Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘telecommunications’ Category

The Data Unlimited

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Lotsa news on the telecommunications and smartphone front leading up to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress later this month.

Verizon threw down its gauntlet on unlimited data, its first since 2011 according to MacRumors. The new plan unveiled Sunday includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data, and will cost $80/month for a single smartphone or tablet.

But unlimited isn’t completely unlimited, as “Verizon Unlimited” includes a potential slowdown after customers exceed 22 GB of data usage in a single billing cycle.

Over at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, they’re looking to introduce their own code-named processor, “Pinecone” within the month, writes Ars Technica. This moves Xiaomi into an alternative smartphone processor universe, considering that most every Android OEM other than Samsung and Huawei have been Qualcomm customers.

Meanwhile, Android Authority reported that Huawei defied slowing global smartphone sales trends and shipped 139M units in 2016, a nearly 30 percent YOY increase. It’s consumer division revenues grew 42% to $26B.

But probably the most intriguing numbers to recently appear were new device activations leading into the Christmas holidays. Flurry has apparently done this analysis every year for several years, and this year, the headline was this: For every Samsung device activated, Apple saw two activated devices (44 percent for Apple, 21 percent for Samsung).

Admittedly, Samsung had a bit of a rough 2016, but yet and still, 2 to 1…and this as Apple recently announced record earnings, sending their stock price to an all-time high.

The sub-headline was that the so-called “phablet” was the dominant form factor by the end of 2016 (with phablet being defined as a smartphone having a screen intermediate in size, between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

Written by turbotodd

February 14, 2017 at 8:52 am

Did You Hear THAT Pin Drop?

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The Raspberry Pi just got an upgrade, with the $35, credit-card sized computer adored by geeks everywhere recently obtaining an upgrade to 512MB RAM, double that what it used to offer at the same price. With this upgrade, the latest Pi can now handle multimedia, high memory and mobile applications. This should also enable the tiny computer to run a future version of an Android 4.0 OS.

Whew.

That’s all I have to say after the brutal 30+ hour journey back home from Singapore.

Jet travel = one big giant petri dish, and after I took ill during the first leg of my trip from Singapore to Tokyo, my sinuses took it upon themselves to become completely inflamed and congested, so I learned yet another helpful travel trick: Pack sinus spray in the carry on at all times.

Fortunately, my head never got to the point that it exploded mid-flight, and I was sentient enough when I landed in Austin to be able to drive home. Where I promptly slept for 10 hours.

The weekend in sport was just as daunting: My UT Longhorns got on the wrong side of the Sooners in the Red River Showdown, my Cowboy’s QB doesn’t know how to count in seconds at the end of a football game, and my New York Yankees lost their beloved captain Derek Jeter in an ankle-wrenching, season-ending heartbreaker, now heading to Detroit down 0-2 to the Tigers in the ALCS.

And then, to awaken today bright and early and discover more potential consolidation in the telecommunications space, this time with SoftBank’s 70% stake its buying in Sprint, which amounted to a $20B U.S. stake!

TechCrunch reported the news brought down the Sprint website overnight.

As has been widely reported, Sprint is well behind in the LTE game, and the SoftBank infusion is expected to help Sprint with their continued rollout of the new network technology, as well as consolidate their position in wi-fi broadband provider, Clearwire.

Faster, cheaper, better. Isn’t that (almost) always the objective in the technology game?

Speaking of, if you’re made in the spirit of a tried and true “Maker Fairean,” DIYer, the new Raspberry Pi is now shipping with double the RAM (512MB!) at the same tiny price tag of $35.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that runs several variants of Linux and is primed for attraction to emerging growth market countries looking to move into the computing realm at a ridiculously affordable price.

And if that news is music to your geekish ears, also on the Monday morning news run down is Microsoft’s announcement it’s moving into the digital music game, using its X-Box as a music streaming Trojan Horse.

The Xbox Music service will be available through the Xbox Live service, and on Windows 8 tablets, PCs, and Windows mobile phone devices, and will include free and paid models for streaming AND downloads.

While you’re at it, how about delivery of a patch that keeps the  “blue screen of death” from ever darkening my virtual door again?!

Okay, that’s enough silly news banter for the moment.

I have to get back to work — Information On Demand 2012 is less than 7 days away (more on that shortly!). In the meantime, stay tuned for more interviews conducted last week at IBM InterConnect 2012.

The Blackout In India

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To my friends in India, I hope you’re fairly weathering your blackout.

I was just reading through some BBC coverage which has reporters spread across northern India, including Utter Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.

The report suggests Calcutta was not as badly affected as other regions, because it has a private electricity board, but that power went out across the rest of West Bengal state.

Thus far, coverage suggests the power breakdowns in India are mainly in the north, the east, and the northeast, and that about 600 million people have been in affected in over 20 Indian states.

To put that in perspective for those of us here in the west, that would be like the power going out across all of the U.S. and all of the United Kingdom, at once.

Yes, just imagine that.

Obviously, there will be lots of fingerpointing until an investigation can get to the bottom of this, but in the meantime it demonstrates once again how fragile infrastructure can be, in both emerging and advanced economies.

In the Northeast blackout of 2003 here in the U.S., some 55 million U.S and Canadian citizens were impacted and some left without power for up to 16 hours.

Though there was no major civil unrest during that particular blackout, one need simply just read the Wikipedia entry of that event to remember how many “systems” were impacted: everything from transportation to healthcare to water supply.

In India, telecommunications are being particularly hard hit in this outage, because so many people there depend on mobile phone service for their communications.  Even if the cell towers have backup generators, many folks in rural India have no alternative method of recharging their cell phones once that primary charge dissipates.

Also, business process outsourcing companies such as Wipro, Genpact, WNS and others have “kicked in business continuity plans” to ensure continuity of services to global clients. Thus far, The Hindu Business Line is reporting that the IT-BPO industry, which accounts for over 7% of Indian GDP, are running their operations at centers in the north and eastern India using backup generators running on diesel.

The Wall Street Journal India has an “IndiaRealTime” blog where you can follow the latest on the India power outage.

IBM SmartCamp Finalist Profile: ConnectM — Sensing Opportunity In The Towers

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If you’ve ever been to India, you could drive yourself crazy trying to count the number of cellphones (although you could count the traffic lights in Bangalore nearly on one hand!).

Vivek Khemani, CFO, ConnectM delivers his company's pitch for remote sensing analytics for the telecommunications industry during the IBM Smart Camp Global Finals.

India’s telco deregulation in the late 1980s helped the Indian telecommunications industry leapfrog traditional wireline phone infrastructure, and instead you now have 350,000+ cell phone towers spread across the span of the sub-continent.

IBM SmartCamp Finalist ConnectM has a vision for better utilizing all those towers: To become a leading energy management solutions provider, leveraging business intelligence and analytics across the telecom tower and building infrastructure.

The company’s offering provides a remote monitoring and energy management solution for energy spend optimization, operations and management, asset management, and revenue assurance.

Sounds mundane? Well, the market for solutions that manage and optimize energy alone is an estimated $16B worldwide, and ConnectM is utilizing its current leadership position in India, with an installed based of over 5,000 cell sites, to build a scalable and profitable business.

Before it even reached the IBM Smart Camp finals, ConnectM delivered annualized energy savings of over $4 million US to its current customers, including both India and India-based multinationals, demonstrating well before it came to requesting venture capital money, that it was already making money.

Skype In Or Out: The Most Expensive VOIP Call In History

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So Microsoft’s buying Skype for $8.5 billion?

Man, time flies.  I remember when eBay bought Skype for, well, wasn’t it like $2.5B?

But, that was in the Jurassic era, pre-Facebook, whom, by the way, Om Malik pronounces the winner of Microsoft’s newfound acquisition.

His reasoning?  Facebook gets to keep Skype away from Google and gets access to the Skype assets through Microsoft’s deal.

But Nokia also benefits after Microsoft’s recent deal with them to put Windows Mobile 7 into Nokia smartphones as their OS of choice moving forward.

Of course, you also will now see Skype moving into the X-Box, Kinect, Sharepoint, Outlook…the list goes on.

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb points out, though, that Mac Fanboys will likely continue to get the short end of the Skype stick, as “neglect of the Mac version has always been an issue.”

He points out that Skype for Mac has been “several versions behind the Windows version for years” and lags in features, and that it would be hard to imagine that changing with this deal.

Regardless, one would hope the folks in Redmond just don’t treat Skype like the red-headed stepchild it seemed to be at e-Bay.

Considering its Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition ever (aQuantive went for $6B in 2007), I would think they’d want to make the most of it, although keeping all that talent around will require some nice velvety handcuffs.

$8.5B, though — that’s got to be the single most expensive VOIP call in the history of the planet!

Written by turbotodd

May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

New IBM Cloud Centre In Singapore

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I’m back in Texas, and was just this morning chatting with a friend about the state of U.S. infrastructure compared to other parts of the world, and the subject of Singapore came up.

In specific, Singapore’s forward-thinking approach to investing in information technology and high-speed broadband.

And then I saw the following news cross the wire, that IBM today announced a U.S. $38M investment in a new IBM Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Data Centre in Singapore.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The new centre will provide businesses with solutions and service to harness the potential of cloud computing, and is slated to launch in April.

According to Chris Morris Director of Cloud Services & Technologies, IDC Asia/Pacific, “The APEJ market for cloud computing services will grow by an average 40% per annum rate through 2014 to reach US$4.9 billion. A major driver of this growth has been the new regional data centres which are now emerging to provide the necessary infrastructure for growth of the key cloud service areas.

While cloud services have been attractive in the past, concerns about the consistency of the service performance due to the potential impact of network latency and the location of the data have inhibited their uptake for anything that was a critical workload. This increased availability of enterprise-class cloud services will underpin the acceleration of cloud services in APEJ as cloud service shifts from the SMB sector to the large enterprise.”

The first offering to be available at the IBM Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Data Centre will be from IBM’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud portfolio.

Built on an agile cloud infrastructure, the offering is designed to provide rapid access to security-rich, enterprise-class virtual server environments and is well suited for development and test activities and other dynamic workloads.

It will help enterprises fulfill on the promise of cloud by reducing operational costs, eliminating capital outlays, improving cycle times for faster time-to-market, and improving quality with virtually instant, secure access to a standardized infrastructure as a service environment.

Additionally a compelling catalogue of software from the IBM Software Group and 3rd party companies — will be available in a variety of payment models designed for Mid-Size and Large Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

A sampling of ideal workloads includes but is not limited to:

  • Application development
    • New projects or quick deployment of existing projects
    • Transient applications – demos, training, proof of concept, technology migration
    • Multi-site, outsourced development and test, including access from multiple sites, remote locations or separated external and contractor resources
  • Functional and non-functional testing
  • Dynamic workloads requiring variable capacity, such as web hosting, application pilots, statistical modeling or research activities

IBM has helped thousands of clients adopt cloud models and manages millions of cloud based transactions every day. It assists clients in areas as diverse as banking, communications, healthcare and government to build their own clouds or securely tap into IBM cloud-based business and infrastructure services.

IBM is unique in bringing together key cloud technologies, deep process knowledge, a broad portfolio of cloud solutions, and a network of global delivery centres.

For more information about IBM cloud solutions, visit www.ibm.com/cloud

Written by turbotodd

March 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Clouds For Telcos

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The clouds at IBM continue to fill with bountiful rain.

IBM today announced a new cloud services platform to help communications service providers capitalize on the growing market opportunity for public cloud services expected to increase to $89 billion by 2015.

I count that as at least the third major cloud announcement by IBM over the past week.

This particular announcement is about helping communications service providers bring their customers new services.

The IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform

The IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform is a comprehensive set of hardware, software and services to help providers rapidly deliver cloud computing on their own. It includes the most advanced, carrier-grade technology with all the essential security and service management capabilities to ensure reliability essential to their own customers.

It allows Communications Service Providers to rapidly transform their business to deliver new services over their existing networks and drive new sources of revenue.

Service providers can now quickly and cost-effectively enable hundreds or even thousands of new services and use an integrated cloud service management platform to create, deliver and manage those services.

They can also use it to deliver  “as-a-service” offerings such as collaboration applications, customer relationship management services, data storage, back up and recovery, and industry-specific applications.

Cloud-based services are emerging as an important new business model for the communications industry.  However, providers need to quickly define their strategy if they want to capitalize on this new and fast-growing opportunity.

Infrastructure-As-A-Service Offerings

Orange, a major global telecommunications company, is using the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform in a pilot project to create new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings for their customers.

“IBM is providing a fully integrated stack delivering highly secured virtualized infrastructure that can be used to provide our internal and external customers a new level of infrastructure-as-a-service. For example, automating the extension of our customers’ data-center and providing highly customized topologies” said Didier Jaubert, senior vice president Global Services of Orange Business Services. “This integrated platform provided by IBM is an important step for us to expand our capabilities faster and beyond those of other carriers.”

Providers that adopt the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform will receive new support and benefits to help them access the IBM partner ecosystem to extend, market, enable and sell their cloud services. These new benefits are available immediately and will be formally rolled out early next year as part of a broader new cloud partner program.

Putting IBM Innovation And Capital To Work In The Telco Cloud

Companies such as Broadsoft, Corent Technology, deCarta, Jamcracker, Juniper Networks, NetApp, Openet, RightScale and Wavemaker are supporting the platform today and are joined by a range of cloud builders, application, technology and infrastructure providers, as well as resellers, and cloud aggregators. IBM’s Venture Capital Group worked with six of these nine partners during their startup phase, helping them to become IBM Business Partners and make their technologies enterprise-ready using IBM hardware and software.

This ecosystem can be accessed through a global network of 38 IBM Innovation Centers with dedicated technology, marketing and sales resources to help integrate partner applications and vendor technologies. Other vendors leave this complex work to the customer.

“Shanghai Telecom is piloting IBM’s new platform to extend computing and telecommunications into the enterprise market to capture the growing business opportunity to provide infrastructure to businesses and multinational corporations operating in China,” said Chen Xiao Qin, vice director, marketing, Shanghai Telecom. “We’re making an important shift in the way we do business by providing clients powerful cloud computing services as well as cost savings.”

At The Core: IBM Software

At the core of the carrier-grade cloud offering is IBM Service Delivery Manager. The advanced software quickly deploys applications— automating the deployment, monitoring and management of cloud computing services for IT staff.

Additionally, the Tivoli Netcool network and service assurance portfolio and other IBM software provide integrated service management, network monitoring, built-in security, storage virtualization, service level agreement management and usage and accounting management.

IBM also offers services to support a cloud-based model such as business strategy consulting, sales training and education, business intelligence and analytics and services, application development and testing, and integration services.

“Cloud Services enable new opportunities that leverage our convergence and connectivity strategies and investment in networks and systems,” said Ibrahim J Gedeon, chief technology officer, TELUS Communications of Canada. “Any device-anyone-everywhere is where cloud meets revenue.”

IBM works with the top 1,000 communications service providers worldwide, including all 20 of the largest global providers. The IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform is currently available worldwide from IBM.

Visit the IBM cloud computing site to learn more about IBM’s cloud computing portfolio, research and labs.

Written by turbotodd

October 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

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