Posts

Showing posts from November, 2009

A Real "Google Phone" Coming?

Image
A Google-branded smartphone running a version of Android not yet seen on other devices is coming, and it will feature a large screen, Gizmodo speculates. Since any such device presumably would be built directly to Google's specifications, it is possible the device would feature a more-tightly integrated hardware and software experience than is possible on "open" devices.

Oddly enough, such an approach would resemble nothing so much as the iPhone experience, which is just about the diametrical opposite of an open approach.

Huge Increases in Consumer Communications Value Since 1990, Data Shows

Image
With the caveat that the product of a fraction always changes as either the nominator or denominator change, huge increases in consumer spending on communications and information technology since 1990 have been more than matched by broader increases in household income, holding the percentage of household spending on communications flat over the entire period.

(click image for larger view)

Since 1990, consumer spending on information and communications technology has grown from $197 billion to $545 billion, 5.1 percent of national disposable income in 1990, peaking at 5.9 percent in 2000, and falling to 5.4 percent in 2008.

Spending on communications services has tripled over the same period, from $77 billion to $243 billion, and at 2.3 percent of national disposable income, up from 1.8 percent in 1990 but below its peak of 2.5 percent in 2001.

Basically, the story is one of large increases in consumer value. Consumers are spending more on communications and infornation technology, bu…

Content Delivery Networks and Network Neutrality: Net Is Not Neutral

Much discussion about network neutrality seems to assume that the issue is bit or application "blocking," and from one perspective that is correct. The existing Federal Communications Commission rules about a users' right to use all lawful applications already prohibit blocking of legal applications on wired networks. The issue is whether those rules, and the other "Internet Freedoms" principles also should be extended to the wireless domain.

In another sense, popular perceptions are misguided or worse. There is a separate issue, that of whether it ever is permissible, for any legal reason, to shape traffic, either to maintain network performance, provide an enhanced service to a user, or create a new level of service.

Some will maintain there are other ways of maintaining end user experience aside from traffic shaping. That is arguably correct, but might cost so much that the entire consumer access pricing regime has to change in ways people will find objectio…

Gartner Drops "Unified Communications" from 2010 "Top 10" List

Image
Unified communications, which was on Gartner's "top 10" trends list for 2009, has been dropped from the 2010 list, which moves "cloud computing" to the top spot. 


People will disagree about what that means, but no trend remains "top of mind" forever. Nor is the ranking an indication that UC is unimportant, simply that it might not be among the most-important priorities for the coming year.


It might simply indicate that most enterprises have figured out what they want to do, for the moment. 


It might indicate that computing architecture, and issues related to computing architecture, which always are top concerns for enterprise IT staffs, once again have moved to the forefront, and that "voice" issues related to IP telephony are largely in an advanced stage of deployment. 


In fact, four of the top-six issues are directly related to remote computing capabilities.

Users Say They Want ISPs Offering Both Wireless and Fixed Broadband

Image
There are some heartening implications for service providers able to offer both mobile and fixed broadband access, and disturbing implications for providers who do not have such capabilities, in a new survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by the Yankee Group.

Specifically, more than 60 percent of survey respondents indicate a strong interest in mobile Internet, and 45 percent state that for their next broadband purchase they will choose an ISP that offers mobile service.

Do Usage Caps for Wireless and Mobile Broadband Make Sense?

Image
Consumers say 60 percent of the wireless broadband decision is based on two factors: monthly recurring charge and existence or size of a usage cap. For that reason, "data caps" are a particularly unfriendly way to manage overall traffic, says Yankee Group analyst Philip Marshall. 
A better approach, from a service provider perspective, is to offer unlimited usage and then manage traffic usingreal-time, network intelligence-based solutions like deep packet inspection and policy enforcement, Marshall argues.
Some would argue that fair use policies that throttle maximum speeds when policies are violated is no picnic, either. But temporary limits on consumption, only at peak hours of usage, arguably is more consumer friendly than absolute caps with overage charges. 
To test consumer preferences, Yankee Group conducted a custom survey that included a "choice-based conjoint analysis," which allowed Yankee Group analysts to estimate the relative importance to consumers of ke…

Small Business Commits to Social Media, Email, Search

Image
About 75 percent of small businesses will increase their spending on email marketing in 2010, while nearly 70 percent will spend more on social media, according to VerticalResponse.

The findings might not suggest small businesses are spending wildly. In most cases the firms likely are testing new media. But the testing seems very widespread.

Almost all businesses with 500 or fewer employees will use email marketing next year, the company says. Only 3.8 percent of small business executives say they will not be using email marketing in 2010.

More than 70 percent also indicated they would not use TV or radio advertising.

Search advertising is used by about 72 percent of small businesses, but banner advertising is used by about 40 percent of small businesses, VerticalResponse says.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as other social media sites, are used by about 78 percent of small businesses, the firm says.

Best Buy Sells Phone Power Nationwide

Best Buy now is distributing the "Phone Power" VoIP service nationwide. That's a pretty big boost for any retailer, and especially so for an independent VoIP provider aware that the market is consolidating and that scale is sorely needed.

Phone Power costs $19.95 per month with no contract, $16.95 with a one-year contract and $14.95 for a two-year contract. The service offers unlimited calling within the United States and Canada and 60 international minutes in 88 countries.

The Best Buy offering includes a two-line home adapter as well as a USB travel adapter. It sells for $79.95, and comes with a $79.95 instant service credit to be applied when the customer activates service on an eligible one or two year service plan.

It isn't clear yet whether Best Buy also will be actively selling Phone Power business packages, which come in both multi-line and single-line versions, offering unlimited inbound calling and 5,000 minutes of outbound calling with auto-attendant featu…

Apple And Android Dominate U.S. Smartphone Web Traffic

Image
It is starting to look like just two smartphone platforms "matter" where it comes to use of the mobile Web: the Apple iPhone and the Android devices, a new analysis by AdMob suggests.

AdMob’s October, 2009 measurements show that the iPhone/iPod Touch and Android phones account for 75 percent of mobile Web traffic in the United States.

Apple devices continue to dominate, with 55 percent share, but Android users in October represented 20 percent of all activity, up from 17 percent in September, 2009.

The iPhone and iPod Touch grew their share from 48 percent to 55 percent share over the same period.

The Blackberry ’s mobile Web traffic share went down from 14 percent to 12 percent, and Palm’s webOS shrank from 10 percent to five percent.

On a global basis, the iPhone operating system now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, up from 43 percent the month before.

Android has an 11 percent global share, which makes it third globally after Nokia/Symbian’s 25 percent share…

Why Isn't All Voice Free?

"When I wrote a story about various VoIP initiatives a decade ago, nearly every expert I spoke to spouted the same prediction: within 10 years, all phone calls will be free," says John Dvorak, PC magazine columnist. "The rationale behind the pronouncement was that the wires and systems used for phone calls will eventually be used to transfer data, just like everything else."

"You don't get charged for visiting a Web page, so why get charged for making a phone call, if both are essentially data?" he muses.

It's an old argument, but is akin to asking why a diamond, made of carbon, is worth more than a thimble's worth of oil, also made of carbon, or a tiny cube of apple.

The answer to the question of different incremental pricing or costs to use network features has little to do with the representation of symbols and everything to do with larger permissible business models mandated by government entities.

In a legal and regulatory sense, bits are…

Do We Need to Rethink What We Think We Know About Consumer Behavior?

Though 2010 widely is expected to provide a recovery from the depths of the recent recession, questions logically remain about how consumers will behave in a recovery most expect will be extended.

A new study by consumer research firm Decitica suggests lasting effects that could shape consumer spending on any number of communications services, applications and devices.

"The effects of the Great Recession on consumer behavior are so profound that many of the assumptions underpinning consumer segmentation are no longer valid," says Dr. Val Srinivas, Principal at Decitica.

Among the key findings: "Price has become the dominant consideration in the purchase of all kinds of products." For this reason, Decitica predicts "a long uphill struggle by marketers to shift the focus away from price."

The recession has caused a profound, deep-rooted change in consumers' spending habits in favor a more restrained approach, Decitica says. Many have accepted this radic…

How Strong a Recovery; What Impact on Communications and Technology?

Since 70 percent of U.S. economic activity is generated by consumers, consumer behavior will be key to the arrival of a sustained period of growth. Conversely, anything that imperils consumer spending will weaken, choke off or abort any recovery.

In the past, this hasn't been an especially tough question to answer. Historically, recessions and recoveries roughly conformed to the principle of the bigger the bust, the bigger the boom, and vice versa. That, in turn, was underpinned by the underlying robust health of the U.S. economy.

Real growth in the four quarters following postwar recessions averaged 6.6 percent and 4.3 percent over the following five years.

Those figures are substantially above what economists seem to be calling for at the moment. The current recession has lasted a record seven quarters and has been marked by a near-record average gross domestic product decline of 1.8 percent per quarter.

All of that would, by historical standards, lead to a prediction of a pow…

"People Don't Like Ads" Yes and No

Image
Surveys for decades have shown that "consumers don't like ads." But there's a big caveat. People always say they don't like ads when those ads are interruptions of some desired experience.

But sometimes ads are part of the desired experience. If you are an outdoors enthusiast, ads about gear you can use outdoors are very interesting. If you are a runner, ads about shoes, clothing, nutrition and events are very interesting.

If you are a surfer, ads about surfboards are very interesting.

So it comes as absolutely no surprise that 38 percent of respondents to a Parks Associates survey say they do not want to receive ads for any reaon. About 37 percent of respondents say they are neutral about ads and 25 percent are open to getting them.

(click image for larger view)

The study also confirms the notion that people will not mind getting ads when those messages are personally relevant, timely and valuable. To be sure, 18 percent of respondents say they don't mind…

Twitter: "What's Happening," Not "What are You Doing?"

Image
Twitter has made a refreshing, helpful and important change in the basic question our tweeting bird friend asks us.

"What are you doing?" had been the question. The new question is "What's Happening?" That makes more sense to me, corresponds to the way I use the service, and I suspect will deepen and extend the use of tweets as a broadcast, one-to-many information service.

"The fundamentally open model of Twitter created a new kind of information network and it has long outgrown the concept of personal status updates," says Twitter founder Biz Stone. "Twitter helps you share and discover what's happening now among all the things, people and events you care about."

What's interesting here is an important, if subtle shift from "you" to "the world around you." That isn't to say people will stop posting about where they are, random musing or what they are doing, as people.

It is to say that Twitter now is poise…

Another Broadband Stimulus Delay

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration told the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees it will start awarding grants in February 2010, another slip from the revised timetable of December 2009.

The first round of grants was supposed to be issued in June 2009. All during the year, telecom suppliers who are thought to benefit from the program have been asked about when the funding would show up in company activity. Now we know the answer: not until 2010 and probably 2011.

The delay presumably means grants or loans issued by the Rural Utilities Service might also slip into next year. Both programs have experienced delays, perhaps inevitably, given the huge increase in workload.

The NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service say they have received roughly 2,200 applications for the $4 billion worth of grants available for broadband projects in the United States that is available in the first round of funding.

The applications ask for total of about $28 billion in…

Barnes & Noble Runs Out of E-Book Readers, Demand Stronger than Forecast

Image
Barnes & Noble says it has run out of available stock of the new Nook e-book reader. Customers who ordger now won't get it until the week of Jan. 4, 2010. "Preorders have exceeded our expectations," said Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating. The company says its $259 e-book reader "continues to be the fastest-selling product at Barnes & Noble.

That has been true for Amazon's Kindle, as well, which is the leading e-book reader at the moment. Analysts have been ratcheting up their sales forecasts over the past two years as consumers exceed earlier forecasts.

Apple, meanwhile, is rumored to be preparing a tablet style device that could double as an e-book reader, and, rumor suggests, will be available early in 2010.

So there is lots of "action" in the e-book reader space, interesting for what it implies about the future economics and distribution formats to be used by the publishing and news industries, the sustainability of "sin…

Mobile Broadband Complementary to Fixed Broadband

Image
Over the next three to five years, mobile broadband will be complementary to fixed broadband, rather than a substitute, says William Lehr, economist and research associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I expect fixed and mobile broadband services to offer distinctly different sets of basic capabilities, and as a consequence, to remain distinct services that will not be perceived as close substitutes in most user and usage contexts for the foreseeable future," Lehr says.

There will be situations where it is reasonable to expect that mobile services will be perceived as substitutes, if imperfect substitutes, for fixed connections, and will therefore result in some cannibalization, he says.

Users who are more budget conscious (the young or others with limited incomes, for example) are more likely to choose one instead of both services, Lehr suggests.

Heavy users may prefer fixed broadband access, while …

Is Twitter Traffic Falling?

Image
More than one recent study has suggested that Twitter traffic is declining, after leveling off in the summer of 2009. But is it really? The answer is complicated.

According to Nielsen, traffic to Twitter.com was down a dramatic 27.8 percent between September and October 2009, falling to 18.9 million unique visitors.

Research firm comScore also noted that unique visitors were down 8.1 percent in October, while Compete reported a 2.1 percent decline.

Some might suggest the traffic decline is caused by falling interest in Twitter, while others suggest the traffic simply is caused by Twitter third-party applications and mobile access.

Crowd Science, for example, in August studied traffic patterns and found 43 percent of Twitter users accessed the service through third-party applications, and 19 percent using text messaging.

Personally, I'd bet on the use of third party apps and mobility as the explanation. Nielsen says the third quarter of 2009 was the first quarter in which more than…

Are Recession Driven Product Substitutions Permanent?

Image
Whatever else one might say about it, a recession is a prime opportunity for product substitution whose immediate benefit might only be seen to be “saving money,” but which then might create a satisfying habit that leads to a permanent shift in demand, not just a temporary change of provider or service level.

In the U.S. market, the issue is whether the millions of customers who have opted for prepaid mobility will keep those plans even after the recession has past. Virtually nobody thinks consumers who have cut the landline voice cord in favor of mobility are likely to reverse course.

The poster child for substitution of mobile broadband for fixed broadband, for example,  is Austria, where  almost all broadband net adds have over the last year or two been mobile connections, rather than fixed connections.

And though the market in Austria and in the United States appear to have different structural characteristics, the danger of product substitution is amply highlighted in the Austria…

If You Wanted to Build a National 100-Mbps Access Network, Could You?

The Federal Communications Commission says it will cost $350 billion to build a single, nationally available broadband access network operating at 100 Mbps and reaching virtually every American. The FCC also says it is studying whether telcos and cable companies should be forced to offer open access to third parties that want access to their networks.
Assuming one believes that both ubiquitous access and 100 Mbps speeds are a desirable thing, and virtually everyone might agree, in principle, that that is a worthy goal, the issue becomes "how to get there."
At some fundamental level, policymakers will have to decide whether they want maximum deployment and innovation in terms of new physical facilities, or mazimum third party access. 
Some will argue this is a false choice. That is possible. There is no way to predict with certainty what will happen if robust open access policies are instituted. 
That would be especially true if cable operators, for the first time in industry his…

Google Phone: Will Second Time be the Charm?

Image
Remember Zer01 Mobile, the mobile virtual network enabler, which says it "is the first mobile virtual enabler company to offer true mobile voice over IP services at a carrier level?" I don't mean "remember" as in, "they're gone," but only in the sense that you might not have heard quite so much about them since they switched business plans and became an MVNE rather than a retail provider.

At their original unveiling, some of us thought the most interesting angle about Zer01 was the way it went about providing voice services, at that time not a classic mobile virtual network operator,. but as something else. Up to this point, MVNOs essentially have bought capacity from some underlying carrier and then rebranded and resold those services under their own names.

Zer01 Mobile did something different. It leveraged intercarrier connection rights to essentially roam on other 3G GSM networks. It's the same sort of business arrangements mobile providers…

Mobile Providers Will Sell 60% of Internet-connected Mobile Devices by 2013

Carriers are becoming a significant channel for all Internet-connected mobile devices, including netbooks and mobile PCs, says In-Stat.

By 2013, In-Stat anticipates that over 60 percent of all the Internet-connected mobile devices sold will be through carrier channels. In large part that is because smartphones increasingly are Internet-connected devices, and mobile retail outlets account for the lion's share of sales at the moment. What is new is the addition of netbooks to the lineup.

In-Stat projects that nearly 31 percent of notebooks will be sold through carriers in 2013. That would make mobile service providers a major channel for sales of netbooks, which might otherwise be purchased through a mass market retailer.

“In the U.S., carriers are charging up to $60 per month for a two year contract with the subsidized purchase of a netbook,” says Jim McGregor In-Stat analyst. “While the subsidy costs the carrier $50–$100, it generates $1,440 or more in service fees over the life o…

fring Now Available for Android

What Google Could Do with Gizmo5

Image
Google has bought Gizmo5, an IP communications firm with a deep understanding of Session Initiation Protocol, which has been adopted globally by communications firms as the protocol for handling IP-based communications including voice, video and messaging.

That of course means Google could do lots of things. The "grabber" headline might be that Google now wants to "out-Skype" Skype by introducing a feature-rich calling service able to communicate with standard telephone devices, but also allow all sorts of rich and affordable features for IP-enabled devices on broadband networks.

According to that logic, Google might be readying a disruptive global calling service aimed either at Skype or at the global tier one telecom providers, either mobile or fixed.

But Google has other options as well. Those options might make as compelling headlines, but could make virtually any Google application more compelling.

In any of a number of scenarios, Google might be looking at an…

Surprising Smartphone Statistics?

Image
I don't know about you, but I found this bit of data on smartphone use surprising.  According to Nielsen, when looking at smartphone use with a baseline of 100, smartphone users  disproportionately tend to be 18 to 34 years old. 


One wonders what happened to the BlackBerry users between the ages of 35 and 54, whom one might think are over-represented among the ranks of smartphone users. 


Granted, this is an index with 100 as baseline, so it is more an example of "over-indexing" among some segments, but the findings still surprised me.


That was especially surprising given the over-indexing of smartphone used at least in part for business purposes. 


While smartphone usage is shifting from purely business use to both personal and business use, owners are still more than two times as likely to own a smartphone for business usage only.  


The study also suggests smartphone owners continue to be predominantly male, are 65 percent more likely than the average mobile subscriber to be …

Mobile VoIP is Inevitable, Yankee Group Says

Flat-rate data pricing has made mobile VoIP applications inevitable, and over time, all U.S. carriers will end up allowing them, says Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe. That, in turn, is going to have profound impact on the mobile service provider business model, as voice now is the key revenue driver.

Some of the effects are easy to predict. International call traffic will migrate to VoIP. In the U.S. market, for example, domestic voice calling minutes are cheap, but international rates are fairly high.

On the other hand, mobile VoIP also will shift international traffic from the landline networks (including use of VoIP from fixed broadband connections) to the mobile network.

Less easily quantified is the boost mobile VoIP will give to purchase and use of specific handsets, and the emergence of specific mobile VoIP user segments. For example, devices with front-facing cameras potentially can become the foundation for mobile videoconferencing services and applications.

If you think of Bl…

Does Social Media Advertising Work?

Some observers rightly will ask whether "free to use" social networks can survive forever without a clear revenue model of some sort. The general expectation is that viable revenue models can be created using some forms of advertising or marketing by brands hoping to reach their potential customers.

So far, the evidence is mixed, if promising. Reasonable observers will note that the way advertising or marketing messages are handled will be crucial. But lots of major retailers alread are betting that social marketing will pay off.

Telecommunications firms, Web media, retailers, financial and entertainment firms, automotive and health companies are among the companies already making use of advertising or other social network promotional opportunities.

Still, social media advertising and marketing remains a "work in progress." A new study by MomConnection provides evidence on that score. According to recent findings from MomConnection.com, 60 percent of users report h…

Are Android Users Different From iPhone Users? Does it Matter?

Image
It is a bit early to determine how Android users might be different from other smartphone users, including iPhone customers. Some early studies suggest Android users are heavier Web application users than iPhone users are.

Others, such as a recent survey by comScore, suggest Android users are slightly less intensive users of mobile Web applications.

So far, the comScore study suggests, Android users are heavier users of video applications, capturing and uploading video significantly more than iPhone users do.

The behavioral pattern might be important if one assumes the Android has potential to create one or more new niches in the smartphone market.

Lots of attention now is focused on whether Android devices are "iPhone competitors." Some might argue it is more likely Androids will appeal to different types of users, for different reasons, as most BlackBerry users likely have different priorities than iPhone users.



How Junction Networks Deals with Traffic Pumping

Google Voice recently has drawn attention from the Federal Communications Commission for its practice of blocking calls to some high-cost telephone numbers used by free conference calling sites. And it appears Google Voice is not the only provider of affordable calling services that finds the high-cost numbers a problem.

Junction Networks, a provider of hosted business IP telephony, has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.

“Free conference calling and other ‘traffic pumping’ services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls,” says Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. “As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate.

“In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options an…

Advertising is Changing from "Push" to "Pull"

Image
Consumer packaged goods companies that typically have preferred mass media are making a significant move into social media messaging, says eMarketer. And where pushing ad messages to potential customers has been the dominant focus, social media allows retailers to engage in different ways.

“By looking at social media as a way to listen to consumers, respond to their needs and create ongoing dialogue—instead of as another way to advertise to them—CPG companies can reinvigorate their marketing and create new bonds with consumers,” says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst.

That doesn't mean consumer retailers are abandoning traditional advertising by any means, she says. So far, social media advertising represents only a small fraction of the total dollars going to that channel, according to Nielsen AdRelevance.

And here's the difference: many mass market retailers consider social media to be "earned" media, historically the province of public relations, more…

New Ruckus Wireless Network: Just Like WiMAX, But Without the Cost

Ruckus Wireless has introduced a complete, end-to-end managed, wireless broadband access solution that provides a “build-as-you-grow” model for broadband access in developing market urban environments at a fraction of the cost of alternative approaches.

The Ruckus Wireless system is designed to operate using unlicensed spectrum, with carrier-class reliability, at initial capital investment that is as much as five timex cheaper than a WiMAX alternative, the company says. For full deployment, replicating WiMAX across a larger urban area, the Ruckus Wireless solution can be built for 30 times less capital than a comparable WiMAX network, the company says.

The business model for providing broadband access for billions of new users in developing markets requires matching investment with average revenue per user of a "a few dollars to five dollars a month," says Steven Glapa, Ruckus Wireless director.

The solution includes low cost customer terminals, access links, backhaul and ne…

Smartphone Niches Emerging

Image
Data from ChangeWave about smartphone preferences might suggest both the existence of clear smartphone segments as well as an evolution of those segments.

By definition, all smartphones handle voice and text. Beyond that, there seem to be distinct user niches.

One might characterize the Palm user as someone whose unique application is the "organizer."

One might characterize the BlackBerry user as oriented to email, and the iPhone owner as oriented to Web-delivered applications.

Looked at this way, the Changewave data might suggest that the value proposition for the email-focused remains steady, but that the value of "organizer" functions is receding, while mobile Web is growing. We also have seen the introduction recently of devices organized around social networking and navigation, so the number of smartphone niches addressed by particular devices seems to be growing.

The Palm Pre and Motorola Cliq are among new devices pitched at the social networking niche. Garm…

Mobile Ad Audience Grows, Number of Resisters Also Grows

Mobile ad spending is poised to grow 27 percent to $2.1 billion in 2010, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. The good news is the audience for mobile marketing is growing. The bad news is the audience is still relatively small and confined to a limited segment of the arket, say researchers at BIGresearch.

That means there is a high probability of turning off potential consumers. Consumers who like mobile marketing tend to be young men. They are mobile phone-centered and more likely to use social media.

People who don’t like mobile marketing tend to be slightly-older women who are not as centered around their mobile phones or users of social media. Receptive consumers have an average age of 39 while non-receptive consumers have an average age of 46.

About 23 percent of receptive consumers are regular users of MySpace, compared to 10 percent of non-users. About 13 percent of receptive consumers regularly use Twitter, while just 3.5 percent of non-receptive consumers say they …

Android People Heavier Web Users than iPhone People?

Image
The Motorola Droid is the latest smartphone to be touted as a poential  “iPhone killer.” I'm not among those doing so, not for any lack of confidence in the Droid so much as a belief that the iPhone is not just a smartphone.

Like other Apple products before it, and like some other popular consumer products, the iPhone already has carved out an "experience" and "emotional bond" that cannot be broken by a substitute product.

Still, the Droid seems to be the sort of product that will advance the use and adoption of Web content to a connected device, especially for users whose Web experiences are heavily Google-mediated.

Significantly, Nielsen data from the third quarter of 2009 already suggests Android users are heavy mobile Web users, maybe even more so than iPhone users, who, up to this point, have been the heaviets mobile Web users.

But there is still plenty of room in the market for devices that are optimized around a lead application. The iPhone might have be…

Sabi the War Hero Dog

Okay, I love labradors....labradors that defy death, get lost for 14 months and then get to go home is even better.


Verizon Grows Annual Revenue 5x More Than Average

Image
Verizon's revenue growth over the last year tops, by a substantial margin, revenue growth for nearly all other service providers among the 30 largest in the world.

Annual revenue growth of about 1.6 percent is the average, says TeleGeography.

Verizon grew revenue by 10 percent. Vodafone, China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom were the other stand-outs.

Despite Shocking Unemployment, Consumer Demand for Communications Holds Up

There's a sobering statistic in the latest research from Centris about consumer spending on communications and video service consumption: 27 percent of households reporting at least one member who lost their job in the last six months.

Most of the other findings seem consistent with other surveys taken over the last two years, though. The issue now is whether recession-induced behaviors will change as we exit the recession.

About eight percent of U.S. households said they were likely to cancel their Pay TV service in the third quarter of 2009, unchanged from the second quarter of 2009. Keep in mind that a typical churn rate for video services is about two percent a month, so those findings are relatively consistent with typical disconnect plans, and most churners simply sign up with alternate providers.

Some 18 percent of households said they were likely to cancel their home phone service and replace it with a currently-used cell phone. That is an underlying trend that might have …

Video Now Driving Bigger Access Bandwidth Packages, says Compete.com

Image
How much Internet-delivered video is being consumed by users of sites such as Hulu.com or Netflix.com? According to compete.com data, Hulu.com traffic has grown 210 percent over the last year.

"If Hulu.com continued this growth trajectory for another year, we could see it break into Compete.com’s top 50, surpassing unique visitor traffic to sites like the NYtimes.com and Netflix.com," says Matt McGlinn, Compete.com writer.

From September 2008 to September 2009, Netflix.com’s volume of unique visitors viewing movies and other content online increased 163 percent, says Compete.com.

The good news for Internet service providers is that these trends will keep driving end users to buy access packages featuring higher amounts of bandwidth, says McGlinn.

Will Click-to-Connect applications Replace IVR?

Yes, says Sorell Slaymaker, Unified IT Systems VP. The reason is that most consumers initiate their contact to a business using the web and then switch to some other channel only if the web does not solve whatever need, issue or problem needs to be solved.

Compared to using a phone for initial contact, "web with click to call" can store information, so it does not have to be rekeyed. The equivalent of cookies is not available when initiating a session using phone methods, he argues.

The other advantage is the ability to push content while talking, he says. Visual communication is richer and quicker than audio communication, and putting the two together optimizes the efficiency and effectiveness of communication.

Does "Open Access" Lead to More or Less Consumption of Broadband?

Samuel Clemens famously quipped that there are "dies, damned lies and statistics." Something like that seems to be at the heart of conflicting analyses of the impact of widespread open access requirements on consumer buying of broadband access services.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society suggests robust open access regulation increases consumer buying of broadband while analysts at the Phoenix Center says the opposite is true.

The interpretation matters. Good public policy requires decisions that are based on facts, as difficult as it may be to determine precisely what the "facts" are. The wrong "fact base" will lead to policies that could harm the intended public policy goal.

http://www.fcc.gov/stage/pdf/Berkman_Center_Broadband_Study_13Oct09.pdf

http://www.phoenix-center.org/perspectives/Perspective09-05Final.pdf