Bob's Byte

Is Bankruptcy the Only Option for Radio Shack?

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As we predicted, the market now agrees RadioShack's new strategy is flawed.

RadioShack, The Fall

Despite its eminence as a world-known CE retailer, RadioShack's financial position deteriorated in the last five years-- and its recent plan to shutter up to 1100 stores has now been blocked by creditors.

It's a story that retailers know well and fear the most:  Lenders block store closures because any liquidation of inventory would mean money going back into the stores instead of repaying debt. Creditors now fear a default and want to protect their own interests first.


2017: More Mobile Data Revenue Than Voice

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We're on the ramp to an important tipping point: GSMA says, by 2018, mobile companies will make more money from data usage than with voice calls.

mobile uptake

The association has released a 5-year forecast that shows a surge in the number of connected devices and an increase in the amount of machine-to-machine communications. 

It's an interesting document with lots of useful graphics-- and the main point seems to be the GSMA wants to lay claim on the emerging areas where mobile communications will expand rapidly in the coming years.

Areas such as mobile health services (GSMA claims mobile communications could help to save one million lives in Africa and $400 billion in healthcare costs in OECD countries), education (GSMA says 1.8 million children could be educated using mobile devices by 2017), smart metering (mobile cab cut carbon emissions by 27 million tonnes – saving 1.2 billion trees, says GSMA), and connected cars (we'll  save 1 in 9 lives through emergency calling services).

Mobile communications will even solve the food shortage (240 tons of food spoils each year during transit and storage alone, and GSMA argues mobile data-- to keep better track of trucks and the temperature of storage facilities-- will save enough food to feed 40 million people).  That's either going to mean a lot more obese people in the Western world or we will finally figure out how to help Africa feed itself.

So...are we evolving from the era of the smartphone to the time of the superphone?

Actually, no. It's more about moving the goal posts, widening the definition of mobile communications to include all that is the future of IP address-to-IP address communication.  Other industries will also lay claim to this... and the GSMA wants to sink its roots into the emerging areas.

Under Armour

Just like the PC before it, the smartphone will give way to evolution. More sooner than later: because the smartphone takeoff was always faster than the PC, it's going to get to that part of the product maturity curve years before the PC did.

Just like PC makers claim the PC isn't dying, that it's just "transforming" into smartphones, tablets, and all sorts of phone makers (and their industry association) will be singing the same song.

As smartphone sales start to slow (and they already have in the advanced markets), the real action will be in M2M, the internet of things.  Call it IT, web, or mobile, but the bigger revolution is in the evolution of moving the intelligence to the network's real edge and the embedding of the same intelligence in objects, clothing, retail goods and more.

At GSMA's own Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, a Connected City exhibit envisions a future where instead of people talking to each other, machines talk to other machines (and other machines listen and act...and even talk back or talk to more machines).

For example, Google's glasses or the Armour39's next generation [shown in photo above]wearable technology is coming. Anyone hear echoes of John Gage's favorite tagline back when SUN really shone?: THE NETWORK IS THE PC.

It's the SMART and not the PHONE that makes smartphone work. In the near future,  the NETWORK IS THE PHONE.

The Mobile Economy is more than stats, it's really a GSMA manifesto on how mobile should take its place in the broader world where industries will collide over M2M.

Why else would they need to go outside the industry and have their "MOBILE ECONOMY" written by general business consultants at AT Kearney instead of their colleagues and usual mobile industry researchers?

Go The Mobile Economy report

Tipping Point for Wearables?

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Calling Google's Project Glass "just a  start," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps argues "like mobile and tablets today, in three years, wearable computing devices will matter to every product strategist."

WIMMWearables have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media. "Imagine," asks Epps, ".. video games that happen in real space. Or glasses that remind you of your colleague’s name that you really should know. Or paying for a coffee at Starbucks with your watch instead of your phone. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, trivial and substantial, that we are just starting to imagine."

Wearables will "enter the mainstream by exploiting the relative strengths of the big five platforms" (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) says Epps in her blog post.


Five Millennial Myths

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Jennifer J. Deal’s Five Millennial Myths is subtitled: Forget what you think you know about your Gen Y employees.

That part was easy: I didn’t know much.

The conventional wisdom, apparently, is that “…everyone under the age of 30 is needy and narcissistic. They want the corner office and a company car, but they aren’t truly committed to their organization. They don’t take kindly to criticism, but can be easily won over with the next hot gadget.”

Deal asks: “Can companies afford to put their trust in these types of characterizations?”

For the past 12 years, she studied the so-called generation gap through empirical research, and found the stereotypes of millennials in the workplace asinconsistent at best and destructive at worst. With data collected from more than 13,000 participants in for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations, Deal dentifies five key myths that companies believe about their younger employees.


Myth #1: Millennials don’t want to be told what to do.

The reality: Wrong! Their research shows (unexpectedly, she admits) that millennials currently in the workforce are more willing to defer to authority than either baby boomers or Gen Xers.

Millennials are more likely to thrive if they know the ingredients for success in the workplace, starting with the basics. For example, although it may seem obvious to an older manager, millennials may appreciate being told what time they are expected to arrive at the office, and precisely how quickly they should turn around a project (beyond just “ASAP”).


Barcelona Crowned Capital of Mobile

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After an 18-month search, the GSMA decides...a drum roll, please...Barcelona as the Mobile World Capital.

Mobile World CapitalAnd-- surprise! surprise!-- as the Mobile World Capital winner, Barcelona gets to be the home of the GSMA Mobile World Congress.

The other finalist cities – Milan, Munich and Paris – probably never had much of a chance. The rule in the exhibition business (for obvious reasons) is when it ain't broke, don't move it. But how did you scare the beejus out of the extent venue and extract additional concessions?

You announce a contest. You very publicly announce the candidates have to be willing to put up $10 million. And you dangle the opportunity of a Big Event Coming to Town in front of big cities that can pay and that can fancy themselves as worth it.

Fira de BarcelonaIt's over now...can Barcelona now feel secure? For a while. The capital designation is more a rental than a purchase deal: for $10 million the deal lasts for only 2012-2018. When GSMA built a dedicated web site for Mobile World Capital they very cleverly already emphasise in their graphic "THE FIRST" Mobile World Capital.