I love NYC. I also like getting around on subway – usually, it’s very efficient. I don’t like the heat nor do I like the crowds in rush hour, but generally, it’s pretty good. Best thing is that it zips through traffic and is rather predictable.

However, when it’s hot in NYC, as it was this week (and is most of the summer), the subway is not such a “cool place” to be. The trains themselves are air-conditioned, but the platforms are not. Other subway systems in the world dealt with this issue (usually in newer systems) – not NYC.

Promised-Land-PosterFirst, I’d like to say this is not a typical blog post for me – just something that seemed interesting and I wanted to share.

I get it that companies, organizations, and even countries use film as a way to get their message across to the masses and to affect public opinion. I was just on a flight and began watching the movie Promised Land with Matt Damon. One minute into the movie, it’s clear this movie is going to be about a farm town story where a big natural gas company comes in to buy all the property and begin fracking to produce the gas that lies beneath their town.

Then, I notice that “Image Nation Abu Dhabi” is listed in the opening credits (small print, short notice, no specific credit mention), and I guess it is probably involved, somehow, in the production of the film. I paused the film and wrote down my thoughts: What does Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have to do with this film? It reminded me that Abu Dhabi and UAE are oil nations. Actually, the whole economy of UAE is based on oil as the world’s third largest oil exporter.

Facebook Home Promo Image

A couple of days ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Facebook Home. Rather than the speculated new phone from Facebook, it’s instead, a new “home” screen of the Android phone. Or, put differently, an Android Facebook “skin”. Wired went as far as to refer to this as Zuck’s Android Takeover.

Facebook Home has vividly demonstrated that the Android ecosystem has been a double-edged sword, both for the handset manufacturers that are on the Android bandwagon, and to a lesser extent, to the mobile telecom operators.

That’s not my title! I owe thanks to blogger AnneMarie Ciccarella for that title.  You might imagine my thoughts reading it. It blew me away! It was gratifying and exciting, and it’s not just that one title – that’s how it’s been all month with reporters, bloggers, and users as they get exposed to Medivizor and share their thoughts. AnneMarie was among several bloggers (we love you all!) whom have written about us and encouraged their readers to try Medivizor out.  As a result, many users requested and received invitations to our early access, signed up, and began using Medivizor.

Continuing the annual tradition: Last year, my predictions for 2012 turned out to be remarkably good with 85% accuracy! That’s even better than the 77% accuracy of 2010 and 2011 predictions. If you want to check it out yourself, here’s the scorecard.

I loved the video summary Google did for 2012. I actually didn’t mention many of these developments. So surely you must consider my predictions not “all that will be”, but rather, what will be within specific areas that I’m focused on. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on that I don’t touch on.

A few years ago, I was excited for every new disciple I brought in on the “TED-secret”. Now, that it is no longer a secret and most everybody knows about it, I want to suggest a new concept: The TED-talk-a-day diet. This is a diet of continuous learning and inspiration, in digestible portions. You know TED Talks are great – why not make them a permanent part of your life?!

A recent study by researchers at Loyola University found that as many as 63% of prostate cancer websites cannot be read or understood by someone who hasn’t completed high school education. Why is this important? Well, one of the study’s references suggests that as many as 90 million adult Americans have literacy skills that test below high school reading levels. This is despite the fact that 87.58% of US adults over 25 years old have a high school education (US Census Data). Also, people with lower socioeconomic backgrounds may have even lower reading levels (as much as 7th-8th grade, on average). In fact, The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends that providers prepare patient education material suited to fit 4th through 6th grade reading level.

It’s been awhile since my last blog post. I apologize, I’ve been busy. I’ve spent most of my time helping several startups get off the ground, some of which you’ll hear more about very soon. Among these, and the one I’ve spent the bulk of my energy on, is Medivizor. Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be sharing in this blog about the challenges that Medivizor is addressing, the challenges of starting a new company, and some of our experiences.

Supposedly private photo on Facebook

If you use Facebook, shop on Amazon, or blog, you’ll definitely benefit from reading this blog. Please share with others whose well-being you care about.

A brief example: A few years ago I ran a survey about privacy on Facebook. Over 90% of the respondents (both genders, across all ages) responded that privacy is important to them. However, their actions contrasted sharply with this concern. By merely responding to my survey, they had agreed to provide me access to all of their private information on Facebook. So much for privacy. There is a tendency to assume that we’re being protected, that some geek somewhere has decided something that will guard our information. This is not a valid assumption. Read on!

For the past 5 years I’ve been privately tracking the accuracy of my predictions, I must admit that my results have been pretty good. For the last two years I’ve been publishing annual prediction podcasts within Amdocs called DoxCast which, together with Adi Lachman, I’ve co-created and co-hosted. DoxCast gave me an opportunity to be “on the record” with my yearly predictions – for 2010 and 2011. My accuracy on these is 77%. With these results, it seems appropriate to start a new tradition on my blog – annual predictions for the year to come. Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2012 in no particular order:

Since everyone is making iPhone 5 predictions, I will too. Let me acknowledge up front that I do not have any inside information, knowledge of leaked designs, or special access to the powers that be. I am just trying to figure out what Apple plans to do by extrapolating from Apple’s past activities. By considering how the company evolves its products responds to the capabilities and features of competing products, including things that it tends to hold back on for a variety of reasons, I can make some reasonable predictions.

Cisco is not a happy place to be these days. Last week, when Cisco announced they would be cutting as many as 11,500 employees, or 15% of their 73,408-strong workforce, I was reminded of the earlier step they took last quarter, when Cisco announced it would shut down and discontinued Flip, pink-slipping 550 employees. You might recall that Cisco acquired Pure Digital, the manufacturer of the popular Flip digital camcorder, for $590 million back in 2009. Even then many observed this was not a great fit.

My very first blog post was about my experience with Internet and phone service on planes, and its early disappearance. Now inflight Internet service is reappearing, at least in US domestic routes. The point I was making there was that airlines are experts at pricing airline tickets, maximizing yield. However, they couldn’t figure out how to price and market telephone and Internet service inflight. Well, it seems like not much has changed, at least on some airlines.

I travel quite a bit, mostly on Continental (now in the process of merging with United) – which I mostly enjoy. This morning I boarded an early morning coast-to-coast Continental flight of over 5 hours (and I was not upgraded). Each seat, even in economy, had a nice-looking entertainment system with over 90 channels of DirecTV satellite TV as well as several movie channels and more. The passenger sitting next to me commented upon arriving at his seat and seeing the system: “now that’s the way to fly!” Little did he know…

Have you noticed that the more means of communications we have, it appears as though we might be communicating less? To illustrate the problem, I created a list of my communication patterns.

Let’s begin with the devices I use:

  1. My mobile phone – an iPhone – on me all the time. Charged at night on my bedside, but silent and on my belt all day. It’s connected to the Internet but only when I am traveling domestically (otherwise, it’s occasionally connected on WiFi). Loaded with over 200 apps, including Mail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Viber and many more communication apps. The phone has a voice mail that I check rarely – about once a month!

I’ve been asked to deliver an opening keynote at an upcoming conference. In this talk, I’ve been asked to survey future technologies and how they might shape communication service providers landscape. To prepare, I started jotting down a list of all the interesting future technologies and it immediately occurred to me that many of these are already here with us today. This reminded me of the quote by William Gibson – “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed”. And indeed, the difference between today and the future is often merely the pervasiveness of these technologies. In most cases, the technologies exist and their potential can be anticipated to a large extent, if considered carefully. But then I wondered whether I missed something or got my estimates wrong. It’s much easier to see the direction of a trend than to know when it will be realized. For example, we all know that at some point in the future, cars will drive themselves. The question isn’t whether or not this...

Crowdfunding – the notion of funding “something” by collecting funds from the crowd, is not new. Philanthropy has many such examples and 3 years ago, Barack Obama’s campaign for presidency was an astonishing example of how it could become extremely effective. By some accounts, there are over 150 web sites that support various forms of crowdfunding.

My plunge into crowdfunding occurred a few months ago.

Let me tell you the story:

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Tal PortraitTal Givoly has over 20 years of telecommunications technologies and software development experience, and has held management positions in technology, innovation, intellectual property, research, development, standards, and product management at Amdocs, XACCT, MIS, and other companies. Until March 2011 and for the 7-years prior, Tal was Chief Scientist at Amdocs and led innovation activities across the company.

Tal is a prolific inventor with over 25 granted patents. Tal is recognized for his passion for, and expertise in, innovation, being invited to speak at major industry events such as TeleManagement World, Mobile World Congress, CTIA and Billing & OSS World. He was also actively involved in industry forums and standard bodies including TM Forum, IETF, ATIS, and IPDR.org. Tal was a director on the board of IPDR.org and TM Forum. Tal has been named one of the top 10 people to follow in OSS/BSS.

Tal is now a full-time entrepreneur and inventor – focused on trying to build some world-changing companies. The most important startup Tal is now involved in is Medivizor, as Co-Founder and CEO. Occasionally, he shares his thoughts on this blog.