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Actix, a specialist in automatic optimization (AO) solutions, has today announced advanced support for LTE network planning and deplyoment with the launch of its Radioplan 4G automatic cell planning and optimization solution.

Although already supporting standard implementations of LTE, the next release of Actix Radioplan will include a range of new 4G-specific features and advanced intellectual property that is claimed to be unique to Actix, and the availability of which will coincide with the official launch of the Actix AO Platform 5.0.

According to ABI Research, more than eighteen operators globally have now announced LTE deployment plans. As LTE moves from theory to practice, operators are planning how best to roll-out the new network so that they can deliver on the mobile broadband promise, including use of cell planning and optimization solutions.

"Radioplan 4G is a significant step up in terms of providing fast, accurate, and highly advanced automatic LTE network optimization functionality, which is based on the unique IPR gained through our work on EASY-C, the LTE advanced test network in Dresden, Germany," said Joerg Schueler, AO Product Director for Actix. "Radioplan 4G takes Actix well beyond the standard, basic implementations and confirms yet again our leadership in automatic cell planning and optimization solutions."

Easy-C (Enablers for Ambient Services and Systems - Part C) is a 4th generation network research group, founded in July 2007, to research and trial 4G wireless technology using a large-scale prototype network in Dresden, consisting of 30 cells and 10 base stations. As one of the key project partners, Actix has spent the last 18 months working on new algorithms and concepts which will enable much more efficient and effective planning and rollout of 4G networks.

"In the same way Actix Radioplan led the way for 3G automatic cell planning thanks to unique IPR like our patented pathloss tuning algorithms, we have been working on LTE for almost two years, quietly building up knowledge and know-how through projects like EASY-C, our own internal research and other private co-operations with advanced 4G companies. The result is that we're now ready to release a product that will stand out massively from the crowd of basic tools currently on the market," said Chris Larmour, Actix' Chief Marketing Officer.

Actix says its AO Platform 5.0 will include: new Radioplan 4G algorithms to enable the modelling and optimization of key MIMO-related parameters and conditions at optimization speeds 50 times faster than traditional cell planning and optimisation techniques; the ability to generate pathloss maps using common third party models without the need for an external planning tool; and a fully integrated Cellopt AFP module which streamlines the optimization process even further.

Actix will be demonstrating Actix AO Platform 5.0, including Radioplan 4G, for the first time at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 16-19 February 2009.

Quiconnect has today launched its new Connector software which will enable service providers to "push" Wi-Fi or WiMAX connectivity to laptop users, so they avoid having to login through operator branded landing pages or input credentials such as user names and passwords. 

A small piece of client software installed on the user's laptop, said to be easily customised to the specific branding of the wireless service provider, Connector detects wireless networks within range, identifies those which belong to home and office networks or public hotspot providers (and their  international roaming partners) and sends a message to consumers informing them that connectivity is available.

Jeff Mabe, Quiconnect's vice president, sales and marketing, says, "Since 2005, we've predominately worked at the back end integrating RADIUS servers to make it easy for service providers and network operators globally to interconnect their WLAN infrastructure to enable in and outbound international subscriber roaming.  From a consumer perspective, some individual operator branding on partner websites has been added to make it easier for people to get connected, but it's still a manual login process of going to a page, searching for one's ISP, putting in registration details and so on.  Connector removes this and automates the whole process."

Installing Connector therefore means that consumers now have two options in terms of how they get connected.  First, they can choose a setting to automatically login to any WLAN infrastructure owned by their home service provider or those of associated roaming partners.  In other words, as soon as a person is in range of a hotspot, connectivity is provided.  Second, a user can select an available network individually by clicking on the wireless network tab on their computer's tool bar, viewing the wireless networks available and then simply choosing the appropriate SSID to login. 

The architecture of the Connector system includes two components: a lightweight laptop-based connection utility, comprising utility library and user interface, which allows connectivity management functions between the client device and hosted network service.  The second component is a Quiconnect-hosted knowledgebase database which stores the connection policies, network parameters and roaming service availability which is provided to the connection utility to control access and provide the necessary authentication information to enable automated user login. 

Quiconnect's Connector software supports various authentication methods such as WISPr, UAM and IEEE 802.1x.

Connector is available today, supporting both Microsoft Windows XP and Vista laptop users.  Pricing is based on the number of users to be connected by a service provider, along with associated set up, customisation and IT staff training and maintenance requirements.

In addition to the millions of laptops already in day-to-day use, according to data from research and consulting firm, Strategy Analytics, portable consumer Wi-Fi devices will grow from 65 million units sold in 2008 to 104 million devices sold by 2010 in Western Europe. These devices include: digital cameras, MP3 players, media players, games consoles, dual mode cell phones, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks, notebooks and navigation devices (PNDs).

Mabe concludes, "Connector takes the webpage login step out of the connectivity equation to automate and speed up the process of accessing the Internet on the move which is crucial, not only to energise network traffic usage to increase service provider revenue, but given the raft of wireless enabled devices on the market today and those expected to be launched which don't have keyboards or mice, meaning login would be troublesome."

To support this, Quiconnect will be extending the functionality today available in Connector for laptops to include a Connector Mobile Edition primarily for wireless enabled handheld devices, with a release expected in the first half of 2009. 

Business Logic Systems, a specialist in customer intelligence, marketing automation and customer loyalty solutions for mobile network operators, has announced it has opened another regional office. The new office, based in Vienna, will be headed up by Ivan Skerlanitz, newly appointed Sales Director, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), who will be responsible for the entire region, including Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia.

Skerlanitz will shortly be joined by a technical consultant who, working together, will be responsible for making the most of the growing mobile market in the region. Their role will be to engage with new and existing customers and position the benefits of using InTelestage's portfolio of products and technologies to unlock the value of real-time behavioural customer data.

"Mobile telecoms are developing at a rapid pace in Central and Eastern Europe and having a dedicated office there will be key to our success in the region," commented Stewart Goldberg, Executive Chairman, Business Logic Systems.  "Ivan and the team's local knowledge and contacts will enable Business Logic to deliver first-class customer service and at the same time give mobile network operators access to a cost-effective, easy to use campaign management tool that can reduce customer churn and drive loyalty."

Skerlanitz brings more than 15 years of sales experience to Business Logic Systems, specifically from the OSS-BSS, billing and messaging markets.  Most recently he worked as Sales Director, EMEA East at Evolved Networks in the UK. Before that he held several senior positions at LHS and Redknee in Germany and CSG in UK. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary and an MBA from DEC, Oracle Corp. and Rutgers in USA and Europe.

The opening of the office in Vienna follows the recent launch of a dedicated sales facility in Dubai to cover the Middle East region. 

A recent study by global management consultancy, Arthur D. Little, is said to have found that traditional telecoms suppliers are facing an overall critical situation as the recession deepens in 2009. The increasing strength of the Asian market was identified as the primary threat that telecom suppliers face, due to its expanded reputation, innovation and consistent delivery of quality. 

As an example, the study points to Chinese telecoms provider Huawei, which has already achieved more than 10% of the global market share for investments of fixed and mobile network infrastructure, while the expansion rate for investments in fixed and mobile networks in industrialized countries is stagnating. Affected components manufacturers will see a one-digit expansion rate in the next few years - a significant downward shift from the recent two-digit figure trend.
"Given the pressure on their market shares and margins, large, well-established companies such as Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and Motorola have to prepare for a completely new competitive environment," says Klaus von den Hoff, a partner at Arthur D. Little. "There are three main drivers bringing about this change. Firstly, neither the national nor the international consolidation of telecom network operators is complete, and moreover, every instance of consolidation leads to a new system standardization that will increase the buying power of the operators. Secondly, the pressure felt from new Asian competitors has increased in all markets. Finally, traditional telecoms suppliers face growing pressure from IT suppliers who have aggressively gone to market with their equipment for telephony. Behind all of this is a change in networks' IP requirements that will once again see a shake-up of the entire sector. This trend will open up the formerly proprietary systems and technologies."
What can telecom infrastructure suppliers do in order to stay ahead of the curve? According to Von den Hoff, "Innovation will be the key differentiator between established and new participants on the market."
Dr. Karim Taga, partner at Arthur D. Little and head of the Technology Economics Competence Center adds: "The fact that providers such as Cisco are looking for innovations outside their usual business arena makes the situation that much more complex." Based on this background, Arthur D. Little surveyed leading global managers to establish the position of telecoms suppliers in various fields of technology.
Main survey results
While Motorola and Nortel were characterized as "technology followers" by CTOs, the "big four" - Ericson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks - are seen as the leaders of technology within the industry. In particular, Huawei appears to have made an impressive impact on the market.

"Even if established suppliers defend their market share through aggressive pricing policies and network operators rethink their supplier switch-over due to the billions invested in infrastructure, the Chinese heavyweight can still gain more share through massive innovation investments and cost advantages tailored to meet specific customer solutions," says von den Hoff.

"Additionally some of the traditional suppliers are still struggling with the integration of their acquisitions and consolidated structures," adds Dr. Taga. Accordingly, those telecom suppliers researched in Arthur D. Little's survey lag behind in terms of innovation and technology positioning when compared to the bigger players.
The survey's emphasis was on the performance of three main operating areas of telecoms: access network infrastructure, core switching networks and network-oriented operating services, which have increasingly been provided by network operators. The results highlight how CTOs rate companies very differently. Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola have perceived strengths in WiMax, whereas Ericsson and Huawei are regarded as being particularly strong in 3G and LTE; Cisco however continues to shine in IP routing. Despite the individual skills of these network operators, they still get the choice of between three and five suppliers that are seen as particularly reliable. "In addition, it is worth mentioning that not all manufacturers can provide all technologies in the current climate," adds Dr. Taga.
Industry positioning required
 Von den Hoff sums up the results of the survey: "The main challenge facing suppliers is to define both their economical and technological position from the customer's point of view and to then decide how to be creative and improve most efficiently." An additional concern is which market scenarios are the most realistic and what impacts they will have on individual suppliers' competitive positioning. In addition, suppliers must make tough choices about their technical focus as a direct result of their competitive positioning. "Overall, as the pace of the market increases," says Dr. Taga, "companies have to prepare for mergers and acquisitions. They must also familiarize themselves with PMI management."
Between May and July 2008 Arthur D. Little looked at ten key telecoms suppliers that generated 59% of the industry's total global revenue. Following this, the team interviewed more than 100 CTOs of fixed and mobile service providers as well as organizations within the telecommunications industry, analyzing their responses qualitatively. The survey will be carried out annually.

Vodafone says it has successfully trialled an evolution of mobile broadband technology achieving actual peak data download rates of up to 16 Mbps. The high speed data connection was achieved during field trials of HSPA+ 64QAM technology on Vodafone Spain's network.

Vodafone now says it plans to trial mobile broadband data connections with peak rates of up to 21Mbps early in 2009 using HSPA+ MIMO functionality. Vodafone experts reckon that the technology would be capable of delivering a typical video download experience of more than 13Mbps in good conditions and an average of more than 4 Mbps across a full range of typical cell locations, including urban environments. If the trials prove a success, Vodafone plans to make the technology available in selected commercial networks.

"Successfully demonstrating a live HSPA+ high speed connection has been a key milestone in continuing to build confidence in this new technology," said Andy MacLeod, Global Networks Director of Vodafone. "The results show that HSPA+ technology is well placed to further enhance our customers' mobile broadband experience through the evolution of our existing 3G networks."

Vodafone worked in association with Ericsson and Qualcomm to prove the potential of the technology in the field, following 'impressive' data throughput rates achieved in laboratory tests. HSPA+ technology is the next evolutionary step in the (3G) HSPA roadmap and increases performance through the use of a more advanced modulation technique called 64QAM. Performance can be enhanced further through the use of multiple antennae on both base stations and data devices (Multiple Input Multiple Output - MIMO).

Both 64QAM and MIMO features require new HSPA+ mobile broadband devices. Vodafone is working with its device vendors on the trialing, testing and validation of these devices ready for commercial availability. At present, Vodafone mobile broadband customers can download data and surf the net at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. The company expects HSPA+ mobile broadband technology to significantly enhance actual download speeds as well as customers' overall mobile experience. 

Catch-up TV services may offer the key to successful multi-channel convergence in 2009, according to a new report released today.  The 2009 Screen Reality Report from user experience consultancy, Webcredible, predicts that services like iPlayer and 4oD have the potential to become some of the first truly successful multi-channel services, converged across the PC, TV and the mobile.

The concept of multi-channel converged services is nothing new, but many have tried and failed in the past.  However, the opportunities for convergence are increasing by the day with new mobile operating systems and platforms emerging and increasing Internet and mobile Internet speeds, and the report predicts that multi-channel catch-up TV services could prove to be one of the first big converged success stories in 2009.

The 2009 Screen Reality Report looks at previous technology-driven attempts at converged services including bringing Internet to the living room TV, mobile video calling and mobile video streaming.  It urges companies looking to offer converged services to think first about the context of use and human factors before looking to design such products.

The mobile Internet and catch-up TV services are identified by the report as two of the most successful converged services of recent times.  However, the mobile Internet in particular has been very gradual in its take-off and both services, while successfully converging two platforms, have yet to succeed in incorporating the third in a mass-market offering.

Abid Warsi, Senior User Experience Consultant at Webcredible and author of the report said: "In the increasingly ‘On-demand' world we live in it seems that catch-up TV services offer the key to truly successful multi-channel convergence.  Already very popular through the PC, many consumers would jump at the chance to be able to use these services through the TV as well, and with larger screen mobile devices like the iPhone now becoming more widespread, the potential is there for mobile too.

"If companies trying to make converged products or services want to avoid some of the previous mistakes, they'll need to consider the context in which they'll be used, take notice of what their users actually want and ensure they continuously involve users throughout the design process."

Movidia has announced the launch of its MA1110 multimedia processor for mobile phones. The MA1110 is claimed to be the first processor in the world to enable high performance in-phone video post-production in real time on power conscious mobile devices.

Movidia says its processor is aimed at the booming market for phones for mobile social networking users and will allow mobile phone OEMs to develop a new generation of highly differentiated products with enhanced user experiences.

Movidia will be demonstrating the MA1110 at Mobile World Congress hall 2.1, stand A10, Barcelona, 16th-19th February 2009. Customer samples of MA1110 will be available in Summer 2009, and mass production of Movidia's chip will commence later in 2009.

Movidia's MA1110 brings unparalleled processing power to a mobile phone at compelling power points. Movidia says the technology allows the multimedia processor to perform highly complex video-editing tasks such as real-time image stabilization, super resolution zoom, slow motion and color matching. Movidia's MA1110 also supports high resolutions of all standard audio and video CODECs and APIs to ensure full compatibility with a wide range of content.

The MA1110 uniquely addresses the rapidly growing demand for both mobile social networking and UGC (User Generated Content) functionality on mobile phones*. Movidia's chip can support complex video post-production features previously only achievable on a desktop computer. Users can capture, edit, view and publish their videos using only their phone; this enables them to skip the PC ‘stage' entirely, and empowers a new generation of ‘Spielbergs on the move'.

For the first time, operators are seeing real and repeat data usage on mobile phones. New features available in the latest phones are encouraging users in their droves to take out more expensive tariff bundles for data and internet applications. Movidia's MA1110 provides handset OEMs with the technology to satisfy initial multimedia requirements and, crucially, empower them to continue differentiating their products with unique UGC capabilities.

"This has never been done before", said Sean Mitchell, CEO of Movidia. "Analysts are unanimous in pointing out that the market for social networking and UGC is exploding. Network operators and phone manufacturers are queuing up to release ‘Facebook phones', or offer individual video features like slow-mo. Yet until now no phone has been able to perform complex video editing on a phone in real time. This is something we sought to address in order to really deliver a compelling user experience to unleash the real growth in this market."

"There is an entire generation of phone users out there waiting for this. The MA1110 puts an editing studio in your pocket. Footage of football matches, weddings, holidays, parties, can all be edited, tailored and shared instantly wherever you are. The range of effects possible with the MA1110 is astonishing. Finally, we can have mobile multimedia as it was always meant to be; powerful, personal and immediate."

Will Strauss, President of Forward Concepts commented, "Movidia's MA1110 looks remarkable. This is the only in-phone, post-production product that I've encountered. No other chip on the market can do this. Forward Concepts sees a huge potential market for mobile social networking and a lot of excitement around the area of user generated content. Handset OEMs want to differentiate mobile devices and I expect a strong demand for this product. It's the right technology at the right time. I look forward to seeing Movidia's demo in Barcelona."

Movidia was founded by an experienced management team from the semiconductor industry and in October 2008, announced that it had secured $14 million of Series A funding. The company's R&D and sales teams are located in Dublin, Hong Kong and Romania.

Nokia Siemens Networks is to manage the mobile backhaul of T-Mobile Austria's network.The complete managed services solution - which includes planning, installation and management - will provide increased transport network throughput, bringing 'substantial operational benefits' and enabling T-Mobile Austria to focus on delivering advanced mobile broadband to its subscribers.

"With this agreement we are transferring an operational part of our network into the hands of Nokia Siemens Networks. This allows us to further focus on providing our customers with new and higher quality services thanks to increased bandwidth, which Nokia Siemens Networks will supply," says Jim Burke, Chief Technical Officer at T-Mobile Austria. "We believe that this step will help us, to increase customer satisfaction even further and get an edge on our competition."

Under the contract, which runs through 2013, Nokia Siemens Networks will assume full responsibility for the optimization and operation of the mobile backhaul network. The control and responsibility for the network and the supervision of its quality remains with T-Mobile Austria.

"This major managed services project proves Nokia Siemens Networks Managed Services footprint in mature markets and its services capabilities as well as thought leadership in providing its partners with innovative solutions and business models," said Ralph Griewing, who is in charge of Nokia Siemens Networks' business with T-Mobile across the world. "The success of such projects depends largely on excellent joint cooperation and our long-time partnership with T-Mobile can serve here as a proof."

The managed services deal requires Nokia Siemens Networks to provide high-quality backhaul from T-Mobile's more than 6,000 radio network sites across Austria, serving 3.3 million customers.

The number of mobile phone subscribers that use their phones for mobile banking transactions will exceed 150m globally by 2011, according to a new study by Juniper Research. The figures refer to additive banking which is focused on developed markets rather than transformational banking, which is focussed on extending banking services to customers who cannot be reached profitably with traditional branch-based financial services

The Juniper Research report is said to have established that the mobile banking market is currently most advanced in the Far East, but that growing numbers of mobile banking services are being offered in North America and Western Europe. The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for over 70% of the user base by 2011.

Mobile Banking report author Howard Wilcox commented: "Transactional or "push" mobile banking is being offered increasingly by banks via downloadable applications or the mobile web, complementing existing SMS messaging services for balance and simple information enquiries. Mobile banking is a key element in banks' distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."

The Juniper report highlighted the extra user convenience as a key benefit. The mobile phone is the device that people - especially Generation Y - will not leave home without. Mobile banking is an addition to the wide choice of applications and services that they can access through their handsets to make life easier, especially via smart phones such as the iPhone.

However the report identified several factors that will need addressing to really foster market development including financial regulations which vary from country to country, application slickness, and security. Whatever the reality of the strength of the security, it is the perception and image in the mind of the user that dictates whether they will trust the service, says Juniper.   

The study is said to provide an analysis of the trends and issues affecting this market, exploring how the mobile banking market will develop. The report provides forecasts of user take-up, user-level messaging traffic, user-level transaction volumes and gross transaction values for "Push" Mobile Banking Information Services, and "Pull" transactional banking services. The report also presents the strategies of 15 key vendors and 12 mobile banking services in the developing market.

Cellebrite, a provider of carrier-grade mobile phone POS synchronization systems, has today announced that the third largest German mobile operator, the E-Plus Group has introduced Cellebrite's UME-36Pro into 105 stores across Germany to enable customers to easily transfer personal data when buying a new mobile handset. 

Customers purchasing a new mobile phone or moving to the E-Plus network will now be able to transfer personal data like their phonebook contacts from an old device to a newly purchased phone at the point-of-sale (POS). The UME 36 Pro is said to eliminate the tedious and time consuming task of transferring data and protects customer privacy by securely transferring content without exposure to store personnel.

UME-36Pro can also offer backup of mobile content to a USB disk drive, PC, web site or to a server hosted by the operator. Cellebrite claims to be the first and only company that offers a complete backup and transfer solution for the POS and for subscribers by integrating OTA systems to the UME-36Pro.

"We are very satisfied that the E-Plus Group has chosen the UME 36 Pro to enhance their customer relationships" comments Mr. Bernhard Pawlak, CEO of Cellebrite Germany "In the highly competitive and saturated German mobile market, the E-Plus Group counts on direct interaction with their customer at the POS and differentiates through additional services, like mobile phone data transfer. This increases customer loyalty and satisfaction."

Icomera, a provider of cellular broadband gateways, and The Green Bus, a specialist in school transport thinking in the UK, have announced the deployment of free Internet access for students and real-time vehicle tracking on twenty-three routes served by the Birmingham-based school transport operator.

The vehicles utilize Icomera's Moovbox M Series mobile broadband gateway that provides Wi-Fi connectivity on the move with download speeds in excess of two megabits per second. The Green Bus vehicles also leverage the Moovbox for GPS-based location, allowing parents to track a bus's progress in real-time from any web browser. The Green Bus was established in 2005 by a former teacher and now operates environment-friendly bus services for schools throughout the West Midlands. The company's double-decker buses carry over 1,400 children to and from school each day - replacing an estimated two thousand car journeys in the process - with routes designed to travel as close as possible to students' homes and removing the need for passengers to change buses en route.

"We want to make the experience of travelling with us a positive one for the new generation of tech-savvy school children," said Ian Mack, Managing Director at The Green Bus. "With an increasing number of mobile phones and handhelds supporting Wi-Fi, our investment in Icomera's Moovbox enables students to check email, surf the web, and play peer-to-peer games on devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS - all free of charge. More importantly, the built-in GPS functionality of the Moovbox means we can see where our buses are at any time; this feature is being made available on our web site where parents and school staff can securely log in and follow the progress of any particular bus is during its journey via a familiar Google Maps display."

The Wi-Fi service, which is free to all bus pass holders, has been popular with students since its launch late last year with over 50% of users spending more than 20 minutes online, and 25% using the service more than five times. Research has shown that students prefer to travel in the social atmosphere of bus rather than by car, while for parents The Green Bus is more convenient, cost-effective and reduces peak-time congestion outside schools.

"Across our Moovbox deployments worldwide Wi-Fi usage by students is the next biggest demographic after business travelers," said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. "The Green Bus's commitment to providing Wi-Fi access to its school-age passengers while leveraging the GPS capability for schedule adherence and parent reassurance sets a new standard for other school bus service providers to follow."

The Moovbox mobile gateway is a ruggedized Wi-Fi access point and cellular router, offering multiple wide area network (WAN) radios for automatic failover between carriers, and featuring built-in GPS for real-time positioning. Moovbox products are also said to offer secure Ethernet for IP-CCTV, DVR and telematics equipment with remote in-bound access for device control, and supports plug-and-play upgradability to future technologies such as WiMAX and LTE. The multi-user MoovManage service provides real-time device tracking, schedule adherence monitoring, remote device configuration, and Wi-Fi portal and usage statistics.

Although the 2009 outlook for many semiconductor manufacturers is worsening by the day - with share prices have taken a severe hit with millions shaved from companies' market capital over the last 12 months - IMS Research is projecting that the GPS market represents one of the few areas of growth in 2009.
In the new report, "WW Market for GPS/GNSS in Portable Devices", the GPS market is forecast to increase by over $200 million between 2008 and 2009. IMS Research Analyst, Tom Arran, states "2008 was the breakout year for GPS in mobile phones. In 2009 GPS will begin to penetrate into a range of vertical markets, such as cameras, laptops, UMPCs, sporting equipment and first responder radios. This will help to drive shipment growth of over 25% YoY". 
"OEMs in these markets can use GPS to differentiate their product, while also drive new service revenue streams. Furthermore, location is emerging as a key component of future offerings from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Intel, Mozilla and Ericsson. This will enable a host of new services across all key vertical markets, which in turn will further drive the uptake of GPS".
Despite a significant increase in revenue in 2009, IMS Research believes that the best is yet to come. Arran goes on to say "2009 will not be booming year for GPS in portable devices. Looking beyond the current economic turbulence, IMS Research is forecasting the overall market for GPS to demonstrate a 21.2% CAGR between 2008 and 2013.
 "There is still a lot of untapped potential and the GPS market needs to mature before breaking the 500 million units per year barrier. One of the more general issues is poor performance in challenging environments. GPS manufacturers need to start seriously considering hybrid location in their offering. The report forecasts the uptake of WLAN location in each of these markets, both as a competitive and complementary technology."
"The GPS market remains competitive, despite a number of acquisitions by large semis companies. Standalone GPS manufacturers will need to specialise to monetise, as each vertical market requires different hardware considerations. By developing a diverse portfolio of solutions tailored to specific markets, they can spread risk across a number of OEMs in different vertical markets - ideal in troublesome times".

Orange has today launched Flexible Workforce, a ‘pay as you consume' plan for small and medium business customers. Flexible Workforce provides small and medium businesses that have contract employees, conduct their business at temporary fixed off-site locations, have unpredictable/low mobility requirements or require access to a shared resource, with more adaptable tariff options. 

Martin Lyne, Director of SME, Orange UK, said ‘No one needs to be told of the detrimental effects the recession is having on business in the UK at present. We are particularly conscious of the uncertainties affecting our smaller business customers and we need to ensure we provide flexibility in our plans to help support their changing communications needs. As the only operator to provide such an alternative we feel confident that Flexible Workforce will assist SME's to better weather these economic conditions.'

Available to existing business customers who already have two or more contract subscribers, Flexible Workforce is said to have been designed to address the following concerns of businesses fighting back in order to beat the recession: Provides flexibility around fluctuations in workforce numbers/locations for seasonal/project based businesses; Tackles unpredictable future requirements - so no monthly line-rental contract is required and therefore minimal commitment needed. This will give customers greater control over their costs which will be in direct relationship to usage patterns; Enables shared resource for staff who will only have sporadic non-essential needs for use of a mobile phone for business purposes; Customers will be able to manage their cash flow better as payment is made in arrears of use. This means costs do not have to be absorbed ahead of any incoming revenue; This is a resource that is always available. Therefore if a SME makes the decision to use Flexible Workforce for last minute freelance help etc, deployment is rapid; There are no requirements for top-up payments; Billing is simple with Flexible Workforce subscribers receiving a monthly statement for managing their business costs efficiently.

Option, a wireless technology company, has today announced that its new entry-level USB modem has been selected by O2. Carrying the O2 branding, Option's new iCON 210 HSPA USB modem is shipping to Telefónica O2 Germany. The iCON 210 is the third distinctive USB modem designed and released by Option in the last three months to meet specific market needs of major European and US operators. 
The iCON 210 is said to be a compact, easy-to-use device, affordable yet high-performance mobile broadband solution. Option's Zero-CD Plug 'n' Play software allows consumers to access reliable internet and email at HSPA speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps.