Apple promised to release Facetime as a standard. We’re still waiting.
Another area where the modular approach is starting to have an impact is in the telephone service arena. Traditionally, telephone service was offered on a land line and was divided into local service, long distance, and extra features like caller ID, call forwarding, etc… The model was predicated on the concept of one device (the phone) receiving a package of services. The mobile phone business started having an impact by untying the phone lines from the wall, making the concept of localization a relatively moot point. Once localization was broken, the differentiation between local and long distance disappeared which left a division only between connectivity and extra features. Since most of the signals going over the air became digital, the cost of delivering extra services dropped to almost nothing, destroying the competitive value of such offerings. While mobile phone service made headway against traditional land lines, a new set of telephone offerings appeared on the Internet: Voice over IP. With VoIP, telephone just becomes a software issue, unbundling telephone from the concept of a telephone network and dropping the connectivity issue altogether. While mobile phones were tied to a particular phone network, VoIP phones are not tied to any network:…Read More
Today is a great day in the USA. Wireless Number Portability has arrived! I wrote about this last year and am glad that we have finally arrived to the point where number portability is now doable. So what is number portability? Well, effective today, you can change mobile phone provider without having to worry about changing your phone number. For example, if your phone number is (646) 555 1212, you can still keep the same number but choose between different mobile phone providers. An added extra is that you can also take your land-line phone number and port it to a mobile phone line. What’s the catch? Mobile phone operators sometimes work on different networks: GSM, CDMA, or TDMA. If you are switching between companies that are using different networks, you might have to change phone. If you are switching between GSM providers, all you may have to do is change your SIM card. If you are using a CDMA or TDMA provider, you might have to go to the store to get your phone reprogrammed with the new number. If you are still under contract with a provider, some penalty fees will be assessed. Make sure that you are…Read More
AOL and Microsoft have announced an end to their feud. It seems to me that there is a lot in there that needs to be dissected and pondered about. It will impact the development of the Internet for years to come. IM : One of the conditions for the AOL/Time Warner merger was that AOL open its instant messaging platform to other parties. By agreeing to interoperability between the AOL IM client and MSN messenger one, AOL will now be able to point to its “openness” while maintaining a relatively tight control over the progress of that tool. I am sure the two companies are interested in working together and somehow doubt that they will be very interested in opening the world to other competitors. At the current time, IM has taken the consumer world by storm and is starting to make headway in the enterprise. Because of its presence concept (you can see whether the people on your buddy list are online right now or not), it will eventually become a critical tool in the enterprise, moving some data traffic from the phone and email to this new platform. Already today, enterprises that have implemented IM solutions are seeing…Read More
Today’s announcement about Cisco’s acquisition of Linksys is one that leaves me scratching my head a little. What is the logic behind this? Could this represent a change in Cisco’s strategy? Or is it a realization in the part of the networking equipment vendor that its future may not be enhanced by moving into the now heavily depressed telecommunication field. Let’s imagine for a second what this could do in the long term. First of all, by acquiring Linksys, Cisco gets a strong foothold in the small office/home office market as well as the hobbyist/consumer market. Why? Largely because this is where Linksys’ strength is. What Cisco gets out of this is a new source of revenues in a market it has had troubles getting into. The announcement that they will not change the name of the company and will let it run as an independent unit seems to point to that end. Second, it provides Linksys with strong support in enterprise sales. Linksys has been getting into the enterprise largely through the back-door, with employees installing cheap wireless routers in offices. Now, with Cisco’s backing they can get into the enterprise as part of a more complete solution. The…Read More
I was recently speaking at a conference called Escandinavia 2000, which covered the state of the Internet in Scandinavia. During that conference, I had a chance to speak to a number of people about the state of wireless in the Scandinavian countries. Here’s what I’ve learned and how it can help those of you who are working in the wireless space in the United States. The Hybrid World Lives! Many of you may remember the February 10th issue about Hybrid Computing. While talking with Birger Steen, CEO of Scandinavia Online, I discovered that the concept is not that far off the market. It is his contention that WAP-enabled phones are largely a pain in the back when it comes to interface. Having to key in every letter on the small phone keyboard is far from the easiest thing in the world. As a result, Scandinavia Online has developed a set of services that allows users of their portal jump on their site and configure their WAP view on the web. From his point of view, this is the best service he can offer now to wireless users. The point was reiterated by a few people around the conference that told…Read More