Engineer mobile connectivity security social networking

McAfee quarterly threats report Q3 – a worthwhile read

Tinterweb is a wonderful place full of  great things that can change our lives. Of course we all know it is also full of pitfalls, dangers, threats, hazards, risks, problems, exposure, troubles and perils 1.

I have just discovered the McAfee quarterly “Threats Report” . If you haven’t read it you need to rectify the situation. It is an amazing compendium of the threats to which we are exposed when we reach out into the land of the hypertext transfer protocol.

For the convenience of the busy reader I have selected some extracts for your delight.

  • In Q2 the Android mobile operating system became the most “popular” platform for new malware.
  • By Q3 Android has become the exclusive platform for all new mobile malware.

Look out that your phone doesn’t start texting premium rate numbers or broadcasting your personal data or even, as is the case with Android/NickiSpy.A and Android/GoldenEagle.A, start recording your telephone conversations. Don’t give any banking information over the phone will you. The malware stays on your phone for an extended period of time to make sure it catches the right phone conversation!

I’m not a worrier but I have started to think more about protecting myself and my family when communicating. There are some security solutions on the market and I will give them a go over the next few weeks and report back.

The McAfee report has tons of interesting stuff in it – Botnet growth by region, Social Media threats, new “bad reputation” URLs per day (hits 40,000 some days!!!). There are currently over a quarter of a million Active Malicious URLs. The report even tells you the going rate for Crimeware tools – $1,500 for Linux exploit tool LinuQ (with private exploit) – if you are unfamiliar with this don’t ask – it’s a need to know job and I don’t know.

I encourage you to read the report to which I link again here.

1 My thanks to Roget’s Thesaurus for this contribution

End User mobile connectivity

Liverpool Echo Arena mobile capacity #paulmccartney and the French

Went to the last gig of Paul McCartney’s world tour at the Liverpool Echo Arena last night. Ten thousand fifty somethings with the occasional grandchild thrown in for the experience. Old Macca is going strong though at around 70 years old doesn’t quite hit all the high notes with the same strength as he might once have done.

Not complaining. It happens to us all and the die hard fans in the audience didn’t really care. On a boringly technical note what surprised me was the high quality mobile data reception inside the Arena. My mails and tweets were coming in as normal. The signal varied between HSPDA and 3G according to my Samsung Galaxy S2.

I recently met with one of O2’s tech team to discuss stadium communications technology.  This followed on from

Business mobile connectivity

I have seen the future… (mystic waily voice) #4G #digitalbritain #O2 #iPlayer

speed test using a 4G dongle from O2 shows 38Meg down 27Meg upAs I gaze into my crystal ball the mists are swirling, swirling.  Now they are disappearing. Ah, it is all clear.  I can see blue skies. I can see people dancing, holding aloft their smartphones and tablets. Waving. Everyone is happy. Where is this mythical land where the rivers flow with champagne/beer/cappucino (delete as appropriate)?iPlayer streaming Frozen Planet in HD to a laptop through an O2 4G dongle

It is here, where you and I live. In Blighty. Home.

I have just come back from O2’s offices in Slough where I had a play with 4G on a laptop. The jpg in the header photo shows the download and upload performance. The speed varies but does go as high as 80 – 85Megs down.

The laptop I was using only needed 7Megs worth of bandwidth for its day to day activities – email, streaming HD etc so there is plenty of headroom when considering personal use. It is easy however to imagine this service being used as a replacement for fixed line bandwidth where a family would certainly use up all the bandwidth available. Also who knows what bandwidth hungry applications are round the corner. They will come.

The demo is impressive. The photo inset was taken from my Samsung Galaxy 2 so isn’t a screenshot and the quality could be better. It doesn’t matter. I watched Frozen Planet streaming in HD on iPlayer – no buffering, perfect quality.

O2 has recently announced 4G trials in an area of London between Kings Cross and the City. I am taking part. Watch this space for up to the minute information on 4G.

I have seen the future. The future is 4G.

Engineer mobile connectivity

How to manage mobile network capacity for a very large crowd.

crowds at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011Last weekend we went to the Lincoln Christmas Market.crowds walking past the cathedral entering the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 We go every year 1 – we live just on the edge of where the market is located and can walk there easily. It’s an institution in Lincoln.

You either love the Christmas Market or you hate it. Those that like it love the atmosphere, the gluhwein, the noises and the smells. They love the variety of stalls where they can pick up Christmas presents. The location is top notch – around Lincoln Cathedral and Castle. Takecrowds in Castle Hill at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 a break from the walking and stop off for a beer or a coffee or two. It’s great, especially by night when the neon lights add to the effect.

Those that hate it do so for the very simple reason that it is very crowded. The market attracts north of 160,000 visitors in one long weekend. That’s great for local trade but as I said very crowded. This year I noticed something for the first time. I was able to get a mobile phone line every time I tried. No “the network is busy” notifications and frustrated repeat attempts to make contact with lost friends andcrowds on Steep Hill during Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 relatives.

On my way home I think I spotted the reason – a temporary tower with mobile transponders. The networks, at least O2 who I use, must have boosted their capacity just for the weekend. It was great and whilst I realise that all they probably want is for nobody to notice and for people to just carry on using their phones this does warrant a pat on the backcrowds coming out of Lincoln Castle Westgate during the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 – for Lincoln City Council too.

If I can I’ll find out what kind of boost there was to mobile capacity. Everyone at the council who has anything to do with the market is busy right now.

rings over bottles - the finest sport in town at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011And finally a photo of my favourite stall. You hand over a fiver for a small bucket full of red plastic rings and spend a minute or so throwing them in the vain hope that one will land squarely around the neck of one of the bottles and you win a giant stuffed animal. Almost an impossible feat but it is doable as the stuffed gorilla we have languishing in our attic proves. Just the one word of advice. If you do win give the prize away as quickly as you can. It will make a kid happy for at least as long as its take to parents realise they are going to have to squeeze it in the car and then when they get home find somewhere to put it!

I do have a video of the action at this stall.  The picture quality ain’t great but the sound effects are spectacular. Sounds just like the cash rolling into the tills of the guy who owns the stall!!!

1 except for last year when it was snowed off.

End User mobile connectivity phones

Lumia is light – a new dawn for Nokia?

Nokia World in London October 2011Nokia CEO Stephen Elop launches Lumia smart phones at Nokia World Just finished watching the NokiaWorld webcast.  I don’t watch many of these but last week I also happened to dip into the RIM event and it must be said that there is a world of difference between the two. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop appears to be one of the better front men of the big mobile and platform providers though the language he used was very carefully chosen and was filled with sentences that seemed to me to be the product of long days in the marketing department meeting room.

Nokia today launched the Lumia range of smart phones. In Elop’s words “Lumia is light – a new dawn for Nokia”. This is the “big one”. The one that has to work and which has several shirts and a house riding on it.

Based on the Windows Phone OS the Lumia has 6 times more marketing budget

End User mobile connectivity phones

Ice cream sandwiches, fruit and toiletries – a review of the Samsung Nexus?

stay cool with an Ice Cream Sandwich from Google?When I was a kid the summers were always unbearably hot (and it always snowed at Christmas). We would turn on the hosepipe in the back garden, fill the paddling pool and splash about showering each other with jets of water. Sometimes the ice cream van would come round and hearing the music we would all run outside and line up to choose a cooling treat.

Usually I’d go for a “wafer”. The man in the van would cut a slice off a block of ice cream and sandwich it between two wafers. Then I would lick the ice cream in the middle until it got smaller and smaller and the wafer got soggier and soggier and I eventually had to eat the lot.

They stopped selling wafers for some reason. Health and safety probably or some commercial packaging business case that said it wasn’t economic. I don’t know.

Now I was excited to hear that they were bringing back the Ice Cream Sandwich. Ooo I thought.

Business mobile connectivity Net phones

Roll up, roll up, get yer acronyms here #MAM #MDM #CoIT #BYOD #MPLS #VoIP

Being a progressive high technology company we have a department that is dedicated to coming up with new acronyms. Ok that’s not an entirely fair description of the marketing department – engineering also does it 🙂

We have been upping the ante on mobile products in the last year or so.  The mobile world is rapidly moving on from merely the selling of phones, minutes and handsets (plus BlackBerry of course which has been an added value sell for years).

Unless you have been in a cocoon for the last six months (and you might)

Business mobile connectivity Net

Communications links for IT Directors all at sea

communications aboard Aurora uses Maritime Telecommunications NetworkI didn’t felt at all claustrophobic during my time on board the Aurora for the IT Directors Forum. This is partly because there is plenty of space but also because the schedule was so packed it didn’t give you time to think about such things.

I did manage to squeeze in a chat with the guy that ran the internet cafe. There is WiFi all over the ship but it isn’t something you would want to use for casual internet access because a) at around £100 an hour  it is expensive and b) there is only 750kbps to service the whole ship – that’s 2,100 passengers when full.

In order to preserve some quality of customer experience the Aurora limits the number of simultaneous users to 32.  At the time of writing I can’t get on so

End User mobile connectivity

Nokia gets ready for winter offensive

Bumped in to an old colleague (platform 1 Newark Northgate – location, not name of old colleague) who now has Nokia as his biggest customer. Pontificating that business might be slow I was surprised to hear otherwise.

Of course Nokia still does very well in developing parts of the world. His main excitement though was regarding “the big Microsoft launch” coming apparently at the end of October.

The view from the Nokia ecosystem is that this launch is going to be highly successful. Of course they need to believe this but the argument is that the product looks great and that Nokia is relatively unencumbered by patent litigation. The Finnish company holds many key core patents in the mobile technology space.

It sometimes feels as if the companies we support because they have developed technologies that have changed our lives are strangling each other in the court rooms. Everyone watching wishes they would just get on and continue to innovate.

Although they are currently not up there in the smart phone premier league I have never totally written Nokia off (almost have mind you). It looks as if the battalions are fuelling in the wooded hills around Helsinki preparing for a winter offensive. These days battles are fought in the full glare of the media and this is one where we will all have ringside seats.

Wallets at the ready…

4g Engineer mobile connectivity ofcom Regs

complexities under the mobile data bonnet and Ofcom delay to #LTE auction #4G #digitalbritain

Everyone Everywhere (pun intended) will have heard of Ofcom’s decision to re-enter consultation over the LTE or 4G mobile spectrum allocation. Issued late on Friday afternoon the statement regarding the delay caused by reopening the consultation has already attracted comments re “hiding bad news over the weekend”.

There were 64 responses that included the  A to W of stakeholders in the UK (nothing from  X, Y or Z). The  Association of Train Operating Companies was mainly concerned to ensure that good coverage at high, sustained download speeds is ensured along the whole of the GB mainline rail network. At the other end of the alphabet both the Welsh government and Wiltshire Council wanted better coverage in rural areas with the latter quoting a target figure of 99% of the population.

Straightforward right?

End User mobile connectivity olympics

That smell of rubber, the roar of the turbo-powered engine, smart phones and the Olympics

Tref in reception at the WIlliams F1 conference centreI attended a Telindus sponsored Consumerisation of the Workplace workshop on Tuesday on my way down to the Convergence Summit. Jean Marie Stas of Belgacom gave a talk about tablet adoption – his experiences seem to exactly reflect my own – especially when it comes to the wife always asking if she can borrow your iPad.

The workshop came up with a few interesting snippets. Firstly Cisco has stopped buying mobile phones  and just give staff vouchers so they can go and buy their own. They are apparently looking to do the same thing with tablets and PCs. This seems very much to be the way forward.

Some of the service providers around the table were reporting that there was a significant interest from many areas in BYOD, notably in the Financial Services market. Workers in this industry are highly paid and typically want all the latest gadgets which is at odds with the need to maintain security and compliance.

This correlates quite nicely with

4g Business mobile connectivity ofcom Regs

Ofcom delay in holding 4G spectrum auction will cost UK £100s millions report says

More pressure has been piled on Ofcom and the government by the publication of a report by the Open Digital Policy organisation suggesting that delays to the UK 4 G license auctions will cost the country dear. The delay to the auction has been caused by apparent threat of legal action by a number of carriers including O2.

ODP looked at the speed, capacity and coverage improvements next generation mobile broadband (known as 4G or LTE) is likely to bring, and estimated that over 37 million business hours per year could be saved from faster mobile data downloads if 4G mobile technology was to be deployed sooner than is currently planned.

Earlier this year I chaired a debate on mobile spectrum allocation at Portcullis House in Westminster. The issue of 4G spectrum allocation is a hot potato. The three largest mobile carriers O2, Vodafone and Everything Manyplaces, have existing voice bandwidth that they are being allowed to reuse for data. 3 does not so this delay will not only cost UK business but will likely have a deleterious effect on the number 4 operator (this is clearly a numbers game).

Ofcom, the UK regulatory authority tasked with

Business Cloud mobile connectivity security

Mobile Working Report — CoIT and BYOD Trends

mobile,working,report,CoIT,Consumersiation,IT,BYOD,Bring,Your,Own,Device,TimicoThe mobile communications market has for years been characterised as a commodity space. Selling mobile services was largely a matter of who offers the best price.  The rise of the smart phone and the pursuant growth in mobile data is changing this.

Price is still important but these devices are so expensive that the amount of hard cash people (consumers) are willing to spend on their mobile contract has grown considerably. I know this from first hand experience having a 19 year old student son who spends not an insubstantial amount of his monthly budget on an iPhone4 contract.

This in turn is a source of angst for businesses who have not traditionally provided the bulk of their staff with top of the range handsets. Unless you have been in a media vacuum over the last six months you will know that this has led to a phenomenon known as Consumerisation of IT and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution.

I have written about this before. As a provider of mobile services

End User mobile connectivity

Mobile data usage – phone versus tablet

I use a couple of SIMs on a day to day basis – phone and iPad. The phone is always with me whereas the iPad is not.  The iPad is also more likely to be used in an area where there is WiFi. Needless to say if WiFi is available this gets used in preference to 3G in any case – longer battery life, faster and cheaper connectivity.

The usage patterns are as follows:

Month/device May iPad May phone June  iPad June Phone
Bandwidth usage (Bytes) 320,270,336 1,241,365,504 262,217,728 662,842,368
Days out of office 6 7

Clearly the phone gets used more than the iPad for accessing data. There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between days out of the office and usage though not that this small sample is particularly scientific. My days out are usually to London and typically I will leave my ancient laptop technology behind in favour of the tablet – lighter and good enough for most uses though not for any serious work.

It looks as if I am using between 1Gig and 1.5Gig of mobile data a month which is hugely more than the average of 200Megs (according to TMobile in January when they slashed usage allowances from 3Gigs to 500Megs). I may not be the average user but this must surely be the way of things to come.

Apps End User mobile connectivity

PC games and how to stop playing them #SpaceInvaders #Galaxions#Solitaire #AngryBirds #XBox #Marconi #Nokia

I was totally astonished a few years ago when I found out how big the market had become for what was then PC games.  I couldn’t understand it – mainly because I very rarely indulge in playing them myself. It was only when I realised how much the kids (ie me) spend on XBox games that it sank in.

This lunchtime I saw someone playing “Angry Birds” on his mobile handset & said the only game I ever really played (Space Invaders and Galaxions aside) was Solitaire and that except for the occasional trip down memory lane I even gave that up many years ago.

It  was only then that I understood why.  15 – 20 years ago I worked for Marconi. Such was the morale in that place that people used to spend whole afternoons playing Solitaire. We got very very good at Solitaire. My record was below 100 seconds. This was a skill built up over long hours of practice.

Then one day someone did it in less than 90 seconds. He had the perfect hand.  All the cards fell right and every click was a winner! This had the effect of stopping everyone in the office from playing – it was the hand of a lifetime that we were never going to beat. It cured me and I have only played Solitaire a half a dozen times since.

All I need now is to figure out how to stop the kids from playing!

On a similar but different note I was talking with a mobile application vendor this morning. He said that of his  12 Tier 1 carrier customers only 2 were asking for support for Nokia and Windows Phone 7 and one of them was in an Eastern European market that had little smartphone penetration! Uhoh. Lots of people are already cured of Nokia it seems though we are still waiting for the big “final push” (enter melodrama stage left).

PS In my book Space Invaders remains the best ever electronic game. Screenshots are courtesy  Wikipedia

Business mobile connectivity

Nokia cancels 2011 – short term outlook not good apparently

Bit of a dramatic statement that. 2011 cancelled by Nokia.  What they have done is decided not to publish any more forecasts for this year because apparently their sales  numbers are so bad.

The cavalry is on the way and if they strain their ears they can hear the sound of the bugle blowing the charge. However they haven’t arrived yet.

There is a long way to go and in order to succeed Microsoft will have to throw huge amounts of cash at the problem with no guarantees of a win.  It is interesting to watch this play out and I’m glad its not my money.

As I write Nokia stock is down 14.76% on the day. More here on ZDnet.

Business mobile connectivity

sms going nowhere? – that’ll be everything everywhere

On the tenth of May I sent pal @deanelwood an sms – did he want a beer after work?  He didn’t reply.  Hmm I thought. Poor guy must either be in hospital in intensive care or away on holiday and is offline – after all everybody needs to switch off sometimes.

He got the sms yesterday – that’s 16 days later. Mine was not the only delayed one which was somewhat of  relief. He told me that the delays are apparently down to network integration issues at Everything Everywhere.  I’m sure they will get it fixed but this does leave them open to quips such as “nothing anywhere”:)

Business mobile connectivity ofcom Regs

#DEAPPG spectrum mobile broadband #digitalbritain #finalthirdfirst #4G #LTE #ofcom

How do you cram a debate on the future of mobile services, data roaming and spectrum into an hour and a half? At last night’s Digital Economy All Party Political Group at Portcullis House in Westminster we made a pretty good job of it with a panel consisting of Hugh Davies, Director of Corporate Affairs for mobile network 3,Brian Williamson of Plum Consulting, Ruy Pinto of Inmarsat and Raj Sivalingham of Intellect.

This debate was hot on the heels of last week’s successful back bench motion by Rory Stewart, MP (Penrith and Cumbria) which called upon Ofcom to specify 98% mobile broadband coverage in the 4G auction in 2012.

3 stated that this is doable with existing base station infrastructure provided they received suitable low frequency spectrum allocation in the auction. O2 and Vodafone have already been reallocated spectrum out of their existing 900 and 1800MHz 3G licenses.

End User mobile connectivity

Crazy confused world of the mobile deal

I was chatting to someone earlier who took out a new contract with O2 for a Samsung Galaxy S2. £149.99 for the phone plus £13.50 a month for a 24 month contract with 50 minutes and 250 texts. He also got £150 cashback off, the initial referring site.

He promptly sold the Galaxy on eBay for £465 – don’t ask me why people buy these on eBay over the odds when a PAYG SIM free version new is £400. Take a look – there are similar bids ongoing.

This person then bought a brand new iPhone 4G off a pal coming back from the USA on holiday for £300.

The upshot is a new iPhone costing him £8.67 a month compared with the £304.99 plus £18.50 a month he would have to pay for a new iPhone contract (ok he gets fewer minutes and texts in his bundle but he is ok with that).

Not everyone has a friend that can bring them back a phone from the USA but I have to say the mobile world is getting crazier by the day.

Engineer mobile connectivity security

Android security flaw

If nobody else reads this blog then at least I have the staff at Timico who are always throwing up suggestions for posts. This morning it was about an Android security flaw where, according to the University of ULM, older versions of the OS are vulnerable to hacks that can steal your data.

Sky News reports that only the latest phones with system version 2.3.4 have had the leak plugged, meaning that 99.7% of handsets could be targeted. I parked the idea until I had finished my slides for next week’s AGM then lo and behold my own Android phone offered me a firmware upgrade. I am now safely running version 2.3.4 thanks to HTC and Android. Good timing I thought:)

It is worth thinking about though as the consumerisation of the workplace gathers pace. How many Android phones are used by staff in your office that might have this vulnerability? It would seem that the case for managing personal smart phones in the offices grows daily. This isn’t something you will necessarily want to leave to chance.

Apps Business mobile connectivity security

Big endorsement from RIM re consumerisation of the workplace “problem” #iOS #Android

RIM has announced plans to extend its BlackBerry Enterprise Solution to the support of non RIM devices. This means that Android and Apple phones and tablets will be able to be incorporated in the RIM device management and security environment.

This is a timely announcement and follows a piece1 that I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the problem of consumerisation of the workplace.  RIM also says that it is responding to requests from its enterprise customers and that its target market is enterprises and government organisations.

There is a huge market outside these sectors. RIM has highlighted the problem but by focusing on big business is leaving the door open for others to play in the small and medium sized enterprise space.

It is interesting that RIM does not mention Microsoft in its press release. Presumably it sees Windows as a totally separate/mutually exclusive  environment.  I wouldn’t bet on that.

1 I’m not of course saying that the RIM announcement is in response to my article – we are clearly just thinking along the same lines:)

PS the RIM PR seems to have disappeared from their website for some reason. I happen to still have the copy which I have, for your delight and delectation, replicated below:

End User mobile connectivity social networking

Location – Foursquare, the Isle of Man and Apple #deappg

harbour lights in Douglas IoM

Last week as the Isle of Man Steam Packet ferry approached Douglas harbour I “checked in” on Foursquare to a location called the “Sea Terminal”. I also uploaded a lovely picture of the watery reflections of the multicolour harbour lights. Beautiful it was.

Then as I got into the car to drive off the ferry I received a text message telling me I had just run up £17.02 (ex VAT) on data roaming charges. Ooo! That was before I had even set foot on the Isle of Man. The notion that I might leave data roaming switched on for the week was out of the question.

I was fortunate in having free WiFi where I was staying. I did however occasionally switch on roaming in order to check in at various Foursquare locations and am now proud to announce that I am Mayor of Peel Breakwater, Fenella Beach and The Grove.

Uhuh! So what do I hear?

mobile connectivity

iPad iPad2 and youporn blocking

Took my iPad to dinner last night to demo our new multi-tenant APN service (called Mobile Access Management). It was a little bit of a strange feeling waving the iPad3G in the air to show that the firewall was blocking  I was demonstrating how an IT manager could apply internet access polices to mobile devices in the same way as they do for standard office based users.

The screenshot that comes up when a banned site is accessed looks like this. In this case it is our office Fortigate firewall but it could be any similar device. I did feel a little  self conscious doing this demo because of course it will show up on our logs but hey, what he heck… 🙂

The header photo shows an iPad with an iPad2 laid on top of it (thanks to Chris Green). Click on any of the photos to enlarge. I have to say that not being an Apple fanboi I won’t be rushing out to buy one.


Apps Business Cloud mobile connectivity

Security and Personal Mobile Devices: Consumerisation of the Workplace

How does a business cope with the proliferation of personal mobile devices in the office? Not just mobiles, but laptops and tablet computers too? The problem is not new, but it is growing.

Not so long ago consumers would peer in through the smoked glass panoramic windows of business to admire and envy the tools that were available to those inside. Access to the internet was for most people above a certain age first experienced at work. Their first PC, first mobile phone, first email, first mobile email! The list is a long one.

Today’s workplace is totally different. Staff bring in the toys they use at home and often frown or laugh at their employer’s old fashioned proffering. IT departments now gaze back out through the self-same floor to ceiling windows with reverse envy and spend their time worrying about the security of their network.

A study of a small business

I recently did some work with a UK company on their communications and cloud strategy. The company provided 67 of their 115 employees with a mobile phone; 50 BlackBerrys and 17 mid-range Nokias.

30 staff also carried with them their own personal mobiles. Of the 30, eight people also received a company phone and actually used their own phones for business purposes in preference to those supplied by the employer. A further seven staff who were not given company mobiles used their own phones to pick up company email making a total of 15 out of 30 personal mobiles that were used for work purposes.

Business mobile connectivity

Retail Business Technology Expo – notes and observations on mobile devices

Gave a talk on the evolution of retail technology into the cloud at the Retail Business Technology Expo at Earl’s Court yesterday. It was a joint presentation with my friend Umar Bajwa, Head of IT at the Murphy Oil Corporation (Murco) in the UK.

Afterwards we walked around the exhibits and it was a real pleasure to be with someone as knowledgeable as Umar (pictured right)  in the retail technology space.

A few things struck me. Talking with the exhibitors they were happy with the way the show was going. Plenty of leads which means plenty of retailers out there  looking at investing for growth in their business.

Secondly was the number of exhibit stands offering booze. Engineers in the internet space like to party but they do it after hours (and into the wee small hours – not me of course who cant take the pace anymore) but retailers seem to go at it all day!!

empty beer bottles littered stands at Retail Business Technology Expo

Wine, beers and even champagne seemed to be flowing pretty freely. I did come away with a bag of pick and mix sweets for the kids.

Finally, and the real purpose of this post, was the realization that mobile technology and smartphones and tablets in particular were starting to permeate this world. It is odd that in a retail environment that is primarily interested in cutting costs as low as they can go people seem to think nothing of spending £500 on a tablet for the shop.

I asked one exhibitor what shops do about the security of these devices. “What do you do to stop them being stolen?”  “We don’t” came the reply.  “We just sell them another tablet when the other one gets nicked”!!

And people will steal these things. Umar Bajwa was able to relate stories of people walking into fuel retailers, leaning over the counter and stealing the card processing terminal. “They are trying to figure out how the terminals work so they can come back and steal credit card information” .

This is going to be an issue that the retail industry will have to get to grips with if smart phones and tabs are going be commonplace tools for this market. I am particularly interested in this subject – how to manage your diverse mobile estate. If anyone wants to engage in a dialogue on or offline please get in touch.

More pics from the show below including one of excellent the jazz trio from the after show champagne  party – I told you they large it up in retail 🙂






Apps Business internet mobile connectivity

Job Vacancy – Domestic CIO, Davies household

Tower of London

At the Cisco Manged Services Seminar yesterday at the Tower of London Chris Lewis, GVP International Telecoms and Networking, IDC introduced the concept of the domestic CIO. This was new to me (ok I’m probably behind the times) but it certainly struck a chord.

There are so many aspects of life in the office that are now present at home. In the Davies household we have 8 active SIMs supporting 5 smartphones, an iPad, a dongle and a battered old Nokia that my wife uses (her decision). Some of these SIMS are pay as you go and some are contract. We have a mix of Vodafone, O2 and Orange.  This isn’t necessarily an efficient way of working. If this was a business scenario we would harmonize onto a single network and group bundle. We would also have managed backups of the directories.

7 out of the 8 mobile devices also support wifi as do the 2 laptops, 4 desktop PCs and the XBox. In an ideal world we would have a home password management system, changing the password on a regular basis.

When it comes to passwords we use them for online banking, shopping with M&S, eBay, Tesco online, EastCoast trains,  Superbreak,, iTunes, Travelodge. We also have passwords for Twitter, Facebook, gmail, telegraph online, and I’m sure many other portals I’ve forgotten about and some I’ve never heard of.  How do we keep track of them all?

I operate a calendar that synchronizes on my phone, iPad and laptop. My wife uses a paper calendar on the kitchen wall that doesn’t synch with mine other than via an ad hoc manual process known in the Davies household as “diarising”.  This does sometime lead to clashes – “OMG who’s going to pick so and so up from the friend’s party” or “we can’t already be going out because we have just been invited somewhere else for dinner”. Plenty of room for improvement here.

Then there’s the IT support, “the internet isn’t working”, “yes it is I’m on it”, “why isn’t my document printing”, “we have run out of ink”, “can I have your credit card number please dad” !!!

Chris Lewis was right. I need a Domestic CIO. I don’t want to do it. Interested parties should apply in line through the usual channels. Hours 24x7x365 (no you can’t have Christmas Day off – that is one of the busiest days of the year for a Domestic CIO). Salary on application.

PS the Tower of London is a great day out for the family. Have your PA coordinate a trip there or mention it to your Domestic CIO.


Business internet mobile connectivity

Timico buys Handheld PCs

Once upon a time there were fixed line communications and mobile communications. Then the internet raised its hand and believers said Internet Protocol communications will rule, OK. This we all know and in the early days at least the fixed providers were shaking.

Nowadays IP is everywhere. We are bombarded every day with new websites, services and products promising to revolutionise our lives. So much so that I have actually pulled back a yard from experimenting with the latest and greatest. This is because if I let it happen I would spend all my time looking at new services, most of which will never see the light of a second round of funding. These days I let other people’s ideas take proper root before getting interested.

Notwithstanding all this there are some clear trends. Smart Phones and tablets are taking over our lives. I’m particularly surprised at the latter,

Business mobile connectivity spam

08452860706 keyword has attracted 346 visits to in September

The search keyword  08452860706 has attracted 346 visits to this month.  This was a surprise because the most popular keywords by far relate to FTTC.

08452860706 takes people to a blog post concerning mobile spam from a company called DXI Easycall. It would appear that this problem is fairly prevalent and presumably unpopular.

These visitors, none of whom have visited the site before,  don’t stay long though – 21 seconds compared with the site average this month of 1 minute 44 seconds.  Just long enough I guess to find out the culprit and move on.

End User mobile connectivity ofcom Regs spam

mobile spam

I was spammed on my mobile yesterday.  That is to say I had a cold call from a computer trying to sell legal services for those involved in motoring accidents.

This was extremely irritating – I can’t imagine anyone likes being suckered like this. I have checked and there doesn’t seem to be a telephone preference type service for mobile numbers.

The originating number was 08452860706 which is operated by DXI Easycall, a hosted contact centre business. You

Business internet mobile connectivity voip

Orange HD voice – when will the whole world go HD?

Mobile operator Orange has hit the headlines today with the launch of its HD voice service. Trials for this service, which uses the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband codec (AMR-WB – otherwise known as  G722.2), began in June this year in the south of England.

The service is initially only for Orange HD handset to Orange HD handset.  This is quite easy to do as “on-net” HD calls using the same codec don’t require transcoding and also do not therefore enter into the black art world of interoperability. 

HD voice has been the subject of discussion amongst the VoIP community in the UK this year.  A fair few vendors