AT&T-Sponsored Data-It's Nothing New, But It Could Become Very New

I find the brewing pot of noise around sponsored data that AT&T announced this week all to be a bit funny. Why? Sponsored "data" has been around for a very long time. Radio programs were sponsored as far back as the 1920s. Public television has been sponsored since the 1950.

Just as mobile data runs over licensed spectrum, so does radio and television. So the sponsoring delivery of content, whether it comes from Hollywood or Microsoft, there's really no difference. What is at stake is the past protestations of mobile operators that they need more spectrum, that they need to charge high prices to support it. Instead, there are many ways to make money and keep the cost down. Sponsored data is one of those.

For now, the sale of sponsored data is being looked at as an enterprise play. It's not. It's an advertising and marketing opportunity on so many levels. As a matter of fact, there are more marketing promotion opportunities around sponsored data than there were with television or radio.

For example, from the device in your hand, the network can now know exactly where you are when you're consuming the data. That means they can offer you more targeted "ads" or "commercials." This opens up a whole new world of broadcast promotion, the likes that are just about to be imagined.

The flip side--WiFi. It's not licensed but it is being sponsored. If you ever wondered why the cable guys are all so bullish on WiFi. It's for the same reasons. They want to sell the right to deliver the content over it.

 


The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday January 1 2014

 
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So it's a New Year and I'm still over in Portugal for another 24 hours, then over to London for some quick meetings and a flight back to the west coast just in time to head to Las Vegas for CES...So, taking a look at the stories in the news today is a heavy dose of looking back, and looking ahead and CHANGES..Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are moving on and away from the Wall Street Journal with big news on what is next after All Things D for them so out with the old (literally) and in with the new brings former ABC Tech Star Joanna Stern over to the new WSJD and a move to the west coast...all that and more and you'll find in onl if you move .....Now On To The News.

 

 
 

 

Let's start first with a few items of note from the teams at GigaOm, TechCrunchVenture Beat and The Verge.  Chris Albrecht leads off with a few things that need a new start in 2014.

 

 
 

 
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Four tech notions that need a fresh start in 2014

The end of the year always brings out the best intentions. Out with the old bad habits, in with the new. To that end, here are some fresh starts worth embarking on January 1: The NSA/privacy: Revelations accusing the U.S.

 
 

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James Altucher, a contributor to TechCrunch, has a very powerful and moving piece all about Change. With so many people making New Year's Resolutions, it makes for a timely read.

 
 

 
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Why 2014 Is The Year You Change

Editor's note: James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and several-times entrepreneur. His latest book is "Choose Yourself!" (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter). Follow James on Twitter @jaltucher. I stopped going to classes. I had a scholarship that paid all my living expenses ($1,200/month) so I didn't want to quit (ugh, and get a job?).

 
 

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It looks like ABC is making Changes on when people can watch first run programming online. Janko Roettgers at GigaOm has the details. This is very important as more and more cord and cable cutting is occuring, and the revenue models between content providers and delivery outlets will be changing. Consumers will be cutting back on their cable plans and paying for direct access. This will still mean the cable operator gets a cut, but how they do it will be hotly contested...Stay Tuned on this topic.

 
 

 
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Bad news for cord cutters: ABC starts restricting access to full TV show episodes

A A Fans of Modern Family, Scandal, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Revenge just got another item to add to their list of New Year's resolutions: find their cable account credentials. Starting on January 6, ABC will require viewers to sign in with their cable account information if they want to watch new episodes of the network's shows online the day after they air on TV.

 
 

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No end of year/start of year is ever complete without the best and worst. Oh, and of course there's always JibJab and their satire on the year i review--A MUST WATCH. But there's also a few items of note from TechCrunch, and VentureBeat that all give a good look back..

 
 

 
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The Best iOS And Android Apps Of 2013

Congratulations, Planet Earth! We made it another 365 days without crashing into the sun. Go team! It's the end of the year, and that means three things: booze, ridiculous sunglasses with numbers on them, and lists. Lots and lots of lists. You've seen our list of best/worst gadgets of the year.

 
 

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The Best And Worst Gadgets Of 2013

2013 was a heady year: a time of hope; a time for sadness; a time for twerking; and a time for doge. But it was also a time for gadgets. As we wait for 2013 to come to a close and hope for brighter things for the year to come, here's a look at the gadgets we loved, the ones we hated, and the ones that we found aesthetically offensive.

 
 

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Here’s the only list you need: All the tech, people, and products that mattered in 2013

We're not quite ready to say goodbye to 2013, but the time has come anyhow. Before it's time for Auld Lang Syne, here's a look back about the companies, products, people, and reporting we loved most in 2013.

 
 

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VentureBeat’s 12 most popular stories from 2013

As we wind down the last day of 2013, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the stories that have proved the most popular with our readers this year. It's a surprisingly diverse mix: From super-popular game franchises to really obscure indie games, from the ancient Apple vs.

 
 

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2013 was a more amazing year than you think

Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke's engineering school and distinguished scholar at Singularity and Emory universities If you go by the headlines, the iPhone 5S and Google Glass were the big technology stories of 2013, and Twitter's IPO was the event of the year.

 
 

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Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher have left the building...But they'll be in new digs, and doing likely more to change the tech journalism world than we can imagine. Coming in to what will be called WSJD is Joanna Stern and a host of new folks who are going to have big shoes to fill. Smartly, they will take a different tact and this will only be good for the news junkies and tech hounds..

 
 

 
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You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello

This is the last day of the All Things Digital site, which began life in April of 2007 as a year-round extension of the D conference we launched in 2003. Since then, we have published nearly 40,000 posts and attracted millions of loyal readers.

 
 

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Trade Up: Ditch These Gadget Gifts Now

By Geoffrey A. Fowler and Joanna Stern Let's just clear the air as we head into 2014: In the holiday buying frenzy, you might have ended up with a few tech regrets. It's OK, Black Friday and awkward family members can do this to the best of us.

 
 

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The Verge has a very, very, very good piece on the era of the upgrade. It's a delightful and insightful read. 

 
 

 
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Welcome to the Age of the Upgrade

Everyone is an early adopter now, and it is glorious As the 1980s came to a close, a curious thing happened to American consumers: they began to really understand what the word "upgrade" meant. This realization occurred thanks to a magical fusion of technological advancement and capitalistic opportunity: the video game console.

 
 

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Search and seizure of you gadgets gets upheld when it comes to border crossing. One more reason for the cloud, cloud storage, using a browser, etc. Let them take the laptop, tablet or phone. All they'll get are the apps.

 
 

 
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District Judge Upholds Government's Right to Search Electronics at Border

The government's right to search travelers' electronic devices at the border was upheld in a ruling released by a federal judge on Tuesday, which dismissed a lawsuit challenging this policy. In his opinion, Judge Edward R.

 
 

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Sprint is making moves. The first is the desire to acquire T-Mobile. The second is to build their business business back up, using the retired but not forgotten Nextel brand.

 
 

 
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Sprint, T-Mobile Deal Moving Forward With Investor Support

Seth Fitzgerald | On 31, Dec 2013 A deal between Sprint and T-Mobile may be moving forward now that investors in the companies have given their approval. While investors may be showing their support since the deal would boost Sprint's power in the industry, any deal would still have to make it past regulators who are likely to challenge the move.

 
 

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Nextel Wants To Revive Sprint As A Business Brand, Merge Boost + Virgin Mobile Into 'Sprint Freedom'

It was only six months ago that Sprint decommissioned and shut down the Nextel iDEN push-to-talk network, and while the carrier has no plans to bring that legacy service back, the brand is another story. According to a source close to the company, Sprint wants to introduce Nextel again - as a brand for business services.

 
 

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Bitcoin is not something to think is a passing fad. It's something that will be changing how money is exchanged and already is starting to take hold. Just like PayPal changed payments, Bitcoin is starting to do the same. Chris Dixon's piece sheds lots of light on the subject.

 
 

 
 

Why I'm interested in Bitcoin by Chris Dixon

 
 

 

Some people assume that all Bitcoin advocates are motivated by a libertarian political agenda. That is certainly not my agenda. I'm a lifelong Democrat who supported Obama in the last two elections. I think the Federal Reserve plays an important function, and I don't agree with people who think inflation should be our nation's primary economic concern.

 

 
 

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LTE Advanced is something I'm starting to see as I travel. It's actually been here in Portugal for about a year. Speeds are insane. Like 150 megs mobile. And what this means is sports and entertainment will take on a whole new life on mobile.  I've gone more deeply on this with my thought on AndyAbramson.com

 
 

 
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LTE-Advanced Is the Real 4G

Have you ever called your cellphone carrier to report poor signal strength? Sure you have. And did that carrier do anything significant to fix the problem? Of course it didn't-unless you live in South Korea.

 
 

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LTE-Advanced is a Sports Programming Opportunity on Steroids

The flying P has been the Flyers' primary logo...The flying P has been the Flyers' primary logo since the beginning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LTE Advanced is something I'm starting to see rolling out as I travel. It's actually been here in Portugal for about a year though not really named LTE-A. The speeds are insane. Something like 150 megs on mobile. So what this means to me is how sports and entertainment will take on a whole new life on mobile devices.  As someone who grew up working around the growth of PRISM in Philadelphia, where it was one of the USA's first regional sports and entertainment networks to offer cable customers home games of the Philadelphia Flyers on cable, to be able to watch first run movies without leaving their homes before HBO carried them and to see other premium content, I can see the parallels so very clearly.

We'll start  to see sports packages on your mobile devices that make MLB's At Bat seem rudimentary. This is also going to be a massive opportunity for the PayPerView business and for out of market rights and viewing. For example, Real Madrid can sell their rights to specific operators in specific markets outside of Spain. Exclusively. For the operators, they can build on fan loyalty, or better yet, Real Madrid can become a globally operating MVNO, where the money they make on the content, easily covers the cost of voice, text and data

This would also be a boom to mobile operators who would rather be infrastructure providers and pipe suppliers, letting others take on the marketing of the services, which creates a massive opportunity for a company like ITSON, who wants to change how mobile subscribers pick, buy and consume their plans and services a massive opportunity. This is why net neutrality rapidly comes to the front line, but there will be so many different business plays by the operators possible, the question will become which model will work best where.

The IEEE's Spectrum has a nice take on what the technology means as it makes you realize what's ahead for us with mobile.


The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday December 31 2013-End of The Year Edition

 
 
 
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As the year ends, we can both look back and look forward. The New York Time's John Markoff who has made a career looking at the Internet and Silicon Valley has a well balanced look at where the Internet is going in today's New York Times. Om Malik presents a wonderful counterattack (as did John Gruber over at Daring Fireball) on the Quartz post of last week that said 2013 was a lost year in tech...its created quite a stir as has the YCombinator founder Paul Graham/The Information tizzie which ValleyWag fueled ....what a way to end the year.
With controversy in the media.....Now On To The News.

 
 

 
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Viewing Where the Internet Goes

Will 2014 be the year that the Internet is reined in? When Edward J. Snowden, the disaffected National Security Agency contract employee, purloined tens of thousands of classified documents from computers around the world, his actions - and their still-reverberating consequences - heightened international pressure to control the network that has increasingly become the world's stage.

 
 

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No question the Internet of things will be front and center. GigaOm has a few stories today pointing out why the topic will be so hot and heavy

 

 
 

 
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What’s ahead for the internet of things: Our CES preview podcast

Next week at this time my colleague and co-host Kevin Tofel will be fighting the hordes at the Consumer Electronics Show and reporting back on the cool widgets and gadgets that he finds.

 
 

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PTC cozies up to the industrial internet of things, picks up ThingWorx for $112 million

The companies that build out the internet of things won't just be making connected door knobs: they'll also be cranking out all kinds of hardware and software for industrial applications like factories and assembly plants. With that market in mind, PTC agreed Monday to buy ThingWorx, a maker for software development tools, for $112 million.

 
 

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Being the CEO of an all virtual agency tells me that creating a model of no office required over 20 years ago makes me a pioneer in the sector of remote working. When I read the story below out of Toronto I couldn't help by think just how far ahead of the curve my agency is when it comes to doing things that big business considers complex.

 
 

 
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In the search for savings, the workplace gets an overhaul

The fifth floor of Manulife Financial Corp.'s stately headquarters on Toronto's Bloor Street East sat empty during a recent tour, the workers having vacated about a week earlier. The traditional offices on the periphery of the floor, in many different sizes and configurations, are destined to become a relic of the past.

 
 

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A flat management approach for Zappos where people have no titles and no hierarchy sounds like open source hacker management to me. 

 
 

 
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Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy

Zappos is known for its zany corporate culture. The company's Q4 "All Hands" meeting in November was aptly-themed "Gone Wild": one female employee voluntarily climbed into a case filled with tarantulas to win a $250 gift card. The event opened with a Lion King performance put on by employees at the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas...

 
 

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Apple has had Chiat Day as their creative agency for many years. Could a new hire mean a change is in the wind after 30 years or more? 

 
 

 
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The man behind NYT Magazine's gorgeous covers is headed to Apple

You may not know the name Arem Duplessis, but you've no doubt seen his work on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in the past 10 years. As design director at NYT Mag, he crafted some of the most stunning work in the publication's history -- examples seen above -- and he's just been hired away from his decade-long post.

 
 

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Our own Ritch Blasi, who leads Comunicano's Mobile and Wireless efforts has been a busy boy of late. Beyond booking meetings like there's no tomorrow at CES, he's been engaging online in conversations with LightReading's Sarah Reedy about her views on WiFi being the new network. 

 
 

 
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Is WiFi the New It Network?

 

WiFi is no longer the pitch hitter for when cellular isn't doing its job. In fact, several startups are banking on it being the preferred network for enough people to build a business on. Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless are two of those companies. Both are wholesaling Sprint Corp.

 

 
 

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Verizon acquired Terremark a few years back and has moved things to the cloud. AT&T and others are all doing the same thing to counter the threat of Amazon and Rackspace. Here's why Verizon is so bullish. 

 
 

 
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Verizon: Major Apps Move Cloud-ward in 2014

Expect to see leading brand-name enterprise apps become more cloud-based in 2014 as cloud services do a better job of securely supporting hybrid cloud environments that give enterprises more confidence to move more core apps into the cloud, a top Verizon Terremark executive is predicting.

 
 

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Being international the last two months tells me alot about our broadband infrastructure in the USA. But the USA is a massive land mass, and that means a lot compared to say Portugal and a population of 10 million in a country the size of one of the USA's states. Still, the wireless experience and the in ground experiences I'm seeing globally do make me think the USA is falling behind even with our LTE leadership. 

 
 

 
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U.S. Struggles to Keep Pace in Delivering Broadband Service

 

San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, a progressive and economically vibrant metropolis of 1.4 million people sprawled across south-central Texas. But the speed of its Internet service is no match for the Latvian capital, Riga, a city of 700,000 on the Baltic Sea.

 

 
 

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BlackBerry is starting to mount their comeback campaign. Time will tell. One thing's for sure, they are pushing their QNX group and that's a smart move.

 

 
 

 
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BlackBerry: The way forward

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images I'm surrounded by a talented team of industry leaders, including our new leaders for enterprise, corporate development and strategic planning, and marketing. In the coming weeks, I'll continue to build out my leadership team with those who have the skills and passion to get BlackBerry back on the path to profitability.

 
 

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Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings

Do you check your phone for text messages or emails during business meetings? According to new research from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, you are probably annoying your boss and colleagues. Furthermore, the research indicates that older professionals and those with higher incomes are far more likely [...]

 
 

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Last story is Om Malik's rebuutal to Quartz. It's a great dose of reality.

 
 

 
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Dear Quartz, maybe it's you that needs new glasses and a map. 2013 was not a lost year for tech

The Atlantic's sister publication, Quartz (QZ) yesterday published a provocative piece under the headline - 2013 was a lost year for tech. It was a good way to boost attention, but it also highlights a trend of looking at technology from a narrow lens of consumer-tech.

 
 

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As the year ends, I have to say thanks. Thanks to great clients who take our guidance and let us do what we do best. Thanks to the influencers whom without your willingness to listen to what we have to say we wouldn't have an audience for our clients, and most of all thank you to the entire Comunicano team, past and present. Without all of you none of this would be possible. 

Personally I also have to thank the pilots, train conductors, taxi drivers, limo drivers, chefs, cooks, hotel chambermaids, hotel managers and staff and all the online service providers we use like TripIt.

This past year I accomplished what I set out to do, cutting my travel down by almost 1/3rd. Instead of 266 days on the road it was only 189. But I covered more distance 140,189 miles vs. 122,000 in 2012. I visited only 9 countries vs. 13 and only 57 cities vs. 82.  That meant I was spending more time in fewer places, and establishing better and deeper ties and friendships. And at the end of the day, that's what really matters.

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 


 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday December 30 2013

 
 
 
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Over the weekend I was joined by a group of ex-pats and fellow global nomads whom pal Craig Walker of UberConference introduced me to. It started with an email, led to a Skype call, then we used email, Twitter and iMessaging to coordinate meeting up, all finalized by a web service restaurant reservation and a Google Calendar item to lock in the details. What was so interesting to see was the complete devotion to Apple and iOS by everyone, a fact that became evident when all of our phones were running low on battery power by dinner time on Saturday night.


But it was at the wine and cheese party here at my rented villa last night that clearly revealed more to me than all the research money could buy.

For starters the kids all under 12 were already iPhone and app centric.  They also were after a while asking for their iPhones and iPad that were in the car. The adults, who hail from Toluca Lake just north of Los Angeles, were accutely aware of the need for unlocked phones, swapping SIM's as you cross borders and even the recent lowering of roaming rates. They are also very much web/app services centric, further giving evidence to the declining need for a laptop when on the go.

Most importantly, we are all connected now more than we were when Craig first made the introduction, and distance won't keep us from staying in touch, even after they all go back to the Med port of Puerto de Santo Maria just near the combined USA-Spain Naval facility, ROTA. Between WhatsApp, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook and Email the photos, directions and notes over the past few weeks were all simply communicated, without skipping a beat.

Oh, and for my friend who was using both a locked iPhone and a loaner Android Nexus 3 from me, we used WhatsApp and iMessage--to stay in touch and all the time, were very connected...and rarely even inside our email accounts to keep in touch. 

On that subject,  I've been using Mailstrom from David Troy out of Baltimore for some time, and am getting greater control of my INBOXes. The goal to always be at Inbox zero is nice and now some tips may help you get there too...after that...ON TO THE NEWS.

 
 

 
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Mission: Inbox zero (and 5 ways to accomplish it)

Before the year winds down and New Year's resolutions begin to pile up, many of us look at our email inboxes. Depending on the number of messages there, you either feel a sense of accomplishment or a deep sense of dread.

 
 

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As a frequent visitor to the City of Light, Paris, I'm a regular user of both Uber and SnapCar, just like I use Hailo in London and a few other places. Well I'm not pleased by the decision to make customers of Uber and other on demand car services now have to wait 15 minutes for a pick up. Or at least I wasn't until I thought this through. In Paris if I have the restaurant or hotel call me a cab I get charged from the time the cab responds to the call--from wherever they may be...With UBER or SnapCar the patron is charged from the time they get into the limo or cab. What's more, this may finally move Uber into the scheduled ride market where you simply say "I need a cab in 15 minutes" and then they assign that to a driver. They'll also be able to plot and pair up drivers more efficiently. And that's all because they'll have the data.

 
 

 
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Uber, LeCab And Others Now Have To Wait 15 Minutes Before Picking You Up In France

At first, it was just an idea, but this bill is now very real - urban transportation services like Uber and LeCab will now have to wait 15 minutes in France before letting a customer in the car. Back in October, the French government mentioned this piece of legislation as these new services would hurt traditional cab drivers.

 
 

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We see CMO, CTO, CIO now the new title will be CDO-Chief Data Officer. 

 
 

 
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The Chief Data Officer: An executive whose time has come

 

I often ask people whether they know what Netflix, Harrah's, Amazon and Wal-Mart have in common? The answer is pretty simple. They use data analytics to leave their competitors in the dust. Many other businesses are trying to do the same, spending millions of dollars on data software.

 

 
 

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Differening views on Facebook came out over the weekend. One report leaked to TechCrunch shows their growth, while another shows defection by teens. Which is right? I think it doesn't matter. Facebook evolves like brands of the past. They know they don't want to be another AOL so they have to change what they deliver. As for teens finding other ways to communicate, it's the same old situation. The don't want to be driving their parents car any more than using their parents services. Watch Facebook develop a product simply better aimed at that generation and then provide them the ability to grow up.

 
 

 
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Facebook's Cutesy Annual Report To Partners Reveals First Country-By-Country Mobile Stats

TechCrunch has obtained never before published metrics showing Facebook's international growth. Facebook sent some partners a playfully illustrated eMagazine called The Annual, but I've acquired a copy from a source and the stats inside are serious business. The report divulges user counts for some key international markets like Germany, which now has 25 million users, and 18 million mobile users.

 
 

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Facebook 'dead and buried to teens', research finds

Facebook is 'dead and buried' to older teenagers, an extensive European study has found, as the key age group moves on to Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

 
 

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The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on the Connected Car and what Google's Android team is doing with Audi. This likely will be a hot topic at CES next week in Las Vegas....If you're going to be there let us know. Our team's SVP of Mobile and Wireless Ritch Blasi and I will be there.... 

 
 

 
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The ultimate mobile device? Why yes, that would be your car.

Technology giants Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are about to expand their battle for digital supremacy to a new front: the automobile. Next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google and German auto maker Audi AG plan to announce that they are working together to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on Google's Android software, people familiar with the matter said.

 
 

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I've been using a Google ChromeBook back home as my "other" computer, especially when I'm living in Google Apps land or simply working without the need for Microsoft Office. For starters it lowers the total cost of ownership because for under $400 I can put someone on the team and give them a Google Apps account for $50.00 a year. Compared to a Mac and Office that's an $800 savings from the start. Well, it seems others are thinking the same way as both ComputerWorld and DaringFireball's John Grube weigh in.

 
 

 
 

Daring Fireball: Chromebook Sales vs. Web Traffic Share

 
 

 

Daring Fireball's stats are clearly not representative of the general public, and surely vastly under-represent Chrome OS, but for what it's worth, Google Analytics puts Chrome OS at 0.08 percent of visits in the last 30 days. Also worth noting: iOS nipped past Mac OS X for the first time that I've noticed, 41.62 to 41.10 percent.)

 

 
 

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With the year coming to an end eyes look forward. In this case we have to look towards what may be coming from ISPs with broadband and mobile network services. LTE is changing mobile, and faster fixed mobile services will come into play. Living here the last ten days or so in Cascais my broadband is fed to the hotel/villa property via fixed wireless from TMN-Portugal Telecom's mobile arm. Previously it came from Vodafone. Same speeds and great service and only a few hops to the main backbone and across the water. Things will be changing in the USA too...take a peek.

 
 

 
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How US Internet service might get better-and worse-in 2014

2013, like just about every year before it, was the year nearly all of us complained about our Internet service. "It's too slow!" we said. "Too expensive!" And we were generally right, as a study by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute found that US consumers pay more for slower service than counterparts in other countries.

 
 

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What to expect from mobile networks in 2014: The 4G car, LTE Broadcast and small cells

 

2013 was largely a year of entrenchment in the U.S. mobile industry. Carriers expanded their 4G footprints geographically and added new capacity to meet the demands of an increasing number of LTE devices. But in 2014, we're going to see carriers get a bit more experimental with their networks and their services.

 

 
 

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With more crowdfunding coming as a result of the Jobs Act, you can expect to see more startups. Here are ten reasons why.

 
 

 
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A New Era For Entrepreneurs And Startups Has Begun

Since the recent recession, and at least partially sparked by it, I'm seeing a real resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit, and more startup activity than ever before. I believe the days of the "job work" mentality are thankfully waning, with more people looking to get satisfaction by making the world a better place, rather than just tolerating brain-numbing work to fund enjoyment elsewhere.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Friday December 27 2013

 
 
 
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Most of the news today has been about the holiday shopping/shipping woes. So we'll start with that and look at some other facts and information surrounding the holiday season. Now..on to the news.. 

 
 

 
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Many shoppers blame online retailers for stealing Christmas: Shipping delays left many people with little under the tree

Many shoppers are blaming online retailers for stealing Christmas. Companies from Amazon.com Inc. to Kohl's Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. promised to deliver items from headphones to television sets before Christmas, but shipping delays left gift-givers across the country without anything to put under the tree.

 
 

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Apple's iOS Completely Blew Away Google's Android For Shopping On Christmas

Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, continues to blow away Google's Android in mobile commerce, according to IBM analytics.IBM put out a press release about what it saw during Christmas. It's not good for Android: iOS vs. Android: As a percentage of total online sales, iOS was more than five times higher than Android, driving 23 percent vs.

 
 

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Amazon Reveals a New Hint About Prime Membership Rolls

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press SEATTLE - The world's biggest online retailer has mastered the art of talking a lot about its holiday sales, while saying very little. For years, Amazon has blasted out a press release, a day or so after Christmas, filled with a string of tantalizing-sounding factoids about the holidays at Amazon without actually providing a very meaningful picture of its business.

 
 

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Learning by Shipping

Rather than predict anything that will suddenly appear at the end of 2014, this post offers some trends that are likely to double by some measure this next year. This will turn out to be an exponential year in many technologies and what seems far-fetched could very easily be trends that are doubling in relatively short periods...

 
 

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As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, by one estimate

Free shipping and lenient return policies have given online retailing a huge boost. Now, chains are mining their order data to get shoppers to keep more purchases. Behind the uptick in e-commerce is a little known secret: As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, according to retail consultancy Kurt Salmon.

 
 

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With mobile Internet traffic growing, its a sign that more people are also consuming and contributing more data from tablets. If you're a company that's in the Internet space and not designing for tablets and phablets, you're out of the game before it starts. What's also clear is people are using their devices away from the home and office more, and as time goes on this will only increase. We're already seeing Verizon Wireless network in the USA stressing and straining...it will get worse before it gets better.

 
 

 
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U.S. Mobile Internet Traffic Nearly Doubled This Year

Andrew Burton/Getty Images Two big shifts happened in the American cellphone industry over the past year: Cellular networks got faster, and smartphone screens got bigger. As a result, people's consumption of mobile data nearly doubled.

 
 

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This leads to our next story about app usage tracking. Let's face it, government that governs best, governs least is an old axiom. When one sees the trade organization for mobile making a move to put out a app usage reporting tool that tells people how much each app consumes you know they're not just doing it to be nice. They're doing it with dual intentions. One for the consumer, but another for themselves. Expect more apps from Mobile operators in 2014 that help consumers and the operators know more, make more better informed decisions and be more aware of just what their options are. 

 
 

 
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CTIA Releases Know My App To Prevent Excessive Data Usage

Seth Fitzgerald | On 26, Dec 2013 As more and more services move to mobile devices, data usage is skyrocketing, which makes monitoring usage an incredibly important task. Only a handful of carriers still offer unlimited data while the others have restricted their plans, although many people stay within their limits, others have a hard time doing so.

 
 

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Yesterday, our lead off story was about T-Mobile and Sprint. Well here's an opposing point of view on the possibility of their merger...

 
 

 
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Analysis: In telecom merger mania, skeptical eye from Obama administration

 

 With both cable and mobile phone operators grappling with slowing growth, speculation has intensified recently about potential takeovers of No. 4 wireless service provider T-Mobile US Inc and No.

 

 
 

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It's no surprise that BlackBerry is canceling their Live event. Some would say it's better than having smaller numbers than in the past, as the naysayers would have been quick to call it, BlackBerry Dead....

 
 

 
 

BlackBerry cancels BlackBerry Live 2014

 
 

Sponsored links, if any, appear in green. Troubled smartphone vendor and enterprise service provider BlackBerry has announced that it will not host its signature event, BlackBerry Live, next year. So how will developers, buyers, and other participants in the BlackBerry ecosystem connect? There's a plan for that as well.

 
 

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The iPhone is a wonderful product. But what makes it so great is what Apple is constantly doing to make it more useful....Soon it could save lives.

 
 

 
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Apple patents accurate touch and hover panel, embedded heart rate monitor

Apple on Tuesday was granted two iOS device-targeted patents, one for a "touch and hover" display panel that is made more accurate by compensating for signal drift, and another for heart rate monitor that can be seamlessly integrated into a handset. Touch and hover The newer of Tuesday's patents, Apple's extensive U.S.

 
 

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China is adding MVNOs. This means they have built out the infrastructure to support competition. The question in my mind is what non Chinese company or global mobile operator will be the first to partner with one of the MVNO's to break into the market... 

 
 

 
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China's Telecom Regulator Awards Virtual Telecom Licenses to 11 Companies

 

China's telecom regulator has awarded licenses to 11 private companies to run mobile telecom businesses based on services leased from China's state-run carriers. The new licenses mark a concrete policy change after years of discussion by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates China's telecoms sector.

 

 
 

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Just to show another side of things, Quartz has a nice counterpoint to the runaway enthusiasm of the tech press. To them, 2013 was more the year that wasn't. 

 
 

 
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2013 was a lost year for tech

All in, 2013 was an embarrassment for the entire tech industry and the engine that powers it-Silicon Valley. Innovation was replaced by financial engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and evasion of regulations. Not a single breakthrough product was unveiled-and for reasons outlined below, Google Glass doesn't count.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday December 25 2013

 
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Cascais Portugal. Xmas eve brought rain, but now it seems the present of the day is clearing skies and a nice calmer day. As for news, not really much out there. A bunch of wrap up stories, and some looks ahead seem to dominate the news.

Biggest story is around SoftBank and their potential bid to buy out T-Mobile in the USA along with some travel tech related news.....so now, onto the news.

 

 
 

 
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SoftBank gets closer to buying T-Mobile: report

(Reuters) - Japan-based SoftBank Corp (TYO:9984) is in final stages of talks with T-Mobile (TMUS.N)parent company Deutsche Telekom (DTE.DE)about acquiring the U.S.-based wireless carrier, the Nikkei news service reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

 
 

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2014 will likely be a massive year for M&A, but it will also be a big year for startups  Our first story is all about Crowdfunding....

 

 
 

 
 

Crowdfunding in 2014..What Will It Be Like

 
 

 

Crowdfunding has become a buzzword among entrepreneurs, inventors, and the creative community. Impressive growth has occurred .....

Crowdfunding Trends 2014 image crowdfunding2014 300x240

 

 
 

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Smart marketing is always recognized and what JetBlue did with some "surpises" ads on Craigslist can be the start of something new both there and on sites like eBay as marketers look for ways that generate earned media coverage for a bright idea, but that also have that special contagious value to it.

 

 
 

 
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JetBlue hops on the holiday season bandwagon to surprise travellers

JetBlue used Craigslist's Rideboard to help people out who needed to get somewhere over the holidays..

 
 

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Tablets are more than just about reading....and apps, now they are becoming essential tools for customer service agents of all kind. Just look at how travelers feel about their airlines and tablets.

 

 
 

 
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60% of Flyers Want to Travel with Airlines That Use Tablets to Speed Up Lines

Sixty percent of flyers would be more likely to fly with an airline again if its staff used tablets to speed up wait times during the holidays, says survey.

 
 

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As someone who travels getting the right tech at a hotel or in the air is crucial. The next few stories sum up a lot of what's happening or about to be in the mainstream.

 

 
 

 
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Welcome to the holidays of the future

 

Hotels all over the world are tuning in to the needs of tech-savvy travellers with up-to-date gadgets. HOTELS all over the world are redefining luxury by embracing technology and incorporating it into the guest experience.

 

 
 

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24/7 connectivity - peace of mind?

Technology has revolutionised the life of the business traveller. 24/7 connectivity anywhere, anytime, has brought with it unquantifiable benefits. But is the last frontier of tranquility about to be taken away...

 
 

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Silent flight: Consumers voice opposition to in-flight calls

When Virgin Atlantic let it be known last year that it would be allowing passengers to use mobile phones for voice calls on flights, many of the news stories and commentary about the decision assumed the worst. "Annoyed yet?" began a CNN Travel report.

 
 

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Mobile Predictions for 2014

Well it's that time of year we pundits start cranking out our predictions for the coming year. Of course those of us who follow the mobile space shudder at that prospect given our industry's undiminished ability to surprise and confound. Be that as it may, here's what I'm expecting in the coming year.

 
 

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Top 10 predictions for the mobile market in 2014

The drama will continue in the mobile market as fortunes of mobile operators and wireless handset makers are won and lost in the upcoming year. Take a look at CNET's top predictions for the 2014. (Credit: T-Mobile) This past year was a busy one for the mobile market.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Tuesday December 24 2013

 
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  So back in the summer when I got asked to speak at two conferences in Bangkok I made a wager with myself. First that the weather would be brutal in the USA starting late fall so why deal with that...I was right. That decision led me to go to where it wouldn't be nasty. Australia and work from there. The weather was great. Food very healthy and the Internet in all three towns I visited was just perfect.  That then led to why go home for two weeks when I already was going to be in Europe for the holidays to catch up with friends I only see a few times a year in France, Portugal and the UK.

  My second wager was that the time surrounding Christmas and New Years would be absolutely brutal on the news front. Christmas and New Years both fall this year on a Wednesday. That means no one really seriously is thinking work on Monday or Tuesday. Heck for many, the world of work ended sometime last week. So, I closed the agency last Friday, giving everyone on the Comunicano team a six day holiday, and basically 9 days off over a two week period. And they deserve it. With an all virtual team I can see them working when others are done for the day. Put simply, a virtual workforce gets things done. Giving the team a break before CES also is deserved. The team works hard, and deserves a break.

  Oh, and being in Cascais, Portugal--great people to hang with, hit or miss weather--but who cares, amazing wine, food and yes, both mobile and broadband...that mean's I'm "staying connected." 

Merry Christmas....to all and to all a good year! So...now onto what passes as the news for today. It's so light, there's no need to comment...so just read it. 

 
 

 
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More Tech Startups Will Choose An IPO Over Being Acquired In 2014

There will be a record number of tech market IPOs in 2014 according to the most recent 451 Research Tech Corporate Development Outlook Survey published by 451 Research. The 451 Research survey respondents project that 2014 will be a post-recession record year for tech IPOs as the three major U.S.

 
 

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Apple continues quiet acquisition spree with BroadMap and Catch

While the world continues to wait for Apple to buy an enormous and powerful company with its stockpile of cash, the tech giant just keeps quietly snapping up smaller ones instead. The latest: BroadMap and Catch, two completely different tech companies that focused on mapping technologies and productivity, respectively.

 
 

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Sony selling off media metadata service Gracenote to Tribune group

Some five years after buying media identifying service Gracenote for $260 million, Sony is selling it off to Chicago-based media company Tribune Co. for nearly half that. The two companies today announced a $170 million deal that gives the Tribune Company's Media Services group Gracenote's technology and database of 180 million music tracks and videos.

 
 

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Funding Daily: We opened ours early

As an adult living hundreds of miles from your point of origin, you are faced with an annual dilemma: Open the brown box and all its contents now, or wait for the morning of the 25th. Oh, you know what you should do. But you're a dad-blamed grownup now.

 
 

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T-Mobile's GoSmart Hopes to Boost Data Use by Offering Unlimited Free Mobile Access to Facebook

Overseas, Facebook has worked with a number of carriers to bring free access to the social network for those who don't otherwise have data plans for their phones. Now a T-Mobile subsidiary is trying to see if the same thing works in the U.S.

 
 

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BlackBerry calls off 'Live' conference, cancels two low-cost phones

On Friday, BlackBerry delivered its Q3 financial report, and the numbers weren't pretty. But lost inside all that data was yet another worrying development: BlackBerry's current predicament has forced the company to abandon work on two unreleased smartphones.

 
 

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HP Makes Another Phone Call - The Information

Now CEO Meg Whitman is taking another stab at the crowded mobile-phone industry as she tries to turn around the company. She is searching for new areas of growth amid declines in desktop and laptop computer sales, which make up HP's largest business unit.

 
 

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Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey joins Disney’s board of directors

The Walt Disney company has announced today that Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has been elected to the company's Board of Directors. Dorsey will serve as "an independent director," and stand at a meeting in March of next year.

 
 

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Apple-Backed Rockstar Said to Hold Discussions to Sell Patents

 
 

A consortium created by Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. and other technology companies to acquire $4.5 billion of patents from Nortel Networks Corp. in 2011 is holding discussions to sell a portion of those patents, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

 
 

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Analysis: Time Warner Cable's missed chances begin slide to takeover buzz

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake A cable truck returns to a Time Warner Cable office in San Diego, California December 11, 2013. Its stock price increased more than five fold and it returned more than $9 billion to its shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks, on top of a $10.9 billion dividend at the time of the split.

 
 

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Stop Waiting For WebRTC

If you're waiting for an official version of WebRTC to revolutionize your customer service, don't. The wait may be long, and real-time communications can be done today. WebRTC is a proposed technology standard poised to change the world. It will potentially disrupt voice, video, and mobile communications, and dramatically affect how we interact with the web.

 
 

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The people have spoken! Here are the top 3 startups in Europe

Thank you all for voting in our annual Startup of the Year poll. The results are in - here are the favorite startups from our shortlist: #1 Fieldoo What sport has over 250 million players worldwide and an industry worth a huge €20bn? Football.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday December 23 2013

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Hello from Cascais Portugal. Last week I was in the South of France, where I was working remotely from Domaine d'Aupilhac, helping with the planning of their 25th anniversary, is just as easy as working from home.  

Being on the road didn't mean work stopped for me. Meetings using Calliflower,GoToMeetingWebExUberConference. Calls using either Counterpath's Bria withSimpleSignal or via Skype, along with mobile service from Truphone, plus local mobile operators Bouygues Telecom and Orange have allowed me to stay connected. I'm also finding a massive shift in my behavior with the iPad Air with a Zagg keyboard vs. MacBook Air, my traveling laptop these days. The laptop stays in the apartment (gites) more than it leaves. Same here in Portugal.

In France while driving, I've made a ton of calls using 4G on Bouygues, but the calls were not over the usual cellular networks but over the data networks. The issue, coverage is still being built out and when you switch between 4G and 3G it's different networks and your IP calls get dropped. That problem will go away over time. Here in Portugal, Optimus' 4G network is giving me up to 50 megs of speed and I'm making VoIP calls using SimpleSignal like I'm home.

Net Net--The Internet keeps me connected and working from winery (WFW) or from the back of a taxi is the same for me as WFH (working from home).

Here in Portugal the combination of Optimus and Vodafone, as well as Truphone on my devices has me mobile and connected. The hotel has provisioned a personal direct connection to their broadband network for me, with my own Wi-Fi SSID so only my devices are on that part fo the network giving me 20 megs symmetrical up to 50 megs anywhere on the resort...This is where the new iPad is excelling as is the Nexus 7 tablet.

What else has changed. Over the past week or two members of my team and I have been digging deeper into GoogleDocs and I'm watching how much faster collaboration can occur. Also, being on Google with an Android is far more seamless than being on other devices, but if you use the Google Apps on iOS the seamlessness seems to continue so I don't see how Microsoft or Blackberry even can catch up. The only players who can are LG and Samsung, along with some new players like OPPO andXiaomi  who a are both innovating with Android as the core OS and then adding to it.


Cheers...and now onto the news

 

 
 

 
 

 

Data. Data. Data. No, not the Data in StarTrek's second coming, The Next Generation, but data is the key driver to all business these days. And, using data from the iTunes App store may be a key driver in determining just what's hot or not.

 

 
 

 
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Identifying the Hottest Startups in the iTunes App Store Using Mobile Data Analytics

Last week we shared some high level insights we have gleaned from the data on over 1 million apps in the Apple iTunes App Store that we actively track. This week, we wanted to share how we analyze the data at an application level to help our customers discover emerging apps and publishers.

 
 

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One doesn't have to look farther than Google Ventures to see where Google is placing its bets long term. 

 
 

 
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Where Google Ventures is pinning its hopes

December 19, 2013: 8:08 AM ET The search for a better way to fight cancer is unfolding quietly against the floor-to-ceiling window of a conference room in a San Francisco office building where three young men are scrutinizing a jumble of Post-it Notes.

 
 

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if you can't beat them, join them. That's what legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden did when it came to battling piracy. Even though sales of recorded music are down due to piracy, the band use data to go to where the pirates are, selling out their concerts and moving millions of dollars of merchandise. 

 
 

 
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How Iron Maiden found its worst music pirates -- then went and played for them

For more than a decade, musicians have battled rampant music piracy that has put labels and record stores out of business at a rapid pace. Unlike the shift to Amazon that did in the book store chains, record stores are suffering from outright theft, and the migration to iTunes or Spotify streaming isn't making up the difference.

 
 

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Innovation is alive in Indonesia when it comes to a mobile network where no network was before. This is not the first example of this, but shows that if there's a will, there's a way.

 
 

 
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A Guerilla Mobile Network Springs Up in Indonesia | MIT Technology Review

A four-hour drive from the nearest cellular coverage in the remote highlands of Papua, Indonesia, a new kind of guerilla telecom network is operating, albeit outside the law, using a cheap base station roped into a treetop. The technology could provide a new model for self-managed "last mile" mobile coverage in the world's hardest-to-reach areas, where traditional top-down telecommunications business models don't work.

 
 

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If you ever wondered what you can do with Push notifications, here's a real nice primer.

 
 

 
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Push Notifications - Push Messaging - Push Marketing - Just Enough Just-in-Time - Top-10 Issues and Impacts

Push notifications, push messaging, push marketing, push, news alerts, Push alerts, push messages, push mobile alerts, push alerts, weather alerts, crime alerts, emergency notifications, emergency alerts, fire alerts, news push, push news, push sports, walkie-talkie, real-time news, real-time push, real-time messages, real time weather, real-time business, business news, push business news, push tech news

 
 

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As the Internet of Things grows, beacon technology which combines mobile apps, BlueTooth and location to trigger actions will blossom in importance.

 
 

 
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Comment: What are iBeacons and why should retailers care?

If you follow mobile tech or digital retail news, you will have heard about a mysterious new technology called iBeacons that seems to be being billed as changing everything in retail. Continue reading this article - Simply subscribe below Subscribe for less than £1 a day and get immediate online access.

 
 

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If the FCC changes the sports blackout rules, mobile networks and mobile infrastructure players will be the big winners as sports can be leveraged into packages. And you wonder why Dish Networks wants to buy T-Mobile and keep them out of Sprint's hands?

 
 

 
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The FCC’s plan for TV blackouts: what it means for sports fans

Sports leagues - especially the NFL - use blackouts to encourage fans to see games in the stadium rather than on TV. A new proposal by the FCC would make it harder to do this, but it won't bring relief to the majority of sports fans.

 
 

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Speaking of T-Mobile, their "uncarrier" approach may take on an ever newer twist next year, with the Seattle based carrier buying customers out of early termination fees. That will spark a very big price war if it happens...or put an end to them along with subsidized phones. 

 
 

 
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What if Uncarrier 4.0 is other carriers' early termination fees covered? [UPDATE: It probably is]

Ever since John Legere teased Uncarrier 4.0 on his twitter account earlier this week, I've been racking my brains trying to decide what it's most likely to be. In terms of its own plans, value and available products, T-Mobile has done about as much as it can do to convince customers to join.

 
 

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Thoughts on Standards Call Centers, Call Routing, VoIP Codecs, Port Blocking and Transit of Voice

Let's face it. We live in a very connected, always on world where being reached is essential. As a global nomad of the nth degree i rely on my various communications providers like SimpleSignal and a string of services ranging from GoogleVoice, Skype, Calliflower, WebEx, GoToMeeting, UberConference, Voxeet, Truphone and various mobile operators to keep me connected to all the people who matter. The top line here deals with standards that are either the same for everyone, or they're not being followed. Sure you can have a call placed direct to say your USA mobile phone, but when roaming that adds all kinds of greater expense and signalling/media path complexity. So in theory, using IP transiting of voice should be the way to go...but with so many different hops, POPS and jumps, things simply break...and they are.

Being in the middle of a 60 day away from home trip I'm hearing things I don't really like. And it starts simply with how calls that originate or terminate to call centers sound...and they sound awful.  It continues with Skype and the issues surrounding origination and termination of Skype In and Out calls sound when a Skype user is international and the hassles continue with things like Wi-Fi log ons becoming challenging, WiFi hotspot location managers not knowingly port blocking and more.

Here in Europe Skype calls to call centers are just plain brutal. If you think calls to mobile phones from Skype in the USA suffer from quality issues, try calling call centers here in Europe. Twice this past week the exact comment from two different call centers for companies based in the UK and France were "are you using Skype?" And in both cases, the calls ended up in Morocco which is a hotbed for call centers because of its labor pool and proximity to Europe. I hung up and called using my mobile phone and the quality was better, but those calls were still not great. 

Port blocking or port openings also are our enemy. Sometimes someone gets blocked and that means the call doesn't get through. And where that's impacting most is with WebRTC. While the signalling path sets up the call session, the media path gets lost. Just try explaining WebRTC to a hotel IT guy.....if you can find one who really knows what's going on.

The next is DTMF and Caller ID--there are basic standards for both, but of late I'm seeing more financial institutions not displaying caller ID under the guise of security--For example, like many, I hate answering calls from both numbers I don't recognize as well as blocked numbers. A second and more challening issue comes from DTMF both on Skype and now with GoogleVoice where the tones just aren't correct. Wanna bet some telecom tranist company is in the middle of both, and causing things to simply stop working?

The company that looks at these issues and solves the problem, will be who wins global business, even if it costs a bit more. We're in a global world and we can't think locally any more. With calls being sent all over the world this calls for proper call routing, transiting of the media, minimizing the hops will matter, and as we move towards LTE being the mobile means of voice, these problems will only get worse before they get better.

The next issue that is rising from what I can see occurs mostly with hotels and is triggered by hotspot operators who largely use authentication servers and routers from a handful of companies, with Nomadix and Cisco being the first two that pop up when issues arise--especially for Mac users who have upgraded.

While Apple has simplified logging on to WiFi compared to Windows, sometimes there are locations which use Java and unless you want to install that in your browser, it just won't work. What ever happened to plain old browser based authentication.

And who is to blame? Implementors of Cisco gear at airports are a big culprit of what I have begun to call airport log on extremis. This is the experience one has when one can't log on to airport WiFi--usually because of browser or authentication issues, or sometimes because the authentication router is simply maxed out of available IP addresses now that eveyrone carries more than one device and wants to STAY CONNECTED. 

Next up is not staying current. If the service provider can't stay current to standards or updates to browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari your screwed. And, when you get told that you should use Internet Explorer just call it a day.