Saturday, February 26, 2011

OneRiot Rolls Out Social Targeting Service For Mobile Ads

As we’ve written in the past, OneRiot recently switched its business model; shutting down its search portal and focusing exclusively on monetizing via its realtime advertising network. Today, the startup is launching a social targeting service for mobile ads, that the company claims offers highly targeted ads within mobile apps.
By way of history, OneRiot first ventured into the advertising world in 2009 with RiotWise, an ad format which places content in an emphasized position in their realtime feed. OneRiot also launched RiotWise Trending Ads, a stream of ads that correspond to trending topics as they emerge across the social web, and rolled out self-refreshing realtime trending ads and a self-service version of RiotWise. Currently, OneRiot CEO Tobias Peggs says the company is seeing 2 billion impressions per month across its network (for context, Google’s AdMob sees 2 billionimpressions per day).
With the new social targeting service, OneRiot allows advertisers to reach targeted audience
segments on mobile, from busy moms to tech influencers to sports guys to fashionistas. Segmentation and targeting are based on factors such as audience interest profiles, demographics, social influence and realtime conversations. OneRiot’s audience profiles are created by mining and analyzing public big data social streams from services (i.e.Twitter). The company says that this data is derived from users that heavily engage with content on their mobile device that is relevant to their current social activity, including status updates, tweets, photos, advertising and more.
The company recently implemented the service during the Super Bowl for car manufacturer Chevy. OneRiot targeted Chevy’s campaign to male US sports fans and car enthusiasts who were talking about “football” across a network of mobile Twitter apps (these include UberTwitter, Echofon, TweetCaster and others) during the game. When the audience checked their app, they saw the ad for Chevy, which prompted viewers to check out Chevy’s Super Bowl video on YouTube.
OneRiot contends that its mobile targeting is more specific and granular than competitors in the social advertising space, such as 140Proof. Of course, I’m sure Twitter itself can provide the best targeted advertising to consumers.
While social targeting is useful for advertisers, it’s important to evaluate click-through rates of the ads to determine how the mobile formats are performing. Peggs says CTRs are consistently above 1 percent for mobile ads. OneRiot declined to give us any further information on the company’s overall revenue and performance.source

3G, broadband wireless access key growth OBJECTS : Economic Survey

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India's Economic Survey for 2010-11 Friday termed the introduction of third generation (3G) and broadband wireless access (BWA) technologies as the "key frontiers" of the growth of the telecom industry. 

"The last five years have been transformational for Indian telecom industry, the next few years look even more exciting. One of the key new frontiers is 3G technology," said the annual report tabled by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha Friday. 

"The auction of 3G and BWA spectrum has been successfully conducted. This will encourage further expansion of wireless services," it added. 

Considering the growth of wireless telecom, the survey also said there are excellent opportunities for domestic and foreign investors in the manufacturing sector as well.

At present, most wireless core equipment is imported and there is great potential to manufacture these items in the country. 

The production of telecom equipments in value terms increased from Rs.48,800 crore during 2008-09 to Rs.51,000 crore during 2009-10. 

The worth of telecom equipment, including customer premises equipment produced during 2010-11, is expected to be about Rs.53,500 crore. 

Exports of telecom equipment have also increased from Rs.11,000 crore in 2008-09 to Rs.13,500 crore during 2009-10 and are expected to increase to Rs.14,000 crore in 2010-11. 

The survey also said there are still about 62,443 uncovered villages which would also be provided with village public telephone facility with subsidy support from universal service obligation fund. 

The survey stated that the sector has not only led to rapid growth but also helped a great deal towards maximisation of consumer benefits as tariff have been falling across the board. 

The average tariff has come down from almost Rs.17 per minute in 1999 to about Rs.3 per minute in 2004 and, by March 2010, this became as low as 57 paise per minute while today it has reached a level of 30 paise per minute. 

The total telephone subscribers base rose to 764.77 million at the end of November 2010 as against 76.54 million in 2004. 

While the wireless telephone connections contributed to growth as their numbers rose from 35.62 million in March 2004 to 729.58 million at the end of November 2010. The wireline has shown a decline from 40.92 million in 2004 to 35.19 million in November 2010.

Telcos on hiring spree

Staffing firms are set to rake in more revenues from the telecom sector, which is hiring temporary staffers in right earnest to meet the demand created by third-generation (3G) services, broadband wireless access and mobile number portability.

3G airwaves allow services such as high-speed internet, music, movies, TV, games and video conferencing on mobile phones seamlessly, while MNP allows mobile phone users to change their service provider keeping the same number. Over 17 lakh people availed of the MNP service from November to first week of February, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Bharti Airtel, Tata Docomo, Reliance Communications and Aircel have launched 3G services over the past quarter at competitive tariffs in the hope of driving up revenues in a capital-intensive industry. India is one of the fastest growing telephony markets in the world. Both services have transformed into fresh business for staffing firms, with telecom companies asking for sales, marketing and customer support professionals.

In the next nine months, there is a demand for 6,000 to 8,000 network engineers for infrastructure companies, sales and marketing employees for telecom firms, says Kamal Karanth, managing director of temp staffer Kelly Services. This includes indirect placements (people on the rolls of temp staffing firms) and direct placements (people on company rolls), such as that of mid-level customer care staff in BPOs.

Average billing per hire, or the money a staffing firm may make on a single recruit, could range from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the annual package, says TeamLease senior manager for sourcing Abhijeet Poddar. The talent crunch in this sector will push salary hikes over the current 15 per cent to 20 per cent, he added.

"There will be a demand for feet-on-the-street. Circle level hiring is happening more than at the corporate level. Our estimates and client demand means at least 150 to 180 people getting hired every month," says Poddar. Hiring in the telecom sector could touch 1 lakh a year, for the next two to three years, says India's largest temping firm TeamLease Services.

At least six of every 10 hires would be in segments requiring technical skills. More people will be required at entry-to-mid levels as telecom companies and network providers head into rural areas. Staffing firm Manpower India's estimates are more conservative, at upwards of 10,000 sales executives hired in the next six months, based on requests from clients such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Idea Cellular, Uninor and Aircel.

"While new players are slowing down on recruitment in the face of uncertainties over 2G (second generation) spectrum allotment, bigger players are trying to gain by hiring them in a scarce talent market," said Manpower India managing director Sanjay Pandit.

Telecom equipment makers and network providers are also expected to hire for services related to broadband wireless access airwaves that are superior to 3G, allowing very high-speed internet access, telephony and TV over the internet. Mid-and senior leadership levels will be strengthened, says telecom tower provider Viom Networks chief executive officer Arun Kapur.

"Our business is currently in a growth phase with plans to add more tower infrastructure to our portfolio. Hiring will be across functions including those that have a direct impact on the quality of service and business growth," he adds.source

Aircel looking forward for 5 mn 3G users by year end

Wireless carrier Aircel hopes that by the end of the year about ten percent of its current user base of over 50 million subscribers will be using the faster 3G data and voice services, a top company official said here on Thursday.

The company announced the launch of their 3G telecoms services in India on Thursday.

Aircel Chief Operating Officer Gurdeep Singh said, We believe that by the end of this year 10 percent of the customers will be using 3G facility and by the next 3 to 4 year the figure will rise to 30 percent."

Speaking on the 3G connectivity, Singh said: "The launch of 3G services on Aircel will address the high speed digital needs of the customers thus unleashing the power of the internet further creating the opportunities for education, employment, engagement and entertainment which will empower the consumers and impact their lifestyle."

The Aircel 3G Pocket internet portal will enable its users to watch video entertainment such as fashion, music, movies and sports.

The customers can also watch multiple TV channels live on Aircel 3G network in different languages.

Aircel crossed an all India subscriber base of over 50 million subscribers in 2010 besides recording a revenue growth of 44 percent over 2009 and the incremental market share growth of 19 percent in 2010.

"Our commitment to the market is underlined by the investment of over USD 8 billion we have made already and a further USD 3 billion we plan to spend in the next three years," Singh added.source

Vodafone kicks off Land Line Business

Vodafone is entering India's landline market, but only for business customers

Vodafone plans to enter the leased landline and business solutions space, competing with larger private peers Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, and Tata Communications .
Vodafone is looking at entering the country's landline market, but only for business customers. The market for domestic landline services is much smaller and less reliable, as most consumers prefer to use mobile services.
Last year December,Vodafone Essar joined hands withWipro to manage its fixed line telecom services business. Vodafone agrees that they are a late entrant in the business but that puts them in an advantageous position of nothing to lose. VodafoneĆ¢€™s entry may intensify price wars in the enterprise business just like new entrants in the mobile telephony space did since late 2008.
Although landline costs have been falling by around 10-15% per year as the competition is increasing, it is still favorable compared to the cut-throat competition in the mobile market where tariffs have halved over the past two years.
With the retail customer tariffs down to one paisa per second, enterprise businesses presents high margin data revenue for telecom operators. Unlike mobile telephone call rates that have halved over the last two years, telephony solutions for enterprises have been falling 10-15 % every year.
The financial year which end in March 2016, enterprise business would account for nearly 20% of the companyĆ¢€™s revenue. In October-December, the quarter revenue of Vodafone Essar was approximately 7,126 crore, UK-based parent Vodafone Group said and did not disclose the profitability of the region. It will also give preference to the enterprise customers on its 3G services to be launched before March-end. Vodafone Essar bought 3G airwaves in nine service areas for 11,618 crore in a government auction last year. The service is expected to bring about more profit-making data business to telecom operators.
Vodafone across the globe have been quite an upfront in innovations. In Netherlands, Vodafone is the first telecom operator to offer 'VastOpMobiel' in which entrepreneurs can receive fixed line phone calls on their mobile without the need to have a fixed line subscription and redirecting. With 'VastOpMobiel', they can be reached anywhere, anytime, and savings can be as high as 50% of the cost of a landline subscription.
In the landline business in India, Vodafone is offering free connection, free local, national calls, and free calls to Vodafone mobiles from your fixed line and a simple flat rate for calls to non-Vodafone mobiles ie 20c per minute.source

ESPN relaunches ESPN Goals service

ESPN has today launched its Premier League goals mobile app on Nokia smartphones, as well as revamping the service on iPhone and Android platforms.

The ESPN Goals service, which uses the US broadcaster's three-year deal for mobile highlights of all 380 Premier League games, is now available from Nokia's Ovi store, delivering video clips of all goals from the league.

Users can download the app for free to access live scores and news, but they will have to pay £1.50 per month to receive the complete video service, including in-match, post-match and customised video clips.

"Mobile media is an important way fans stay connected to the sport they love," said Tom Gleeson, vice president of digital media at ESPN International.

"ESPN Goals is another step in ESPN's bid to serve sports fans on multiple devices with the very best sporting content."

Rupert Englander, head of services marketing at Nokia, added: "This is a superb addition to the content available on the Nokia N8 at launch. Now every football fan can watch, share, cheer and keep up to date wherever they are with this great app."

In addition to the Nokia launch, the Disney-owned broadcaster has also revamped the existing ESPN Goals apps on iPhone and Google Android, with a reduced price.

New features on both apps include free preview clips of goals for non-subscribers and a fixtures and results section featuring more detailed content. The revamped apps are on sale now for £1.50 per month on Android and £1.79 on Apple, down from the previous price of £3.99.

Last week, ESPN launched its popular ESPNcricinfo service as a mobile app on iPhone and Android in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Mobile Health Support Service Trials

NTT Communications, its affiliate NTT Resonant Inc. and foo.log Inc. jointly announced the launch of a field trial for the world’s first cloud-based mobile service to estimate calorie consumption by analyzing daily food-intake and walking levels and then automatically recommend how the user can achieve their health goals.
The trial, which also includes the participation of the University of Tokyo, Tipness Ltd. and L-NET Co., Ltd., will last until this summer. A commercial version of the Health Enhancement Assist Service is expected to be launched no later than the first quarter of 2012.
Monitors are welcome to apply for participation in the trial. The applicant can use any smartphone running Android OS 2.1 or above, or iOS 4.0 (expected to be available from early March), or any PC with a browser, including Internet Explorer 6 or above or Firefox 3.6 or above. Applications can be made online at www.karada.ft.nttcloud.net (Japanese only).
Each day, the user takes photos of their meals with a mobile phone and then the service uses the pictures to automatically estimate calories, nutrition type and quantity—a world’s first—based on guidelines set by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries. The service also estimates how many calories are burned while walking each day by using the GPS location function and acceleration sensors in the person’s mobile phone. Users manually enter their daily weight, and all data is stored on a server for quick, easy reference.
Based on this data, the service periodically recommends levels of exercise and types of meals to help the person achieve their specific health goals, all on a cloud basis. The recommendations, sent to the user’s mobile phone on a push basis, are tailored to each user and presented in a rich format using videos and other visual content.
The service is compatible with Twitter and Facebook to enable users to share and even compare data with others for extra motivation to maintain diets and healthful habits. Data can be quickly accessed after logging into an account on Google, Yahoo! Japan or mixi, or any NTT Group or partner company, including NTT Com, NTT DOCOMO and NTT Resonant.
In the first phase of the trial, the service provides calorie intake and walking records, weight charts, comparisons with others’ data, before/after data, general recommendations for exercises and meals, and links to popular social networks. Additional features will be added in early March, such as correlated graphs of calories consumed and burned, and tailored recommendations for exercises and meals.source

Tiny Cell Tower

Its 2.5-inch lightRadios could replace some 200-foot behemoths.

Almost everything electronic—modems, PCs, cellphones—becomes dramatically smaller and more powerful each year. Not cell towers. They're still big, ugly, and expensive. Most were designed with the simple goal of transmitting plain old phone calls, so towers are easily overwhelmed by smartphone users who now want to not only call grandma but also upload photos and stream TV shows. The current solution to network congestion is "building bigger and bigger cell towers in more places," says the president of Alcatel-Lucent's wireless division, Wim Sweldens. That's cost-prohibitive in vast rural expanses and pretty much impossible in dense urban areas. "It's no longer sustainable," he says.
On Feb. 7, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) introduced a Rubik's cube-sized device called lightRadio that could help bring an end to the bigger-is-better approach. Most of today's cell towers are 200-foot monsters topped with an unsightly gangle of antennae. Each lightRadio unit measures 2.5 inches across and weighs just 10.5 oz. That compact package contains radios and antennae for each of the major cellular technologies—2G, 3G, and LTE. Carriers can plop them wherever they need more coverage, so long as an electrical source is available—on telephone poles, building rooftops, and bus stop shelters. "This will dramatically change the way mobile networks are built," says Sweldens.
Smartphone users won't be able to download Top Chef via these modules just yet. While carriers say they are very interested in the technology, none have committed to testing it yet, let alone buying it. And while the first versions of the lightRadio devices could help quickly plug holes in coverage, they'll still need to be wired to a cellular base station, the cabinet-sized rack of gear usually housed in a basement or shed at the bottom of a cell tower. (Base stations convert mobile, analog signals into digital ones and send them across a carrier's underground broadband cables.) By 2014, Alcatel-Lucent hopes to integrate all of the bulky base-station technology into lightRadio units as well.
Carriers are scrambling to cope with a steep rise in mobile traffic, which is increasing by 26 percent a year, according to Cisco Systems (CSCO), the world's largest networking gear supplier. The economics of the Internet make keeping up difficult. Though consumers are downloading more movies and apps on their phones, wireless carriers don't generally make extra revenue from these "data hogs," as some call them. "The economics are getting worse," says Sweldens. LightRadio devices, he claims, could lower the cost of new cellular investments by as much as 50 percent. One big expense that lightRadio minimizes: the price of winning approval from the not-in-my-backyard types who fight proposed cell towers. "Site acquisition is the Achilles' heel of every wireless carrier," says Jeffrey M. Thompson, chief executive officer of Towerstream, which offers high-speed cellular service in 11 U.S. cities, including New York. He says it often takes a year to win approval to build a new tower.
Carriers have lately been trying to alleviate network strain by keeping people from using the cell network at all. For several years they've offered consumers the option to buy "femtocells," small gadgets for the home that intercept a mobile user's phone calls and data requests and send them over cable and DSL lines instead of airwaves. It's a tough sell: Carriers are essentially asking customers to pay for a device whose only function is to make their cell service tolerable. (In some cases they give femtocells to subscribers for free.) About a million people have taken them up on the offer, according to Dell'Oro Group, a market research firm.
LightRadio is the first major attempt to rethink the cell tower itself, says Michael Howard, co-founder of research firm Infonetics Research. Asked if any other networking company is working on something like lightRadio, Howard says "If they weren't, they are now."source

Mobile service providers to trace absconding accused

In a bid to trace those who have jumped bail, furlough or parole, the Maharashtra government has turned to mobile service operators and election commission for help. Additional public prosecutor Ajey Gadkari informed the Bombay high court on Thursday that the government has sent a list of absconding accused to operators to check if they have any records on those names.

The government has also approached the election commission to verify if it has any records of those on the list.
A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AR Joshi asked the government to file by March 21 an affidavit giving the updated statistics since the constitution of special cells.
Following the court’s suggestion, special cells were set up at all police stations in the state last year to trace absconding accused and missing people.
Earlier, the personnel of these special cells would report to the officer in-charge of the police station. “Now, the cells will directly report to the deputy commissioners of police in the city and superintendents of police at district-level,” said Gadkari.
During the last hearing, the court had suggested that there should be integrated data system so that even local police stations could update the list of absconding accused and missing persons. The government said it was also working streamlining such a system.
The court had taken up suo moto cognisance of Ramzan Sabit Hussain, a murder convict who jumped bail in 2003 after his bail was cancelled. Later, the court had clubbed the issue of missing persons after several habeas corpus [produce person in court] petitions were filed.source