Sunday, March 9, 2014
State Minister Julian Robinson has announced that MNP is delayed until December 2014 - ICT Roadmap in shambles as Fourth Delay Suggest Telecom Provider's Stalling the Process
“Minister (Phillip) Paulwell first announced the completion of number portability by the end of 2012, then by the end of 2013 and then again at the end of May 2014. In fact, the ministry's own ICT road map, as presented by state minister Robinson in his 2013 sectoral presentation, projected completion by the end of this fiscal year. There is an obvious disconnect between both ministers' understanding of what is required to make number portability a reality and what is being pitched to the Jamaican people”
Opposition spokesperson on Science Dr. Andrew Wheatley commenting on the Fourth Delay in the implementation of MNP and LNP
There is something strange going on in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining! Conspiracy may be the name of the Game here, as the Telecom Providers may not be too keen on having a Telecom Regulator as noted in my blog article entitled “New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014”.
This as State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Julian Robinson, has announced that MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) has been delayed until the end of 2014 as stated in “Number portability by end of year”, Published Thursday March 6, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Gov't closer to implementing number portability”, published Tuesday, March 04, 2014 6:25 PM, The Jamaica Observer.
To be more specific, the MNP won't take place until November or December of 2014. LNP's even more delayed; that won't happen until well into 2015! It was promised for May 2014 back in May 2013 as stated in “Number Portability Timeline Pushed Back To May 2014”, Published Tuesday May 28, 2013 6:05 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner but this latest announcement means it’ll be missed yet again.
State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Julian Robinson made the announcement at the Realtors Association of Jamaica at the New Kingston Conference Centre, a rather strange place to admit something that’s got nothing to do with Realtors, save that Telecom Providers use land!
ICT Roadmap delayed yet again – JLP’s Dr. Andrew Wheatley demands answers as Investors wary
This is yet another delay in the process, the fourth to be exact, in a process which apparently is a lot more complex than anticipated. This may be oweing to the fact that it may require those Telecom Providers currently involved to open up their systems to a Third party Porting Company that has to do this process.
The process is being advised and guided by the following Government and Telecom Interests:
1. Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining
2. Office of Utilities Regulation
3. Telecom Provider LIME
4. Telecom Provider Digicel
5. Triple Play Provider Flow
To this end, the State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Julian Robinson has put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a suitable contracting company to do portability. Apparently that’s where the problem lies; lack of consultation from experienced Telecoms Consultants on how the Government of Jamaica must proceed.
Thus far eight (8) entities have answered the call, but this latest delay represents the fourth (4) time there has been once such as stated by Opposition spokesperson on Science Dr. Andrew Wheatley in the article “Wheatley says Gov't number portability delays 'unacceptable'”, published Thursday, March 06, 2014 3:51 PM, The Jamaica Observer and “Wheatley slams Gov’t over number portability delay”, published Friday, March 07, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.
This prompted Opposition spokesperson on Science Dr. Andrew Wheatley to point out the fact that this made FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) Telecom Providers decision to come to Jamaica to do 4G LTE that much difficult, quote: “Let me also state that this continued uncertainty does not bode well for the possibility of a new entrant to the telecoms market and sends the wrong signals to potential investors in”.
This is quite right, as along with a Telecoms Regulator for whom a Consultant will be hired in June of 2013 (hopefully), MNP is one of the four pillars that need to be in place to have 4GG LTE in Jamaica as may be the case in Bahamas as noted in my blog article entitled “Bahamas Telecommunications Company launched 4G LTE on Valentine's Day - Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access needed to empower Jamaicans before 4G LTE can go National”.
Facilitating new entrants into Telecoms – MNP is key to increasing Number Ranges
While I’m quick to think there may be something conspiratorial in nature to the delay, being as I’d worked at Cable and Wireless (2001 to 2004) and later CLARO Jamaica (2008-2009). I know with the Telecom Provider involved in giving advice on their own fate with regards to MNP/LNP despite sounding upbeat back in February 2012 as stated in Flow, Digicel Back Number Portability, Published Sunday February 19, 2012, by McPherse Thompson, Assistant Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner, they may themselves be stalling the process so that they can continue making money in the current unregulated Telecom Sector.
I’m fully aware of what’s involved, as under a Telecom Regulator in a MNP Environment that was slated to come on stream by July 2013, they won’t be able to fix prices and overcharge customers as they were doing for the past decade as noted in my blog article entitled “New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014”. So they’re trying to prolong their money-making spree while in a two-faced manner, declaring in the Media that they’re interested in fulfilling this critical part of the ICT Roadmap.
Any such MNP/LNP has to be automated and not manual, with the customer having their numbers ported within a reasonable timeframe after making a request either via their handset or face-to-face Customer Care or via calling 100 for Customer Care. Hours, days, should be the standard, and best of all without the need to physically change SIM (Subscriber Identification Module)!
The importance of MNP/LNP beyond how it’ll work with customer is clear though; it allows for the more efficient use of phone numbers, be they mobile or landline, thus making it easier for another Telecom Provider to enter Jamaica as they’ll have a ready supply of phone numbers. It’s also a part of the process that’s needed to get more number ranges by getting a new Area Code from the NANP (North American Numbering Plan) as stated in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Games Catching Fire of Mobile Computing”.
These new numbers are needed for Telecom Providers to provide Voice Services to themselves as well as a customer while setting up their 4G LTE Networks as explained in my blog article entitled ”Minister Paulwell in Parliament debut two 700MHz Licenses for 4G LTE for Monday July 15 2013 Auction - 4G LTE Means After Earth Everything is Possible”.
Hence the reason why I suspect that the Telecom Providers may be stalling, as they logically wouldn’t be so eager to make decisions that would make it easier for a Third Telecom Provider to enter the Jamaican market when competition and the Economic downturn means Jamaicans are cutting back on their Spending on Calling Credit.
But their concerns aside, this reflects badly on the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining; they seem unable to control the Three Major Telecom Providers and have now missed a fourth deadline on their ICT Roadmap.
It’s bad enough too, that the 4G LTE and sale of other spectrum for WiMaX have not taken place because of a lack of a proper regulatory environment as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's 700MHz Spectrum Auction fails to attract bidders on Friday October 11 2013 - Jamaicans Lack interest in Broadband Internet and no Telecom Regulator for the Sector” and
“GOJ and MSTEM auctioning WiMaX and AWS Spectrum by Monday December 5th 2013 - AWS for Point-to-point, Point-to-Multipoint Networks and Residential WiMaX for Economic Prosperity”.
Now thanks to the tardiness (or is it self-interest and self-preservation?) of the Telecom Providers and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Jamaica lack of regular consultation and a display of urgency in sticking to the ICT Roadmap, Jamaica may yet again be late to go 4G LTE, effectively Wireless Broadband. This even as our Caribbean neighbor the Bahamas has achieved this milestone as reported my blog article entitled “Bahamas Telecommunications Company launched 4G LTE on Valentine's Day - Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access needed to empower Jamaicans before 4G LTE can go National”.
Friday, March 7, 2014
NTSB Judge Patrick Geraghty rules Drones for commercial purposes are now free - Forward thinking Black Sheep founder Raphael Pirker leading America towards an Almost Human Future
“There is no enforceable federal regulation concerning the operation of a model Airplane”
Attorney Brendan Schulman representing Team BlackSheep founder Raphael Pirker, in an interview with Wired Magazine on October 2013
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and all Drone enthusiasts in the USA just caught a legal break, clearing the way for Commercial Drone Projects like Amazon PrimeAir and competitors FedEx and UPS as noted in my blog article entitled “UPS and FedEx developing their Own Delivery Drones to compete with Amazon PrimeAir - Premium Rush Package Delivery Drones herald the coming of Google's Personal Androids that are Almost Human”.
Turns out that the six year ban on Drones imposed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) in 2007 is not an official regulation and neither is it clear-cut when it comes to Model Aircraft, which many Americans have been flying for years before this Drone Ban came into place as argued by Team BlackSheep founder Raphael Pirker in “Drones allowed to fly the US skies, for now”, published March 6, 2014 8:55 PM PST by Dara Kerr, CNET News.
This as the National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty has ruled that the Ban by the FAA on Drones is not legally binding and in fact doesn't even apply to Model Airplanes as the FAA, to quote his case notes: “has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation. Respondent's model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement”.
The fame Drone Maker had his ass hauled before the FAA after he was slapped with a US$10000 fine. This fine was issued as it was alledged that on October 17th 2011, Raphael Pirker aka “Trappy” who was contracted by Lewis Communications to do aerial photography and Video for their client the University of Virginia using his 4.5-pound Ritewing Zephyr-powered glider, endangered the lives of civilians at the event as described in “Remote aircraft pilot fights $10,000 FAA fine, could change Drone rules”, published October 9, 2013 04:39 pm By Chris Welch, The Verge.
Feeling trapped after years of plying his trade without incident, even doing some videos over New York, he naturally sought legal counsel and appealed the FAA Fine before the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board). His argument was that albeit he had no pilot's license, the FAA had no legal ground to stand on as it related to their ban in the first place!
FAA erred – Administrative Procedures Act blunder means Drones and Model Planes are equals
Apparently when the FAA had imposed their ban on Commercial Drones in 2007, they failed to hold any notice-and-comment rulemaking period to consult the public via City and Town Hall Meetings, instead action on its own out of concern for public safety - and possibly assuming the public sentiment against Drones due to their lack of education would make the ban universally acceptable.
This guideline is as laid out in the Administrative Procedures Act, which informs Public Agencies on how they are to proceed to implement Bans, Warning and administer other regulatory instruments to enforce and enact their roles as State entities as explained in “Drone Pilot Fights for Right to Profit in the Unmanned Skies”, published 10.09.136:30 AM BY DAVID KRAVETS, Wired.
Well, turns out that it may not be the case, as that's the procedure that the FAA failed to follow, thereby making the ban invalidated and inapplicable to Drones. Worse, the FAA Ban was broad-brushed over every flying aircraft, excepting Model Airplanes which Airplane hobbyists and enthusiasts have been flying for years without incident.
These products technically aren't Drones, as most of them are a RC (Radio Controlled) and aren’t packing the sophisticated Audio, photographic and video Electronics and guidance packages typical of most Drones. But due to the similarity in the design of Raphael “Trappy” Pirker’s Drone, in this case a 4.5-pound Ritewing Zephyr-powered glider, he could be seen as flying a Model Airplanes, save for the bristling Electronics package onboard to film the whole thing.
From his point of view, he was being punished and his actions were being criminalized under an improperly enforced ban as he sought to commercialize flying his “Model Aircraft”, as he ask quote: “How come the flight is less dangerous if you’re not receiving any compensation for it?”.
Thus based on the National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty ruling, Drones for commercial purposes are now free to fly. The FAA may appeal and kick the case up the US Court of Appeals, but that’s unlikely.
America the Backward – Forward thinking Black Sheep leading America towards an Almost Human Future
This is an interesting case to watch and my eyes are now firmly fixed on it. It seems rather curious as a Jamaican to observe this happening in a Developed Country quibbling over Drones, yet we here in Jamaica already use them for Aerial Photography as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Skycam Jamaica Aerial Photography marks possible Revival of Package Delivery in the Jamaica Postal Service”.
Worse, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) has now begun using them to deliver Government documents as of February 2014 as stated in “Drone deliveries get off the ground in Dubai”, published February 10, 2014 8:38 PM PST by Dara Kerr, CNET News. So the US of A is waaaay behind on Drones for Commercial usage.
The FAA themselves have been backpedalling on their Ban, apparently realizing that it’s not legally binding, despite their concern for public safety. Since November 2013 they’ve been cautiously recommending unmanned Drones for thing like Hunter spotting, Research and even for farmers to Spray their crops, so long as it’s shoe-box sized as noted in “FAA cautiously agrees to some use of civilian Drones”, published November 7, 2013 7:13 PM PST by Dara Kerr, CNET News.
Plus they have a double standard, as they routinely approve Drones for Military and Police work, but snub Commercial usage of Drones. Thus Amazon PrimeAir may be flying sooner than five years as pointed out in entitled “Amazon plans to launch Amazon PrimeAir, their 30 minute Drone Package Delivery Service for Amazon Prime users - Playing Catch-up as Mailpak launches DealBug in Jamaica”.
Looks like a Forward thinking Black Sheep leading America towards an Almost Human (2013 -) Future!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Digicel reports increases in Data Services, DL600 and DL700 sales in 2013 - LIME's all about the Benjamins from 4G LTE making Digicel Captain America The Winter Soldier
“More and more customers are realising that when they purchase a data plan they manage their data spend better and their overall data experience”
Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien in Digicel's Press Release on Growth in Data over the last quarter ending December 2013 published March 3rd 2014
Telecom Provider Digicel is reporting a 40% increase in Data Penetration among their Digicel customers which are very encouraging numbers from the Telecom Provider as stated in “Digicel reports growth in data and 4G subscribers”, published Wednesday March 5, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.
The Jamaica Gleaner’s report is a somewhat watered down versions of the Press Release on Digicel’s Website that’s a bit more detailed! Also it stands a bit in contradiction of the news by Ratings Agency Fitch that reported that Telecom Provider Digicel made a loss of US$198.491 during 2013 as stated in “Digicel Makes Net Loss Of US$198m In 2013”, Published Wednesday February 12, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Possibly this recently published Statement on Digicel’s website by the CEO is timed to counter this and rumours that Telecom Provider Digicel has plans to leave Jamaica. This as the issue became a talking point in Parliament when Opposition Spokesman on Science, Dr. Wheatley quizzed Minister Phillip Paulwell on rumours of Digicel Executives being relocated outside of Jamaica as stated in “ Paulwell: No sign of Digicel moving headquarters overseas”, published Thursday, February 27, 2014 BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.
Despite this and other troubles such as Vandalism of their Fiber Optic Cables which occurred on Wednesday January 8th 2014 as I’d reported in my blog article entitled “Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case”, Telecom Provider Digicel is much loved because of their giving ways, both by their business partners and the public in general.
Telecom Provider Digicel still managed to allow a Millennials (ages 8 to 28) 18-year-old Shaquille Sewell to win a 2013 Range Rover Evoque as part of their “DigicelBrighten Someone's Christmas” promotion, sure to win them praise from Millennials (ages 8 to 28) across Jamaica as stated in “Teenager Wins Digicel Range Rover”, Published Saturday January 18, 2014 by Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Interesting too they even twinned one of their most recent promotions to give away free DL600 and DL700 smartphones, Digicel's Supa DigiDealz with the YVA (Youth View Awards) as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel's Supa DigiDealz gives you a DL600 or DL700 free on a Smart Postpaid Plan - YVA 2013 to feature Zendaya as Digicel are the Big Bad Wolves in the Smartphone Wars”.
They also supported the Shaggy and Friend Concert to raise money to assist the Bustamante Children’s Hospital via streaming the concert free to their 600,000 followers on Facebook ,yet another notch in their belt as far as Millennials (ages 18 to 28) are concerned as stated in “Digicel, Gleaner Team Up To Give Shaggy And Friends Online Boost”, published Thursday January 2, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Their Digicel Foundation 5K Run/Walk in October 2013 managed to raise some JA$7.4 million for the following beneficiaries as reported in the article “Digicel Foundation Hands Over Millions”, Published Monday February 10, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner:
1. Early Stimulation Plus
2. Genesis Academy
3. Jamaica Association for the Blind
4. Jamaica Association for the Deaf
5. Jamaica Autism Support Association
6. Liberty Academy
7. Mustard Seed Communities
8. NAZ Children's Centre
9. The Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities
10. The Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation
11. The STEP Centre
Business Contractors love ‘em too, as they do pay pretty decent money for their work, to that end, Telecom Provider Digicel had also won the Avaya Partner of the Year award as betrothed to them by Avaya on Thursday January 23 2014 as stated in “Digicel Business wins Avaya Partner of the Year award”, published Friday, January 24, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.
Telecom Provider Digicel won the Caribbean Advertising Federation American Advertising Awards for Best of Show Overall Award and Best of TV Award for its ‘Be Extraordinary’ television ad as stated in “Digicel wins top prizes at Caribbean advertising awards”, published Saturday, February 22, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.
Truly, Telecom Provider Digicel is indeed Extraordinary!
Digicel sees increase in Demand for Data Subscriptions – DL600 and DL700 driving demand
The Stats are for the Fourth Quarter of 2014 and re-echo what’s now generally known if you’ve read my blog article entitled “Jamaicans fall in love with Digicel's DL600 and DL700 during Christmas 2013 - Sub-US$100 smartphones driving rapid smartphone adoption in Jamaica as Manufacturing is Possible”: Smartphones are hot:
1. 50% increase in Data subscriptions i.e. Data Plans
2. 28,000 DL600 and DL600 smartphones in November and December 2013
3. 60,000 Google Android smartphones sold in 2013
4. 200,000 new subscribers on their “4G” Mobile Broadband Network
The stats above reveal something even more interesting; the power of branding. According to Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien, their branded smartphones, the DL600 and the DL700, launched in October and December respectively as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel officially launches DL600 smartphones on Friday October 18th 2013 and JA$100 2-Day Data Plans - Ours is the Fury as Digicel’s DL600 secures their Throne in this Game of Phones against LIME” and “Digicel has launched the DL700, an upgrade to the DL600 on Friday December 6th 2013 - The Alcatel One Touch Pop C3 is Digicel’s latest Unicorn that may be harder to catch” are outselling the more traditional Brand smartphones such as Samsung, Nokia and even Blackberry.
To quote Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien: “What we are seeing is that customers are moving towards Android based smartphones. To that end, last year we introduced the Digicel range of Android smartphones (DL600 and DL700) and these are currently doing far better than traditional smartphones like Samsung, Nokia and BlackBerry in terms of sales.”
It also indicates that Jamaicans are finally warming up to the idea of spending money on dedicate Data Plans on the Android smartphones, with Digicel facilitating this interest via the re-launch and rebranding of the Data Lite, Data Plus and Data Max Data Plans as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel rebrands Data Plans as Data Lite, Data Plus and Data Max - Elain Stitch Shoot Me as Prepaid 2G, 3G and 4G Data Services for Blackberry, smartphones and Tablets made more complex”.
Positive Effects of the OUR’s MTR – LIME Dragging their feet on 4G LTE, FTTH and IPTV LIME TV
It’s now clear to all Telecom Providers that the reduction in Cross Termination Rates had increased Jamaicans appetite for Mobile Data Services.
Like Telecom Provider Digicel, Telecom Provider LIME is also reporting some encouraging numbers as noted in my blog article entitled “LIME experiences 25% increase in Profits due to MTR - 4G LTE and FTTH like Bahamas with IPTV Streaming LIME TV will give LIME 3 Days to Kill”. I’m a bit more skeptical about their intent to expand islandwide as I’m yet to hear any official word of expansion plans for FTTH (Fiber to the Home) and IPTV Streaming LIME TV.
True, Telecom Provider LIME has recently launched the largest deployment of 4G LTE in Bahamas as stated in my blog article entitled “Bahamas Telecommunications Company launched 4G LTE on Valentine's Day - Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access needed to empower Jamaicans before 4G LTE can go National”. But knowing Telecom Provider LIME after having worked there myself from 2001 to 2004 and Bahamas as I once knew a friend from that country, I know that this is commercial, not a bid to help Bahamas connect to the Internet.
They only went to Bahamas because that country is a Tourism Enclave that has a high per capita Income level and an affluent population and strong Tourism based Economy that can pay the prices that they want for 4G LTE. For them, LTE is not about helping Bahamas to connect to the internet for Development; it’s to facilitate the wealthy living their lifestyles by having expensive Wireless Broadband.
Knowing Telecom Provider LIME’s modus operandii, I’m willing to bet they’ll be announcing another 4G LTE deployment in Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago, as they are rich enough a population to afford paying for 4G LTE and the expensive smartphones and modems that support such a Network.
Right now the next big thing is 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), for which the way is being prepared by the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining via way of a Telecoms Regulator to regulate the rapidly expanding Telecom Sector as noted in my blog article entitled “New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014”.
Digicel’s Manifest Destiny – 4G for Everyone or Bust, Captain America The Winter Soldier Style
To this end Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien is trumpeting a Napoleon Bonaparte-esque Manifest Destiny-kinda slant to his usual rhetoric, quote: “We recognize that there is a growing appetite for access to the internet and access to data and we are happy to be facilitating this demand. As such, Digicel is in the process of rolling out an additional 170 4G mobile sites across the island which will see us increasing our 4G Network coverage from 80% to 92% population coverage. In the past year, we invested over $6 billion in our 4G Network, and this is in addition to an investment of J$7b over two years ago. We will continue to innovate while ensuring stability of our Network to deliver superior experiences for all our customers as we move Jamaica to being a smarter economy”.
Ok. Sounds different from the money-grubbing Telecom Provider LIME that STILL has no official word on 4G LTE, FTTH and IPTV LIME TV! It’s now March 2014. Let’s see what Telecom Provider Digicel does in the next few months as it relates to launching 4G LTE when the New Telecom Regulator comes online by July 2014!
Hopefully too they’ll do something about making their Telecom Facilities more secure from Vandals or disgruntled Contractors cutting their Fiber Optic Cables as I’d reported in my blog article entitled “Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case”. They still haven’t caught those people yet, who allegedly may be connected to embattled Dancehall Artiste Vybz Kartel.
Still, despite all of their current troubles, many Jamaicans see Telecom Provider Digicel as Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) coming to defend their right to Access Broadband via their Data Plans and Branded Shields aka the DL600 and the DL700.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
US$49 Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI Compatability launched before Ash Wednesday - Roku facing a Transformers Age of Extinction as Console Games becomes Content of Choice for Streaming
“Our vision is to be the operating system for Streaming television, just as there is Windows and Mac, and iOS and Android. Roku is emerging as the most popular platform for Streaming TV”
Roku Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Anderson commenting on the launch of the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version)
Happy Ash Wednesday Everyone! Have I got a Scoop for the Streaming Peeps!
The US$35 Google Chromecast made quite a splash when it was launched on Tuesday July 24th 2013 for a price of US$35 as reported in my blog article entitled “Google launches a 4G LTE Google Nexus 7 and Google Chromecast Streaming Device - Uninspired Tablet upgrades but US$35 Google Chromecast is the Streaming World's Blue Jasmine”.
Now stand back and be amazed by the even lower-priced response from the undisputed king of Streaming Devices, Roku, who launched their US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) on Tuesday March 4th 2014, a day before Ash Wednesday as stated in “Roku's new Streaming Stick takes on Chromecast: $50, HDMI-compatible, 1,200 apps (hands-on)”, published March 4, 2014 12:04 PM PST, CNET Reviews and “Roku sticks it to the Chromecast with a cheaper, more flexible Streaming Stick”, published March 4, 2014 By Ryan Waniata, DigitalTrends.
Roku’s family (yes, they are now a family!) of Streaming devices are easy to recommend as I’d done with the US$50 Roku LT Streaming Player in my blog article entitled “Great Gadget gifts for less than US$50 for your loved ones - Something Great for everyone that likes The Starving Games this Christmas 2013”, as they are low cost yet come pre-loaded with loads of Apps, which in the Roku universe are called Channels.
This new US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) differs from the previous US$90 Roku Streaming Stick (MHL Version) that was reviewed back in December 2013 as described in “Roku Streaming Stick review: Good but niche”, published 12/20/12, CNET Reviews in that it supports any TV that has HDMI and half the price.
It’s tiny; at 3” long, it’s only got enough space for a Reset button and a plastic grille to “breath” in air to prevent it from overheating. It’s also powered by a USB port like its competition the Google Chromecast, meaning you’ll have to sacrifice one of the USB ports at the back of your HDTV!
But it’s that price similarity and the quality of the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) offer that’s got many interested on this Ash and Sackcloth Day as it’s clearly a winner against the much cheaper US$35 Google Chromecast as concluded in “Roku Streaming Stick vs. Google Chromecast: How do they stack up?”, published March 4, 2014 3:16 PM PST by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News.
Thoughts to ponder as 40 days and nights of Fasting before Easter are upon us. Thus anything that has more value than the very limited US$35 Google Chromecast is welcome for the Lenten Season. And what a value it is:
1. 1,200-channel Library of Apps as listed on Roku's Website
2. 1080p output, dual-band Wi-Fi support
3. RF Remote Control with Wi-Fi Direct Support
4. USB powered Device
I don't know about anyone else, but when Roku and 3M had jointly released the 3M Roku Streaming Projector based on the new MHL (Mobile High Definition link) Standard back in February 2013, I was intrigued by the idea of portable fun-sized Streaming Device as stated in my blog article entitled “3M Roku Streaming Projector is the ultimate Mystery Machine for Parties and Corporate Show-and-Tell”.
Roku Saddles up for the competition – Cheaper isn’t always better but the Barbarians are gathering
Roku product is squarely aimed at the cheaper but poorly executed US$35 Google Chromecast and is a sign that Roku isn’t afraid of the new challengers to its dominance in Streaming as noted in “Now with Streaming Stick, Roku isn't sweating the blitz”, published March 5, 2014 4:30 AM PST by Joan E. Solsman, CNET News. Roku has been the favorite of Cord-Cutters, the informal name for customers who opt to forgo Cable TV in exchange for the Convergence of Broadband internet and watching their TV Content via an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) Device.
This based on Research done by Research Firm Parks Research, which places Roku in Pole position with Apple iTV coming in a close Second as stated in my blog article entitled “Parks Research says Roku Streaming Box is Consumer favourite - Traditional Jamaican Free-to-Air Broadcasters in a state of Paranoia over Streaming”.
Support for HDMI (High Definition Media Input) and the ability to control your Streaming Device using your smartphone are now par for the course. The challengers to Roku’s throne know that. They also know that Streaming is on the uptick based on the stats of analyst NPD Research as noted in my blog article entitled “Cable TV subscriptions Declines as the Connected Home boost IPTV Streaming”.
To that end, Roku’s competitors have Streaming devices that may possibly double as Gaming Consoles. The Apple iTV is rumoured to be revamping their device to make a push into China; so too are Google and Amazon as stated in my latest blog article my blog article entitled “China allows Console Makers to manufacture Video Game Consoles in Shanghai Free Zone - Social Mobile Cloud Gaming Revival with Legit Chinese Customers and defense against Apple and Google” .
As if on cue, Amazon already has plans to debut some Streaming device from their Amazon Prime Movie Rental Service with a splash of Gaming from their Amazon App Store, most likely at a discount to their Amazon Prime members come this March 2014 as explained in my blog article entitled “Amazon is planning to launch a Streaming Set Top Box by March 2014 - Amazon Prime Kindle Box is a Dash of Cinnamon and may be the ultimate savior of Gaming Consoles”.
Let’s see how the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) will fare against this coming onslaught of IPTV Streaming Devices. Otherwise Roku may be facing a Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) as Console Games becomes the Content of Choice for Set Top Box Streaming!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Apple to launch CarPlay at Geneva Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland - Siri Voice Assistant and Primesense bring Hands-free Remote Control Revolution to The Grand Budapest Hotel
Apple’s isn’t sitting on their laurels when it comes to spreading their iOS wings to other products aside from Bigger Tablets, Television Sets and Streaming Boxes that double as Gaming Consoles as speculated in my blog article entitled “China allows Console Makers to manufacture Video Game Consoles in Shanghai Free Zone - Social Mobile Cloud Gaming Revival with Legit Chinese Customers and defense against Apple and Google”.
Apple is going into Automobile IVI (In Vehicle Infotainment) by making a version of iOS called Apple CarPlay to control your musical content as stated in “Apple CarPlay to bring iPhone experience to your next car's dashboard”, published March 3, 2014 12:09 AM PST by Tim Stevens, CNET News.
Especially as the European Car makers at the just-started Geneva Auto Show in Geneva Switzerland are so positive and upbeat about the Automobile industry making a turnaround as stated in the article “Geneva Motor Show: Europe's car industry in optimistic mood”, published 4 March 2014 Last updated at 00:08 GMT By Russell Hotten, Business reporter, BBC News.
The new IVI System, which will mainly be compatible with the Apple iPhone 5, 5S, or 5C, is being endorsed by the following shortlist of Automobile Manufacturers:
Apple CarPlay will be on parade at the Geneva Auto Show for release in 2014. Apple CarPlay won’t be running iOS in your Car; rather, it’s to provide a Docking System for your Lightning Connector empowered Apple devices to connect to your Car’s Entertainment system and play media content, hands-free!
No doubt other may be joining soon, especially as Apple CarPlay may not only just feature Siri Voice Assistant integration but Gesture based control technology thanks to their acquisition of Israeli based 3D Motion Capture Technology Company Primesense as predicted in my blog article entitled “Apple buys Israeli-based Primesense that makes the Microsoft Kinect - Apple's Siri and Kinect Heralds of a coming world free of Remote Controls”.
IVI Competition coming for Microsoft Windows - QNX and Apple promise hassle free, Reliable Entertainment
If you may have read in my blog article entitled “Microsoft cuts cost of Windows 8 Licensing by 70% - Low cost Windows 8 Tablets coming as Microsoft is now Walking with the Enemy, Google Chrome OS” then you’d have realized that the Microsoft Windows OS, be if for smartphones and Computers and Laptops, is in serious trouble.
Ford is even upgrading their Sync Platform, which was previously based on Microsoft Windows to Blackberry’s QNX Platform due to negative press and the simple fact that Windows is unreliable, unstable and makes Ford Sync user-unfriendly as reported in the article “Why Ford is dumping Microsoft for Blackberry's QNX OS”, published February 26, 2014 06:48 AM By Lucas Mearian, ComputerWorld.
Apple CarPlay aims to do the same thing Blackberry QNX is doing for Ford; provide a secure, reliable synching platform for your Audio and Video entertainment without being touchy-feely.
Unlike QNX, however, Apple doesn’t have much experience in this area, so despite the big names signing up and their Brand recognition with the famous Siri Voice Assistant, they have a lot of research and catching-up to do if they are to make Apple iOS sparkle in the same way it Automobiles as it does on their products.
So with Apple coming in their Rearview Mirror, the next time you play music in one of those automobiles, your IVI may be powered by Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay wil no doubt be at the Geneva Auto Show and Siri Voice Assistant and Primesense will be bring Hands-free Remote Control Revolution to The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
Wisnyco Group and Trade Winds Citrus to increase Sales and Launch new Products - Sales Push to fall Flat as Back to Africa and East Asia to continue growing and satisfy their Need for Speed
“I will tell you, we are looking at producing a lot more. Peter McConnell, our new partner and the managing director of Trade Winds, has just committed about US$3.5 million ($376.9 million) and it's actually in spending already. We are hoping to have new products for this team to sell”
Andrew Mahfood, CEO of Wisynco Group at Wisynco’s First Annual Sales Conference with some 200 sales people gathered at the Jamaica Conference Centre on February Wednesday 19th 2014
Andrew Mahfood, CEO of Wisynco Group and Peter McConnell, Managing Director of Trade Winds Citrus have decided that the competition cannot be fruitier than them. They also realize that they may have to start selling their products directly to their market, sidestepping their Distributors via an increased push by their Sales Representatives.
Also, like GraceKennedy, the prospect of exporting and even manufacturing their drinks products in Africa and South East Asia, where they aim to get most of their profits as noted in “GraceKennedy Records Growth In Revenues”, Published Thursday March 6, 2014 6:01 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner seem like am mighty good idea right now!
A fact they made plain at their First Annual Sales Conference with some 200 sales people gathered at the Jamaica Conference Centre on February Wednesday 19th 2014.
This as they’ve (actually mostly the Mahfoods) have decided to invest some US$3.5 million into the development of new Products as they claim the signs that the Jamaican Economy is turning a corner are self-evident as stated in the article “Wisynco and Trade Winds commit US$3.5 million for new products”, published Friday, February 21, 2014 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.
Trade Winds Citrus, a company in which the Wisynco Group had recently acquired a 50% stake, was to be a part of that thrust, with a focus on growing more Ginger to expand their production of Drinks made from and using Ginger as a Flavouring as noted in “Trade Winds moves to capitalise on Jamaican ginger demand”, published Friday, February 21, 2014, The Jamaica Observer. Trade Winds Citrus is a maker of the following branded products:
1. Tru Juice
Sales is their Focus - Proven Gain in the Last 5 years not an indication of the Future
Well according to their cheerleader ....er...I mean international business and sales expert, Grant Cardone, Sales persons are the last line of Defence in a Troubled Economy, quote: “Sales are the lifeblood of any economy, any business and any family. Each team member must learn to drive revenues. Quit focusing on the economy, troubled economies are easier to grow in”.
He might have a point. Five years ago in 2009, Wisynco increased their Sales Representatives, those persons who do direct negotiations for the sale of their product. During that stretch of time, Wisynco saw the following positive metrics:
1. 36% increased customer base
2. 34% improved Sales
3. 56% increase in revenues
Aside from the acquisition of Trade Winds Citrus, which basically means that they have access to a steady supply of fruits with which to make more products, they've also spread their wings into other investments to keep the Sales momentum going:
1. Alternative Sales Channels i.e. Social Media, which is a relatively low cost but effective way of engaging customers as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Social Media Marketing – Advertising and Marketing in Ja on a Shoe-String”
2. Sales forces automation mainly involving the use of e-Commerce platforms
3. Investments in a Call Centre Services to enhance customer service experience and increase engagement
Now that Wisynco Group owns Trade Winds Citrus, they can take advantage of the fact that they now have their own supply of fresh fruits that they grow on 2,900 acres of farmland that’s subdivided into four large farms, particularly:
3. Otaheite apple
4. June plum
6. Sour sop
Trade Winds Citrus has reaped their first commercial crop of Ginger instead of buying if from farmers, they can make more of their popular flavours more cheaply. This as Ginger is used as a flavor stabilizer in their line of drinks, particularly:
3. Guava Pineapple
4. June Plum
5. Otaheite apple
Wisynco’s Sales Push to fall Flat – Back to Africa and East Asia where the money is
A push into Africa and exports to China, Europe and the Far East via the acquisition of land in those countries to grow more exotic fruits and produce more flavours would also be a recommended move. This as it’s the same thing being done by Grace Kennedy as noted in my blog article entitled “BOJ to regulate and approve Mobile Money Industry in Jamaica - JCCUL JCUES is the Man of Steel as GraceKennedy joins The Last Stand for a Cashless Society”.
Jamaicans clearly doesn’t have any more money for displosable income. Thus increasing sales will only yield the same result. Wisynco Group and Trade Winds Citrus would literally have to cut out their suppliers and sell their products directly to consumers in order to achieve any marked increase in sales and profits, putting them in competition with the very same wholesalers and Retailers that their Sales Representatives already market their product.
Only a push into new, untapped markets outside of the Caribbean will yield the kind of money that Wisnyco Group and Trade Winds Citrus seeks to continue growing and satisfy their Need for Speed (2014)!