» Archive for the 'International' Category

The Internet is in the Hands of the Lawyers

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 by Jonathan Spira

Wednesday, 9 November 2005, New York City
I start writing this column in Lufthansa’s Senator lounge.  I’m about to depart on a flight from New York (JFK) to Munich (MUC).  First things first: Lufthansa has the best beer; perhaps I shouldn’t mention this, but they have Spaten Oktoberfest on tap.

But I digress.

I’m going to Munich for several reasons, including client meetings and to participate in BMW’s European Delivery program.  The trip also presents an opportunity for me to finally test the Lufthansa FlyNet service (powered by Connexion by Boeing).  Earlier this year, Lufthansa added the service to New York flights; it had been available on the Los Angeles – Munich route for over a year now.

Before boarding the aircraft, I stop in the Lufthansa Senator Lounge for a snack and a drink.  For a variety of reasons (see further down), I am glad I do.   I open my laptop, briefly scan some news and e-mail messages, and board the flight.

By the time I board, we are already 30 minutes delayed due to thunderstorms in the area.  After boarding, we wait almost two hours for takeoff due to a backlog of 60 aircraft.  I’m glad I had that snack as it is 22:30 before we take off and the flight crew doesn’t start the meal service until almost an hour later.

Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 11,000 m and 860 km/h
I plug my laptop into the convenient seat outlet (the outlet accepts American and European Schuko connection systems) and – nothing.  No Wi-Fi.  No signal.  I ask the purser as she happens by, and her response is simple and to the point: “es ist kaput.”

Given the late hour, and the fact that I have fairly early meetings scheduled, I must confess, that I am not too distressed.

Lufthansa’s flat beds are quite comfy and I am able to get in about 4 hours of sleep before breakfast.  When I awake, I assume we only have one hour of flight left as we had definitely made up lost time in flight.  Unfortunately, just as we finish breakfast, the captain announces that, due to a dense fog (something not uncommon this time of year in Munich), we have to circle.  We do this for ca. 45 additional minutes, making our arrival time 11:45.

Thursday, 10 November 2005, Munich, Germany
The original plan called for me to proceed to BMW’s Freimann Delivery Center for my car (for the curious reader, I will be happy to provide greater detail; however, since this is not a column for Motor Trend, I am limiting my comments to explaining that the car is a BMW 330xi, in Sparkling Graphite, and yes, it has Bluetooth).  A driver was waiting for me at the airport, and we arrive quickly enough, but by then, my schedule is off by 90 minutes.

One of my scheduled meetings was with Herrn Helmut Pöschl and a few colleagues of his who are working on the BMW Welt program.  Herr Thomas Roller, the director of BMW’s delivery center, offers to take me to my meeting first and we speed off in a very fast 130i.  We don’t make it back until 17:30 (more on BMW Welt in an upcoming column) and the Center is empty.  Herr Roller himself does the delivery and off I go to my “Stammhotel” on the Leopoldstraße.

Met at the door by the manager, Herr Klein, who is very happy to see me and wants to give me an Internet report; specifically, he wants to accompany me to my room to ensure that my room has a working Net connection.  “How has the Internet connectivity been working?” I enquire.  His reply: “It is now in the hands of our lawyers, as we are unable to get the service provider (Swisscom) to keep the system up and running.”

First room, nothing.  Second room, the “Hunting Suite” (hunting lodge decor, no dead animals on the wall, happily), nothing.  Third room, the Confetti Suite (please don’t ask) – we have connectivity.


Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

Teach Your Children Well

Friday, December 29th, 2000 by Ellen Pearlman

IN BRIEF:  Eleven million ten- to seventeen-year-olds have wireless connectivity in the U.S. Concurrently, the number of Internet users in Asia will jump to 188 million by 2004. What does one have to do with the other in terms of B2B growth? More than one might think.

As this writer surveys the vast terrain of changes over the past year in the B2B sphere and endeavors to sum it up, the truth is the past is already history. What summons as a year end wrap-up is the future. And that future is beckoning.

If one can get past the stock market spikes and dips and the flops and consolidations in B2B, two startling trends emerge. One is the explosive use of both the Internet and wireless devices among the youth of industrialized nations with eleven million children between the ages of ten and seventeen having wireless access in the U.S. . In four years, that number is estimated to jump to 50 percent of all youth. With that kind of jump, there will also be an increase in demand for youth-oriented content and services. The number of children using the Web in the U.K. has also doubled in the past two years, with up to 65 percent of youth having online access. Numbers like this imply that the net and wireless activity will be a common as cable TV to this generation.

Concurrently, the number of Internet users will jump to 188 million by 2004. Even a country like Thailand will expand its B2B usage upwards of US$15 billion a year in durable goods and petrochemicals by 2004.  What these two seemingly disparate trends point towards follows. Young people are coming of age net and wireless savvy. Asia, and by implication, some lesser developed countries, are waking up to the power of the Internet. As one group matures, so does the other. And as B2B emerges out of its net nappy, there will be a cadre of young, skilled workers with innovate not yet heard of uses to boost B2B trade to levels not yet seen.

These youth will demand that their elders workplaces get up to speed and demand Internet Protocol (IP) enabled supply chains and connectivity. What was a new idea at the end of the last millennium will become an IP backbone mainstay within a decade, because there is no turning back time in this, the newest millennium.

Ellen Pearlman is a senior analyst at Basex.

Product-of-the-Year: Bosch World 718 and Omnipoint Product-of-the-Year

Wednesday, January 27th, 1999 by Jonathan Spira

GSM wireless service provider Omnipoint Communications and the Bosch World 718 mobile phone proved to be a winning combination in 1998. The new mobile phone, available through Omnipoint, is our Product-of-the-Year.

The Bosch World 718 is the first mobile phone of its kind capable of operating in the United States and in hundreds of countries where GSM is available.  GSM (Global System for Mobile) communications is the world’s most popular and advanced wireless technology.  It is used by a 130 million people in 120 countries.  First adopted in 1991 in Europe as the wireless standard on the continent, GSM technology quickly spread around the world.

Over the past year, Basex analysts tested the Worldphone in a variety of situations, using Omnipoint’s GSM service and taking advantage of the carrier’s extensive list of international roaming partners.  Omnipoint has operational partnerships with more than 70 GSM carriers.  The company offers international roaming throughout most of Europe as well as parts of the Middle East, Africa, South America and the Pacific Rim.  New destinations are added each month.

In short, we found the phone to be a masterpiece of design.   It is small, light and attractive.  Battery life is luxuriously long and the charger that comes with the phone weighs just ounces.  Coupled with Omnipoint’s international roaming availability, it just can’t be beat.

Most international GSM carriers operate at a different frequency that their North American counterparts,  including Omnipoint.  Until this year’s debut of the Bosch World 718, North American business travelers or sightseers had to change handsets in order to use their GSM wireless service overseas.  That is no longer the case.  By using the Bosch 718, these subscribers may use their service in Boston or Brussels.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.