TheTelecomBlog.com’s Top 6 Posts for March 2014

by Matt Klassen on April 2, 2014

March has been a month of mystery for us here at theTelecomblog, exploring the nebulous questions around how to properly employ an ever-growing number of communication and service channels available to the modern business, attempting to uncover the latest avenue for mobile malware, and asking the unanswerable questions about the unexplained tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

In fact, the events of this month have raised far more questions than they have answered, leaving us with but a few scant certainties: Microsoft is no longer the company it once was, Facebook will once again revolutionize the way we communicate, and the one ironclad truth of life in the mobile world is that ever-increasing contract rates, much like death and taxes, are an unavoidable reality.

1. More Service Channels doesn’t mean Better Customer Service

Today’s technology affords businesses an unprecedented number of avenues to connect with customers, everything from the more traditional phone, text, and email to newer additions like live chat, microblogging, and social media. But as new service channels emerge I’ve noticed often times that companies embrace these new options without fully understanding how they compliment the rest of the customer service system or without fully understanding the medium itself.

Simply put, by utilizing Twitter it doesn’t mean your business can continue to provide substandard service over the phone, or via email. By opening new service channels to replace struggling ones you don’t create better customer service, instead you only create multiple points of failure.

2. Microsoft Releases Office on the iPad

On the job for only two months and new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is already putting his indelible stamp on the company, this time by doing something his predecessors were always hesitant to do: Releasing Office on the iPad.

There no question that this radical shift in philosophy comes with its own inherent risks, as the company is gambling that by releasing Office 365 on the iPad that it can win back all those former PC users who now find themselves using free (and often inferior) alternatives because of their devotion to their favourite Apple products. While it remains to be seen if such a gamble will pay off, it’s at least encouraging to see Microsoft try something… which itself is a huge departure from the previous Ballmer era.

3. Facebook to Acquire Oculus for $2 Billion

This month Facebook announced its plans to acquire Oculus VR, the company behind the Rift headset. The $2 billion purchase doesn’t compare to the $19 billion they agreed to pay for WhatsApp but is double the amount paid for Instagram. The Facebook–Oculus deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014, of $69.35 per share).

While such a deal between the social network and a virtual reality developer may seem unusual at first glance, both companies made it clear that they share a common vision that communication drives technological advancement, and that both firms see virtual reality as the next logical step in that evolution.

4. Mobile Silence on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Just One More Mystery

While we try to get answers to the myriad of questions surrounding what I think we can now say is a tragic, albeit confusing, disaster of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the question that has plagued me while I have sat (much like you no doubt) with bated breath for any news has been, why didn’t the passengers attempt to communicate during what now seems to have been a prolonged crisis?

This nagging thought emerged earlier in the month when a report surfaced that cellphones from passengers were still ringing, offering hope to families, friends, and the world that perhaps there was still hope. But while such hope was sadly misplaced I have to echo the question posed by E-Commerce Times writer Jeff Kagan, “Why didn’t the passengers on Malaysia Flight 370 call, email or text any messages?”

5. Mobile Advertising the Latest Vector for Malware

It wasn’t long ago that visiting porn sites was the best way to contract an “electronically transmitted disease” on your smartphone, but whether it’s that our society’s love affair with mobile fantasy has dwindled or simply that flesh peddlers want to offer a better product, such is not the case anymore.

Now every one in five times a person is redirected to a malware site on the Internet using their smartphone, it’s because of a malicious mobile ad, a report released last week by research firm Blue Coat discovered, a three fold jump from two years ago.

6. Incumbents Raise the Price of Monthly Plans by $5

The Big Three Canadian wireless carriers have raised the base prices for new plans by $5 in the majority of markets over the past two months. It started with Telus, who recently withdrew from the CWTA, but its move was quickly followed by Rogers, and now Bell.

Also, after the acquisition of Public Mobile, Telus’ first big move was to raise the price and lower the amount data included in monthly plans. This is the second time within a year that the country’s big three players have raised the price of base plans. The first hike in prices came after the CRTC announced its new wireless code of conduct. The carriers reacted by raising the price of base plans and also the amount users need to pay for a new smartphone when purchased on contract. Let the gouging continue!

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