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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Axia PDA phone A108

The world's smallest PDA phone..



The AXIA A108 is the world's smallest PDA phone on the Microsoft Windows CE .NET Operating System. But size doesn't matter these days, it has all the standard phone functions, plus everything else you would expect in a PDA. User will appreciate the large 2.2", brilliantly sharpe display which produces crisp, clear visuals. While its alpha-numeric keypad is specially designed for one-handed operation, making it ultra convenient for text messaging.

Check out its specification... it uses Freescale processor..

Why Freescale ?
Because it has a manufacturing plant in Malaysia by the road side of Federal Highway. Malaysia Boleh!

Their story:
AXIA is created by Malaysian... Malaysian Boleh! The company main concept is to build a phone with a lot and ample built-in applications for its user. Hardware design is done by Singaporean expert while manufacturing plant located at Sungai Petani, Kedah Malaysia.

SDK concept:
The inventor focuses on concept, branding and applications. Thus they are not counting on the fact that some company will help them to develop a SDK(Software Development Kit) at low cost so that it can be shipped alongside the packaging, which would otherwise be expensive. If so, programmers around the world would make use of the SDK to develop applications and either sell it to AXIA user or upload it for free in AXIA homepage or other URL. Thus, this is not really a good idea because the development of SDK is not going to be cheap. If you engage company like Axiomatic Solutions S/B, development cost would be around RM500K without royalty.

Hope concept:
Thus, the second solution is to hope that someone would go and purchase Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and develop applications for it. Then either upload it to AXIA homepage or other URL for either free download or purchase with credit card or Mobile Money.

But Microsoft Visual Studio .NET cost RM 1500.00 (unless you are talking about pirated)

Thus nobody would be very keen on that too.

The Java factor:
Another way is to install Java into the device. You need to install a JVM into Windows CE.NET. You may find the listing here. There are two types of JVM:
1. CDC (512KB +)
2. CLDC (512KB -)

based on AXIA specification, it has 64MB Flash ROM. Windows CE can be as small as 200KB for a minimal configuration. Thus on the average, it is about the size of JVM too. Therefore, to include Windows CE and JVM into the device is not a big problem for 64MB of disk space (Flash ROM)

Then, programmers can make use of J2ME to develop applications for AXIA 108 and either upload it to AXIA homepage or other URL and then either make it a freeware or shareware or buyware.

However, since they already chosen Microsoft as the platform, might as well forget about Java.

The Right Way:
Thus the right way for them to have a cost effective sales is to hire 2-3 programmers and using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET to develop as many applications as possible and make it built-into the device.

They need to do this because the USP (unique selling proposition) of AXIA is to provide rich built-in applications to its user. Compare to other brand like Blueberry, O2 and etc have difference focuses. Therefore, this is to drive the sales.

To achieve cost saving, they just need to hire few programmers in Malaysia and pay them like RM 3-5K monthly and force them to develop as many applications as possible using RM1500 Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. Let's assume that they hire 3 programmers and cost them RM15K monthly, RM 500K would provide them(programmer) with 33.3 months of employment; that is like around 2 years duration. On top of providing job employment for people, they also become owner of the Intellectual Property(IP) and able to change the source code anytime and anyway they wish. Thus, of course this is smart and a good deal. Malaysia Boleh!

The following are applications available..

  • AXIA launcher
  • INFOMate - Weather Forecast, World News, EPL News, and AXIA bulletin
  • TextMaker - Microsoft Word document editor
  • PlanMaker - Microsoft Excel document editor
  • AXIA Email with support to download attachments
  • Jettayu MMS
  • Jettayu WAP browser
  • STR (SIM Tool kit)
  • AXIA calendar
  • AXIA notes
  • AXIA Task
  • AXIA Phone Book
  • AXIA MPEG 4 player
  • AXIA photo album
  • AXIA Group list
  • AXIA Flash Backup
  • Astraware Games - Cubis, Dynomite, RoketMania and Bejeweled.
  • AXIA Desktop Application for managing data and PC backup
  • Synchronizing PIM and email with Microsoft Outlook

Isn't it fantastic, I will never use most of them anyway.

Facing problems?
It is actually a GSM phone with GPRS, IrDA and USB support. Oopss.. thus it means that they are in problem now.. becoz 3G is coming.

Since they outsourced the hardware design and manufacturing, it would cost them another fortune to design a 3G hardware from scratch. Thus, they need to sell it really well now and before 3G really gets the going tough for them.

But not to worry so much because they have conquered the European market very well. 3G will still take some time for adoption and by that time, they should have earn enough fortune to produce another 3G device with even more applications.

To find out more about embedded system...


Author = Robert L. Bogue
Pages =368
Disk = N/A
Level = Int/Adv
Published = 01/30/2002
ISBN =0-7356-1502-0
Price= $29.99

To see this book's discounted price

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mobile Money demsytified

Mobile Money... something interesting for Malaysian to look for in the coming months.



I attended a briefing yesterday nite and was indeed enlightened.

Important Facts:
1. Mobile Money is on route to be de-merged from Redtone for the reason that it is a company offering financial service compared to Redtone's telephony service. Also, it has identified Telcos to be the biggest beneficiary merchant and thus cannot work together when Redtone is a strong competitor of other Telcos.

One of its intention (for creation of Mobile Money) is to enable Telco to bypass middleman (retailer) for its reload coupon merchandizing. It is calculated that by using Mobile Money, revenue for such business segment can be further enhanced.

2. As Agent you get to do the following:
2a. Sign-up user:
For every successful application, bank will pay to agent.
RM 9(upon approval) + RM 51 = RM 60 (bank will pay you this)
To be eligible as user, one must have must able to get approval from bank for a credit card account AND has an IC.
Thus, signing up user is like selling credit card on behalf of the bank.

2b. Sign-up merchant:
Merchant must be a legistimate business entity in Malaysia AND with a Malaysian bank account. For the application to be approved, certain official document must be submitted alongside application which would include director's resolution.
Accordint to the speaker, this is important because all director needed to agree upon the chosen bank account for Money to be taken and transferred from/to Mobile Money. Proper bank statement must also be shown.

Upon sign-up, agent will get RM 12.50 from Mobile Money.

3. Current banking partner:
3a. Hong Leong Bank
3b. BCB (next week)
3C. Public Bank (coming soon)
3d. Maybank (coming soon)
All of which would provide credit and debit tied-up to Mobile Money.

A user may thus sign-up as many account with the banks and have them linked to Mobile Money account. User many be able to choose the approriate one for payment at any case.

On the other hand, bank would assume the following order of preference to provide user(Mobile Money) with the service:

1. Credit service
2. Current account
3. Saving account.

The reason is simple, if users tied-up with saving accounts, bank will not likely going to make a profit out of anything because there can't be any interest charged. This also tells us why transaction via saving account would comes with transaction fee of certain percentage. As compare to credit services, the bank hope that you don't clear all your debts and thus can impose interest charges on you.

Possible Applications:
1. Someone can pay bill when he or she is oversea, provided that the roaming service for mobile phone service is enabled.
2. Using Mobile Money to top-up Touch N Go value. (Apparently the information is not stored in the chipset of the card)

Security:
It only matter when we are talking about E-Cash:
E-Cash is actually a 6 digit number.
To use E-Cash, one must do the following:
1. Give casher the 6 digits number(representing serial number) + 4 digits ID (to be determined by user)
2. Casher will interact with Mobile Money via normal phone or handphone through IVR services.
3. Mobile Money will provide you with a new 6 digit number. Thus the e-Cash number can only be used once.

Compare to normal cash, which is = paper + serial number. In this context, the serial number is the most important element. Therefore, e-Cash capability for Mobile Money is not a joke because each e-Cash number is supposed to be identified with a real serial number from the central bank. Mobile Money must thus has a backend system to carefully identify each matching and so on. The ability of its system to handle large backend data is similar to any bank, data is huge and requires 24 x 7 availablity.This is perhaps one of the technology pattern which they invented for in dealing with crytopology. I have a reason to believe that they need to have an huge simulation engine to get the job done bcoz you need to virtually simulate the cash activities to cater for debugging and monitoring needs. Without the simulation engine, any fraud is not traceable. This is the stand-out feature of mobile money compared to others similar technology. My god, this is fantastic!

Coming up next:
Redtone is creating a special terminal for such purpose which is meant for convenience of casher. This terminal would be quite similar to a phone and it is meant to replace credit card's terminal used by many.

It is expected to perform faster transaction than credit card terminal due to the fact that it uses IVR compared to credit card one that uses dial-up.

Sapura also having another services in the form of terminal.

Compare to Credit Card:
1. Merchant is charged 1.525% per transaction for mobile money while credit card charges 3%-6%.
2. Merchant must achieve number quota in order to be eligible as credit card merchant and also to get the credit card terminal free. Otherwise, it will be taken back by the bank. On the other hand, Mobile Money provides no quota because you can actually use the mobile phone as the transaction terminal.

Computerized evironment:
For those shops that didn't use any IT system, now they can do-away manual calculation with Mobile Money. Basically, merchant would be given a login account to the corporate web site to determine the transaction amount daily and monthly. Records will be available for three months and merchant is adviced to download them to local drive or simply print them.

This is just perfect, it gives those Mamak store the ability to tally the deal faster and without the worry of being robbed. Infact, if every transaction is performed through Mobile Money, there is no need to go to the bank the next morning.

I am thinking that it will be a great ideal if they can expose the system via web services (similar to blogging service) so that other developer can integrate the service to other systems.

Loyalty Program:
The system is also capable of creating personal loyalty program for every merchant. Means that Merchant now can produce their own bonuslink or Mesra card. Not only they can print their own card but also come with existing system to handle the backend data.

Agency:
According to the speaker, agency is meant for recruit of agent. and thus they are eligible for 25% of your money earned. Well, this is a little unfair but I salute Mobile Money for doing this because it shows loyalty towards its affiliate. Basically, there are around 80 agencies (companies) and they are those who have helped Redtone to be what they are today. They are not planning to have more agencies and thus these 80 lucky people would get very passive income for at least 7 years. Personally, I respect and salute this decision because you have to remember your root.

Software for Point of Sales:
Mobile Money has created a software which a believe is a web service for merchants to allow their existing P.O.S (point of sales) to be Mobile Money enabled. For instance, A & W has around 50 branches in Malaysia and is centrally managed. The IT services is incharged by Datascan (a local IT company) and should A&W wanted to use Mobile Money, it would be sensible that all branches would have seamless integration of such technology. Mobile Money will not charge consultation fee for helping A&W to integrate existing P.O.S with Mobile Money(bcoz they have internal technical person) but yet A&W has to negotiate a price with Datascan.

This is also a barrier for A&W to quickly decide that Mobile Money is the next big thing for them. It would take some time.

According to Mobile Money, they are willing to deploy consulting team to help out agent with complicating scenario such as mentioned above. But please make sure that the potential merchant has high revenue stream.

Taxi Driver:
Taxi drive can benefit from the program via the service called the micro payment service, where individual can signup as user and merchant.

E-Commerce:
Web site with E-Commerce facilty can also make use of Mobile money for transaction. However, the merchant fee for E-Commerce is must higher compared to the default one; at 2.5% - 5% per transaction. This is probably due to the fact that fraud is higher in the E-Commerce industry.

Current Promotion:
Merchant is eligible for a discount of RM 60 for application fee from now till 31st October 2005. After this period, the default fee is RM 300.

Lost your phone?
When you lost your handphone, changes are that Mobile Money information might be exposed. To deal with such problem, you only need to inform Mobile Money to disable your account temporarily, until new details are feedback.

Conclusion:
Why Redtone ?

Because they are sifu(guru) in term of telephony services, high-demand data transaction system and also mobile solution. They have been using this technology for the convenience of their IDD business handling for 3 years.

Redtone understands the dynamic of prepaid card business, as well as the psycho-behaviour of retailers and distributors for trading. Mobile Money was envisioned to solve many unfair trading practice which has hampered the industry. Currently, it is a bad business for the retailer.

Mobile Money is special because it tie up with the bank and has obtained approval from centra bank(bank negara) as a financial service.

In other words, Mobile Money will be hiring financial consultant pretty soon.

For official documents, please read this.

Interested to be agent:
Please contact me directly.
brandon teoh, brandonteohno1@yahoo.com, +6012-665 3243

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

tivo and mitv

MiTV - malaysia second pay cable television service has recently been launched.

Despite its cutting-edge technology which allow its organization to benefit from tremendous cost-saving by comparing with rival Astro, there is nothing special about it at the moment.

My colleague has urged me to try out the service because all of them already got Astro subscription from home. I am still thinking about it ...



According to the news, MiTV although is based on IP (Internet Protocol) but rather not operable via the Internet yet.
TiVo on the other hand, is truly Internet enabled. Comparing to Bit Torrent, TiVo is a legal way to download e-contents and have them copied and manipulated.

This is part of the concept of pervasive computing, where all objects can talk to each other, enabling human to make use of technologies to enhance their life fully.

Bring the best out of MiTV
MiTV must thus has the following features of
TiVo.

  • Easy Search
  • Online recording
  • Smart recording
  • Simple DVD burning
  • Home media features (digital photo and music)

And in order to do that, they must also follow the path undertaken by TiVo for having a SDK for software developers.

SDK (Software development kit)
IRIS Cooperation Berhad is famous for developing SDK for many companies. And MiTV must engage with some company to help them with developing the SDK, when such is present. MiTV can actually make more sales because buyer has the type of perception that they don't want to be paying for something the rest of their life. They wanted to feel smart where given two scenario:

1. Given something free
2. Something can be downloaded from the Internet.

Option two("2") stated above would really appeal to people due to psychological reason. Thus when MiTV produced SDK, many jobless developers would try out the SDK and develop some application to be useful for others. Eventually, some of them would create a web site and host it for free.

virtual referral program

have you ever wonder the potential of MPages?

It is a mobile directory service, currently offering subscriber at a 3 months trial and with RM600 annual fees.

Subscribed to MPages allow your business(s) to be listed on the mobile electronic medium. For user to browse through such service, they just need to enter mpg and send it to 32300 via SMS. This service is currently available for Malaysian!

Referral Program
In fact, MPages could be the next virtual referral program. Conventional business referral program such as the following:

  • BNI (Business Network International
  • Chamber of Commerce such as the SCCCI.
  • Association of Hokkien, Teo Chiu, Hakka and etc.





These are classic examples of business referral body, some of them are drop dead straight foward such as BNI which organizes meeting every Friday at 7AM while some are really slack and twisted by offerring weekly mahjong session. Thus playing Mah Jong is also part of business activities where according to some, a Mah Jong session highlights to you the weakness of a person.

MPages could just be another referral program and virtually as well. Conventional types hold meetings and other meet-up activities, hope that its patron would establish business ties in directly. what Mpages could provide is a direct digital matching for its merchants and everything could be virtually managed.

I won't be surprise that MPages would be holding exhibition fairs and etc in the near future, allowing them to secure the handsome revenue of advertisement. Thus, they could also be printing booklets and distribute for free in the society (all cost born by advertisers)

Mobile Search Engine
The beauty of such referral program is not actually for its activities, it is to me the segmentation of community. Meaning that every merchant program is ideal to have distinct users and merchants. The more distinct the better so that every merchant signup gets to earn the maximum when there is no slip of revenues. This is doesn't cater for Social-economic disturbance for the reason that every single person has 24 hours only per day. Therefore, even if one were to join multiple referral program, time wouldn't save your ass!

Therefore, MPages could be another search engine and it will be useful to its merchant if it is not as big as Google. Logically, it is best marketed via word-of-mouth.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Redtone : 100k Merchants

I was very excited of getting involved with Redtone Mobile Money to sign up merchants so that I can earn some passive incomes for the coming years. Nevertheless, my excitement came to an abrupt end due to the fact that Redtone by itself has already signup 100 merchants which consist of big boys like Carrefour and etc.

I mean, let's face it man, these are the type of merhants that can give you substantial revenue out of a 0.056% cut. For instance, if you are talking about A & W, which is centrally controlled for all its 50 branches around Malaysia, is thus capable of generating and income of around 50 * RM150K * (0.056/100) = RM 4200.00 (based on assumption that each branch generate an average revenue of RM150K per month)

This is a good money for someone who doesn't do anything except for earlier negotiation. But I just don't think it is left for us anymore.
Nevertheless, according to their press release on 21-Sept-05, their target is to create 100K merhants in one year, before another competitor moves in. Thus by assuming that on the average, a business needed RM150K of revenue to survive, what is left for freelance agent is 99900 merchants around Malaysia.

99900 * 150 K * (0.056/100) = RM 8.39 16 Million to be earn monthly for the agent.
According to the news, they have around 5K agents doing the job and more will be expected to join them, that would conclude a RM 1678.32 of passive income for everyone involves.
Thus, you go and figure out whether it is going to be your cup of tea.

Why Agency?
Basically, they are treating the Mobile Money business in the form of agency, similar to insurance agency.
The biggest reason is perhaps they are looking for someone to share the risks. Having agency means there must be come kind of agency manager who would be expected to bear the cost of training to sub agents and rentals to shop lot and etc.
The biggest problem is that if an agency is not able to deliver, Mobile Money would be affected at all, because they have other agencies and can always create new agency.
Therefore, if you notice carefully, insurance agencies are always on the lookout for new agent and the reason is simple; they can't wait for 10 years for an agent to perform. In fact, if you don't perform quickly, they would consider it as a waste investment. For them to continuously look for new agent is justified further that every single person can only go as far as 24 hours and your contacts will be limited. Up to one stage where the maximum capacity of an individual agent just could go any further, that is they time for someone new to come in, to offset the saturation.
Thus, don't be surprise that an insurance agency manager tells you that you are capable and is looking forward to provide you with training. That is just marketing talk. If you can't deliver, they will hate you for it, nothing is free.

Global Recession by 2010
Many experts predicted that a global economy is hitting the world by 2010 or sometime before that. One of the biggest trigger is the down fall of USA economy based on the fact that many USA citizen have negative savings in the bank, most of them are in debts anyway. Their survival tool is based on refinancing of properties which have seen prices soaring. And until the magic wand stop working, they will be in big problem.
Experts warn that recession will last more than 10 years and it will create a path for the golden age of Asia.
Thus, everybody needs to work hard for at least 3-4 years before the bad time arrives and the least you should do is to clear all your debts.

Work hard.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Free MCSE Course



FREE MCSE and WPAD Course (10 seats available only. Apply now, cos it’s FREE!)
(See attachments for details)

Organised by Malaysian government to assist graduates

Benefits:
-Certified MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) course
(
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcse/Default.asp)
-Free 2 months MCSE training
-Free MCSE exams
-Free MCSE certificate
-RM350 per month allowance given to candidates

How To Apply?
-Contact Edward Phoon (012-2138636 or
wsphoon@mcsb.com).

This course will be conducted on October, 2005. So, please hurry.


Web Publishing & Web ApplicationDevelopment

Microsoft Certified System Engineer(MCSE)

Code

Course

Days

Code

Course

Days

SS101

Personal Enhancement,Work Ethics and Entrepreneurship

5

SS 101

Personal Enhancement,Work Ethics and Entrepreneurship

5

WPAD1

Introduction to Internet Technologies

3

MCSE 101

Understanding Computer Fundamentals

2

WPAD 2

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

5

MCSE 102

Networking Essentials

3

WPAD
3

Content Development:Planning & Best Practices

3

MCSE 103

Implementing & Managing Microsoft Windows XP Professional

3

WPAD
4

Graphics Creation& Editing

6

MCSE 104

Implementing & Managing Microsoft Windows Server 2003

5

WPAD 5

Multimedia Animations

6

MCSE 105

Examination(inclusive of preparation) –Part 1

2

WPAD
6

Creating &Publishing Website

6

MCSE 106

Implementing & Managing Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

7

WPAD 7

Networking Essentials

4

MCSE 107

Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

4

WPAD 8

Web ApplicationDevelopment

26

MCSE 108

Examination–Part II (inclusive of preparation)

2

WPAD 9

Final Project

10

MCSE 109

Implementing& Managing Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

5

MCSE 110

Designing aMicrosoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

5

Practical Training – 2 months

Practical Training – 2 months

Graduates from any background are invited to apply for this scheme

This scheme is opened to graduates from the IT and Engineering backgound.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Redtone : Mobile Money


Familar scene ?
Mobile Money is a trademark of Mobile Money Internation S/B; subsidiary of Redtone International S/B. Well, of course there are many theories pertaining to why a big company like Redtone opted to create a subsidiary. It used to be that subsidiary can help the mother company to avoid heavy taxes. But for this case, I think they are preparing for a possible acquisition in the future for the reason that Mobile Money is going to be very successful and going international.

Mobile money provides the facility of paying via the mobile phone. In layman term, whenever one needed to buy something, just send some SMS messages and that will do.
Technically, a mobile money transaction involves 4 parties:
1. User - Mobile phone owner who is having a bank account and must registered to mobile money service.
2. Merchants - Business units that is providing merchandizing. They can be any businesses that sells something for money.
3. Mobile Money - service provider
4. Banks - Bank negara as the moderator and Hong Leong bank as the principal bank.

Why Redtone ?
Because they are expert in mobile services such as SMS. They have the technical know-how about SMS gateways and etc. They know how to handle large simultaneous users, to deal with the possibility of server overloaded and even how to perform cost-efficient load-balancing. A project at such scale definitely requires a lot of practical experiences before it can be handled properly.
As a result of that, Mobile Money is invested by Robert Kuok group, whose founder is Malaysia's richest man. Therefore, Mobile Money requires no funding from the MSC or Venture Capitalist, they are cash rich.

How it can be successful?
It will not be successful without the initiative of agents going around town to look for merchant sign-up.

What compelled agents to do so?
The ability to have passive income for at least some time, in this case it is 7 years + 3 months. For every merchant signup, agents are entitled to a 0.056% of each transaction transacted through mobile money.
I have reason to believe that this cut of 0.056 percent is shared by Mobile Money and not from the merchants, otherwise they wouldn't be interested. Mobile Money can do so because of two reasons:
1. It is getting a bigger margin from the master banker - Hong Leong Bank (probably gives Mobile Money 2% for each transaction.)
2. Mobile money will only share the cut with agents for a maximum of 7 years + 3 months, thereafter they will earn continuous income until the world cracked. Meaning that if an agent signup Giant Supermarket as the merchant, he would be able to benefit for 7 years + 3 months monthly transaction of Giant transacted through Mobile Money from the day of the signup. This implies that an agent can still earn continuous income if he keeps signing up new merchants.

Registration Process:
To qualify as merchants, organizations need to produce a bank statement and directors' approval declaration.

Why am I attracted to it?
Passive income! This is a good example of passive income, where you just need to work hard to signup the merchants and sit back to enjoy the commissions accumulate your pocket.
Redtone and Mobile Money, as established company would be able to make sure that the service is stable and also I believe that they would have 24 hours customer service support.
It can replace or complement RFID.

When available?
They are currently busy with MOU and activities, everything should be ready for agents by end of October 2005.


What technology they are using ?
I don't know because it is confidential. However, they have developed a few patterns for technology.

Why would people need it ?
1. Users - Convenience
2. Merchants
- Convenience (No need to have a special device like e-pay, just use mobile phone)
- value added service (I think they will also be POS functions)
- Guaranteed by Bank negara.
- Cheap implementation.
3. Web sites - I also hope that web sites can also qualify as merchants, so that Internet user can use Mobile Money instead of credit card to transaction online. This is even better because there is no need to expose credit card information to the Internet sea. The backend activities will encapsulate the details.
4. Business person - Business potential as agents, passive income and wealth creation (if you can signup with big companies such as Giant, A&W, Fridays and etc)
For more information, please read this.

Conclusion:
Mobile money is a merchant programs. Many other merchant programs(such as go2020) failed there is no strong financial backing. And they relied too much on MLM methodology to survive. Over hear, MM wanted to treat it as similar to agencies (like insurance selling)


I think it will not be so straight foward (as if there won't be any big frog jumping on the street sceanario), big accounts must have already been taken by Redtone directly. It is like a chicken and egg situation because for the project to be justified, they are forced to get the commitment from big companies like Giant, Tesco, Ikea and etc first in order to proceed with all these investments inclusive of huge advertisement spending.

Therefore, we have to be the first mover, try to sign up as much merchant as possible in the first few months before it is taken by someone.

Nevertheless, it is good to know that Sapura is also coming up with similar thing called M2. This is good because competition is always good for the consumer, including agents. Even if I can earn RM 500 for doing nothing every month for 7 years & 3 months is good news for me.


-------------------Evaluation----------------------------------------
1. "Big frog jumping on the street" is a cantonese term where it implies scarceness, means bed of roses don't drop from the sky.
2. MM need to make use of agency methodology to help them with the push. It is important to get the first motivation rolling in order to trigger the neuclear reaction. The idea will never break the ice if only the Internal sales person is doing the talking which is limited in term of time and boundary. The key to success is to reach a critical mass of users in the shortest time possible.
3. Competition should be encourage so that MM don't over-arrogant.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Redtone : empire strikes back



Maxis launched Voice Away recently which caused stir and panic among the players. Many are worry that things would be taken away just like that, in an industry where there is almost no margin left to be wasted.

Maxis’ Voice Away offers the following features:
Special rates: (STD-handphone = 0.15/min)
Commission
More than 250 K (sales generated) = 18%
More than 100 K but less than 250K (Sales generated) = 10%

Target Customer:
Corporate, SME and businesses which require making constant phone calls to mobile numbers.

Problems:
As reseller, you have to provide service to customers in term of auto-dialer maintenance. The auto-dialer is a device which acts as an extension to the normal phone that would redirect phone calls to Maxis’ gateway for this service. Under normal circumstances, the principal should take initiative to provide technical service for everyone and not to depend on the resellers because of the following reasons:

1. It is costly for reseller to provide for such service when the margin is thin.
2. Resellers are not skilled enough to troubleshoot faulty devices.

Maxis should follow footsteps undertook by Dell, which is to provide customer service to customer end-to-end. Nevertheless, perhaps financially they need to justify for the 10%-18% of commission given out to the resellers. But what about the question of royalty?

I recently met a company who organizes a commission structure where the margin auto-decreases until it become zero. This according to the spoke person, is a way to encourage resellers to work harder and keep working. Well, of course I understood that, it is marketing strategy, everybody passed their MBA with flying colors anyway when it comes to making money.

Thus, Voice Away is aiming(the bullet) at companies like Redtone, Exticom, Level One communication and etc which also has huge market shares in alternative corporate telephony service. We called it alternative because TM (Telekom Malaysia) is the main guy here, everything would benefit TM (Telekom Malaysia) since you need to have a decent phone line to benefit from the alternatives.

Redtone hasn’t followed the path of lowering the rate for STD-Mobile. One of the reason is probably its management believes that there is
no more margin to be given away and Maxis is just cutting a hole through its pocket. Recently, they countered attack again by offering “travel phone” and broadband service. They made a press awareness through The Sun with a strong message that it is bucking up to compete with Maxis and TM.

The funny thing with Telco is that their corporate web sites are always outdated. If you look for “voice away” from
Maxis Corporate site, you will get nothing. On the other hand, looking for “travel phone” from Redtone corporate site also return nothing, in fact there isn’t any search function available. This is what they mean by “is there but not there”. Anyway, I have reason to believe that “travel phone” is a roaming service for traveler who frequent overseas. This is a niche where there isn’t many players contributing to, only TM’s Ring Ring card does that. But the good thing is actually the fact that even foreigners can pretend to be Malaysian by using the roaming services if it is going to be cheaper than what is offered at the other end.

Fair enough, I know why. In this industry, it is harmful to expose detailed information when all your competitors would be watching your back all the time. If you look at the rates table given by Redtone, which I can’t find it now!. There is a saying that goes “If you know how to make money, don’t tell anyone”, but blog it to create claim for originality!

Therefore, it is only when blogger like me posted up something which get the information diluted better. But I am not committing any confidential breach, what I am doing is just to collect information from bits and pieces and upload it to the Internet. Besides, the traffic volume of IT-Sideways is nothing fantastic, so please don’t hate me for that.

Okay, coming back to our discussion. Redtone counter attack with a
press clipping. There must be a reason for that and from the news, of course it is not stated what is the reason.

Nevertheless, there is something excited about Redtone that is coming to the society in the near future; Mobile Money. To tell you frankly, I like the idea of Mobile Money, I think it is fantastic.

To find out why, wait for my next few blogs.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Malaysia ICT companies

Feel Good
While at the MSC ICT Fair in Dewan Millenium, Kepala Batas, Penang. I had a good opportunity to visit some of the people around my booth.

Dell - Asset Recovery Service:


Among them are some feel good companies who offering exciting services to the community. The best one come from Dell Computer with its "Asset Recovery Service". It is a service which helps you with disposing unwanted computer equipments such as desktop, notebooks, servers, monitors and computer peripheral.

But they have a problem, there is no dedicated web site to handle this thing (other than IT-Sideways..), nevertheless one may contact them through the following numbers:
Malaysia: 1-800-88-0640
Singapore: 1-800-394-7419
Thailand: 1-800-006-009

So they are helping the environment, good for them. However, free transportation and cash reimbursement may be subjected to considerations. For this perhaps, has a good and bad side of it. The good part is that they are considering the goodwill of other competiting businesses which purchase unwanted circuit board from customers for a fee (if Dell does it free, then those businesses will face inevitable threat). The bad side of it is that if I am going to pay for someone to carry away my rubbish, I might as well dump it outside to feed the sun and rain.

Personally, I used to keep spoiled computer pheripheral because I felt that they could be recycled away, it would be a waste for those transistors to be dumped to the waste land. I have tried to contact some people who offered such services, but most of the time, these people never show up. Perhaps Dell could save the day.

Virtual Malaysia:
This company attracted my atttention because I too have a vision to setup a virtual tourism web portal. I approached them anxiously, hoping that they would somehow figure out a way to solve the kind of conceptual challenges i have identified. Sadly, they haven't come close.

well, perhaps the technology is not yet ready and they are evolving. However, having visited the website, I would like to congratulate them for having a huge contents (which i have no time to appreciate all) and that it must be a great challenge for them to dig new contents and maintain it.

of course, they create for themselves a content management system called C-Flex. Using it for themselves and also hoping to challenge CMS-heavy weight the Media Shoppe. If you insist to know, Media Shoppe just closed a deal with AirAsia (how jeolous we are..)

meye:
This is a web site done by a company called iNavigate S/B. It allows one to have the meye (mobile eye) whenever, wherever. Basically, this is how it work. If you have a web cam a home, by connecting it to the PC and broadband, you can see what is happening in your house through your handphone. Registration is free, RM20 for each new camera set up and RM10 monthly subscription fee. The big amount of money comes from GPRS charges (it would be great if you have 3G)

So, it is using WAP technology and you need to install a software to the computer operating the webcam. Personally, I felt that this a great solutions, except that the idea of having a PC running all the time at your house is a bit discouraging due to the following facts:
1. Hot environment spoil the PC, unless you keep the aircon operated all the time.
2. Potential lightning problem which may affects the PC and broadband router.
3. PC is too expensive to be used as complement to the webcam. We probably need a set-top device that can provide as alternative.

Innovating Vision:
Vitroxhas won many awards, and it doesn't matter anymore. The marketing manager is quite shy one, I tried to talk to her, she walked away :( The marketing assistant is more approachable.

Okay, what they are doing is great one. They developed software and hardware for vision-technology. Currently, their technologies can be applied for manufacturing inspection. For instance, if you have an assembly line which produces chocolate and you wanted to inspect the chocolate for completeness to avoid the possibility that workers might deliberately give them a bite. The software algorithm can help you with that, virtually performing inspection by "looking" at the chocolate and determine whether they have been "raped" before packaging. This is serious issue!

According to the sales engineer, currently, one system can operate up to 5 cameras and is capable of performing really fast (depending on complexity); 50 units of IC inspection per hour.

But that is not it for them, what I like about Vitrox is that they are not just focusing on selling inspection technology, their R & D work towards vision technology can be applied in other areas. And that is where the future lies for them, a good potential. Something for me to learn as well.

Air Asia:
We all know what Air Asia is doing, providing cheap air flight. They were there to propose the "8 Steps registration process" for getting an air-ticket.



Axiomatic Solutions:
This is the company I am representing, developer of C compiler which can generate Java Bytecode; AMPC.AMPC is a tool for software development. It is a home-grown product and the first of its kind commercially available in MSC. We intend to introduce AMPC to the mainstream education actitivies in Malaysia to cushion the introduction of computer programming among the schoolers. We believed such initiative would have a positive impact towards the software development competency of our future workforce down the road. This is analogous to the idea of the setup of badminton and football schools in Malaysia.

Up to date, we are liasing with smart-education enterpreneurs, universities and research institutes for our ground work. We have plans to lift it off the ground further to benefit the country as a whole.

At the same time, we are also providing the following professional services based on our knowledge in the area of compiler technologies:

· Software porting services.
· Customized programming compiler.
· Consumer device development tools’ bundling.

Personally,I see a lot of potential in this company. It is a truly computer science fundamental technologist. Like Vitrox, we can reapplied our technology to other area as well, such as learning and articifial intelligence.

Brandon Teoh

Cherry Asia Limited & Win-Tek solutions S/B:

They are providing a keyboard + smart card reader (for my card):

Specification:
1. EMV approved
2. PC/SC compatible
3. Secure Pin Entry
4. Top-mount card reader.
5. USB interface, landing contact.
6. MTBF 200,000 insertions
7. OS: Win 98/ME Win2k & WinXP
8. Linux capable for G83-6702 model only.

Applications:
1. Mykad registration system (MRS)
2. PKI & Digital Signature
3. e-Perolehan & e-filing.
4. e-Government & e-services.
5. e-Banking & Home Banking
6. e-Commerce & Internet Payments
7. Access Control & Data Encoding.

Wah, what it means is that Mykad is the answer for all the e-Community applications and sadly, you need a reader for it, and this is the solutions. Not bad, I am impressed. Actually IRIS Cooperation Bhd who was present at the exhibition also provides for Mykad reader.hmm.. perhaps this all will work, maybe it is time to change my keyboard.

But I am just wondering how they manage to know the architecture for myKad, which allow them to create software for it.. Should it be a public information? I also want to create application for myKad, but don't know where to get the information.

Other participants are:
1. Fujitsu - Featuring a robot which they sold to NASA - for research.
2. MCMC
3. Media Shoppe - TMS
4. Telekom & Celcom
5. Intel - Featuring Wimax
6. Mimos
7. Streamyx reseller.

A great event indeed. Special thanks to the MDC team under Sharon Leong; a passionate visionary.

Friday, September 09, 2005

MSC ICT Fair 2005



I came to the event with much anticipation that I am going to close a one million dollar deal for my company. Having in mind the kind of person I am targetting (CEO or M.D) that I was set-off with a good intention and left-off with a different experience.

I haven’t been able to close any million dollar deal, yet I did make myself known to many people. And some of them would be visiting this blog one day.

So, no deal for me, the ICT event was organized in conjunction with the 9th IAP(Internationaly Advisory Panel) meeting for MSC. The official meeting was held on 8th September 2005 at the Vistana Hotel however the opening ceremony was held on 7th September 2005 at Dewan Millenium, Kepala Batas, Penang. The only reason that this whole thing were being held at the north side of Malaysia is that Penang is hometown to our honourable Prime Minister, Data Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The organizer; MDC is pretty smart at the marketing. If you are going to hold any event at the prime minister’s hometown, you get a treat of cheaper marketing cost. Nevertheless, the real reason is actually due to the fact that the theme for the ICT event is “E-Community”. It encompasses the following applications:

1. Smart education
2. E-Government
3. Telehealth
4. Smart Card New Application Center
5. E-Business
6. Penang Development Corporation
7. Pusat Internet Desa
8. Meda InfoDesa
9. AgriBazaar - Mimos Bhd



The timing and location is perfect. Kepala Batas is currently still rural area in Penang. People would be excited with E-Community applications as compared to city folks. And I strongly believed that the organizer did put in a lot of planning and smart thinking to have created such wonderful event where basically by introducing the people to e-community based applications, the following hopeful can be achieved later.

1.Increase awareness about I.T in the rural area.
2.Encourage people to buy PC and having a broadband connection.

Streamyx the monopoly:
Therefore, streamyx is either lucky or smart to be present at the event. The fact that there is no other broadband provider available for Penang folks; comparing to that, Klang Valley has a few braodband providers such as C.N.X, Time broadband, Soma and even Jaring.

Thus, let me endorse this that there is no fault in MDC’s planning, everything is about cost-saving these days. We have move into a survival age, only the fittest survive. Try to think what would happen if we introduce them the broadband and PC first before the application? The outcome is that not only the response would be bad, yet also there would not be any passive consequences because rural people don’t see the need to be paying RM88 per month for Internet connection and some even think that it is silly to have computer at home.

Good Response:
JPJ is having an application where visitors can check for traffic summons status and it attracts a lot of attention and awareness. Of course, there is nothing fantastic about the application, just reading some data from some HD. But perhaps the beauracratic challenges overcome is something worth recognized, salute. Malaysian are finally given more transparency and conveniences.




Problems with blogging:
I should focus on the problems of blogging, that it is not high-tech enough. I actually have no opportunity to blog for the last four days.. The hotel which I stayed has no broadband connection, the shops surrounding it offer no coffee-bean and I just have to defer the blogging job.

I think we seriously needed something more sophisticated, something which I can blog on the fly; as I walk and talking to people, I should be able to capture observations and create conclusions. We needed a presentation engine badly, having content management engine is not good enough already.

Problems are not restricted to my hands being tied down, yet also applies to the infrastructure around me. It finally make sense to having 3G services which allow me to login to the Internet anywhere in the country, without having to wait and pray for hotels to adopt free broadband connection for customers.

Jobs to be grabbed:
For those of you interested with finding new jobs, the following companys actually advertised for jobs opening. (Please send your application now)

Conclusion:
The biggest gainer of this event is the community of kepala batas and places around it. We have people from all walks of public sector attending it, ranging from nurses, teachers, students and even the army have expressed interest with computer programming. This is fantastic. On the 8th September, the whole of Penang educational sector attended the event and on th 9th of september 2005, we have visitors coming from Kedah and Perak. Like I mentioned early, the organizer really had big discount towards their marketing expenditure because the only advertising component is the honarable prime minister of malaysia, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; Pak Lah. And they are not paying a cent to him, imagine having invited Ms. Amber chia or Mawi of Akademy Fantasia to be the star attraction which wouldn't be free altogether.

The rural folks, especially young unmarried ladies are delighted to have people like me visiting their places for the first time. It must have been a long haul of boring drive for them, living in those peaceful and unhappening society for their whole life, however the fact to the matter is that I admire the kind of life they endowed. I really do, KL city life is really sucks.

Children from all over the places, were so delighted with the event. It gave them a peek into the real world, what is beautiful and ugly, a relief to their monotony thirst. If you look at their faces, they hope that we will never leave this place that this event will be carried on forever, because they wanted to come here everyday. But sadly, we all have to go back to meet realities, the only thing that matter is that you have been there for once. This moment is theirs.



Sunday, September 04, 2005

Korea-IT839 Strategies



On 25th August 2005, IITA (Institute of Information Technology Assessment) of Korea had a MoU signing ceremony with its Malaysian counterpart Mimos Bhd to enable partnership.

I was invited to the ceremony and found that the main agenda is to enable Korea to penetrate the middle east market. The followings are some information why Korea is interested with middle east market.

1. The internet user is 21.5 million
2. GDP, Korea ranked 11th in the world
3. ICT industry is the core industry for them. (total of 14% contributed to GDP and 30% contributed to export)
4. 80% of population lives in the urban while 98% located from telephone station.
5. They terminate 10-15% of project yearly. The freeze funds are recycled back to new projects.
6. They are lacking core technology and would always cooperate with US like IBM, HP and etc.
7. Their successes is greatly attributed to CDMA, TRAM and etc.
8. They are having around 50-70 projects currently and the total cost of it is USD 325 million.
9. They have a USD400 million dollar budget for R & D and most of the projects are top-down (means centrally controlled)
10. They make use of their neighbour Japan (as inventor), China (core producer), vietnam (as testing ground) while Korea itself in charge of commercialization.

Based on these 10 points, it seems like they are having saturation problems. That is why they need Malaysia to link to over to the Middle East. But are they for real ? Do they really need Malaysia as the link to middle east just because we are a muslim country?

I know why...
For a second, I thought that they are sincere, but then after having done the following research, I finally found the real answer.

1. First of all, their
total population is = 47 million (south korea) + 21 million(north korea) = 68 million. This mean that they are not facing any saturation yet.
2. Along with the MoU signing, they also presented Malaysian participant with their IT strategy called the IT839 strategy. I had the documentation digitized and you can
download it from here.

Answer
After having going through the documentation, copying line per line, I realized the reason for Korean to specifically brief Malaysians, especially Mimos about their plan in order to achieve few things:
1. To show off. (not priority)
2. Marketing & awareness (not priority)
3.
To avoid competition by psychologically demotivate Malaysian for reason that those technologies mentioned in their documentation has been maturely developed and there is no need for us to perform R & D anymore in related area. Should we require anything, just liaise with them. (Priority)

Think about this, if someone having the interest to initiate R & D in the area of VOD (video on demand), he or she might feel de-motivated because when the time is ready for the fruit to bear, the market would have already been saturated. But we can only assume that all Koreans are as good as their Samsung and Kia counterpart, couldn’t there be slightest chance of further discount? We can only guess, unless equipped with strong market intelligence, we may never succeed to overcome the worry of sudden paradigm death due to globalization. To understand this better, try to watch the movie Basic Instinct (forget the sexual part) where basically confidence defies all.

Psychologically, we have been invaded and lost the battle. By signing the MOU, is Malaysian having more confidence or less confidence. We can only inform the world that we have the following flagship applications. Perhaps we are not a dreamer, we believe in building foundations. We know what we are doing, by leveraging on our natural resources, Singaporeans, Koreans, Hong Kong and Taiwan all have to work double hard to achieve our comfortable level. But sadly Malaysian has always been overslept even though our natural resources haven’t stop working for us until now.

TX & T-Schwarzenegger:
Let’s quote another example. Have you guys watched the movie “Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machine”. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminator was captured by the resistance (on a mission to assassinate John Connor) and sent back to the past to protect John Connor and future wife Kate Brewster. The enemy however, sent back a better machine called the TX. According to the movie, T-Arnold is outdated compared to TX. This means the enemy deliberately sent an older machine to the human side to play safe for the possibility that in case the machine is captured and reprogrammed, machine would still on the high side. The script of the movie never deliberately mentioned this fact, but it could be part of the “hidden” agenda. Nevertheless, it is not really important because TX eventually failed, perhaps she was too busy tidying her hair.

If you look at the official document given to all participants (Malaysian), it is basically crap. It is not any specification nor a business plan. It is just telling that Korea will lead this and lead that and please bear with them. But one thing for sure, it is very obvious that they mean business, every suggestion is concluded with the expected results in monetary sense. Despite claiming that they are supposed to improve daily life and etc, we can pretty much say that IT business is about money, and not about saving and improving life, which is merely an excuse, just like the promise of biotech. (who really needs biotech anyway?)

Where is Malaysia?
Malaysian 7
Flagship Applications under MSC Initiative:
1. E-government
2. Multi-purpose card
3. Smart school
4. Telehealth
5. R & D cluster
6. Technopreneur development
7. E-business
Can you see the difference between IT839 and this ?

Malaysia, where is our direction? Is there anything left for us to do now. The world is left with Middle East and China, two virtually untapped markets. This is based on the fact that the US and Europe isn’t going to buy anything from us, sometimes our eyes are to weak to spot the fact that Mat-Sallehs look down on Asian.

Can we afford to wait for another ten years, by focusing on fundamental R & D while serving the ICT realm with normal casual-going attitude and depending on the natural resources?

Their Intention:
They want to make us as the market. Therefore, in conjunction with that, KAIT (Korean Association of IT) will be organization a ICT events from 7-9 September at MiECC (Mines international convention center). The following Korean companies will be coming to town.

CompanyBusiness Type
icraftMC-Printer, MC-Reader, Mobi-Hoo
AdvanceTechEmbedded Computer, I/O Module, DVR product
AnyFillUniversal Cellular phone charger
BangsolATM Middleware
BangsolRFID Reader , Tags, Controller & Writer
DMuzeCANNY - Home Entertainment Hub
GS-TeletechRepeater for mobile telecommunication service / Power Amplifier
HG-TelWireless Communication Equipment, ( System & RF Module )
HitSI, SM, Payment Package
innohitekRF Passive Component & Optical transceiver and RF small Repeater
KobricsIP based ADSL DSLAM , Ethernet, Gigabit Switch, VoIP phone, Gateway
KobricsPDA, Mobile Printer
KobricsxDLS, Mobile Game
Neh-ftechVoIP Gateway - IP Phone - Router
Neh-ftechCTI Technology(Contact Center)
S1Radio Frequency Identification , Smart Cards, Security Solutions
xenoinfoAuto-Internet Broadcasting & Web-Casting Solution Enco-magic
VIA-ScopeIPScan System
dit-totecSemi Conductor Key Door Lock System, Fingerprint Identification Door Lock System, Common Functions
egiskoreaXDWORLD Builder & XDWORLD Builder Pro, Viewer, Development Kit
fusion softMobile S/W, PMP, PDA Phone Solution, Cell DB
K-BitWeb Camera, FM Transmitter
K-BitAdd-on 3D Ultrasound Imaging solution
Win-itechLBS, Emergency Management System, Call Center
TaihanCable and Acc’y, GE-PON , Network Integration based on Turn-key
ValoxGE-PON (optical broadband access equipment)

They claimed that they are looking for business-matching. But i really doubt that, knowing that Malaysian is in fact the emerging market, apart from Middle East and China, they are hoping to grap the pie from Malaysian companies.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Management Guru


We all have teachers, I have very little of them. Still, there are many virtual ones. I am not sure who is considered as a great management guru. I only know that for computer gurus we have people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, James Gosling, John Chambers and etc.

Recently, I have identified someone where we all can learn from. He is at a much higher level than any CEO around the globe, for the reason that he is the CEO of around 4 millions people. In fact, he is the Prime Minister of Singapore, BG Lee Hsien Loong.

Recently, during the national day celebrations, he gave yet another aspiring speech. Based on the speech which covers 3 languages, it is witnessed that many concepts preached can be applied to corporate management areas.

His main agenda was that Singapore is very different from 40 years ago, comparing to China with a history of more than 2000 years as recorded in artifacts, Singapore is still pretty much a baby, Malaysia is still in the worm I guess. Therefore, he reckoned that had Singapore been not working hard for the last 40 years, Singapore would be irrelevant to the world as at today. Therefore, it is important for Singapore to keep evolving. But he is having no clear foresight.

The followings are concepts preached:
1. Innovations and enterprising.
2. R & D.
3. Mindset change.
4. Help people so that they help themselves in order to help the situation.
5. Categorization of educations at the higher level. Number of graduates n descending order; Universities, Polys and Schools. Polys’ student can get degree too, but not awarded by Singapore university.
I can understand this, let me explain to you. Basically this is a society problem and it happens in Malaysia as well. Those graduated from a real university must be considered more honourable than those graduated from college. The reason is that if there is no quota for excellence, then there is no elite. Since all politicians of Singapore considered themselves elite, they have a reason to protect something. It is easier to understand that a principal of a local college go about preaching that his college is the best in the world, but he won’t register his children in his own college, he would opt for the “second” best.
6.Insurance coverage for everyone.
7. Improve service culture.
8. Vibrant living and working environments
9. Singapore spirit – one nation, one city, one people.

Conclusion:
A good management style must be identified with certain degree of kiasu-attitude where you just want to make sure that the possibility of having problems and failure is low. You can afford to lose but not too much. The real management guru is the one who is able to figure out the best solutions out of “a chicken and egg” situation.