Safaricom's CEO explains Kenya's mobile magic

May 22, 2012

Iconic red telephone boxes, and old dial up landlines featured heavily in Bob Collymore’s work the first time he worked in London. Now he’s passing through on the way to a UN summit in New York with, amongst others, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, looking at ways to transform life for women and children in the developing world – and running an African telecoms company that he admits is a bigger, and more trusted, brand than the church.

“How does that make me feel?” he asks, laughing and rolling his eyes, “It makes me feel a bit like a crusty old man actually”.

Collymore took over the reins as CEO of Kenya’s Safaricom in November 2010 when he was 52. Not really so old, but he does have more than 30 years industry experience under his belt: “I can honestly say that this is the most exciting time for our business, and it has changed beyond recognition. When I started working… [more]

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Susan Greenfield says mobiles will re-shape your brain

May 18, 2012

Susan Greenfield doesn’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon when she compares mobile technology to a Victorian family gathered around a piano in the parlour. What she means is that mobile technology should be considered in a wider context than how big the screen is, which processor it uses, and the number of available apps.

As an eminent neurologist at Oxford University, and the former Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain, Greenfield is engaged with a debate about the consequences of technology – for our families and societies, and even for the functioning of our brain.

Her argument is that mobile technology, and what we do with it, is now at the center of our family and social life, like the piano was for the Victorians and the TV was for baby boomers. But it’s even bigger than that, because it’s mobile, of course; so we not only do it at home, we do it a… [more]

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TV 'white spaces' technology for new indoor navigation

May 04, 2012

Scott Probasco is roaming the floor of the hanger at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, with a Nokia N9 attached to a small box. He passes Concorde, turns right at a World War One bi-plane and pauses underneath a sea rescue helicopter suspended from the ceiling.

Strategically placed signs give detailed information about the history of the historic planes on display at the former airbase outside Cambridge, but Probasco, a Senior Manager at Nokia, doesn’t need to look at them. Using the N9 he is demonstrating a three year Nokia research project to develop indoor information delivery using TV white spaces.

TV white spaces are unused parts of the TV spectrum at a particular location. So, for example, part of the signal reserved for a London TV channel may not work in Cambridge – resulting in a ‘white space’ which can potentially be used for proving better and cheaper internet ac… [more]

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How Dolby bring Hollywood technology to mobiles

May 04, 2012

Ray Dolby’s brilliant idea came to him in a jolt as he joggled across India on a series of clapped-out busses. It was 1963 and he was a UN adviser, lugging his old Ampex recorder and collection of classical music across the sub-continent from Bangalore to New Delhi.

What if you could eliminate the hiss on magnetic audio tape by separating sound into two channels, and then strip away the unwanted tape noise?

Eliminating ‘hiss’ had been vexing sound engineers for more than thirty years, and Dolby’s brainstorm changed the course of audio history. He believed it could have “as many applications as the diesel engine.”

Industry insiders describe the company he founded, Dolby Laboratories, as the ‘gold standard’ in audio recording, with hundreds of patents and billions of products sold in more than 40 years of operation.

That journey has taken Dolby from a prototype of the D… [more]

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