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The Telecom Digest for December 26, 2012
Volume 31 : Issue 300 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
The Learning Curve of Smart Parking (Monty Solomon)
Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users' Information (Monty Solomon)
Is Paying to Message Strangers a New Texting Business? (Monty Solomon)
Retailers Try to Adapt to Device-Hopping Shoppers (Monty Solomon)
Deciphering the Decline in Spanish Mobile Accounts (Monty Solomon)

====== 31 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:20:36 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: The Learning Curve of Smart Parking Message-ID: <p0624082cccfee7feb89d@[]> The Learning Curve of Smart Parking By RANDALL STROSS December 22, 2012 PLACE "smart" in front of a noun and you immediately have something that somehow sounds improved. In its current state, however, "smart parking" is in some ways little different from regular parking. The term refers to a beguiling technology, now being tested in several cities, that uses sensors to determine whether a particular spot on the street or in a parking garage is occupied or vacant. When a car has overstayed its allotted time, the technology can also send the information to a parking enforcement officer with ticket book in hand. The sensors' data can also be used to adjust parking prices, using higher rates to create more turnover on the busiest blocks and lower prices to draw drivers to blocks with underused spaces. Smart-parking technology for on-street spaces is expensive, and still in its early stages. The largest examples are pilot projects with costs covered primarily by grants from the federal Department of Transportation. In San Francisco, the SFpark pilot project uses sensors from StreetSmart Technology for 7,000 of the city's 28,000 meters. In Los Angeles, LA Express Park has installed sensors from Streetline for 6,000 parking spots on downtown streets. Cities are marketing the programs as experiments in using demand-based pricing to reduce traffic congestion - the kind caused by circling drivers desperately seeking parking spots - and to make more spaces available at any specific time. Drivers are encouraged to use mobile apps to check parking availability and pricing, though coverage is not universal. Parker, for example, from Streetline, gives detailed information about on-street parking for Los Angeles, but not for San Francisco. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/technology/smart-parking-has-a-learning-curve-too.html
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:30:24 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users' Information Message-ID: <p0624082eccfee983139c@[]> Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users' Information By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES, JEREMY SINGER-VINE and ASHKAN SOLTANI December 24, 2012 It was the same Swingline stapler, on the same Staples.com website. But for Kim Wamble, the price was $15.79, while the price on Trude Frizzell's screen, just a few miles away, was $14.29. A key difference: where Staples seemed to think they were located. A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. More than that, Staples appeared to consider the person's distance from a rival brick-and-mortar store, either OfficeMax Inc. or Office Depot Inc. If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price. ... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323777204578189391813881534.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** It may be that the best online deals are to be had while standing in the parking lot of a discount store in an economically depressed area of a city in the rustbelt. Or, perhaps, to have an app that makes online stores think you're their. Let the games begin! Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:14:53 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Is Paying to Message Strangers a New Texting Business? Message-ID: <p06240828ccfee6ac695c@[]> Is Paying to Message Strangers a New Texting Business? By BRIAN X. CHEN DECEMBER 24, 2012 Cellphone carriers are making less money from text messages thanks to free messaging services offered by Facebook, Apple and other tech companies. But now Facebook is running a test to see if it can make some money by charging people to send messages to strangers. Facebook said it started the experiment with a small percentage of users last week. For $1, a message sent to a stranger will show up in the recipient's in-box. Typically, when you send a message to people who aren't connected to you on Facebook, it shows up in a box labeled "Other," which is often ignored. ... http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/facebook-premium-messaging/
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:24:35 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Retailers Try to Adapt to Device-Hopping Shoppers Message-ID: <p0624082dccfee8e0ed5b@[]> Retailers Try to Adapt to Device-Hopping Shoppers By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and STEPHANIE CLIFFORD December 21, 2012 Ryan O'Neil, a Connecticut government employee, was in the market to buy a digital weather station this month. His wife researched options on their iPad, but even though she found the lowest-price option there, Mr. O'Neil made the purchase on his laptop. "I do use the iPad to browse sites," Mr. O'Neil said, but when it comes time to close the deal, he finds it easier to do on a computer. Many online retailers had visions of holiday shoppers lounging beneath the Christmas tree with their mobile devices in hand, making purchases. The size of the average order on tablets, particularly iPads, tends to be bigger than on PCs. So retailers poured money and marketing into mobile Web sites and apps with rich images and, they thought, easy checkout. But while visits to e-commerce sites and apps on tablets and phones have nearly doubled since last year, consumers like Mr. O'Neil are more frequently using multiple devices to shop. In many cases, they are more comfortable making the final purchase on a computer, with its bigger screen and keyboard. So retailers are trying to figure out how to appeal to a shopper who may use a cellphone to research products, a tablet to browse the options and a computer to buy. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/technology/as-shoppers-hop-from-tablet-to-pc-to-phone-retailers-try-to-adapt.html
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:19:08 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Deciphering the Decline in Spanish Mobile Accounts Message-ID: <p0624082bccfee7b4a73a@[]> Deciphering the Decline in Spanish Mobile Accounts By KEVIN J. O'BRIEN December 23, 2012 BERLIN - It would take the unimaginable - a major power outage, a natural disaster or a sudden, permanent loss of income - for many people to abandon their mobile phones. That is what appears to be happening in Spain in the midst of its economic crisis. But in the country's telecom sector, as in a Salvador Dali painting, there may be more than meets the eye. The Spanish regulator, Comisión del Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones, said last week that 486,183 mobile phone accounts were deactivated by Spanish operators in October alone, the ninth straight month of contraction that has seen two million prepaid accounts, or 9.4 percent of the current total, taken off networks since February. The biggest reason for the industry's difficulties is the most obvious: Spain's economic slowdown, highlighted by its 26.2 percent unemployment rate in October, including a jobless rate of nearly 50 percent among cellphone-conscious young consumers. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/technology/deciphering-the-decline-in-spanish-mobile-accounts.html
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