Archive for September, 2008

September 22nd, 2008

OneWebDay in San Francisco by Meraki

Monday will be OneWebDay in San Francisco. Efforts around Gavin Newsom’s vision to create an access cloud around San Francisco stalled a while back when plans that involved Earthlink ran into snags in the approval process. And, eventually Earthlink left the business of Muni Wi-Fi.

A new initiative with Meraki has been gaining momentum throughout the city. Rather than renting space from the city, they are mounting infrastructure on rooftops of private homes in part to minimize infrastructure costs. There’s a lot more to their story if you check their website.

On OneWebDay, Meraki will be installing infrastructure in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco on the 22nd. This neighborhood looks to be under-served. Most of San Francisco looks to be well covered by Wi-Fi (I blogged years ago about how I could see 20+ networks from my home and I’m sure the situation is even worse now with 802.11n) and is not in need of a Municipal network. Citizens without access are, however, in need of a low cost solution.

Meraki looks to be an innovation and right-sized solution for some of the problems cities are looking to solve.

September 11th, 2008

My “Fun” Blackberry

RIM made a bunch of announcements today. MySpace, Tivo, Slacker … they already had Facebook. Years ago the only people you saw using a Blackberry were overly serious investment bankers from Wall Street. It’s fun now. It comes in colors. It has fun applications and a decent camera.

I was at a business dinner last night in San Francisco. There were a lot of suits around, but also some jeans – it’s the left coast after all. There was an executive named Greg sitting next to me. He couldn’t put his Blackberry down for more than a few minutes.

He kept picking it up, pressing a few buttons, and then setting it back down. I glanced over a few times … it wasn’t email he was checking – it was his Facebook account. He was posting and checking to see what his friends were doing.

My friends are getting Blackberries now … I think it’s a sign that a device is mainstream when middle-aged women with children are regular users of a device or a service. And, they come in fun colors loaded with fun stuff to do.

September 10th, 2008

What’s Hot at CTIA? Social Networking for Starters

CTIA seemed a bit quiet yesterday, but granted that was a day before the show floor opened. I’m glad I was around yesterday because I got the chance to see some really cool stuff – in addition to the nano-chromatics announced by Apple. For those of you who didn’t see the new Nano’s, there were some cool new additions. One of my favorites was use of the accelerometer – you shake the iPod and it shuffles. Hopefully, this functionality will come over to the iPhone. I’d like to train my iPhone with some simple gestures to dial, hang up, look up where my friends are, etc. So much fun potential lies ahead.

Aside from Apple, Verizon, Intercasting and Yahoo! all had some announcements around social networking. I just published some research on social networking opportunities for operators and handset manufacturers (it’s posted on our site). There is also a summary in RCR.

Social Networking applications can be addictive, and they are not just for twenty-something’s. Our research shows that those who use social networks online frequently have much higher data usage and buy more mobile applications than others their age or other cell phone users. Right now, it’s mostly about “following” activities with some communication and “sharing.”

Aggregation of feeds is a good first step, but there is so much more potential if someone (a carrier? an infrastructure player? an online media company? a handset ODM?) can put together the pieces to leverage the PIM, network intelligence, handset capabilities, online media consumption, communication behaviors, etc. Putting the infrastructure in place such as Verizon is doing with Intercasting is a good move.

I also saw Yahoo’s OneConnect on the iPhone. They take aggregation a step further with integration of Yahoo! contacts and communication apps. It’s really well done.

Have had a sneak preview of some other applications and devices coming through the pipeline – I’m beginning to see some consumer experiences that are very compelling and likely to drive adoption.