This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 issue of Next Gen Mobility.
Track the Field
Machine-to-machine technology is making its mark in the sports arena as well.
For example, a company called flaik supplies tracking systems for various resorts and sports applications. A ski resort could use the technology to track skiers on a mountain to ensure they do not go missing.
Recently, flaik expanded its reach to international markets via an agreement with Orange (News - Alert) Business Services, which offers M2M wireless connectivity to support flaik’s tracking systems anywhere in the world. Orange and its international M2M Center located in Brussels provide flaik with a single source for managing its global M2M connectivity requirements, along with local implementation of the SIM cards and local contract negotiation support.
Today, the two companies are delivering solutions in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. They plan to roll out the solution in short order to additional countries throughout Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific.
Said flaik CEO Steve Kenny: “Only Orange offered the global M2M connectivity with the scale, scope and security that we require. We can now expand beyond our North American roots and offer our services globally. With help from Orange, we are now rapidly expanding on one million plus skiers that we’ve tracked since our launch at Steamboat Resort and Copper Mountain in 2009.”
The Agony of Defeat
Sony is one of the brands most prominently associated with games and TV – but the company, and its shareholders, have not seen much in the way of fun in the past few years.
After taking the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009, Howard Stringer commented: “I wish I could tell you I’m recession-proof. Nevertheless, Gary [Shapiro, the president and CEO at CEA] thought I could offer something uplifting.”
The charming Stringer certainly did, inviting onto the stage actor Tom Hanks, Disney (News - Alert)/Pixar executive/director John Lasseter, Oprah pal Dr. Mehmet Oz, baseball great Reggie Jackson, DreamWorks Animation exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, and singer Usher, who performed.
What Stringer failed to lift, however, were Sony’s financial results. And Stringer’s replacement as president and CEO, Kazuo Hirai, isn’t having much better luck.
“Sony’s latest strategy sees it settling to live in the shadow of Samsung and Apple,” said Andrew Ladbrook, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media (News - Alert) this summer. “In the past week Sony announced that it was likely to post record losses of 6.4 billion. Today, new CEO Kazuo Hirai announced the latest strategy to try and turn the company around. Much of the talk focused on the idea of ‘One Sony’ but many have tried and failed to make Sony at least as valuable as the sum of its parts.”
Ladbrook added that although the games division at Sony remains strong, the company has lost ground as the wildly successful PS2 game console was updated to the new generation PS3.
“And despite Sony’s boasts of its strength in games, the company has managed to miss the boat for both mobile gaming and social gaming,” he continued. “Both sectors can offer substantial returns for only a low investment. And both appeal to much larger audiences [than] console gaming.”
Sony also has failed to make the most of its position on the TV front, according to Ladbrook.
“Despite being the third-largest flat screen TV manufacturer behind Samsung (News - Alert) and LG with expected shipments of 20 million TVs, Sony has made a loss from its TV division for 8 years in a row,” he said.Sony has seen four years of losses, its share price sliced in half, the planned elimination of 10,000 jobs, and 9,000 unhappy shareholders at its late June shareholder meeting.
Edited by Braden Becker