Loose translation from a very interesting post by Enrique:
"When a small start-up, Hotspot Amsterdam, is able de set up a system that offers wireless connectivity in all the center of Amsterdam, and is saying it can triple that coverage in the next 3 months to the whole city, and thereafter start its European expansion, then the big telcos are overlooking something.
Even more if this "new entrant", as Strategy books would call it, offers a price of 4,94€ a day or 14,95€ a month for 256Kb/s connectivity, without looking further than Telefonica which chergeas 4,31€ per HOUR, and the chutzpah-ish price of 77,59€/month, the impression stays the same: while this company is trying to expand its market and grow with it, the big telcos are just happy - while they still can afford to - to milk the cow of the segment of consumers not sensitive to prices.
We'll have to emigrate to Amsterdam soon..."
Couldn't agree more. Consider as well what Ozone is doing in Paris. And they are using guerilla tactics to wire the whole city. This is an email I got earlier this week after subscribing with them several months for a trial. Sorry it's in French, but the gist is: "can we come and do a site survey, check your roof, and help you ask your landlord to install our equipment there?"
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Faites partie de l'Ozone
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 12:40:43 +0200
From: Ozone - Service Client - bienvenue@OzoneParis.net
*TOUT CONNECTER. PARTOUT. TOUT LE TEMPS. POUR PAS CHER*
Le ... vous nous avez fait part de votre intérêt pour les services d’Ozone. Nous vous remercions de vouloir compter parmi les pionniers de la révolution du Réseau Pervasif, ce réseau global sans fil permettant de tout connecter, partout, tout le temps.
Dans l’état actuel de développement de notre réseau *il est possible de vous connecter à notre réseau grâce à un équipement de réception posé sur le toit* *de votre immeuble*, sous réserve d’une visite d’évaluation. Nous nous permettons donc de prendre contact avec vous afin de vous proposer, la pose d’un tel équipement.
*QU'EST-CE QU'UN EQUIPEMENT DE RECEPTION ?*
L’équipement de réception Ozone est posé sur le toit de votre immeuble par un antenniste professionnel. Sa taille et son installation sont comparables à celle d’une antenne de télévision ordinaire. Il permet de vous connecter dans de très bonnes conditions au réseau d’Ozone et de disposer de débits très supérieurs à ceux que vous pourriez obtenir par d’autres moyens.
Après une visite technique d’évaluation sur votre toit, Ozone vous fournira un document détaillé sur la pose de ces équipements et vous assistera, le cas échéant, dans les démarches nécessaires auprès de la co-propriété de votre immeuble.
*QUELLES SONT LES CONDITIONS ?*
La mise en service d’un équipement de réception ainsi que leur prêt *sont gratuits et sans engagements*, de même que l'utilisation du réseau d'Ozone et ce jusqu'au premier trimestre 2005. Vous pourrez à tout moment choisir de nous les rendre.
Nous vous rappelons par ailleurs que, pour pouvoir se connecter, votre ordinateur doit être équipé d’une carte Wi-Fi (802.11 b ou g). Celles-ci peuvent être achetées auprès de n’importe quel fournisseur de matériel informatique ou auprès d’Ozone.
*L’EQUIPEMENT DE RECEPTION OU OZONE VOUS INTERESSE ?*
Si vous souhaitez être parmi les premiers à disposer d’un Equipement de Réception, bénéficier pleinement du réseau sans fil offert par Ozone et participer activement à la révolution du Réseau Pervasif, répondez
simplement à ce mail ou écrivez à firstname.lastname@example.org en rappelant un numéro de téléphone auquel nous pourrons vous joindre.
Nous vous remercions à nouveau de l’intérêt que vous portez à la nouvelle manière de se connecter et de vivre le réseau qu’Ozone est en train de créer.
*A bientôt dans l’Ozone.*
*Le service clientèle.*
Update: "According to CNN via /., Philadelphia is considering a city-wide wireless connectivity cloud." (via SmartMobs).
"For about $10 million, city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot."" (via BoingBoing)"
"While it would be congruous to the fundamental principles of the Internet to offer this service for free, which they are considering, we still feel obligated to ask the hard questions: wouldn’t this money be better suited, as usual, being dumped into schools and social programs? And, ever heard of WiMax? And, when can we move in?" (via enGadget)
Interesting. Actually Philly is where I discovered Wi-Fi while I was on a term Exchange at Wharton. The whole campus had Wi-Fi connectivity, students had Wi-Fi at home, the cafes had Wi-Fi connectivity... This was october 2002 and I got very excited with this technology and the wireless access space. When I got back, I discovered this article on the JournalduNet, in early November, and immediately got in touch with the "French" Starbucks, Columbus Café, who were offering the first free Wi-Fi access in Paris in cafés.
Difficult to imagine that this was less than 2 years ago... Never did business with them, but got to meet to fantastic Philippe Bloch thereafter. Quite a character. By the way, read his books. I've already mentionned it here.
Mandrakesoft is innovating again. After selling linux boxes through French retailer Carrefour for only €299, they now pre-ship their linux distro on a USB hard disk. From their site:
"GlobeTrotter is the first Linux distribution that you can bring anywhere to transform any desktop into your desktop. GlobeTrotter consists of the Mandrakelinux distribution pre-installed on the ultra-compact 'LaCie Mobile Hard Drive.' Just connect GlobeTrotter via USB to any PC* and power up to enjoy a full-featured Mandrakelinux desktop. The hardware on the host computer is automatically detected. Moreover, GlobeTrotter doesn't make any changes to the host computer, so you can safely use the GlobeTrotter anywhere without worry! "
And if you like cool stuff, try LaCie's cool 1,6 Terabyte firewire hard disk:
"You wouldn’t think such a thing was possible, but LaCie’s Bigger Disk Extreme has gotten even more extreme, and they’re now packing a full 1.6 terabytes into the latest version of their external FireWire 800 drive. Just to put things in perspective that’s as much storage space as 40 of Apple’s 40GB iPod, or enough room for roughly 400,000 MP3s." (via engadget)
This little piece of technology looks very very promising... And it is shipping!
Vivato sells boxes that extend the wi-fi range from a few 10-100 meters up to 4 km ! Yes! Waow! Wimax kinda range today!
Well, how do they do it ? check their web site, they have a little flash animation that explains it all: they have solutions for indoor use, outdoor use, campus-wide deployment and matropolitan use. The basic idea is that the access point creates a "tunnel" of directional wifi traffic towards the device requiring it, only for the period of time required, instead of transmitting all over the place all the time.
I would suspect that another big guy is going to buy them up real quick, as soon as they realize the potential. In addition, imagine what a box like this could do with wardriving if there was a way to turn it into a passive listener of wireless traffic...
A start-up? well kind of, but well-funded by now. From their site:
" Initially founded as Mabuhay Networks in December 2000, later renamed Vivato, Inc., the company secured $2.5M in seed funding from Leapfrog Ventures in March of 2001. In March of 2002, the Company completed a $20M Series B funding round led by U.S. Venture Partners and Walden International and including Leapfrog Ventures. In June 2002 the company completed a $3M debt-funding round led by Silicon Valley Bank and GATX. In June 2003, the company raised $44.5 million in its Series C funding round led by Advanced Technology Ventures and joined by all of Vivato's previous investors, including Leapfrog Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, Walden International and Intel Communications Fund. This brings the total investment in the company, less debt funding, to $67 million."
This blogging phenomenon is really becoming insane. I hardly now spend a day without posting something on a blog (the ones I operate or others), and cruise through the more than 100 feeds in my blogroll (check the list of the left sidebar).
As a consequence, my different email inboxes are getting packed with newsletters from many different sources. I'll now start unsubscribing from them one by one and subscribe to their relevant RSS feed. If they don't support RSS yet, they really should. My options hence are to redirect them to:
- my gmail account (hey 1Gb for newsletters is good, I can archive them there for a long while)
- turn them into an RSS feed using this great tool: myRSS (free!!!). Their site is self-explanatory : "myRSS enables anyone to build custom RSS channels for virtually any news site they desire. myRSS requires no programming experience, is completely automated and all channels are available for free." (via miss-information.net)
Remember: RSS feeds allows you to:
- quicly centralize the source feeds of information
- strip them from all irrelevant data such as fancy page outlines and advertising (hey... sorry about those on my blog: just testing them out at the moment, I'll reduce them in a while)
- archive data you like.
Update: I coudn't find the RSS/XML feeds for instance on the Journal du Net (of all online publications, it should really have one). No problem, a quick detour by myRSS, and here is the JdN RSS feed, that I just added to my Bloglines list. Works great (check it on the left side bar!).
Did I tell you RSS are my initials ? I guess so...
Vonage announces on its site today that :
"Edison, NJ, August 25, 2004 – Vonage, the leading provider of broadband phone service, today announced the closing of a $105 million series D financing round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with strong participation from 3i, Meritech Capital Partners and existing investors. This latest round of financing brings total investment in the company to $208 million."
In the meantime, hardware manufacturers (Wi-Fi guys... note the irony or the clairvoyance) such as Netgear and Linksys are partenering with Vonage to offer VoIP ports and gear... Easy easy... Who said no one was interested in the home consumer market ?
(via The Register).
Great emotions tonight at the Olympiads! serial world-record breaker (check here when she passed 4.89m, and 4.90m) Yelena Isinbayeva did it again in pole vault: her rival Feofanova misses her third attempt and made her automatically the gold medalist. She went for it again, having already won, and broke the world record, by a whopping 5-10cm above the bar. Undoubtly she will be the first woman to pass 5m. Reminds me the days when I watched in awe the great Bubka pass the 6m mark!
And I found Yelena to be particularly attractive tonight, for a change in women athletes...
Update: just added 2 pix. Copyright belongs to rights holder.
Aspiring entrepreneurs, take advice. Good is not good enough. Better might just do it. What you need to do is aim for the best: Best customer service, best value proposition, best employee benefit program, best products. Simply the winner-takes-all mentality.
And as sports teach us (I am actually surprised at how much sports can actually teach us... ;), you can get there only by sweating a lot in practising, enhancing, improving. Team effort and coach advice helps really a lot to get to the top mark.
It seems that Alvarion is on steroids: they just partnered with wireless carrier Millicom Argentina and Intel to launch the first Latin American Wimax network in Argentina by the end of the year. It's been on trial since february, and will target both the consumer and professional space.
They are using a pre-standard technology called BreezeMax!
The man is most interesting: trained as an engineer, his passion for business and marketing ideas blossomed even before he graduated (and that's when we met, more than 10 years ago :). Not only does he speak half a dozen languages FLUENTLY, but he has lived in such unconnected places as Rumania, France, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, the US... He actually was the first employee of a small start-up back in the good days, with a series-A round of a mere $100m... That led him to open about 7 or 8 subsidiaries of Latin America's largest ISP in less than 6 months. That effort led me to write up a case about him while in business-school. Learn all about it here (haven't read it in a while, but the then CEO gave us the blessing to publish it). He of course had already started a previous company, which led him to sign his first million dollar contract with Telefonica, before his employee life...
Mihai does not really like publicity, although he'll admit he doesn't hate it. Indeed, if you google him a bit, you'll find tons of reference to him, from the days he was in high school, to those when he was lecturing on Latin American business at Harvard and INSEAD, to the day he declared war on Terra (not yet merged with Lycos). Some cojones...
Today, he founded and runs a great start-up that distributes digital content. The first service was launched comemrcially last november in France, and deals with online DVD rentals. As a board member, I can't give out numbers, but you'll most probably read about it on his blog. Just add his RSS feed to your favourite reader.
If anyone asks you about digital content distribution, ask them to talk to Mihai as well. Great insights to come thereafter.
ps: Pix to the left: Mihai Crasneanu, Frederic Baschet - our first business angel, and myself in Monaco when we were plotting our French market entry.
A couple of days ago, Google released its own gmail notifier, that lets you know whenever you get a mail on your gmail account. Until now I had been using a little tool called gtray.
Update: BoingBoing has a whole list of gmail add-ons.
Some people think that after offering a search engine, translation tools, ads, blogging, webmail, etc., maybe Google should get into instant messenging. Indeed, I really don't see why not. I have already warned that Skype is getting into this space. I really wouldn't be surprised at all it they offered IM-to-SMS functionnality in the VERY short term!
Have you noticed Skype just crossed the 20 million download threshold ?