This past Tuesday Ericsson graciously invited us to a sesssion at the Jacaranda Hotel.
The meeting started with a brief overview of who Ericsson are and what they do given by Gilbert Arum. We learnt that they've been in business since 1878 and have spanned 3 centuries. He also went on to explain the way the mobile world is moving beyond voice to a new range of services. Also had a look at the way mobile telephony has improved the quality of our lives.
Next up was Matthews Mwewa who gave an overview of the Global Sytem for Mobile Communication (GSM). Lots of abbreviations were thrown about. After that Roy Kimathi and Kigunda Mbogo gave us a presentation on trends and success stories.
Kigunda Mbogo gave us a look at location based services and possible applications for instance
- Family Finder- locate family members like you grandma or check if your kids are in school. this one proved to be controversial however giving your location said to be optional.
- Anonymous Bulk Location Data (ABLD) which finds application in infrastructure displaying real time traffic data using location of mobile phones. Can be used as a planning and optimization tool for local authorities. Uses de-identified GSM users to get the data.
Matthews came back to give a case study from South Africa called Dynamic Discounting Solution(DDS) which is used to allocate discounts to users during off peak times to improve network usage. This changes calling patterns by offering subscriber discounts. Also of note is the 3 innovation centres that Ericsson have set up in Nairobi, Lagos and Johannesburg. They will work together with developers to provide solutions. Naturally there were questions of who would benefit from the arrangement and we were told it's like a partnership and he also said that lawyers can work on the details of that.
Also in attendance was the ICT board Chairman Paul Kukubo .
He said that they are out to provide a bridge between the risk of setting up ICT businesses and the players in the market. He highlighted the role of venture capitalists and business incubators in this process. He also noted that intellectual property has to be protected too. We encouraged to take chances and see what ideas we can come with. Maybe you can be sitting on the next big thing. an interesting example of using idle mobile airtime was given. Also heard something about giving grants to developers some time in the future.
The meeting was then wrapped up and we had some refreshments. We all got an interesting look into Ericsson and the kind of stuff they are doing in the world of mobility. Thanks go out to them fo the great session.