Monday, December 15, 2008

Walt Mossberg, Up Close and Personal

We've got the whole world in our hands. Or, at least we will in the next couple of years if we own a new class of handhelds. Handheld devices was the primary focus of a panel discussion, held last month, featuring Wall Street Journal columnist, Wall Mossberg, and Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

The panel discussion dubbed, "The Future of Wireless Communications," was presented by MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta. Mossberg was in rare-form (crass, but humorous) at the sold-out event. Mossberg covers personal technology and, to that end, the panel discussion was very consumer-centric.

Mossberg compared the emergence of handhelds to the introduction of the personal computer. He questioned de la Vega on the fairness of AT&T being the exclusive carrier of the iPhone. Of course, de la Vega defended this exlusivity by stating that AT&T's substantial investment subsidized Apple taking the iPhone to market and, more importantly, brought the 3G iPhone to its current $200 price point. According to de la Vega, AT&T invested $500 million in its network BEFORE the iPhone launched to ensure the network could handle the increased capacity. Oddly enough, de la Vega would "not disclose" the length of the exclusivity contract between AT&T and Apple, which was wiidely reported as a five-year deal.

de la Vega talked a lot about the 4G iPhone and the migration to LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile broadband system. LTE will deliver 100Mbps per channel and give consumers performance comparable to today's wired broadband, de la Vega said. LTE should be rolled out in 2010-2011.

Mossberg also dinged the iPhone for its dropped calls and short battery life. And, to his credit, he also mentioned other products in the market including the BlackBerry Storm and the Google G1.

After a one-on-one between Mossberg and de la Vega, Phillip Alvelda and Professor Joy Laskar joined the panel. Alvelda is the founding CEO of MobiTv, the world's leading provider of live television, VOD, and digital music over mobile and broadband networks. Laskar is the Schlumberger Chair in microelectronics in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.

There was some (brief) discussion about wireless networks, including WiMax open source (mobile) platforms including Android and Symbian.

In closing, Mossberg asked the panelists what company would they start if not in their current roles. de la Vega would create a technology to link various components, (handhelds, television, computer), that are not connected today. Alvelda would focus on inexpensive technology to appeal to emerging markets, such as India which is netting 100 million new mobile subscribers a year.

The MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta is a not-for-profit organization that provides educational programs and services that promote innovation and entrpreneurship between the business and technology sectors in the Southeast. Annual membership starts at $150. All you MIT grads only have to pay $90.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rumble in the Concrete Jungle: ABC vs. AJC Tech Reporters

Nothing is more valuable to a public relations professional than getting inside the heads of reporters. Urvaksh Karkaria, technology reporter for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and Kristi Swartz, technology reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, allotted us an hour to do just that.

On Thursday afternoon, PRSAGA’s Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted a Q&A session with Urvaksh and Kristi.

Shannon Renter (Servigistics) cut right to the chase by asking the panelists which paper to pitch an exclusive story to. Lois Rossi (Manheim) gauged the reporters’ interest in a new auto industry trend while Brian Boudreaux (Arketi Group) inquired about the evolving landscape of print and online journalism.

The meeting wrapped up with host Michael McCullough (Edelman) asking about pitching strategies for PR pros. For more information about PRSAGA’s Technology SIG, visit
(Amy Leefe, Arketi Group, reporting)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amazing First-Hand Account of Tech Reporter's Experience in Mumbai

Recently a few of us from Arketi were speaking with Urvaksh Karkaria, the technology reporter for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, at a PRSAGA event and he shared with us that he was in Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008, the day of the terrorist attacks on the city.

Urvaksh was there to celebrate his wedding with family and friends. His account of what he experienced is chilling. We are all glad to have him and his wife home in Atlanta!

You can read his article, Wedding party dissolves in fear, by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

OK...Print is Not Dead...

This article (and report) is worth reading...while there continues to be strong support for print media among the "C-Suite" the online numbers are impressive and really do beat out print in terms of "top information source"...

Business Leaders Voraciously Consume Print, TV, Internet

Despite recent gloom-and-doom reports for some traditional print and broadcast media, the highest echelon of C-Suite business executives in the US remain heavy consumers of newspapers, TV and magazines in addition to online sources, according to the Business Elite: USA 2008/2009 Survey (pdf) from Ipsos Mendelsohn.

The study, which examines the media habits, technology use and top concerns of affluent businesspeople, finds that print readership among this demographic - though down slightly from 2007 - remains relatively stable across categories. Findings also indicate that the “Business Elite” turn to different media sources for different types of news.

Some 88% of the Ipsos Mendelsohn’s Business Elite report reading the last issue of any print media, with 60% having read the last issue of any daily publication, and 57% saying they read the last issue of any monthly publication.

Source: Marketing Charts

Half BtoB Marketing Spending Online

Online is is where everyone goes FIRST to check you marketing is a must in every BtoB public relations and marketing program...yet again the numbers prove it!

Hearst survey finds nearly half of b-to-b marketing budgets spent online

Cleveland—Nearly half of b-to-b marketing budgets are spent on online programs, according to a survey by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group.

The online survey of 99 b-to-b marketers was conducted in August and September.

It found that an average 47% of total marketing budgets are spent on online tactics, including Web site development, online advertising, search marketing, webcasts and social media.

“The sense of urgency to move to online marketing has been felt by leading marketing organizations for some time now, but the extent to which budgets have been redefined is dramatic,” said Joel Goldstein, president of Goldstein Group.

The survey found that trade shows account for 17% of b-to-b marketers’ budgets; direct marketing accounts for 12%; and print accounts for 11%.