Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘mobile internet

Talking Through The Cosmos

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What day is it again?

Oh, yes, Wednesday.  Hump day.

I’ve been so busy this week on back-to-back phone calls that I’ve hardly had an opportunity to lift my head and see what’s going on in the world.

I finally took a few moments this morning to do so, and discovered a couple of tidbits on the mobile front. One, the new Samsung Galaxy IV is now available, and two, the QWERTY keyboard version of the new BlackBerry, the Q10, is also available.

On the former, it’s a mixed bag according to the Verge, though a mostly positive bag but one that suggests Samsung Galaxy has plenty of “good enough” competition not to warrant the steeper price of entry for the IV.

And on the latter, TechCrunch writes the Q10 is “a QWERTY keyboard smartphone comeback worth waiting for,” which I’ll consider at least a semi-positive endorsement.

Me, I’m sticking with my LG Cosmos 2 feature phone.

Being a social and digital media guru of sorts, people look at me like I’m from another planet when carrying this phone.  That alone is a good reason to do so, as it’s a great conversation starter: “What the hell are you doing with that phone??!”

The other is, I like having a phone that works as a phone.  I have an HTC Android device, a Kindle, an iPod Touch 5th gen, an iPod Touch 2nd gen, and an iPad 1st gen for all my tablet needs. But for all the time I spend on the phone, good battery life and strong signal reception are key, and the Cosmos 2 continues to deliver day after day without fail.

“Can you hear me now?” are words rarely spoken through the Cosmos.

Speaking of the cosmos, in the social media realm IBM just announced that for the fourth consecutive year that IDC ranked them number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

Yay team.

Fact is, social networking adoption continues to soar as businesses look to transform their organization into a smarter enterprise that is capable of empowering a global workforce and transforming client experiences.

According to IDC, the worldwide enterprise social market segment reached 1.0 billion in 2012, representing growth of 25 percent over 2011.

As this demand grows, organizations are looking to introduce social capabilities into all key areas, from marketing and research innovation to sales and human resources. The challenge is that many lack the ability to capture and share the unique insights from each employee and use it to help drive real value to the business.

IBM’s social business software and services pair powerful social networking capabilities with analytics that help companies engage all key stakeholders whether an employee, customer or partners in order to accelerate innovation and deliver results.

Today, more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have licensed IBM’s solutions for social business, including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks.

IBM’s social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization. We live by it inside IBM these days, and it’s available both on premise and in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. IBM currently has three IBM SmartCloud for Social Business facilities based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

You can learn more about the latest version of IBM Connections in the video below.

BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle

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So, tomorrow’s the big day.

Research In Motion is formally introducing its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Will the industry yawn and wonder what part of the mobile wilderness that RIM the BlackBerry has been wandering, or will it welcome the potential for new innovation with open arms?

We shall see, but there’s been no end of speculation and expectation appearing in the blogosphere.

For IT professionals, The Wall Street Journal’s Clint Boulton indicated CIOs should be prepared to ask (and get answered) a few key questions.

They center around pricing, upgradability of BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, interoperability with iPhone and Android, and the like.

The broader question is what will drive demand? Will the market be receptive to the new phones and software behind BlackBerry 10, or are iPhones and Androids “good enough?”

Plenty of tech and mobile companies have had their time “in the wilderness,” and there’s nothing to focus innovation and R&D like dwindling market share.

I was a faithful BlackBerry subscriber for several years, before the lure of the more user-friendly environment of the iOS operating system drew me away from my last RIM device, the BlackBerry Bold.

Looking back, there were a few things I especially liked about RIM’s earlier offerings.

Most notably, the real-time, secure email capability. At a time when I was traveling extensively, there was nothing like being able to walk off the plane and crank up my Bold to find out what had happened in my world the prior 10 hours I was in the air.

I also liked the ability to synchronize with my work calendar — nothing like missing a meeting because you didn’t know it was even happening.

What I didn’t like? The inability to easily introduce new applications and content, most notably music and video (vis a vis iTunes), and yes, that all important road warrior time killer, games. I could only take so many bouts of “Bricks” or “Breakout” (It’s been so long, I forgot what the game was called!)

The application universe also always seemed so limited with RIM, so if they are going to “break out” of the wilderness, that app ecosystem is going to be key.

But only if the OS is up to the task.

CNET’s Roger Cheng explains we can expect two new devices at least, the Z10 and X10, a touchscreen and keyboard version, respectively, and that they’ll be available in February.

As far as apps are concerned, Cheng indicates BB 10 will launch with 70,000 apps.

Though that pales compared to the number of iOS and Android apps currently available, it’s a start, and the real key will be are they the RIGHT apps (the ones that help the mobile warrior stay productive, informed, entertained, and sane on the road, and yet have enough attraction to pull in other demographics).

Creating awareness through marketing will also be key to RIM’s renaissance. The “mindspace” for mobile has been increasingly dominated by the Apple and Google juggernauts over these past few years, and we can hardly turn our heads without seeing Samsung’s TV spots suggesting the iPhone is your our parent’s geriatric mobile device.

RIM hasn’t been part of the conversation for…well, years.

But I think RIM’s challenges are much bigger than awareness. The proof is going to be in the pudding, or in their case, in the user experience.

Design of a useful, attractive and compelling user experience may not have been MORE important in a new product launch in eons, because despite having the early advantage in the mobile smartphone space, now every new experience (including the BB 10 is) going to inevitably be compared to another, existing experience like iOS and Android.

Between that, the desire for a rich apps ecosystem, and getting the word out to a skeptical public — well, over the next few months, let’s just say we’re going to find out how much Motion their Research has as they try to convince loyal, “pry this mobile device out of my cold, dead hands” users out of their comfort zone and into the land of the unknown BlackBerry.

Written by turbotodd

January 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

The SMB IT Spending Zeitgeist

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In Spiceworks' "State of SMB IT 2H 2012" survey, mobile is moving on up. Tablets continue to grow in SMBs and in the last 6 months, adoption has tipped to over half (53%) of SMBs supporting tablets on their networks.  The number of companies supporting tablets (53%) is on the verge of reaching the 59% of companies who manage smartphones on their networks.  Larger organizations are driving this trend towards more tablets in the workplace.

Click to enlarge. In Spiceworks’ “State of SMB IT 2H 2012″ survey, mobile is moving on up. Tablets continue to grow in SMBs and in the last 6 months, adoption has tipped to over half (53%) of SMBs supporting tablets on their networks. The number of companies supporting tablets (53%) is on the verge of reaching the 59% of
companies who manage smartphones on their networks. Larger organizations are driving this trend towards more tablets in the workplace.

It’s that time of year.  Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.

Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, “a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”

Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.

But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.

Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”

Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.

This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”

First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.

The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”

Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!

Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus

But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.

The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.

Here are the four key findings:

  • Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
  • Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
  • IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
  • BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.

Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.

Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.

With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.

And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.

And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).

I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.

And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.

Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!

(Not) Home For The Holidays

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I’m pretty happy I don’t have to travel today.  I’m going to wait until tomorrow, when all the turkeys have gotten off the road.

Of course, watch out for Wal-Mart and other big retail parking lots.  The consternation about having to work on Thanksgiving is pervasive, and I wouldn’t want to see any customers attempt to play Frogger in those big parking lots.  It’s dangerous enough just trying to get through the doors and into the store!

As always, my wise counsel is to shop from the comfort of your couch.

Walt Mossberg, the ever-dependable tech journalist with The Wall Street Journal, has written an article about “Making Sense of All the New Laptop Flavors.”

He goes on about the various flavors of Windows 8 PCs and tablets, before concluding that the “least costly Mac laptop” is the 11-inch MacBook Air, for $999.

I bought one just about a year ago, and I maintain it’s still the best, fastest, lightest, most dependable computer I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned plenty.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have splurged for more SSD, but that’s it.

If you want to make sure your personal shopping engine is fully revved before Black Friday, Gizmodo’s providing its Ultimate Black Friday guide for geeks, grouping deals by category, and offering a list of when every retailer is slated to be open on Black Friday, just in case you prefer shopping in a mosh pit.

As for an update on my new Apple Mini-me “mini,” otherwise known as the 5th generation iPod touch, I can only say I have no buyer’s remorse, even now after having seen the iPad mini in the flesh.

The retina screen and the small form factor on the newest touch are working perfectly for me thus far. I bought a new “Need for Speed” racing game just to be able to check out the graphics in full force, and the retina screen is simply stunning (as are movies and Netflix streams). I’ve always read what a great gaming platform the touch is, but playing that racing game has cemented it.

Over the next several days, if you want to keep pace with IBM’s annual holiday campaign “Digital Analytics” benchmark, just follow IBM’s e-shopping analytics guru, @jay_henderson (a fellow Texan!).

Jay and his team will be working and posting reports throughout the weekend and into next week to keep us all informed how the holiday e-retail season is going. Jay’s already indicated we can expect to see growing numbers on the mobile and tablet shopping footprint this year.  You can read Jay’s holiday set up piece here.

That said, don’t ignore those retail emails piling up in your in-box — email continues to be the e-retail Trojan Horse, with lots of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already being distributed. From Amazon to Golfsmith, I’ve received a number of holiday email deals, and it’s all I can do to keep my credit card filed away in my anti-scanning wallet!

If you’re looking for gainful employment this pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday, you might want to try somewhere other than LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Website had a “service unavailable” message this morning, and TechCrunch has been reporting a LinkedIn site outage.

As for me, I’ll be (mostly) disappearing from the cyber maze over the course of the next week. It’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and I’m taking them on a cruise in the Caribbean to celebrate. I may send a post or two via email if I’m so inspired, but mostly I’ll be spending some quality time with my parents and some extended family, and gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico in a pina colada-induced haze (virgin pina coladas, of course).

For all of my readers here in the United States, I wish you a very happy and restful holiday weekend. For those of you outside the U.S., enjoy the email and conference call silence from your U.S. colleagues…it won’t last long!

Business On The Go: New IBM Mobile Computing Capabilities

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I’ve written numerous times over the past oh, I don’t know, few years about the ongoing mobile evolution (revolution?).

(On that front, which, I wanted to circle back and say how happy I have been with my purchase of the new iPad Touch (gen 5), which I bought instead of the new iPad mini. But I think I’ll have to write a whole separate post on that!)

The ubiquity of mobile devices is empowering consumers, businesses and their partners to more seamlessly communicate and build high-quality, meaningful relationships and transactions. IBM recently introduce a spate of capabilities intended to help organizations bolster their mobile enterprise strategies, which you can read in more detail about in the post below.

And it’s important to note, IBM has also been following this story closely, and responding accordingly.

And on Friday, the company unveiled a suite of new software and services that enables global organizations to build a comprehensive mobile computing strategy –- from securing and managing devices, to creating mobile applications and analyzing data.

These new offerings are part of a move by IBM to capitalize on the growing market opportunity for mobile that is expected to drive $130B in revenue for the IT industry by 2015, according to a recent study.

Mobile Becoming Integral To Business

As organizations increasingly view mobile computing as the next platform to conduct business, the market is evolving beyond just the device.

Business leaders including the chief information officers (CIOs) and increasingly chief marketing officers (CMOs) of global organizations such as airlines, retailers, governments and healthcare providers are among the businesses turning to IBM to ensure mobile services and solutions are readily available to constituents and in full compliance with IT strategies.

But, they need solutions that can be applied across any mobile environment and device — whether a laptop, smartphone or tablet — and can provide an underlying IT infrastructure that is always available, secure, effectively manages data, and integrates both front and back-end systems.

According to latest reports, more than 10 billion mobile devices are expected to be in the hands of consumers, doctors, sales leaders and the like by 2020.

Already, 90 percent of mobile users keep their device within arm’s reach at all times (guilty as charged!), and complete many kinds of transactions across these smart devices

New Mobile Software and Services Fuel Growth 

While the opportunities presented by mobile are significant, there are a number of challenges facing clients when adopting mobile computing.

This includes the management and security of devices and their underlying infrastructures, ensuring a quality mobile application experience for users across operating systems, new devices entering the market almost monthly, integrating data with the cloud, and analyzing insights captured in real-time.

IBM offers clients a variety of offerings to quickly adopt mobile technologies throughout the organization, from consulting services to software solutions and industry expertise, organic R&D to key acquisitions.

As global organizations struggle to keep pace with the opportunities that mobile computing can provide, IBM’s new suite of capabilities will enable them to overcome these obstacles.

Mobile technologies have significant potential to fundamentally change how businesses operate, and should be part of any multi-channel marketing transformation that helps CMOs make more informed business decisions based on this important shift in consumer behavior.

They include the following:

  • Mobile Planning and Strategy Services: Working with IBM consultants, clients can identify gaps and properly plan for the right mobile strategy.
  • Mobile Analytics: Through analytics capabilities, chief marketing officers (CMOs), e-commerce and app developers can gain real-time access and deep intelligence into customers’ online and app experience across mobile devices.
  • Endpoint Security and Management: With new software and managed mobility services, clients can embrace the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend by simplifying the processes to secure devices and empower employees to manage their own devices. These capabilities extend to the management and support of Apple (including iOS 6), Android, Microsoft Windows operating system (including Windows 8) and Blackberry devices.
  • Mobile App Development: Using the IBM Mobile Foundation will help clients better support native app development and make it easier to build apps that function in the absence of a network connection. New Lifecycle Management software will help clients quickly develop high quality apps across multiple platforms. New managed service capabilities will also provide organizations with support for deploying, implementing and managing their mobile apps and app stores.
  • Social Collaboration for Mobile: With new social business enhancements, an organization’s mobile workforce can use their mobile devices to blog, get live updates from their social networks, access and edit files. New remote data wipe capabilities also help protect company data in case a device is lost or stolen.

IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions, offering a complete portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise-ready mobility for clients — from IT systems all the way through to mobile devices. This builds on IBM’s deep understanding of its clients and their evolving IT needs.

You can go here to learn more about IBM Mobile Enterprise capabilities.

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: Marie Wieck On Business In Motion

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Marie Wieck is general manager of IBM’s Application & Integration Middleware (AIM) business unit, where she leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, services, and sales professionals. She is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

Marie Wieck is the general manager of IBM’s Application and Integration Middleware organization (home of IBM’s distinguished market-leading WebSphere brand), and has held a variety of technical and executive roles across our software, services, and finance groups.

In her current role, Marie leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, sales, and services professionals. There, she is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

During our sitdown at IBM InterConnect, Marie shared some of the proceedings from her two “Hot Topic” sessions in Singapore, one on the Mobile Enterprise, and the other on Business Process management.

Marie also expanded on IBM’s emerging “mobile enterprise” strategy, explaining that rather than see mobile as another blip on the technology evolutionary radar screen, that rather it’s an opportunity to be transformative across the enterprise.

From fomenting front-line employee’s opportunity to be more collaborative in the field, to enabling back-office overlords to use their smartphones to watch over and manage business process management processes, IBM is working to bridge systems of record and of data together with employees and external constituents in a much more transformative story than has been communicated to date.

It’s an exciting narrative, and as Marie conveyed in the interview, mobile is touching the entire IBM portfolio.

In Search Of The Mobile Enterprise

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The new mobile business model — with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporate and individual — can make your IT organization feel like it has lost control. For all the good that comes with mobilizing your workforce, there are challenges: maintaining security and compliance, managing multiple device platforms and addressing complex mobile requirements.

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a new smartphone or tablet device.

Last week, it was the iPhone 5 and the new Kindle Fire HD. Tomorrow, HTC’s expected to introduce some new mobile products.

And Apple still has yet to introduce the Apple “mini” iPad, currently expected in October.

The move to mobile computing raises some intriguing questions about the nature of work. What is it? Where does it take place?

As someone who’s worked their entire career at IBM, I can certainly attest to the idea that here, increasingly, work is not a place you go but what you do.

I’ve spent nearly nine full years working from my home, and several of those years, spent at least a week a month living (and working) in airplanes.

As the IBM “Services for the Mobile Enterprise” team recently observed, the new workplace is now undeniably a mobile enterprise.

CIOs On Mobile: 66% Plan To Increase Mobile Investments in 2012

Which makes it no big surprise that 66 percent of CIOs plan to increase investments in mobile services in the next year.

And of course, there’s the “BYOD” movement to contend with (“Bring Your Own Device”), with employees expecting whatever device they have to fit into their corporate environment.

This new mobile business model, with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporations and individuals, can send IT folks into a conniption fit.

Despite all the goodness — for employees, management, and most importantly, the bottom line — there are challenges that accompany this mobilization of the workforce.

Issues such as maintaining security and compliance.  Managing multiple device platforms.  Addressing complex mobile requirements.

IBM recently released this interactive infographic that has some interesting statistics I thought worthwhile sharing here.

To start, 35 percent of the world’s total workforce is expected to be mobile by 2013.

Here in the U.S., up to 72.2 percent of workers are already plugged in remotely.

This year, some 43 billion mobile applications are expected to be downloaded.

And yet on average, mobile workers spend only a total of 28 minutes a day on technology distractions…there’s too much work to do, otherwise!

The Mobile Upside: 240 Extra Hours Worked Per Worker Per Year

And here’s the upside bonus for you managers: Such mobile workers work an average of 240 extra hours per year.

But as the infographic observes, with those benefits come expectations.

This new mobile generation of workers demands flexibility. Today’s employees expect to use their own devices and applications at work to access information and social networks at will. They even value this flexibility more than a higher-paying salary (Can you say “Mobile enables work/life balance?”).

Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report in 2011 found that 66 percent of workers said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility.

Mobile Presents New Challenges

So, as businesses work to embrace these new productive mobile work habits, they must also face the requisite challenges asscoated with the growing number of devices, networks, and applications. Enterprises need a solution that intertwines cross-platform compatibility, security, cost management, compliance, and the inevitable complexity.

By way of example, 21 percent of mobile workers say they have experienced a security issue related to their smartphone (lost, stolen, hacked, virus) in the last year alone.

Fifty-four percent of enterprises rate security and authentication as one of the two top concerns for their mobile environments.

Seventeen percent say they need to meet compliance/regulatory requirements in mobile environments.

And yet 45 percent of IT departments say they aren’t prepared policy- and technology-wise to handle this more borderless, mobile workforce.

Bridging Your Mobile Gap

To overcome those challenges, enterprises need an experienced partner with a strategy capable of spanning the distance between mobile advances and existing infrastructures.

Those early adopters are leaping ahead: They’re already experiencing 20 percent cost savings and productivity improvements.

And 75 percent of CIOs say mobility solutions are a top priority of theirs for 2012.

On the mobile front, IBM workers are walking their own mobile talk, connecting to 10 different networks located around the world, and with 100K+ of them connecting using their own handheld devices (using at least five supported device platforms).

IBM’s own app store, Whirlwind, offers over 500 applications and was recognized by CIO Magazine with the “CIO 100 Top Innovation Award.”

All of that experience IBM has had with its own mobile enablement has informed and shaped the company’s customer-facing mobile initiatives, both through product development and through the introduction of its mobile services offerings.

IBM can help your staff develop the right strategy and governance and deliver a wide range of mobile enterprise services to create a more productive, connected workplace.

You can read about some of those offerings here.

Pay As You Go

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Thus far, this has been a pretty “mobilized” summer, with news breaking every day about the increasingly important role mobile computing is playing in our business and personal lives.

Today, we heard about the new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet (even Walt Mossberg kinda likes it!), and TechMeme has early screenshots and guestimates about what the newer, smaller iPad’s going to look like.

But devices aren’t the whole picture. Infrastructure, application lifecycle management, security and privacy, and other related issues are key to mobile success. And, until these devices are enabled with an easier payment capability, money will be left on the table.

Lots of it.

Ironically, it’s been Apple that has been the closest to providing such a system thus far, with their Apple ID linkage to our credit cards.  But that’s just for the stuff I buy from Apple…what about everybody else?

So today, the Wall Street Journal’s Robin Sidel explained that more than a dozen big merchants are expecting to announce their plans to develop a mobile-payments network that would go up against the likes of Google.

Called the “Merchant Customer Exchange,” the new venture is being led by Wal-Mart, Target, 7-Eleven Inc., and Sunoco, and will attempt to find its way to a more standarized mobile payment system.

Though this may move may be an intended counter to Google’s Wallet capability on the Android platform, Sidel’s story reminds us we also have another joint venture called Isis, led by a number of telcos, as well as the recent $25 million investment by Starbucks in mobile payment start-up Square, also in the running.

And of course, let’s not forget some of those other existing systems which have millions of credit card accounts, including Amazon, whose 1-Click payment capability stands apart, and PayPal, with their unique person-to-person payments capability.

In this emerging roulette wheel of mobile payments, I’m not quite sure where I’d place my bets just yet, as the wheel’s just getting going.

But there’s a lot at stake.

I just attended comScore’s quarterly webcast on the “State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy.” For the second quarter of this year, nearly one in ten of all e-commerce dollars spent were done so via a mobile or tablet device.

Moreover, nearly two in five tablet owners have purchased something online via their device in the past month (a number more than double of that of smartphone owners).

One wonders if that smartphone purchasing number might not be a few percentage points higher were it easier to hand over one’s payment information via smartphone handsets.

Looking at the bigger picture for a moment, comScore also reported in the webcast that the channel shift to online appears to be accelerating, with online sales overall up 15 percent for the quarter, while on a comparable category basis, offline sales only increased two percent.

At the forthcoming IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando (see this post for more details), IBM has some 20+ sessions that contain a mobile component, including one entitled “Mobile Payments, An IBM POV” (IB-3440).

That event will be held September 5-7 at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, and you can learn more about it here.

A New Pulse

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We’re getting down to the wire on these London 2012 Summer Olympic games.

First off, bonne chance to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who will have another go at the Japan women’s team, a powerful side that beat the U.S. last summer in the Women’s World Cup finals in penalty kicks.

Kick-off should start around 1:45 CST, and can be found on NBCOlympics.com.

I also wanted to send a shoutout to the ThinkPad, which is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Though IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo a few years back, it was 1992 when IBM introduced its first IBM ThinkPad laptop — I remember it well, because I was an early and proud owner of one of those first machines.

To celebrate the ThinkPad’s birthday, Lenovo is introducing some new machines, including a tablet aimed at business professionals and which runs Windows 8, the Thinkpad Tablet 2.

This new machine will have a 10.1-inch screen and is a mere 9.8mm, and it includes a new Intel Atom processor.

Because it will run Windows 8 Pro, it will be able to run those legacy Window apps you can’t afford to be putting in your desktop recycling bin!

And for you news junkies out there who use Pulse on your iOS or Android devices, there’s some new news on that front: Pulse is now available on the web. 

Click to enlarge. The new web-based edition of the Pulse news reader makes it easy to quickly check in on the latest stories broken down by your favorite topics.

The Web version will include most of the features you see on your mobile device, although the list of news sources will now be on your left, with the stories appearing in an elegant grid layout.

Nice way to catch up all the news you can (and cannot) use with a quick glimpse.

I added the “sports” category to my web edition, among others, so let’s hope there’s a nice big picture about the U.S. Women’s soccer team victory over Japan a little later in the day!

You can find your new Pulse here.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

IBM And Mobily: Spoken Like A True, Modern Mobile Network

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IBM’s mobile computing juggernaut continues with a new deal just announced in Saudia Arabia.

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and IBM announced today a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for the Saudi Arabian company.

Saudi Arabia: 870,000 Square Miles

Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama (Source: Wikipedia) IBM and Mobily, the Saudi Arabian telecommunications firm, will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution. The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

Saudi Arabia is a big place, encompassing some 870,000 square miles with a population approaching 30 million people.  Mobily, as the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudia Arabia, has experienced an explosion in demand from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices, and so in turn needed to boost its IT capacity and innovation in the market.

This new agreement with IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise so it can build a strong infrastructure to keep up with the company’s business growth.

As Mobily gears up for further expansion, it wanted to improve the quality and speed of its operations using IBM best practices.

As part of the agreement, Mobily and IBM will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, for example, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution.

The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

IBM’s Growth Market Strategy

The agreement highlights IBM’s continued geographic expansion initiative to strategically increase its presence in key growth markets like Saudi Arabia in support of its global growth strategy.

IBM is ramping up its investment across the Middle East and Africa, harnessing the company’s Smarter Planet initiative to help both public and private sector clients do more with fewer resources.

The strategic management of IT remains with Mobily, ensuring continuation of its standards of excellence and cutting-edge architecture, and enabling Mobily to meet the explosion in demand it is seeing from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices.

“Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector,” said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily.

“The agreement is part of our efforts and vision of transforming Mobily into an integrated telecommunications operator. It also supports the Saudi government’s initiative of creating a knowledge-based community, adopting state of the art services and solutions” Al Kaf added.

IBM And Saudi Arabia: Remaking The Kingdom’s Future

IBM is involved in a range of key initiatives in Saudi Arabia, including a joint project with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology using innovative membrane technology and solar power to address the shortage of drinking water.

In another project, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and IBM are collaborating using the most complex, high performance computing system in the region.

The agreement with Mobily was signed in August 2012.

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