Free for all in Zambia have today announced their free App initially to be made available in Zambia with a view to rolling it out to other countries. Airtel is the carrier/provider

The rationale is fairly simple. “Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet.”

Limited services will be available in Zambia as follows (our links are to the Zambian sites where possible – many of course are mobile versions):

  1. AccuWeather
  2. Airtel
  3. eZeLibrary
  4. Facebook
  5. Facts for Life
  6. Google Search
  7. Go Zambia Jobs
  8. Kokoliko
  9. MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)
  10. Messenger
  11. Wikipedia
  12. WRAPP (Women’s Rights App)
  13. Zambia uReport 

We’re impressed and we think it is a very positive move. Elsewhere others including Gigaom list both their positives and negatives.

  • “PRO: They provide access to those who previously lacked it.
  • PRO: They give carriers a way to show people what the internet does and then sell them up to paid data services (which is why the carriers aren’t even charging for carrying its data.)
  • PRO: They give included web services the growth Wall Street craves.
  • CON: If users don’t pay up to exit the walled garden (and for many, why would they?) then it stymies any rival web service, by making it harder for people to find them, let alone use them. In other words, zero-rating entrenches powerful monopolies, hurts competition and potentially slows down innovation.
  • CON: If your web experience is mediated through a monolithic portal, that undermines privacy — everything you do and look at is funnelled through one profiling gate, with the results going to advertisers and potentially spies.
  • CON: There’s an immense risk to free speech. Particularly in more authoritarian countries – and there are quite a few in emerging markets – state censors must love the idea of everything passing through one portal. It makes their job so much simpler.”

Our Top life changers are Broadband and the Internet

This is according to a new survey carried out by Hotpoint in connection with the launch of their Home IQ promotion which attempts to assess how smart your home is, mainly it has to be said in an appliance sense!

The survey was of 2,000 British adults and we found it noteworthy that 30% of the life changers were of  a technology nature (using our wide definition).

Of the 9 life changers 5 (56%) relate to devices led somewhat surprisingly not by the ubiquitous iPhone but by the iPad. Somewhat surprisingly the Blackberry also features.

Hotpoint offer to make an assessment of your Home’s IQ  if you are prepared to accept the challenge!

Here’s Hotpoints video with Suzi Perry which explains it all!


Win win with .uk on tour

123-reg (the UK’s largest domain registrar) are sending a team of experts  around the UK in July & August to encourage small business users to get online and  to register their new .uk domain name. All the events are free.

In their words “As well as promoting the new shorter .uk domain name, the events will focus on essential core digital skills including online marketing, social media, networking tips and advice on increasing website conversions.”

The venues in addition to today’s Newcastle Racecourse (NE35HP) are:

  •  30 July Leeds: Electric Press, 3 Millennium Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AD
  •  6 August Cardiff: St.David’s Hotel, Havannah Street Cardiff Wales, CF10 5SD
  •  12 August London: Canary Wharf, Bank Street Level 32, 40 Bank Street London E14 5NR

To book a place simply email them or we guess you could simply just turn up!

Win 1 – “At each event, we will be offering our attendees the chance to win a Merlin Annual Pass. The pass allows you free entry into over 30 UK attractions for a whole year, including Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, SEA life locations and many more. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is post a picture of your day at the event to Twitter using #UKtour – it’s that simple!”

Win 2 – “As well as our roadshow events, we plan to stop off at plenty of brilliantly British locations to get plenty of snaps of our special .uk branded campervan. At each location we will tweet a picture of our campervan asking you to tell us where you think we are. Those who guess correctly will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 John Lewis voucher! Remember to use our roadshow hashtag, #UKtour, or you won’t be included in the draw!”

And of course the real win is get all the info available at the events and then get online if you’re not already there!

You can follow them @123reg 

Disclosure: We have no commercial arrangements wiith 123-reg

In-Car Mobile Interior Imaging Technology

Intel & Ford have set up a joint research project called Mobile Interior Imaging or Mobii involving the use of inward facing cameras in cars which unsurprisingly link to smartphones.

In their words the research “…explores how interior-facing cameras could be integrated with sensor technology and data already generated within and around the vehicle to create a more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle that transforms the driving experience.

The Mobii research was a collaboration between Intel ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers alongside Ford research engineers, and incorporates perceptual computing technology to offer a more enjoyable and intuitive vehicle experience.”

Intel who have a vice president, Internet of Things Group Doug Davis, comments “Project Mobii is a great example of Intel collaborating with Ford to help enable a secure, more connected driving experience.”

Lots of potential we think

We’ll leave you with Intel’s informative video:


Keep an I on our Week, Cheltenham edition

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. Apple revenues still continue to flatline
  2. All Entrepreneurs are Digital 
  3. Good Vibrations for Smart Shoes

We also produced our regular monthly feature on Retail Sales

Our Tech Rich List for 2014 continues to be popular.  and Peek’s Vision  still attracts many eyes!

Good vibrations for smart shoes

The latest wearable is from Ducere Technologies  under their brand Lechal  which apparently in Hindi translates as “take me there” or optionally “let’s go”. The company is of Indian origin, founded in 2011, and the product they describe as  interactive haptic footwear.

Originally developed for the visually impaired its wider application to joggers bikers and walkers was recognised and additional facilities including distance measurement and calorific burn have been incorporated.

In our words a smartphone app using Google maps links to sensors in the shoes/insole, via bluetooth, and having set a location the shoe will guide you there through vibrations to each of your feet at appropriate direction changes. Additional functionality is also incorporated.

Apparently they are due to start shipping in September this year at a cost of a bit over $100.

We are uncertain as to UK availability.

We’ll leave you with their video:


Sources: All Things D, Ducere Technologies and Lechal

Quarterly Internet Sales increase highest since 2011

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have just published the monthly retail sales figures for June (pdf Full details  are available on the ONS site.

Overall figures showed a decrease in sales volumes of  0.1% on last month which was below  expectations which were for an increase of 0.3% according to Bloomberg. The weather got a seasonal mention being blamed for the delay in summer clothes sales leading to weakness in that segment.

The ONS on their preferred quarterly view noted continuing significant growth ” The three-month on previous three-month movement in the quantity bought showed continued growth for the sixteenth consecutive period increasing by 1.6%. This is the highest calendar quarter since March 2004 (1.9%) and has been the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007.”

All the figures we quote are now the new seasonally adjusted statistics issued by the ONS. January 2014 was the one year in six when an extra week occurs statistically and we have annotated our headline graph to show an approximately comparable level of sales.

Our Internet sales headlines:

  • Internet food sales at all time high of £109 million and are over £100 million a week for the ninth  consecutive month
  • Internet sales quarterly increase of 6.2%
  • June internet sales down 0.1% on May
  • For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 49 pence was spent on non-store retailing 36 pence in non food stores and 15 pence in food stores!
  • We do think the ONS needs to do more analysis of internet sales as already half are effectively categorised as sales by online retailers virtually irrespective of the underlying goods or services! These average YoY growth figures of over 20%

June and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11.3% (11.4% last month 10.4 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 13.4% (15.5% last month 17.8 % a year ago)
  • Increase on quarter 1 of 2014 6.2% which is the highest quarterly increase since Q3  of 2011 (6.9%)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on May 2014 annualised +12.5% (2) on June 2013 +16.5%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 14% on 2013 and accounts for nearly 50% of all online retail sales. This is an area which SHOULD just grow & grow unless further analysis is undertaken of this channel!

The ONS words this month are:

“Key Points

The amount spent online increased by 13.4% in June 2014 compared with June 2013 and decreased by 0.1% compared with May 2014. Month-on-month this is the first time since January 2014 we have seen a decrease (2.1%).

Internet Sales in Detail

Seasonally adjusted Internet sales data are provided within this release. These seasonally adjusted estimates are published in the RSI Internet tables (196 Kb Excel sheet) and include:

  • A seasonally adjusted value index; and
  • Year-on-year and month-on-month growth rates.

Internet sales are estimates of how much was spent online through retailers across all store types in GB. The reference year is 2010=100.

Key Points

  • Average weekly spending online in June 2014 was £728.9 million. This was an increase of 13.4% compared with June 2013.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.3% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared to 10.4% in June 2013.
  • The online spend in department stores increased by 10.3% year-on-year, this is the lowest spend online in this store type since November 2011 (9.5%).

Table 5 shows the year-on-year growth rates for total Internet sales by sector and the proportion of sales made online in each retail sector.”

Table 5: Summary of Internet Statistics for April 2014 (seasonally adjusted) We have added our annotations to the ONS table – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

We have also added the weekly Internet sales figures by sector and the proportion they represent of all online sales.

Sector summary

The non-store retailing sector comprises of stalls and markets, mail order and those retailers that sell mainly online.

+ Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

Click to ...

The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since January 2009  to an all time high of £36.2.billion an increase in the month  of  1.2% annualised 12.5%. The average this year is 15.2%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 23%.

The published weekly figure was £728.9 million which was marginally below our estimate as was  the moving annual total at £36..2 billion.

Click to ...

The average monthly increase this year is  now 1.1% so we’re  going for a little above this level of increase in July so are looking for £735-£740 million and a moving annual total of close to £36.6 billion

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity)  that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016. Due to the exceptional 5 week month in Jan 2014 there is a 6 yearly jump to allow for the 53rd week!

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS (March June September and December are 5 week months). To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January which happened this year the previous one being in 2008.

Apple Revenues Still Continue to Flatline

UPDATE 2: July 23

From Apple:

Share price (WSJ) –In after hours trading they ended up about 44c down (0.5%) at $94.28 Today in mid morning trade they are up by around 2.5% at $97.10 ish. We wonder when the magic $100 will be breached – probably before the end of next month!

 From elsewhere:

Instant analyst opinions/headlines:

Our view – Apple still not returning to growth but acquisitions and alliances to the fore

With their revenue guidance of $37 – $40 billion for the three months to September it looks as if revenues on a moving annual total basis will by & large continue to flatline for the 7th successive quarter starting way back in Q2 (March) of 2013. They will have been (billions) $169.1, $169.4, $170.9, $174.0, $176.1, $178.2 and $179.2 (using the mid point of their guidance of $38.5 for Q4 2014).

This period of consolidation has been accompanied by a complete lack of new product range announcements. The last one we would consider to have taken place was the iPad way back in 2010. Prior to this the iPhone first appeared in 2007 and the iPod way back in 2001.

Some think that in addition to new iPhone and TV product announcements this quarter perhaps the iWatch or iTime will be announced for this upcoming holiday season. Some say it could generate volume sales of 30 – 60 million per annum in the first year. We shall see.

What has happened in the last quarter of note is;

  • The acquisition of Beats
  • The announcement of the partnership with IBM in the enterprise market

In the conference call we noticed a few interesting comments re the Apple ecosystem and these developments from Tim Cook:

  1. “Beats provides Apple with a fantastic subscription music service, access to rare talent and a fast growing line up of products that we can build upon.”
  2. “In fact for the first nine months of this fiscal year, the line item that we call iTunes software and services has been the fastest growing part of our business. iTunes billings grew 25% year-over-year in the June quarter and reached an all-time quarterly high, thanks to the very strong results from the App Store. We’re continuing to invest in our incredible ecosystem, which is a huge asset for Apple and a very important differentiator of our customer experience.”
  3. “Yes, we didn’t talk about how the business model (IBM- Apple) is going to work. But generally speaking, I think that each of us have revenue streams in the enterprise and each of us went from having those revenue streams. So that’s how I look at that. And we win if we can drive that penetration number I spoke about from 20% to 60%. That would be incredibly exciting here. The walls would shake. And so that’s what I hope for.”

UPDATE 1: 9.45pm BST July 22

  1. Q3 Revenues / eps $37.43bn / $1.28
  2. Unit sales millions – iPhones 35.2 iPads 13.3 Macs 4.4 iPods 2.9
  3. Guidance Q4 Revenues / eps $37 -$40bn $1.20 (ish)
  4. Closing share price $94.72 Current price (WSJ) Initial after hours reaction down about 50c
  5. We have updated our graph & results schedule below.
  6. More tomorrow but looks like overall performance particularly Q4 guidance is a bit below market expectations.

Apple results, for their Q3 2014 (13 weeks ending June 28) should be released around 9.30 pm BST followed fairly rapidly by their Conference Call at 10pm BST (2pm PDT) which you can listen to live.The, sort of, headline figures to look out for we think are:

  • If their revenues are less than $39bn this quarter the growth rate will for the 5th consecutive quarter on a moving annual total basis show an increase of less than 2%!
  • Quarter 3 results consensus (Professionals/The Street) Revenues / Earnings per share – $38.0bn / $1.23
  • Quarter 4 mid guidance consensus Revenues / Earnings per share – $40.5bn / $1.34

Whilst no new product announcements will be made many think that a new larger iPhone in Q4 and possibly an   iWatch are on the cards but still no sign of an Apple TV.

Click to enlarge

The source of much of our information is Philip Elmer-Dewitt editor of Apple 2.0 to whom we, and likely many others are indebted. Our normal graphic uses his info for the Professionals and Amateurs figures and the mid guidance information from Apple. We also add our guesses. We’re going for a rounded and aggressively high set of results this time!

We will report back later after the results are released . Usually the Q & A session adds value. We shall see, or rather hear, if this continues to be the case and report back tomorrow.

Our header courtesy of Apple is from their Investor News page – impressive!

All Entrepreneurs are Digital

Accenture  in conjunction with the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance  have undertaken some research using various streams including a survey amongst 1,000 entrepreneurs in the G20 countries undertaken by Harris Interactive in March and April this year with 51 coming from the UK and 164 from the USA.

The reports introductory words are:

“Young entrepreneurs are the driving force behind job creation in the G20 countries, powered by their relentless efforts to innovate and embrace digital technologies: social media, mobile computing, big data, cloud and ‘the internet of things’.

New Accenture research concludes that lifting existing barriers: digital skills shortage, logistics at scale, policy and regulation, access to local markets and access to finance, with the help of large companies and other bridgemakers, could help young entrepreneurs to create 10 million more youth jobs in G20 countries.”

We noticed in particular from the survey stream of the research the importance the UK (and US) young entrepreneurs placed on the collaboration with Social technologies, Customers and other SME’s.

The great extent definition is a “key partner for innovation” and the some extent “some experience of collaboration”

Much more in this interesting report which is downloadable here

Keep an I on our Week, Lords above edition

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. 3 2 1 goTenna
  2. Prime Air approaches Takeoff
  3. Consumer Complaints UK vs USA

Our Tech Rich List for 2014 continues to be popular, and Peeks Vision still attracts many eyes!

We’ll leave you with Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars