Chip manufacturer Qualcomm has said that it has the largest number of manufacturers working with its WCDMA chipsets, compared to other chipset vendors. There are now 21 device and equipment vendors integrating Qualcomm's WCMDA chipsets, including newcomers Vitelcom Mobile Technology, BenQ Corporation and Misubishi. Established players such as Samsung, LG and Toshiba have long been Qualcomm licencees.

Dr Sanjay Jha, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, said the broadening customer base would aid adoption of UMTS, as more products hit the market. Proven interoperability would reassure the operators, as well.
"We expect global adoption of WCDMA to accelerate as our customer base brings new products to market," Jha said. "Qualcomm's extensive interoperability testing, in addition to the testing we've conducted with our WCDMA operator partners, provides our handset customers with the confidence that their development efforts can remain focused on quickly addressing new market opportunities."
Qualcomm's chipsets support its Launchpad and BREW environments for application development, as well as J2mE environment. The chipset vendor views WCMDA as an ideal entry point into a European market previously off-limits in the GSM world. It has made efforts to ramp up its BREW presence in Europe, signing up a series of application development partners.
l Qualcomm has also announced it expects to launch an HSDPA chip in 2005. Qualcomm says samples of its radioOne RFR6275 diversity receive chip, which it says will increase network capacity and deliver higher speed data rates for the next-generation UMTS technology High Speed Downlink Packet Access, is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2005. 
The RFR6275 chip extends the functionality of the RTR6275 transceiver device, also just announced, to include support for HSDPA receive diversity and Assisted-GPS (A-GPS). 
The RFR6275 supports HSDPA receive diversity, which uses an additional antenna and associated receive chain to provide improved signal reception, enabling higher data throughput and significant increases in network capacity, especially in dense urban environments. This allows the RFR6275 to enable up to 5 dB receive diversity gain. This device also integrates a GPS receiver, which supports Qualcomm's gpsOne solution.

Dilithium Networks brings 3G videoconferencing to the laptop

Dilithium Networks, a leading provider of wireless multimedia solutions announced today the release of VT Phone which transforms any laptop PC equipped with a 3G data card into a 3G device. VT Phone, jointly developed by Dilithium Networks and Singapore-based LineFusion, dramatically increases the installed base for 3G services by enabling laptop users to make two-way video telephony calls to any 3G terminal.

VT Phone is a Microsoft Windows-based software application that incorporates Dilithium Networks' patent pending AnswerFast technology. This reduces call setup times by up to 70% to less than 3.5 seconds compared with the 6-10 seconds video telephony call set-up time typically required by existing 3G handsets. VT Phone provides a feature rich and fully customizable GUI that provides separate windows for incoming and outgoing videos, a dial pad and call status window.

Lee Ellison, Senior Vice President of Sales, and Marketing with Dilithium Networks, said, "Video calling is an important differentiator for 3G operators that need to rapidly expand uptake of such advanced services. By extending the use of 3G services to any laptop user, VT Phone greatly increases the potential number of subscribers capable of initiating and receiving video calls and can play an important part in driving incremental revenues"

VT Phone will be marketed to 3G mobile Operators and wireless data card suppliers. The application's look and feel may be customised to meet the branding needs of individual operators and vendors and also interfaces to contact management applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, etc.

VT Phone is being jointly developed by Dilithium Networks and Singapore-based LineFusion.  LineFusion is a developer of mobile solutions designed to harness new capabilities in mobile networks and devices to deliver rich content and innovative applications with excellent user experience.

VT Phone complies with the 3GPP 3G-324M and ITU-T H.324M standards which are the protocols of choice for offering conversational multimedia services such as video telephony, video conferencing, video mail and real-time streaming over 3G networks. VT Phone is fully compatible with new 3G UMTS cards which support 64 kbps circuit switched data.   

External Links

Dilithium Networks
LineFusion

Mobileoperators and enterprises seeking to deploy high accuracy location based services can now move more rapidly to market – and to revenue – with a new breakthrough feature of CPS’ Matrix high accuracy location technology.

Matrix Solo can be integrated into a single standalone device – such as a vehicle tracker, child locator or handset – which will then deliver high accuracy in any environment and at sub-$1 per subscriber cost levels.
 
The new Solo feature means that operators can launch services now with just a single device and build revenues almost immediately before migrating seamlessly to full Matrix deployments. 
 
It will also allow enterprises to launch their own branded safety and security services – offering considerably better and more widespread coverage and accuracy than currently available GSM location technologies. Solo can operate successfully in areas where there are low levels of mobile traffic – such as rural areas or at night.
 
Matrix Solo works by “self-location” as the device moves – sending batches of previous location measurements to a network server that then calculates the handset’s position as required.
 
CPS CEO Chris Wade said: “Matrix Solo kick starts high accuracy for operators and enterprises. It means “go to market” and “get to revenue” timescales are radically reduced and opens up new opportunities for companies who experience poor performance from Cell-ID systems.”
 
Matrix Solo fills the enormous void in the mobile location-based services market for a low cost high accuracy technology that can be deployed easily and rapidly. At present, companies launching services – such as personal safety, child-finding or low cost logistics – are using Cell-ID technology. Based on a handset’s position within a mobile network cell-site  – location accuracy is based on the size of the cell within which it is located, which can be anything from, at best, 400m in urban areas to over 10km in suburban or rural environments.
 
As a result, service providers and users have been disappointed with the wide variability of the accuracy of the location – resulting in poor service take-up. Satellite-based positioning remains the preserve of high cost solutions for the logistics industry and, by its very nature, struggles to perform to user expectations in built-up urban environments and indoors.
 
The new Solo feature is now being trialled as part of Matrix trials in several locations around the world. It is expected to become commercially available in Q3 2004.

External Links

CPS

112 won't necessarily be a boost for LBS

Oranges launch of its "Find Nearest" SMS service is evidence that operators are far from giving up on location based services (see link at the bottom of this page for the news announcement). There is clearly a demand, latent or blatant, for services designed to add to your life as you move around the world a yearning for a drink and a mobile in your pocket.

Oranges technology provider for this service is Webraska, which uses a Cell-ID based system to map a mobiles location. In a nutshell, the service will compare your location to a directory of whatever it is you are trying to find. The service uses two-way SMS rather than WAP, which Orange initially used when it first launched its Find Nearest service last year.

This kind of service was expected to be so commonplace by now, that it comes as something of a surprise to see that operators are only now beginning to get to grips with the practical issues of how to deliver them to users. The issues for location based services (LBS) are no different to any other service. First, users have to know the service exists, then they have to know how to work it, then the service itself has to work. This requires operators to have a complete view of marketing, service delivery and quality of service.

There are also still plenty of discussions up for grabs as to which technology is best placed to help operators deliver these services. Cell-ID is the dominant European platform at the moment, but there is increasing momentum, not least from the handset manufacturers, behing Assisted-GPS (A-GPS), which is a kind of souped-up version of GPS.

But Jason Angelides, director, Global Services, for TruePosition, a US based LBS company which has just opened offices in London and Stockholm to address the European market, says that reducing the debate down to the level of technology platform is what has been, in many ways, holding back the LBS market.

TruePosition is "not technology agnostic", Angelides says. Indeed it holds most of its IPR in a technology called U-TDOA. U-TDOA is what Cingular and T-Mobile, two of three national GSM 1900 US oeprators use, so TruePosition naturally falls more on that side of the fence.

But Angelides insist that what operators need is to take a whole view of what LBS they want to offer, and to what level. If, for instance, it is vital that an operator has high accuracy, even for a user in an indoor environment, then GPS is not going to be a natural fit. If an operator has dense cells in an urban area then Cell-ID could provide the correct level of accuracy, but if the cells are more dispersed in a rural or suburban environment, then Cell-ID may not provide a uniform service level, Angelides argues.

Therefore the answer is a consultative approach, blending technologies to suit customer demand and operator need. There is one further event which overshadows the LBS market  that of 112, emergency number, legislation along the lines of the 911 mandate in the US.

It seems increasingly likely that the EC will make some move to lean heavier on operators to be able to locate emergency calls accurately. Perhaps by the end of the year there may even be a legislative requirement. Now, although you might expect a provider of LBS technology to be leaning heavily on government to introduce such a mandate, Angelides thinks too heavy-handed an approach will be counter-productive.

In the USA, he argues, the mandate concentrated operators minds solely on meeting the requirements by a certain date and to a certain spec, and meant that commercial applications of the technology inevitably took a back seat.

External Links

TruePosition

Reports mobile telecommunications turnover increase of 15% to £31.7 billion, but a loss, after goodwill amortisation of £15.2 billion, for the financial year of £9.0 billion.

External Links

Vodafone

Clixsmart lies beneath Vodafone live! portal

ChangingWorlds, provider of the leading ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform for mobile operators, today announced the signing of a major contract with Swisscom Mobile, the number one mobile operator in Switzerland with a 65% market share and over 3.7 million subscribers. Swisscom Mobile has chosen ChangingWorlds' ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform, to deliver intelligent, personalized mobile information services to its Vodafone live! customers in Switzerland.

With the ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform, Swisscom Mobile will implement ChangingWorlds patented intelligent navigation system over Vodafone live! to make it easier for its customers to access the mobile content and services most relevant to them. ChangingWorlds' intelligent navigation helps users to locate content on a mobile portal more efficiently, by effectively restructuring the portal in response to their access patterns. Sites and services accessed regularly by a user are actively promoted to higher positions within the portal and, over time, the structure of the portal will adapt to the usage patterns of each individual user.

The ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform also delivers sophisticated colour portal management functionality to Swisscom Mobile. This enables Swisscom Mobile's portal editors to rapidly update and publish to the Vodafone live! mobile portal. With ClixSmart, Swisscom Mobile can now efficiently maintain its leading edge, feature rich Vodafone live! portal and benefit from a reduction in administration overhead and increased quality and productivity levels. The contract with Swisscom Mobile also includes the provision of ClixSmart Update Manager to provide the ability to automatically monitor and manage multiple portal updates.

Moreover, ClixSmart caters for Swisscom Mobile's multi-lingual requirements. Due to Switzerland's geographical location and cultural diversity, language varies from area to area. It is therefore vitally important that Swisscom Mobile's Vodafone live! caters for all local languages. ClixSmart delivers the Swisscom Mobile Vodafone live! portal in four languages: German, French, Italian and English. The ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform enables multi-lingual portals to be built and deployed rapidly, and (when used in conjunction with ClixSmart Navigator), allows operators to configure the personalization parameters of the portal and of individual menu items. All Switzerland's languages are supported and it is possible to switch between languages when creating menus, content pages and links.

Also speaking today, Luke Conroy, CEO of ChangingWorlds said, "This deployment of the ClixSmart Intelligent Portal Platform will enable Swisscom Mobile to grow data revenues from its customer base. While it is a strong requirement for mobile operators to aggregate content and brand it, it is essential that it be made readily available to the end-user in an intelligent, personalized and relevant manner. ClixSmart ultimately leads to a 'sticky' mobile portal that will enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty resulting in greater mobile data usage and revenues for the operator. We are delighted to work with the most progressive and innovative operator in Switzerland and to help Swisscom Mobile to continue to deliver innovative services to its customers."

External Links

ChangingWorlds
Swisscom Mobile

Webraska the power behind the phone

Orange, the UK’s most popular mobile phone service, is pleased to announce that its customers can now use SMS messages to locate businesses or services, with the launch of the Orange "Find Nearest" service, powered by Webraska Mobile Technologies.

Webraska, the pioneering provider of GPS wireless navigation applications and location-based services (LBS) solutions, has developed the 2 WAY SMS service to provide Orange customers with an easy-to-use text-based interface to the Orange "Find Nearest" Service.  This complements the existing WAP "Find Nearest" service, launched last year.

Accessing the service is simple; Orange subscribers just need to send a one-word request via SMS to the Orange short code 300 i.e. ‘PUB’.   Each search is priced at 20p.

“Although much of the hype surrounding the wireless data services has focused on WAP and Java applications, the potential of premium SMS-based services has often been under-estimated” said Jonathan Klinger, VP Marketing at Webraska.  “SMS-services are great for three main reasons: they're easy-to-use, the total available market is huge and people will pay for them". 

Darren Coleman, product manager data products, Orange UK commented “We’re pleased to be working with Webraska to deliver our Find Nearest service.   Webraska’s flexibility and technological superiority has been core to the success of this project.”

Powered by Webraska’s SmartZone Geospatial Platform the Orange Find Nearest service works by mapping a mobile phone’s location by cell ID technology.   Webraska’s software then cross-references this location against a comprehensive database of businesses and services.  The Find Nearest service returns the closest match to the search criteria entered.

Orange customers can also text ‘N’ for the next nearest search result, or text ‘L’ to receive a longer list of results.  For each search, the service returns the businesses name, address and telephone number. Customers can also get directions for the cost of an additional search.

The Orange "Find Nearest" service also offers the subscribers the ability to locate themselves if lost!  Upon texting ‘ME’ to 300, the service texts back the user’s location.

External Links

Webraska
Orange

Vodafone and Sony Music Entertainment today announced the world’s largest single mobile operator/music company content distribution agreement. The deal calls for music content from hundreds of Sony Music artists to be provided to Vodafone and its Partners’ customers around the world.

"Vodafone live! is making the mobile a personalised entertainment device that customers are using to access services such as music on the move," said Guy Laurence, Global Marketing Director at Vodafone Global Products and Content Services. 

"Vodafone has always offered its customers a rich catalogue of ringtones and music content, and this latest agreement with Sony Music Entertainment is key in establishing Vodafone as the home of mobile music content globally as we enter the enhanced multimedia world of Vodafone live! with 3G services."

Under the terms of the agreement, Sony Music Entertainment will initially* provide Vodafone with a wide range of content encompassing global and local artists, which will include real music ringtones, polyphonic ringtones, artist images, video streaming and short video downloads.  International Sony Music artists including AC/DC, Anastacia, Incubus, Nas, Sertab, Jessica Simpson and Train will have their content featured on Vodafone live!

"With the range and depth of its services, Vodafone is a key strategic partner for Sony Music Entertainment as we build on our leadership role in the mobile arena," commented Thomas Gewecke, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Sony Music Digital Services.  "Working closely with Vodafone, we’ll be able to extend the range of our artists and their music, which will enable them to enjoy even closer relationships with their fans around the world."

In addition to the global music content which will be distributed across multiple markets, the companies intend to feature a series of special National Artist Showcases that will include, among others; Delta Goodrem in Australia, Big Brovaz in the UK, and Paola & Chiara in Italy. The Artist Showcase concept - first introduced through Vodafone live! - has quickly become recognised as an effective and innovative way to link artists to audiences by providing fans with their favorite music 24/7, then maximising the experience with additional customised content relating to a specific artist.

*Sony Music Entertainment content will initially be available in 15 countries, with additional territories being introduced at a later date.

External Links

Vodafone

802.11b helps to track assets in enterprises

Much has been made of the ability of 3G technology to pinpoint mobile phone users' location, but a wireless LAN (WLAN) company is hoping to take those location techniques and adapt them to locating assets in the workplace.

Airespace, a Guildford, UK-based company which manufactures WLAN appliances and access points, is to release a wireless 'tag', which can be attached to any piece of equipment to help locate it.

The tag emits a beacon, which is picked up by up to three access points, which, using triangulation, locate where the tag is.

Airespace claims it is accurate to one metre, subject to sufficient WLAN coverage.

Its vp for EMEA Marcel Dridje acknowledges that it has been possible to locate WLAN devices using triangulation, since the technique was developed in 2003, but argued that this is the first time it has been possible to locate a non-WLAN device.

"What happens if you want to track a dumb device that's not WiFi enabled?" he said.

"It doesn't make sense to stick a WiFi radio on the device because it's expensive. So what you can do is to stick this tag on it."

The tag, which is a more advanced version of the RFID tags used in supermarkets, is matchbox-sized, and will cost around £70.

Dridje believes the tag will have more success in healthcare, for locating emergency equipment, and in the manufacturing sector.

His company is trialling the equipment in the British armed forces and at a well-known leisure park.

The Airespace tag has been developed by Bluesoft, a start-up established entirely to develop the tagging technology.

External Links

Airespace

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