Wednesday 25 July 2007

nr of Blue Skies hit the sky

The discussion about airpollution has dominated the media for the last months.

It was then even more surprising that when I picked up a newspaper last Saturday, the headline read:
Hong Kong would not be Hong Kong if this was opposed immediately.

The article stated that in a 10 week period from May to July, HKG has seen the lowest number of days with HIGH airpollution in the last 9 years. This means a limited period of time, rather then saying the airquality was such and so in the first half of the year.

It was used by the government to claim that improvement measures taken have the desired effect. Altough opposers didn't rule out the fact that there might be an improvement, their counter arguments were that its a short period of time, the winds have been favourable and.... altough there has been an increase in clear day numbers...the pollution levels are still not up to internernational standards.

The government used data gathered from roadstations that measure a number of factors like windspeed, temperaturre, humidity, and a the presence of a number of pollutants. The api (pollution index) can be found HERE

Anyway, I believe that improvement measures should be taken by all parties involved. Including business people operating cross border with China, locals in Hong Kong, governments etc.

Improving the environment is not that difficult. As long as I see people waiting in cars for a long time with the engine running so the aircon can be switched on, aircons in restaurants and shopping malls are on crazy cold then I am not sure whether people are really willing to improve.....

Saturday 21 July 2007

what happened to THREE's strategy?

Hong Kong is and has been on the forefront of telecommunication, not only in Asia but definitely worldwide.

The mobile market is one of the most competive markets in the world, and with a penetration of over 130% (yes, that means people have more than 1 phone) competition is full on.

The market is customer driven, which results in competitive prices, good packages and a constant flow of new innovative services.

I have been using THREE for around 3 years now and am considered one of their "SUPREME" customers, not sure what it means. Regularly they send me an sms to call them about a special offer, when I call them it is pretty much impossible to speak to someone that has a decent command of the english language. I get the promiss to call them back, which happened only once so far... but after 3 days. Interesting event, as I had the money in my hand to buy a new handset but they didn't want to take it.

So, I went to visit a THREE shop....hmm under construction. As was another one close to where I live. Also under construction.

It worked out to be a bit of a rebranding combined with the launch of..... I-MODE services. WHAT????? I-Mode, which is originally Japanese (NTT-Docomo), was launched in Holland by KPN years ago as well as a number of other countries Australia and UK. It never really took off but had its own niche market.

Basically it is like a private internet network. It is an environment with a limited set of services offered. In Japan this has been a serious hit, as there were many service providers on board. In Holland, there were some, but it was better accesible and usefull compared to regular internet access.

Now this is were the trick comes in. Mobile internet access has developed over the years. The connection speed is now getting up to levels that it is workable, providers have developed mobile sites, handsets and other tools are ready to go mobile.

The decision by THREE to start offering I-Mode is even more interesting now not only KPN has decided to "phase out" the service, but also big guys like an O2 and Telstra.

Is there still a need to use a "cordonned" off environment where as you are able to access the whole internet? I am not sure, but time will learn. Especially now other providers are offering mobile broadband......

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Beijing Mobilized?

The olympics in Beijing in 2008 drive many new initiatives in and around the city.

Activities like cleaning up and restoring major tourist areas as the forbidden city, the summer palace, numerous temples and of course increasing security measures around tianmen square to protect the visitors.

A very interesting initiative is a WAN deployment in the Chongwen district in Beijing.

On top of that a city information portal will be deployed. The portal will be providing information like maps, events, travel information etc. The cool bit is that this will be accesible online with PDA's, mobile phone, basically any device with WIFI.

I would be curious to see if only the portal can be accessed or the generic internet as well. THat would be a good challenge for blogging regulations etc I would say.

Cooperation takes place with a number of companies that build up experience with a similar excercise in Heidelberg Germany. The network there is called Heidelberg Mobil

Other companies involved are,, and

Now other then being absolutely cool for users I do see some ideas on linking virtual and the real world. How about the forbidden city in a 2nd life kind of environment?

Location based marketing and advertising for Mr Ho his noodlejoint.....a yellow pages site that in combination with google earth tells you where your company is and how to get there.

In short a very interesting development!

Posting inspired by an article in De Ingenieur, 25 May 2007.

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Beijing 2008: IP protection

That China is developing fast is no news, that Beijing is focusing on the 2008 Olympics is no secret either. They even start realizing the value of IP and are in touch with Hong Kong customs officers to train up their own staff on how to recognize fake products.

So the customs officers receive training on how to recognize the so called FUWA mascottes. There are basically 5 characters. a fish, a panda, a Tibetan antelope a swallow and the Olympic flame. They are symbols representing the so called five elements of sea, forest, fire, earth and sky.

The naming of the Olympics Mascots is actually quite interesting, as they are called BeiBei, JingJing, HuanHuan, YingYing and NiNi. When taking the first part of every name it leads to BeiJing HuanYing Ni! or in English, Beijing welcomes you!

Anyway, especially the Guangdong customs team, united with Hong Kong via the Guangdong/Hong Kong expert group on the protection of Intellectual Property are stepping up the efforts in clamping down on illegal copies of the FUWA materials sold. Results so far cover.....key hangers and a number of moulds to produce goods.

The main motivation behind it is obviously that all those articles bring in BIG CASH for the olympics organization...and who wants to loose out on that.

Monday 16 July 2007

WIFI on the mtr in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been in the frontline on communications development, not only in Asia but definitely globally.

It has one of the most competitive mobile phone markets, both in handset as well as on the delivery/service provider side. This is definitely a good thing for consumers as we get treated with lots of good offers.

On the internet area, 3-4 years ago I already had a 6mb connection, shortly going up to 8 whereas many of my European friends didn't even cross the 1mb line.... and they paid more then I did :)

Where many countries are still working on 2G, 2.5G, EDGE some even on 3G has Hong Kong already deployed "mobile internet", a 3.5G connection giving you workable internet speeds.

Mobile phone reception is good in the city, much of the country parks, and even in tunnels and the MTR (underground trains). What was missing for me is the availability of WIFI in many area's

Now when boarding the plane in Bangkok last weekend my eye was attracted to an article in the South China Morning post making a reference to WIFI becoming available in the trains. More postings on this has been done, for example by ZDNET

More then 2.5 million passengers use the MTR here, so this will give an opportunity to read emails, answer etc before getting into the office.

I am curious to see if this will have an effect on the sales of WIFI ready handsets...As in rush hour it will be way toooooo busy to sit down with your notebook on your knees.

An initial drawback could be the usage price of 20HKD/day, would love to see a good package for the other services provided (wifi in the city, internet connection at home etc). PCCW seems to be the provider, and they are on the right track with free wifi at HK airport....

Friday 6 July 2007

wanna c hk panda's?

It has been 10 years ago since Hong Kong returned to China after British rule.....

This has been extensively covered by CCTV channel 9 with some interesting views.....

A gift from "the motherland" to Hong Kong were 2 Panda's from the Wolong Panda center close to Chengdu. The panda's are called LeLe and YingYing

You can watch the Panda's here

Happy watching!

Tuesday 3 July 2007

back to the world....

my has been some time since the last posting.

DId a few trainingcourses in KL and Bangkok but more importantly went to Tibet for a short trip.

Our goal was to visit mt Kailash......

More to come soon!