Thursday, October 20, 2011

CTIA Fall 2011: Enterprise Transformation

CTIA Fall 2011 was about how consumer applications, devices and services are meeting up with the enterprise and how the enterprise should plan and react. This can be seen from a number of different viewpoints. Consumer devices flowing into the enterprise and needing to be managed based on enterprise criteria. Enterprises reaching out and interacting with customers via their mobile phones and devices in a B to C arrangement. The mobile revolution that Steve Jobs created with the iPhone has now reached important levels inside enterprises. Decisions need to be made and solutions created that will allow enterprises to work in this environment and also be able to communicate and transact with customers effectively whether they by other businesses or consumers.

Enterprises adapting to the multi device environment

Vendors provided solutions for security and device management and capabilities for smartphones to improve productivity.

The EMF (Enterprise Mobility Foundation) ( had a boot camp which laid out the basics and the primary issues of the enterprise mobility as well as gave real world examples of how that transition actually takes place. Much of this revolved around keeping data secure so that employees could take advantage of mobility on smartphones and tablets.

Device Management

Nukona ( discussed an apps based security system that in effect puts wrappers around applications so that they work in conjunction with enterprise policy. This in effect makes that communications between the device and behind the firewall secure and allows for employees to have personal applications on the phone. It also allows enterprises to adopt any smartphone, to manage the data on the phones effectively and deal with other issues like personal data, and lost and stolen phones or tablets. ( also showed its MobiControl device management case study with American Airlines and the capability of the system to handle a wide variety of devices.

Video Conferencing and Distribution

Polycom ( made a big demonstration of its HD quality video conferencing solution, RealPresence. It works on several tablets including iPad2, Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Enterprises also are using video more in a mobile environment with smartphones and tablets. QUMU which was recently acquired by Rimage Corporation demonstrated its enterprise video optimization, security and distribution system.

Enterprises Interacting with its Customers

There were a number of solutions providers that used the various capabilities of the smartphone and tablet to increase business efficiency or promote products.


The camera of the smartphone is becoming an important business tool. Mitek Systems ( is using the camera to allow customers to deposit checks with their cellphone, and pay their bills by taking a picture of the bill. In addition, it is allowing insurance companies the ability to give quotes by taking a picture of a driver's license and an insurance bill. All of these solutions are saving people and companies time and money.

Jumio Netswipe Mobile is allowing the smartphone to be a secure credit card reader allowing for additional security via card in possession authentication. This allows for transfer of funds without an external device attachment like Square has.

Scan Buy ( is using the camera to scan bar codes which can then be sent to Facebook pages and Twitter messages to distribute content or coupons. The company has seen a 1,600% growth since 2010 in the amount of barcodes scanned by phones. The beauty of the Scan Buy solution is that is able to track the devices, carriers, movement of the barcode to twitter and Facebook, and redemption of coupons or activation of content which originated from a barcode. The analytics captured by smartphones are going to become increasingly important as more phones are used to make purchases. This is also evident in Neustar’s ( purchase of TARGUSinfo. Neustar’s product lines include short code/barcode management services


Geo-fencing is not only being used to find people’s location it is being used to bring people together with products they enjoy. Hipcricket (, recently purchased by Augme ( a mobile site development company, has a geofencing solution that allows customers to who like Blue Moon Beer to know where in an airport they can get Blue Moon on draft.

Call Intercept and Data Capability

Nuance ( offers a call intercept solution that allows carriers and enterprises to change a phone call into an online experience, allowing customers to find information to commonly asked questions like account balances, or recent purchases, and to text or message customer service people. It is a lot more pleasing that dealing with an IVR system and the enterprise can save on IVR costs.


Mogreet ( took care of the messaging for the CTIA show but also talked about its solutions that allow radio broadcasters and other new media to extend their reach to a mobile phone. This included offering breaking news and multimedia content, song delivery, multimedia video advertising, contests and sweepstakes, daily deals and coupons and important analytics to track these activities.


Physical payments with a phone at a retail environment are still waiting to become mainstream and most of M-Commerce is on mobile web sites which make these sites vitally important. There were also examples of using iPod touches to speed registration at sporting events by Active Network ( Next iterations will include doing this self service style on a smartphone. Active Networks also demonstrated a good solution for information and organization of events via a smartphone for very large events like Cisco Live to smaller chaotic events like swim meets.

Gemalto ( showed with a rail pass demo that NFC is not going to be just about payments but about permission with a transit train demonstration. The standardization of NFC will help bring down the costs of implementing entry permission systems as well as give better customer service like alerting companies if there is a problem or giving advice to transit card holders about train and bus arrivals, and delays.

Pay with cell phone also got some traction from PaymentOne ( and Charge Anywhere ( PaymentOne charges payment for digital products to the carrier cell phone bill and introduced the ability for customer to view their purchase history. Charge Anywhere offers a Square like payment system that allows smaller merchants to use the cellphone and a card reader to take payments. Both of these products use the cell phone to facilitate commerce.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 4S, Keeping the iPhone Relevant

The iPhone 4S wasn’t so much of an evolution as an improvement in select features. The timing was not right to introduce technology features such as LTE and NFC. The LTE technology had to be more mature in terms of longer battery life and lower price per chip to be incorporated in the iPhone. For NFC, Apple had not garnered enough merchant support around a payments solution to create a fulfilling customer experience. Both of these technologies are likely to be in the iPhone 5, which will be more of an evolution to the iPhone product.

Still, the iPhone 4S made some good improvements. The better camera will certainly be appreciated by iPhone users. For many iPhone users the iPhone is their de-facto camera. The Cards iOS application is also a good feature and combined with the new camera features will provide value to the customer. There is something special about receiving a beautiful card in the mail. USPS had been offering this service on its web site for over a year. This is another example of Apple genius, taking an existing service and making it more user friendly and relevant.

Siri, the new voice recognition service is an interesting improvement. Voice recognition has always been a holy grail for mobile phones because of the size of the keyboard, and the perceived ease of use it would bring. But it has never reached its full potential, due to limited applications, and the mini keyboard being the preferred way to communicate. Here comes Apple, the company that changed the model for digital music, the smartphone and effectively created a market for the consumer tablet, with its implementation of voice recognition. Apple’s specialty is making technology come to life. From what I have read, it is fun, which is always popular with iPhone users and smartphone users in general. Many smartphone users consider their smartphone to be a close companion, and look to their smartphone to be entertained.

Apple also emphasized the iCloud service, which is an important evolution in the multi-device world. People need access to their information on various devices and they need reliable storage for devices like the smartphone and tablet because they are being used so much and are an important part of our personal and business lives.

“Find my Friends” iOS application that Apple plans to introduce will be a nice service but limited because it only works with iPhones and iPads. This highlights Apple’s somewhat myopic vision on interoperability. “If you are not an Apple user who cares” is not recipe for success in the communications world where interoperability rules.

Lastly, the introduction will help Sprint get their customers excited about buying an iPhone. Because at the end of the day, for Apple it is about providing an excellent customer experience and selling devices.