Published in TDAN.com July 2006
In this column I would like to cover a couple of areas of my interest.
Hopefully you will find interest in them also. Bob
Muni — WiFi Fever:
It seems like every industry email I read touches upon municipalities looking into, planning on or actually implementing wireless networks. An article by Brad stone on MSNBC.com called
Wi-Fi Fever talked about the municipalities of St. Cloud FL,
Philadelphia PA, San Francisco CA, Annapolis MD, Tempe AZ, New Orleans LA and Anaheim CA all on some timeline for the implementation of a municipal Wi-Fi network. According to Brad’s article
Free Press, a Washington D.C., nonprofit media-advocacy group indicates that more than 400 U.S. cities are currently planning municipal wireless networks. Whether the network is based upon a
subscription, advertising or a `tax payer foots the bill’ basis this is all uncharted waters. There are good and bad aspects of these adventures and I believe that the smart municipals will
stay slightly behind the `bleeding edge’ and learn from the early adapters. A well laid out fiscal and technology plan should be the lynch-pin of any municipal’s venture into “Muni —
WiFi”. It will be interesting to see how this industry segment plays out in the future.
Mobile advertising is about to burst upon us. There are incredible revenue opportunities for providers and advertisers. An article in Wireless Week, May 15, 2006, by Monica Alleven
covers some important subject areas that will challenge the implementation of mobile advertising. Personalized or targeted advertising is the focus of many of today’s advertisers. This
type of very successful advertising depends upon the advertiser knowing as much as possible about the consumer. Ms. Alleven’s article identifies a very important question that will be the
center of this subject for a long time — “How do you satisfy advertisers’ desire to know pertinent information about mobile consumers — and create targeted campaigns — while ensuring that
private customer information will never be shared with them?” The article goes on to talk about the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) Consumer Best Practice Guidelines and the fact that
no commercial marketing goes out to consumers unless they have given their approval. This is called opt in. What about the demographic information that is so key to marketing
campaigns? This article provided graphs from M:Metrics that indicate that the advertising `sweet spot’ age range for mobile content consumers is age 18 — 34. About fifty percent,
30.9M, of mobile content consumers are in the 18 -34 year old age range. More than 5M people are accessing news and information mobile content on a daily basis and over 24M are accessing that
content on a monthly basis. Privacy will be a very important factor as we watch the growth of mobile advertising. Where should the carriers, advertisers and all others involved get
their customer information. I believe that it must come only from the consumer.
I believe that Mobile Video will be a killer app of the future — along with Location Based Services (LBS) but we’ll cover LBS in another column. We are rolling toward a Jetson’s future at
a very fast pace. Articles by Sue Marek in the May 15, 2006 and June 15, 2006 issues of Wireless Week covered some of the critical problems of today and hopes for the future. Ms. Marek
covers topics such as what model will prevail, Real-time, on-demand or both, too the screen resolution and launch latency of mobile applications. I believe that video and variants of video
will be a major focus of providers in the future. Early providers of mobile video such as Mobile ESPN, focused around crazed sports fans and their need for near real-time information, NBC
Mobile and services such as MobiTV and Verizon’s V CAST are blazing the way toward our future. I also believe that mobile video will fit into our digital life of the future.
Well, there it is for this month. A little about three very important topics for our future. The digital life of the future will be an incredible roller coaster ride. Hang on,
enjoy the ride and remember, as I said in my first column, the future is all about you!
Factoid — Top Mobile Game Downloads:
M:Metrics reports, in Wireless Week May 15, 2006, that during the month of March 2006, 4.9M of U.S. mobile subscribers downloaded a game and 45M played a game they had previously downloaded or that
came installed on their devices. EA Mobile has the largest percentage of downloaded games, 28.8%, and the top five game titles were:
Tetris – EA Mobile
Bejeweled – EA Mobile
Platinum Solitaire – Gameloft
World Poker Tour — Texas Hold’Em – Hands On Mobile
PAC-MAN – Namco
If you have a question pertaining to a wireless topic or digital living that you would like to ask or share with our readers send me an email and I will update everyone in a future column.
Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge:
Following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless and digital living:
FireceWireless — June 23, 2006
Earthlink Partners with Honolulu on WiFi
Earthlink and the City of Honolulu announced a private-public partnership to test free WiFi throughout Chinatown for the next year. While it sounds like the plethora of announcements we’ve
already heard about from other cities, this agreement has a unique element to it. Earthlink is partnering with the Hawaiian Electric Company to provide connectivity to test a variety of utility
FireceWireless — June 23, 2006
Mobile gaming revs to hit $17.6B by 2011
According to a recent report from Juniper Research, mobile gaming revenue will surge from this year’s $3.1 billion in revenues to $17.6 billion by 2011. The cumulative revenue stream over the
next six years looks to be nearly $57 billion. The research firm says the APAC region has dominated mobile gaming sales since its advent and that trend will continue over the next six years:
APAC will contribute 38 percent of cumulative revenues, Europe will bring in 31 percent, North America will chip in 22 percent and the rest of the world will contribute the remaining 9 percent.
FireceEnterprise — June 22, 2006
Researchers hack WiFi drive to breach laptop
Security experts have found a way to break into computers through buggy wireless networking drivers. Details will be revealed at the Black Hat conference late next month, said David Maynor of
Internet Security Systems and Jon Ellch, a student at a U.S. Navy school. Systems don’t have to be connected to a network for the hack to succeed; the key is simply that they’re in listening
mode. Tools for conducting this kind of attack are widely available and fairly easy to use.
FierceMobileContent — June 22, 2006
Fox Mobile’s new SVP on mobile video
TV.com has an interview with the new SVP of Fox Mobile Entertainment, Mitch Feinman, on the company’s mobile video business. Here are some excerpts:
Audio tip for mobisodes: “Rule about sound: Less is better. Don’t want to crowd the soundtrack–it would cause too much confusion.”
Visual tip for mobisodes: “Mobile phone screens are darker than their larger counterparts. The scenes need to be shot brighter so that they are more easily viewed.”
On the success of some mobile properties: “Family Guy has been hugely popular on the mobile platform. Since its launch in February 2005, there have been nearly 3 million downloads of
Family Guy mobile content–ringers, games, wallpaper and ringtones.”
On American Idol: “This year, there were nearly 65 million text messages throughout the fifth season of American Idol, breaking last year’s record of 41.5 million text messages.”
On next steps: “In terms of future mobisodes or mobile video leveraging these properties, it is certainly possible and we are actively considering and doing more around properties with
existing mobisodes series. It is early…so we will continue experimenting on what works for consumer.”
FierceMobileContent — June 21, 2006
514M broadcast mobile TV subs in `11
According to a recent report from ABI Research, the mobile TV market is starting to build momentum and ad-supported broadcast services should fuel additional growth. So, by 2011 some 514
million consumers will subscribe to mobile TV services, up from 6.4 million at the end of last year. South Korea and Japan are the early adopters, of course, but European and North American
markets are not far behind.
FireceWIFI — June 20, 2006
WiMAX distance record set
Going the distance. WiMAX Telecom Group, the only multinational operator of WiMAX services in Europe, transmitted live pictures of the World Sailing Championships on the Neusiedlersee in
Austria through its wireless broadband Internet connection. Why is this important? Because this sets a new record transmitting live video at ranges of up to 40 kilometers and from moving vessel
to WiMAX Telecom in extending its network in the coastal region of Croatia. This news should be of interest not only to boat owners.
WiMAX Telecom says this was the first attempt to send live video footage via WiMAX from a moving vehicle into the Internet: From a yacht moving at 12 knots, pictures of the World Sailing
Championship were streamed live, and over a distance of about 40 kilometers. This should be good news for agencies such as the Coast Guard and also for the merchant marine.
FierceDeveloper — June 20, 2006
Why are mobile application sales dropping?
According to Michael Mace, mobile developers across the board are reporting a decline in sales. Mace’s key points are that there are not enough new smartphone buyers (i.e. most new smartphone
sales are for replacement devices), the application sales are not tracking the growth of all smartphone platforms, and that smartphone users are less likely to need third-party software.
Telecomasia.net — June 21, 2006
Mobile OS battle, as heavyweights back Linux
The battle for the handset OS has entered a new phase. Six of the world’s biggest vendors and operators have jointly thrown their weight behind Mobile Linux in the battle for the fast-growing
FierceMobileContent — June 16, 2006
Motorola Q, Ti Vo and the Slingbox
Engadget scooped up an interesting video from YouTube that shows what the Motorola Q can do and why it’s more than your older brother’s wireless email reader. The clip shows the Q streaming a
“Chapelle’s Show” clip from a TiVo via a Slingbox. The user demonstrates fast-forwarding, rewinding and other TiVo remote functions right on the Q. The handset runs on Verizon Wireless’
EVDO network for the initial launch. The picture lags at times, but overall it’s an entertaining demonstration.
FierceWIFI — June 16, 2006
Carriers show growing interest in mobile WiMAX
Many readers of this newsletter are quick to write us every time we use the term “mobile WiMAX” to say that the term refers to something which does not yet exist; better, they say, we should
use the broader but more accurate term “wireless broadband.” They are correct, of course, but the push to develop a mobile WiMAX standard intensifies, and, as Carmen Nobel notes, this
push exerts growing pressures on companies which have already made big investments in fixed WiMAX space. One symptom of this growing pressure: Carriers have issued twenty-five RFPs asking for
information and proposals on apps built for mobile WiMAX technology.
Motorola has been on the forefront of 802.16e-2005 for a while now. They are going as far as not being engaged in fixed WiMAX at all. The company’s technology supports roaming among base
stations, but it can also can support fixed deployments (with longer ranges than the initial 802.16d-2004). “We’re responding to about 25 RFPs,” Raghu Rau, senior vice president of
global marketing and strategy for networks at Motorola, told Light Reading. “Some are nationwide. You get a lower cost per bit than you do with traditional cellular, and that’s why it’s
popular in emerging markets.” Motorola plans to ship mobile WiMAX base stations by the end of 2006, and Rau says the company even has talked to potential customers about migrating from GSM
networks to mobile WiMAX.
Carlton O’Neal, vice president of marketing at Alvarion, agrees that the pressure to offer mobile WiMAX solution is growing. “Mobile can do fixed, whereas fixed can’t do mobile,” he
says. “I don’t think anyone has ever denied that the mobile market is bigger than the fixed market. Alvarion’s leading the market with d, but some guys don’t care because they’re
jumping right on e.” Alvarion, by the way, is working on its own 802.16e base stations–the 4 Motion–which will be released in 2007.
The growing pressures on the mobile WiMAX front should not mask the more fundamental debate about whether or not WiMAX has a compelling business proposition. The views differ.
On the optimistic side: Mark Whitton, vice president and general manager of WiMAX at Nortel, notes that there is a demand for WiMAX from a new generation of service providers which do not yet
have wireless offerings–not just in developing and rural markets, but among non-traditional operators in the U.S. Cable operators. “We’re talking to three companies that say they want to do
nationwide roll outs in the U.S., and only one of them is a traditional wireless or wireline carrier,” he says. “The kinds of companies interested in WiMAX are new operators that want new
business models–companies that want to take new media assets to market.”
On the more cautious side: Gartner’s Ken Dulaney notes that WiMAX is touted as the ideal solution for rural, remote, underserved areas–but the problem is that in such areas there “may not be
enough people to pay for the service on an ongoing basis.” Farpoint’s Craig Mathias says, “If, as I expect, cellular and WiFi converge, mobile WiMAX will have a really tough time
FierceWiFi — June 13, 2006
Chicago aims to be the First City of muni-WiFi
The Second City has every intention of becoming the First City — the first city of muni-WiFi, that is. CHICAGO plans to overtake Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco to become the biggest
US municipality with city-wide wireless Internet access. Trouble is, skeptics suggest that the system may not work. “It’s a leap of faith,” says Yankee Group’s Roberta Wiggins. “It’s
not really proven yet in a large place.”
There are currently about 300 US cities deploying or planning to deploy city-wide WiFi networks, and Chicago is the biggest of these. Mayor Richard Daley said he would make street poles
available for antennas to provide free or low-cost high-speed Internet access to the city’s 2.8 million residents in the hope of luring employers and improving schools.
The city authorities are in the final stages of preparing to formal announcement which will allow companies to place bids on the project. Smaller cities such as Rio Rancho, New Mexico, have
networks, but it is not obvious that a system will work in a city of 596 square kilometers with signal-blocking skyscrapers, including the 443 meter Sears Tower. “There are a lot of technical
issues, such as how signals bump around inside dense areas,” says Paul Glenchur of Stanford Washington Research Group.
Even skeptics admit one thing: in the words of former mayor Richard J. Daley (father of today’s mayor), Chicago is “The city that works.” Glenchur agrees: “Chicago has a record of
doing things well,” he says. “They think of something that’s an improvement for the people in the city and they make it happen.”
Chicago wants a private-public partnership to build a network at no cost to taxpayers, says the draft request for bids. The city will let a company attach transmission nodes to lampposts and
traffic signal poles and sell the use of the system to provide net access. .
FierceWIFI — June 13, 2006
Setback for Sacramento’s WiFi network
Earthquakes, mud-slides, Congressman “Duke” Cunningham admits to taking millions of dollars in bribes and goes to jail: Any more bad news for California? In fact, yes: MobilePro is pulling
out of a deal to set up a wireless network in Sacramento, the state’s capital, saying the city’s request for a network funded entirely through advertising is not financially feasible. The
Maryland-based company had worked with Sacramento officials for more than a year on the proposal to cover the city with WiFi, following in the footsteps of other cities around the US.
MobilePro president and chief operating officer Jerry Sullivan said the city’s most recent request asks the company offer free-high speed access to all residents, supported through advertising
revenue and without the city as a so-called anchor tenant, or financial backer. He said the company had planned to spend more than $8 million to set up a network of thousands of access points.
The service was planned to offer free, streaming-ads-supported lower speed service, and a faster-speed subscription-based service. The city’s demand that the entire service be free and
ad-supported at all speeds undermined the company’s business plans. “Based upon MobilePro’s research and experience as one of the leading WiFi broadband wireless network service
providers to municipalities in North America, MobilePro does not believe that an advertising-supported business case is financially sustainable,” d service featuring streaming ads,
MobilePro won a competitive bid last year to work on the Sacramento project, beating out competitors including Motorola and SBC Communications. A pilot project offering outdoor public WiFi Web
access and real time video was inaugurated in the city’s Cesar Chavez Plaza Park with great fanfare in April. The initial phase had the support of city officials and MobilePro.
Wireless Info Center:
Here are some upcoming conferences that you might find interesting:
ü Off-Deck Mobile Content: July 10 — 13, New York, NY
ü Black Hat Briefings & Training USA : July 29 —
August 3, Las Vegas, NV
ü Third Annual Pay As You Go Mobile Summit:
August 1 — 3, Dallas, TX
ü Mobile Content World 2006: September 19 –
21, Olympia, London
ü Fixed Mobile Convergence LIVE! 2006:
September 28 – 29, San Jose, CA
ü IEEE Communications Expo : November 28 —
30, San Francisco, CA
Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:
Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas: