LONDON -- The British love mobile messaging, sending 3.3 billion mobile messages a month, or nearly two messages per person per day, according to this article in The Register. The particular form of mobile messaging used is, of course, SMS, and it can cost around 10 pence (nearly 20 US cents) per message, though is now often sold in bundled packages that work out much cheaper.There are clearly some very attractive features to this form of messaging. It is expected to be instant, the format necessarily keeps messages short enough to read quickly, the cost creates some form of barrier to inappropriate use, and it has great authentication as you see exactly which number a message is from when you receive it. On the down side, it generally has to be sent on fiddly keys (though T9 is a really interesting way to help with this), and there is the cost again which can be an extraordinary sum to pay to send a very small amount of data.As we see fixed/mobile convergence gathering pace, it will be interesting to see what happens with email/SMS convergence. The mobile messaging solutions that appeal to a mass SMS-using community, such as we have in the UK, will have to take into account existing habits and experiences.
SAN JOSE, CA -- You’ve all heard the World Cup anecdotes: when asked if he was following the World Cup, a US soccer fan asked, “which U.S. teams are playing?” An editorial cartoon depicts the globe as a soccer ball and says, “how the world views the World Cup,” next to a small soccer ball that says, “how the US views the World Cup.”This truly is a world tournament only rivaled, in my mind, by the Olympics. The finals between Italy and France were broadcast nationally on regular TV yesterday in the U.S., but otherwise, you had to rely on cable or satellite for other tournament games. I was in Brussels a few weeks ago and the games were broadcast in nearly as many languages as you could name, all on the public television infrastructure, and the bars and sidewalks cafes were packed to capacity watching the games.So, what gives? Why does the world stop everything to watch the Cup, while the U.S. is barely aware that it is going on? To be sure, U.S. football, baseball and basketball were all invented in the U.S., so we might have a nationalistic bent to those sports, but the World Series in baseball doesn’t really have the world participating, does it, other than a handful of Canadians, Koreans and Japanese? The last non-US citizen to play a role in the Super Bowl? I have no idea…maybe a kicker? The National Basetball Association is getting a little more global with prominent players from Argentina, Canada, France, Spain, Germany and China…and the U.S. hasn’t fared as well in international touraments (see, Olympics), so perhaps the popularity of basketball is catching on. Read More »
LAKE TAHOE, CA -- Last week I spoke to Mayor Curt Pringle of Anaheim, CA. I thought I would pass along how one city is looking for a new way to provide citywide wireless coverage.On June 28, Anaheim officials claimed they”turned on” the first broadband wireless network to cover an entire American city -over 50 square miles in all. Full build out of the system is expected by the end of the year. Offering no judgment on Anaheim’s technology choices, I do want to draw attention to one American city’s approach to funding vital local government services in the Interactions Economy. What’s new? Anaheim has agreed to give up the revenue stream from cable franchise and local telephone fees. Yes, you read that correctly. The City recognized that consumers bear the cost of these fees, so, Curt argues, doing away with them lowers the cost of service while encouraging more competition. Out with old! In with the NewInstead of a franchise fee, the City will charge the WiFi provider a pole attachment fee for placement of antennas, the cost of electricity for the network, and a lease payment for using fiber cable connections owned by the City. The City gets access to the network at a discounted price, and consumers get one-megabit-per-second service for $22 a month anywhere in the coverage area. Read More »
SAN JOSE, CA -- On July 4th, 2006, the United States celebrated its 230th birthday. Last year at this time I tried my best guess at what life would be like 229 years from now, some predictions I still stand by and some I would like to revise…so here goes: My top 10 things that will be different in 2236 than 2006: 1. Independence from oil. Cold fusion will be solved and our power needs will be forever sated. As a result, the environment will be in a much happier state. (I stand by this…)2. In the US, the average life expectancy today is around 80 years, in 2235, it will be 120. (I stand by this…)3. That little diagnostic health device thingy that Bones uses on Star Trek. It will be for real. (Absolutely…)4. Everybody will speak English…or Spanish…or there will be a simultaneous translating mechanism that one can fit in one’s ear that will allow anyone to communicate with anyone…not as far as Dr. Doolittle, but all the human languages. (Yep…) Read More »
LONDON -- The working timetables of billions are affected by World Cup fixtures at present, especially in England as we wait with baited breath to see whether we can end our ‘nearly, but not quite’ habit of the last 40 years.For this World Cup, the BBC have continued their excellent work innovating with content delivery over the internet and are offering great content including a live video feed of matches. But, they only have the rights to broadcast in the UK so cannot allow this to go to viewers outside the country. They do this by checking your IP address to see whether you are physically in the UK. This is of course only approximate as the IP address we make visible to the public web is determined by a number of factors. In the case of the Cisco corporate network that I am logged onto all traffic clearly comes out onto the public net in the US as I cannot access the video feed. Damn. If this was a deliberate management ploy to stop us watching sport at work then this would be a good cause for worker revolt. But it is just an accident of our technical configuration. Presumably, the converse would apply. If I was logged into a UK corporate network that presented traffic with a UK IP address then I could watch the matches wherever I was in the world. UK-hosted VPN connections for hire, anyone?If you want to check whether you are ‘UK’ from the BBC’s point of view then you can try looking at a highlights video with the video button on a page like this one of the England-Ecuador match. It will either show the clip or explain it is for UK users only.So national broadcast rights, carefully guarded, are the norm in 2006. It will be interesting to see whether things have changed by the London Olympics of 2012 such that an internet broadcaster is legally empowered to show material about a global event to a global audience.