Category Archives: wireless

Presentation: Design for an Augment Reality world

For posterity here is the slideshare version of my Augmented Reality talk, which I presented for the first time at Refresh Events in Toronto. As a first cut, this presentation represented more of a shotgun scattershot rather than a linearly coherent narrative of the various thoughts on this topic currently spinning in my head my these days.

For background this was the talk proposal. I think I got to most of this stuff.

How “Augmented Reality” and the mobile web changes everything

Mobile broadband access and ever-smarter phones are shaking the internet out its lofty cloud and bringing the web into the real world. As a result, the old “real world”, and many old ideas and many old business models will be running out of places to hide from the pervasive influence of the net.

Meanwhile, each of our smart phones are in many ways even better than the old clunky tools we used to use to surf the net. Our mobile devices are not only connected but, also bristling with sensors like radios, cameras, microphones, GPS etc. that can directly perceive and interact with the world around you. We’re reaching a point where it’s theoretically possible to point that device at almost anything: a landmark, a product on a store shelf, your friends or a crowd of people; and draw from the cloud and your social graph as much, or perhaps more, relevant information than you ever wanted to know. Oh, and the cloud will be watching you and whatever’s around you as well.

In the new augmented reality, the web surfs you.

The goal of this talk will be to provide you with a fast paced overview of what this new “augmented” reality will mean for how we socialize, for how we sell and market physical products, for architecture, for media and entertainment, for public policy, crime, privacy and, as well, few early signals for what might be the new killer apps.

If all that is not interesting enough, I will also bring free beer.

How did it go? I think it went well! thanks for all the wonderful twitter feedback. 100+ tweets and counting =)

wrongbutton @tpurves fantastic presentation! very thought-provoking. especially enjoyed social AR consideration and the notion of layering data sets

BrianSe7en @tpurves great job on the AR deck! somebody who “gets it”.. yeah!

danielpatricio @tpurves Great job on the presentation, it really inspired me and got me thinking. there is a lot of potential in our future

randymatheson @tpurves – inspiring presentation on Augmented Reality tonight at #refreshevents , a balanced look at what is coming in the next few years

sebchorney @tpurves Great job. Real value for me was the “example->implication” flow, and high-level summations/analyses/insights in your tables.

D_Hock Great #RefreshEvents tonight – seeing the crowd engaged by @tpurves‘ talk was truly fascinating.

malcolmbastien @tpurves Awesome talk. It’s clear you know your stuff and have done some deep thinking of its broad impacts.

nitchblog Amazing debate to end the night. Great discussions that brought us around the world and back! Thanks to @jkozuch + @tpurves #refreshevents

davefleet @tpurves is wielding a NFC phone. Love the potential with that technology #refreshevents

pinkbrickroad @tpurves so interesting/funny. Future is crazy. #refreshevents

josephdee @tpurves presentation has been kick-ass so far. Peeks into the future of mobile experience, which is making me grin : ) #refreshevents

AdamSchwabe I love hearing @tpurves talk tech. So intelligent and focused. Fast, well-read. #RefreshEvents

I look forward to presenting again the next revision. Contact or DM me if you’d like me to lead/present this discussion at a future event. Meanwhile enjoy:

Link: Audio track of my presentation (video coming they say)

Speaking at DemoCamp17

democamp logo

I have just been informed by reliable sources, that I will be speaking at DemoCamp17 on Monday on the subject of “The State of Wireless in Canada Sucks presented by Tom Purves“.

I’ll be giving a 5 minute speed/ignite presentation. Between now and then, I’ll do what I can to pack as much entertainment value for your money. Expect a few surprises and. a few. things. sadly. not. surprising. at all. anymore.

Did you think Wireless in Canada wasn’t so great maybe?

Did you think it was going to get better?

Expect new charts, expect pictures, expect ranting. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe cry, at the worst expect me to last no more than (exactly) 5 minutes and then I’m off the stage, the program will be done, and you can go drink beer.

Here’s my plug however, if you aren’t already (what’s wrong with you?), get subscribed to for all the ongoing coverage, the sucking, the sparks of awesomeness where we find them, blow-by-blow spectrum auction scoops and otherwise.


Canadian Wireless Spectrum Announcement

The rumours are buzzing that a major announcement is due after 4pm this afternoon regarding Canada’s wireless spectrum allocation.

Watch this post for ongoing coverage. And look for full coverage at later today -and- another highly-related announcement I can’t wait to tell you about.

more to come…

The news is out! And the media is already calling it a blockbuster announcement.

  • 40 of the 105 available megahertz will be set aside for new entrants
  • Incumbents will be required to allow roaming on their networks at reasonable rates (this is crutial as any new entrant could start regionally or take up to a few years to establish full national coverage)
  • Incumbents will be required to share towers with new entrants (significantly reducing potential costs and redundant infrastructure for new entrants)

In so doing, the government has given the would-be entrants (and pretty much everyone except for the existing telcos and their bankers) everything that they were asking for.

The game is now on for startups and new entrants in the Canadian wireless space.

link: Official Announcement

UPDATE: Read the full post on Startup north Finally, Wireless Competition Explodes in Canada And don’t forget to digg it.

Why do wireless devices need to be phones?

Wow, Verizon has just made a very important announcement today:

“Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008 …

In early 2008, the company will publish the technical standards the development community will need to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network.”

Here is the takeaway wireless != voice (!!!). It’s much much bigger. Voice is just one little application of a great many that can run on top of a wireless connection.

Here’s the trouble. We, culturally are so biased by the fact that the telephone was accidentally invented a century and a half before today. And this tends to warp our perceptions of debates around whether cell “phone” networks should be available on airplanes or subways, on issues of wireless regulation and spectrum auctions.

The real future is in everything besides voice (you crackberry addicts know this already) and in what are being called “non-traditional network devices”.

Non-traditional network devices include: Amazon’s Kindle reader, (similarly almost any future digital paper or signage device), a dell ultraportable with a 3G network card, a pocket computer and media device like an iPhone, a car that downloads the latest maps and traffic info, a rain coat that knows the weather reports, digital/social jewelry that Michele has a mind for.

We’re prejudiced against so many potential open network things, devices and applications just because many of them haven’t been invented or even envisioned yet.

With apologies for spoonerizing William Gibson: “The distribution has already arrived. The future just isn’t evenly invented yet.”

Thanks to Verizon for starting to make the future inventable.

Lastly, to quote one other author who knows all this stuff already “In the future, I won’t have to look for my shoes in the morning. I’ll just google them.” – Bruce Sterling

Link: Verizon Wireless to Introduce ‘Any Apps, Any Device’ Option for Customers in 2008 – CNN Money

Wireless Data Getting Better in Canada, but a ways to go yet.

Rogers cracks and offers (a rather unheralded) $65 1 gig wireless data plan in Canada. Here’s a link to that plan on a partner site, and apparently if you call rogers their agents will know about the $65 plan (thanks to farhan for the tip). No voice minutes included and plus system access fee, and not unlimited but this is a start.

Rogers’ new plan follows Telus’ introduction of a similar $60 1GB/ $100 unlimited plan (link) and a Bell plan for $75/ 1GB available for PC cards only.

Bell also recently added a mysterious $7/mo and “unlimited” mobile browsing while “However, a customer support representative said you can’t send big attachments with e-mails or download files from websites with the $7 plan”. A prize for anyone who can explain this to me.

And the mainstream media is starting to take notice, both the Toronto Star “Wireless data charges plummet as consumers embrace smartphones” and the Globe & Mail “Canadians pay more for wireless data” have taken note of the issue and a recent Seaboard report on Canadian Wireless.

“Our findings? Data rates in Canada have plummeted in recent months. It is now far more affordable to be a data user in Canada than it was as recently as this past June. Are there other places where you can get even better deals? Yes. The U.S. offers better plans for better rates, and some of the Euro plans, especially in the wake of repricing due to the introduction of the iPhone, are far more attractive than data options available to Canadians.”

So what other gaps remain? Widespread rollouts of highspeed networks have lagged in Canada. And handsets are an issue too. Canadian carriers, can I have my Nokia n-series please?

“Go, and never darken my towels again.” -Groucho Marx

That being said,

Nokia is being handed a sharp lesson in business basics: don’t compete with your biggest customers.

In August, the Finnish phone giant announced it was going “beyond the phone” and creating an online portal called Ovi in a bid to become a major service company. This would offer music, maps and games – bringing it into competition with its biggest channel: the network operators.

Revenge has been swift… – Operators show Nokia who wears the housut* TheRegister

Sure, cracks are beginning to appear in the dominance of the carriers in the mobile value chain. But just yet, not very big cracks.

Who’s deck will win out in the end? the carrier’s? the handsetmaker’s? third players (appl’s, goog’s, yhoo’s, msft’s?) or the open internet?

Place your bets.

The G-phone stirreth

Google said to be shipping 50,000 Gphones by year’s end. A UBS analyst is rumored to have information that HTC, a Taiwanese handset manufacturer, will ship about 50,000 cell phones made for Google by the end of
the year. “These initial phones are not going to be for sale, says Benjamin Schachter, at UBS. “These are going to be available for developers only to understand how the software works.” LG (LPL) is also said to be a possible manufacturier.

more on

I bet the Gphone would work really well on some Google Spectrum.

Pierre Karl Peladeau on Wireless Competition

To set the scene for you yesterday at the Empire Club luncheon: Perre Karl Peladeau, CEO of Quebecor and would-be new entrant in the Canadian mobile industry, 200 investment bankers in serious suits, former prime minister Brian Mulroney of Canada sharing the rubber chicken, and one blogger/web2.0 troublemaker.


: I am here to talk about the future of wireless
Holds up an iphone, could cost $900/month to use all the features of an iPhone, you might have to take out a mortgage

RIM is jewel of Canadian genius, but a lot of Canadians don’t have access, because it is priced out of the market.

The very symbol of Canadian wireless success is being denied to Canadians
Why we need more competition

Status quo: restricting the growth of new media. Wireless is the future. We are impairing our capacity to compete in the world. We have fallen behind

We are asking the federal govnt to set rules to ensure competition
– Enough spectrum- existing owners have enough spectrum already, but would buy to shut out completion
– Spectrum is more valuable for any operator who wants to block access than to a company that wants to gain access because the latter needs to build infrastructure
– Monopolies carry great weight and spend millions in Ottawa
– As a Canadian, wants to see more services and lower prices 3g is essential to news gathering and is essential to all businesses in Canada.

Pierre is asking for the following rules

  1. Segment of spectrum should be set aside for new entrants
  2. Pole sharing: Incumbents should be required to share pre-existing towers and poles with new entrants.
  3. Roaming within Canada while rollout – Rollout of any new service will take time, existing carries should be required to allow

Canada deserves better let the new low cost competitive market begin. [end]


Pierre is yet cagey as weather Quebecor would expand nation-wide.

Of course, before we get too excited, remember that despite these fine words, Pierre won’t be giving away new wireless services for free. It will cost billions in spectrum + infrastructure to rollout. Pierre will have a plan to earn this back.

Still more completion is the best thing that could happen for Canadian consumers, Canadian culture and Canadian businesses (well all but a certain three Canadian Businesses). The facts on the ground are unambiguous. Canada is not competitive globally in wireless, and something needs to change.

Much more coverage of the event in the mainstream press.

And if that doesn’t do it, WiMax is coming

From Intel’s developer forum today:

Intel is developing a Wimax enabled CPU [chipset?] called Echo Creek in the middle of next year, with a number of vendors committing to producing notebooks that use the chip. By 2012, over a billion people will be covered by Wimax and 150 million by 2008.

.. in mid 2008, will launch the Montevino platform with a new chipset with integrated wi-fi and Wimax that will support both HD formats. There will be a 25 watt version available. Montevina is out of the lab and products will ship next May.

In Canada all the WiMax spectrum is owned by, er, Bell and Rogers.

Updates on data rates.

# the iPhone launches in London today. The kicker: *cough* Unlimited data on all plans. Starting at 35£. There were two iphones and democamp last night, you can unlock them and work them in Canada, though Jevon had smartly turned off EDGE at the border.

# Bell has a new data plan for PC cards, modems and something called Voyageur. That something obviously has something to do with beaver pelts and the market for fur hats. One think is clear, if you are looking for flat rate data on an actual mobile device (RIM/Palm etc.) you are still out of luck. Don’t for get that voice minutes and $9 system access fee is additional.

#Telus now has a $100 plan that gets you a gigabyte/month which is an improvement of sorts though short of a bargain. They’re also offering an odd ball connect day plan with unlimited wireless or hotspot access … any 10 days of the month. What happens on the other days? Maybe we are busy turning into pumpkins.

# Rogers/Fido, still sitting pretty on their GSM monopoly, hasn’t budged an inch. Still at some point I shall have to update my famous bar chart on mobile data rates.

# On Thursday, Pierre Karl Peladeau of Quebecor will be speaking in Toronto [] on ” Why Pay More & Get Less? Taking on Canada’s Protected Wireless Market”. I’ll be bringing coverage.

RIM Slams Canadian Carriers for Data Rates

BunnyHero (wayne a. lee) says:

Rim blasts Telcos for high cost of wireless:
“Research In Motion Ltd., riding high after finally gaining entry into China’s lucrative wireless market, blasted Canadian cellphone companies yesterday for their high data rates and for not competing against each other strongly enough.” michael geist writes about the article: -From BunnyHero [11:47:25 AM TorCamp ChatSwarm]

You may have seen this in the papers this morning. And my own famous post [canada-worse-than-3rd-world-countries-when-it-comes-to-mobile-data-access] has been garnering another flood of traffic and inbound links again this week. This is a major issue in Canada and it’s about time the story has broken in the mainstream media. That story of mine is now up to 130 comments and trackbacks if you want a sense of how much this issue is really starting to bug Canadians. That is an awful lot for a little blog like this one.