iOS and M2M

There seems to be an increasing interest in the AppleTV box. Should iOS become a major player in the M2M market? Should iOS become the de facto OS of the M2M devices ? After all, the so called smart watch from Samsung is far from being a commercial success, because it lacks  purpose. As the vacuum expands, a new player is called in. Given the lack of interest from Microsoft and Oracle, Apple has a special position in this game, although calling might not be so obvious or interesting. I am sure that were Steve Jobs still here, he would throw the Apple TV in the arena, along with other iOS devices. Sadly, that is not the case and the status quo remains unchanged. 

CeBIT and M2M

CeBIT will take place in less than two weeks. No direct mention of M2M, but there is no need. The  hottest topic of  this year’s CeBIT will be the use of Big Data. What to do with such tremendous amount of information coming from so many sources. 

How is this related to M2M ? It is more than you think. M2M implies the usage of Sparse Data. Like Big Data, we’re talking about unstructured information. Even if today the two of them seem unrelated one to another, in time, they will converge into a hyper-matrix (a way to organize high volume  sparse data ). Until that day, we still need to use what we have, be it cloud or  data warehouses.

I’m looking forward to CeBIT.

New poll : time spent on M2M

The twilight of the telco dinosaurs

Facebook made a bold move to acquire WhatsApp (See article)  This was to be expected sooner of later. In the last five years, all that the  major carriers  did was what ? deploy 3G, 4G ? Yeah, yeah. The moment when  $0 wifi  will be everywhere, that day the mobile carriers will be out of business. Yes, you’ve read it right.  

What are the services offered by major carriers during the last five years ? unlimlited SMS, unlimited MMS and a big chunk of voice communications. That’s all. Sorry to tell, but today, every 8 out of 10  under 30 uses social means of communication on a more that frequently basis. What does this mean ? It means that each time a new  alternative  appears, it will get to the masses. A major  telco is still limited by the size of its own PLMN. That means it cannot reach more than say  100 million customers and that is for the big players. The smaller ones are in for 50 million customers.  That’s all. Compare that with half a billion users most social networks have conquered in a few years and you’ll see the big picture. The top 10 mobile operators have invested jointly 1 trillion dollars in their own networks. And that has allowed sharks like facebook to gain access to hundreds of millions of users, because they are sitting on the shoulders of the giants. Usually, the credit goes to the one they stays visible most of the time. Who is more visible ? Facebook or Vodafone ? WhatsApp or Telefonica. Twitter or  that dinosaur I don’t even remember the name ?

Did big telcos shoot in their legs ? I think they did. Will they survive ? It is likely to see in a few years many a telecom company bought by a dotcom 3.0 startup.   

Anyway, like one movie character said , this is very sad. But life goes on.

The IoT gadget – today’s case: the smart watch (I)

Today I will talk about one device that tries to break through the ice: The smart watch. Is it a real new product or just a minimized version of the touch-screen phones. For personal reasons, I will not use the word smartphone. So what is so hot about the smartwatches. Or should I spell gadgetwatches… Little matters. They are real. I’ve used google to find five watches labeled as “smart”:

Let’s judge these products. First, we apply  the 4Ps  to each one of them
Criterium:  Price (base price)
 1) 200€
2) 190€
3) 70€
4) 80€
5) 60€
6) 140€
There are three categories: below 100€, up from 200€ and in-between. Given that some touchphones cost  less than 100€, the Samsung Galaxy Gear ranks as high end, while the to MyKronoz watches are low-end. Are they ?
Criterium : Promotion
Samsung has promoted on a decent level its watch. Sony follows up close. There is little promotion for MyKronoz products, while Nike promotes its product on a very reduced scale, in some outlets.
Definitely, a watch priced 200€ must sell or there is a problem. So Samsung makes substantial efforts. Maybe not enough. But it tries.
Criterium : Placement
1) The Samsung watch is a gadget for Samsung phones. It sells through the same channels as the phone and on Internet. Not bad.
2) and 4)  The Sony follows the same politics as Samsung.
3) and 5)  The watch is promoted on internet. Today internet is the single most important distribution channel, so why spend money on outlet display cases when there is no need? Well done.
6) Nike tries to hide the Fuelband. there is little information about the product and it sells only on internet and only on specialized sites.
Conclusion: the phone makers use traditional channels as well as internet, while the other companies use only internet.
Criterium : Product
This should be the most important of the criteria, but the price weights much and biases the choice. However, the products have been designated as smart watches, so we try to make  the ranking based on the product itself.
1) Samsung has presented the SSG as an extension for its line of touch devices ( phones and tablets). The theoretical user base is huge.  And The watch  is not just a watch. Practically, it has all the functions of the phone, even a camera and an audio  jack for earphones.  For a smart watch, it   has too many features for a screen so small. Playing videos  ? given the size of the screen, one should look weird when watching a movie. Subtitles ? forget them. One needs eagle eyes. And most people have fingers thicker than half the size of the screen. Samsung has forgotten the only interface available for a device so small: voice. But well, Samsung is known best for building Apple clones at a cheaper price. And this is a huge advantage when building its user base.
2) and 4) Sony tries to keep the pace with Samsung so there is little surprise. The line of watches is a complement to the Android phones. From this point of view, Sony supports Samsung.  The price is the single most important argument.  The integration with the social networks might help sell the two products. As of today, Sony is much, much behind Samsung.
3) and 5)  Are a very bold initiative. MyKronoz products connect to any Bluetooth-abled smartphone. This means it targets products from Samsung and Apple. And at such low prices, it hits hard.These underdogs might become a threat to Samsung. Unlike Samsung and Sony, MyKronoz offers only basic functions like call-management and music listening. however, these are the most important uses for a phone, so the small bracelet does well on its job.
6) The Fuelband connects to Bluetooth-phones. The  target being active people, the uses are restricted to fitness. The major drawback of the Fuelband is the lack of realism of a product with a well-designed form factor.
Criterium:  the design
1) Brushed metal  for the  device, plastic for the bracelet. The screen is 36x56mm. The form factor is similar to  the one of the  android tablets.
2) Plastic and metal rim for the device, plastic for the bracelet. Screen dimensions : 42x41mm. An ugly big square, bigger than most wrist watches.
3)  Plastic for the device, plastic for the bracelet. Dimensions: 38x80mm, but the screen is curved and it blends well onto the wrist.
4) Plastic and metal rim for the device, plastic for the bracelet. Dim: 36x36mm.
5) Plastic for the device, flat screen, plastic for the bracelet.  Dim: 38x80mm.
6) Plastic for the device, plastic for the bracelet. Little or no information available. however, the formfactor and the bracelet blend well onto the wrist.
For this criteria, there are only two products that have a good design: the ZeBracelet and the Nike Fuelband. The other products are more like the cheap Casio watches of the 80’s.  The plastic and metal mix is a poor choice for products
To be continued in a future article…

The next big thing (II)

The device is real. People use it. The drawback is the lack of API for it. I am confident that the scenario of the iPhone will repeat itself. The small device is capable of HD images, is small enough to fit into a pocket , weights 300g and coud be put anywhere. Yes, I am talking about AppleTV. It  is only a matter of time until this last brainchild of Steve Jobs will reach its full potential. Is there place for another device, next to iPhone, Macbook, iPad, iPod ? Yes it is. Just imagine playing Angry Birds on Apple TV using your hands and voice.  Is this a realistic scenario ? Yes it is. Should Apple release it ? Only if they really want the share to rocket by $1000. I’m not so sure about the last part. One thing is sure: wealth cannot come from lack of money. Wealth needs vision, long term plans and enthusiasm. These were thing Steve had. These the fuel of the engine that launched so many products. 

Finally, why have nice, useful things when we could still continue to use cheap black plastic computers or phones or game consoles. Have you noticed what  the XBox One and PS 4 are made of ? Really ? Do you like the design ? Cause I don’t. And Quality begins with the design. Aren’t Porche and Jaguar and Ferarri  the dream of any driver ? Why ? Because of engine’s Gigahertz frequency, RAM capacity ? no. Because of design. This is the fuel of the XXI century.