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GTL Now Offers Video Attachments for its Patented Inmate Messaging Product

RESTON, Va. , Aug.andnbsp;GTL, an innovation leader in correctional technology, education solutions that assist in rehabilitating inmates, and payment services solutions for government, today announced that it has launched video attachments for its patented, industry-leading inmate messaging product. Available on GTL’s ConnectNetwork® Android and iOS mobile applications, the video attachments feature allows an inmate’s friends and family members to send short videos to the inmate. Click here for more.

Cellular News

GTL Now Offers Video Attachments for its Patented Inmate Messaging Product

RESTON, Va. , Aug.andnbsp;GTL, an innovation leader in correctional technology, education solutions that assist in rehabilitating inmates, and payment services solutions for government, today announced that it has launched video attachments for its patented, industry-leading inmate messaging product. Available on GTL’s ConnectNetwork® Android and iOS mobile applications, the video attachments feature allows an inmate’s friends and family members to send short videos to the inmate. Click here for more.

Cellular News

cnPilot Wi-Fi Solutions From Cambium Networks Win SMB Techfest Best Product Award

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.andnbsp;Cambium Networks, a leading global provider of wireless networking solutions, today announced that its cnPilot™ Wi-Fi products have been awarded “best product” at the SMB Techfest event in Anaheim, California . Click here for more.

Cellular News

Neustar Appoints Krishna Chettayar as General Manager and Vice President of Product, OneID

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information services, today announced it has appointed Krishna Chettayar as General Manager and Vice President of Product, OneID®. In this role, Chettayar will steer the growth and strategy of Neustar’s identity resolution solutions, including the OneID system. He will report to Venkat Achanta, former Walmart data chief, and Neustar’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer. Click here for more.

Cellular News

CES Asia Sets Record for Size, Innovation andamp; Connectivity across 19 Product Categories

The third annual CES Asia concluded today, surpassing last year’s show in attendance and exhibit space, reinforcing the event as the premier showcase for the consumer technology industry in the Eastern Hemisphere. Since its launch in 2015, CES Asia has doubled in size as more than 450 exhibiting companies from 22 countries, regions and territories exhibited across a show floor that covered a record 40,000 gross square meters, expanding from four exhibit halls in 2016 to five this year. CES Asia is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM and co-produced by Shanghai Intex Exhibition Co., Ltd. (Shanghai Intex). CES Asia will return to Shanghai June 13-15, 2018. Click here for more.

Cellular News

LTE Awards 2012 – Category 10 Preview: Best Chipset / Processor Product

The LTE Awards 2012 are taking place on May 23rd, at the El Xalet, Montjuic, Barcelona.

Now in its third year, the annual LTE Awards, in associated with, are now established as the leading event of its kind. The LTE Awards are designed to recognise, celebrate and reward the great innovations that are being made in the industry, and this year are co-located with the LTE World Summit 2012, taking place on the evening of the 23rd, at the El Xalet, Montjuic, Barcelona. The event is sure to be a glamorous and entertaining evening for all participants.

The winners, from a varied selection of 10 categories and 48 shortlisted companies, will be picked by an independent panel of judges, consisting of leading industry experts, during a two week assessment process.

To whet your appetite for the event here is a preview of Category 10: Best Chipset/Processor Product.

This award is for chipsets and processors that are exceptional in their area. The processors are judged on their success in the market and how they contribute to making LTE more attractive for operators and device manufacturers.

Freescale: QorIQ Qonverge B4860 Baseband Processor

The QorIQ Qonverge B4860 is new to the market, and was announced on 27 February 2012, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It is designed for LTE and LTE-Advanced base stations and is single-chip product supporting three 20MHz sectors of 300Mbps downlink and 150Mbps downlink per sector. Designed to replace channel cards with up to six discrete devices it provides a 4x cost reduction and 3x power reduction compared to similarly deployed channel cards with discrete devices thanks to a simplified architecture. It is first SoC to comply with the LTE-Advanced standard supporting up to 60 MHz of carrier bandwidth and LTE-A, LTE and WCDMA standards simultaneously. The six cores of the SC3900 StarCore DSP registered the industry’s highest performance benchmark score of 224,760, nearly 2x higher than its closest competitor. Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu have announced plans to use this device as well as other top-tier OEMs to come.

GCT Semiconductor: GDM7240

The GDM7240 is a single chip LTE FDD solution introduced to the market in Q2 2010. It offers a highly integrated full band design supporting all FDD LTE bands. By integrating baseband + RF, GDM7240 offers a small form factor and low power consumption, as well as optimal BOM. Being fully compliant with LTE specification (3GPP Release 8), the GDM7240 supports LTE Category 3 with high performance throughputs of 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink.  It is commercially available in several LTE devices, including the LG Esteem on MetroPCS, the LG Revolution on Verizon Wireless as well as the USB dongles LG VL600; available with Verizon Wireless, and the LG Adenaline, available on AT&T.  In addition, Vodafone offers a CPE with GCT’s GDM7240.

Renesas Mobile Corporation: MP5232

This platform is targeting the $ 150-300 market and will enable operators and device manufacturers to drive LTE to new price points without compromising the user experience. The fully certified platform is a world first as it contains connectivity, power management, RF subsystem and communications processor integrated on a single piece of silicon. It contains a 1.5GHz dual-core applications processor, a graphics accelerator and a Cat-4 triple mode LTE modem supporting FDD-LTE, TD-LTE, DC-HSPA+ and GSM. The single chip integration results in reduced power consumption delivering increased battery life for the consumer. The graphical processor Imagination Technology SGX544 delivers leading-edge performance with optimised power consumption. The LTE modem performance exceeds LTE Category 3, enabling operators to move to Category 4 without delay. As a result of the performance, integration and feature set of the product Renesas  is seeing considerable interest from Tier 1 OEMs.

Texas Instruments: TMS320TCI6636 wireless infrastructure System-on-Chip (SoC)

The Texas Instruments: TMS320TCI6636 is designed to maximise the use of the spectrum that is available to operators. Based on TI’s innovative KeyStone II multi-core architecture, the TCI6636 is designed to reduce costs for true multi-standard products scalable from small to macro cells. The TCI6636 is a fully integrated system-on-chip (SoC) that through functional integration eliminates the need for a separate network processor, and an array of switches and FPGAs. TI estimates that the implementation of this SoC results in a savings of $ 625 in BoM cost and reduces power consumption on a typical base station board by 75 watts over existing solutions. Announced in February 2012, the TCI6636 SoC will begin sampling in the second half of 2012. The TCI6636 has been designed into base stations under development by most of the major manufactures and several of the leading new entrants. And TI anticipates anticipate high volume ramps in 2013.

The LTE World Summit is taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Click here to register your – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Director, Product Marketing, Etisalat: “FTTH is necessary for businesses and consumers”

Maen Haddad, Director/Product Marketing, Etisalat

Ahead of the Broadband MEA 2013 conference, taking place on the 19th-20th March 2013 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai, UAE, Dubai, UAE, we speak to Maen Haddad, Director/Product Marketing, Etisalat on the latest broadband developments in the region and his views on issues such as piracy and FTTH deployment.

What major developments have there been for the broadband industry in your region over the past year?

Etisalat has played a key role in Broadband growth in the UAE with the latest fibre optic technology being implemented across the country. This major initiative involved rolling out a fibre network throughout the UAE, providing customers with high-speed internet of up to 300Mbps.

As demand from consumers and businesses for broadband in the MENA region increases, the number of broadband lines is expected to increase exponentially. The UAE has reached a broadband penetration level that is on par with many advanced nations. This is a key indicator for national competitiveness and economic development.

Which would you choose? Investing in coverage or investing in increasing speeds to existing customers?

To be able to provide maximum value to its customer base, Etisalat has adopted a two-pronged approach where both coverage and speed are improved. Conducted in phases, the initial focus was on covering the UAE with a fibre network and later, offering variety of high speeds and bundled services that are designed to suit all customer needs.

Maen Haddad, Director/Product Marketing, Etisalat is speaking in the Customer Experience Improvement Strategy stream at the Broadband MEA conference, taking place on the 19th-20th March 2013 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai, UAE, Dubai, UAE. Click here to find out more about the event

To what extent does wifi offload come into your thinking?

As mobile broadband adoption increases rapidly, demand for data traffic has also simultaneously gone up. Therefore, wifi offload is a solution for the industry today not only for data offload but also for voice and messaging, offering a wider opportunity for the usage of wifi within our service portfolio.

Wifi services today are a value-add in our broadband product portfolio. This enables customers to connect to the Internet anywhere and at anytime. Customers choose to use the wifi instead of 3G due to different price structures.

Are curated, operator-managed OTT/IPTV services the best way of reducing piracy?

OTT and IPTV demand will trigger increasing pressure on broadband access to providers to increase delivery speeds and the permissible download volume. Content providers and distributors will have to make major decisions about how consumers will access content to reduce piracy.

In the best case scenario, content providers enjoy greater audience aggregation opportunities, while consumers benefit from more flexible and possibly more diversified access.

Piracy rates can come down when consumers perceive that they can benefit from new options, including the ability to select and pay for specific content rather than having to pay for tiered service containing plenty of undesired content.

Telecom operators in the region face credible threats to core revenue streams and piracy is indeed one growing threat. They have responded by reducing availability of “free” content and enhancing availability of content to paying subscribers. Some incumbents also have resorted to strategies including caps on monthly downloads and new service tiers based on download volume.

OTT and IPTV alone, however, cannot successfully compete and defeat piracy unless more aggressive enforcement tactics are carried out, e.g., suspension and termination of end user subscriptions and blocking access to specific sites.

Is FTTH really necessary for businesses and consumers and what are the stumbling blocks to rolling it out?

FTTH is necessary and very important for businesses and consumers in the UAE, especially since the country ranks the highest in terms of internet penetration in the region. At the same time, the stumbling blocks to FTTH blocks have been:

  • The customer’s availability and willingness to install Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in his/her home.
  • Putting fibre in the relevant areas where it is needed.
  • The ability to monetise from an early stage.

Are there enough services out there to drive adoption of faster speeds and is it up to the operators to get involved?

Yes there are enough services, and there are always more bandwidth-hungry services in the pipeline. Operators have a critical role to get involved. Etisalat is a regional player and based in a country with a high subscriber base so it clearly understands that there is limited opportunity for growth of revenue by only adding new subscribers. The focus is now expected to shift to other areas such as higher mobile data services adoption and value-added services. Mobile data services adoption will be driven by the availability of compatible mobile devices, affordable data plans and the rapidly rising mobile internet user.

Today a high number of ecommerce transactions taking place in the UAE are through mobile devices. With an increasing penetration of OTT-delivered services and multiscreen access to TV and other video, marketing innovation to drive revenues through these growing use models is the winning strategy.

Etisalat has taken a lead in investing in futuristic technologies especially LTE, to meet these increasing demands in the market. With this investment, Etisalat has also continuously launched a great value added services meeting the requirements of consumers as well as enterprises.

Where does fixed wireless come into your planning and if so what technologies will you be using?

Currently Etisalat is using WiMax and is trialling LTE for triple-play services. Due to the portability of the WiMax technology, it has seen high adoption among enterprises in the region. It can be quickly deployed to remote locations. In terms of costs it cuts down investments on the network, when compared to GSM and 3G, enhancing speeds and operability at greater distances.

The commercial offering of Etisalat’s LTE service began in December 2011 with the launch of LTE USB modems that enabled customers to access LTE (4G) super-speeds of up to 150Mbps. To date, Etisalat has integrated hundreds of base stations with complete mobility to the 3G network, covering 80 per cent of the populated area of UAE. In 2012, Etisalat successfully tested the world’s highest 4G LTE speeds of 300 Mbps.

Do you see customer resistance to bandwidth caps, line throttling and traffic management?

Currently Etisalat doesn’t have bandwidth caps on fixed services and at the same time have a fair-usage policy to ensure high quality of service to all customers.

What are the biggest challenges you expect to be facing over the next 12 months?

With the upcoming Bitstream project, we expect the competition to increase leading us to bring to market solutions satisfying the needs and requirements of customers. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Orange focuses on IoT in product showcase

Orange CEO Stephane Richard

Orange CEO Stephane Richard at the hello event

Orange has announced a host of new products and services at its third annual hello show in Paris. The company seemed determined to address almost every aspect of modern life as it showcased some 20-odd products and product enhancements for “connected home, connected business and on-the-go.”

Many of the products have been developed in partnership with tech start-ups. Orange emphasised the importance of innovation, but said it needs to respond to customers’ needs. “I strongly believe all this innovation is only useful if it makes life more inspiring,” Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange Group said in his opening presentation at the show, attended by

Some of the new products included the Polaris Project, which provides a unified screen across any and every screen a user has. In the ‘home’ sphere the company revealed Orange Homepoint, a platform that allows users to stream video and music from one device through to another, and get wifi access to all enabled devices at a press of a button. Users can also charge mobile devices through the applicane via USB or induction.

For business use the company unveiled My Office Phone, an app that allows users to have a corporate-type switchboard system via a smartphone. Stop&Work, another business product, aimed at freelances and remote workers, offers a set of functionalities including video conferencing over a high speed broadband connection. It also gives users access to a physical tele-centre with dedicated workspaces, as well as shared services and facilities.

“Orange is levelling the playing field between large and small companies,” Richard said.

Among the more everyday apps there were some more niche products too. One of these more unusual solutions was Pops, featuring a smart garment and smart wristband developed by start-up company Cityzen Sciences together with clothing and accessory brand Quicksilver.

Pops ‘connected’ garment can be used during exercise to monitor and store wearer’s physiological information, which is saved and accessed on a storage platform. The wristband receives messages in situations where the user can’t access their smartphone. Such a situation can apparently arise if you happen to be surfing for example but still want to read your messages as they arrive.

There were also products for mobile money transfers, payments and general personal banking management, as well as digital school app that allows teachers communicate with pupils through tablets.

With so many new products Orange cannot be accused of not trying. However, the question whether all these are necessary springs to mind as for some of the products there already is a perfectly good, device-agnostic alternative on the market. But Orange remains confident that they can offer value to customers.

“Of course there are already GPS devices for example, but if you are in a car, you are playing with your mobile to have music and receive your messages, and you are using a separate GPS device for directions. We want to offer something that has everything in one,” Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Innovation Director for Orange, said. “What we want to propose to our customers is something that is fluid, easy [to use], accessible and has everything you need in one simple solution.”

“We have to change the culture. If you can save 10 minutes of your time a day with one solution, then I think that makes it worth it,” Luc Breton, Orange Technocentre SVP said.

What seems to be underpinning all of Orange’s new products and strategy is the idea of digitalisation of both businesses and private lives as much as possible. Orange said it wants to transform its core business, including traditional services such as voice, into a ‘full digital experience’.

Orange’s concept for digitalisation and ‘everything connected’ is closely tied together with the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Orange, in 10 years’ time there will be some 600 million connected devices in France alone. Thus the Group’s corporate arm Orange Business Services is heavily focusing on IoT and what it calls the digital transformation of businesses. The idea is to bring together mobile, information, cloud and social, or MICS, as Orange put it.

“We would like to be in a pole position of our customers’ digital transformation journey,” Thierry Bonhomme, Senior Executive VP of Orange Business Services said.

Orange Business Services works in partnerships with companies across a number of industries, such as automotive, healthcare and retail. Hence it has created solutions, which it say will transform an ordinary car to a connected car, rid old fashioned barcodes from retail businesses and replace them with RFID, and enable elderly people to continue living at home equipped with smart devices that will alert help if needed.

Apple has first interesting product launch for four years

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with Apple Pay

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with Apple Pay

Back in 2010 Apple looked a serious danger to take over the world. Sales of the iPhone had gone exponential and a mere three years after disrupting the mobile phone market beyond recognition, Apple launched the first iPad and did a similar number on personal computing. The iPhone 4 was an impressive upgrade to an established hit and the expectation was that Apple would set the tone for the rest of the technology industry on an annual basis.

But a year later all we got was the iPhone 4S, which was a nice phone, but essentially a minor upgrade on the 4, with Siri thrown in for good measure. That’s fine, we thought, even Apple can’t set the world on fire every year. Wait until it goes up a whole new number to 5 – that’s when the real innovation will kick in. A year later and the anticipated spec upgrades were accompanied by a slightly larger screen, and that was it, again somewhat of an anti-climax.

The buzz leading up to last year’s launch was that Apple was going to respond to explosive smartphone demand in developing markets by introducing a cheaper version of the iPhone. In the end it repackaged the year-old device in colourful plastic, called it the 5c, and didn’t reduce its price at all. The fingerprint reader in the 5s was nice, but once more evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Fork in the road

Now Apple had decided to widen the fork in its handset roadmap and launched devices of different sizes, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.3-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Apple seems to be positioning the Plus as half way to an iPad in terms of some functionality, such as a landscape display mode, but otherwise screen size seems to be the key differentiator between the two new iPhones. Despite that, Apple is charging $ 100 more (which will probably translate to £100 over here) for the Plus than the regular iPhone 6 – not something generally done by other smartphone vendors for their plus-sized handsets. Oh, and the 5c experiment seems to have been abandoned at the first opportunity.

The Mobile Wallet

The concept of mobile payments/money/wallet, etc has been around for some time and many major companies have had a go at it. Some progress has been made but with so many stakeholders needing to collaborate in order to provide a coherent, comprehensive useful mobile wallet ecosystem, a strong catalyst has been lacking.

By moving into the mobile payments game with Apple Pay, Apple could well provide just the push needed, something CEO Tim Cook was keen to stress at the launch. Cook rightly pointed out that user experience is key – it has to be easier to pay with your phone than otherwise – and the Touch ID fingerprint reader introduced in the 5s is key to this. Apple’s belated introduction of NFC contactless technology was also confirmed, allowing people to pay by just tapping/swiping the phone at a touch point.

The introduction of one-time payment numbers and a dynamic security codes seem to be key to providing the security reassurance that has also hampered efforts to get the mobile wallet going thus far, with people worrying about putting all their eggs in one basket. It seems that your card number is not even stored on the phone, for extra peace of mind.

Smart watch

Wearables have been the hot hardware category of the past year or so, but while the likes of Sony, Samsung and latterly Motorola have launched some promising gear, the use-case for smart watches has, to date, been far from compelling.

In by far the most interesting Apple launch event for years, the company revealed its belated entry into this category with the Apple Watch. With such small screens, the UI has always been a major challenge for smart watches – there’s just not much screen real estate to play with – so Apple has focused on this, as you would expect. One significant feature is a dial on the side that allows additional interaction, such as zooming and interface navigation.

The screen UI itself appears to be quite novel and sensors on the underside also contribute to the functionality, including a degree of both gesture and voice recognition (including Siri). It has a touch screen that apparently also senses the amount of force you use and alters the resulting command accordingly. The screen is square, which is a slight disappointment as circular screens make for a more intuitive replacement of the conventional watch, and the Apple Watch too comes in two sizes, presumably with the preferences of men and women in mind. As you would expect, there is strong initial developer support for the watch, and health/fitness is a major feature. Also, it looks like it supports Apple Pay, which is a nice touch.

Lots of launches

In summary it seems like Apple has been in a holding pattern for the past three years and has finally revealed a bunch of stuff it has been working on for a while. The two new phones feature the first major industrial design overhaul since the iPhone 4 and the Apple watch seems likely to significantly raise the bar in the wearables category. But the most significant announcement is probably Apple Pay, not just for Apple, but for the catalysing effect it could have on mobile commerce on the whole.

Mobile product search coming of age says Google

Android is growing fast as an ad platform

Web giant Google is waxing lyrical about the potential for mobile advertising, predicting that 44 per cent of UK searches for last minute Christmas gifts in 2011 will be from mobile devices, up from 20 per cent this time last year.

Over the last few months, Google also found that mobile is accounting for an increasingly larger proportion of online shopping, with an analysis of UK search on desktop versus mobile finding that mobile search for products towards the end of the year represented just under 15 per cent of the online total, compared to ten per cent in 2010 and just two per cent in 2008.

Moreover, around 24 per cent of UK consumers use their mobiles for in-store comparison of products and Google has noticed that retailers are beginning to embrace this phenomenon, with UK department store John Lewis recently activating free wifi in its shops.

Simon Morgan, head of mobile advertising for Google UK said: “As more and more consumers use their mobile phones to do their holiday research and shopping, there is a great opportunity for businesses to reach their customers where they are; on mobile. Advertisers can take advantage of innovative mobile ad features to drive people to their web properties, increase footfall, or even grow phone traffic. For example, hyperlocal provides useful information to users such as an expandable map, driving directions, distance and contact information with the option to click-to-call, making it easy for customers to find and navigate to your store.”

A newly activated feature on Google’s mobile advertising platform, AdMob, allows advertisers to serve ads specifically to newly activated mobiles. Accounting for Android growth alone, there are around 550,000 Android devices being activated each day globally.

In related news, mobile advertising player Blyk has announced the departure of its co-founder, Antti Őhrling, who has moved on to work on “emerging opportunities”.

Őhrling co-founded Blyk as an MVNO in with Pekka Ala-Pietilä in 2006 and helped refocus the company as a mobile ad platform shortly after. He was also instrumental in the firm’s partnership with Indian carrier Airtel. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion