Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One SIM to conquer all

I've been trialing Cubic Telecom's Pirelli Discus DP-L10 dual mode mobile/cell phone (Wifi/GSM) for the last several weeks. (yes that is the tire/tyre company!). Even helped some of the Irish startups on their Paddy's Valley trip. 

I don't have the ability to try their MaxRoam product (where most of his "advantage" currently lies) - not resident in EU and not really applicable in the USA. Maybe on my next Irish trip!

I've made several calls to US, Ireland and UK - both to landlines and mobiles and quality has been fantastic (even so that my wife didn't complain as she normally does on transatlantic calls). And as an Irishman that has worked back-n-forth across the pond many times I know how phone calls can suck! Most of those have been over a Wifi (WPA2) connection running VOIP. Its all pretty easy and painless.

David Berlind does a in-depth review ("If Skype was disruptive to telcos, then Cubic Telecom is their nightmare (and good for you") of the technology with plenty of comments on his ZdNet blog (Under the hood of disruptive technologies)

Its not quite in the FMC league (as it doesnt do any hand-off of a call between GSM and Wifi/ calls) but you can set preferences as regards having Wifi calls when service available (and hence 'free')

As David as pointed out there are LOTS of cost savings (and convenience) if you fit the right profile (in EU, travelling around and do a lot of calls on your mobile)

It has a WAP browser for accessing 'mobile aware' internet web sites. Its fine if u're after short/specific info but not (like most low end internet mobiles) the best user experience. Also the browser has some stability problems (not sure what OEM version its running); I'd prefer a more open plattform (Opera mini brow, OpenMako etc.) but for that u pay and need 2 get nerdy :)

There are some nice features such as ...
up to 50 local numbers of the user's choosing can be linked to a single SIM, making it affordable for callers to get in touch no matter where they may be.
via TechCrunch. They presented at the TechCrunch-40 in Sept 2007. Review here

As Damien has indicated ..
It's like those Skypeout numbers but all going to one account. Handy for those who want to have "local offices" in many countries but don't want a physical office there.
From Pat via TechCrunch-UK
..This model is unique, you can drop and add local numbers, these are fixed line numbers not my mobile numbers, you make a local call and the person receiving saves money, that’s the point..
From Tornado Insider
The SIM card allows users to allocate up to fifty local landline numbers from around the world to the user's phone. A businessman based in Dublin who travels regularly to the USA and Canada can allocate landline numbers from Dublin, New York and Toronto to his MAXroam SIM, meaning that he can be contacted cheaply and directly by colleagues and customers at any time. His Canadian customers simply call a Toronto number, and his mobile phone will ring wherever he is. His Irish colleagues simply call a Dublin number, and get connected straight to him - whether he's in Dublin, New York, Toronto or elsewhere

As they've been rushing this product out the door there have been some teething issues and hoping those are getting fixed. Some of the user's (access) web site needs improvement/polish etc.

I'll review Cubic's (Cork, Ireland)  strategy in more detail later and compare to TruPhone, Jangl and several of the other VOIP/mobile players that are out there. I know Pat Phelan has some great vision on where he is going with this (anyone say 'USA'?) and I'm not talking food (Pat used 2b a chef!).

I'll also try this via a GrandCentral front-end and see how it works and maybe a Celtrek#

Other links:
A Cellphone Without Borders By DAVID POGUE- NY Times
final review with lots of comments
Celtrak/Global Roaming teams up with Cubic
review of phone/service by Bernard Tyers
Cubic phone review by Dameon Welch-Abemathy
VentureBeat review

More later ...

PS I had 2 send my phone back as 'knackered' (Irish technical term!) - why me -only one so far. Awaiting on new delivery (Hurry up Santa! aka Pat!)

PS #2 why is their no cheap US SIM's - using AT&T PAYG (25c/min - ouch!)


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Monday, December 3, 2007

Irish “Paddy Valley” startup session with Milestone Group

Mark Zawacki from the Milestone Group is hosting a session/Q&A at the Four Seasons, Palo Alto on Wed 2pm for the Paddy Valley startups.

Topics will include:

  • How the investment community works in Silicon Valley

  • What does it take to get an investor/angel/VC interested in your startup

  • Challenges for international startups in the US market

  • Attendees

    Gerard Hartnett.
    CoClarity combines Web 2.0 technologies with a simplified form of work flow and empowers you to plan, share, and track activities: to communicate more effectively with customers, suppliers, colleagues or friends. In essence, it is a project oriented social network.

    Relevant Media:
    Niall Larkin
    RelevantM offers patented socially intelligent tools that allow users to maintain healthy levels of privacy online and express themselves with their friends with the same sense of freedom they enjoy in the real world. This is a much sought after breakthrough solution that is also a key strategic stepping-stone to the social web, with relevance to social reputation, social identity and social trust online.

    Anton Mannering
    Building social applications to help people communicate and socialize around sport.
    Bench’d is a social network that lets people find, share and discuss stories they like about sport with people who share their interests. We are creating a “Web 2.0 Commonwealth” for sport.

    Patrick Liddy
    Aimed at homebuilders, DIY enthusiasts, property developers, construction design professionals and individuals who are interested in modifying or upgrading their existing homes.\

    We'll help users to design, visualize and communicate the ideal home using a simple, user friendly and intelligent online tool. It is also a source of information on all aspects of the building and DIY experience, from dealing with banks and architects, to building an extension or fixing a broken window.

    Shane Mc Allister
    Mobile services company that provides technologies to enable the deployment of an “off network” mobile communications platform that can be deployed on either a permanent or temporary basis to provide rich media content directly to (and from) mobile phones.

    Using “off network” technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, mobile communications networks can be created and deployed independently of the Mobile operators. These networks can deliver rich media interaction to mobile phones at no cost to either party and at high bandwidth. Hence both parties win – the provider reaches a wide, targeted audience with their message and the receivers get valuable information, content or data relevant to their interests, location and their profile.

    Daniel Becker
    GlowDay allows users to create surveys online, from simple one-question polls to complex multi-page questionnaires. Surveys are delivered as plug in widgets for online Social Networks (Facebook, Myspace etc), blogs or other web pages.

    Survey Designers have full control of layout and presentation and can include images and videos for added impact. A survey can be shared for others to use or improve. Results can be analyzed and compared to results gathered by others.
    The model could be described as a sort of "MyBlogLog" with Surveys.

    Alan O'Rourke.
    Send great looking email newsletters

    Everyone hates spam, but when done right email marketing currently offers one of the highest returns on investment. For the 11 million businesses in the USA the barrier to entry is high New Technology, specialist knowledge and high cost. With Toddle we can solve this problem.

    To date a custom email newsletter design can cost $1000 +. We offer it for $6. Better yet it works with the tools a business already knows- web browser and Outlook. It is offered direct to consumers and we also provide a white label version for existing Email managers offering them a new revenue stream.

    Marcus Mac Innes
    Online Photo sharing product for consumers.

    People need more than just a place to store photos: they are concerned about their privacy, and they want to see their entire network's photos in one place.'s friendly and simply to use service is introducing a whole new generation to online photo sharing. then goes beyond these basics to satisfy the evolving needs of consumer and professional photographers like no other site on the web.

    Other attendees:
    John Collins - Business Reporter, The Irish Times – articles
    Paul Campbell- about to create a startup
    Maura Moore- Adventura Partners Private Equity Adviser with InterTrade Ireland


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    Sunday, December 2, 2007

    Irish startup boys coming to San Fran, hungry 4 contacts

    A group of Irish software startups (mostly Web 2.0'ish) have gotten up off their a***s and are showing how its done.
    Frustrated with the lack of a "Web 2.0 connected" support eco-system (will write about this some more) within Ireland they are traveling tomorrow across the Atlantic and heading to the mecca of startups - Silicon Valley.

    "Irish start-ups have a range of connections in the Valley," says tour organiser Conor O'Neill, "but even with all our enthusiasm and contacts we were a little short on ways to raise our profile and make a real mark for Irish start-up entrepreneurial-ism."

    They even have a couple of chaperone's with John Collins from the Irish Times tagging along and seeing how these 'Internet' connections are done. Writing in blogs, Skyping, IM-ing and all that fancy stuff helps get most of this initial conversations going but nows the time 2 come face 2 face, meet those folks you've RSSed, see the facial expressions and read the subtle body language, work your charm and do what the Irish do best “TALK” : )

    InterTradeIreland is also coming along for the trip and nice 2 see their enthusiasm and commitment. Something 2b learned there.

    They are staying at the Cardinal Hotel in Palo Alto with events/trips organized during the week.
    They are open 2 all offers and interested in meeting folks that can help them get business contacts, meet potential investors or people genuinely willing 2 help.

    Their trip so far includes visits to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo HotBrick (their internal incubator), Meebo, SocialText, Ning, Facebook, Twitter, Sandbox, UnitedLayer and I'm sure a few more will pop up. Robert Scooble has even arranged an evening of meetups (and I'm sure a few drinks) on Monday evening-

    I've arranged a talk from one of the local VC's – Mark Zawacki/Milestone– who has been around the block and few times and knows Ireland from his Symantec early days and has a few UK/EU clients as well. Thanks 2 Peter Cranstone (Brit) for this connection and he runs an disruptive mobile application platform - here in Boulder and going great guns at the moment.

    Enterprise Ireland have jumped on the bandwagon and have arranged a pitch session for five of the startups (Tourist Republic, Putplace, Nubiq, Spoiltchild, Pix.i) in front of a few local VC/angels.

    The initial event took some organizing and rounding up with a few beers and arm-twisting 2 get it off the ground. Congrats 2 Damien Mulley, James Corbett and Conor O'Neill 4 all the hard work they have put into this. It looks like a success already and they haven't even landed!
    Good on ye lads!



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