Novatel Wireless, provider of wireless broadband access solutions has announced is supplying O2 (Germany) with the Merlin U630 Wireless PC Card Modem. This gives O2 Germany subscribers international mobile roaming capabilities.

Using the Novatel Wireless Merlin U630, O2 Germany will provide more than seven million subscribers with high-speed broadband access to email, the Internet and corporate files at speeds of up to 384 kilobits per second. The Merlin U630 enables wireless connectivity on UMTS 2100 MHz bands in Asia, Europe and the Middle East and GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 MHz bands across the globe. Remote workers can easily and conveniently stay connected to customers, partners and co-workers from any location within O2’s network of operators, providing businesses with a competitive advantage. First commercial shipments of the Merlin U630 to O2 Germany are scheduled to begin May 2005.

The Merlin U630 is a step up from traditional 3G data solutions, now providing users with truly international mobile broadband connectivity,” said Helge Alter, Vice President Devices/SIM & Applications at O2 Germany. “Novatel Wireless continues to pioneer in the broadband data industry by developing innovative, high-quality wireless data solutions that simplify the lives of both corporate users and consumers. Working closely with Novatel Wireless, we will deliver the convenience of broadband connectivity in Germany and across the globe.”

“We are pleased to build on our relationship with O2 as we roll out the Merlin U630,” said Rob Hadley, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Novatel Wireless. “Novatel Wireless continues to lead in the broadband data market by providing the most advanced solutions available, with the international reach mobile users demand.”

InterDigital Communications Corporation, a leading architect, designer and provider of wireless technology and product platforms, today announced the appointment of William J. Merritt as the company's President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Additionally, Mr. Merritt has been appointed to InterDigital's Board of Directors. Mr. Merritt, a member of InterDigital's executive team, succeeds Howard E. Goldberg.

Most recently, Mr. Merritt has served as President of InterDigital Technology Corporation and General Patent Counsel. Mr. Merritt holds degrees in both engineering and law, and has been a member of InterDigital's executive team since 1998.

Speaking on behalf of the entire Board of Directors, Chairman Harry G. Campagna commented, "Bill has demonstrated great creativity and business savvy in advancing InterDigital's licensing program and technology solutions. I am confident in his ability to continue to build value for our shareholders. Bill is a seasoned executive who knows our industry, business model and the InterDigital organization extremely well; we look forward to a smooth transition."

Mr. Campagna also complimented Mr. Goldberg on his contributions to the company. "The Board greatly appreciates Howard Goldberg's service to InterDigital over the last 12 years. During his tenure, InterDigital grew its revenue base and strengthened its financial condition," added Mr. Campagna.

In commenting upon his departure, Mr. Goldberg stated, "It has been a unique and wonderful experience working at InterDigital. I have seen the Company grow and leave with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment based upon the achievements and potential of InterDigital. As I take some time to enjoy my family, with the ultimate objective of pursuing other interests, I wish my former valued colleagues the best of luck in the future."

InterDigital also announced that Charles "Rip" Tilden has left the company to pursue other opportunities. Currently, the company does not anticipate filling the position of Chief Operating Officer, formerly held by Mr. Tilden.

"For over eight years, I have been fortunate to be a part of a tremendous organization that reshaped its business and built a solid foundation to continue to deliver substantial value for the future. It has been gratifying to contribute to the company's growth and success. Now, I look forward to an exciting new chapter in my career," said Mr. Tilden.

"The Board commends Rip Tilden on his professionalism and his diligent service to the company," Mr. Campagna continued. "We wish both Howard and Rip all the best for the future."

Mr. Merritt said, "I am very happy to have this opportunity with the company. InterDigital possesses an exceptionally talented engineering workforce, a very comprehensive patent portfolio, and a solid financial foundation, which are key ingredients for us to deliver strong financial results. I am confident that we can harness these resources to enhance shareholder value."

Mr. Merritt joined InterDigital as Vice President, Law in 1996. He was promoted to Senior Vice President and General Counsel in 1998 and, in 1999, to Executive Vice President. As InterDigital's chief legal officer, he played a leading role in negotiating strategic agreements with leading companies in the telecommunications industry and in building InterDigital's patent licensing subsidiary into a major revenue producer. In 2001, he was elected President of its intellectual property subsidiary, InterDigital Technology Corporation and General Patent Counsel.

"Supports continued development of Bluetooth"

CSR voiced its support for the Bluetooth special interest group's (SIG) move, announced today, to integrate ultra-wideband technology (UWB) into the Bluetooth specification. The new Bluetooth standard will be an ideal fit with existing Bluetooth technology but will bring a new dimension to short-range wireless communications by adding the option of a much higher rate UWB physical layer (PHY) onto Bluetooth. Bluetooth is the world's most successful and proven short-range wireless standard for personal and battery powered devices.

CSR will continue to work within the Bluetooth SIG to help finalise the new Bluetooth standard. CSR has updated its roadmap and will launch a Bluetooth product supporting UWB after the new Bluetooth standard is ratified by the Bluetooth SIG.

The new Bluetooth standard with UWB will provide much higher data transfer rates than standard Bluetooth and so be perfectly positioned to target home entertainment applications such as high-definition (HD) video streaming. Such applications require very high speed, stable transmission of extremely large data packets over a relatively short distance, such as from a set-top box to a plasma screen.

By using the same established Bluetooth communications protocol stack and profiles above the new UWB PHY, the new Bluetooth standard will allow devices to interoperate at very high data rates when deployed in different end equipment. It will not be necessary to invent a new protocol stack for UWB and the debugging work involved in establishing real-world interoperability will not need to be repeated. Using the common, established Bluetooth protocol stack and profiles allows the new Bluetooth standard to be operated in modes fully backwards compatible with products already equipped with Bluetooth, making up the world's largest installed base of products with embedded short range wireless technology.

"The Bluetooth SIG has proved that the success of a standard depends on the close cooperation of the key silicon and software design companies," commented Tom Siep, CSR. "The new Bluetooth standard with UWB will be subject to Bluetooth's rigorous qualification process and standardisation procedures, factors that go into making Bluetooth the stable and widely accepted standard it is today."

Representatives from companies involved in the new Bluetooth standard with UWB will be able to discuss this new standard in an open forum and then find neutral territory in the form of the UnPlugFest events to test their products and ensure interoperability and coexistence, prior to final testing and qualification. By bringing UWB into the Bluetooth fold, products will qualify to a proven standard and move to market much faster thanks to the extensive testing and qualification process."

CSR is the world leader in Bluetooth technology, with its BlueCore silicon featuring in more than 60% of all Bluetooth-enabled product designs. James Collier, CTO and co-founder, CSR noted, "As a company, we are committed to enhancing the wireless world and with this aim in mind, are constantly researching wireless technologies that we think have potential. We have been working on a high-speed UWB PHY for some time and welcome the Bluetooth SIG's announcement. The combination of Bluetooth's complete communications system with the UWB PHY allows real working products with very high data rates to be brought to market much more rapidly, without suffering further delays in the standardisation process."

CSR recently demonstrated UniFi-1, its first 802.11b/g single-chip for handheld consumer electronic devices, to the public at London's WLAN event. The company continues to build on its competitive lead in the Bluetooth market, following the successful adoption of its enhanced data rate (EDR) BlueCore4 chip family. BlueCore4 continues to be the only EDR silicon shipping in volume.

Calls for alternate DMR schemes

The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for more than 660 global mobile operators, today confirmed that its evaluation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions continues despite MPEG LA’s revised proposal, which was again met with dismay by the operator community.

Last month, the GSMA - whose members serve more than 1.3 billion mobile users – expressed operators’ discontent at MPEG LA’s original license terms, warning that its impractical terms would force operators to implement disparate solutions and thereby fragment global mobile services.

The GSMA’s Board called on all suppliers of DRM solutions - essential to allow the consistent and easy delivery of music and video files across and between mobile networks and their customers - to put forward alternate schemes for evaluation.  Some fourteen proposals were submitted to the GSMA for review.

The stance adopted by the GSMA, and the market in general, led MPEG LA to revise its proposal with reduced handset and transaction licensing fees. However, the Association’s Board has expressed serious disappointment with the revised terms – both in terms of the fee levels and complexity of the scheme.

”MPEG LA is missing a tremendous opportunity to unite the industry behind one solution,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and Board member. “It’s clear that the revised proposal remains unreasonable and unworkable – but we are confident that MPEG LA will continue to respond to market feedback.”

The GSMA Board is also frustrated by the lack of transparency surrounding the details and structure of IPR that MPEG LA considers ‘essential’. These details have not been revealed to date, which has led to members’ questions regarding the validity of the patents. 

The GSMA’s review process has identified several strong DRM supplier candidates, but it has also uncovered additional material issues that require resolution. The Board is therefore unable to make a final recommendation to its Members until these outstanding issues have been resolved. It has instructed the GSMA to work with candidates toward a resolution, and to complete the process as quickly and as reasonably as possible.

"We must find cost-effective ways to open the content market and drive the flow of rich multi-media content across the mobile world,” said Frank Boulben Executive Vice-President, Brand & Consumer Marketing, Orange. “It's disappointing that the MPEG LA has not taken on board our previous concerns. The current terms of its proposals will lead to fragmentation owing to unacceptability, and critically delay launches of these new mobile services."

“It is essential that the industry adopts a unified approach to Digital Rights Management said Alan Harper, Strategy Director, Vodafone Group. “Unless we do so fragmentation remains a real concern. We are extremely disappointed that MPEG LA has not responded appropriately to the scale of opportunity that the industry has before it to nurture and grow the mobile content market to achieve its full potential. It is therefore essential that the GSMA’s DRM review process continues until a practical solution is found.”                 

LogicaCMG develops central system for all territories

LogicaCMG today announced that it has reached an agreement with T-Mobile International to build and operate the next-generation portal for t-zones. t-zones is a mobile internet service that connects mobile subscribers to more than 1000 external applications and a rich array of content across several countries.

The new solution incorporates industry-leading components integrated and supported by LogicaCMG. A single centralised portal will enable T-Mobile's European operators to launch new services from one system providing local languages and content for each country. This will enable T-Mobile's operators to get new mobile applications to market quicker and at a lower cost allowing the company to respond to the increasing pace of change in mobile data trends.

Derek Kemp, managing director, UK telecoms, LogicaCMG said: "Next-generation portals are fundamental to delivering 3G mobile data services. The agreement places us at the heart of T-Mobile's content-rich services for users and further cements our international relationship."

More than three years now LogicaCMG has been assisting T-Mobile through its offshore partner integration helpdesk, achieving significant cost savings and enabling faster time-to-market for latest content such as games, ring tones and mobile data services.

"Since 2001 T-Mobile has developed and operated a single portal for the majority of its European operating companies; some while ago, we recognised the need to substantively reduce the ongoing costs of both the development and operation of this service. This deal with LogicaCMG allows us to migrate to a truly commoditised (package) portal solution, underpinned by innovative hardware, software and hosting services and produced a truly ultra high availability, best-of-class 3rd generation portal at substantively reduced cost," said Kevin Cunnington, T-Mobile's Executive Vice President for Portals & Portal Infrastructure.

Will design and provide branded handsets for UK MVNO

Emblaze Mobile, the handset design and manufacturing house and member of the Emblaze Group, today announced that it will be the exclusive provider of unique and specifically branded handsets for the newly announced ROK Mobile MVNO, part of the mobile entertainment company ROK Entertainment Group.

Emblaze Mobile will be working with ROK to define the exact handsets that they will distribute, which will be bundled with content preloaded onto memory cards and then sold on through distribution channels in the UK. The first branded handsets are expected to come to the market before the end of August this year. ROK is aiming for an estimated 250,000 subscriptions within 12 months and one million within three years.

 “Emblaze Mobile is all about a bold, fresh and provocative approach to the market and we are excited to be working with such a forward thinking and energetic company as ROK,” said Laurence Alexander, CEO Emblaze Mobile. “We work with our customers to develop devices to appeal to a defined market with applications, content and customised user experiences that will actually make people want to use the phone for more than just calls and SMS.”

Alexander continued, “ROK is a pioneer in content development and provision and has partnerships with a portfolio of leading international brands; this is the beginning of a close working relationship and together we will be enabling customers with the technology they need for their lifestyles and completely redefining and reshaping market focus.”

“Everything that we are building for ROK MVNO is based upon true innovations,” added Jonathan Kendrick, chairman and CEO ROK. “With our handset supply partner Emblaze we have found a truly original, attractive and highly capable range of mobile phones.”

SiGe Semiconductor, today announced the industry’s first completely integrated WLAN RF front-end modules optimised for cellular handsets. Featuring industry-leading performance, integration and low current consumption, the RangeCharger SE2551A and SE2557A ensure that cellular handset manufacturers can support WLAN capability without impacting handset form factor, cellular performance, or battery life.

The SE2551A and SE2557A are based on SiGe Semiconductors proven, highly integrated 2.4GHz RF front-end architecture, with each device incorporating a linear three-stage power amplifier, power detector, digital enable circuitry, transmit and receive filtering and a receive balun in a small form factor 6mm x 5mm x 1.4mm chip-scale package. The two variants provide flexibility in meeting individual transceiver requirements, providing designers with a choice of a differential receive output with the SE2551A, or a single-ended receive output with the SE2557A.

The new RF front-end modules are designed specifically for high performance and low power consumption. Featuring high power output as well as excellent rejection and isolation, the SE2551A and SE2557A each allow simultaneous transmission and reception of WLAN and cellular signals. Operating in 802.11g mode, the devices consume just 120mA, ensuring that WLAN capability can be added to cellular phones with minimal impact to battery life.

Our new modules are the industrys only truly integrated WLAN front-end solutions for cellular handsets, said Andrew Parolin, director of wireless data products at SiGe Semiconductor, Inc. With these devices, we are addressing the fast growing market opportunity created by the widespread adoption of WLAN, and consumer desire for increased cellular feature integration. By offering a unique and proven combination of performance, integration and power efficiency, we are ensuring our customers can minimise the impact of placing WLAN in cellular phones.

RF front-ends enable co-existence of WLAN and cellular applications


The SE2551A and SE2557A solve the primary challenge faced by cellular handset manufacturers looking to support WLAN capability: ensuring a positive user experience while simultaneously transmitting and receiving cellular and WLAN signals. Unlike competitive solutions, the new RF front-ends feature excellent rejection of typically 35dB in all 4 GSM bands, in both transmit and receive mode. This dramatically reduces interference, thereby enhancing signal integrity and improving overall system performance.

 

The SE2551A and SE2557A are highly linear devices, capable of +15dBm output power with an error vector magnitude (EVM) of less than three percent while operating in 802.11g mode, or +17dBm in 802.11b mode while meeting all ACPR requirements. The high linearity improves packet error rates for optimal data throughput and transmission range. This ensures that Wi-Fi products can maintain reliable, high-performance connections over longer distances. Also integrated on chip is an integrated power detector that further improves performance by minimising mismatch to only 1.5 dB of variation over a 2:1 antenna mismatch.


The SE2551A and SE2557A are sampling now, and production is scheduled for Q3 2005.

OEMs targeted for simultaneous 2G and 3G backhaul access

Agere Systems today unveiled its TrueAdvantage Wireless Access Solutions enabling a single network to offer simultaneous support for 2G and 3G wireless systems. The solutions will enable wireless service providers worldwide to save up to $300 million per year in T1/E1, SONET/SDH, and Ethernet leased line backhaul costs, Agere says. It has also been announced today that NEC has selected Agere’s TrueAdvantage solution, including the company’s Advanced PayloadPlus (APP) network processor chips, for use in its wireless access equipment.

Focused specifically on the mobile wireless space, TrueAdvantage wireless consists of a broad family of feature-rich networking chips such as APP network processors, LLP (Link Layer Processor), TADM, Ultramapper", and Hypermapper framing and mapping devices. The solution includes turn-key software packages, references designs, and hardware development systems that allow telecom equipment manufacturers to quickly and efficiently build lower-cost, higher performance wireless access network equipment.

Agere offers all the functionality needed to support 2G/3G converged equipment. In a single solution legacy 2/2.5G protocols such as Transcoder Rate Adapter Unit (TRAU), Frame Relay and AAL1 Circuit Emulation, are integrated along with the flexible protocol processing needed for more complex 3G ATM and IP networks.

Advantages to the Network

Traditionally, the cost of simultaneously supporting 2/2.5G and 3G networks forced wireless service providers to consume precious real estate with separate equipment for each wireless network.  Ageres integrated approach allows wireless carriers to converge these networks onto a single platform, reducing equipment cost and operational expenses, improving scalability, and ultimately providing the ability to lower the cost of consumer services.

 

Accelerating wireless network convergence allows carriers to cut costs by reducing the number of T1/E1, SONET/SDH, and Ethernet backhaul links they must deploy.  Additional backhaul savings can be achieved by improving the efficiency of T1/E1 backhaul links with the flexible protocol processing of the TrueAdvantage Wireless Solutions. By handling a mix of traffic types and providing support for header compression and multiplexing protocols such as PPP mux (Point-to-Point multiplexing) and cUDP (compress User Datagram Protocol), backhaul efficiency is improved by as much as 35%. This offers wireless carriers a potential global savings of $300M per year as fewer T1/E1 leased lines will be required to cover a service area.

 

All these capabilities are delivered to wireless equipment manufacturers in conjunction with the new production-ready TrueAdvantage Wireless Access Functional Programming Interface (FPI) software that runs on Ageres APP300 and APP500 network processor product families.  The FPI can be used as a black box, which can easily integrate into targeted wireless applications such as Node B, BTS, RNC and BSC wireless equipment.  In addition, equipment manufacturers can easily modify the source code to incorporate proprietary features and create differentiated systems.  As with all solutions built on the TrueAdvantage platform and Ageres network processors, the data plane software requires up to 30 times fewer lines of code for a given function than competing processors.

Advantages to the Systems Designer

These development alternatives combined translate to reduced product development costs and defects and improved reliability and scalability. Using the FPI software, manufacturers can avoid several time-consuming tasks such as learning device-specific details, programming the data plane code, and developing several hundred thousand lines of control plane code. The FPI Software solution is estimated to save more than 8 to 10 staff years or development.  These savings are critical as 70 to 80% of the lifetime cost of a programmable system is in software development.

Agere announced today that NEC, a leading 3G wireless equipment maker, selected the APP500 network processor for use in its wireless access equipment. Equipment makers, such as NEC, carefully consider the network processor selection as it represents a critical element within wireless equipment.  The complete Agere wireless solution supports the broad diversity of wireless protocols and interworking required. The solution architecture offers a high level of hardware and software flexibility, as well as scalability, which in turn offers Ageres customers substantial development savings.

Converging and saving costs of backhaul wireless links are major and related industry trends, said Allen Nogee, analyst with In-Stat. Ageres TrueAdvantage Wireless Access Solution, with its unprecedented integration of 2G and 3G systems onto a single network, economical software for use with network processors, and scalability for use in a wide range of wireless equipment and multiple protocols and standards, amount to key catalysts for driving this market growth.

Ageres Wireless Access FPI is targeted for use in several types of equipment, including Node Bs, BTS, BSCs and RNCs.  The FPI combined as part of the complete TrueAdvantage Wireless offering enables a common platform design with:

* Configurable and scalable hardware and software platforms

* Field software upgradeable feature sets

* High platform availability and reliability

* Multistandard (e.g. WiMax, GSM, UMTS, CDMA, GERAN) & Multiservice (e.g. TDM, ATM, IP) support

* Capability to simultaneously handle a diverse traffic mix and protocol interworking

* Various backhaul types (e.g. T1/E1, OC3/STM-1, 10/100/1000 Ethernet)

* Various mechanisms to substantially improve transport backhaul efficiency

A rounder shape, we know that feels

Sanyo has given a facelift to its first 3G phone for the European market. The new S750i is a redesign of the S750, which was launched at the end of 2004. Today the lighter S750i boasts a sophisticated silver and black casing retaining the slide-up opening and presenting a rounder, more ergonomic shape, which is in tune with consumers’ fast-paced lifestyle. 

The features of the phone which have made the S750 a standout seller have been retained. This includes one of the largest screens on the market  a 2.4 inch high resolution QVGA which has 262,144 colours to guarantee extra sharp viewing quality. The high-quality integrated digital/video camera also remains a key element of the handset, as the popularity of video calling and photo messaging amongst consumers continues to grow across the UK. The S750i also retains its four times zoom dual camera functionality  1.3 Mpix CMOS (with integrated flash) and 310K pixels CCD. 

Besides the design makeover, the S750i includes a 32MB SD card, providing more memory for customers to store high resolution pictures, long recorded videos, mp3 music files and other data. A USB cable allows data transfer, synchronisation or modem functionality between the S750i and a PC. In combination with a Pictbridge printer the USB cable also makes direct print outs of photos possible.

Our entry into the UK 3G market has been a tremendous success, with a great response from the consumers, said Masatsugu Yamano, president of SANYO Fisher Sales (Europe) GmbH and also responsible for SANYOs European mobile phone business. However we cant afford to rest on our laurels. SANYOs achievements in the past have been because of our refusal to be complacent. Were always looking at how we can make things better for our customers and the S750i is no exception.

The revamped handset continues to support UMTS, GSM, GPRS, Bluetooth and Infrared. Other features include 72 polyphonic tones for almost real tunes, Java Game and WAP Browsing.

In the UK the SANYO S750i will continue to be available directly from Orange. 

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Sanyo

Signs $265 million framework contract with Siemens

The largest mobile provider in Russia and the CIS, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), has signed a framework contract with Siemens to supply a total of 265 million US dollars worth of network technology. Under the terms of the contract, Siemens Communications will expand the capacities of the MTS GSM/GPRS mobile net-works in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine in the course of the year.

The strong increase in demand that MTS has been enjoying in Russia and the countries of the CIS is necessitating further expansion of its networks. The framework contract with Siemens provides for increasing the capacity of the provider’s radio and switch networks and integrating a platform for Intelligent Network services. To do that,
Siemens Communications will be installing additional transmission and receiving sys-tems (base stations) and upgrading the switches with new hardware and software.

“This new contract will enable us to further consolidate our leading position as a supplier of mobile communication infrastructure in this strategic market for us,” stated Christoph Caselitz, President of Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications. Russia and the CIS are considered to be one of the largest growth markets in mobile communication; the mobile subscriber base in Russia, for example, grew by more than 100 per cent in 2004.

MTS is the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS. Together with its subsidiaries, MTS services about 39 million subscribers. The regions of Russia, as well as Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, in which MTS and its subsidiaries are licensed to provide GSM services, have a total population of approximately 226 million. Since June 2000, MTS’ Level 3 ADRs have been listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol MBT.

O2 Airwave, the communications service for national public safety users, has launched the world’s first TETRA-enabled Tablet PC, the Airwave Data Companion. This unique device provides portable access to a range of applications and data solutions that are designed to meet the needs of the front line emergency services.

The Airwave Data Companion will for the first time allow users requiring portable data services to exploit the key benefits of the existing Airwave TETRA network such as high security, widespread national geographical coverage and resilient service. 

Developed in conjunction with Outside Edge, the Airwave Data Companion is a robust Tablet PC with all the features, reliability and power of Microsoft’s Windows® XP operating system. The Airwave Data Companion has an integrated TETRA radio enabling secure data communications over the Airwave network and is intuitive to use and forms part of an end-to-end data solution from O2 Airwave.

The rollout of the Airwave network to all UK police forces is now complete. Over 100,000 users are benefiting from secure nationwide coverage.

Benefits of end-to-end Data Solutions from O2 Airwave: 

-          The public, politicians and police are becoming increasingly aware of the burden that red tape and paperwork places on today’s police officers. End-to-end Data solutions from O2 Airwave can help to dramatically reduce this burden and help to get officers out of the station and back into their communities. Increased visibility of police patrols greatly helps in reassuring the public.

O2 Airwave front line data solutions can provide:

-          Access to the Police National Computer (PNC/SCRO) for person and vehicle checks with results in seconds.

-          On the spot Identity verification of suspects using the Airwave Validate application

-          The ability to receive briefings and tasks from supervisors whilst police officers are on patrol. 

-          Access to local force intelligence databases

-          The ability to complete reports, take statements and update activity logs using electronic forms.

-          Access to ‘missing persons’ databases

These solutions allow police officers to accurately capture and rapidly share vital information. This helps to reduce bureaucracy and allows police forces to respond more effectively. Saving just one hour a day of each police officers time would add the equivalent of 1000’s of officers to their communities.

John Rogers, Head of Mobile Data at Airwave, comments,  “We envisage the Airwave Data Companion will eventually replace the clipboards and vast amounts of paperwork currently carried by mobile patrol officers, whilst also reducing the need to handwrite reports into police notebooks. With pre loaded e-forms the Airwave Data Companion will streamline officer administration by enabling information to be entered directly into databases, which reduces the potential for human error, and means officers can spend more time in the community and less at the police station.”

London-based Infinite Solutions Ltd (ISL) has today launched MobileSafe, a total data back-up solution for Sync-ML compliant mobile phones and PDAs.  The new service is able to back-up the contents of the mobile device and thus removes any issues that are presented when a mobile phone or PDA is lost, stolen or upgraded.

MobileSafe allows users to cost-effectively manage and retrieve data from a user interface accessible via the mobile device or via a web portal.  In addition it allows synchronisation with essential applications such as MS Outlook and Lotus Notes.

MobileSafe can be completely scaleable according to the number of users and has the ability to be completely branded by the operator or corporate user.  The service backs up the calendar, address book, tasks, SMS, MMS, Ringtones, Photos, Video and MP3s with the ability to back-up the remaining content and support ‘Push email’ by the end of 2005.

Many mobile users are put off changing their handset as they believe their data may be lost in the process, or it will simply be too complicated to transfer to a new device.  MobileSafe removes these concerns as transferring data between devices is hassle free.

ISL’s Chief Operating Officer, Duncan Ward comments: “With nearly three quarters of a million mobile devices being lost or stolen each year in the UK, the cost to businesses in terms of lost data and productivity is immeasurable.  Unlike other mobile data back-up solutions MobileSafe also offers invaluable business tools such as the portal delegation function, which allows, for example, an office-based sales administrator to update the diaries of an entire remote sales force.  Now businesses and individual users alike no longer need to worry about losing their data as it’s instantly retrievable at the touch of a button.”

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ISL

White labeled managed service allows consumers to try mobile games before buying

July Systems, an innovative technology solutions provider of smart mobile content retailing services, and Deep Visions, a Hamburg-based multimedia company, announced the launch of a try-before-you-buy mobile games service on the leading portal Firstfun.TV. The unique service will allow members of Firstfun.TV’s gaming community to download and try a full catalog of mobile games for free, before deciding whether they wish to buy the games. The cross-operator service is available to subscribers of Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and debitel, and can be accessed from the Firstfun.TV porta.

Oliver Schmidt, CEO, Deep Visions, comments, "We see this cooperation as a great opportunity to become an established top seller of mobile phone games in German-speaking countries. To this end, we will initiate a relaunch of our entertainment range within the next few months. Our experience in the gaming sector, along with our large user community dovetail nicely with the technology of July Systems. Plus, we share the same view as to what the market really needs. A clear win-win situation.”

According to Dr. Wilhelm Bielert, Vice-President EMEA Operations, July Systems, this cooperation means a significant competitive edge for mobile service retailers: "Our mobile content retailing solution gives consumers the opportunity to buy only what they really want. As consumers increasingly feel tricked into buying unwanted subscriptions we now offer a new way for them to preview full original content rather than scaled-down trial versions. As our empirical data from other territories already shows, these retailing models will increase revenues for the service retailer as well as higher consumer satisfaction. With Firstfun.TV we found a partner who is able to offer extensive know-how along with many years of experience in the management of a large consumer community with nearly 150,000 members.”

The new service on Firstfun.TV is completely managed end-to-end by July Systems and is built entirely on July’s German mobile retailing infrastructure. July manages content sourcing and selection, service design and testing, as well as delivery and support. July’s foundation supports billing on all leading German mobile operators including Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and debitel, allowing July to quickly deploy different types of cross-operator, cross-content mobile services for new customers and partners in Germany.

O2 survey reveals bespoke applications look set to rival corporate business applications

O2 today announces the results of an independent pan-European survey revealing that in the UK, blue-collar workers are set to overtake professional services workers in the roll out of mobility in the enterprise. The survey, conducted by Quocirca Research, reveals that whilst professional workers continue to adopt mobile email and mobile data applications at a rapid rate, the fastest uptake is taking place amongst blue-collar workers as businesses look to mobilise key systems across service management, inventory and logistics functions that ultimately allow workers to spend more time out in the field. 

The survey also concludes that around 30% of professional companies are active or starting to become active in providing mobile access to corporate business systems such as sales force automation and project management systems.  However similar levels of activity are now seen amongst grey/blue collar workers with nearly 30% already active in providing wireless access to systems such as service management, inventory and logistics with a further 20% planning to become active in 2005.

In addition, over 30% of companies had deployed specialised mobile devices for their blue-collar workers in the field and around 20% have significant wireless projects planned for 2005 spanning both bespoke business systems and packaged applications such as SAP and Siebel.

Helen Wylde, Head of Corporate at O2 said, “Historically, when people think about mobile data, they have thought about mobile email and corporate white collar applications. Now, with mobile data devices in the hands of plumbers, maintenance staff, engineers and craft workers, customer service can be moved from the call centres to the doorstep allowing workers in the field to have access to the most up to date information and services helping to provide an overall better service for customers.

“Whilst growth in the mobile data market is due in part to massive take up of mobile devices by business professionals, the real drivers and innovators are to be found on construction sites or under sinks - the blue collar workers who are using mobile to improve the bottom line, enhance customer service and increase individual productivity.”

O2 is currently working with a number of customers to develop bespoke mobile applications for blue collar workers. At Lewisham Borough Council, a workforce of 120 plumbers, joiners and maintenance staff look after the borough’s 30,000 homes by using O2 Xda II devices to pick up jobs and confirm the details of finished projects at a saving of £60,000. Likewise, the largest distributor of construction products in the UK, Wolseley, has equipped its engineers with wireless devices to receive and log job information, source necessary parts by accessing real time stock inventories and automatically invoice customers for work conducted.

Rob Bamforth, Senior Analyst at Quocirca added, “Mobile communications have evolved from straightforward voice calls and point to point pager or text messaging to a richer set of application opportunities providing closer integration with IT. New devices and services deliver remote access to core applications straight into the hands of all types of employees over and above mobile email.  Additionally, bespoke applications are extending the boundaries of mobile communications further still. Companies with blue collar workers have been keen to take up the opportunities presented by mobile and we have seen considerable growth in this area in recent years.”