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Happy Birthday SMS July 27, 2007

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SMS is one of those accidental empires story. Dec 2007 will mark the 15th anniversary of the first commercial text message sent on the Vodafone network. Designed for engineers, it became the biggest consumer service todate both in terms of number of users and revenue produced. It is the simplicity and pervasiveness of the service that makes it a big hit. There are several lessons that can be drawn as we evolve the mobile data industry to the next level.

SMS will continue to dominate both the usage and revenue contribution for many more years to come.

Opengardens July 26, 2007

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Sprint Nextel Corp. said on Thursday it would develop with Google Inc. a new mobile Internet portal using WiMax wireless technology to offer Web search and social networking.

Sprint’s WiMax for high-speed wireless and its services for detecting location will be combined with Google tools including e-mail, chat and other applications.

Cracks have started to widen.

AT&T Numbers July 24, 2007

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AT&T posted some strong numbers this morning esp. on the mobile data side with $1.65B in data revenues, 17.30% of the overall ARPU (data ARPU at $8.77). iPHone sales 146K units in 2 days. Picture will become clear next quarter and might get some indication from Apple earnings tomorrow.

Also, the overall ARPU jumpted to $50.63.

More in our upcoming Q2 update next month

Another Day, Another Ad Network purchase

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Well, AOL jumps in and consolidates its AD position in the market by purchasing Tacoda for $275M and change. Can FTC really block Google-Doubleclick with everything going on? Not a chance.

Modeo throws in the towel

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This was inevitable after MediaFLO sweeped AT&T and Verizon. HiWire is next. Other operators will reluctantly go to MediaFLO. Not good for competition but better technology won.

Now, Europe is a different story.

Carnival #83

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Carnival is over at Golden Swamp where Judy Breck discusses the best of posts of the week. Check it out.

An evening with Vint Cerf

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Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf is a legend in the industry. Widely known as a “Father of the Internet,” Vint is the co-designer with Robert Kahn of TCP/IP protocols and basic architecture of the Internet. Google Kirkland hosted an evening with him and as expected it was a packed house. Of course, the fine dining experience was part of the deal.

The topic of the talk was “Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century”

It is always inspiring to hear the best minds speak, especially someone having such a deep historical perspective as Vint. The full-house was glued to their seats as he took us on a journey from the starting point of creating a network and a protocol that will form the backbone of the what we know today as the Internet and then ended the talk with an update on his work on Interplanetary Internet.

However, what was fascinating was he started his presentation with the “potential” of mobile as an access means. He referred phones as programmable devices and Information appliances rather than mobile phones. His strong emphasis on mobile esp in the developing world gives insights into the reason (and it is quite obvious) for all the recent activity at Google w.r.t. mobile. Mobile as a commerce and payment device where people can exchange minutes (as currency) and buy goods, complete transactions offers a great opportunity esp. if geo-location services are involved.

He complained about the inability of US to provide symmetric broadband services to its masses while other countries are zipping it by in terms of penetration and broadband availability. He didn’t think streaming video is going to be a big issue in the future (though it consumes 36% of the HTTP traffic (which consumes 45% of the Internet traffic) as people will just download the file instead of streaming with multi-gig network pipes.

He also talked about the democratization of content where people can contribute a single word to wikipedia or a whole page to a blog and as such the barriers to participation have dropped down to zero.

Then, he got into Interplanetary Internet, something you don’t hear everyday. But, the experiences, and the technical decisions made were quite fascinating. The Delay Tolerant Networking protocol they developed for communicating with various nodes in the solar system also got adopted by the DOD and is currently in use in Iraq. And, the application it is being used for is Chat.

He was quite funny and thoughtful with life full of experiences and achievements.

At the end of the talk, I asked him - “You talked about the potential for mobile but given that the current state of closed gardens unlike the evolution of the Internet, how do you see the potential being realized?” Of course this was in reference to the all the 700MHz discussion that is consuming the industry right now. It is a pivotal moment in the industry and the consequences could be enormous.

He gave a pretty thoughtful response and this coming from a guy who spent several years in the telecom world (yes, he is with Google right now but he is very genuine and Carriers should talk to him to take history lessons)

“Our industry needs to realize that their new business models that will evolve that will benefit everyone in the ecosystem, if we are more open, have more open platforms, open networks, open devices. We are participating in the 700MHz debate and we are trying to persuade people that by opening the network, new opportunities will emerge. The current state of affairs is of course closed gardens. The alternate route is when more devices use alternate networks and more smart devices are introduced. I was kind of disappointed by iPhone, they could have done so much by opening up the device”

Overall, a great evening and I was fortunate to participate in the discussion.

The death of Amp’D July 22, 2007

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It was only in April, CEO and Founder, Peter Adderton proclaimed, “Amp’d is creating the best mobile media experience on the market, hands down, and our continued success is due in large part to the unparalleled strength and talent of our management team.” The company announced that their subscriber mark is approaching 200K, ARPU was $100/month, data ARPU was $30.

It had some big name investors - MTV, Qualcomm, Intel, and 50,000 others.

But the company shuts its lights on Tuesday.

What happened? In the short duration of a quarter, company went from boasting on top of the hill to another statistic of failures.

Amp’D played its part in the ecosystem but upping the ante on user experience, pushing the business models, tried to become a brand but didn’t really focus on the business basics - don’t spend more than you have. It kept on spending like a drunken sailor with unlimited resources even when it was struggling to add subscribers. While the company boasted of 200K subs and high ARPU, the churn was enormous. Too many hotshots on the management team, too many investors - in the end, nobody was in control, there was no strategy. While the data ARPU was $30, they were losing money on sourcing and content production. What good is a $30 ARPU if there is no profit. Amp’D pushed the limits so it can attract and retain customers. While its brand building efforts are laudable, the company failed at simple math. The cost of building a brand while acquiring subscribers without money in the bank is a recipe for disaster.

Can the death of Amp’D help us show the light for Helio and others? To some extent, Helio is like Amp’D though with some governance of their parents but the company has been spending like crazy as well with the hope Earthlink and SKT will keep pouring money. It doesn’t bode well for them either. They have to control costs, focus on the basics and customer service first, world domination later.

BusinessWeek Article: GeoVector - Walk This Way

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http://www.businessweek.com/print/globalbiz/content/jul2007/gb20070720_190619.htm

Kenji Hall quoted us in this Business week article

BusinessWeek.com logo 

GeoVector: Walk This Way

This digital compass can tell you where you are, and where to walk to get a cup of coffee. It’s available in Japan, but why not the U.S.?

by Kenji Hall, July 20, 2007

You could say John Ellenby has been brainstorming about the ultimate portable gadget for a quarter-century. After leaving Xerox’s (XRX) legendary Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Ellenby formed startup GRiD in 1980 to develop a computer small enough to fit in a briefcase. The computer, dubbed the GRiD Compass, was one of the world’s first portable computers, and Ellenby was instantly hailed as a tech visionary.

These days, Ellenby, now 66, spends a lot of time jetting between his home in San Francisco and Japan to spread the gospel about his newest idea. The invention acts like an electronic compass in a cell phone and can sync with a global positioning system to—literally—point you in the right direction. Anyone lost in Tokyo’s labyrinthine back streets or dying for a soy-milk latte only has to link to the Net, then choose from a list of restaurants, shops or hotels.

But unlike a car navigation system, which shows you as a moving point on a two-dimensional map, Ellenby’s technology requires no map. Instead, an arrow on the phone’s screen swivels as you walk to keep you going in the right direction—connecting the virtual and real worlds in real time. “That’s very important because most people don’t read maps and much prefer to be guided by a simple arrow,” says Ellenby.

Real-Time Directions

The phone taps into what’s known as a point-of-interest database, which is filled with information linked to places on a map. It might provide directions to the nearest Citibank (C) ATM or reveal where to find the most picturesque place to view the cherry blossoms in spring. Ellenby also has software engineers working on a second-generation version that superimposes the arrow on a 3-D map that’s identical to what you’re seeing directly in front of you.

To make it all happen, Ellenby’s company, GeoVector—which he founded with his two sons, Thomas and Peter—teamed up with CyberMap Japan, the operator of Mapion, one of the country’s most popular map-search Web sites.

The inspiration for a digital compass came to the elder Ellenby and his son Thomas while they were sailing off Mexico’s coast in the early 1990s. The boat was equipped with satellite-based GPS, but the two always used nearby buoys and coastal features to double-check their position. When the elder Ellenby couldn’t locate a distant mark through a pair of binoculars, it got them thinking about how to create a device that would simplify navigation.

“Tom said, ‘I can see it. Why can’t I put a little indicator in my binoculars and give it to you and you can see it?’” says Ellenby. “We had very accurate GPS and a very accurate electronic compass and so we stuck it all together with duct tape on a pair of binoculars and ran a cable to a laptop. Sometime later we started building them.”

A More Advanced Testing Ground

The Ellenbys were soon knocking on the doors of companies that sold a similar device for military fighter jets. A small team of in-house engineers and some of Ellenby’s ex-colleagues at PARC and GRiD collaborated on a prototype of what the father-son duo had envisioned while sailing. About the size of a shoebox, the device let would-be customers see for themselves how well the technology could be adapted for all kinds of uses. By 1998, they began thinking about ways to incorporate the technology into cell phones.

But the U.S. wasn’t the ideal testing ground for the Ellenbys’ gizmo. To reach the volume sales that would make their investment worthwhile, they would need to find a market where millions of people were already gaining access to the Internet via wireless networks and where handset makers were willing to take a chance on an untested technology.

Japan satisfied both requirements. The country’s 98 million cell-phone users have some of the most sophisticated handsets on the planet, and more than three-quarters of them sport a built-in Internet browser to connect over a high-speed third-generation, or 3G, network. In fact, more Japanese go online from a cell phone than a PC. That’s partly the reason Japan led the world in wireless data revenues at $20 billion last year, according to Chetan Sharma Consulting, a technology and strategic consulting firm based in Issaquah, Wash. The country has also traditionally been an early adopter of new technology, which made it the perfect setting for the Ellenbys’ experiment.

Tough Market to Conquer

The hope is that pointing technology can launch a whole new type of location-based advertising. Point to a train station and it automatically pulls up an online site to book train tickets. Point to a billboard and it takes you to the advertiser’s Web site. Point to a movie theater and get a trailer for what’s currently showing. “We believe this is where local search will go,” says Ellenby. “The more focused an advertisement is, the more effective it is.” That’s not all. Ellenby foresees the day when such pointing technology could work in cameras, automatically identifying where you were when you took each photo.

The technology isn’t flawless. Because GeoVector’s compass relies on GPS, it’s only good in places where GPS can reach. “The problem with GPS is you have to be outside,” says Bob Heile, an engineer and serial entrepreneur who is chairman of the ZigBee Alliance, which promotes a short-range wireless standard. “It doesn’t work inside buildings and malls.”

GeoVector isn’t the first company to use Japan as a lab for new wireless applications. Adobe Systems (ADBE), for instance, worked with dominant carrier NTT DoCoMo (NTT) to tweak its Flash software for cell phones. Still, the Ellenbys faced their share of problems and have yet to conquer the Japanese market. At the start they needed handset makers such as Matsushita Electric Industrial (MC), NEC (NIPNY), and Sony Ericsson to understand the technology.

U.S. Carriers Slow on the Uptake

But negotiating directly with them was a sensitive matter because wireless carriers, not manufacturers, dictate what technologies go into handsets. So GeoVector had to quietly reach out to manufacturers while lobbying DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank.

Only KDDI was interested. About 4 million Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Sanyo, Hitachi, and Casio phones have been sold with the compass inside since mid-2006, and GeoVector is now in talks with DoCoMo about launching a similar service.

Landing a deal with a U.S. wireless carrier is more complicated and might not happen until early 2008, according to GeoVector officials. That’s partly because, unlike in Japan where carriers have a nationwide network, the U.S. market is fragmented into regional carriers.

And since Japanese handset manufacturers already have experience in cramming the tiny digital compass—about the size of the hole at the top of a retractable pen—into a cell phone, GeoVector may need their help in taking the technology to the U.S.; a factor that could complicate negotiations with U.S. operators. By the time the U.S. gets pointing technology, cell-phone users in Japan may have forgotten what it’s like to be lost.

Hall is BusinessWeek’s technology correspondent in Tokyo

Mobile Commerce Seminar July 20, 2007

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I will be doing a keynote at this event in Sept. Details below

What: “Wireless Northwest: Exploring Opportunities in Mobile Commerce” Seminar
When: September 14, 2007
Where: Washington State Convention & Trade Center — Seattle, WA

Mark your calendar to attend a brand new seminar! Wireless Northwest: Exploring Opportunities in Mobile Commerce will examine the exploding mobile commerce (M-Commerce) sector from a variety of perspectives.
This seminar will explore the resurgence of M-Commerce in every aspect of the business world including its importance in the entertainment market. It will also analyze the legal, regulatory, technical and other barriers to growth, examine other countries’ approaches to M-Commerce, and look at future trends, technologies and opportunities. Leading experts in the mobile commerce arena will explain future growth opportunities in this field, what you need to know to stay ahead and how M-Commerce will affect your business. Attend this conference and get caught up!

Want to promote your company by becoming a Sponsor of this seminar? Call Cheryl Nelson at 800-574-4852 for more information.

Credits:
Washington State Bar Association - Pending for 4.75 General & 1.0 Ethics CLE Credits
Oregon State Bar - Pending for 4.75 General & 1.0 Ethics CLE Credits

To view the full agenda, which includes registration information and pricing, go to the link below.

With questions or to register over the phone please call us at 800-574-4852.
View Agenda, Faculty, and Pricing or Register Now

New Whitepaper: What is your Patent Portfolio Quotient? July 17, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, Carriers, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Patents, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

http://www.chetansharma.com/patentportfolioquotient.htm

Over the last twenty years, the global economy has slowly transformed into a vibrant knowledge economy. With reduced barriers to entry and pervasive globalization, a small company in a developing world can compete for its share on the world stage. The invention of new ideas and products remains an integral part of the global economy and the commercial food chain. Patents are an invaluable tool to protect and commercialize the inventions. They are essential to creating the barriers to entry for rivals. They are needed for building the credibility and the confidence of investors, customers, partners, and employees. They are required for providing clarity as to the property ownership, for demanding leverage from the industry, and for generating sustainable revenue from licensing and sale.

In the global marketplace, amongst all the other competitive factors, innovation matters the most and patents can help deliver the competitive edge required to remain viable. Inventors who used to see patents solely as part of their defensive strategy (and to alleviate any future litigation risks) to prevent competitors encroach their space are looking to be more aggressive with their inventions to make patents part of their offensive and licensing strategy. To ensure the financial security of the patents, some companies are embedding their IP programs as part of their Knowledge Management and Risk Management initiatives where they capture know-how, harvest IP and ingrain IP into their product development lifecycles.

Patents will continue to grow in their contribution as a key corporate asset. Since much value is associated with patents, the industry need better tools to assess and to understand the valuation and the strength of the patent portfolios. This paper will introduce the methodology of Patent Portfolio Quotient™ (PPQ) to measure performance of your patent program and portfolio that enables a Return on Investment (ROI) driven approach. PPQ measures the quality of the patent portfolio and the patent program with clear policies and procedures as it relates to the lifecycle of patents within an organization from innovation to licensing or sale. We will review the importance of patents as a tool for competitiveness and their value to a corporation. Next, we will address - why a patent program should be integrated with product development lifecycle to extract the maximum value from their intellectual property assets. Finally, the paper will introduce the basics of PPQ and discuss what inventors and companies can do to increase their PPQ.

Please download the complete paper - PDF (22 pages, 1MB)

 

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                              2

Patents as a tool for Competitiveness                          4

Analyzing Patent Portfolio Quotient or PPQ                 12

Patent Program Strategy                                           15

Integration of IP Strategy with Product Development    17

Recommendations and Conclusions                           19

 

Your comments are always welcome.

Chetan

Celebrating 5 year anniversary

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Earlier this month, on 07-07-07, we quietly marked the 5th year anniversary (i know 7 would have been groovy but 5 ain’t bad) of Chetan Sharma Consulting. It has been a fun ride. Our heartfelt thanks to colleagues and friends, especially our clients for it is they who really define us. It has been a privilege to work with 10% of the top 100 global brands and leaders in each of the major segments in the mobile ecosystem.

So, a BIG THANK YOU to all.

Microsoft Home Tour July 16, 2007

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Earlier today had a chance to do the Microsoft Home Tour (courtsey Canadian Consulate of Seattle). Since, we had to sign NDAs and I don’t know what is already in the public domain, i will just point to the various images that MS has made available.

Microsoft Home Dining Room Microsoft Home Dining Room

Microsoft Home Entertainment Room  Microsoft Home Entertainment Room

Microsoft Home Teen Bedroom  Microsoft Home Teen Bedroom

These and other images are available here. Overall, it was a very cool integration of bunch of technologies to visualize future home (or what BillG’s home might be like, in case you haven’t been there). Reminded me of the tour i did of IBM Home in Austin back in 2000.

Google on Viacom July 13, 2007

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Via Washington Post. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, speaking with reporters at a hotel bar at the 25th annual Allen & Co. moguls meeting, said litigation was the foundation of the company that owns the MTV Networks, Paramount movies studio and video game developer Harmonix.


“Viacom is a company built from lawsuits, look at their history,” Schmidt said on early Friday.

“Look who they hired as CEO, Philippe Dauman, who was the general counsel for Viacom for 20 years,” he added.

But what about carriers? Wait, Google doesn’t like them either.

This is funny

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A Chinese company is suing Google Inc.’s China subsidiary for copying its name, saying the U.S. search engine’s registered Chinese name is too similar to its own and has harmed its operations.

A spokesman for Beijing Guge Science and Technology Ltd. Co. said Google’s commercial name had led to the company being constantly disturbed by people calling up its office trying to contact the search engine.

“We just want Google to change their commercial name,” Tian Yunshan, a company official, told Reuters on Friday. “We have already passed our demands on to Google … We will see what happens in court.”

(via Yahoo News)

3G Americas paper on UMTS Evolution July 11, 2007

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3G Americas released a lengthy 89 page white paper on UMTS Evolution from 3GPP Release 7 to Release 8: HSPA and SAE/LTE. Check it out.

Our mobile data research was quoted/referenced several places.

Canada the beautiful July 7, 2007

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Spent an amazing 6 days (and 1800 miles) in Canada, going as far and remote as Tumbler Ridge (17-18 hr drive from Seattle). The hikes and waterfalls are awesome. The most popular one is Kinuseo Fall (higher than Niagara)

In winters, the falls freeze and you can do ice-climbing.

This is Kinuseo in winter of 1991 -20C

The town is so quiet - a perfect place to ponder and pen down some thoughts. And yes, Wireless Internet was available in this remote town. For Free.

Capturing the Moment

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7/7/7 7:07:07

On this auspicious day and this moment in time, wish you a great new year to come.