Wednesday, February 03, 2016

“On your Mark, Get Ready, Go!” Congress and State Politicians Campaign Money Jumpsuit

I am not a graphical artist where the picture above is a visual representation of what I believe Congress and state politicians should be required to wear these racing political money jumpsuits with the logos of the companies and powerful individuals that funnel money into their political campaigns. Our country's method of selecting government public servants is rigged by the shameful Citizens United decision made by The U.S. Supreme Court who supported the plaintiff, Citizens United.

To the above, I think for the upcoming 2016 election every official running for office should be required by an amendment to The U.S. Constitution to wear a Politician's Election Corporate Jumpsuit, similar to the one above. The jumpsuit will have the logos of known powerful individuals and corporations who contribute massive amounts of political campaign money to these politicians to act as their drivers' for achieving their own personal interest.

Our system of government is rigged and that can be done-away with by social networks using mobile technologies, and the visual arts that will tell the truth behind every politician's motives to serve their sponsor rather than serving the people that elected them. It's a known fact and its more than usual these politicians vote on policies against the will of people.

Let's bring these individual and corporate logos associated to the forefront of posturing and influencing peddling ( I am being nice here), then use social media and the visual arts to demonstrate the people's vote has clearly spoken and not the powerful and corporate monies has voted against the people.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Mentoring is so full(filling)! Go to your schools, kids need it with all the fake noise being thrown at them

Mentoring needs to happen more today than all the days we have seen in our lives. Too many selfies, gratification, X-minutes of fame, lust/greed/callous behaviors has begun to ruin the future of our children, our parents, our friends, and the entire community we breath in. Mentoring is about passing on the balance decisions we make in life that have resulted in progress of our professional and personal life, it's not about the self but about our selves. This article by Rebecca Martin touches the tips of mentoring thereby encouraging her readers to stop and think the importance of mentoring in the lives of young adults, children, and thus that could need it.

5 Practical Tips to Help You Find a Mentor

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Broadband at the Time of Disaster

At Motorola we were doing IT Closet in a Box (the "box"), which in essence is a mobile and portable communications data center that can provide data and voice services to thousands of people after a declared disaster. Back then, we used the Motorola Information Security Systems and Products Division that had deep experience in portable communications with the military and first responders. Unfortunately, back in the middle of 2001, Motorola was experiencing cash flow issues which was ill advised by investment bankers to divest that division where it was sold in August 2001 to  General Dynamics. For many Motorola employees it did not make sense to sell this division as it was high margin business, innovative secure communications (the red phones at the White House), and cool remote guidance technologies (deep space communications).  Going back to the box, this division had incredible amount of expertise in building portable and mobile communications that were being dropped into the battlefield by our military to supply the ground troops with communications equipment. This "box" was a self-contained data center (to safely be descriptive), had a router/switch, hubs, patch panel, PRI/BRI boards, and those cool Motorola radio antennas, Canopy.  Since this box was designed for military deployments and had proved itself reliable portable communications, it was decided to demonstrate the box to the financial services providers so that they can include the box as a tool for their business continuity planning efforts after a disaster. Furthermore, we demonstrated how Motorola can leverage DSL provisioned telephone booths to point the radio antennas to specific sites that needed broadband for data and voice services into the box receiving antenna. Theses antennas could be point-to-point similar to microwave antennas or point-to-multipoint. The thought here was that traditional ILEC/LEC, with the thousands of public telephone booths could provisioned the booths as micro Broadband Transmission Points-of-Presence (BTPPs) to be used at "the time of disaster". These BTPPs would provide a temporary wireless transmission network to the affected businesses and communities with portable communications for all people who are in need of data and voice services.

In reading the various news reports coming out of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of people were affected by the storm that has taken down their primary communication services. The isolation for the lack of communications is taking its toll on people specifically in the hard hit areas of Lower Manhattan,  Hoboken, Breezy Point, and other areas. Many of these people are going to the Starbucks or Paneras or Peets or other places in the hope of finding broadband connectivity or hotspots to help them to reduce the isolation so that they can have some sense of continuity.  Unfortunately, upon arriving they find these places closed or just don't have WiFi service as result of Hurricane Sandy.

Now here comes the perplexing thought as to why. Companies like Motorola, Harris, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Boeing, SunGard,  Lockheed, or the other rapid communications companies, should shine here by putting in motion their box to the affected areas. But nope, they are not pursuing the IT Closet in a Box approach. As a matter of fact, Motorola has a network of about 6000 or so independent radio service shops scattered through out the USA that could of been deployed to assist first responders and the telcos to facilitate the communications to the affected communities by assisting the roll out of these boxes and provisioned them with the BTPPs.

A missed opportunity to shine and show the world that American corporations can demonstrate its' wireless leadership with wireless broadband infrastructure at the time of disaster. And that raises another point to ponder on. Today, there are no American coroporation that have a leadership position in wireless infrastructre like Motorola and Lucent had during their early years as market makers.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Mobile in The Americas

So much involvement with various friendly projects that simply over-sighted to refresh my posts. Well sometime in December 2010, I was asked by BlipTV to interview (click on the title of this post to view the interview), ) to talk about the business of mobile in The Americas with emphasis on dollars spent in Latin America, business environment and the potential of business opportunities. Specifically what are the business components to seek-out opportunities such as local partnering, corporate citizen involvement, and the relationship structures that are needed to establish credibility and trust with potential customers and partners.

With so much travel and with so many projects involved I am contemplating subsequent blog updates will take place in several months.

Thank you for your time to read these posts.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Memory in written form

Yes, its been sometime since my last posting whether there is a justifiable reason or not. To say the least, I utilize the act of blogging to write-down the novel approaches that hover over both my left and right hemispheric brain that drives me to write in a unified approach to the ideas that could make a difference and can have meaningful relevance. With that said, and as counseled by the many proficient and highly-regarded technologists, write-down what you think you can create rather than talk-about what you think you ought to do with what you believe needs to be created. In short, its call prior-art of in the public domain.

In a few days (hopefully, less), I will write down my thoughts around Prepaid Roaming for Latin America and Caribbean markets, where my goal in that new Post, will attempt to convey what is wrong, why, and the how to fix it. Inasmuch, talk about how mobile telephony is changing the migration behavior of people when it comes to improving their lives, and how the lack of harmonious roaming is inhibiting the growth of these people and economies.

See you soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reverse Mobile Subsidy Model

Consumer Brands potential to establish a consistent and persistent customer relationship using Mobile Push Coupon...of course with respect to consumer privacy

Monetary credit subsidies are utilized by wireless operators to lure in customers (subscribers) to sign-up ("subscribe") to their wireless services. These subsidies are credits to customers either that come in the form of cash-back via a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or store-value cards that can be applied to subsidize the cost of a mobile terminal. Subsidies are contractual obligations that customers must agree to a period of service sign-up, e.g. one, two or three years. These subsidies can carry an early lure but have more of a damaging effect to customers and wireless operators alike. It requires customers to commit to the period of service that after the initial set-up, the service could suffer from quality of service (QoS), terrible customer service, and incomprehensible bills/invoices. For carriers, it pressures them to manage supply lines, inventory, terminal innovation and software applications that is not their core business. Their core business should be to grow and upkeep wireless infrastructure, effective customer service and ubiquity of their wireless services. So, in this post I will comment on the need to remove wireless carrier subsidies to liberate customers and wireless carriers from a relationship of mistrust and continual suspicion that has no future to a relationship of reward, loyalty and equitable distribution of the business by invoking the Reverse Mobile Subsidy Model ("Reverse Subsidy").

The Reverse Subsidy Model objective is to eliminate wireless carrier subsidies and thereby establish and invoke a persistent and continual customer relationship. The Reverse Subsidy Model involves consumer brands to participate in the actual consumer experience to acquire their product and services in the brick and mortar stores. It allows consumers (hence customers' of wireless carriers) and the brands to equally exchange decisions to buy and decisions to provide. For consumers the Reverse Subsidy Model consists of two parts: a product or service discount, and a wireless service credit paid by the consumer brand and/or the retail store to the customer of the wireless carrier. Starting with the discount, it is provided by the consumer brand for their product or service to the wireless customer. Hence, the discount can be increased by the participation of the retail store making the total discount a significant consumer motivator. The total discount is applied to the product or service the consumer purports to purchase. The wireless service "subsidy" is accredited to the customer when the coupon has been redeemed ("Conversion Rate") to a retail sale. The wireless subsidy can be applied by customer to offset or reduce their wireless carrier service, or can be applied to acquire wireless carrier content and services.

This Reverse Subsidy sounds good, but what happen to customer right to privacy? Guarding privacy is the responsibility and makes good practice for customer relationship that wireless carriers, consumers and retailers need to respect and protect. Respect and protect can create customer loyalty in its purest form which brings me to explain how the Reverse Subsidy Model can be the right approach to respect and protect customer privacy. Customers will need to have the right and easy-to-use online portal with the tools to decide how they would like to participate in the subsidy model. The portal should be provided by the wireless carrier within their own website or could be linked within popular email portals, e.g. Yahoo!, MSN, GMail. The aim of the portal is to allow customers to choose which consumer brand they would like to receive coupons/promotions, when, how and the ability to Opt-out at will. Additionally, the customer will have the power to decide the frequency of coupons being sent in a balanced exchange that will allow the customer of the wireless service to determine on which brand they will sign up that has the best number of dollar subsidies they would like to receive as credits to their wireless service.

Use Case Scenario of The Reverse Mobile Subsidy Model:

Brand XYZ wants to introduce a new and improved product X. It wants to target 100,000 consumers in the South Florida metropolitan service area (MSA). Product suggested selling price $50. It will provide 10% product discount or $5, plus a $2 wireless carrier credit to customers. Will pay the usual messaging carrier fee of $0.20 plus a commission of 5% on the conversion rate to the carrier per transaction.
  1. Brand XYZ via its media buyer selects two carriers
  2. A messaging program is created using simple SMS (soon mobile instant messaging) that embeds a WAP link; or a message via MMS that has no WAP link but the coupon itself
  3. Brand XYZ develops media campaign to announce in the MSA the mobile campaign for product X
  4. Brand XYZ provides the mobile campaign to the two selected carriers
  5. Carriers include consumer brand campaign BUT enhances it with a Portal to Opt-in/out for promotions in their websites, billing envelopes, etc.
  6. Carrier launches campaign and waits to see the number of Opt-ins where it receives 100,000 registrations
  7. Carrier ready to send messages to to targeted MSA consumers
  8. Messages are broadcasted to the 100,000 consumers
  9. 90% response rate of customers receive the message, or 90,000
  10. 20% of the 90% or 18,000 customers redeemed their coupons
  11. 18,000 customers will receive $2 subsidy that is applied to their account
  12. Consumer brand will pay carrier: $20,000 for messaging fees, $1800 for conversion commission fee and $36,000 in customer subsidies, or $57,800. Cost for the creation of the Mobile Message WAG at $10,000. Total Cost to Consumer Brand ($57,000 + $10,000) =$67,800 or $0.678 per customer.
The cost per customer or subscriber, $0.678, is much less than traditional media (TV, Print, Radio), that hovers around $200,000 (network broadcast, creation, etc.), does not stale as print and radio. Inasmuch, more effective than online media (the Internet) as mobile is one (advertiser/marketer)-to-one (consumer/customer) versus one (advertiser/marketer)-to-many (MSA).

Consumer Privacy
Yes, the inherent right to personal and uncontested privacy. Regardless of offline and/or online advertising best approach to reach consumers, an ad approach/campaign is meaningless if the campaign does not have thorough consistent process to protect consumer privacy...more so using mobile to reach consumers. Enough abuse by the financial services industry who are the source of consumer privacy violation. The Glass-Steagall Act that was repealed by Congress to allow banks, insurance companies and investment retail houses to cross sell and establish separate reporting subsidiaries as well as to conduct interstate commerce, and use the toothless Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act as a smoke and mirror federal financial services policy to supposedly allow consumers to opt-in or opt-out of having their data shared internally and externally -- has created a feeding frenzy to use this data in all possible ways. These ways have resulted breach of consumer data due to lost tapes, server hacks, and plain internal employee criminal activities. So why all the rant here? Because mobile operators can learn from the mistakes of the financial services industry that equals the same market size, and can use privacy as the loyalty and trust stickiness that is missing from all other industry segments. The mobile operators have the biggest opportunity to create customer loyalty by providing the right and the "intuitive tools" for consumers to protect their data, hence their privacy. Consumers should have the "power" to choose how they want to be marketed to by the brands; in essence the consumer will establish control of his or her advertising profile, and whereas the mobile operator will adhere and respect the consumer profile, and will certainly enforce violators ultimately resulting in the grandest consumer loyalty carriers will see since post telecom deregulation.

The Reverse Mobile Subsidy Model could allow the customer of the wireless service to sign-up (Opt-in) to various consumer brand campaigns the best fits the customer needs to subsidize their wireless service. This could involve receiving three-five campaigns per month that equal to $1, $2, or $3 per subsidy received that could total in $5+ in subsidies. For carriers, the model represents a method to remove mobile device subsidies and focus on their core business, a robust network and innovative services that are relevant to total customer satisfaction. For consumer brands, the model represents real-time metrics of consumers (customer) buying behaviors and most importantly a valid and robust method to measure in real-time the effect of advertising and marketing dollars as more and more CFOs are demanding accountability for these types of spend. With ending this summary, all three members of the ecosystem: carriers, consumer brands and media buyers should always deploy best practices to safeguard consumer's right to privacy by giving consumers the easiness to opt-out/in when the customer needs change.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Finally Prepaid and Remittances Buzz with Carriers and MasterCard

Cellular Phones as Personal Authentication Devices
This past February at the GSM Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 19 global carriers and MasterCard announced an International Remittances Pilot that will enable subscribers (citizens, people, consumers) to send money credits across countries. The impact of a successful pilot could affect 500M people to send money credits at the cost of a cellular instant message plus a fixed fund transfer fee. Banks, Money Transfer Business Operators and others, beware, your efficiency and close loop archaic infrastructure will be threatened. Fix it or become irrelevant!

Mobile devices are becoming "personal authentication" devices. What this means is that the cellular phone or smartphone, is morphing/transforming into your own very "you" -- that is to say these devices are becoming computing powerful just like your favorite laptop (that you take Starbucks, Panera and the likes) or your desktop at home/office (go mobile with a laptop...for now). So what is going on here? Well, simply people want to take their personal records, diaries, secret black book, password, and all kinds of information in a portable easy to use and accessible device on the go. This is where the use of the word mobility comes into its own; allowing people to walk, run, sit and relax knowing they have "access" to their information that makes them active and functional to carry out their personal lives.

Human Behavior

To understand the effects of International Remittance, we need to understand human behavior and their habits. The one person habit that is constantly a personal transaction that can be a nuisance, is money! This means managing money when the person is in a mobile state of activity (e.g. purchasing a stereo system at Best Buy or at Starbucks buying six Lattes...for the office that is). The fumbling of the wallet (ladies/men) for cash, checks or credit cards to pay for goods and services can be excruciating. But there is another side of this story that does not click with highly enabled tech and educated people who may read this blog. In other words, I deduct from thinking that those readers who are conditionally inclined to read blogs are highly educated, financially stable and are in demanding professions. But what about the majority of the global population that is not as fortunate as us that can freely purchase anything using technology to make better consumer decisions?

This type of population is the global majority and are classified by the financial systems of the world as "unbankable (really? nice word to use by these about unprofitable...would prefer "unreachable" by financial pundits"). In any event, these people that emigrated from third world countries to first world countries (e.g. Canada, UK, France, Germany and USA) seek out a better financial and secure social position in comparison to their previous home country. Once acclimated into their new first world country, most of them become hard workers and obedient citizens who have adopted their new home and will make relentless efforts to have their offspring continue to flourish as well rounded citizens. The one daily and ritual behavior of these new potential new citizens is their constant thinking of what and who they had left behind and how to take care of them. With that, the immediate help they feel that can create peace of mind and responsibility to their love ones is "money".

If you read this far, thank you. Needed to provide the above paragraphs to make my point regarding global migration and the affect of money movement by these people and how cellular communications has an important role in their lives. The amounts of movements of money sent by these emigrants herein referred to "International Remittances" from first world countries to third world countries has reached in 2006 over $199B (if high-income countries were included, then remittances would be $268B) where Asia (24%) and Latin America and Caribbean (42%) have the Lion's share (source: World Bank - see URL)! This amount is greater than the foreign direct country sanction investments (source: World Bank

Making Sense of Cellular Devices and International Remittances
Now here comes the correlation of International Remittances and cellular phones. At the end of 2007 there will be about 1.6B cellular devices (source: CTIA). A high number considering that the world's population end of 2007 will hover at 6.6B (source: ) or 25% of the population are carrying in their person these cellular devices! And this number will get higher as global cellular saturation is years away. Now back to these potential citizens. These potential citizens seek two basic life necessities when arriving in their new country: personal security and communications. Once those achieved, all other human life necessities follow (the stone age human clans established this order). Thus by securing these two life necessities, opportunities abound for selecting one or both of these. For now we will select communications, that is personal cellular communications.

With the easiness of activating a cellular terminal by these new citizens, they have met one of the two life basic necessities: communications. There is a sense of exhilaration by them that they can make at anytime and their leisurely convenience make a voice call to anyone. For some this is the first time they use this type of technology; a phone that we in developed countries take for granted. So now that these new potential citizens have secured both life's basic necessities they can conduct their personal and business activities. We will focus on the personal activity of sending money back to the old country.

Currently, the potential citizen would embark on sending money back home using the traditional and exorbitant expensive money transfer business operators such as Western Union, Money Gram, TransExpress, or banks. Fees from these operators range from 3 - 11% of the transferred value excluding fees paid by the recipient in the home country. Why then is it so costly to send money country-to-country by these simple potential citizens? History has attributed this to perhaps lack of citizen awareness/knowledge, margin greed and inefficient money transfer messaging systems like SWIFT, FedWire, ACH and others, that are not IP (Internet Protocol) standards, but are the standards created by operators and financial systems (archaic and falling apart). So this bring us back of the headline news of this topic that carriers and MasterCard will be embarking on a pilot for transacting International Remittances. The simplicity of this announcement is that telephone operators since the evolution of the Bell telephone system, global operators created harmonious connection standards that are prevalent in more than 180 countries and whereas private and public enterprises have adopted these standards that are lacking int financial system networks. Operators or carriers, have network interoperability that allows them to offer not only voice telephony, but increase their differentiation to their customers by including offers such as messaging, media & entertainment and now remittances services.

In conclusion, I am asked why do I write about wireless payment systems (prepaid, top-off, policy rating, content settlements), specifically credit card associations (Visa, MasterCard) and payment companies (Amex, Discover, JCB)? Simply put, a tired network that has a history of overzealous card associations that goes back to east banks versus west coast banks (and you thought gangsta rap music had their rivalries!).These entities have not evolve to include new type of potential citizens utilizing new methods of moving money between all people and all business. Until these incumbents fix their payment networks, cellular operators will thrive not only in International Remittances, but using remittances to buy good and services via money credits that make sense for multi-industry holding companies like Carlos Slim Helú's group of companies (Grupo Carso, CompUSA, Telmex, América Móvil, Grupo Financiero Inbursa, TracFone, Grupo Sanborns, Sears Outlets). Thus a good balance of physical (retailers) and virtual (telcos) presence. This balance brings a huge opportunity for Carlos and his vision that can truly serve the needs of the unbankable population of new potential citizens of the U.S.A. as well as those in Latin America and Caribbean Nations. Let the games begin!