Archive for July, 2001


Sunday, July 1st, 2001

Mobile Lifestreams has published new data on Bluetooth:

– Bluetooth costs are not an issue;

– Wireless industry desperate for Bluetooth to deliver;

– Engineers shouldn’t design applications.

The author, independent analyst Simon Duncan, claims that if Bluetooth does not prove itself to the companies and their engineers that will deploy the first test systems, it stands no chance of getting into the hands of consumers and achieving its intended ubiquity.

Despite some criticism Bluetooth has developed at a break-neck speed for a radio frequency technology offering application-level interoperability. But the industry cannot rest; Bluetooth now needs to prove itself to those who are looking to include it in their company’s products and services for customers, employees, partners or suppliers. Bluetooth offers many opportunities for innovation and upsetting value chains and there is great support for deploying it at present it but it has to deliver over the next year if these opportunities are to be exploited.

Key findings:

– Contrary to much industry debate the cost of Bluetooth technology is not an issue at present, only 7% of respondents see it as the major hurdle Bluetooth has to overcome before it becomes a serious option for their organisation.

– Other survey findings include 25% of respondents seeing Bluetooth as a truly disruptive technology offering strategic competitive edge, whilst 72% expect it to be complementary to mobile (including 3G) with only 9% seeing it as competitive.

Other conclusions of the report include:

– The wireless industry as a whole needs Bluetooth to deliver and prove the case for mobile data applications to pave the way for 3G.

– Built by engineers – yes; designed by engineers – no! The key challenge facing Bluetooth applications is to deliver radically simple ease of use – which in turn means wresting application design from the hands of the engineers who currently dominate the technology. Failure to do this could send Bluetooth the way of WAP.

– Bluetooth offers considerable opportunities for upsetting existing value chains by offering an alternative to 3G and supporting the deconstruction of personal devices.

– Despite this, initially at least, voice is likely to be Bluetooth’s killer application.

– In practice a number of aspects of the Bluetooth specification, most notably scatternets, should be avoided.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2001

Six months ago we launched our customisable content service.

The service provides customers with an automatic alert, via e-mail, when changes have been made to any reports that they have flagged as being of interest to them. The type of update is recorded in our database – whether it is a major overhaul, new chapters, tables, stats etc.

To activate the service customers must first ‘Add’ the ‘Update Notification Manager’ to their personalised home page. For instructions on how to personalise your home page you must first log-in to the Members’ site by choosing the Members’ Log-in from our Home Page. Then click on the ‘Personalisation Instructions’ under User Information.

Then it’s just a matter of clicking the ‘Update Notification Manager’ under Member Services. For instructions click on ‘Update Notification Instructions’ under User Information on YOUR home page.

Customers have absolute control over this service and can tag and untag reports as they wish.

Based on research by our colleagues at Forrester we knew that globally approximately 10% of customers are interested in services like this. However, we have already reached a 19% penetration, with an average of six requests for information about updates being flagged on our customers’ personalised pages.

We are pleasantly surprised by this result and it has encouraged us to make other customers aware of this service.

What drives repeat visits to a Web site

High-quality content – 75%

Ease of use – 66%

Speedy download – 58%

Frequent updates – 54%

Coupons and incentives – 14%

Favourite brands – 13%

Cutting edge technology – 12%

Games – 12%

E-commerce capabilities – 11%

Customisable content – 10%

Chat and BBS – 10%

(Source: Forrester Research)

Looking at this table, I am pleased with our results. However, we are keen to maintain the quality of our service and would be delighted to hear any ideas you might have on how we can improve it, or suggestion as to other features you would like us to incorporate.

Thanks for your business, best regards,

Paul Budde

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Sunday, July 1st, 2001

In the Asia-Pacific region, a long-term project began in early 1998 to use multimedia to improve health care in developing communities.

A strategic unit of the South Australian Health Commission, Interactive Health Online, plans to provide educational programs for medical practitioners, patients, academics, health workers and families, using broadband communication channels such as satellite, microwave, fibre and digital over copper.

Content will be developed collaboratively for cultural and linguistic adaptability, providing health education where it is most needed. The Interactive Medical Curriculum Project is backed by APEC and AusAid and was launched in Australia, Thailand and Korea in 1998. Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and China are also interested.

Software will be Java-based and content Internet ready, although the material will be developed for independent delivery via CD-ROM and video and cater for widely different medical environments.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2001

The PC has been one of the most critical elements in the growth of our information society, but the limit of its technological capabilities had been reached by the early ’00s.

It remains a user-unfriendly tool that requires far too much maintenance for normal residential use. The jokes about PCs are widespread, especially the one that compares it with motor cars. The PC is not the most ideal device to link residential users to the information highways. Unfortunately, however, the consumer electronics industry has not changed much over the last 50 years and as a result it is lagging behind. Of course, this is largely due to the fact that the broadcasters have been delaying changes for as long as possible. They were amongst the last of industries to embrace digital (computer) technologies – digital TV is only just arriving on the scene. In Australia, however, the broadcasters are fighting tooth and nail to delay the introduction of digital TV for as long as possible, in an attempt to protect their free-to-air (analogue) monopoly.

However, to bring the information highway to the 50% of the population that still does not have access, the consumer electronics industry will have to be brought into the equation and new devices that will enable this – such as digital set-top boxes – will become more widespread after 2003/2005.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2001

In June 2001, following its failure to pay the due interest on its senior notes, Canadian cable network owner 360networks and several of its operating subsidiaries filed for protective bankruptcy in British Columbia. The company’s principal US subsidiary, 360networks (USA) and 22 of its affiliates concurrently filed for protection under Chapter 11 in New York. The company has debt of about $2.6 billion.

This action is the result of the downturn in demand for global networks, and the present glut of capacity. Similar problems are being faced by other new entrants to the global fibre-optic cable network market which have not yet established a strong revenue flow.

At the time of the filings, the company reported that it had approximately $155 million in accessible funds, which will be used to maintain service to existing customers in Canada and the United States, and to complete key segments of its North American network. As part of its restructuring and cost reduction program, the company planned to reduce its workforce by 800 (44%). It also cancelled plans to acquire NetRail, a wholesale ISP. The company’s operations appear to be generating cash, following $274 million cash revenue (EBITDA of $167 million) reported for the first quarter in 2001.

The company expects to be able to complete its North American network, and further growth will depend on its ability to attract additional financing or strategic investment into the reorganised company. Subject to certain conditions, the company’s senior secured lenders agreed to increased debt of $100 million, and the company has received a firm proposal for such financing. Other options were also being investigated.

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