Pages

Showing posts with label Apps SMS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apps SMS. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Internet Trends 2014, by Mary Meeker



Its June, time for the Internet Trends update by Mary Meeker, KPCB. Last year's update has crossed 3 million views on Slideshare. So many interesting slides, difficult to pick up some of the best ones to add here. I have selected a few that I really liked. The first being the growth in Smartphones and Tablets, as compared to PC's and Television's.



The other very interesting point to highlight is that the number of SMS's are decreasing and the number of OTT messages are rising. Just two days back, BITKOM, Germany released the news that SMS's are declining drastically in Germany. OTT's are taking over, rightly so.



Finally, with people doing too much multi-tasking, the above slide highlights what people are doing while watching TV.

Here is the complete set of slides:



Related news on the web:

  • Forbes: Are We In A Tech Bubble? Not Really, According To Mary Meeker's Latest Report
  • Business Insider: Mary Meeker's Stunning 2014 Presentation On The State Of The Web
  • Quartz: Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights
  • Forbes: Mary Meeker's Web Video Love Affair
  • Guardian: Mary Meeker: 2015 will be about 'findable data' and mobile sensors
  • Business Insider, Australia: In 3 Big Slides, Here's Why Mary Meeker Is Optimistic About The Future Of American Healthcare
  • Tech2: What Mary Meeker’s 2014 trends report says about India’s Internet usage


Monday, 13 January 2014

My observations on Mobiles and OTT Apps in India

What a change 2 years can make. The last time I was in India, people were reluctant to use data, smartphones were far and few and even those smartphones were just status symbols rather than for actual 'smart' use.


This time a lot of things were very different. I found that there was a Phablet craze going on. No sooner were people starting to get used to these big screen devices they realised how many things they could do. The well to do were buying Samsung devices and the people who did not want to spend big bucks were content with the little known brands.


The Domo phablet on the left in the picture above costs around 8000 (£80/$130) and the Maxx on the right is roughly ₹5500 (£55/$90). Both these come with 1 year warranty.


There were also quite a few ads using celebrities promoting Phablets. Its good to see people spending on these devices. Unlike UK where most of these devices are subsidised on a contract, people in India prefer pre-paid option and buying the phone outright.


I have to admit that even though I am a fan of these big screen devices, I find the Samsung Galaxy Tab just a bit too big for the use as a phone (see pic above).

It was also good to see that people have embraced the 3G data usage as well. I got a 6GB package for roughly 1000 (£10/$16). I found that people complained about the speeds and were prepared to pay more for 4G (faster data rates). I also noticed that a few people were not aware of Wi-Fi and the fixed broadband. I was told that the fixed broadband was capped, offered similar prices and could be quite unreliable. I guess Wireless is helping in India where the fixed Infrastructure may still be an issue in many places.

I have to mention here that I did not meet anyone who was using an iPhone. This could be due to iPhone being ridiculously expensive and people may be thinking why pay a high price for such a small screen. A comparison of iPhone prices worldwide showed that the price of iPhone 5S as % of GDP per capita (PPP) is the highest in India. See here.


Another area of observation was SMS and OTT apps. I remember spending a lot of time trying to convince people to use OTT apps for messaging as it would be cheaper for International messages. Well, now it seems everyone has adopted it whole heartedly. One of the problems with SMS in India is that you get too much Spam SMS and sometimes the operators are the culprits. There is no way to send a stop for these SMS messages. With OTT Apps, you know who is sending you messages and you can block the offenders.

There are many OTT Apps which are popular like Hike, Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc. The winner though is undoubtedly WhatsApp. I met an acquaintance whose has stopped using emails for business and now relies completely on WhatsApp. Then there were others who loved it because of Group chat facility.

There were many reasons why WhatsApp is a winner. Along with a simple interface and Group chat facility, one of the other reasons pointed out was that the facility to see when the person was last online was very useful. Recently WhatsApp introduced facility to send Voice messages. This helped it acquire some of the WeChat users.

It was good to see the beginnings of the mobile revolution in India. Wonder what my next trip will show me.

Please note that this article is based on what I observed in Mumbai among friends and family. In no way should this be treated as  detailed research.

Friday, 13 July 2012

OTT Messaging and the need for Telco-OTT Strategies

Sometime back I created a OTT Stats, Facts and Figures presentation for the FWIC conference and in that revealed the shocking figures of how popular the OTT messaging have become and how its impacting the operators worldwide by cannibalising their revenue. Below is a presentation by Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis who believes that in light of the OTT messaging apps eating into operators profits, Telco-OTT strategies are inevitable. Its not the question of 'if' but 'when'.


Available to download from slideshare.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Facebook onto a SIM using Class 2 SMS

I am sure you have already heard of Gemalto's (worlds largest SIM manufacturer and supplier) Facebook on the SIM announcement. The advantage of this approach is that 100% of the existing phones will be able to support facebook (if the operator supports the application on the SIM). This is a big step0 forward. The press release says:

Gemalto’s software development team has embedded the software application into the SIM. This ensures the Facebook application is compatible with 100% of SIM-compliant mobile phones.

The innovative solution provides mobile subscribers with simple and convenient access to core Facebook features such as friend requests, status updates, wall posts or messages. It also offers unique functions: people can sign up for this service and log in directly from the SIM application. Interactive Facebook messages pop-up on the phone’s screen so people can always share up-to-the-minute posts and events. One can also automatically search their SIM phonebook for other friends and send them requests.

Facebook for SIM is extremely easy to use and is available to everyone. No data contract or application download is needed, because the software is embedded in the SIM and it uses SMS technology. As a result, it works for prepaid as well as for pay-monthly customers. Following an initial limited free trial period, Facebook for SIM then operates on a subscription model via an unlimited pass for a given period of time.

“Facebook for SIM enables operators to leverage two of their main assets: the SMS to communicate with the web application and the SIM for application distribution to the masses,” added Philippe Vallée, Executive Vice President, Gemalto. “Over 200 million people already use Facebook on handsets and those are twice as active as non-mobile users . By providing anytime, anywhere availability to the social network, Gemalto delivers on the growing demand for mobile connectivity all over the world.”

An article on the Register had more details:

The SIM-based client isn't as pretty as its smartphone contemporaries – don't expect picture streams or sliding interfaces – but it was developed with the help of Facebook, and provides text-menu-based interaction with Facebook – including status updates, pokes and friend requests – to any GSM-compatible handset through the magic of the GSM SIM Toolkit and Class 2 SMS messages.

The SIM Toolkit is part of the GSM standard and thus supported on just about every GSM handset, from the dumbest PAYG talker to the latest iGear. It allows the SIM to present menu options to the user, collect responses, and pop up alerts when new data arrives, which is all that's necessary for a basic Facebook client.


Modern handsets also allow the SIM to make TCP/IP data connections, but Gemalto is eschewing that for Class 2 SMS to ensure compatibility with the most basic handsets, and networks.

Class 2 SMS messages are delivered direct to the SIM without the user being involved, so can update friends' status messages and deliver a poke or two. The application running on the SIM then prods the handset into alerting the user.

That user's own updates are sent over SMS too, following a status change or wall posting client pastes that into an SMS, which is sent silently on its way.

How, or if, the network operator charges for all those messages flying about isn't clear. Gemalto won't name operators yet but claims to be talking to one operator who reckons that Facebook is eating half its bandwidth, and another who's already working on SIM distribution strategies.

Not that a new SIM is necessarily required – SIMs are field upgradable, though few operators deploy them with sufficient empty space for an application like this and issuing replacement SIMs is probably easier from a marketing point of view.

You can also find some of these details here.

As I have been working on SMS for the last few weeks, I decided to dig a bit deep into what these Class 2 SMS are.

Classes identify the message's importance as well as the location where it should be stored. There are 4 message classes.

Class 0: Indicates that this message is to be displayed on the MS immediately and a message delivery report is to be sent back to the SC. The message does not have to be saved in the MS or on the SIM card (unless selected to do so by the mobile user).

Class 1: Indicates that this message is to be stored in the MS memory or the SIM card (depending on memory availability).

Class 2: This message class is Phase 2 specific and carries SIM card data. The SIM card data must be successfully transferred prior to sending acknowledgement to the SC. An error message will be sent to the SC if this transmission is not possible.

Class 3: Indicates that this message will be forwarded from the receiving entity to an external device. The delivery acknowledgement will be sent to the SC regardless of whether or not the message was forwarded to the external device.

You can also read this for more details on SMS message contents

Monday, 14 February 2011

Non-Voice Emergency Services (NOVES)

Its been a while we talked about SMS for Emergency purposes and eCall. A new study item in 3GPP has looked at non-voice alternatives for Emergency purposes.

Picture Source: Dailymail

The following is from the recent 4G Americas report entitled: 4G Mobile Broadband Evolution: 3GPP Release-10 and Beyond:

Non-verbal communications such as text messaging and instant messaging via wireless devices has been very successful and continues to expand. Many of the consumers assume that they can utilize these types of non-verbal communications as mechanisms to communicate with emergency services whenever emergency assistance is required. Such mechanisms currently do not exist. The Emergency Services community has a desire to have multimedia emergency services supported with the same general characteristics as emergency voice calls.

Currently, service requirements for emergency calls (with or without the IP Multimedia Core Network) are limited to voice media. The Non-Voice Emergency Services (NOVES) is intended to be an end-to-end citizen to authority communications. NOVES could support the following examples of non-verbal communications to an emergency services network:
1. Text messages from citizen to emergency services
2. Session-based and session-less instant messaging type sessions with emergency services
3. Multimedia (e.g., pictures, video clips) transfer to emergency services either during or after other communications with emergency services.
4. Real-time video session with emergency services

In addition, to support the general public, this capability would facilitate emergency communications to emergency services by individuals with special needs (e.g., hearing impaired citizens).

The objectives of this study include the following questions for NOVES with media other than or in addition to voice:
1. What are the requirements for NOVES?
2. What are the security, reliability, and priority handling requirements for NOVES?
3. How is the appropriate recipient emergency services system (e.g., PSAP) determined?
4. What are the implications due to roaming?
5. Are there any implications to hand over between access networks?
6. Are there any implications due to the subscriber crossing a PSAP boundary during NOVES communications (e.g., subsequent text messages should go to the same PSAP)?
7. Do multiple communication streams (e.g., voice, text, video emergency services) need to be associated together?
8. What types of “call-back” capabilities are required?
9. What are the load impacts of NOVES in the case of a large scale emergency event or malicious use?

NOVES will be applicable to GPRS (GERAN, UTRAN) and to EPS (GERAN, UTRAN, E-UTRAN and non-3GPP). The content may be transmitted between the subscribers and the emergency services which might bring new security issues. Therefore, the security impacts need to be studied.

You can spend your weekend reading the 3GPP Study Item TR 22.871: Study on Non-Voice Emergency Services (Release 11).

A word of caution, the name NOVES may be changed in future as Emergency agencies in Europe have an objection to the name. See here and here.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Making small purchases simpler with Ericsson IPX

Yesterday a colleague made me aware of this Ericsson's IPX SMS based payment system that looks like a competitor to the NFC technology and doesn't involve any additional chip/hardware. Here is a video:



From Ericsson's website:

Ericsson Internet Payment Exchange (IPX) is a leading mobile aggregator, providing delivery and billing services, via SMS, MMS, web and online mobile billing, to more than 2 billion mobile subscribers across 26 countries. Ericsson IPX also brokers location information in selected countries and Ericsson IPX Messaging provides reach to 96% of all mobile subscribers worldwide with SMS. Ericsson IPX customers are companies who offer digital content, mobile voting & directory information and enterprises offering mobile marketing, communities and banking.

Now, we all love SMS and we have to admit that its the simplest of technology and even the most primitive phone nowadays support it but there could be scenarios when this can be a bit of a problem:

1. SMS can sometimes be delayed if a particular cell is overloaded, etc. So how long do we have to stand in front of the machine?
2. If say for 2-3 mins we do not receive an indication that the machine has a cash, do we send another SMS to cancel the transaction?
3. If we have a problem, do we have a support number to call to? How much will that cost?
4. If there is a queue of people and someone else wants to purchase something as well, does the next person has to wait till the person before has received the item?
5. If two people have sent an SMS, how do they know whose cash is in the machine now? Do we start putting a Pin as well ?

I agree, this technology could be really useful if you have run out of cash (even if you have NFC chip) and you need to purchase something small.

The other obvious advantage is that you can target advertisement at regular users who are at a particular place at a particular time to make them buy something. Also you can get statistics like what time people tend to purchase, what do they purchase, where, etc.

Anyway, hard for me to see this take off big time.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Say no to texting and yes to Swype


Tapping out a text message could become a thing of the past due to new 'Swype' technology.

Instead of pressing individual letters, mobile users drag their finger from one letter to the other in a fluid, faster motion.

The computer then calculates which word was intended by the combination of the letters touched upon.

The movements do not even have to be precise because the software can work it out.

According to U.S. inventor Cliff Kushler, 'Swype' can increase the speed of even the most nimble texter by up to 30 per cent

He said the technology could have an enormous impact and be used anywhere people have to use a keyboard, such as video games, sat-nav devices and ticket machines.

Mr Kushler has already invented T9 software, or predictive text, which guesses the word people are thinking of as they text, and thinks 'Swype' is the next step.

'We've squeezed the desktop computer, complete with keyboard and mouse, into something that fits in a pocket,' he said.

'The information bandwidth has become very constricted. I thought, if we can find a better way to input that information, it could be something that would really take off.

'The most important thing was that it could accurately figure out which word you wanted to spell.

'It needed to work no matter what.'

Palm pilots sought to liberate mobile users from texting, but they still demanded that you write each letter on to the device with a special plastic pen.

T9 technology went one step further, and now 'Swype' can improve even that. In demonstrations, hurdles like capitals and double letters are overcome by pausing or doing a squiggle, while spacing and punctuation are automatic.

Won Park, director of United States technology sourcing at Samsung said: 'It could become the de facto standard for tablets, next-generation TVs or next-generation remote controls. It has tremendous potential.'

Swype is now being used on seven smartphones in the U.S. across all major mobile phone companies and by the end of the year, Mr Kushler says its software will be on more than 50 models worldwide.

Deals with Apple for the iPhone are some way off, as is the technology's arrival in the UK.


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Quick preview of 3GPP Release-11 Features and Study items


Release 11 Features

Advanced IP Interconnection of Services

The objective is to specify the technical requirements for carrier grade inter-operator IP Interconnection of Services for the support of Multimedia services provided by IMS and for legacy voice PTSN/PLMN services transported over IP infrastructure (e.g. VoIP). These technical requirements should cover the new interconnect models developed by GSMA (i.e. the IPX interconnect model) and take into account interconnect models between national operators (including transit functionality) and peering based business trunking. Any new requirements identified should not overlap with requirements already defined by other bodies (e.g. GSMA, ETSI TISPAN). Specifically the work will cover:

• Service level aspects for direct IP inter-connection between Operators, service level aspects for national transit IP interconnect and service level aspects for next generation corporate network IP interconnect (peer-to-peer business trunking).
• Service layer aspects for interconnection of voice services (e.g. toll-free, premium rate and emergency calls).
• Service level aspects for IP Interconnection (service control and user plane aspects) between Operators and 3rd party Application Providers.

To ensure that requirements are identified for the Stage 2 & 3 work to identify relevant existing specifications, initiate enhancements and the development of the new specifications as necessary.


Release 11 Studies

Study on IMS based Peer-to-Peer Content Distribution Services

The objectives are to study IMS based content distribution services with the following aspects:

- Identifying the user cases to describe how users, operators and service providers will benefit by using/deploying IMS based content distribution services. such as with the improvement of Peer-to-Peer technology. The following shall be considered:
- Mobile access only (e.g. UTRAN, E-UTRAN, I-WLAN);
- Fixed access only (e.g. xDSL, LAN);- Fixed and mobile convergence scenarios;
- Identifying service aspects where IMS network improvements are needed to cater for content distributed services for above accesses;
- Evaluating possible impacts and improvements on network when IMS based content distribution services are deployed;
- Identifying QoS, mobility, charging and security related requirements in the case of content distribution services on IMS;
- Identifying potential copyright issues;


Study on Non Voice Emergency Services

The Non Voice Emergency Services could support the following examples of non-verbal communications to an emergency services network:

1. Text messages from citizen to emergency services
2. Session based and session-less instant messaging type sessions with emergency services
3. Multi-media (e.g., pictures, video clips) transfer to emergency services either during or after other communications with emergency services.
4. Real-time video session with emergency services

In addition to support the general public, this capability would facilitate emergency communications to emergency services by individuals with special needs (e.g., hearing impaired citizens).

The objectives of this study include the following questions for Non Voice Emergency Services with media other than or in addition to voice:

1. What are the requirements for Non Voice Emergency Services?
2. What are the security, reliability, and priority handling requirements for Non Voice Emergency Services?
3. How is the appropriate recipient emergency services system (e.g., PSAP) determined?
4. Are there any implications due to roaming?
5. Are there any implications to hand-over between access networks
6. Are there any implications due to the subscriber crossing a PSAP boundary during Non Voice Emergency Services communications (e.g., subsequent text messages should go to the same PSAP)?
7. Do multiple communication streams (e.g., voice, text, video emergency services) need to be associated together?
8. What types of “call-back” capabilities are required?9. Investigate the load impact of Non Voice Emergency Services in the case of a large scale emergency event or malicious use.

Non Voice Emergency Services will be applicable to GPRS (GERAN, UTRAN) and to EPS (GERAN, UTRAN, E-UTRAN and non-3GPP).


Study on UICC/USIM enhancements

The intent of this study item is to identify use cases and requirements enabling Mobile Network Operators to distribute new services based on the USIM, to improve the customer experience and ease the portability and customisation of operator-owned and customer-owned settings from one device to another (such as APN and other 3G Notebook settings, graphical user interface, MNO brand, Connection Manager settings,…), and help in reducing operation costs and radio resources usage.


Objectives of this study item are:

-To identify use cases and requirements for new USIM
-based services taking into account the GSMA Smart SIM deliverables;
- To identify use cases and requirements for the USIM used inside terminals with specialised functionalities (e.g. radio modems, 3G Notebook terminals) taking into account the GSMA 3GNBK deliverables;
- To identify use cases and requirements to drive the evolution from the traditional USAT to a multimedia USIM toolkit support, with a particular aim to the Smart Card Web Server;


Study on Alternatives to E.164 for Machine-Type Communications

M2M demand is forecast to grow from 50M connections to over 200M by 2013. A large number of these services are today deployed over circuit-switched GSM architectures and require E.164 MSISDNs although such services do not require "dialable" numbers, and generally do not communicate with each other by human interaction.


Without technical alternative to using public numbering resources as addresses, and considering the current forecasts and pending applications for numbers made to numbering plan administration agencies, there is a significant risk that some national numbering/dialling plans will run out of numbers in the near future, which would impact not only these M2M services but also the GSM/UMTS service providers in general.


The Objective is to determine an alternative to identify individual devices and route messages between those devices. Requirements for this alternative include:

- Effectively identify addressing method to be used for end point devices
- Effectively route messaging between those devices
- Support multiple methods for delivering messages, as defined by 22.368
- Support land-based and wireless connectivity
- Make use of IP-based network architectures
- Addressing/identifiers must support mobility and roaming- support on high speed packet
-switched networks when available and on circuit-switched networks
- Consider if there are security issues associated with any alternatives

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 2


Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:

  • 55% of Japan has migrated past 3G to 3.5G
  • Japanese mobile content industry is worth 14 Billion dollars annually
  • 50% of mobile data in Japan is consumed in the home, the peak time for mobile data consumption is between 9 PM and 10 PM; and smartphone users consume 10 times more data than non-smartphone users.
  • Japan's Softbank will turn off their 2G network already in March of next year, 2010.
  • Allen Lew, Singtel's CEO, said that in Singapore almost 50% of smartphone owners are shifting web surfing activity away from PCs.
  • Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor's President and CEO, spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives they have, such as solar powered cellular network base stations etc, but an interesting tidbit that came out, is that in Europe, Telenor has installed 870,000 household electricity meters that are remote digital meters and operate on the GSM cellular network, in Sweden. As Sweden's population is only about 7 million people that is probably a third of all households.
  • Rajat Mukarji of Idea (one of India's largest mobile operators), told us of the Indian market, where the average price of a voice minute is 1 cent (US). He Mr Mukarji also said that in India mobile is the first screen, not the fourth screen; and mobile is the first internet connectivity opportunity for most people of India.
  • Tony Warren, GM of Regulatory Affairs at Telstra, told that 60% of phones in Australia are 3G already, and over half of mobile data is now non-SMS type of more advanced mobile data. And he said that MMS is experiencing enormous growth, grew 300% in the past year.

You can read the summary of first day here.

Read the complete report here.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

CVs and Jobs via Souktel



A non-profit group in the occupied West Bank has started a scheme that uses mobile phone text messaging to help young Palestinians find work.

The group, based in Ramallah, has already registered 8,000 Palestinians on its Souktel system, most of them recent graduates. The system connects them to about 150 leading employers who are looking for staff.

Internet access in the West Bank remains low, reaching about one-third of the population. Most computer use is at internet cafes, which are largely male-dominated domains in what is still a conservative society.

Souktel enables young people looking for work to register by answering a series of simple questions in Arabic through text messages, which are used to create a mini-CV. They then receive regular information about relevant jobs on offer.

It costs little to use apart from a slight premium charged on each text sent. In the same way, employers can post notices about job vacancies and filter applications.

The project comes at a time when despite forecasts of improved economic growth in the West Bank, unemployment still stands at around 20%, with that figure even higher among young people.

The Palestinians are a highly educated population but the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, with checkpoints, roadblocks and frequent restrictions, makes it costly and difficult to travel and do business. Universities rarely offer careers advice.

You don't need an iPhone or to download software. It's just messaging and it works on a phone from 1995.

Souktel, an SMS service based in the Middle East and East Africa, is all about connections. The service, launched in 2006, uses SMS to connect users to everything from jobs and internships to humanitarian aid and youth leadership programs.

The name comes from "souk," the Arabic word for "marketplace," and "tel," or "telephone. Although at least 80 percent of people in Palestine have access to mobile phones, most people have Internet access only in cafés or public places, said Jacob Korenblum, co-founder of Souktel. "Getting information about medical care, jobs, and food bank services can be difficult," he said. And even at Internet cafes, Korenblum said that many people, especially women, lack access to these services. "We wanted to develop a very simple service," he said. "That's how Souktel started."

Korenblum who is Canadian, said that although he has been working in the aid sector since 2000, his personal interest in Palestine began in 2005. "I came to the West Bank to work for an NGO. The main things I realized was that there wasn't so much a lack of aid, but rather a lack of good ways to find out about it." Currently, Souktel is run by a team of six people, four of whom are Palestinian.

Souktel is a combination of two services -- JobMatch and AidLink. JobMatch is an SMS service that connects people seeking jobs with employers. Job seekers can register via SMS with Souktel, and then, through a series of text messages, enter details about themselves into the system. These include location, skills, career interests, and level of education. Whenever the job seeker is looking for a job, he/she can text "match me" to Souktel to receive an instant list of jobs that matches the resume that is already stored in the Souktel system. The job listings include phone numbers so that the job seeker can call potential employers to set up an interview.

Korenblum said that at least 2,000 people use the service each month and the service has about 8,000 total users. In the past year, JobMatch has connected about 500 people with jobs. Users tend to be between the ages of 18 and 25, and the system recently expanded to include internships and volunteer opportunities. In June, about 170 people found jobs using Souktel, but the service’s success is partially reliant on the economy.

Earlier this year, Souktel launched services in the Iraq and Somaliland. In the future, Korenblum hopes that Souktel continues to grow, and could be used to connect people not only with jobs, but with educational programs or health and social services. "SMS is pervasive,” he said. “It is also by far the most cost-effective way for people to get the information they need." He also hopes to continue to share Souktel’s platform. “We've been struggling with it for three years now, and we've arrived at something that works,” he said. “We want to save someone else time in trying to develop it, so they have something that is useful for them.”

If you find this interesting, check out a Souktel presentation here.

SMS for Emergency Services

I blogged few months back about SMS for emergency services in USA now the same is being tried in UK.

Ofcom is trialling a new system to let deaf people access 999 services using text messaging.

The system lets users who can’t speak send a text message to emergency services. Their text is received by 999 assistants and read out to fire, police or other emergency service. A reply is also sent back via SMS.

The trial kicked off earlier this month, with Ofcom asking people to register to test the service. As the trial will use actual emergency messages, it needs enough people to register to get a good feel for how the system is working as most won’t actually have cause to use it.

To register, text “register” to 999; anyone not registered will not be able to use the service.
Ofcom noted that users shouldn’t assume their message has been received until they’ve received a reply, and that anyone sending hoax messages will be prosecuted.


If the trial goes well, the texting system could be in place as early as next year, Ofcom said. It’s being supported by the major telecoms companies, as well as emergency services and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).

SMS to the emergency website here.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Youtube Clip on Dangers of driving while texting




The film tells the story of a fictional 17-year-old girl, Cassie Cowan (nickname COW), who is distracted by her mobile for a few seconds while driving with two friends.

COW – a "nice girl from a nice valleys family" – causes a devastating crash which kills her friends and another couple. The impact and its aftermath is portrayed in vivid, harrowing and bloody detail.

One girl's face hits the windscreen with sickening force. A child in the car COW crashes into asks: "When will mummy and daddy wake up?" while a baby strapped into a child seat stares unblinking and may be dead.

Actually, police had intended to commission a different film – on joyriding. But when they spoke to pupils at Tredegar comprehensive, the youngsters told them that texting while driving was a much more important issue for them.

With a budget of £10,000, film-maker Peter Watkins-Hughes was asked to write and direct the film. Local people donated props including the cars that are smashed up and the locations while Watkins-Hughes and his cast gave their time.

A 30-minute version of the film is due to be shown for the first time this autumn but Watkins-Hughes put a four-minute clip of it on YouTube (entitled COW test 001) to show it to a friend. For weeks the clip remained unnoticed by anyone but the friend and a few crew members.

Then suddenly it began to attract hits. It was copied on to other sites, attracted attention around the world and within a couple of weeks became one of the most popular viral videos. Today it was still ninth on one global viral video chart. Clips about Oasis and Jay-Z were at first and second place.

Watkins-Hughes said it felt like being in an Ealing comedy when a small Welsh community had suddenly attracted worldwide attention.

The "weirdest" moment for him was when his explanation, "We've gone for grim reality", was a quote of the day on the Time website.

Watkins-Hughes said he thought it was so powerful because the violence of the crash was shown but the film then "lingered" on the human price – the baby, the child asking about his mother and father. And the screams of COW, who survives the crash.

The film has struck such a chord in the US where the danger of texting while driving is a big issue because it is not illegal in all states. The trend in America has been to try to get the anti-texting message across more gently through humour or playing on the emotions but not showing violence.

However, one survey in the US found that 80% of people who had seen the Gwent film were less likely to text while driving than before.

In the UK, the road safety charity Brake, having been asked to watch the clip by the Guardian, praised the film-makers and said it was important to show the reality of road crashes.

Monday, 10 August 2009

SMS Ads: Earn Money or Get Discounts

Sometime back I wrote about SMS becoming cheaper in many parts of the world and that can lead to a deluge of SMS SPAM. Last week I read about someone arguing for SMS Ads:

The mobile advertising market is growing in size at a prodigious rate, but in absolute terms, is still tiny in value compared to other media such as print, broadcast and online. There is a perception within the advertising industry that the mobile space is a difficult one to address, with limited inventory and reach, compromised display banner ad formats, and a lack of metrics to provide proof of a return on investment.

To a certain extent, these criticisms are valid, with some factions of the mobile marketing industry having something of a blinkered ‘WAP banner ad’ mentality. But there are alternative formats that address many of the current needs of the advertising world: chief amongst these has been known to users, providers and advertisers alike for decades – the SMS text message.By injecting targeted adverts into existing SMS service messages (or indeed using the whole SMS for a marketing message) and, crucially, providing an interaction mechanism that is measurable on a per-advert, per-user level, SMS advertising addresses the key needs of advertisers and marketers, namely:
  • High volumes of inventory – there are billions of service SMSs sent globally each day.
  • Reach – the ability to receive and interact with SMS is ubiquitous: every mobile phone has this ability and hence all users can be reached with campaigns.
  • Targeted – such a personal medium as the mobile phone allows for highly contextualised advert delivery based on a wide range of parameters, including the content of the service message, location, time of day and other user information.
  • Measurable – the ability to determine exactly how many individual users click to interact with the advert (either click-to-call or click-to-mobile site) provides not only a measurable ROI for the campaign, but the opportunity to inform future ad delivery on an individual basis.

The preconception of SMS advertising is of mobile spam: sending the same message to (an often unqualified) list of mobile numbers. True SMS advertising, and where the most value lies for all involved, is in delivering the most appropriate contextualised advert for a (known) user at a given time, based upon as wide a range of parameters as possible, and providing measurement of interaction rates for the campaigns. In this scenario, SMS represents premium advertising inventory, achieving effective CPM rates in excess of £100 – many times that of other mobile display advertising formats – either on a straightforward volume or a cost-per-click basis.

The winning combination of personalised delivery and measurement of individual consumer interaction with adverts offers the prospect of extending the advertiser’s engagement with the consumer through the cycle of attracting, engaging and retaining them as a customer. By linking individual consumer’s responses with customer service or CRM systems, a richer picture of their preferences can be built to drive increased relevance of future adverts and improve loyalty. The direct interaction mechanism offered by a ‘click-to-action’ mechanic in an SMS offers an easy to use customer acquisition method – a consumer can be connected directly to an existing call centre or further product information, without being required to remember or re-enter any details.

There are different approaches in case of SMS based advertisement. A simple approach is to offer customised discounts on certain products where the user can take a SMS voucher and get a discount on certain products. Another approach becoming popular in India and China is to get paid for receiving SMS Ads. In Japan and Korea, users can receive QR codes that they can take to a shop and obtain discounts.

A similar but slightly varying approach is Bluetooth based proximity marketing. Here the user is sent ads over Bluetooth when he/she is in a certain area and a Bluetooth ads server is available to pump ads. In this scenario its is simple choice for the user because he can decline the ad. Also Bluetooth can be switched off thereby avoiding nuisance of receiving ads over Bluetooth.

So some people may be interested in SMS ads and discounts and maybe somepeople may become Millionaires by receiving lots of SMS's but for majority of the people this may be more of an annoyance rather than the promised boon. In case of Emails you have a filter where SPAM can be filtered out but maybe difficult for SMS. Ad based SPAM maybe something that can kill off SMS as people may find a way to switch off SMS on their phones to avoid unnecessary interruptions and text messages.

Already in different partss of the world, the legislators are acting against SMS SPAM. There is already an SMS SPAM Act in Australia for long time. In USA the Senators want to ban the SMS Spam. I am not sure where EU and UK stand on this issue. Hopefully this is one issue where everyone will act together and hopefully wont be much of a problem in future.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Now even Texting can be dangerous :-)


Police say a truck driver was texting on one mobile phone while talking on another when he slammed into a car and crashed into a swimming pool.

Niagara County sheriff's deputies say 25-year-old Nicholas Sparks admitted he was texting and talking when his flatbed rescue truck hit the car in Lockport, which is outside Buffalo.

The truck then crashed through a fence and sideswiped a house before rolling into an in-ground pool.

Police say the 68-year-old woman driving the car suffered head injuries and was in good condition. Her 8-year-old niece suffered minor injuries.

Sparks was charged with reckless driving, talking on a cell phone and following too closely.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Texting teen falls down New York manhole

Last year there was a talk here in UK about adding padding to the lamp-posts because people were bumping into them while texting. The survey of over 1,000 Britons suggested that one in 10 had suffered an injury from a collision while sending an SMS. The research claimed that there were 68,000 SMS-related injuries in the UK last year, ranging from minor bumps to skull fractures.

Now, I read this news about Alexa Longueira, 15, whose family is suing after the teenager fell into an open manhole in Staten Island, New York, while trying to send a text message. Poor Alexa apparently suffered a fright and some scrapes on her arms and back when she fell.

Her mother, Kim Longueira, said it did not matter that her daughter was texting when she fell down the hole. "Oh my God, it was putrid," she told MNBC. "One of her sneakers is still down there."

If the case comes to court it is destined to join such infamous lawsuits as the woman who sued McDonald's after spilling hot coffee on herself, which inspired an annual award for the most ridiculous lawsuit. A glance at British legal history suggests Longueira may have actually have a chance of winning. In the 1964 case of Haley v London Electricity Board it was deemed workmen should have known a hole might pose a threat to visually impaired people.

Whether texting and walking is now so common that a court ruling will require workmen – and the rest of us – to adjust our actions accordingly remains to be seen.

Iranians start boycott Nokia campaign


The mobile phone company Nokia is being hit by a growing economic boycott in Iran as consumers sympathetic to the post-election protest movement begin targeting a string of companies deemed to be collaborating with the regime.

Wholesale vendors in the capital report that demand for Nokia handsets has fallen by as much as half in the wake of calls to boycott Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for selling communications monitoring systems to Iran.

There are signs that the boycott is spreading: consumers are shunning SMS messaging in protest at the perceived complicity with the regime by the state telecoms company, TCI. Iran's state-run broadcaster has been hit by a collapse in advertising as companies fear being blacklisted in a Facebook petition. There is also anecdotal evidence that people are moving money out of state banks and into private banks.

Nokia is the most prominent western company to suffer from its dealings with the Iranian authorities. Its NSN joint venture with Siemens provided Iran with a monitoring system as it expanded a mobile network last year. NSN says the technology is standard issue to dozens of countries, but protesters believe the company could have provided the network without the monitoring function.

Siemens is also accused of providing Iran with an internet filtering system called Webwasher.


"Iranians' first choice has been Nokia cellphones for several years, partly because Nokia has installed the facility in the country. But in the past weeks, customers' priority has changed," said Reza, a mobile phone seller in Tehran's Big Bazaar.

"Since the news spread that NSN had sold electronic surveillance systems to the Iranian government, people have decided to buy other company's products although they know that Nokia cellphones function better with network coverage in Iran."

Some Tehran shops have removed Nokia phones from their window displays. Hashem, another mobile phone vendor, said: "I don't like to lose my customers and now people don't feel happy seeing Nokia's products. We even had customers who wanted to refund their new Nokia cellphones or change them with just another cellphone from any other companies.

"It's not just a limited case to my shop – I'm also a wholesaler to small shops in provincial markets, and I can say that there is half the demand for Nokia's product these days in comparison with just one month ago, and it's really unprecedented. People feel ashamed of having Nokia cellphones," he added.

News of the boycott has appeared on the front page of Iranian pro-reform papers such as Etemad-e Melli, owned by the reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi. Hadi Heidari, a prominent Iranian cartoonist, has published an image of a Nokia phone on a No Entry traffic sign.
A Nokia spokeswoman refused to comment on the company's sales in Iran.


The Iranian authorities are believed to have used Nokia's mobile phone monitoring system to target dissidents. Released prisoners have revealed that the authorities were keeping them in custody on the basis of their SMS and phone calls archive, which was at officials' disposal.

One Iranian journalist who has just been released from detention said: "I always had this impression that monitoring calls is just a rumour for threatening us from continuing our job properly, but the nightmare became real when they had my phone calls – conversations in my case.

"And the most unbelievable thing for me is that Nokia sold this system to our government. It would be a reasonable excuse for Nokia if they had sold the monitoring technology to a democratic country for controlling child abuse or other uses, but selling it to the Iranian government with a very clear background of human rights violence and suppression of dissent, it's just inexcusable for me. I'd like to tell Nokia that I'm tortured because they had sold this damn technology to our government."

NSN spokesman Ben Roome said: "As in every other country, telecoms networks in Iran require the capability to lawfully intercept voice calls. In the last two years, the number of mobile subscribers in Iran has grown from 12 million to over 53 million, so to expand the network in the second half of 2008 we were required to provide the facility to intercept voice calls on this network."

The SMS boycott, meanwhile, has apparently forced TCI into drastic price hikes. The cost of an SMS has doubled in recent days. Protesters view the move as a victory.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

IP Access Virtual Fridge Notes Demo

Yesterday I blogged about the Airvana HubBub demo, so someone pointed out to me the IP access demo of Virtual Fridge notes. I saw the demo in Femtocells World Summit and wasnt clear on how exactly it worked, but this Youtube video shows it quite well.





When I was discussing this app with a friend, the first question he asked was, why cant we send an SMS directly to the person rather than using the Facebook app. I think the main reason is convinience. You need an app somewhere so why not put it in a popular social networking website. There is a plan of Femtocells being available with SIM cards. In that case it maybe possible in future to have a way where you send the SMS directly to the Femto and it can relay that SMS to any unique UE that enters its range for a limited time. I am sure someone will already be working on a similar thing ;)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

New Text Message: "Feed me, I am Thirsty"


Technology that lets plants send text alerts when they're running dry may someday reduce overwatering, says a Discovery Channel report. A chip about the size of a clip-on earring can be attached to a plant leaf and linked to regular cell-phone networks, sending a text message when it's time to irrigate. Watering only when necessary could save water and energy, especially in the arid West. A company called AgriHouse is marketing the chip, which is based on technology developed by NASA for long space trips.

Water in the open spaces of the west is valuable, but it's virtually worth its weight in gold in outer space. The original cell phone for plants was developed years ago by scientists working with NASA on future manned missions to the moon and Mars.

"You need plants on future space missions," said Hans-Dieter Seelig, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who worked on the original NASA project.

"They take out waste carbon dioxide, produce breathable oxygen, and the astronauts can use them as food," said Seelig.

During their research, the NASA scientists concluded that astronauts wouldn't be able to take anywhere near enough food and supplies for an estimated two-year mission to Mars. The pilots and Ph.D.'s selected for the trip would have to spend most of their time as celestial subsistence farmers.

To reduce the amount of time and supplies necessary to grow crops, scientists clipped sensors, wired to a central computer, to plants so astronauts would know exactly when and how much water to give them.

During the initial NASA tests the scientists were able to reduce the amount of water necessary to grow plants by 10 percent to 40 percent.

You can see a Video on AgriHouse website here.

A similar approach was also demonstrated earlier this year.

Interactive telecommunications researchers designed a soil-moisture sensor device that can allow a house plant to communicate with its owner. The device can send short messages to a mobile phone or, by using a service called Twitter, it can send short messages to the Internet. The messages can range from reminders to water the plant, a thank you or a warning that you over- or under-watered it. To communicate, probes in the soil emit electric waves. A voltage level based on the moisture content is sent through two wires to a circuit board that compares the optimum moisture level with the current one. A local network receives this data and allows the plant to send a message through the device.

All this is possible through a new system called Botanicalls, which is developed by Interactive Communications researchers. This system allows your plants to send text messages to your cell phone or even on internet. The plants will know when they need water and they will let you know, or, if they have been watered, they will just thank you. More, they will tell you if you put enough water or they need more.

So how Botanicalls works?

Some sensors are placed in the soil with the plant, and they measure the level of moisture. These sensors send a signal to a microcontroller to determine if the moisture is low or high, or if water has been added or not. Based on that, the sensors can send a wireless signal to an internet connected computer than can send a prerecorded message to the plant owner. Messages include “thank you” when the plants are watered, or warnings if the water is too much, or the plants haven’t been watered and they need water.

You can see their video here.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

SMS: Information, MisInformation, Emergency and Spam


The other day someone pointed out that the number of SMS send per day globally is 2 Trillion. I said, surely this cant be true. The population of the world is somewhere around 7 Billion mark. If we assume that everyone uses the phone and sends 1 message per day than that is still 7 Billion messages, 2 Trillion cant possibly be true.

According to a post earlier, 1 Trillion messages were sent in 2008, compared to 363 Billion in 2007. Thats between 3 and 3.5 Billion per day. We may have to wait probably just couple of years before we see 1 Trillion messages per day (assuming the Networks can cope with this amount of SMS's). The reason for sharp rise in the number would be due to various factors.

The first reason being Spam. China is already facing SMS Spam problems. Its becoming such a nuisance that the operators are considering limiting the number of SMS to a max. of 200 messages per hour and 1000 per day. On holidays, 500 and 2000 respectively. I am not sure if Spammers use phones, rather there are many websites allowing bulk messaging facilities. Many companies are also offering power texting facilities that allows big bundles for minimal pricing. The average price being 1 cent per SMS or even cheaper.

Another reason that we should not forget is the introduction of many QWERTY phones that is making life of texters easier. There is some debate as to whether its having good or bad impact on the teens but I think its the health problems we should be worried about more than anything else. Its just matter of time when you get a new phone, there will be a caution note saying: "Caution: Text messaging can seriously harm your health. It can cause sore thumbs, cause sleeping disorders, anxiety and in some cases depression. Please click on I Accept if you would like to use it at your own risk" :)

Deciphering teen text messages is an art in itself. I blogged about it earlier but things change faster than you can anticipate. LG have launched a DTXTR service that can help you decipher your teen text messages. I tried few codes and it failed miserably. I suppose for these kinds of services, one more thing you need is to know the location of the users. Same code word can mean different thing in different countries/states. Webopedia has a very detailed list of these abbreviations.

Finally, I have always wondered why emergency services dont allow SMS. If I am in a bank being robbed, its safer to send a text rather than call and speak to an operator. Good news is that, its already being tested in the US. This should complement the eCall feature in future.