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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

European telcos want to charge Google

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reisor/45354535/

European telecommunication giants are preparing to fight Google over the data traffic and bandwidth that is consumed due to YouTube videos, according to a new report from the Financial Times. Their goal: to have Google pay them for the bandwidth YouTube and its other websites consume.


The metaphor of the bullfighter comes to mind. The enraged bull (or a herd of bulls in this case) storms – with bloodshot eyes – towards the red cloth. His only goal is to hurt or kill his fluttering menace, his only weapon: brute force. The fearless bullfighter plays along and taunts the beast a little more. When the thousand kilos of bovine meat have closed to a mere few inches, the matador swoops away, raises his sword and elegantly, but decisively, stabs the beast between the shoulderblades. The fight is over. The bull has become victim to its own rage and shortsightedness.

So too will the story go for tradional telcos. Yes, they are absolutely right: internet companies like Google move gigabytes of traffic through their copper pipes. And they *should* be paid for this! The enraged telcos stab furiously at Google; frustrated because they still don’t understand internet business and only see their revenues and margins decline. All they know is how to charge for landlines and interconnections, and by God, that is what they’ll do. They’ll charge Google more than they ever charged before!

And Google will pay them… and play them; and it will take ownership of the consumer. For Google, it will be a bargain: pay the telcos for bandwidth usage, and then turn around and offer their services plus connectivity for free to the consumer! Instant lock-in. Google will stab the telco by taking the end-user away from them. For every Euro they demand from Google, they’ll loose hundreds of Euro’s in end-user subscriptions. Worse even: as soon as Google has control over enough end-users, they will be able to play the telcos against each other. Telefónica, France Telecom and Deutsche Telecom will have to earn the *right* to provide internet access for Google… And that will be the end of the bullfight; until another matador comes along and challenges the incumbent.

It is the typical herald of innovation and change. Just as an upcoming breeze announced the arrival of Mary Poppins, so too can we deduce the arrival of imminent change by the giants and incumbents who put their heels in the sand and try to push their old model more violently than ever. Was it not Einstein who said: “Stupidity is trying the same thing again and expecting a different result…”?

Open innovation – or just joining forces?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Last week, the news about the teaming up between Yahoo and Microsoft was all over the news. As if two companies trying to copy the behavior of a third one would lead to a dramatic change (more on that later). Most European news agencies overlooked an event that can change the world much more. The MSFT-YHOO deal seems to be about capitalist forces joining for destruction, while the second one is using the forces of capitalism to be a constructive part of global society. Oddly, Bill Gates is involved in both events…

(more…)

Failtime.be

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

The Belgian railway operator Infrabel has shown the perfect example of quick and flexible business thinking, full commitment on customer service… and utter and blatant stupidity.

In response the earlier problems with train tardiness and customer complaints about lack of information, the company has released -a mere few weeks later- a new website. Railtime.be allows travellers to quickly lookup expected arrival times of trains and informs the customer about issues and calamities on the railway infrastructure.

Sounds great, and it would be, if the website were at all usable on a mobile device! With powerful smartphones and high speed mobile networks, I can understand that Infrabel hasn’t developed a separate website for mobile phones, but the least they could do is check compatibility with some of the most common devices. The issue is the neat-o Javascript textfield that helps web-users find the right train station through autocomplete. This textbox doesn’t work on my HTC (Windows Mobile 6), nor on my girlfriend’s Blackberry…

So, the key takeaways for Infrabel (and others): 1. Ask yourself: who are your customers? 2. Where and when are they using your service? 3. Build solution. 4. Check that solution meets criteria 1 and 2!
(unless of course, your just aiming for a publicity stunt and not really trying to help customers…)

Richard Stallman says cloud computing is a trap

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

There’s been some buzz on the web about GNU founder Richard Stallman’s statement that cloud computing is a trap and that Web-based programs like Google’s Gmail will force people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that will cost more and more over time. Many of the Free software advocates seem to agree and so does most of the Slashdot crowd (which, as we now, is entirely representative of the world’s geek opinion ;-) .

Stallman’s point is that in cloud computing, information is not free (‘free’ in the sense of liberty, not ‘gratis’). The application provider has full control over your data and you don’t have unlimited access to it. If the supplier should go bust, you lose your data. He argues that people choose convenience over freedom. I argue that it is becoming impossible to keep all your data at home and that often data becomes more valuable when it is kept by others.

First of all, we accept similar systems in other domains without thinking. If we were to follow Stallman’s train of thought, all of us would have to keep our money at home, take courses in investment banking and trade our shares and bonds ourselves to get a 3% return on our savings. Oh, yes, and we would of course need to buy vaults to protect the cash from disasters such as fire or burglars. It is not only more practical to bring it to the bank, it is also safer and it becomes more valuable.

The same goes for data: more and more business models are built on the concept of user-generated data and the increase of its value through the network effect. YouTube would be non-existent if people kept all their videos at home.

The main difference between data in the world of cloud computing and our money in the bank is legislation. Now I’m usually not an advocate for additional laws and rules, but our data is becoming almost as valuable as our money, so it should be protected by laws. One of the things the current financial crisis has learned us is that governments will go to great lengths to protect the money of the common man. If they would see that the common man’s data is equally important, then they could take appropriate measures to keep it free as well…

Coming soon …

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

The Antenna Group, founded in 2008 by two entrepreneurs, is a consulting firm specialised in strategic guidance on technological innovation and business improvement. We scout the world for technology and trends that can have significant top line or bottom line impact on your company and its business, without getting carried away by hypes or fads. In addition to mere detection of trends, we also analyse the potential impact on your business and we offer strategic advise in response to these evolutions. Our customer base includes ICT companies, as well as businesses in the service industry, retail and manufacturing.

The consultants at The Antenna Group are experienced people in the field of ICT. They have been exposed to a wide range of businesses and have a managerial background. This allows them to interpret the potential benefits of technology and architecture in function of the actual business context and strategic goals of our clients.