Saturday, March 01, 2008

Carmi speaks

I've been talking to reporters again. Here's a quick snapshot of some of the more notable hits from the last week. The first two are television coverage of the latest rounds of cuts at Nortel:
The price battle proves "data is the new voice" and that "today's cell phone is tomorrow's smartphone," Carmi Levy, senior vice president of strategic consulting at AR Communications, told Both trends, he said, bode well for corporate mobility needs.

Enterprises should call their providers and begin negotiating better price point and data service plans.

"It's time to crack open that existing deal and realize some cost savings. IT leaders should be asking their providers 'what are you going to do for me?' And they should be prepared to jump to another carrier as it could prove very cost-effective," said Levy, who expects prices to keep dropping.

"IT needs to be proactive and get the biggest bang for their technology buck. Mobility is a critical business tool," he said.


Levy compares this type of strategy to the initial ISP approach when the Web came into play. At that time most ISPs offered minutes-based pricing plans. The industry, Levy said, finally realized that charging per minute wasn't the best business strategy.

"That was a ridiculous approach -- using a meter to charge people -- and it's the same now with data minutes," he said. "Providers need to offer an 'all you can drink' data plan for the enterprise."

And given Sprint Nextel's "brilliant" marketing move, the analyst expects such changes could come quick.

"Competitors can't afford to stand on the sidelines at this point," Levy said. "They all have to balance marketing efforts with better data plans and expanded coverage as mobile workers expect to have service wherever they are."
"How you get information into these devices and how you get the info out has been the Achilles heels for cellphones," said Carmi Levy, senior vice-president for strategic consulting at AR Communications, a Toronto-based communications firm. "That is, the clear limitations of (cell) phones are its keyboards and displays - two areas we will see significant change in over the coming years."

Rather than having to use the keyboard, Levy said you'll be able to talk to your phone - like the way Captain Kirk from Star Trek interacts with the U.S.S. Enterprise's onboard computer - thanks to advanced speech recognition.

"Rather than learning shorthand to type text messages quickly, and even beyond the current trend of 'touch,' the long-term solution is to bypass keyboard altogether with your voice" Levy said. "Increasing power, such as the new mobile Intel chip, and better software, can together convert speech into text quickly, smoothly and accurately."


Carmi, a technical expert and writer about the telecommunications field, said this will happen on two fronts: One solution is a dime-sized projector built-into the phone that can splash a 16-to 25-centimetre (7-to 10-inch) video on a nearby blank wall. (A Soeul-based company, Iljin Display, already has licensed the technology to fellow South Korean companies, Samsung and LG). "While this technology has been around for a while, one day you'll be able to incorporate a small-scale projection system into a phone as easy as it is to implement a camera in one today," said Levy.

A second and more private solution, however, will be a "virtual screen" that we could view on the lens of glasses. "Just like that IBM commercial a few years ago, with the guy on the bench," said Levy, with a laugh. "These may look a little odd at first, but they'll come to a point where they could be seamlessly integrated into everyday prescription glasses."

Over past couple of years we've seen phones becoming more connected, including high-speed 3G wireless technology (such as HSDPA, led by Rogers Wireless's Vision network), integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS for in-car or on-foot navigation. But soon it will all come together, including RFID (radio frequency identification), said Levy. It's a trend he calls "teleconvergence."

"Imagine you're walking down the street one day, and you're hungry for lunch - not only can you do a quick search of local restaurants, but your phone will know your preferences, it will tell you how to get there and show you the menu," said Levy.

With embedded RFID information, which communicates to a wireless sensor in the area, you could be walking into a department store and a digital coupon might flash on your phone's screen for a Blu-ray Disc you were previously interested in.

Google's Android project is a huge "driver" of this wireless integration and innovation, Levy said. "They're the king of integrated online services right now, and I believe their mobile platform could fundamentally change how we use our cellphones, too, combining maps, search, documents, mail, and so on."

This glimpse into the future is fascinating, but Levy said don't trade in your current cellphone just yet.

"Battery power has been the major limitation so far - in fact, it's getting worse, as phones continue to get smaller while the numbers of features are going up," Levy said. "As a result, if you forget to power your phone in the morning, you might have a doorstopper by lunch."
I'll post more media hits in the days to come, because the phone keeps ringing.


maryt/theteach said...

Hey, Carmi, Mr. VP, I'm impressed but don't really understand what you mean...I remember back when AOL charged by the Time Warner Cable(Queens NYC)charges me a whopping amount of money but I can use the Internet 24/7. I'm happy I guess.

kenju said...

I sure wish my cell phone had voice recognition. The number pad is so small that I am constantly hitting 2 numbers at a time and having to start over. I'm at the point where I think a slightly larger keyboard is better.

Michele sent me tonight!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Yo, Pithy dude... my eyeballs hurt trying to read that teeny tiny font you used. Can you do yourself justice for little me and make it bigger?

pretty please?


Askin' 'cause I love ya, Carmi.

Michael K. Althouse said...

I wouldn't mind trading some sunshine for snow...

But since I can't, I'll just take it and ride my motorcycle some more - it promises to be a mild evening, too.

Not here from Michele, directly anyway.

awareness said...

Carmi.....I'm really pleased for you......! Keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Now I must go see what this Nextel thing is and HOPE I can save some money! I'm waiting voice recognition for my next cell phone too. I simply can't drive and talk on the phone at the same time and when I'm driving is the only time anyone calls me on the cell phone....

But.. Good job there!

Anonymous said...

The correlation between the advances of technology and actual increases in productivity is always the issue, isn't it? While we are more "connected" now, than ever before, one wonders whether there are really advances in what we produce as a result thereof. Query whether a certain amount of "down time" is necessary to maintain a current level of productivity, regardless of the 24/7 nature of the world today. That is, there is always the law of diminishing returns, were increases in power or efficiency do not yield corresponding increases in productivity.

Thought provoking stuff.


Anonymous said...

Your name is certainly getting around, Carmi, and your words very quotable. While reading I can hear your voice because I heard it once in an audio you posted.

Hope all is well says me and Michele.