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Mobile Number Portability / Wireless Number Portability

January 23, 2009

Mobile Operators are in a race to retain customer and offer its customers best services to save them from porting.  It is like a blessing in disguise for the customers, as they would get better service irrespective of the carrier, albeit with the same number.  The increased competition in the mobile space will trigger a completely new dimension of relationship and commerce. 

 

Keep in mind that number porting only applies to moving your phone number from one carrier to another.  All the other restrictions on cell phone service still apply; if you try to switch carriers before you current calling plan commitment runs out, there is a chance of an early-termination fee.  Many wireless providers have already boosted up their early cancellation fees, which may be a tactic to curb WNP

 

While WNP will remove a significant barrier to changing wireless service providers, consumers should bear in mind that handsets might not function on different wireless carriers networks due to different network technologies.  There may be an initial cost of buying new equipment.

 

In addition, not all services may be transferable from one carrier to another; and not all the services that a customer has with one service provider will be supported or provided by another Mobile provider.

 

Due to WNP mandate, all of wireless carriers’ systems are affected.  Examples of systems and processes affected are: billing, customer service, order activation, call delivery, roamer registration and support, short messages service center, directory assistance, caller ID, calling name presentation, switches, maintenance and CSC systems, home location registers (HLRs), and visiting location registers (VLRs).

 

In the short term, the churn will increase; however, there are only so many players so once loss is another’s gain.  The subscriber base will grow at a healthy rate but the ARPU will reduce.

 

In the initial stages it will be a huge mess due to churn and related issues i.e. when a customer plans to shift, the old service provider (OSP) has to perform a query to identify if there are any billing amounts pending, which they need to recover before the subscriber moves to the new service provider (NSP).  Now if the subscriber wants to switch over smoothly, keep your finger crossed.

 

A mobile company focused on enhancing the mobile experience of the user with excellent customer support will succeed. 

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Smartphones – Future Portals

January 23, 2009

A Widget (today’s smart phone + smart computer) can be only your portal or access point. Soon you will have a widget in your hand with a smart touch screen, great video camera; smart voice recognition (keyboard issue mute) and cheap.   This widget will allow video calls and be the only portal into your virtual space life. The smart mini computers and PDA phones running on a Windows Mobile, Android, Apple, or RIM are gradually moving towards that reality.

Today an internet user is comfortable exchanging private/ secure information with the transaction provider, be it a Pay pal, Banks and other solution providers on assurance that there will be no fraudulent activities.

Very soon, when your phone rings you will see the person who is calling you. During this video call, you will be able to simulate a live meeting i.e. sharing information and documents. Each video-call can be saved virtually. The cost to you will be in pennies. How much disk space do you think you will need and at what cost?

Today most of the mobile operators in the US are offering unlimited data usage for $100 per month. The mobile providers are linked to your bank accounts for billing/payment purpose and are positioned to benefit from this adoption.

To reduce churn and increase ARPU, the mobile operators are going to offer additional services such as assimilated emails portal, 24/7 home security, Mobile Entertainment, games, education, medical, video infant/child monitoring, personal property security (video and Satellite GPS IP tracking), Dynamic Google maps and more. Think of the old black and white silent movie and compare it to the IMAX. Currently you are experiencing the silent black and white movie.

Soon your experience will be multidimensional when technologies like 3G/4G, cloud computing, Grid Computing, Unified Messaging, Converged Solutions converge and Cisco’s new virtualization servers or Smart Virtual Disk Space (SVDS) will work together for a secure awesome experience.

Another perspective could be, today you a regular internet and technology user could have a business computer with internet connection, a personal computer with a internet connection, a business mobile and connection, a personal mobile with a connection and a TV with Cable at home.

You use two to all of the above. Imagine multiple logon & passwords to remember, mobile numbers and various functions to memorize. So much computing power and access points/connectivity is such a waste. It is like buying a Ferrari to use as a regular commuter car to travel a distance of 10miles.

In addition to the excessive hardware, you have to purchase all the software, licenses, cable service, and insurances. Now let us not forget all the rouge elements creating virus and worms to disrupt our lives.  Very soon, you will not have to worry about most of these things as you will have widget +SVDS for all your personal and professional technology needs.

The widget + SVDS will enable the current and future internet users to assimilate all of their work in one place using single sign in and one password. The cost of providing such a service can be charged to the VAS and VAR service providers.

The SVDS can be provided at nil or minimal cost to the user by monetizing this via targeted and contextual advertising delivered across Web, WAP, and Internet, thereby, encouraging initial adoption and long-term sustainability. As long as usage metrics and personal data are kept anonymous, studies show that users are quite open to receiving specific advertisements that cater to their preferences and make for a much more personalized space to operate from, than just mindless spamming.

Moreover, in the bargain, significant value will be created in terms of quality of life by leveraging the true power of technology that opens up new vistas for the consumer who are, and will continue to be the true drivers of technology trends and evolution. Looking forward to all of your thoughts and suggestions.

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Whats holding Virtual Meeting/Teleconference back?

January 10, 2009

There are more than a few reasons why this solution has not found traction, even with the ban on travel due to social, medical and economic reasons.  In a face to face meeting we are not limited to the technology we use.  In a face to face meeting we are able to use all of our senses and in a virtual meeting we are handicapped. 

 

A “True Unified Communication with ease of use” that allows true life experience will help grow this space.  Imagine a virtual meeting that incorporates holograms.  You are attending a meeting where you are sitting at a table with a widget (could be assigned with an IP for it to be mobile on 3G) in front of you.  This widget system transmits 360` video/voice and allows sharing a files, documents and idea on a digital screen/touch sensitive screens.  The widget system allows you to hear and see other attendants in life forms.  The meeting attendants will be able to use more of there senses i.e. hearing, seeing, experience closer to true face to face.  The hologram is beaming from the widget that allows for close to true life experience.  Now if someone walks into the office of one of the meeting attendants he will be surprising all of the meeting attendants as they will see, hear and feel his presence.   

 

These technologies mentioned have to be interchangeable and should work with each other for the space to mature and truly provide the user with a true experience.  The market is ready for such solutions and the first mover advantage will be huge.  These changes are in the making with all the economic challenges and social challenges in the globe today.  Imagine with all the travel bans (economic – corporate travel restrictions, social – Palestine/ Israel and medical – bird flu) it will be easier to have one of these meetings. 

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Future Datacenters: Converged Media Markets

January 9, 2009

Today, datacenters are playing between being purely static to providing advance solutions. Soon, it will become affordable for all computer/internet users to have a virtual disk space. This will materialize as soon as datacenters can assure users and gain their trust about the security of these systems and networks being comparable to bank ATM machines. If the data centers can facilitate an end user scenario like that, there’s little stopping any user from using a virtual storage space. Except, maybe awareness creation and shift in mindsets.  

 

Today, as we speak, or rather blog, we are comfortable uploading our personal pictures onto social and business networking portals and managing the same virtually. We are starting to shop online, more than ever before. The trend clearly shows that in a familiar and largely trusted environment, an internet user is comfortable exchanging private and secure information with the transaction provider, be it a Pay pal, Banks and/or other solution providers on the basis of assurance that there will be no fraudulent activities.  

 

If a datacenter provider can gain a similar level of confidence from an end user, then they can easily become the primary, and in many progressive cases, the sole HUB that serves as the backbone of the digital life of an internet user. The datacenter should create a solution that allows a user to store all of his personal/professional data across voice, video, pictures, contacts, calendar scheduling and documents, conduct financial transactions, respond to taxes liabilities, manage home/family security, track medical records and pharmaceutical needs, and provide seamless access and ease of use for referring to all this data from a centralized database. 

 

So the end product is a SOLUTION that is a combination of multiple sub-set tools and products (i.e. Datacenter + Paypal + MS Office + Windows Live SkyDrive + Phone Back Up + Banking + MD.com + Homesecurity.com + Seamless and easy information access that leads to the proverbial Work-Life Balance). If this sounds a bit futuristic, it isn’t really so. When thought through and with a few technologies and solution providers aligning themselves to a common goal, the outcome may not be far behind. 

 

Let’s say, we’re able to arrive at a realistic platform, where the above is easily achievable. The inevitable question as an end-user is ‘What’s in it for me?’ Fair to ask and fairly simple to elaborate upon. This will enable the current and future internet users to assimilate all of their work in one place using single sign in (much like Passport) and one password (could be biometric). The same can be extended to cover their personal lives as well. The cost of hosting and providing such a service will be charged to the VAS and VAR service providers. Service providers or mobile operators can offer this at nil or minimal cost to the user by monetizing this via targeted and contextual advertising delivered across Web, WAP and Internet, thereby, encouraging initial adoption and long-term sustainability. As long as usage metrics and personal data are kept anonymous, studies show that users are quite open to receiving specific advertisements that cater to their preferences and make for a much more personalized space to operate from, than just mindless spamming. Moreover, in the bargain, significant value is created in terms of quality of life by leveraging the true power of technology that opens up new vistas for the consumer who are, and will continue to be the true drivers of technology trends and evolution.
 
I look forward to the day when I will have a widget with touch screen that will allow me to make video call and also be a portal into my virtual life. Actually, the smart mini computers and PDA phones running on a Windows Mobile, Android, Apple or RIM are gradually moving towards that reality. Imagine, if each video call is saved and the cost is in pennies…How much disk space do you think we will need?  Now let
s not forget about digital credits and they will replace our currencies.  The digital credits will be commonly used in the virtual/internet world. A user may even have his monthly salary deposited into this digital credit account and use this as a regular banking account?

 

Are we looking into a future where a time will come when a new born will be allotted a certain IP address and disk space? Too early to debate such controversies. For now, let’s just say that the whole world is a converged market where media and technology are at constant play.

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Mirror Mirror on the wall?

January 6, 2009
Today we have smart phones, smart refrigirators, and smart homes. A slew of such varied appliances and technology are vying for domination of this space.
 
Available phones in the market today are assimilating your technology needs by combining personal and business communication via file sharing, camera, calender, schedule and more. Today we have refirgirators that have touch screen displays that not only display the contents inside, but also inform you of expiry dates of stocked food products. To take this a step further, why not get a refrigirator that is smart enough to dial the local store and place an order for home delivery?  And it doesn’t end there. In addition, the refrigerator display will show the latest News and family schedule for the day, etc. Ideally, I would even want recipes to be fetched from the web and displayed on the refrigerator screen that match my available stock of food and taste preferences.
 
There’s no end to where technology can lead you. The question is, which of these appliances is set to dominate your life and space? Is it the phone, the TV or the refrigirator?  I beleieve it will be you mirror.
 
Imagine when you wake up in the morning and your pre-programmed mirror greets you ‘good-morning’. All you need to do is raise your hand/finger which is recognized by the mirror and it displays the Menu of the day for you.
 
Currently, there is a product that Microsoft is pioneering for the business space called ‘Surface’ that is a combination of a software and hardware that allows user/s to manipulate digital content by the use of natural motions, hand gestures or physical objects.
 
Is the day far behind, when a consumer can use a mirror in the bedroom as one such Multi-touch product to seamlessly combine and balance personal and professional lives?
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Hello world! Data Packets & Chips Implanted in Children

January 5, 2009

Future of Data Packets: will each child be implanted with a chip one day?


Today we are able to charge mobile phones in a wireless environment. Very soon, a scenario will arise where we will be able to charge automobile batteries wirelessly. This, in turn, will lead to automobiles being managed from a NOC.

 

Now, imagine a world where if you are breaking a rule, your car will shut down automatically as it has been pre-programmed. Moreover, if your car exceeds the normal usage in total number of years of operation, then too it will shut down. If a rogue element commandeered a automobile for destructive activities we can shut down the power and secure the person in the automobile.  Sitting here today, this might sound outlandish or impossible. But, actually it is not so. With the passage of time, this might very well become a reality, which in turn, will improve efforts towards stemming global warming while using energy efficiently. A scenario like this will allow for smarter cars that will provide for safer roadways and will be able to respond to medical and safety emergencies (for example, GM’s On Star and Computer Controlled Automobiles). 

 

Today we are tagging garments with RFID tags to track them from a manufacturing stage to a point of sale. We have heard of pet owners, animal farms, and wild reserves using chips to track pets and wild animals. Recently, a couple in Canada had implanted chips in themselves to allow all sorts of access to each other’s homes and systems.

 

Given the above panning out of technology trends that decide which way our lives go, is the day far behind before we implant new babies with chips?