An electronic payment story today: The credit card industry has been through quite some pain in Germany the past couple of weeks with a year 2010 bug hampering transactions at teller machines and in shops. But here's some good news I wanted to post long before but forgot:
For many years electronic payment in France was a pain for me as the chip on my German EC/maestro card didn't work there. I always had to tell shop assistants not to use the chip but to swipe the card through to read the magnetic stripe. I got so frustrated that I reverted to paying with cash or with a credit card that did not yet have a chip.
So after another little glitch late last year when credit card information was supposedly stolen in Spain, credit card companies around the world replaced affected cards in a hurry. Probably due to having been at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I was one those customers getting a replacement card. This time it contained a chip and this one now works in France as well. Great, at least from this perspective the credit card industry finally gets their act together. Now I can blend in again...
Let's hope the 2010 bug doesn't ruin it again... Just makes me wonder where we are with mobile payment in Europe these days. Probably still nowhere.
I'm back at home after a short visit to Norway this week to give a talk at the 2nd anniversary meeting of MoMo Oslo on Monday. It's been a great trip and a great MoMo with about 150-200 people showing up for the event. With Steinar Svalesen, Ajit Jaokar, Tomi Ahonen, Andrew Grill and Karine Storaker Braaten I think we offered a diverse program and despite the long program of over 3 hours the hall was still packed at the end. Thanks very much to Shaun Thanki for making it happen! Thanks also to all the people taking the time to talk to me after the presentation I learnt a lot about life and mobile in Norway!
No need to take it from me though, all presentations, the video and pictures can be found online:
I'd say that's excellent online coverage of the event!
And I learnt a couple of mobile things while walking a bit through Oslo: Two things are hard to find: Mobile phone stores from network operators and base station antennas. Both are very well hidden and you have to look closely :-) Also, I didn't see or hear anything of the LTE network supposedly running in Oslo!?
Picture above courtesy of MoMo Norways Flickr stream.
In my latest book I have not only described how IMS works in mobile networks in Chapter 4 but I also gave a short introduction to the fixed line counterpart which was initially specified by TISPAN before the activities were merged in 3GPP. I've been wondering a bit lately if it's going to be easier to implement IMS in fixed line networks compared to mobile networks. Here's what I think is much easier:
These days I see a lot of talk in the press about rising wireless data consumption. To make things more spectacular, things don't double, no they rise by 100% (or by 200% or by 400% [insert your own % here]). Sounds much more dramatic, no? But what's even worse is that without a base from which the rise is calculated, it's completely meaningless. And usually that base is not given.
Here's an example: Let's say network use was 1%. Doubling that brings the network use to 2%. That's a lot isn't it? 100% more but the network is still sitting around doing pretty much nothing. But 100% more...(Note: Agreed, I've selected the other extreme for my example here...)
Also, such numbers kind of suggest that things will continue to grow at the same rate or even faster and the numbers are set in a light that suggests operators are in real trouble in the very near future. But that's also a wrong assumption. At some point everybody has 5 phones, several 3G dongles, etc. and bandwidth needs will mainly grow with more use from the same number of people and devices. And how much growth that requires is a different story again.
But one thing is clear, mobile operators need to increase the capacity of their networks over time to keep up with the demand. But then that's not much different from what fixed line operators do to keep up with the demand for high speed Internet connections. Maybe they have to do even more with digging up roads, putting new fibers in, etc. From a different point of view they are even doing the ground work for wireless network capacity extensions as they will also benefit from the fibers in the ground.
Changes over time tend to blend in into everyday work unless you really think about them. Just recently, I came across a list of network vendors I wrote down in 2005 to give readers examples of big wireless network infrastructure vendors. The list read:
Obviously the list is not exhaustive and not in a particular order. Powerhouses in 2005, no?
Now it's 2010 and four out of those five no longer exist in that form or shape. Today the list would read:
Here's a link to an interesting video produced by 3GPP during the September 2009 plenary meeting in Seville, Spain. In the video the plenary chairmen of Service Architecture (SA), GERAN (GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio access), RAN (UMTS and LTE radio access) and CT (Core Network and Terminals) give their opinion on the state of the industry, where 3GPP is heading and the main features currently discussed for Release 9. And from a procedural point of view you get short insights in how 3GPP meetings a run and how many people attend.