Category Archives: Communication

Apple Watch – What’s its impact?

Apple Watch
Apple Watch – 3 Models

Last week, Apple announced their long-awaited Apple Watch. Having heard some very smart people suggest that Apple Watch is going to crush Basis, and many other existing players in wearables, I just had to share my 2 cents on this matter.

Bottom line: I think it won’t have that impact!

Continue reading Apple Watch — What’s its impact?

Facebook Home Highlights Android as a Double-edged Sword

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.

Continue reading Facebook Home Highlights Android as a Double-edged Sword

My 2013 Predictions

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.

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Readability and Understandability

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.

Continue reading Readability and Understandability

My 2012 Predictions

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: Continue reading My 2012 Predictions

My iPhone 5 Predictions

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. Continue reading My iPhone 5 Predictions

Inflight pricing: some airlines don’t get it

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…

Continue reading Inflight pricing: some airlines don’t get it

Communication Chaos!

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! Continue reading Communication Chaos!

Very old first blog post about In-flight Internet

Originally posted Nov 21, 2006 on Blogger:

That’s it. I took the plunge. Just as life couldn’t be much busier, I decided to share with you my very recent experience.

I’m now on a flight between Tel Aviv and Frankfurt, on my way to South Africa (for a mere 10 hours… HELP!). However, this flight conflicted with a conference call and WebEx that I had scheduled with over 15 participants. Changing the conference call time would have postponed it too much, delaying many dependent activities. Therefore, I decided to try out all the technologies available and to connect with the conference call from the flight. Thankfully, on this Lufthansa flight there’s wireless Internet connectivity that LH have branded FlyNet. For $30/flight or $10/hour, I can connect to the Internet and my VPN. I then proceeded to use the following technologies in combination in order to actually participate in the conference call:

  • WiFi to hook the laptop up to the WiFi access point on the plane
  • Satelite link for bi-directional Internet while in flight at 36,000 feet in the air
  • Skype to perform a VoIP conversation
  • SkypeOut to call for free to a colleague of mine in the US
  • My colleague connected me through the internal network to our company’s office in Israel to my assistant, who connected me to an active conference bridge
  • WebEx was used to chat with the participants as well as see the presentation live, as everybody else was seeing it
  • Bose noise canceling headset as my earphone to hear the conversation crystal clear without noise while in the air
  • IBM Thinkpad built-in microphone captured my voice. I had to mute it when I wasn’t speaking, but that was the only minor inconvenience

This impressed me – a fully productive flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt. I proceeded to call a bunch of my friends over Skype until just now, when I got the urge to document my experience.

Now the catch – they’re about to pull the plug on all this technology. Connexion by Boeing that operates the service for Lufthansa (and all other airlines in the world) has notified its customers that it is going out of business and pulling the service at the end of 2006. That would be a pitty. In our always-on, connected, world, having the ability to connect to the Internet, and through it to all communication, information, and entertainment in the world, is going to be assumed. It is hard to believe that this service is really going to have a hiccup and shut down.

True, not everybody wants to be connected all the time. Many see flights as a way to “disengage” and “disconnect”. I believe this is a temporary situation – the next generation might no longer feel that way. In any case, that’s a choice anybody can make. The nice thing about airplanes is that they are such noise environments and everybody is already shielded with some noise reducing (active or passive) mechanism, that it is hard to interfere with your neighboors on the flight. Especially if you have a headset with a boom to capture your speech right from your mouth.

Obviously, a huge capital investment went into Connexion by Boeing. In fact, they were my customer in the past and we helped them a bit putting the back-end of these systems in place. As with the Air Phone service, I believe it wasn’t marketted successfullly nor priced correctly. They really needed to get people addicted and gradually raise the price. Air Phone was priced at $3-10 per minute for many years. It became such that people understood that this is a luxury-only service (not even suitable for the average business traveler / road warrior). The mindset was set so well that even though in the last two years the price was dropped to $0.69/minute (domestic US) for Verizon Wireless subscribers or $0.10/minute when a subscriber pays $10/month. That made it so reasonable that I was a frequent user. All my mobile phone calls came right to my seat when I was on domestic calls in the US. Well, I’m sad to say that Verizon also decided to pull the plug on this service, and it too, has recently been shut down (or is about to be shut down very shortly). Mostly – nobody knew about it, or was made to understand the value…

What’s the message here? Companies that market such advanced products really need to get to the right customers, market effectively, sell effectively, and price effectively. There are, obviously, massive investments – but isn’t it a shame that only the companies that buy out these assets at bargain-basement prices will really reap the benefits of the technology?
While not a surprise, it appears to have evaded Connexion by Boeing and Verizon that getting the technology to work in a carrier-grade fashion is a far cry from commercial success. The investment in changing customer behavior to use the disruptive service was critically overlooked.

Unfortunately, many of the same mistakes are happening these days as most of the world’s service providers are rolling out IMS and NGN network infrastructures. They often overlook the key factors that will make their services commercially viable or total commercial flops. Service providers must focus on rolling out customer experiences – not networks nor services. Only then, will they be able to capitalize on this potential. This, of course, is not the only advice – but it is an important lesson too often overlooked.

I don’t guarantee many more of these – but who knows? I might like it…

Update on December 24, 2007:

At last, I see a future for in-flight Internet access. Multiple technologies with more viable approaches are emerging. These are all described in this article. I’m still a believer that the more long-term acceptable solution would be satelite-based rather than ground based – given that the value of in-flight Internet is more valuable on longer haul flights that tend to span the 80%+ of our planet that is covered with the water. In any case, I’m still waiting to reemerge as an in-flight Internet user once service resumes. Until then, I tend to sleep more on flights than I ever used to. Would love to hear feedback.