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Bill Ray

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Top Stories by Bill Ray

While walking through London the other day, I noticed an advertisement for a mobile phone. Nothing unusual about that, except that the mundane practice of making phone calls seemed insulting to a device such as this. Its gamut of features included the ability to listen to music courtesy of a built-in MP3 player, take photographs with its camera, and even shoot (admittedly very short) movies! I was surprised to see it didn't offer tea-making facilities, but consoled myself with the thought that it was only a matter of time. Obviously this packing of different features into a handheld device has more to do with market differentiation than with what people actually want. When every phone is the same, how can one manufacturer stand out? Not to mention that today's GSM handsets are not going to get much better at making phone calls, so the endless rounds of upgrades will ... (more)

21st Century Wireless Tools: Working in a Networked World…

Companies are always risking their business, betting on what will be happening next year, and how they can make money out of it. The trick is to get it right. We all know that we work in a fast-moving industry. Even before wireless communications raced ahead, the IT field was already moving too quickly for most industry commentators - fast enough in fact to make a fool of anyone rash enough to try to predict future developments. From the famous IBM statement that the total world market for computers amounted to no more than 20 units, to Bill Gates saying that no one could ever... (more)

Playing the Smart Card

Cryptography is a wonderful thing. Long keys and well-designed algorithms mean that even the most determined government is unlikely to be able to break your encrypted messages. However, every encryption system has one weak point: Where and how do you store your keys? Most encryption software will store your keys on your hard disk (if your device has one) or somewhere safe in memory, carefully encrypted so no one can read it. But the problem with this approach is that it denotes trust in the operating system, and secure applications frequently have to live in the most hostile of e... (more)

Opening the Door to M-Commerce

A secure mobile payment system is essential if m-commerce is to reach its potential. The most-popular method used ­ credit cards ­ has failed in this area, and fallen prey to astronomical levels of fraud and theft. Now, Paybox, a relatively new company with an authorization system that tracks transactions every step of the way, is taking on players such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. While I was working at Swiss Telecom back in 1998, I heard about the most impressive example of mobile commerce. Elegant, simple, and completely impractical, it demonstrated what m-comme... (more)

Putting on the Squeeze

Mobile telephony is a very competitive industry, as we all know. But how many people realize that the model of device manufacturers competing against each other while the carriers vie for customers is about to be turned upside down, and that some companies are about to find out that next year's competition is today's biggest customer? While users are still going to want the latest handsets, with all the bells and whistles that come with them, the next battleground won't be for devices or customers, but for the ability to offer those customers premium services, and to charge them... (more)