IVC – The new PTT

 

Darin Alvord
Darin Alvord

With the passing of Nextel into history, the last bastion of business Push-To-Talk has rapidly faded in its meaning to business people. Smartphones and tablets have become the vision for business as it pertains to wireless business mobility. These days, when you say “PTT” or “Push-To-Talk” or in an AT&T mode, “ePTT”, the client reaction is rarely one of excitement. Each form of the PTT expression has an archaic connotation or one of non-recognition.

It is time to reframe or reposition this very powerful tool of business into today’s awareness and into a new light that yet represents what it is: Instant Voice Communication. IVC. The advantages of our product for business is clear to us, but much less so to many business people of today. Only the Old Guard, who used and understood Push-To-Talk with Motorola, Kenwood or Uniden, can truly envision what it means to business. So, it behooves us to position the reality of the function within current thinking, experience and awareness.

Look anew at what our Kodiak-based system contains and can do: Press – and talk. You already know that the person you are calling is available; and everyone else does, too. No letting this call go to voice mail. No: dial, ring, ring, then ring starts at the other end, ring, ring, [person at other end deciding whether or not to answer], then voice mail. Because our ePTT technology is so aware and so instant and has such high quality audio, it really is new in many ways. The power to call many people at once, instantly, which is so much easier than organizing a telephone conference call, truly is amazing. As you contemplate all of the ways our ePTT improves business peoples’ ability to move business along more instantly, the word “Instant” becomes larger.

Since the first day in the late ‘80s when Voice Mail was introduced into the business vernacular, we have been finding new technological ways to communicate – each with the now unfulfilled promise of better and faster communication. Adding to the electronic methods of non-verbal communication channels were paging: first with beepers, then numeric pagers, then alpha-numeric – but all were one-way methods of hoping for a call back. Then came cell phones, which were a great boon to business people and families, no doubt. But we applied Voice Mail to them, and then text messaging, which is paging again. Then came the explosion of email and its inclusion into the cell phone framework. The net result of all these electronic communication technologies has not always been faster communication. It has been the increased prevention of fast communication. Voice mail, email, paging, text, etc all have the same problem – they insulate the recipient from the sender. Communication is actually delayed, sometimes distorted by the 140 character limit, the lack of duplex conversation inherent in voice mail and the fact that the sender doesn’t know for sure when or if that message will be picked up or heard.

Text and email fall short of complete communication. Many times meaning, inflection and completeness are missed. Voice communication in full duplex remains the fastest and most complete, and therefore, most efficient means of communications for business. The words, “Voice” and “Communication” become larger.

Thus, we provide Instant Voice Communication. We solve a technologically-induced business problem with much more intelligently applied technology. IVC. It is the best for business.

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Smart

I am intrigued by how the word, “smart” is used. In some cases, it means “well educated”, in others it means “capable”. Sometimes it means, “Agrees with me”. It can even mean, “that hurts”. Intellectual elites say a movie or a play is smart because it has content that attacks social norms. How smart is that?

I think that most people really mean “good at something” when they use the word. And here is a great case in point.

Over the past few days I have had the pleasure of interfacing with a couple of smart guys. These two are of the creative sort; making complicated ideas work. Their challenge was to put video onto a web site so the world can witness a very fascinating, graceful and competitive event – a boat race across the Pacific Ocean from LA to Oahu. They have none of the resources of a TV network, Discovery Channel or Eyewitness News; just knowledge and gumption. And a love for accomplishment. You know; the American spirit of “can do”. That spirit is not totally the monopoly of The US, but you recognize the concept.

Putting their “smarts” to work, they have created a web TV system. They have made a set of self-contained camera pods that can be put in place just about anywhere and linked them up using an array of media from copper to fiber to commercial digital networks. These pods include everything needed for a complete, self-sustaining unmanned camera position, from non-penetrating roof mount to air-cooled electronics bay to a solid base for a robotic articulating High Definition IP camera. Network quality video presented to anyone on earth who wants to view. And they did it themselves. Smart.

Don Krispin and Mike Scott of Transpac Yacht Club have done this. They have a budget about equal to KHNL’s budget for coffee supplies and with about ¼ the amount of time availability any sane project engineer would specify for a single camera deployment. And they are interesting and fun to talk with and be around. How can that be anything other than smart?

To see the end result of their work, check out the Transpac Race online at www.Transpacyc.com

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Water, water everywhere, but nary a drop to drink . . .

36% is the amount by which we Californians are to reduce our water use, compared to 2013. So, our government is promulgating the fiction that we are short on water due to nature, global warming and evil farmers.

B.S.!!

As Ronal Reagan said, “In this present crisis, the government is not the solution to our problem – government is the problem.” Even in this third consecutive drought year (a pattern that occurs in California in a 14-year cycle and every 7th cycle is more severe than the other 6), sufficient rain falls in the state and sufficient snow pack melts in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, running into the San Joaquin Valley, to provide for all our drinking water, lawn watering, showers, industrial use and farming. We just don’t catch it and store it as we should. The government has sold out to scientifically bogus environmentalism and lets 50% of the water flow out to sea, without even letting it hesitate in a dam or be apportioned to grow food or be used as drinking water in cities that now have absolutely no water.

About that 36%: The arrogant premise of this tyrannical idea is that we Californians were particularly wasteful louts in 2013, so much so that a “one-size fits all” figure of 36% is righteous, attainable, and may cause only deserved suffering when applied.

B.S.!!

Everyone I know who has been a California resident for a few years is very conservative with water use, and was so in 2013. Note, that the 36% reduction does not apply to most government entities, certain preferred industries and NO environmental organizations. Truly, cutting water use by 36% would be a hardship for nearly everyone – but ordinary citizens are NOT to blame here.

In a state where we: spend $500,000 per fish to artificially transport salmon up rivers, which that these fish never used to spawn in before, kill more “Delta Smelt” (finger-sized fish in great abundance that is somehow classified as endangered) by the hands of environmental biologists than ever succumb to the blamed water pumps, store up water for the home of environmental activism (San Francisco) but disallow any such storage for use by farmers (and then claim that farmers use 80% of the water – when we know that 50% goes out to sea – 130%?), and many other idiotic and terrorist-like tyrannies, citizens have been patient with these insane water policies more than long enough.

If interested in the facts of what is happening to California’s water:

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/061215-757095-california-drought-caused-by-environmental-activists.htm

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The 5-Day Race

The 5-Day RaceThird Start July 13

The coast of California is both rugged and serene. A fast boat can traverse the Pacific Ocean waters between that California coast to the coast off Diamond Head, Oahu in just over 5 days. The Transpac Yacht Race from San Pedro to Diamond Head is a race like the coasts of both California and Oahu; rugged and serene. This elegant event occurs in Mid July and is unlike other events; participants leaving in three waves, travelling 2500 miles and arriving nearly together after crossing a vast ocean to a dot of an island n the Hawaiian chain. It is an ancient art, sailing, but now done with the very latest in technology. The sailing crafts themselves are both rugged and serene. Check them out at www.transpacyc.com.

The race leaves from the modern port of San Pedro and finishes at an old and historic lighthouse off Diamond Head Point. The mix of the ancient and the high tech, the new and the old, elaborate engineering and the rawness of the sea, water and wind create a spectacle and challenge unlike most other events. For us, it is irresistible.

This year KG Communications will be a sponsor of the 2015 Transpac Yacht Race. This will be the first year since its inception in 1906 that such advanced communications will be used, supplied by KG Communications. The participants will take 5, 6 or 7 days to reach Oahu from California, but those who oversee the race will talk instantly between start and finish using the highest tech super long-range version of good old two-way radio (and cell phone and high speed data). Such an event requires the best in reliability and range for safety and to keep the event running smoothly. KG is happy to be part of it.

So you know, we have chosen to provide the very rugged Sonim 1520 portable handset. It is built for extreme conditions including vibration, wetness – even sea water – occasional drops and whatever else might happen while governing a race of such proportions. Race officials will have coordinated communication as a large group including everyone at the starting and finish lines.

Look for news about the race and follow along as the spectacle unfolds. See the schedule on the Transpac web site and watch for news at www.KGComm.net

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Win-Win

The phrase, “win-win” gets used a lot; usually when trying to sell something, like an idea. The concept implies at its center that there are two sides in a matter and that the outcome of whatever the proposed action is results in both sides benefiting; maybe approximately equally. That appeals to our sense of justice and value. So many things in life do not have a win-win outcome. Taxes, for instance. Earthquakes, Tsunamis and other natural disasters. Visits from certain in-laws. Disease.

In all of the history of mankind and his efforts to achieve a society where the possibility of win-win for everyone (historically, there has actually been very little effort along those lines, more emphasis on self-empowerment), only one system has been capable of creating an environment wherein two parties can hope to approach a win-win: Capitalism. All other systems seek to decide for one party or both what it is good for them. All such systems are tyrannical in nature. From the feudal state to the autocratic to the theocratic to the socialist, all require that they impose their ruling sense of justice and value. [From each according to his ability; to each according to his need. The tyranny is in who decides]. Only a capitalist democratic republic, where the source of power is in the people and not in the state, can produce a society with any hope of there being an on-going environment wherein two or more individuals, two or more bodies can arrive at a mutually-agreed deal. Though the imposition of controls (agreed upon by the people) must still exist in such a society to prevent the strong from abridging the weak, capitalism is the only system that has granted men true freedom and equality in private and public dealings.

Simple business transactions are the best example of win-win. When one party seeks an item or a service, finds another that can provide it, they agree on an exchange that is equitable in their estimation and finish the transaction. The fact that this freedom to transact business exists naturally creates competition. People want things that are common to everyone and others have the ability to provide it. Those seeking that thing want the best and the most that they can get while giving up the least to get it; thus competition is created among providers. Quality goes up, price goes down, availability finds equilibrium and the society improves itself. A very desirable side effect is that the standard of living improves everywhere, since such societies invariably deal with other societies and unavoidably elevate them to a degree as well.

The United States of America is such a society. The founding principles of equal Creation in a set of rights granted by Nature’s God [not a government] has given all in that society the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and has produced a win-win setting unseen in prior human history. Individual right to own private property (including the property of ideas and faith) has unleashed the historical exception of greatness. The only element that can suppress that greatness is tyranny. Beware, all, tyranny is in the lawmaking that bans things, that directs us in what we can have, in penalizing excellence, in forcing “fairness”, imposing sameness in place of those rights of equality, and removing your individuality which is your most basic capitalist right. In medical care, commerce, education, seeking happiness, we are gradually losing the win-win. If we let tyranny take those inalienable rights, we will be as all the other failed societies of the world, a win-lose.

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Consolation and Consolidation

Darin Alvord
Darin Alvord

Mobile communication has evolved differently in various segments of society. Some of the very first users of two-way radio mobile communication systems were police departments. Policing a city of thousands of people makes for a lot of radio traffic at times. It became clear that a central dispatch location was needed to keep communication coherent and to be as near the commanding officer as possible. The radio dispatcher was created to be the “central”.

However, even centralizing radio communication was not enough. Handling multiple simultaneous incidents is difficult when one only has a microphone and a radio. With the introduction of multi-frequency radio systems came the need for more defined protocol and for control of multiple radio channels by a single dispatcher. With ingenuity and time, the radios were moved to a closet and a control console appeared that gave a dispatcher great control over multiple radio channels and simultaneous incidents. The Dispatch Console was born.

Today there are far more businesses that use mobile two-way communication than all the municipal services combined. Municipal services, both public works and public safety commonly use dispatch consoles and dispatch operators. Businesses don’t. Why not? There are two simple answers to that:

Money, People (which is money).

Public entities have placed a high value on their dispatch systems. Thus, they have budgeted the money for the equipment and the personnel to operate it. On the other hand, businesses have been hard pressed to do the same. Public services and businesses have different purposes, so they behave differently. Not that centralized mobile communications is unwanted by business; it is simply too expensive to justify in all but the largest concerns. Until now, that is.

4G, LTE and smart devices that use robust IP connectivity have teamed up to create a new world for mobile communication that opens the door for affordable and efficient dispatch console operation. Where a console position has cost $35,000 to $55,000 per seat to install for public services, a PC-based and software-defined dispatcher console for business is now about $700 to install (including the cost of the PC) and about $60 per month to operate. Digital networks now no longer depend upon discrete frequencies to differentiate channels and groups of mobile units, that is done through software on a mega-network.

Now, with a little training on the application running on their PC, an office person can perform duties beyond those of the dispatcher of just yesterday. An example is the Integrated Dispatch Console from Kodiak Networks that operates on the AT&T wireless network, requiring only a decent internet connection. The person with dispatch responsibilities can place calls to hundreds of units at once, or call any one of them individually; or even create a small chat group on-the-fly. Police dispatchers never did that. The Kodiak console operator also can get location of a mobile unit visually on the computer’s display using mapping and GPS. The dispatch can alert individuals, camp on a selected group, visually monitor up to 8 groups at once, and record conversations which are logged and archived for later use if needed.

Accessories available to work with the PC can turn this software-based tool into a full-blown Dispatch Center with a foot-operated transmit switch, high quality headsets (with wired or wireless connections and quick-disconnect) and camped vs. un-camped group selection. Again, after a little training and some experience this office dispatch person can run circles around the old way of business dispatch. The capital cost and the commitment in employee time have transitioned from unaffordable to indispensible. This is a serious upgrade and updating to business mobile communication.

Check it out here.

 

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The Blog Fodder

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The Greatest Show on Earth

Darin Alvord
Darin Alvord

How important is food? Amazingly, though food is absolutely vital and its quality is of very high importance in the US and around the world, farming is hardly recognized for the incredibly important and highly sophisticated endeavor that it is. This past week, February 10 through 12, was the World Ag Expo, held at the International Agriculture Center in Tulare, CA. Tulare is pronounced, “To Larry”, for those who like to use the correct and local pronunciation. Note that is the “World” Agriculture Exposition. Exhibitors and attendees come from all around the globe for the three days of exposition located near the very center of the richest farming location in the world, the great San Joaquin Valley.

Nearly 2,000 vendors of products and services come to gain exposure for their agriculture-related expertise. Over 100,000 people attend; also including farmers from Denmark, Israel, Russia, Japan, Congo, Argentina, Uruguay and a few dozen other countries where food is important. Huge farming machinery is shipped thousands of miles to be on display. The latest in science and state-of-the-art technology is demonstrated continuously during the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. New relationships in the ag community are forged and old ones renewed. Social and political topics are discussed in earnest.  Dignitaries of many sorts come to speak and have photo aps and even to have serious discussions with leading members of the farming industry. A tremendous amount is accomplished each year that affects your food supply. And you weren’t even aware it was going on.

Because of the very bad drought occurring the western US, water and its handling was one outstanding theme all around the show. Most of the world battles for the use of sufficient water to grow food to meet the demand in their region. California, and particularly the San Joaquin Valley, has been in a once-in-several-centuries struggle over water. Rain has been far below season averages for 4 years. Water that would normally run into the Valley from the Sierra Nevada Mountains is not only in reduced supply due to a cyclical drought pattern, but environmental interests and demanding urban areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles have successfully diverted huge amounts of that runoff to their own uses. Setting aside the debate over “Climate Change” and Riparian Rights, farmers in this most productive of all farming regions in the world are straining to find water and to extract every bit of efficiency from whatever moisture they can get. There were amazing demonstrations of water collection, pumping, irrigation control and micro-distribution systems as well as water treatment and reuse systems on display and in unusual abundance. An upside to the California drought is the incredible scientific and industrial efforts to assist farming in its ever-increasing need to be conservative with water. This has made a positive effect on farming around the world.

Those who think that such a big show over farming is sort of mundane may also think that food simply comes from the super market. Agriculture will always be of paramount concern, especially to politically oppressed parts of the world. Those who seek political office in the US should pay closer attention to what goes on at places like the WAE. Food production, water use, and the power they will increasingly have in steering politics is already evident. For those who are aware of this, the World Ag Expo is truly The Greatest Show on Earth.

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Push-To-Talk

Push-To-Talk

Why it is business-Savvy

 

Darin Alvord
Darin Alvord

After World War II, GIs came home with many new experiences and ideas that were gained through their experiences in the military and from what they saw overseas. In the field many of them had witnessed the use of portable radio communication equipment that revolutionized coordination among combat units, both infantry and mechanized. Some the soldiers trained in the Signal Corps (pronounced, “core”) looked for ways to use this great technology in civilian life. Amateur radio clubs sprang up, the American Radio Relay League exploded with membership, police and fire departments installed radio equipment at a lightning pace and business had its first experience with “Radio Dispatched Service”. Wow.

What a remarkable concept: a customer could call the repair store to have a repairman sent out and the store could radio dispatch a field unit to handle the call. Amazing. Well, it is just as amazing today and even more so. But, why don’t all businesses use radio? They tend to use cell phones instead.

Well, aside from the inevitable fact the cell phones are simply sophisticated two-way radios, it is still a good question. Why don’t businesses use that instant communication that those GIs and businesses through the 1980s called “Push-To-Talk”? Perhaps it is not as sexy and stylish as a glitter-coated smartphone. And, perhaps, the cellular industry has sort of stolen PTT’s thunder. But in reality, Push-To-Talk is still the very best fit for any business that has some of its people outside the office. Here’s why.

In business today, many folks have come to use voice mail, text, email and many other computer technological advances as hiding places. How many times have you called to speak to someone and had the call go to voice mail? Were they available and just decided not to answer my call at that time – blew me off? Will they listen to my email and act on it in the time frame I need? Or, you send a text message and wait for an answer. Sometimes that answer seems confused or off the mark because they interpreted your 140-or-less-character message differently than you intended. And they left out some figures you wanted, of some other less-than-satisfactory reply. Or, you send an email and get no response. Or, by the time you get the response you need, you’re on to something else and have to backtrack. You see, technology has not really brought people together; it has given us clever ways to be unavailable when others actually need us. That makes the internal workings of a business inefficient.

Today’s Push-To-Talk is a technology that really does put everyone in a company – and others outside the company – in close and instant reach. With push to talk, you are using your voice, your words, and your inflection. You select the person you wish to call, push and talk. Instant. There is no ring…ring…ring…go to voice mail Purgatory.   And, by the way, Push-To-Talk done right also shows you the other party’s availability before you call, so you know their device is turned on, in range and can take a call. Pretty cool. Also, when you push that magic button to talk, you get an affirmation that the other party’s device got the call. Now you are talking back and forth in quick verbal communication. And it is quick. The communication accomplished in a normal cell phone call that takes 2 minutes to complete can often be replaced by a 30-second PTT conversation. Several communication industry groups have confirmed it. There is no dial 10 digits then press send, hear two rings before the other party’s phone rings, then the other party sees who is calling and decides whether to take the call and finally does. That just took the 30 seconds that a PTT call would have. There is less “how ya doin’” and “well I guess I better get going” that occurs in a cell call. PTT calls are much more about business. And, if the other party is really unavailable, they can set their “availability” to DND, Do Not Disturb. You can leave them a message to call you back when they become available. It doesn’t take much experience with PTT before everyone finds they have to use the DND feature honestly.

And there is something very valuable to business that is completely impossible with cell phones, text, email or even video conferencing – Group Calling. With PTT, many successful companies use only group call. Everyone in the group hears everything that is said during the PTT call by whichever person has the floor. One person talks at a time and everyone hears. Many mistakes are caught before they are made and everyone hears the same thing. Employees may be divided into smaller groups (like sales or technicians or supervisors, etc.) so their communication stays pertinent. Smartphones can support dozens of groups if needed. Groups can be made, changed, added to or dissolved as the needs of the company change.

Efficiency is the result. Much fewer calls unanswered. Answers gotten in record time. Less misunderstanding and better follow-up. It is what every business can use. And, this can be integrated with mobile applications on feature phones and smart phones with something that those first pioneers of the two-way phenomenon could never imagine: Coverage. Rather than coverage over a few miles, PTT gives coverage over a continent. Wow.

The basic solution to communication problems that gave our troops the advantage they had in Europe, The Pacific and around the globe in battle is still a great solution to communication problems today. Businesses simply need to wake up that post-war DNA that made so many exciting things happen – it can happen again.

Darin Alvord
VP of Engineering
KG Communications
www.kgcomm.net

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BYOD – The Next Big Thing

Darin Alvord
Darin Alvord

Markets go through changes; they evolve. It’s normal. Sometimes we are not really aware of subtle changes in an industry or segment of society and know even less about what drives those changes. In the cellular industry, a change has been taking place over the last year that will affect most of us. It is the move toward BYOD. That is, the “Bring Your Own Device” trend.
For over twenty years cellular companies have been emphasizing the importance of being on their service rather than someone else’s through the marketing tactic of de-emphasizing the importance of the end user’s device. Getting the most users onto their network was of paramount importance; getting “loading” was the goal. The recurring revenue gain from providing phone and text services was primary. Making the buyer’s choice more about the rate plan than the phone was important in several ways. First, it removed much of the confusion or indecision about which phone was better for a customer (models differed in many ways and did not necessarily work on each carrier). Second, rate plans can be manipulated to be trendy and be shaped to attract a certain type of user. Focusing on the plan removed much of the potential indecision a customer may experience and aided impulse buying. To remove the phone itself from being acustomer’s primary consideration, cellular carriers began offering the phone as part of the deal. Many phones were “free” with activation, or provided at very little cost just to get the customer to sign up.
The truth is that cellular phones came commoditized, to be thought of as being free, or of very little value. Cellular carriers were subsidizing the cost of the phone device to hide its significance from the consumer. In fact, the customer was paying for the phone over the term of the contract. That is exactly why contracts were required. The cellular carrier was buying the phone and then providing it to the customer while recouping its cost by charging rate plans that paid back the subsidy, plus interest, over the term of the contract. To assure that the carrier would be paid back, the contract was necessary. The cost of the phone, plus the cost of the service were calculated together in such a way that the carrier would be paid back for, in essence, loaning the customer the money to purchase the phone. Early Termination Fees (ETFs) were due if a customer dared to quit the contract before term. The ETF was there to protect the carrier from losing the price of the phone together with losing the customer.
It’s not a complicated arrangement, but many cellular customers never really understood that they were purchasing their phone on an installment plan. It just wasn’t explained that way. As a result, many cellular customers were using phones that they may not have chosen for themselves. Carriers understood that. A clever way to overcome that is how the “upgrade” eligibility came into being. Carriers calculated the date at which a user had “paid” for the subsidized phone. After that date, they made the customer “eligible” to “upgrade” to a better phone. Of course that also required the reworking of the contract term onto a new two year contract. It was a slick way to get and keep customers, packaged in such a way as to make the customer believe that, in some way, he had done something to earn a reward – the upgrade. It’s a little deceptive, but we have all accepted it and all carriers have practiced it. Well, today we have carriers with rather mature, well-loaded networks and a new type of end user device – the “Smartphone”.
Believe it or not, smartphones are new enough in our society that even the spell checker on my computer doesn’t recognize it as a real word. Smartphones have revolutionized the cellular world. It might be well for me to define what a smartphone is so the rest of this dissertation will make better sense.
A “Smartphone” is a wireless mobile device that includes a mobile phone and a computer operating system (the OS). Today’s popular operating systems include Android (by Google), iOS (by Apple), Windows Mobile (by Microsoft) and Blackberry (by RIM). It is the operating system that differentiates the smartphone from any other type of device that contains a phone. Though other phones, older or contemporary, use microprocessors and sophisticated electronics and software, the OS in a smartphone provides the device computing power to run computer applications and to run multiple applications simultaneously. The user can do multiple simultaneous activities such as read the contents of an email to another party over the phone device on which he is reading the email. Multi-tasking. This reveals a tremendously important fact about the networks that support smartphones – they are very advanced networks. For a smartphone user to perform the feat of both reading an email and speaking on the phone using one device requires a network that has both the capacity to, and the intelligence to support multiple simultaneous use of two concurrent connections, a voice and a data channel by a single device. That is the major difference between a 3G network and a 4G network. LTE makes the smartphone user experience the miraculous one that it is. Smartphones would not be in existence were it not for 4G. It is the very human need to perform multiple simultaneous tasks that has brought us to this amazing capability.
It is also that human need that caused carriers to realize that they will not long be able to, in effect, chose for their customer the smartphone that customer will use. Customers will want to chose that for themselves, based on their individual habits. Further, along with the huge advance in technical capability comes a very real increase in device cost. So large is the increase in cost to carriers, that smartphone cost can literally cripple a carrier continuing the subsidy program due to tying up so much cash in equipment that is put into the hands of others. It is also very difficult to support that additional cost spread over only two years. Add in the additional network cost to provide this multi-tasking service, which uses more network resources than ever. A new paradigm in marketing had to be on its way.
A smartphone, by its nature, is a much more personalized device than cell phones were before. They have real browsers, synced email, high definition video and still cameras, personalized applications, personal data and individualized OS that adapts to the user’s way of living. It’s harder for a customer to part with such a device. It is, therefore, a non-sequitur for a carrier to continue the free phone and upgrade concept. People want to keep the smartphone they have become accustomed to. Moreover, with the device they now wish to own being so personalized, customers also want that phone to last longer. All of this leads us to a necessary change in the industry marketing thought process.
Enter: BYOD. Bring Your Own Device. Good marketing will make any simple idea seem new, grand and innovative. And, good marketing can conceal a rather significant change as being barely perceptible by featuring some collateral effect. To create a near instant acceptance to a big change, carriers again defocused on the device and focused on the rates. Introducing: New low rate plans and huge amounts of data. (Data usage, of course is the big new characteristic of smartphones – and, therefore a battlefield for carriers to fight over for subscribers). The new low rate plans exist because carriers are now “allowing” their customers to Bring Your Own Device. Gone from the monthly rates is the hidden price of the phone. For a while, monthly rates for service will seem suddenly low. A marketing breakthrough. The battle over data will rage for a while until users become savvier about those marketing tricks. Competition for subscribers will settle, once again, back to network coverage and rate plans; this time more about speed, throughput and $ per Gb.
A very significant change is already being seen in the end devices. Because the actual phone or Smartphone is so much more prominent in the eye of the customer, the useful features, bundled applications, device ruggedness, its stylishness, accessory availability and the degree to which the smartphone is perceived to be future-proof are all important attributes of a subscriber’s experience. The BYOD transformation is having an impact across the industry. Understanding it will help you, as the consumer of phones and services, to make better choices and comprehend the newest cellular jargon to your advantage.
So, shop your smartphone well. You have more to consider than ever, and the choice is more fully yours than ever.

Darin Alvord
VP of Engineering
KG Communications
www.kgcomm.net

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