Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mobile micropayments

Those hard-working people at and JR Tokai Express Research have published the findings of a survey into use of contactless IC mobile payment systems, two years on from their launch in Japan. The 32% of the total sample group which had RFID funtionality in their handsets were asked a variety of questions about usage patterns. Over 40% of this subgroup had some experience of mobile payments via RFID in the handset, and nearly a quarter (23%) of this claimed to make use of the feature frequently. As for payment scenarios, 82% claimed to have used it to make payments in convenience stores, the most popular response, followed by "shopping" at 40%, and paying for train tickets (using the Mobile Suica service) claimed 20%. This latter result is pretty high, in my opinion, considering that this handset-based service was only launched at the end of January. Only 10% of respondents described themselves as being "very familiar" with the new credit card functionality being added to handsets via RFID, though 80% claimed to have some familiarity with the concept. So, for now at least, it looks like micropayments and commuting behaviors dominate the space.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Omega man

Well, here's one of my scoops referred to last week, which I claimed would advance the disruption of a certain industry - and that industry is my own. Longstanding readers of this humble blogatelle may recall that one of my recurring themes is that, if IP can enable disruption of voice, "entertainment" and distribution of all forms of media, then surely the hallowed halls of investment research may be candidates for makeovers as condominiums or shopping arcades.

My thesis has always remained that the mindshare of bloggers and other independent opinion shapers inevitably would collectively overwhelm the walled gardens which are brokers' research products. The expertise "out there" is just too great, and the analysis too frank, to be ignored - and it grows daily into something I like to call "open source analysis". I have argued that investment banking research, to remain relevant, would have to adopt the same tools and approach, to create a "point of presence" in this new ecosystem, indeed to create a Media 2.0 profile for its analysts. It's no longer enough to go on CNBC looking buff and hyperconfident.

So, for any depressed analysts on Wall Street, or within the Square Mile, go pour yourself another half-caff skinny latte and consider what it means that David Jackson and his team at Seeking Alpha have struck a deal with Yahoo! to get the insights of the open source analysts into a prominent placing on Yahoo! Finance. David (an early reader of EuroTelcoblog who has offered a lot of moral support and was kind enough to include me as an early occasional contributor to Seeking Alpha) has worked hard to make the site genuinely useful, funding free conference call transcripts, taking on experienced editors who understand what makes a piece relevant.

For the fund manager or independent investor who hasn't had the time, stamina, or knowledge to amass and keep up with a long list of RSS feeds on a wide range of issues, having a trusted aggregator of independent voices within an already trusted and familiar source of financial news and data poses more than a trivial challenge to the brokers for gaining and holding one's attention.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

... and part 29

The number of Americans who claim to have downloaded a TV program from the internet has doubled in the past year, says IPSOS.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The relentless rise of online video, part 28

Our Television 1.0 set broke a couple of days ago, after many years of faithful service. Rather than rush into replacing it, we're taking our time and considering our options, and catching a little TV progamming on the web. Personally, I am a fan of the strange and wonderful gems to be found on the Internet Archive, and my wife and kids have been catching up on unwatched DVDs, all on our laptops. Unsurprisingly, we seem to have become more discerning in our viewing, and the kids seem to enjoy the novelty factor of it. Whether this happens out of neccessity (as in our case) or choice, it seems to be happening a lot more generally, at least according to this new survey from AOL. Among other things, it finds that one third of those who have some experience with online video claim to watch more of it today than they did a year ago. What I find really interesting is the breakdown of content watched, which shows "amateur videos" (presumably this includes some p0rn) almost on a par with sports highlights and music videos. Also of note is that video podcasts have been watched by 17% of the respondents, putting user generated content on a level pegging with live sports. Also note that half of respondents said they prefer watching on the computer than on the TV.