Tag: mobile

UK eCommerce traffic is mostly mobile

SmartphonesBeancounters at SimilarWeb have been adding up the numbers and dividing by their shoe size and decided that 65 percent of total ecommerce traffic in the UK in January 2016 came from a mobile device.

However the report said that despite the dominance of mobile, brands need to plan more carefully. Most ecommerce businesses need a better understanding of the true role of mobile within the omnichannel.

Marketers make the mistake of being focused on mobile at the expense of other channels. Unless the response is supported by analysis of a brand’s own consumer journey and mobile’s role within it, it can be easy to take the wrong action, the report said.

Basically a high level of mobile visits don’t translate into makign piles of dosh. More than 69 percent of shoppers say they have searched for a product or service on their phone, then gone on to purchase on a computer or offline. When purchases are made on mobile, the monetary value of the sale can be less – the average order value on mobile purchases is 20 per cent lower than on desktops.

The report suggests that budgets should be spent in a way that optimises overall conversions, rather than on any single device. There needs to be better cross-device measurement and attribution, so that marketers concentrate their effort where it’s most useful.

Vodafone is back in the money

vodafoneBritain’s Vodafone posted a rise in its quarterly sales for the first time in nearly three years.

This was thanks to improving trends in its key European markets and demand for its 4G mobile services.

The world’s second largest mobile operator said the rise in fourth quarter revenue of 0.1 percent, which followed 10 quarters of declines, meant that its overall earnings could also stabilise in 2016.

Vodafone has been hit hard by the constraints on consumer spending in its big European markets and by regulator-imposed price cuts, forecast a range for 2015-16 earnings of £11.5 billion pounds to “£12 billion.

Compared to the £11.9 billion pounds it reported for the 2014-15 period the company could be heralding a return to growth following seven straight years of earnings decline.

Analysts say Vodafone has a tendency to set a cautious outlook so the figures might even be better than that.

Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said the company had seen increasing signs of stabilisation in many of its European markets, supported by improvements in its commercial execution and very strong demand for data.

Vodafone has 446,000 mobile customers in countries ranging from Albania to Spain, Qatar, India, South Africa and New Zealand. However, in the EU, customers cut back on using their phones at a time when Vodafone needed to invest in new networks.

With growth also slowing in its emerging markets, Vodafone embarked on a programme to either build or buy superfast fixed-line broadband networks to compete with rivals offering mobile contracts alongside television, broadband or fixed-line deals.


BT makes a play for mobile phone market

btlogoTelco giant BT is to enter the mainstream smartphone market again this year and will offer 4G services at an aggressive £5 SIM only rate.

But the move is likely to prompt investigation by UK regulators as the number of providers has now sunk to just three companies.

BT is attempting to buy EE but also has spectrum it can use itself. It isn’t yet ready to offer handsets itself, just SIM cards.

BT formerly owned O2, but sold it to Spanish telco Telefonica in 2005.

The company is likely to offer its sports service to people who sign up to its tariff, and that may be attractive to some people.

Paolo Pescatore, a director at CSS isnight, described BT Mobile’s launch as “more aggressive than many anticipated. He said: “BT has made the right decision to offer a range of of simple and transparent packages as part of its return to the consumer mobile market. The £5 SIM only deal for existing BT broadband households is probably the best value 4G SIM only deal in the market.”

He said BT is able to bring something different to the party by offering BT Sport and BT Wi-Fi.

Chromebooks upset the PC apple cart

chromebookThere’s more bad news for the PC market as it appears that Google Chromebooks are taking market share in the low end and the education markets.

ABI Research said Chromebooks, which rely heavily on the cloud, start up much faster than Windows PCsand are pretty affordable too, have “gained traction” in the North American market.

And it’s not just home users who are buying them – organisations are buying them too, with shipments close to five million last year.

Analyst Stephanie Van Vactor said that cloud services and the collapse of economies worldwide were the impetus for designers and developers to create cheap and cheerful devices, like the Chromebook.

“Chromebooks were the result, and the ‘anytime anywhere” access to content is a mobile-centric game changer,” she said.

The education market in particular has a yen for Chromebooks, mostly because of Google Apps for Education, she said. The business and the education sector together accounted for 62 percent of Chromebook shipments.

Another factor is the price. The average selling price for a Chromebook is $226 in the States, while it’s $420 for a tablet – presumably an Apple iPad.

“Google has taken to heart the popularity of mobile devices and developed a personal computing device that is a functional solution,” said Van Vactor. She said: “This style of computing works for the on the go lifestyle people are becoming accustomed to and will continue to impact the future of computing as the market shifts and changes.”

Standards start for the internet of things

Internet of ThingsWhile there’s no doubt that in the next few years things ain’t what they used to be, and everything will be connected, there’s a distinct lack of standards right now.

But, according to a report from heavyweight analyst Frost & Sullivan (F&S), the move to standardise the IoT is taking shape.

It said a number of standardisation bodies in Europe and the US are working towards standard privacy policies and how devices will work together.

F&S said a committee has been formed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute to work on machine to machine privacy standardisation.

And the Open Automative Alliance is a group of car companies and tech partners working worldwide to create a standard Android platform so that cars and mobiles will work together.

Analyst Svapnadeep Nayak said IoT needs an open architecture and worries enterprises worry because they want to maintain the integrity of their data.

Kayak thinks that by using a common cloud infrastructure with one application programming interface (API) for all sectors, IoT will bring down the costs of deployment and improve the efficiency of data streaming from gadgets and devices everywhere.

You’re trapped by mobile ads

330ogleA frenzy of competition from major vendors for advertising revenue including the mobile market means growth between now and 2020 compared to the conventional advertising market.

That’s the conclusion of ABI Research today, which said in a report the competition is between Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others to push adverts at you through your mobile device.

Growth in the mobile advertising market is set to grow 16 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, compared to the total advertising market at 11 percent.

ABI thinks that mobile advertising will represent over 50 percent of total advertising revenue in the next few years.

Right now, Twitter and Facebook have the largest chunk of the market and so the strongest mobile advertising revenues.

The research company believes that there will be plenty of acquisitions as the different players jockey for position to grow their revenues.

Google is the clear leader in the search advertising sector but it faces increasing competition in the years to come, too.

AMD claims impressive power savings for Carrizo

AMD-Technician-Poses-With-Chip-WaferAMD has been talking up its upcoming Carrizo chip for notebooks and low-power desktops claiming that it will cut power significantly over Kaveri.

Although AMD still is not saying what the actual power consumption or the performance of the Carrizo chip will be it hinted that will offer double-digit improvements in performance and battery life compared to Kaveri.

Since AMD positioned it as competitive to Intel’s midrange Core i5 chips in January 2014 it is likely that Carrizo will be heading towards the same place.

This has led some people to suggest that AMD is skipping on performance improvements to improve battery life – which is a good way to reduce battery consumption without having to make many changes.

Sam Naffziger, an AMD fellow claimed AMD was just as concerned with performance, it was just that it was more interested in performance per watt. “But most of the form factors that are in the market today are power constrained.”

AMD is expected to release a Carrizo paper to International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week.

AMD’s Carrizo APU is made up of an undisclosed number of “Excavator” CPU cores and eight AMD Radeon cores that serve as an integrated graphics chip.

It measures 250.04 square mm. AMD said and the Excavator cores execute five percent more instructions per clock than  Kaveri, consuming 40 percent less power across 23 percent less die area—3.1 billion transistors in all.

Most of Carrizo’s power savings are due to optimising the chip’s voltage, using adaptive voltage and tuning the GPU portion for low power.

The voltage optimisations eliminated the need to overcompensate for unexpected voltage drops in the chip. Adaptive voltage and frequency scaling (AVFS), also includes proprietary speed sensors, that allows each APU to “adapt” to its own environment, and scale power accordingly.

Carrizo will be fully HSA 1.0 compliant, meaning that it will deliver on the Heterogenous Systems Architecture that AMD has talked about for some time.

Using HSA, the GPU can also be used to perform compute functions, which the company claims will deliver far more performance than the speed increases from moving to finer CPU manufacturing technologies alone.

HSA integration will help the chip reach 3.5 times the transcode performance of Kaveri, AMD said. It will support H.265 video encoding.

Samsung starts mobile payments

Samsung advertising in TaipeiSamsung has bought US mobile wallet startup LoopPay, which is seen as an  intention to launch a smartphone payments service.

Mobile payments have been slow to catch on in the United States and elsewhere, despite strong backing. Apple, Google, and eBay PayPal have all launched services to allow users to pay in stores via smartphones and the stores themselves are expected to release a new standard of their own.

Most of the problem is that retailers have been reluctant to adopt the hardware and software infrastructure required for these new mobile payment options to work before a standard is sorted out.  There was no point in investing in BetaMax when VHS kills it.

LoopPay’s technology differs because it works off existing magnetic stripe card readers at checkout, changing them into contactless receivers, they said. About 90 percent of checkout counters already support magnetic swiping.

“If you can’t solve the problem of merchant acceptance…, of being able to use the vast majority of your cards, then it can’t really be your wallet,” said David Eun, head of Samsung’s Global Innovation Center.

Injong Rhee, who is leading Samsung’s as-yet-unannounced payments project, said the Asian giant will soon reveal more details of its envisioned service. He would not be drawn on speculation the company may do so during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He said new phones such as the new Galaxy would support the service.

Samsung had invested in LoopPay, along with Visa and Synchrony Financial, before its acquisition.

Rhee said in an interview that the company intends to roll out accompanying services that go beyond merely turning the smartphone into a wallet, such as by allowing users access to information such as spending.

Do you want electricity with that?

mcdonalds-hospitalPurveyor of meat themed products McDonalds is installing 600 charging hotspots in 50 of its British restaurants.

The move means that anyone with a compatible smartphone or tablet can simply sit it on the counter to start automatically charging its batteries. They will have to be quick of course, it does not take long to eat at McDonalds, something seems to propel you from the building after five minutes.

The setup is part of a deal with wireless charging technology company Air Charge which will provide  the charging pads, which operate on the Qi standard.

Air Charge made the announcement during this week’s International CES in Las Vegas but it has been trailed in some UK McDonald’s already.

The charging plates, which will be integrated into tables and counters, are water resistant and wipe clean and offer native support to 70 different smartphone handsets currently on sale.

Nokia Lumia handsets support the Qi wireless charging standard, either out of the box or via an optional back plate.

Starbucks has been named as rolling out wireless charging points across its US operation. However, rather than the Qi standard, backed by the Wireless Power Consortium, Starbucks has opted for the Power Matters Alliance standard instead.

There were three competing wireless charging standards all attempting to become the global standard, but two of them the Power Matters Alliance (which counts Google as a member) merged with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which is backed by Dell and Microsoft to integrate the two standards in future devices and chargers.

BT writes £12.5 billion cheque for EE

handsetBT has confirmed it will acquire EE in a move that will scare the beejeesus out of the UK mobile market.

Buying EE will give BT the biggest 4G network in the UK which it is says will complement its fibre network.

BT had been using EE’s network for its mobile virtual network operator deal, but hopes the deal will enable it to create a complete network for its customers so they are using its services, whether at home on fixed connections or on the go using the mobile services, or its existing WiFi services.

It also gets 24.5 million customers currently on the EE network.

We expect to see deals involving telephone, mobile phone, broadband and mobile services in one bundle.

BT accountants already think that they will save a pile through network and IT rationalisation as well as in areas of procurement, marketing and sales costs.

Still it is bad news for O2 which was touted to be the other company that BT was thinking of buying. The decision not to go with O2 will be a blow to the Spanish Telefónica which had been keen to flog its business unit in the UK.

If approved the deal will mean Deutsche Telekom as a 12 percent share in BT and a seat on the company’s board. Orange will take just a four percent share and will not have a seat on the board.

It is not all clear sailing though. The deal has to be approved by the Ofcom regulator.  While it is not likely to block the deal, the combined entity could be forced to dispose of some spectrum. BT’s Openreach and Wholesale units might have to be hived off from the main company.


IBM assesses top cyber threats

ibm-officeBig Blue has assessed that 80 percent of executives in charge of security think that challenges by external threats to their enterprises are on the rise.

And IBM said 60 percent of enterprises believe they are being outgunned in the cyber war.

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) think that sophisticated external threats is their biggest challenge – with 40 percent believing that they top other challenges they face.

Data leakage prevention, cloud security and mobile security are the top three areas that CISOs believe are the areas that need addressing urgently.

Of the respondents surveyed by IBM, 90 percent have either adopted or will adopt cloud initiatives and they expect their cloud security budgets to increase over the next five years.

Only 45 percent of the CISOs think that mobile and device security is being adequately addressed.

Samsung’s mobile head is still in his office not on spike

bush_game_of_thronesEmbattled Samsung co-chief executive J.K. Shin still has his job, despite rumours that the knives were out following the awful results at the company.

Shin heads Samsung’s underperforming mobile division and it had been expected that he would have to clean out his desk and be lead sobbing from the building with a photocopy box of his personal items.

Shin has been told will continue to head the electronics unit’s mobile division despite sagging smartphone sales. Semiconductor business chief Kwon Oh-hyun and consumer electronics head Yoon Boo-keun also kept their jobs.

What appears to have happened is that Jay Lee, likely successor and only son of group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, opted to keep his father’s key lieutenants in place to ensure stability. His own position is not exactly consolidated yet and he needs a few more people who owe him to keep his control on the company.

Chung Sun-sup, head of local research firm Chaebul.com pointed out that Samsung was undergoing major changes in the midst of the succession process. It would have been too unsettling to change leadership.

Chairman Lee Kun-hee has not even indicated that he has stepped back for good, and he appointed Shin, Yoon and Kwon. It might have been too much for Vice Chairman Jay Lee to change the people his father put in position.

Lee the younger needs more time to shore up his position in South Korea’s largest conglomerate with his father still in hospital after a heart attack in May.

Lee the Younger pointed out that Shin was “a major contributor in Samsung Electronics’ emergence as the top global player in the handsets business” and would be given an opportunity to turn the business around.

IBM bets on the mobile market

horseraceEnterprises wanting to leverage their legacy systems using devices like smartphones and tablets are being tempted by IBM to enter its garden of mobility delights.

The company said it has added a number of pieces to its Mobility Services jigsaw.

That includes “desktop as a service” (DaaS) intended to let companies implement desktop features on mobile devices using a subscription service offered using the IBM Cloud.

IBM, using research figures from Juniper, estimates that one billion smartphones and tablets owned by workers will be use in enterprises by 2018.

That gives IBM the chance to sell enterprises services that include integration, support, maintenance, security and compliance.

Big Blue claims that will give enterprises the ability to deliver applications to hosts of mobile devices in hours rather than months.

IBM is also offering what it describes as the “trifecta” of mobile, cloud and analytics services.  Trifecta usually means a type of bet on horse races – usually called a triple – which we’re not sure IBM wants to mean by this word.

The DaaS offering uses the Citrix Worspace Suite via cloud infrastructure from its subsidiary, Softlayer.  IBM explains that, for example, this would let a saleswoman or man to click an icon on a tablet and turn it into a personal work desktop with access to large sales presentations and the like.

Intel scrambles PC and mobile processor divisions

ScrambledEggIntel has decided to merge its PC and mobile processor divisions under one roof, claiming that the line between tablets and laptops has blurred.

Starting from next year, Intel will form a  division called the Client Computing Group, which will include the teams that develop its Core processors for desktops and laptops, as well as those that develop its Atom chips for smartphones and tablets.

According to an internal email from CEO Brian Krzanich, the changes are supposed to improve lines of communication between product teams and help Intel better reach manufacturers that use its products.

Krzanich said that the market was evolving and Intel must change faster to stay ahead.

He claimed that the days when Intel served the PC market with its Core processors and the smartphone and tablet markets with its low-power Atom chips, were gone. The emergence of hybrid computers, which can switch between a laptop and a tablet, has done much to blur the boundary, he reckons

Intel’s Core M processors, for instance, are used in traditional laptops but also in hybrid computers and tablets. The current structure of the company no longer matches where the market is headed, he said.

Kirk Skaugen, who leads what is called the PC Client Group, will run the Client Computing Group when it’s formed.

The Mobile and Communications Groupwill be broken up. The teams that develop mobile processors will join the new client group, while the remainder, which builds modems, will be part of a new wireless R&D group.

Herman Eul, who leads the mobile group today, will oversee the move to the new structure until at least the end of the first quarter, with a new role for him to be announced after that.

The Mobile and Communications Group reported an operating loss of more than US$1 billion in the third quarter, in part because it has been making payments to tablet makers to encourage them to use its chips. Because of those and other efforts, Intel has said it aims to get its processors into 40 million new tablets this year.

Government to force better mobile coverage

TortureRackThe British government launched a consultation on new legislation to force mobile operators to improve coverage around the country.

Sajid Javid, the government’s culture secretary, said the  consultation will complement the work industry is doing and allow the Government to hear from the wider telecoms sector, businesses and the public,”

Traditionally governments hope that private enterprise will undertake such work voluntarily.  They drop some broad hints, coupled with threats of legislation and private enterprises rushes to it.  But for some reason the concept of rural coverage has not been a starter for the big telcos, so now the government has to make its threats clearer.

One possible option to eliminate poor coverage, which affects about one fifth of the UK, may include a national roaming plan, where subscribers will be able to switch between operators offering the strongest signal, the government said.

The government said it is keen to have comprehensive mobile coverage across the country to boost productivity and help provide jobs and economic security.

While this makes sense, it is the sort of thing that gives telecoms companies nightmares.

EE, the country’s largest mobile operator, said in a separate statement it does not want to implement national roaming as that would deteriorate network reliability and may also lead to price rises.

Vodafone agrees saying implementation “would be technically far more complex, slow to implement and would cause serious problems with network resilience”.

However the consultation include infrastructure sharing, allowing mobile networks to put transmitters on each other’s masts, and obliging the networks to cover a certain percentage of the UK.

What might happen is a group of telecoms will finally give in and agree to provide the sort of coverage the government wants.