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Location-based Mobile Local Search March 27, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : AORTA,Carriers,Location Based Services,Middleware,US Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

Talk about consumer LBS (in US) has been around for almost a decade. It is great to see Infospace launch a location based mobile local search app with Sprint. A huge step in AORTA, makes the user experience much better.

A premium J2ME application, InfoSpace Find It! is available on a range of Sprint Nextel phones, with users easily pinpointing their location through automated GPS or location systems, or preset entries such as zip code, address or intersection. The service includes:
— Local Quick Clicks(TM): Find local business listings and locations with maps and driving directions with minimal clicking.
— One-Stop Searching: A single search location for Yellow Pages, White Pages, Maps, Directions, Movie Listings and more.
— Find People by Name or Number: Search using only first and last name, or by entering a phone number to find out to whom it belongs.
— What’s Nearby(R): Access details on what’s close with one click on the phone, even if the caller doesn’t know exactly where they are.
— Click to Connect: Make phone calls with one click instead of dialing the entire number.

Governor’s Reception March 23, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : International Trade , add a comment

Earlier this evening, attended Governor’s Reception with Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. I first met her at the Korea-US pacific states Joint conference where she was the co-chair and i was on the US advisory committee for the wireless and multimedia conference last year. Gov. Gregoire is passionate about international trade and you can feel the energy in the room while she was speaking. Very impressive. She understand globalization and the new rules of the game. What was striking was her vision to look beyond short-term to 40-50 years down the road so one can lay the foundation of solid educational system and economic vitality. It was her 8th event of the day with one more to go and yet she spoke as if it was her first.

Mobile Wallet March 21, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,Devices,Mobile Wallet , 1 comment so far

There is a good article on “Mobile Wallet” in NY Times today. I have been talking about this in my recent talks. Frankly, US companies should just license DoCoMo’s Felica, invest in infrastructure and get on with the program.

iHollywood Mobile Entertainment Summit Discount March 20, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : Mobile Entertainment,Speaking Engagements , add a comment

As a research partner of iHollywood MES event, we get discount coupons for friends and colleagues. If you are interested in attending and haven’t registered yet, please let us know and we will send you the coupon

m-Qube acquisition

Posted by Chetan in : M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Content,Mobile Entertainment,Strategy,US Wireless Market , add a comment

Nice exit for m-Qube investors. Timed it well as the value of the company would have gone down in the next 12 months. This will probably reignite the deals game in the mobile industry. Expect to see M&A market heat up.

Japanese Delegation to CTIA

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,Speaking Engagements,Strategy,US Wireless Market , add a comment

I will be addressing the CTIA-bound Japanese delegation on 3rd April. Companies include NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, Mitsubishi, Base and others. If you would like to meet with them, please let me know.

Mobile Advertising

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,Carriers,Devices,Mobile Advertising,Strategy , add a comment

From Visiongain’s report on Mobile Advertising “From 2005 when the nascent market garnered $255 million in Europe and the United States, mobile marketing and advertising in these two geographical areas will grow to exceed $1 billion in 2009, provided certain elements fall into place.” I think everyone is underestimating mobile marketing and the potential for revenues. I agree, key elements need to be in place, but the likely revenue generation will be higher. The real issue will be who has the most useful profile information, can you still put personalized ads without any user profile information? and who has the the most effective data mining tools.

WiMax Report from OECD March 14, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,Infrastructure,Uncategorized , add a comment

A good read from OECD on WiMax: The implications of WiMAX for competition and regulation (pdf)

Seattle Mobile Talk

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,Carriers,Devices,Infrastructure,Middleware,Speaking Engagements,Strategy , add a comment

Had a good discussion on 3G at Seattle Mobile last night. Hans (EMC) and I talked about the trends and the 3G impact on carrier network. One of the most revealing stats was the jump in carrier information data (within the network) – 10-15 times due to introduction of 3G. If storage is not well designed, it could lead to several problems. We are thinking about exploring this topic further. I continue to believe that starting next year, we will see pretty healthy 3G growth in the US market. China and India will start catching up over the next 2-3 years, while Japanese and Korean markets will start saturating.

Origami Debuts March 9, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : AORTA,Devices,Uncategorized , add a comment

After some clever marketing, Origami finally debuts or at least more details are available. At price range of $600-$1000, it is clearly not a mass market device and won’t take off. Perhaps future versions would do better.

AT&T Wireless coming back? March 8, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : Carriers,M&A,Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

One of the beneficiaries of the proposed AT&T/BellSouth merger will be Omnicom Group. Cingular spent over $500 million in rebranding from AT&T Wireless to Cingular Wireless. If the merger goes through, AT&T Wireless brand is likely to make a come back. Funny the way these acquisitions work.

Teaming up with iHollywood Forum March 7, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,Carriers,Devices,Infrastructure,Partnership,Speaking Engagements,Strategy , add a comment

We have teamed up with iHollywood Forum as their Research partner on upcoming conferences to provide research and coverage on mobility issues.

The two upcoming conferences are:

Mobile Entertainment Summit April 4th, 2006 and

MoTV: Mobile Video and TV Forum at NAB – April 25th, 2006

Hope to see you there.

Deluxe Ticket holders will get a copy our recent research and industry brief.

Seattle Mobile Talk on March 13th March 5, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G,AORTA,General,Speaking Engagements,Strategy , add a comment

March Meeting – Monday March 13

3G Diffusion, Impact, and Opportunities
This month Chetan Sharma and Hans Hanspal will be giving a presentation on 3G entitled “3G Diffusion, Impact, and Opportunities”. Chetan has recently had an article entitled “3G: Hitting the Mass Market” published as the cover article for Wireless World that is an overview of the current state of 3G. Chetan and Hans will be speaking about the current state of 3G and what we can expect in the short and long term.

“We will focus our attention on 3G’s diffusion to mass-market in key geographies, look into key drivers for 3G growth, and discuss the short-term (12-18 months) and long-term (1-5 years) trends. We will also discuss some of the challenges associated with the increasing volumes of data.”

So if your business is mobile content, networks, services, or applications; your business is going to be affected by 3G networks. You don’t want to miss this one.

 When: Monday March13, 6:30 – 7:30 Networking, 7:30 – 9:30 Presentations

Where: Downtown Seattle, The Harbor Steps in the Terrace Room




Chetan Sharma, Principal – Chetan Sharma Consulting

Chetan is a recognized industry expert in strategy and implementation of wireless data and pervasive computing solutions. His expertise is in developing innovation-driven technology, product and IP strategy. He has worked with major wireless carriers around the globe and advised some of the major content brands and wireless technology companies. Chetan is author of several books, articles, papers, and reports on wireless industry and sits on the advisory board of several startups and VC firms. He has also been involved as a wireless technology expert witness in intellectual property litigation cases. He is chair/member of several telecom industry consortiums and committees. Some of his clients include NTT DoCoMo, Disney, Qualcomm, Reliance, SAP, Merrill Lynch, American Express, Infospace, BEA, and HP.


Harinderpa Hanspal EMC Corporation

Harinderpal (Hans) Hanspal is currently a member of EMC Corporation’s Global Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Initiatives group, where he has responsibility for defining EMC’s strategy and solutions for global mobile markets. Prior to EMC, Hans has held various positions at Metapath Software, Sequent Computer Systems, and Amdahl Corp. His roles have spanned business strategy, sales, marketing, engineering, services, business & alliance development, and solution development. He has been in the IT industry for over sixteen years, with the past nine years focused exclusively on global telecommunications providers. Hans has extensive international experience and has worked with some of the largest mobile service providers around the world, including NTT DoCoMo and Cingular Wireless

AT&T to buy Bellsouth

Posted by Chetan in : General,Infrastructure,M&A,Uncategorized , add a comment

 AT&T buys Bellsouth. It is interesting how the industry is slowly going back to the old days of monopolies. The cycle of consolidation continues.

 Telecom M&A Drama

RIM-NTP Settlement March 3, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : Enterprise Mobility,General,Middleware,Uncategorized , add a comment

As expected, RIM-NTP finally settled and spared potential embarrassment to the US Patent and Judicial system. The battleground now shifts to the host of lawsuits filed by Visto against rest of the wireless email vendors.

FCW Wireless Security/RFID Conference Roundup March 1, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 4G,Enterprise Mobility,Federal,Infrastructure,Speaking Engagements , 1 comment so far

Once or twice a year, I get a chance to look at wireless issues in the federal sector, hear and talk to CIOs and executives of various government agencies such as DHS, DOD, GSA etc. It provides a unique view into a different world that is both impressive and befuddling at the same time. Though there are similarities to the Enterprise Mobility segment, it is a difference universe where things are driven by mandates and missions, directives and discourses. While there is a sense of urgency, there is also stifling bureaucracy and ineptitude.

I made my annual pilgrimage to Federal Computer Weekly’s (FCW) Wireless Security and RFID Conference in Washington DC earlier this week (courtesy of Compubahn). Also, spent some time at an event on Capitol Hill hearing some of the CIOs and their underlings on their future IT plans. At the conference, I got an opportunity to moderate a very knowledgeable panel on wireless security matters. We will get to the panel discussion a bit later.

I think it is quite relevant to discuss federal wireless related issues within the enterprise context as there are several lessons to be drawn it can help various organizations who are going through some of the similar challenges or are simply unaware of the problems they have. The most fundamental problem that most agencies (and by the same token most companies) have is lack of a coherent and detailed wireless security policies that considers “all” wireless devices whether they are operating within a WLAN that is controlled by the entity or for the device that is using a foreign network to access internal resources or for the device that is not connected yet but has significant and sensitive information stored on the device. How do you manage these devices? What if the device gets lost or hacked? Is the data encrypted? Does the data that gets copied on the SD card encrypted? How is the policy enforced? Can you use the same policy enforcer that you use for LAN on wide range of devices – PDAs, Symbian phones, BREW devices, etc. What’s the policy on Bluetooth? Do you permit Bluetooth devices in your enterprise? (in some agencies, Bluetooth enabled devices are not procured at all) Are you aware that there is no encryption? What ports get disabled and when? There are plenty of questions but no clear answer. For government, a good starting point is DOD wireless security policy (8100.2). Any enterprise who hasn’t really laid out their wireless policy could benefit from the same as well.

However, the policy needs to be laid out with plans that take into account scenarios 2-5 years from now. The reality today will get outdated really fast and for sure before your current implementation gets done. Once you have the policy, then what? Well, Audit and Enforce it.

One of the keynotes was given by Ron McKenzie who is the point person for American Red Cross IT and wireless implementation (disaster and rescue response units deal with wireless technology and related applications all the time) and reports to SVP and CIO Steve Cooper. He discussed the challenges that Katrina posed to the operations, logistics and IT. The main technology used are Satellite, 2way radios, and Cellular. The main applications are registration, family linking, bringing shelters online, and connecting with financial institutions to issue cards. One of the biggest challenge is scaling up and down of operations. As we are painfully aware – Katrina was a shameful disaster of significant magnitude. One of the basic problem was that communication (ok, so it is not that basic) was woefully lacking. Wireless industry clearly responded well but we could do more. The initiative really needs to come from Red Cross. Ron was looking for feedback from the industry as how they can improve their solutions and processes to better address emergency needs and minimize discomfort and chaos. I bet there are a number of people reading this who have great ideas or experiences that can help in pushing the dialog further. Red Cross is planning to finalize its “lessons learned” booklet by July 06 and thus prepare a process plan that can be replicated in the event of similar or worse disasters in the future. You can help. If you have ideas on emergency preparedness and execution, please send them along and I will compile and pass them on to Ron who has promised to give good consideration to all proposals. A few months back, Tsunami in SE Asia created damage and destruction of epic proportions. I always wonder as to how can the technology be applied to reduce the impact of natural disasters or make rescue and recovery operations more tenable. But, it is clearly not the technology that is a challenge but the people who use (or don’t use) it to streamline the processes. With Satellite, WWAN, WLAN, WPAN technologies, there isn’t a place on earth that can’t have connectivity for communication or data exchange.

One of the more telling problems (and I see this echoed in the commercial world as well) is the lack of user input into solutions or product roadmaps. There are plenty of vendors who are touting cutting-edge solutions to various agencies but they are selling to buyers and not users who typically are busy doing the real work.

My wireless security panel “Technology Fundamentals for End-to-End Security” constituted of Sumit Deshpande, VP, Wireless, CA (Computer Associates), Dean Knuth, National Manager, Northrop Grumman, and Jeff Watts, Sr. Engineer, Smartronix. These guys have dealt with very strict security requirements for most of major agencies esp. DOD. I asked the panel “Is security a technology issue?” Answer was an emphatic NO. Security is a process in which technology plays an important role. Education, training, awareness, audit, and enforcement are as or more critical than the technology implementation of whatever solution you might have. Bruce Schneier explains this in his books and articles better than anyone else.

There has been a lot of talk about 802.11i (WPA2) standard which is supposed to be a lot more secure than current WPA/Tkip implementations. Device management and device security is an important issue that is mostly overlooked. The other aspect that is hardly considered is that there is more to security than just LAN/WLAN – WWAN and WPAN powered devices all need to be managed if security is a concern. Though it hasn’t been a big issue yet, wireless security issues will become important for Sarbanes Oxley compliance as well. How does company keep track of corporate SMS/IM/data on wireless devices? Can it be audited? What are the risks? What are controls in place? Another point to remember – though FIPS 140-2 is becoming the norm for encryption, the certification process is arduous, so plan accordingly.

Amid the discussion about security, one can also go overboard in cases where information being transmitted or stored isn’t sensitive and security provisions only help in alienating the user and they get fed up of the steps required, reduced speeds and investment goes by the way side. Security to some extent is also a balancing act of user convenience and corporate priorities.

There seems to be a trend that CIOs of various agencies are coming from the industry these days. I think a great trend but there are many agencies that lack leadership and initiative and still rely on the big consulting companies to run their shop.

RFID – A good overview report can be downloaded free of cost here

Though there are a lot of privacy and security concerns (just like for Bluetooth), consider the following:

  2005 2010 2015
RFID Tag Pricing $0.23 $0.06 $0.01
Number of RFID Tags in Use 6.3 million 80 billion 10 trillion
Growth of overall RFID market $3 billion $10 billion $25 billion

Source: IDTechEx (2005)

RFID (and similar WPAN technologies) are going to be pervasive. Applications range from logistics to defense. Though I have been skeptical, human implants are also showing up. Recently a senior executive at one of the biggest software company I was working with told me that I am underestimating the growth in RFID implants in mobile workers in the next 5-10 years. Maybe there is a point, time will tell.

Also, ran into Iridium booth. I thought the company evaporated after their spectacular flameout but they are still hanging their hat and focusing on government, public safety, and on workers that require remote coverage.

My colleague and friend Sunil Jain raised a few interesting questions recently. Right now there are vendors like Symantec who license and manage security and policy on desktops and laptops and then you have vendors such as Pointsec, Mobile Armor, Credent and host of others who focus solely on the wireless device space. With the two worlds converging rapidly, how soon before an enterprise asks Symantec to add a few hundred licenses to their agreement to cover mobile devices as well. Do the (now) niche players get gobbled up by the big boys? or would the reverse be true? Likewise, how do you extend your HP Openview, CA Unicenter, BMC Patrol, or IBM Tivoli to do wireless device management as well. Also, whose responsibility is security anyway? OS Vendor, Handset guys, Network or carrier, enterprise (consumer?). And along the same lines, should security be handled at the network or at the device level? Gartner advocates network level protection. They contemplate that mobile world shouldn’t follow the PC deployments of anti-virus and other risk mitigation tools but rather network should have these services and only go to devices as a last resort. I think both are required, because there are is so much that can happen in a disconnected (from the enterprise but still connected) mode.

For most new technologies or products, security is generally an after-thought. We as an industry need to get better at designing systems, protocols, and technologies with security built-in rather than going through the alphabet soups of new versions to patch-up the mess.

Another area that is gaining traction is the concept of Managed Security. Security is getting complicated and so companies rather than deploying staff are interested in outsourcing device management and security of their mobile assets. Would you do it?

Finally, there are several other interesting federal initiatives like Location Specific Digital Signature (LSDS) and WiMax development work with Intel, Integration of RFID with WLAN, Biometrics, Locating users using WLAN/WPAN. These will trickle into the commercial sectors in the next 2-3 years.

 Your comments are always welcome.