Freitag, 27. Mai 2011

I've Got a Wallet, and You've Got One, Too

The comments and battles about Googles new service - see Globe and Mail, for instance - for 0.0001% of the world's population (Nexus S 4G owners with a Citibank Mastercard, rough guess) may teach us a few things:
  1. It's not telco operators versus banks any more in online payment. 10 years of inertia have sent operators on the road to be bit shifters, and banks to be currency shifters - apart from the banks' betting and gambling business dubbed investment banking.
  2. Telcos invest big time in marketing to put themselves out of business. For 20 years they had an online authentication device called SIM card on each and every one of the 3.5 billion mobile devices, and merchants would have loved to use it for customer identification. Instead, telcos go to Mobile World Congress to tell the world that it should use a new device available in a few million mobiles so far. That is fair - the SIM card was accessible for the operator only while the NFC device is accessible for Google, PayPal, Apple and Amazon, too.
  3. Talking about accessibility: NFC is a great technology, but that does not mean it's the best choice in every situation. A good stone-age bar code sticker on my mobile can be read by any merchant without investment into NFC readers, and by no one else as long as the mobile is in my pocket. I would not feel good to carry a NFC enabled wallet with me in a crowded area. How stupid should we be to led into thinking that suddenly NFC is the only way for mobile payment?
  4. Monopolists are not easy with their likes. So the business outlook for professional journalism isn't so bad after all - plenty of wrestling to cover.

We can send letters to everyone in the world and pay at our postal office. We can phone everybody in the world and pay our local operator. On some continents, you even can transfer money to every other account holder and pay your local bank.

Do we really need to register with 4 or more would-be monopolists to buy online?
Solution left to the reader.

Mittwoch, 27. April 2011

Conjecture about the iPhone's consolidated.db

There are some obvious assumptions about how Apple's collection of WLAN Access Point and mobile cell data in a recently publicized database on the iPhone might be good for.

For instance, improvement of location based services by Ap and cell location data. This might be useful for indoor navigation where GPS does not work.

Let me give you another guess:
A few months ago, there were rumours about Apple coming up with SIM functionality built into the iPhone. This would make Apple a global Mobile Virtual Network Operator and bring back the ability to negotiate cut-throat deals with Mobile Network Operators as they had get it with revenue sharing back in the iPhone 2 introduction times.

As we know, data flat rates are rarely profitable these days. This isn't Apple's problem, the quote "New Yorkers like expensive things" applies to all of their customers. However, if you are clever, charging high prices doesn't keep you from cutting cost. So Apple might look at deals with large WLAN access point operators to get their bytes across a little cheaper, if possible. When you have statistics on all WLAN AP MAC addresses an iPhone user has seen, you could get a list of their MAC addresses from WLAN operators, correlate those and estimate the advantage you would have from a deal.

The case against my guess is that there is the database does not store the number of times I came a across a specific Access Point.
Enjoy, and entertain yourself with a guess of your own!