Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Motorola Not Ebony And Ivory (Harmony)

Motorola Solutions Fit Every Segment - Image Credit:

Motorola Not Ebony And Ivory (Harmony)

Enterprise mobility, and the solutions they provide are not necessarily compatible across the need level ecosystem, at least according to Motorola management.

About eighteen months ago, Motorola felt that purchasing a mobility Auto ID company, like industry leader Symbol Technologies, would bring along a synergy to their business model that few cellphone/radio communications companies in the world would have. Most analysts agreed to the proposition that the small form factor manufacturing commonality, combined with the different and unique focus in non-conflicting markets could be a strong asset going forward.

If this concept was ever true, Motorola blew it. If the concept wasn’t true, a lot of the misunderstanding to corporate culture in niche markets and the ability to remain relevant in an evolving WEB 2.0 world may have been the culprits.

Motorola handsets to be made a stand alone business unit. Image Credit:

This excerpted from CNET -

Motorola hits redial on handset biz
Posted by
Marguerite Reardon, CNET March 26, 2008 7:37 AM PDT

Motorola is hoping two is better than one.

On Wednesday, the company, whose
cell phone business has been in a death spiral for several quarters, announced that after a two-month formal analysis, it has decided to split the company into two publicly traded entities.

One will handle handsets and accessories while the other will continue to concentrate on wireless broadband and enterprise communication products.

"Creating two industry-leading companies will provide improved flexibility, more tailored capital structures, and increased management focus--as well as more targeted investment opportunities for our shareholders," CEO Greg Brown said in a release.

The Mobile Devices business will handle the designs, manufacturing, and sales of mobile handsets and accessories, and will license a portfolio of intellectual property.

The Broadband & Mobility Solutions business will handle service voice and data communication solutions and wireless broadband networks for enterprises and governments. It will also handle IP video, cellular, and high-speed broadband network infrastructure, and cable set-top receivers.

Investor Carl Icahn has been pressuring the company to
separate out its mobile phone business, and has been engaged in a protracted legal struggle with the company regarding its future. Motorola offered up two board seats to Icahn this week, but the activist investor rejected the offer. Brown declined to comment on how this latest news will impact discussions with Icahn's camp.
But many questions linger. For one, how will spinning off the business unit actually help the company get back on track? And then there is the question of brand. Motorola has an 80-year history as a communications provider. The company practically invented the cell phone industry in the 1980s. So what will it do with a brand it has spent billions of dollars and decades creating?

Brown gave vague answers to these questions during the conference call. He reasoned that splitting Motorola into two separate companies will allow management teams to focus and tailor their financials to the needs of those businesses.
But even though it's easy to see how Motorola's other businesses might benefit from the separation, it's still a bit unclear what will really be different in the handset division. The company's problem is that it isn't making products people want to buy.
Brown acknowledged that new products are key to turning around the handset business. But he said the division needs to be separated to help attract new, top-level talent to lead the recovery. Brown is currently searching for a new CEO to head up the new company.
"The Motorola brand is strong and trusted and proven," he said. "It's valuable to mobile devices as well as other assets in parts of the business. We will refine the brand strategy in next several months going forward."

But Forrester's Daley believes that keeping the brand with the handset division really is the only viable option the company has.

"Good or bad--Motorola's brand is for mobile devices," she said. "The broadband and mobility solutions unit will have to grow and separate their brand/value from the consumer-device company."
Reference Here>>

So the name change from Symbol Technologies to Motorola really hasn’t helped ... Symbol Technologies already had great brand/value as an enterprise mobility solutions provider and NOW it has lost its "good" name - in only 14 months after Motorola's purchase.

Motorola enterprize mobility solutions (Symbol Technologies) to be made a stand alone business unit after only 14 months. Image Credit:

And this view excerpted from InfoWorld –

Update: Motorola to split in two
Reorganization mirrors moves Nokia, Ericsson have made
By Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service / InfoWorld March 26, 2008

"Everyone agrees Motorola had to do something, the split will relieve some of the pressure from stockholders," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight, who at first glance thinks the split makes sense.
"The mobile phone division has taken a bit of a beating, and this is what you get," said Richard Webb, directing analyst, WiMax, Wi-Fi, and Mobile Devices at Infonetics Research.

The split will provide improved flexibility, more tailored capital structures, and increased management focus -- as well as more targeted investment opportunities for shareholders, according to Greg Brown, Motorola's president and chief executive officer.

Analysts agree the split will bring improved focus, especially for the mobile phone company.

"[The mobile phone part] won't have to take the infrastructure side into consideration, and the split may also help raise its profile," said Webb.

But that can also be a bad thing. It was in part because of handsets that Sprint dared to make its big gamble on WiMax, which has proved problematic.
In the end, the mobile phone business needs a healthy and competitive Motorola, according to Wood.

"It's needed to provide some balance with Nokia. A Nokia-Samsung duopoly isn't good for anyone," he said.
Reference Here>>

Monday, March 24, 2008

Biometrics For The Greater Good | UPDATED

Pay By Touch at The FMI Show + Marketechnics 2007 - McCormick Place West Expansion, Chicago, Illinois. Image Credit: ecj - Symblogogy - Copyright 2007

Biometrics For The Greater Good
Pay By Touch ID Delivers Discounts, Rewards Recognition, Credit, & More

(UPDATED At Bottom)

Consumer services has become a pretty arduous process over the years.

In order for the average consumer to take advantage of the systems and processes that support loyal and local shopping, one had to scan the local paper for coupons and clip them, carry a host of store issued loyalty verification instruments (key fobs, cards, “speedpass” RFID tags, & etc.), then get out and shop … Oh! … and don’t forget the wallet.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be recognized as if all of the stores knew every shopper by name, you know ... as if one were living in an idealized small town in “RFD” America?

One would leave the house with a list of things to buy and that’s it! No coupons and the time invested to collect them, no store cards through which one qualifies for an additional discount off of the purchase, and no wallet to carry cash and credit card by which to pay for the items one needed.

This world view scenario is available here and now and it is a world envisioned by Pay By Touch that utilizes fingerprint biometrics for the greater good!

SmartShop Express station aids in converting customers to the benefits of the Pay By Touch process. Image Credit: ecj - Symblogogy - Copyright 2007

Excerpts from the Pay By Touch website and press releases –

Pay By Touch ID Delivers Discounts, Rewards Recognition, Credit, & More
Compiled & Edited by Symblogogy

Pay By Touch is the leading biometric authentication network for loyalty and payments, and the only company that integrates biometric authentication, payments, personalized marketing, and payment processing. The company's mission is to liberate consumers through biometrics and beyond by providing the most secure, convenient, and cost-effective electronic transaction solutions available.

Pay By Touch is a free service that allows you to pay for purchases and access loyalty discounts simply by placing your finger on a sensor when you check out. Your finger links you, and only you, to your accounts – completely eliminating the need to carry cards, checks or cash.

it's safe
Your finger is unique to you, which means only you can access your financial accounts. The Pay By Touch service helps protect you from physical or identity theft. Because there’s nothing to carry, there’s nothing to be lost or stolen.

it's fast and easy
Enroll once and use it anywhere! No writing checks. No cards to swipe. No fumbling with cash. No need to show your ID.

it's private
Because you don’t have to present your cards, check or ID when you pay, no one can see your account information. Your information is securely stored and will not be sold to third parties.

it's free
The Pay By Touch service is always free and there are no hidden fees.

... automatic rewards
Free yourself from all those rewards cards and keyfobs. Your savings and rewards are automatically applied when you check out.

Pay By Touch SmartShop Express In-Store Coupon Claiming Demo - Video Credit: ecj - Symblogogy - Copyright 2007

SmartShop™ Service Alliance Announcement Press Release -

Biometric Pioneer’s Personalized Marketing Service Delivers the Right Offer to the Right Shopper at the Right Time
Shop n’ Save, Foodtown and Leading Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturers are Among Early Adopters


To facilitate rapid consumer adoption and give merchants maximum flexibility, Pay By Touch has added a card-based option to its biometric SmartShop™ service. SmartShop, powered by Pay By Touch, gives shoppers customized offers on the products they buy most when they enter the store – before they shop.

Pay By Touch, the leader in biometric payment and personalized marketing, is offering card-based SmartShop in addition to the biometric SmartShop service, which launched at NRF in January, 2007. SmartShop provides merchants and consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) with an unprecedented return on investment (ROI) by enabling them to deliver the right offer to the right shopper at the right time – both in-store and online.

John Costello, President, Consumer and Retail - "At Pay By Touch, we understand that each retailer is unique. Card-based SmartShop enables merchants to immediately engage their best shoppers by letting them use their existing loyalty cards to get personalized offers,” said John Rogers, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Pay By Touch. “SmartShop offers unparalleled, automated targeting based on preferences in each particular store. There is no better way for merchants and manufacturers to reach their targets." - Image Credit: ecj - Symblogogy - Copyright 2007

Research shows that 70 percent of buying decisions are made in-store, and that less than one percent of grocery store coupons are ever redeemed . As a result, millions of marketing dollars are wasted every year. SmartShop turns every shopper into a uniquely qualified marketing lead and delivers value to consumers, merchants and manufacturers alike.

SmartShop enhances retailers’ existing loyalty programs by delivering added value to their most important customers. It also provides a robust loyalty solution for retailers who do not yet have a program in place. Best of all, SmartShop ‘learns’ from each shopping trip to generate the next set of relevant rewards.
Card-based SmartShop has been implemented by Shop ‘n Save stores in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, as well as Foodtown stores in New York and New Jersey. These merchants will migrate to biometric SmartShop, and adopt Pay By Touch’s biometric payment solution, to let shoppers identify themselves, pay for purchases and redeem rewards with the simple touch of a finger.

“We are extremely pleased with the SmartShop service, which is branded ‘Shop ‘n Save Personalized Perks’ in three of our Pittsburgh-area stores,” said Greg Hartley, Owner of three Shop 'n Save locations. “The service is a huge hit with our shoppers, with kiosks in each store receiving more than 300 visits a day. We are excited to continue using the program and we are looking forward to seeing the kiosk in other Shop 'n Save stores."

Early results reveal the value of the SmartShop service. These merchants can experience:

•Twenty to 50 percent shopper adoption of SmartShop

•Eight to 12 percent sales lift among customers using SmartShop

•A 25 to 30 percent reduction in advertising and direct mail printing and distribution costs

SC Johnson Among Early CPG Adopters

Already, several leading CPGs have joined the program, including SC Johnson and more. These companies are leveraging the SmartShop platform to deliver personalized, highly relevant coupons and deepen their relationships with consumers. With SmartShop, CPGs can experience:
•Twenty percent+ sales lift

•Four to five times greater redemption rates than traditional FSIs

•Twenty to 50 percent reduction in marketing costs per unit sold at retail

•A significant reduction in handling costs

How SmartShop Works:

1.) When shoppers enter the store, they simply scan their loyalty card at the SmartShop kiosk to get personalized offers based on their purchase history.

2.) Shoppers receive an 8 ½ x 11 print-out with 16 customized offers on the products they buy most, and then head into the aisles to shop.

3.) Shoppers scan their loyalty card at check-out to redeem their offers. They do not need to bring the print-out to check-out; no paper coupons are required.

SmartShop gives merchants customer-based metrics and accurate data that improves the efficacy of marketing efforts. It is easy to implement, with a Web-based management system for algorithmic campaign creation and real-time targeting. The service provides robust analytics to make reporting and account settlement both easy and accurate.
Reference Here>>

UPDATE - March 24, 2008

Pay By Touch Shuts Down Tranaction Processing ... Goes Out Of Business

After filing for Chapter Eleven debt restructuring in December of 2007, the hope was that Pay By Touch would be able to continue its business of biometric identification aided transaction processing for is portfolio of strong and happy clients.

Sadly, today PBT shuts down its ability to care for its customers.

This excerpted from the Progressive Grocer -

Pay By Touch Shuts Down all Biometrics
Progressive Grocer - March 24, 2008

Solidus Networks, Inc., the San Francisco-based biometric solutions company that did business as Pay By Touch, ceased processing biometric transactions on behalf of its retailer customers and consumer membership last week, a move it said was due to "lack of funding and current market conditions."

Pay By Touch's biometric payment systems were being used by dozens of retailers, including Pathmark, Piggly Wiggly, Jewel-Osco and Cub Foods. Last year it released its Smart Shop offering, first developed and piloted at independent grocer Green Hills, and then later launched at high-profile independent Dorothy Lane Markets.

On December 14, 2007, Solidus had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Solidus said as part of its planned restructuring it determined it could no longer support the biometric authentication and payment system. Other non-biometric Solidus Networks business units will continue operating, it said.

The company's move to pull the rug out from under the program came as a surprise to some, considering the successful track record it apparently with retailers.

At Dayton, Ohio-based Dorothy Lane, the Smart Shop loyalty and payment service was used in transactions totaling 24 percent of sales, just two weeks after it launched in July.
Meanwhile, Pay By Touch's Web site currently displays just one active page, with a statement from the company that reads in part: "Solidus Networks extends its sincere gratitude to the shoppers, merchants, vendors, investors, partners, and employees who have been supporting the company's vision since its first biometric payment transaction in 2002."

Observers commenting on a story that ran on the Web site of The Wall Street Journal about the demise Pay By Touch suggested that the business, not the technology, was the problem.

"I'm an ex-employee, and despite the eventual demise of the company, there were some interesting things learned about mainstream biometrics for the consumer," noted one online poster.

"None of the management of the company had any notion of businesses that wage world class technology competitions, as did the famous Silicon Valley successes," commented another. "The management all came from a so-called 'solution' business, where technology is secondary and services are the identity. Contrary to belief, the biometric technology was not designed in house. They really had nothing to compete with. So the company had no identity and was doomed to failure from the outset."

Reference Here>>

At Symblogogy, we believe that a biometric pay paradigm as pioneered by Pay By Touch for retail and other type of transactions is not dead ... just in delay.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Peace Symbol Turns 50!

Before barcodes, RFID, Magnetic Stripe and other encoding technologies, there was Semaphore. The peace symbol was born from the flag positions that represent the letters “N” and “D” used to communicate nuclear disarmament. Gerald Holtom, a graphic designer who figured that the British anti-nuke movement would gain more traction if it had a logo, settled on this final approach and the symbol was developed. Image Credit: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament via BBC NEWS

Peace Symbol Turns 50!

That's right, one of the most recognizable symbols of this modern era ... almost as recognizable as the yellow "Happy Face" ... turns fifty years old today.

Symblogogy generally focuses on processes that help to automate our lives. Most postings have evolved through developments in automatic identification, and the systems that aid solution delivery and communication.

Peace Symbol Buttons - Image Credit: jnhkrawczyk

The Peace Symbol, however, needs to be noted because of its recognizability and awareness impact.

This excerpted from BBC NEWS -

World's best-known protest symbol turns 50
By Kathryn Westcott, BBC NEWS – Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 10:49 GMT

It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

Good Friday march for disarmament to Aldermaston. Image Credit: BBC NEWS

It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.

The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.
Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.

Reference Here>>

Some mistakenly think the three-pointed star symbol of Mercedes-Benz logo as the Peace Symbol ... this, of course, is not the case.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Get On The Stick! ... With Cuba’s IT Underground

Having a USB memory stick is like carrying a portable hard drive the size of a packet of chewing gum. USB memory sticks are the fastest in the flash memory card industry with transfer rates up to 60MB/s and capacities ranging from 64MB to 4GB. Caption & Image Credit:

Get On The Stick! ... With Cuba’s IT Underground

Necessity is the mother of invention – or in this case adaptation. Information technology in Cuba, with its heavy-handed oversight of human activity, is in a process of breaking out of the grip of the government sanctions against the freedom of information sharing and publishing.

News, information, and entertainment media in Cuba, is hard to come by unless one is able to afford the time to log on to a computer in one of the few “Cyber Cafés”, have access to a tourist hotel internet portal, is a student, or has access to a smuggled dish and secretly grab the information for later viewing and sharing - OFFLINE!

Dutch made , USB Memory sticks manually selected for their natural beauty, and professionally handmade into unique and personal USB memory sticks. From ooms. Order Online - 256 MB - 45 Euro 1GB - 70 Euro. Caption & Image Credit:

OFFLINE in Cuba is an intranet (an in-country internet) patched together through a “postal service” email communication connection that the government is having trouble shutting down. The “Whack-A-Mole” process the government is left with can not stop the viral sharing aided with the use of USB memory sticks.

At an e-mail center in Havana, customers work under an employee’s watchful eye. Old Havana has only one true Internet cafe, down from three a few years ago. Caption & Image Credit: Jose Goitia - The New York Times

This excerpted from The New York Times -

Cyber-Rebels in Cuba Defy State’s Limits
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. - New York Times, HAVANA - March 6, 2008

A growing underground network of young people armed with computer memory sticks, digital cameras and clandestine Internet hookups has been mounting some challenges to the Cuban government in recent months, spreading news that the official state media try to suppress.

Last month, students at a prestigious computer science university videotaped an ugly confrontation they had with Ricardo Alarcón, the president of the National Assembly.

Mr. Alarcón seemed flummoxed when students grilled him on why they could not travel abroad, stay at hotels, earn better wages or use search engines like Google. The video spread like wildfire through Havana, passed from person to person, and seriously damaged Mr. Alarcón’s reputation in some circles.
“It passes from flash drive to flash drive,” said Ariel, 33, a computer programmer, who, like almost everyone else interviewed for this article, asked that his last name not be used for fear of political persecution. “This is going to get out of the government’s hands because the technology is moving so rapidly.”

Cuban officials have long limited the public’s access to the Internet and digital videos, tearing down unauthorized satellite dishes and keeping down the number of Internet cafes open to Cubans. Only one Internet cafe remains open in Old Havana, down from three a few years ago.

Hidden in a small room in the depths of the Capitol building, the state-owned cafe charges a third of the average Cuban’s monthly salary — about $5 — to use a computer for an hour. The other two former Internet cafes in central Havana have been converted into “postal services” that let Cubans send e-mail messages over a closed network on the island with no links to the Internet.
Young people here say there is a thriving black market giving thousands of people an underground connection to the world outside the Communist country.

Swiss army knife with USB memory stick Memory size: 128MB 256MB 512MB 1GB 2GB 4GB 8GB. Caption & Image Credit:

People who have smuggled in satellite dishes provide illegal connections to the Internet for a fee or download movies to sell on discs. Others exploit the connections to the Web of foreign businesses and state-run enterprises. Employees with the ability to connect to the Internet often sell their passwords and identification numbers for use in the middle of the night.

Hotels catering to tourists provide Internet services, and Cubans also exploit those conduits to the Web.

Even the country’s top computer science school, the University of Information Sciences, set in a campus once used by Cuba’s spy services, has become a hotbed of cyber-rebels. Students download everything from the latest American television shows to articles and videos criticizing the government, and pass them quickly around the island.
The video of Mr. Alarcón’s clash with students was leaked to the BBC and CNN, giving the world a rare glimpse of the discontent among the young with the system.
Another event many people witnessed through the digital underground was the arrival in the United States of Carlos Otero, a popular television personality and humorist in Cuba who defected in December while on a trip to Toronto.

Illegal antennas caught signals from Miami television stations, which youths turned into digital videos and shared. Though the event smacked more of celebrity news than politics, it would never have been shown on the official media.

Some young journalists have also started blogs and Internet news sites, using servers in other countries, and their reports are reaching people through the digital underground.

Yoani Sánchez, 32, and her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, 60, established Consenso desde Cuba , a Web site based in Germany. Ms. Sánchez has attracted a considerable following with her blog, Generación Y, in which she has artfully written gentle critiques of the government by describing her daily life in Cuba. Ms. Sánchez and her husband said they believed strongly in using their names with articles despite the possible political repercussions.

Shortly before Raúl Castro was elected president last week to replace his ailing brother, Fidel, Ms. Sánchez wrote a piece describing what sort of president she wanted. She said the country did not need a soldier, a charismatic leader or a great speaker, but “a pragmatic housewife” who favored freedom of speech and open elections.

Writing later about Raúl Castro’s first speech as president, she criticized his vague promises of change, saying they were as clear as the Rosetta Stone was when it was first found. Both essays would be impossible to publish in Cuba.
Because Ms. Sánchez, like most Cubans, can get online for only a few minutes at a time, she writes almost all her essays beforehand, then goes to the one Internet cafe, signs on, updates her Web site, copies some key pages that interest her and walks out with everything on a memory stick. Friends copy the information, and it passes from hand to hand. “It’s a solid underground,” she said. “The government cannot control the information.”

It is spread by readers like Ricardo, 28, a philosophy student at the University of Havana who sells memory sticks to other students.
Like many young Cubans, Ricardo plays a game of cat and mouse with the authorities. He doubts that the government will ever let ordinary citizens have access to the Internet in their homes. “That’s far too dangerous,” he said. “Daddy State doesn’t want you to get informed, so it preventively keeps you from surfing.”

Pedro, a midlevel official with a government agency, said he often surfed Web sites like the BBC and The Miami Herald at work, searching for another view of the news besides the ones presented in the state-controlled media. He predicted that the 10,000 students studying the Internet and programming at the University of Information Sciences would transform the country over time, opening up more and more avenues of information.

“We are training an army of information specialists,” he said.

Reference Here>>