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Real Wireless Associate Appointed to Chair Public Safety Spectrum Policy Group

Mike Goddard, OBEMike Goddard OBE, has been appointed as chair of the UK Public Safety Spectrum Policy Group (PSSPG). Mike was formerly Director of Spectrum and International Policy for Ofcom (the UK communications regulator) and he recently joined Real Wireless Limited as International Spectrum Policy Advisor.

As chair of PSSPG, Mike will support the Group’s work  in determining UK policy for allocating spectrum to meet the communications requirements of all  UK Emergency and Public Safety services. PSSPG advises Ofcom and the UK Government’s Spectrum Strategy Committee on the broad spectrum requirements to meet the essential needs of the UK emergency and public safety users both now and in the future. See here for further details of PSSPG’s work.

Do you want wireless with that?

Apple’s recent recession-bucking third-quarter results have been widely reported, with continued growth of sales of the iPhone (a staggering 626% on the previous year) and its associated apps as a major driver. Just as interesting to my mind, however, is the associated fall of 7%) in sales of the iPod. The iPod was responsible for Apple’s recent resurgence, yet now it is just one more app – albeit a tightly-integrated one – amidst the many on the iPhone.

So it seems that users value the wireless connectivity on the iPhone particularly highly. What’s more, they value the wide-area (cellular) connectivity compared with the small-area (Wi-Fi) connectivity of the iPod touch, which is otherwise virtually identical in terms of functionality. And the price premium that this wide-area connectivity demands is enormous, when you factor in both the initial purchase price of the devices and the ongoing service costs.

It’ll be interesting to see if this value translates into other devices. One potential example is the Amazon kindle e-book reader, whose wide-area(3G) connectivity contrasts sharply with the need to sideload books onto the main competitor’s devices (Sony). One factor which helps is that Amazon appear to have delivered global connectivity for the Kindle via a single deal with AT&T. As well as simplifying the deal-making for Amazon, this also delivers the potential for users outside the US to gain unparalleled coverage, accessing any network which is available to them even in their home country (see Disruptive Analysis’ speculation on this deal).

These may be early examples of a new wave of embedding wide-area wireless in a wider range of devices. For example, the Wireless World Research Forum has set out a bold vision for 7 trillion wireless devices serving 7 billion users by 2017 (http://www.wireless-world-research.org/). Clearly that implies that most of the growth is going to come from machine-to-machine communications, or if you prefer, the Internet-of-things, enabled by low cost next-generation wireless modems, particularly using next-generation LTE/WiMAX/IMT-Advanced technologies.

Do you want wireless with that?

Talking ’bout my not-quite-digital generation

I’ve come to the conclusion that our generation suffers from a digital media curse.

Our parents lived in reasonable contentment with film cameras, vinyl records and TV which they didn’t dream of being able to record.

Our children are living pretty much in the straight-to-digital age: music comes in MP3s, video is digital and recordable and cameras need nothing more than power to work. All of this is indexed and played in a single media player. Worst case, they might need to rip a CD. Into the drive it goes, a single button is pushed…and it’s done. Track titles automatically determined, album artwork attached, the works.

But we live a decidedly hybrid and imperfect existence. Our affection for the contents of our vinyl collection prevents us throwing it out, while buying it again on MP3 is expensive and sometimes not possible. We embark on an ambitious project to convert, requiring much fiddling with cables, editing software to chop up the tracks, mostly manual entry of track titles and so it goes on. After a few albums have taken weeks to complete, we realise it’s never really going to happen. We spend time with shoeboxes full of photos and a scanner, and sometimes with negatives and various expensive conversion gadgets, only to realise that beyond a few special shots we are going to be stuck in this hybrid world for good.

Welcome to the curse of the A to D generation.