforts of business aviation products because someone has lost sight of what their real story is. That of connecting the business traveling public to everyday communications technologies. Voice remains one of those and is significantly important to the business jet market.

Talk about depositioning yourself. By their supplied written statements to all the bloggers and the media about No VOIP, Aircell has in effect said "we don't do VoIP" the same way some media have labeled Joanna and I "hackers."

Neither is the correct assumption, but since people these days scan, more than read, the finer points of the story will get missed.

So I find it rather funny that on one hand they are saying one thing, and on another web page, promoting the exact opposite. Talk about working in world of business prevention, versus working anywhere, to me it seems they clearly are.

When Is Using Adobe Flash and Apple's Safari Hacking?

It's hilarious that the mainstream media is saying that using Adobe's Flash and Apple's Safari is "hacking" in the recent matter of my calling Laptop's News Editor Joanna Stern via Phweet and TringMe "hacking."

If that's hacking, I guess Apple and Adobe make hacker tools? Somehow I don't think so.

For the record, I offered to Aircell via their PR firm, to tell them all the steps that were taken that made the call possible since 730 AM last Friday, the morning after I made the call at 8 PM the night before from my hotel room to Joanna. I would have called the PR person the night before, but I chose to respect the time difference between the west coast and east coast, and called them once I got in the town car to go to the airport from my hotel to fly that day to the East Coast. I even offered to take time out of visiting my ailing mother who is in the hospital to talk with Aircell, as I felt it was important for them to have full information. What's more I also wanted to get their position on the matter of why no talking so I could provide a fair and balanced update.

I called twice again on Monday and my calls went unreturned until I called a third time, late in the day to press the issue and ask to speak with the Account Supervisor, again reasserting my request to talk to Aircell to get their side of the story about the ban on talking and to explain how the call was made possible. Ironically, in that conversation with the Account Supervisor on Monday I was told "you caught us off guard." The reality was when I called and spoke to the person who is day to day on the account last Friday (less than 12 hours of the post) she admitted that she had not seen anything online of what I did the night before as she was "in meetings all morning." During the conversation I pointed out that my news judgement is such that the story will be all over the blogosphere on Friday and by Monday it will have jumped to the mainstream press and I felt that I could help them tell the story better if I had their perspective.

As for being "caught off guard," one point Joanna made to me while we were talking that Aircell seems to have forgotten was that she was in a chat with via Skype with Aircell's CEO Jack Blumenstein and told him at the time what occurred. So "off guard" is a bit inaccurate when the CEO heard first hand when it happened.

Needless to say, in typical Aircell fashion, there hasn't been any call. Instead all I received this morning was this:

"It is against American's policy and Gogo's terms of service to use VoIP. Aircell has multiple protocols and practices in place to prevent the use of VoIP. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to stop every instance of VoIP but Aircell is monitoring and working constantly to enforce American's policy and Gogo's terms of service."

At this time, due to competing priorities and current demands on executives' time, we will not be able to fulfill your request to speak with an Aircell executive. We will, however, add you to our news distribution list, per your request.