Apple SIM: bad news for #mobile operators?

Interesting article  where the mobile Telco may evolve in the (near?) future as the adoption of the virtual sim will spread across devices and services.

Existing OTTs players will keep building value added services on top of existing Telco services (as is) AND start providing real time brokering service to pick up the best voice/data tariff (with VoLTE all IP based traffic) across Telco operators, billing and invoicing customers! 

Are Operators doomed to be disintermediated and OTTs act as pervasive “Smart” MVNOs? 



Apple SIM quietly introduced

Anyone who saw last week’s Apple keynote (where the company predictably introduced new iPad, Retina iMac and Mac Mini models) probably missed the moment when Apple quietly introduced its carrier-neutral Apple SIM in cellular versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, in what could prove to be a disruptive move for the mobile industry.

What is it?

The Apple SIM is a standard size data only nano-SIM that comes preinstalled in the iPad Air 2 (the only device that supports it, for now). This means that instead of having to swap out SIM cards, customers can simply select any of the supported operators from the iPad’s settings menu.

Traditional SIMs contain details such as the MSISDN (the customer’s phone number) and an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), a unique number that identifies the actual subscriber. The Apple SIM contains a degree of flexibility in that some of the information it stores can be changed in software.


Despite the fact this type of SIM card has been reported in the media as being a virtual SIM (or soft SIM), it is still a long way from being a true virtual SIM that lets consumers pick any operator in the world. In fact, it’s not a virtual SIM at all – there is still a physical card in the device.

A threat to the networks, or an opportunity?

The main advantage of Apple’s new SIM is that there is no need to be tied into a contract with any one mobile network, and you can basically get data on your iPad whenever you need it. You have the freedom to use any network that has a deal which meets your needs

How will it affect the networks? As soon as you discover a network that supports the Apple SIM, you might also notice a special deal available with cheap data prices, so you could switch networks for a while. Then you might change again later on to take advantage of a better deal with someone else. The upshot is, the networks might be forced to become much more competitive.

Imagine if this was available for the iPhone – you would switch it on and see a selection of networks all competing for your custom. Apple could even become a virtual operator who charges levies all data charges, but would be able to constantly find you the best deal and network.

Will the Apple SIM eventually be available on the iPhone? It seems unlikely for the time being – it currently makes sense for the iPad which tends not to be subsidised by the operators, but there is less incentive (for the networks) to offer this for the iPhone, as the handset’s true cost is usually subsidised and they want to lock customers in for 2 year contracts. If Apple did bundle it with a new iPhone in future, the operators would most likely fight tooth and nail.


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Have you heard what Steve Blank said recently?

“Here’s a big idea that everybody’s been missing because it just happened. It’s the fact that large companies are now turning to startup companies and startup ideas. Really, the whole lean startup thing is being adopted by large corporations. Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation will be the next big thing for the next 10 years.”

For organisations in public and private sector, the only way to not becoming obsolete in the next decade, is to innovate in ways never seen before. And a rapidly growing number of companies has been embracing intrapreneurship as the main driver for innovation and growth. 

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5 Things Most People Forget About Local SEO

The most important component of local SEO is a trinity of information known as the NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. Some people call it the NAP+W, adding in the Website for good measure.


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Why There Are Too Many Chiefs And Not Enough Innovation


Over the years this country has seen a steep rise in job title inflation. It seems there is a “chief” of everything you can possibly think of. From Chief Creative Officers to Chief Strategy Officers to Chief Finance Officers to Chief Marketing Officers to Chief Innovation Officers. But what do all these chiefs do?

The truth of the matter is that they don’t do much more than what their previous lesser job title did. In the creative department, the Chief Creative Officer has replaced the Executive Creative Director who in turn has replaced the Creative Director. There used to be a time when the Creative Director was the most sought after title. Now I’m unsure as to how much creative directing an actual creative director does.

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The World of Mobile by the Numbers

The number of mobile users is approaching the number of people on earth. Some 6.9 billion people will have cellular subscriptions by the end of this year — or about 95 percent of the world’s population, according to the International Telecommunications Union. More than half of these subscribers will be in the Asia-Pacific region.


Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1.2 billion units this year, a more than 23 percent increase from just a year ago, based on International Data Corp.’s forecast. Volume will reach 1.8 billion phones annually in four years — with shipments more than doubling within key emerging markets, including India, Indonesia and Russia. By 2018, China will account for nearly one out of every three smartphones shipped.


Google’s Android will remain the market share leader among smartphone operating systems for the foreseeable future, with IDC projecting its share will hit 80 percent this year. Android has been and will continue to be the platform driving low-cost devices. Apple’s share of the mobile market is expected to drop to 15 percent (though IDC’s forecasts were made in May, prior to the record-setting iPhone 6 launch).


It’s no surprise that mobile Internet companies are experiencing a mini Gold Rush. Private investors pumped a record $19.2 billion into these companies over the last 12 months, according to the latest research from Digi-Capital. Big money flooded into mCommerce ($4.2 billion), travel and transportation ($3.3 Billion), utilities ($1.8 billion) and games ($1.1 billion). But 10 other sectors also raised more than a half billion dollars each — spanning the gamut from food and drink to messaging and more.

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The Internet of Things Will Change Your Company, Not Just Your Products -HBR blog



One of the biggest obstacles is that traditional functional departments often can’t meet the needs of IoT business models and have to evolve.

Product management. Successful IoT plays require more than simply adding connectivity to a product and charging for service — something many companies don’t immediately understand. Building an IoT offering requires design thinking from the get-go. Specifically, it requires reimagining the business you are in, empathizing with your target customers and their challenges, and creatively determining how to most effectively solve their problems.

Finance. Finance teams, which are not known for their flexibility to begin with, often have trouble changing their traditional planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes to accommodate radically new IoT business models.[…]

Finance departments also had trouble dealing with the fact that the cost of services and the resulting subscription revenues can accrue in a complex manner.

Operations. When product-based companies add services and connectivity, operational requirements increase. The resulting challenges may include new contract-manufacturing relationships, which can be a complicated and disorienting process for the uninitiated.

Sales. In IoT businesses, sales departments often struggle to determine how to best take a combined product and service to market. New skills may be required, new distribution options may emerge, and field conflict (direct and channel) is not uncommon. Sales operations must consider changes to market segmentation, territory management, and resource allocation. Numerous opportunities may arise for distribution partnerships, and determining how best to approach partnerships and compensation can be complicated. (Channel compensation for subscription services with recurring revenue can be a particular challenge.)

Human resources. HR has the job of developing the human capabilities needed to capture the IoT opportunity.

Engineering. It is rare for a single company to have all the required engineering capabilities under one roof. Consider the breadth and scope that may involve communications and connectivity technologies (telemetry, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee), electrical hardware engineering (sensor technologies, chips, firmware, etc.), and design and user experience. Developing these engineering skills is one big challenge; integrating them into a functional, integrated engineering effort is another.


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The 10 New Trends in Corporate Innovation Management

Very inspiring article on corporate Innovation.

[…]Here some trends we’re seeing in the Corporate innovation domain.


Culture Change: Most major technology companies recognize the fact that they have a certain amount of disadvantage when it comes to innovation. Cultures, as companies become larger, become stodgy and uninspiring. The more innovative talent ends up leaving for smaller companies, or to become entrepreneurs. […]
Adjacent Revenue Streams: Employees are the closest to the customers. They are the ones hearing about customer issues – whether it be requests for new functionality, complaints about pain-points, or visions of what more they would like to be able to do. New products that can create up-sell opportunities adjacent to existing ones are usually the easiest to identify by empowering employees throughout the organization to present what they are seeing in customer situations. A well-run intrapreneurship program can unlock billions of dollars of adjacent revenue opportunities.
New, Disruptive Ideas: The organizations at major technology companies are full of excellent, talented people. Some of them are inherently innovation oriented. They assume that the only way they can express their talents for innovation is by leaving the company and starting a new venture. Corporations are starting to realize that if they empower these folks to develop their ideas inside the company without having to leave, it would enable them to harness this talent pool much more effectively. Today, most corporations spend huge amounts of money acquiring startups at gigantic premiums. Intrapreneurship programs are being designed to manage innovation better internally.
Talent Development: A lot of technology innovation comes from hard core geeks. These types of people, however, generally do not have the training on how to bring a product to market, assess its viability, market size, etc. The question we are asking is what would happen if the technology talent pool at the corporations can be systematically trained with these skills? Some HR organizations are scared. They think people will leave. The more sophisticated folks believe that those who will leave, will leave anyway. But those who choose to stay and use the corporation’s infrastructure and resources to unleash their innovative talents will create a tremendous competitive advantage. Of course, compensation structures need to be designed to incentivize them adequately.
Intellectual Property: All corporations running corporate incubation programs agree that IP emerging out of these programs belong to the company, not to the employee. They all also realize that the employees coming up with promising innovation need to be retained and compensated with adequate incentives.
Flexible Time: Google started the 20% flexible time policy, allowing employees to experiment on whatever they liked. This hasn’t really worked. People waste time on nonsense. Even Google has now moved away from this strategy. Instead, the programs that work well take their employees through a process of coming up with an idea, getting both authorization and resources to develop it based on its merit, and working specifically on that project using the flexible time. Not random whatever. In our work, we tend to play a major role in incubating these projects using the 1M/1M framework.
Channel: Successful corporate innovation programs tend to want to leverage the assets of the company, one of the most significant being its channel. A company with a primarily B-to-B channel would not want to encourage a mobile consumer app project even if that project is Snapchat. There are exceptions to this policy, however. Google’s driverless car project, for instance, has no synergy with its search advertising business. Amazon introduced its cloud hosting service that had no synergy with the e-commerce business. Nonetheless, these are exceptions. You wouldn’t see Apple deviating from its core very easily. We haven’t seen Facebook making outlandish bets yet either.
Gamification: We’re seeing some degree of gamification at enterprises whereby they are running contests to solicit new ideas, and then deciding which projects and people to nurture further. It’s certainly effective in generating fun and excitement and changing culture. The process, however, needs to be designed as a multi-step game, so that incubation of the ideas is part of it. Otherwise, all fun, no results emerge.

Corporate Venture Capital: There is a tendency to tie corporate innovation programs to corporate venture capital. Some of it works well. Some of it doesn’t. It depends on the charter and the structure of the VC arm. […] Cisco has very successfully taken important areas of disruptive innovation, funded them and staffed them with a very strong team with track-record, and done spin-outs followed by spin-ins. Most corporate venture capital efforts that do not have synergistic tie-ins with the company’s channel tend to be failures, by the way.
Internal Champions: High level sponsorship is absolutely essential for a successful program. We tend to work with top executives, mid-level managers, as well HR to get solid participation across the organization. It is, however, important to recognize that large companies are not full of managers and executives who know how to incubate new ideas. Specialized skills have to be introduced.
We are very interested in connecting with innovation leaders at different organizations and learning what you are doing, as well as sharing our findings.

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From wearable to Invisible Technology

For the past few years, mobile technology was the future.
Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 7.25.35 PM New smartphones and tablets were released every few months by all the big players: Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. Recently however, things are shifting from mobile devices to wearable gadgets. Is it possible these new gadgets, like Apple Watch or Google Glass, represent the future direction of technology?


How Google works: Lessons in Creative Output from Eric Schmidt

Technology is transforming every business sector, a premise we can all agree on, I suspect. In this environment, power has shifted to consumers who do vote with their ratings and reviews and with their wallets. Organizations should learn to maximize freedom and speed to work on both — making their products better and making their audiences, users, customers rock.

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Hands on: Apple Pay is even slicker than your snakeskin wallet, brah


My first experience with Apple Pay was nearly flawless. After waiting in line at Panera Bread for a few minutes, I approached the cashier, made my order, and got ready to use Apple Pay. The cashier told me my total and I held my phone above the payment pad. The Passbook app opened immediately and prompted me to place my fingerprint on the Touch ID sensor. I did so and as soon as my fingerprint was recognized, a check mark appeared in the fingerprint circle, telling me that I had finished paying. The system beeped, and the cashier handed me my receipt.

“That’s cool!” he said