Posts Tagged ‘LTE’

Qualcomm at the Birth of the Mobile Generation

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, opened this year’s keynote “Born Mobile” at CES in Las Vegas by pointing out that this was the first time a mobile company has opened the show. Globally, mobile is at the heart and center of everything we do, transforming the way we live and giving rise to the new “Generation M”.  A survey of those people who have grown up “mobile” identified that 84% of them can’t go one day without their devices. Mobile is the largest technology platform in the history of mankind. There are 6.4 billion mobile connections worldwide and 1 million smartphones are added daily which is twice the global daily birth rate.

Qualcomm took the opportunity to share the platform with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft who has been the traditional opening keynote for many years. Ballmer showcased Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset used in the Windows-based Nokia Lumina 900 and HTC8X. Cementing their relationship, Ballmer thanked Jacobs for the opportunity to partner with Qualcomm and to experience being “born mobile”.  I would have to suspect that the famous “Wintel” partnership is in its sunset years… so what will the new partnership be called?

Jacob’s keynote offered insight into the new Snapdragon 800 chipset which will offer faster wireless connection in mobile devices by the second half of this year.  This quad core chip, operating at 2.5 Ghz, has 75% better performance and power efficiency than those of previous generations. These are coupled with enhanced graphics, next generation WiFi 802.11AC and LTE to provide online console gaming graphics capability.  Additionally, the chipset enables the playback and more importantly the capture and sharing of ultra-high definition video. This aspect is probably the most significant element in accelerating the penetration of ultra HD, which most thought would be constrained by the slow adoption of the TV industry. To demonstrate the power of the chip, Jacobs introduced the film producer, Guillermo del Toro, who previewed his upcoming ultra HD film “Pacific Rim”, played back on a Snapdragon device.

We were given a glimpse into many other exciting ways that Qualcomm is partnering to help interconnected devices, including sensors, facilitate the creation of a “digital sixth sense” that can gather information from the cyber world and bring it into the real world. One example given was an app being made available this summer called “Big Bird’s Words”. The Big Bird app from Sesame Street is devised as an early reading tool for children; it works on a device fitted with a camera and uses text recognition to enable children to point to words that Big Bird then repeats.

Overall, it was a high profile and powerful presentation that anchors Qualcomm at the center of the new “Generation M” world. To close, Adam Levine and two others from Maroon 5 played acoustic versions of some of their hits including “Pay Phone” – which Jacobs quipped should be renamed “Mobile Phone”!

Steve Bell, Principal, KeySo Global

Which 3 Digital Technologies became Catalysts for Change?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

So what exactly have we recognized as being the three catalyst technologies or products that emerged in the year 2007? Below is an overview of each of these and highlighted are the main factors that we believe have influenced their evolution and subsequent relevance today.


WiMAX was an early 4G technology that started the move of the U.S. market to wireless broadband; it is often likened to “Wi-Fi on steroids”. The fact that Sprint and Clearwire, a startup that was supported by Google and Intel, could deliver blisteringly fast mobile Internet service forced AT&T and Verizon, the two largest U.S. carriers, to accelerate their deployment of 4G LTE. This development meant that standards needed to be agreed upon and formalized, and that network equipment manufacturers needed to accelerate production in order to provide for these large customers.

Having AT&T and Verizon focus on a single frequency (700 MHz) made it easier for device manufacturers to accelerate their development of 4G Internet products and deliver consumer-ready devices. The fact that some of these device manufacturers had been working on WiMAX devices in cooperation with semiconductor providers meant that they could accelerate products based on the WiMAX chipsets that almost 80% matched LTE.

Subsequently, both Sprint and T-Mobile have also either invested in or announced plans to build a 4G LTE network on top of their existing systems. What this means is that for the first time all four large U.S. carriers are offering mobile Internet services utilizing the same technology as the rest of the world, enabling global interoperability and roaming.

The iPhone

The second catalyst product was the iPhone which has received much acclaim for its elegant design and simple user interface. The real essence of the catalytic change that the iPhone initiated, however, was a shift in the consumer paradigm of a mobile device being used solely for communication to one that enabled interaction. The iPhone allows users to connect easily on-the-go and to share information, content, pictures and video simply and effortlessly. When it was first released, users found the interface to be so effortless that data volumes climbed exponentially and severely disrupted the AT&T network that had not been designed for large data capability! This forced AT&T, as well as other mobile operators, to rethink the entire concept of network architecture to include Wi-Fi as an offload mechanism. It also resulted in AT&T acquiring Wayport, and in the process becoming the single largest operator of Wi-F in the U.S.

Not only did the iPhone change the existing consumer paradigm and network architectures, it also broke the carrier stranglehold on its relationship with the subscriber. The iPhone was and still is provisioned via iTunes, which had previously been the domain of the mobile operator. This relationship with the subscriber, initiated at the time of purchase, was then solidified through the introduction of the app store and ultimately the iCloud. Apple effectively took the existing mobile business model, tore it up and replaced it with a hybrid that established a stronger bond with the consumer based on end-to-end user experience. The impact of the iPhone’s innovative design, end-to-end system, business model, user paradigm and elegant packaging of an everyday technology has had a tsunami-like impact on RIM, Motorola and Nokia, as well as on major mobile operators around the globe.

The Amazon Kindle

The third catalyst product that has been an instrumental agent of change is the Amazon Kindle. This device did for a 500-year-old product concept, the book, what the Walkman or iPod did for music. Best sellers are now cheaper and easier to obtain via the Kindle which provides on-the-go access to the world’s largest library/bookstore. This simple to use, low cost device made the mobile Internet transparent to the user by incorporating the cost of access into the price of the book. Amazon achieved this by creating a blanket connection relationship with AT&T for global access. The fact that the Kindle e-Reader automatically creates a relationship with Amazon means that loyal subscribers are a natural evolution. Proof that this technological revolution is affecting the literary world is evidenced by the number of large bookstores, such as Borders in the U.S., that have closed, and Barnes & Noble swiftly producing their own e-Reader, the Nook.

The iPhone and the e-Reader together have evolved into an instant-on class of device – the tablet – that satisfies the mobile consumer’s need to instantly connect, be entertained and informed. While small enough to remain portable, smartphones and tablets facilitate sharing, learning, creating and interacting using wireless broadband connectivity (3G, 4G and WiMAX) and these in turn have become indispensable parts of our everyday digital lives.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global


Digital World Perspectives from a Week in Chicago

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Chicago may not be the center of the digital world but it can be a great place to find new perspectives!

This week I attended 4G World 2011, a four-day conference and expo that brought together an ecosystem of high tech vendors to talk about LTE – the technology that delivers 4G service to 33 networks in 23 countries, including Verizon, AT&T and Metro PCS in the US. This year’s conference was dominated by presentations highlighting the phenomenal growth in video and data traffic which is driving significant investments in spectrum and network equipment to deliver blazing mobile speeds anywhere that consumers go.                        


There was a marked sense of industry optimism as the initial 4G deployments are delivering faster than the anticipated growth in consumer uptake, and technical and operational challenges related to the network and devices are being accommodated with the expectation of exponential growth over the next 4 to 5 years.


At 4G World, multiple tributes were made to the legacy left to the industry by Steve Job’s introduction of the iPhone. Ironically, his greatest legacy may not be the device itself but the tsunami of data that his devices unleashed on the mobile networks of the world. Data traffic via mobile networks has increased 4,500 times in the last 13 years and in the last 4 years iPhone users have driven video to over 50% of traffic; it is predicted by Nokia Siemens Networks that this traffic will increase 1,000 times by the year 2020. It was also recognized by the CTO of Clearwire that every prediction on data capacity has been underestimated. Steve Job’s legacy has resulted in the acceleration and major rethinking of the architectures that enable the transport of this data, including the offloading of data from cellular networks to Wi-Fi, the introduction of small cells and the acceleration of LTE technology.

Faith and Trust

This week I heard Gillian Tett,USmanaging editor of the Financial Times, speak at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs about the current crisis inEurope. She identified that faith and trust are at the core of economic, financial, social and political systems; that the European crisis is part of a broader global problem of blind faith in financial alchemy where the following pillars have been consistently eroded and have failed:

  • rating agencies
  • securitization
  • banks’ balance sheets
  • models of valuation
  • regulators
  • the ability of government to secure and protect the system

Resulting from this, Tett noted there has been a shift in market psychology, collapsing of time horizons, credit markets that lack credit and a lack of trust in cyber trading. She pointed out that once this trust is lost it is very difficult to restore it. To compound this, Tett believes that in a world of instant communications and social media a dangerous situation is occurring, that of an accelerating cycle of uncertainty around these global systems.


It was interesting to hear two very different perspectives of the future, especially since both are significantly intertwined. Over the last 30 years, the growth and convergence of the information, computing and telecommunications (ICT) industries have contributed to a seven times increase in global GDP and facilitated not only globalization but also the connection of almost half the planet to information and communications. ICT industries contribute more than 2% of the global GDP, with Apple last year gaining the title of most valuable company in the world.

Men of ideas and vision, such as Steve Jobs, coupled with technology and science have the ability to create significant changes to the world we live in and to the wealth that we enjoy. ICT industries, however, are causing fundamental structural shifts in the way that traditional industries, societies and even politics behave. The structural shifts can be traumatic for those affected, as witnessed not only by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement taking place globally but also by the apparent inability of political leaders to find the answers to the resulting economic, financial and social problems. Converged technologies and social media are now enabling the so called 99% to stay as informed as the 1% while at the same time providing the mechanism for the 1% to more effectively engage, interact and tap into the collective knowledge and expectations of the people.

Connecting the Dots

We can all choose what to believe. If we recognize that change is ongoing, even if we don’t understand the change, with hindsight and a little insight it’s possible to take an optimistic path which will help to establish and rebuild our faith and trust in the emerging system. As Steve Jobs said: “Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference”. If politicians were to adopt this mindset, it might give them faith to tackle the global crisis and address the concern expressed by Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup: “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”.

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. Please contact us at, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC