Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wikipedia: No longer the Wild West?
Wikipedia is a brilliant idea. An open source encyclopedia, if you will.
Though some frown upon it as a serious research tool, I find it to be a good starting point for research on various subjects. I then cross reference it with other sources and thus allow the preponderance of evidence to allow me to assess the likely truth and accuracy.
The days of mom and dad having to purchase a set of books from the door to door salesman is over. The printed book is obsolete once it goes to press. Electronic information offers the most broad reach in the exchange of information.
Nokia brings mobile financial services to millions
Nokia today introduced Nokia Money, a new mobile
financial service offering consumers with mobile device access to
basic financial services. For many consumers, this will be the first
time they have had any access to such financial services.
Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as
making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to
send money to another person just by using the person's mobile phone
number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their
utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up). The
services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning
savings in travel costs and time. Nokia is building a wide network of
Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw
cash from their accounts.
4 billion mobile phones but only 1.6 billion bank accounts
"We believe mobile financial services offer a market opportunity with
long term growth potential. In many countries, mobile phone ownership
significantly exceeds bank account usage, suggesting that many mobile
phone users have very limited or no access to basic financial
services. With more than 4 billion mobile phone users and only 1.6
billion bank accounts, global demand for access to financial services
presents a strong opportunity to combine mobile devices with simple
but powerful financial services such as Nokia Money", said Mary
McDowell, EVP and Chief Development Officer, Nokia.
Mobile payments will be the next step for delivering financial
services to hundreds of millions of people, both urban and rural, who
are underserved by existing payment means, especially in emerging
"Rural consumers will particularly benefit from money transfers and,
for urban consumers used to online services, we are enabling services
such as payment of utility bills, purchase of train and movie
tickets, top-ups, all through their mobile phones. Nokia Money is
simple to use, secure and available across different operator
networks and on virtually any mobile phone. This means millions of
new consumers will soon be able to manage all their financial needs
from their mobile phone", said Teppo Paavola, VP and Head of
Corporate Business Development, Nokia.
Building a new ecosystem for mobile payments
The Nokia Money service will be operated in cooperation with Obopay,
a leader in developing global mobile payment solutions, which Nokia
invested in earlier this year. The service is based on Obopay's
mobile payment platform, with unique and newly developed mobile
elements. Nokia intends the service to be open and interoperable with
other payment services as well.
"Obopay shares Nokia's vision for bringing mobile financial services
to millions of people worldwide. We're excited that Nokia has chosen
Obopay's platform. Nokia's leading market position, strong brand
recognition and global distribution channel, using the Obopay
platform with uniquely developed mobile elements, means the Nokia
Money service is well positioned to bring the next generation of
mobile payment services to the world," said Carol Realini, Founder
and CEO of Obopay.
Nokia Money is the result of a powerful collaboration Nokia is
forging between different partners in different markets around the
world. It is designed to work in partnership with mobile network
operators and financial institutions, involving distributors and
merchants in a dynamic ecosystem to seamlessly provide the new
"As a result of the innovative partnerships and comprehensive
ecosystem we are forging with the banking and financial industry, as
well as leading network operators, we believe Nokia Money will bring
financial inclusion to many who currently have limited or no access
to financial services. Uniting the strengths of the mobile and
financial services industries will change the way people around the
world can manage their money in the future", added McDowell.
"Mobile financial services present a high growth sector for Nokia.
Nokia's asset strengths, including consumer brand awareness,
distribution capabilities and global relationships should serve as
logical and necessary extensions to drive innovation in the mobile
payments and banking sector. To be successful Nokia must provide a
legitimate bridge between operators, banks networks and security
infrastructure in order to unlock the broad uptake of mobile
financial services," said Bob Egan, Global Head of Research and Chief
The Nokia Money service will be shown for the first time at Nokia
World on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany, and
it is planned to be rolled out gradually to selected markets,
beginning in early 2010.
Read more: http://www.fiercewireless.com/press-releases/nokia-brings-mobile-financial-services-millions#ixzz0PIkM97TF
WIKIPEDIA: THE DIGITAL DIVIDE DEFINED
LinK To Article In VON: Another Broadband Divide?
By Luc Ceuppens, Juniper Networks
The application period for the first round of applicants for the National Broadband Stimulus funds ended on Aug. 14. And while it likely won’t be known for a while who will receive funding and how much, we can be sure of one thing: There will be a lot of controversy around these funds. The plan, originally proposed by Obama during his campaign for presidency, is intended to bring broadband to lesser-served portions of the country, such as rural areas and economically challenged neighborhoods. While the intent is lofty, there are many issues and concerns that need to be addressed.
While no one will argue that bringing broadband connections to new customers in the United States is not a positive development, the question is who is in the best position to do that. Under Obama’s original plan, there was little in the way of defining how recipients of the funds would be chosen. Only now is this coming to light. The Wall Street. Journal reported on Aug. 14 that officials from 38 states are requesting input into deciding where the funds go. Their argument is that each state knows best where they have the biggest need. My home state, California, already has mapped out broadband coverage areas, while South Carolina and Missouri are doing the same. The federal government actually has set aside $350 million for mapping out national broadband coverage. While this may sound like a good plan, this mapping isn’t expected to be complete until 2011 – long after the broadband funds will have been spent. GigaOm notes in a recent blog that besides being late, this mapping project comes at a ridiculous cost to taxpayers. Other bloggers have mentioned similar concerns.
To complicate things even more, the federal government has its own proposal – let volunteers make the choice. As you can imagine, this suggestion has been met with its share of ridicule, but there are potential benefits to this – free input from educated decision makers, a diverse background of reviewers and decision-makers who may be less politically motivated than a group of elected officials or employees of a government organization.
Assuming that the two agencies handing out the loans – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) – decide who gets them, the next challenge lies in the strings attached to the money, like net neutrality and “openness” of devices that can be allowed on networks built with the funds. This potentially eliminates many of the nation’s largest carriers from using the funds to expand their coverage into remote areas. Qwest is one of the first large carriers to pass on the program. In press reports, Steve Davis, Qwest’s senior vice president for public policy, said “...upon evaluation of the funding opportunity and the various requirements for participation, we were unable to make the business case for filing an application for more rural opportunities.”
The bright side to these restrictions is that they have the potential to open the market to several small players who can serve the niche rural markets. These smaller players may be able to bring new services that fit better for the special needs of the underserved markets. On the other hand, the reality is that running a telecom provider business is capital intensive and survival is often tied to economies of scale that can only be achieved by high numbers of subscribers, questioning whether the small providers who receive the federal funds may be the best candidates in the long run.
Assuming that the government can decide who gets the funds, and what restrictions will be placed on them, there is opportunity for growth in the U.S. broadband sector. I don’t anticipate that these problems will be resolved soon, or that there will be easy answers. Whenever there are large dollars at play, there are always many outstretched open hands, all with their own interpretations of the “best” way to divide it and spend it.
Luc Ceuppens is vice president of product marketing, High-End Systems Business unit at Juniper Networks (JNPR).