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August 25 2013

June 23 2013


Some say our world is now connected. Connected maybe, but we’re far from global access that’s for sure.
Today I came across a singular project: TXTBKS, simple, low tech but certainly transformational.

It seems that Philippine’s school aged kids might carry as much as 22 books on a daily basis (not a far fetch reality back in old Europe too, but I believe today’s reality is much better since my “long forgotten” school time). Technology might be the only solution when school reforms are far or too slow, so Smart, the Philippines’ largest telecom, took their mission to “make text light and easy” further than ever. So they turned to the only widely available technology: feature analog mobile phones.

Smart SMS TextBooks

Over six months, textbook authors and publishers refined official school texts into 160-character text messages, which were then programmed into the inboxes of thousands of inactive surplus sim cards – giving birth to the TXTBKS – full books stored into a SIM card, capable of turning even the oldest phones into a new kind of e-reader.


Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking towards what we already have a devise new uses.

March 20 2013

The Mobile Consumer (2013)

Nielsen just released their Mobile Consumer Report, it has some interesting facts on how much have changed lately. The most important note seems to be the reach of critical mass for mobile device ownership in many countries, although in many countries (like Russia) people even rely on more than one device to stay connected:

How many of us use a mobile phone?


Although there are big differences in the kind of devices used across developed and non-developed markets. Feature phones still beat smartphones in emerging markets like India, proving the need and market for cheaper, entry level smartphones for those markets:

Smart/Multimedia or Feature Phones?

Mobility means for most use cases the use of social networks and games and mobile shopping still means a lot of product evaluation and price comparison rather than actual mobile shopping:

What do we do with our smartphones?

When we look at the actual applications usage, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter and eBay consistently rank in the top 10 sites among mobile web users around the world proving that our mobiles are indeed responsible for a big part of our attention deficit if you ask me ;)

Which Apps do We use?

Unfortunately access is far from universal and the amount people pay for “being connected” still varies a lot, and in many cases and countries have even a direct correlation with usage with most users where data plan prices are higher (like India and Russia)opting for more flexible, less expensive options, such as “pay-as-you-go” data pricing, or taking advantage of WiFi connectivity:

How much does mobile service cost? How much does mobile service cost?


As conclusion, there’s still much to go before we can talk about a true universal mobile access, and while we becoming more and more connected through our smartphones we’re still far from extracting their true power. The full report is extensive and also covers mobile video and mobile advertising which weren’t key to me, but which I actually recommend reading if you’re interested in those topics.

March 04 2013

The mobile economy in 2013

The full report presented an interesting view on the current mobile market trends, although very positive it’s impossible not to see the slowdown of previous years growth. Revenues will increase, subscribers as well, but things aren’t going to be as great as they have been before..

It’s a forecast, but I’m not really impressed by these numbers, but it could be a wrong reading not sure, so here are my comments:

GSMA Mobile Economy 2013

Considering that we are roughly 7 Billion persons today (but we won’t be much more in 2017 – 2020 seems to be the year we might pass the 8bn threshold) the growth from 3.2 to 3.9 Bn mobile subscribers by 2017 doesn’t leave me impressed. It clearly means we still have much to do on the front of universal access, as according to this numbers we’ll still have only roughly 50% of the world population connected. The number of connections seems impressive, but then again this will be mostly due to the internet of things and all the new connected machines it will bring.

LTE seems it will only be a reality for a fifth of the connected ones, ok, this is a global number, meaning that more evolved markets will see a much better picture and others will not, fair enough, but not impressive either, specially considering that some of the less developed markets could leapfrog directly to LTE when it’s time to evolve or deploy their new networks.

GSMA Mobile Economy 2013

Globally voice will still grow, but clearly not as much as messaging and data, although a big part of the voice will probably also be data, right?

GSMA Mobile Economy 2013

It’s good to see Joyn (the project I worked on for Vodafone) get a special highlight here on the future communications page on the report, although I personally believe it’s a critically and much needed technology upgrade to increase the overall quality of mobile user experience (fixing seriously broken experiences like video or file sharing, but also general terms of interoperability), I have to say that at the current market launch plans and delays, I’m not certain where it will be in 2017, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed and eyes open for developments there.

But then again, I’m still going through the report, have a read yourself, the full report is here, enjoy ;)

February 19 2013

December 31 2012

Here comes 2013 – Our life means WE should do what you love and make sure we do it often!

Watching the Sea

Another year, another 366 days, time simply flies by…
It’s time to pack 2012, and embrace 2013!

2012 was a good year, not great, a healing year, the first without some very important family members, I still miss terribly, but I also managed to get myself up from the ground and try to keep sadness at bay. In 2012 I travelled a lot, visited new and amazing places, met great people, had great conversations with new and old friends, worked like a crazy, gave my best and loved all the way through it, sometimes the best advice for bad thoughts is really to go without having time to think. I started something special in 2012 which I hope to continue to work and bring to life in 2013, I’m also rising from the ashes my favorite conference and I got back on track into doing what I what I love – it’s all about great experiences, so let’s meet and rock on 2013!

My dear family and friends, I failed to meet a good number of you in 2013, I failed to check on many of you, it wasn’t about you, it was about me being broken and hurt. So for 2013 my only and true wish is that we manage to meet, chat, eat and laugh and to do all the good things friends can do when we’re together!

We can all do with a better year, so for all of you who 2012 wasn’t even close to something good, let’s make sure that we fix that in 2013. I start by sharing with all of those close to me the “The Holstee Manifesto” my motto for 2013:

The Holstee Manifesto

August 22 2012

OHM2013 - Observe. Hack. Make.

July 31st – August 4th – Geestmerambacht, NL
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