End User olympics

Millennium stadium postscript – 3G data performance & Galaxy S3 battery life

The mobile data service turned out great.I suspect if you weren’t on o2 it might have been a different story though I have no evidence of that.

The upload capacity did come under a bit of strain. It started at round 1.6 megs and dropped to 0.85 megs at half time but that is still good going.

I only really had 2 problems. One was with WordPress for android – it didn’t like the panoramic photo I included in the post.

The second was battery life. I hit the s3 hard with a lot of internet use and photographic activity. I was at the millennium stadium for two matches. By the second half of the second match the battery was running low so I switched off as I needed to make phone calls afterwards. This still wasn’t bed. After roughly 4 hours of pretty solid use I was down to 24% battery power remaining.

The catering at the ground was a different story – It was sIxquId for a sandwIch! My son queued for 45 minutes for a pizza only to find they had run out when he got to the front of the queue. This was during the first match! Whoever the caterer was I don’t have anything good to say about them.

It dIdn’t spoil the overall enjoyment of the evening which was a super family affair. The caterers could have taken a lesson from McDonald’s where I fed my son afterwards. It seemed as if the whole of the 70, 000 present at the ground went there. The queue went down quickly and it felt that those burgers were being served at speeds Usein Bolt would have been proud of 🙂

Posted using Samsung Galaxy S3.

Engineer mobile connectivity

Growth in traffic over O2 3G data network between 2008 and 2011

growth in O2 3G traffic correlated with device intro milestonesThis chart is a few months old now but I haven’t had it all that long and is still interesting to take a look at (click either pic to enlarge).Growth in traffic over O2 3G network between 2008 and 2011

It shows the growth in O2 3G data traffic between 2008 and 2011. See the spike when the iPad was introduced combined with the football world cup traffic (dunno why anyone bothers!).

I don’t have an up to date one which would probably be even more interesting but I suspect that is too close for commercial comfort.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be covering two main themes. These are the Olympics Games and 4G. They are different though to some extent the technical aspects are very similar. Both subjects are going to be in our consciousness quite considerably from here on.

I’m not going to be blogging or tweeting over the Easter Holidays so see you all back on the 16th April, thoroughly refreshed and ready for the sensory onslaught that will be the run-in to London2012.

PS Thanks to O2 for the chart – keep the info coming guys – everyone is interested 🙂


Business mobile connectivity

do’s and don’ts of exhibitionism – retail expo #RBTE

Which header photo do you prefer? This oneblack sheep all in a rowor this one?mints mints glorious mints

I’ve just left the Retail Business Technology Expo at Earl’s boring boring boring boring boringcourt. I was there with Murco IT Director Umar Bajwa to talk about the 3G fail over they use in their petrol stations. Had a few interesting enquiries as a result so worth doing. We also had some media interviews so if you are a regular reader of the retail verticals look out for it.

After our talk I wandered around the exhibition to check out developments in the retail world. The first thing that struck me was there were a number of exhibitors offering “cloud services”. I realise that Timico offers “cloudgive us a kiss darlin' services” but at the show we were pitching 3g mobile fail overs for huge operational efficiencies. I have decided henceforth to ban the use of the term cloud on this blog and will be recategorising some posts when I get a chance.

It’s amazing how many boring exhibition stands there were. These in turn lead to desperately boring people standing round being desperately bored. Take  a look at the first small photo. The bored looking bloke stood around not talking to anyoneon the ocky - Tref the terror of the triple twenty just asked me “how I was doing today” as I walked past. I think I probably muttered something in reply, kept my head down and scuttled straight past.

Although there were a few unimaginative stands, in keeping with the retail nature of the show there were also a lot of interesting stand-out attractions. The attractive girl looking excited at the prospect of me kissing her is actually a back lit 2 dimensional mannequin. She caught my attention and drew me in. Also the Kinnect darts game made me stop at the stand – though I can’t for the life of me remember who the companyinteractive table used to find cocktail recipes was or what they were selling  (sorry).

The table in the next photo was pretty interesting. It had an interactive touch screen which you used to select ingredients for a cocktail. Once the choices were made it offered you a range of drinks that could be made  using those ingredients and printed off a chit for you to take to the bar to buy the cocktail. Pretty cool I thought but at £38k an idea requiring a pretty cool business case to justify the expense.

As regards my initial question re the headers, I prefer the one with the beer in it. This is more down to the liveliness of the stand but also it is really clutching at straws to think that a row of mints is going to attract people. The stand itself was very nice, I’m sure, but didn’t reach out, grab my sleeve and pull me in. Coincidentally the same company’s leaflets had been distributed freely around the sinks in the Gents toilet. What can they have been thinking of?!

As you will have realised what started out with the best intentions of being a post on retail technology has ended up as an analysis of what makes a company stand out from the crowd. In today’s marketplace you can’t afford to me “just another left handed widget vendor”. Your left handed widget needs to shout out “come and buy me – your search for the ideal widget is over”. The show seems to have been a success from the Timico perspective. We made some noise about our Mobile Access Management solutions, got some potentially great new enquiries and used the opportunity to meet some customers old and new.

I’ll leave you with some more photos from the exhibition. Some have artistic value and some just illustrate how to wind down at the end of a hectic day at a trade show. Anyone care to guess the name of the cocktail being poured by the barman (not at Earl’s Court). Also where were we?

guess the name of the cocktail?Moet anyone?

I liked these bags :)














Engineer mobile connectivity

Murco 3G Mobile Access Management case study – huge operational impact

Mobile data has been a bit of a theme recently on the blog. It must be trendy1. This is quite gratifying because when Timico was set up 8 years ago this Easter the mobile play was part of the vision of an overall convergence story that also included IP data networks and VoIP. At the time the sales pitch was the convenience of being able to source all your communications requirements from one supplier and on one bill. The approach back then was pretty revolutionary and stood us in good stead.

What we couldn’t foresee at the time was how the use of mobile data would grow and the effects of the more powerful mobile handset on our patterns of behaviour. That early decision to include mobile in the portfolio is now starting to payback and today we are announcing a case study with customer Murco Petroleum.

Last Autumn we got our first Ethernet connection into the O2 3G data network. The plan was to offer customers a cost effective multi-tentant version of the secure APN (Access Point Name – don’t ask) used by large corporations as private mobile Wide Area Networks. The resulting Mobile Access Management service is what is being used by Murco today as a mobile backup to their Timico broadband based MPLS WAN – the key infrastructure over which they carry secure payment transactions.

This MAM service has some significant benefits

End User travel

Random connectivity musings of a traveller

with all these wires running along the train tracks why isn't there better connectivity on boardThere is frost on the ground but it is a bright morning and I am on the way to London. I’m using the train WiFi which according to the speed tester is giving me 3.1Megs. I don’t know what it’s max speed is but the train is not very full – when it is full it certainly doesn’t feel like 3 Megs & I sometimes oscillate between WiFi and 3G and mostly 2G. Currently 3Megs feels fast enough.

We put up with poor connectivity on a train and accept that when we go in to a tunnel it disappears altogether. We shouldn’t have to.

I’m off to Olympia for UCExpo – it’s a good place to get together with people and I have a few meetings lined up over the two days. In my experience connectivity at Exhibition Halls is poor. I once did a VoIP video conferencing demo over 3G. It was all fine in the dry run but of course once the place filled up with thousands of punters it was a different matter. I could barely get the client registered let alone use it in a demo. The patter had to kick in big time:) I don’t know why we should put up with poor connectivity at these places. There is no reason for it. They know we are coming. Perhaps I’ll be surprised.

Between Kings X station and Olympia connectivity will be pretty variable and of course on the Underground it will be non-existent, mostly, though there is no need for this to be the case.

Most pubs I’ve been to in London recently offer free wifi. 20 minutes and a stop in Newark to pick up some punters later the on-train WiFi speed is down to 1.1Megs.

Is Utopia a country with perfect connectivity1? What is that connectivity speed? It’s not 1 or 2 Megs. It has to be fast enough for us never to notice any delay. Bandwidth on demand. With the massive growth in mobile apps this connectivity has to get a lot better a lot more quickly than it is doing so. It’s all very well being ok when you are sat in your living room and using your home WiFi but that on its own isn’t good enough any more.

I’m up to 8.4Megs at Peterborough station but that may be my SIM kicking in with HSPDA. Outside the station, with more people on board it is down to 0.11Megs. This is more like it. It makes my whinging more valid.

I would say 100Megs per person would be a good number to have but it will be a moving number. It is going to depend on what you are doing at a given point in time. Bandwidth needs when just sending texts are different to when uploading photos for example.

I’m getting nearer to the big smoke. What’s happened to the sun? Thatsenoughfornow.

1 Ok ok add in perfect health service, zero unemployment etc but I’m trying to stay focussed here.

PS Bloke sat behind me is reading out his card details to someone over the phone! Including security number. I could have written it all down. Perhaps someone did. Personal security will be a blog post for another day.

Engineer mobile connectivity

3G back up for retail credit card processing and Cadbury Creme Eggs

Creme Egg photos courtesy of Cadbury - yum yumJust had a pot of tea at the St Pancras Renaissance 5star hotel – as you do. It’s my home from home in St Pancras. When it came to paying their credit card machines weren’t working – internet was down. They had to resort to the old fashioned paper imprint machine. I think retailers pay more commission for manual transactions because they are more prone to fraud. Not ideal but at least they were able to take my payment I guess.

They need a 3G back up service for their credit car processing system. Would save a lot of hassle and probably pay for itself in reduced fees – have you seen the price of a cuppa there?

Last weekend I was turned away from the Shell Garage on Burton Road in Lincoln. They were only doing cash sales as guess what – their credit card system wasn’t working. They didn’t actually turn me away – I took that decision myself. Sometimes these decisions are easy.

Credit card swipe systems these days either use ISDN or broadband connectivity. Had the Shell garage had a 3G backup it would have saved them a lot of cash. I don’t know the sums but if for the sake of argument the average tankful was £80, 10 lanes and 5 minutes per fill-up then that works out at nearly ten grand an hour plus all the Cadbury Creme Egg sales that generate the real gross margin.

Watch this space.

See ya.

PS I like Cadbury Creme Eggs – just sayin’

Business internet mobile connectivity

Fixed Mobile Convergence needs a philosophical change amongst the mobile operator community

FMC is really the nirvana where all networks finally converge. We are already experiencing it with internet connectivity – I keep up to date with facebook, twitter (and, ahem, of course work and email) via the internet connection on my mobile phone. We use both WiFi and 3G/GPRS to do this and whilst service can be intermittent it does work and is reasonably ubiquitous.

Convergence of voice over fixed and mobile networks is really the final piece of the jigsaw. Since Timico started selling VoIP services around 5 years ago we have been looking at FMC solutions. These have all been based on WiFi for the mobile piece.

Business mobile connectivity

Manx Telecom or sometimes you just have to have fun

I’m on holiday this week but in the interest of keeping the momentum going on the blog it is worth posting some relevant collateral. You will have to scroll down to the bottom to get the association with technology.

The video below was taken on Saturday at the breakwater in Peel in the Isle of Man – very stormy but also quite exciting.


The next day it was calm during which time the “stills” were taken.

Peel Harbour - traditionally home of the herring fleet
Peel Harbour - traditionally home of the herring fleet


lifeboat at the quayside by the castle in Peel.
lifeboat at the quayside by the castle in Peel.


still waters after the storm
still waters after the storm


So where is the link with IP technology?  Actually the Isle of Man was the original test bed for the 3G network.  I grew up here and I recall on one visit home making one of the first commercial 3G calls to Mitel in Canada, my then employer.  A long time ago now.

3G wasn’t IP at the time of course.  My belated thanks to Richard Fletcher of Manx Telecom for that call.