Tag Archives: USA

Credit cards still twice as popular as mobiles

Two interesting statistics that I found while researching payment systems and smartphones:

  • The US has a mobile penetration rate of 103.1%, i.e. for every 100 citizens, there are over 103 mobile phones. The US has 327,577,529 mobile phones.
  • There are around 600 million credit and debit cards in the US, a penetration rate of over 188%.

Continue reading Credit cards still twice as popular as mobiles

A British review of US sports and media offerings

Possibly the easiest signup form, presented by Fox Soccer
Possibly the easiest web signup form, implemented by Fox Soccer

This week I’ve been working from our newest sales office in Atlanta, USA. It’s been a great week, and we’ve met some really interesting (and super friendly) people and companies.

During the visit, I spent some time looking at the consumer media offerings over here. The US has often been ahead of the UK market when it comes to television, but the UK leads the world in some web offerings – such as grocery shopping and BBC’s iPlayer, so I wanted to see what the US has to offer. And it’s difficult to do this from the UK because so many sites are geo-blocked. Continue reading A British review of US sports and media offerings

Views from the US this week – Snowden, Waze and Alcatraz

What better way of preparing for a trip to the US than riding 100km around London from midnight?
What better way of preparing for a trip to the US than riding 100km around London from midnight?

This last week has been a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. It started on Saturday night with Nightrider London – cycling from Alexandra Palace in London via all the famous sites in London to Crystal Palace and back again. It was 100km of surprising hills and wonderful sites, and to make it slightly harder, I cycled from home to the start, and the start was at midnight. The aim of the ride was not only the exercise, but also to support the fantastic Kids Inspire charity which help children from challenging backgrounds (it’s not too late to donate).

As soon as I got back from the cycle ride I was off to Endava’s New York office. I travel to New York every six weeks or so to work with the team there. The office is three years old and already has a great client list spread across the United States, and there’s still a lot more opportunity in the market place.

This visit was slightly different because we had a sales presentation in San Francisco. I’ve been to San Francisco once before, also for a sales presentation (back in the IMG days). The last visit was first thing in the morning, so we flew into SF in the evening, had dinner with the client, presentation in the morning and flew straight back out.

This time, the visit was just as short – I was only in San Francisco for 20 hours, but the presentation was in the afternoon so I went for a run around the city centre and the docks in the morning where we saw Alcatraz and some seals. The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot, and the sales presentation went really well. All in all the city really appealed.

Unfortunately I could only stay on the west coast for a short period of time because I needed to get back for some prior meetings on Friday and we’re going on a family holiday for a special weekend (both my birthday – a big one, and a friend’s birthday).

Data privacy in the news

During my time in the US, the media was full of coverage about Edward Snowden, the latest so called whistle-blower who has told the press that the US government stores all the intra- and inter-American phone records.

The media has been balanced, mainly because the public opinion in the US is equally balanced. According to a poll of Americans, 56% found it acceptable that the government has this information. I agree. My opinion is that it’s similar to all the surveillance cameras we have in London – I don’t really care about them because I’m personally not doing anything wrong. And if, Heaven forbid, we get a nasty Right Wing government who might take advantage of all these phone records and cameras, well I expect I’ll have bigger issues to deal with than my phone record analysis.

Two of my favourite pieces of analysis about the Snowden incident were in the San Francisco Chronicle. First was Peter Scheer who wrote in an opinion column:

“The logic of warfare and intelligence has flipped. Warfare has shifted from the scaling of military operations to the selective targeting of individual enemies (think of “body counts” during the Vietnam War). Intelligence gathering has shifted from the targeting of known threats to wholesale data mining for the purpose of finding terrorists.”

And on a slightly lighter side (but there was a serious undertone to the article), Caleb Garling wrote an article with some advice on guidelines to avoid leaving a digital footprint.

“Do all your social networking in person at a local bar or restaurant – provided you pay cash for your drinks, there aren’t security cameras and no one takes your pictures and posts it to Facebook”.

Just imagine that last point – real world social networking!

Dotcom bubble

For my friends and colleagues in the UK who think we’re in another dotcom bubble, you’d have loved the front page of the newspaper. The headline was “Building on tech’s success, Job growth spurs record breaking need for apartments, condos”

The current need for housing the boom in the technology sector in Silicon Valley has exceeded the first Dotcom bubble. Astounding.

And to add fuel to the fire (or perhaps ‘adding washing up liquid to the bubble’), Google has officially bought Waze, which I’ve commented on previously. Google has bought it mainly so that no one else can buy it. Those competitors included Facebook and Apple. Spending $1.03bn on a defensive investment like this, for a company with no notable historical revenue (let alone profit) is a pretty big sign of the market.

This week in New York

One World Trade CenterI’ve been visiting our New York office this week, and had the privilege to meet many interesting people and companies.

Key points that stuck out were:

  • The American Airlines flight to New York last Sunday had free Wifi access for the entire journey. It’s very strange being able to iMessage Mrs H and the kids from the aeroplane, including sending them photos along the journey. And in case passengers’ batteries ran low from too much texting and surfing, there was a 3 pin UK electrical socket on every seat.
  • Whilst in New York, the antenna was erected on top of the Freedom Tower (or more correctly known as One World Trade Center), where the World Trade Centers once stood. The antenna makes the building 1,776 feet tall, which is the tallest building in the Western world. It was a memorable experience seeing the spire about to be raised the height of the building draped in the American flag.
  • Free Wifi is still relatively rare. All Starbucks have free Wifi, and some of the larger stores (Bloomingdales, Target, etc.). Bloomingdales deserves an award for having the longest terms of service to use the free Wifi. I was in a hurry and so I just pressed Accept.
  • Watching Piers Morgan was interesting because he interviews his subjects from such a UK mindset, which seems to wind them up (especially anything to do with gun control). Watching Twitter while his show was on transformed it into almost comedy entertainment, with some funny comments targeting him from the UK and the US.
  • FourSquare is still going strong. I checked into a few places which had over 100 people currently checked in (over 150 at JFK airport).

Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report

I can’t believe it’s been two and a half years since I last wrote about the Akamai State of the Internet Report.

The latest Akamai State of the Internet report has been released and as usual it’s interesting reading. The Internet continues to grow at a fast rate, both in terms of the sheer number of users and connectivity speeds. Unfortunately the side effects of security also continue to increase.

Akamai is a huge cache network of servers that make it faster for end users to access websites, and usually cheaper for the website company.

This means that Akamai stores the pages that we visit on a server closer to our computer. So when you visit say, www.domain.com, you might go to an Akamai server to see the content rather than domain.com’s server.

Akamai serves approximately two trillion requests for Web content every day. In the second quarter of 2012, over 665 million devices with an IP address, from 242 countries/regions, connected to Akamai.

Bearing in mind that in some cases multiple individuals may be represented by a single IPv4 address (for instance everyone in your home will probably share a single IP address, and most companies work on this model too), so this is likely to equal around a billion users.

Some highlights from this quarter’s report are below.


The top 3 countries with originating security attacks are (in order) China, USA and Turkey. These 3 account for 36% of the Internet’s security attacks.


The global average connection speed grew 13% to 3.0 Mbps, and the global average peak connection speed grew 19% to 16.1 Mbps

In the second quarter of 2012, average connection speeds on known mobile network providers ranged from a high of 7.5 Mbps down to 340 kbps. Average peak connection speeds for the quarter ranged from 44.4 Mbps down to 2.5 Mbps.


For users of  mobile devices across all networks (Wifi and the various cellular data networks), Apple’s Mobile Safari accounts for approximately 60% of requests, indicating that significantly more users of iOS devices use these devices on Wi-Fi networks — heavily driven by iPad and iTouch usage.


If you look at pure cellular data, the most common web browser is Android Webkit, which indicates a significant number of iOS users only use Wifi.


Amount of users (IP addresses)

  1. USA (142m IP addresses)
  2. China (93m)
  3. Japan (39m)
    UK is in 6th place with 26.5m
    Brazil grew the fastest – an extra 12% to 21.5m IPs


The full Akamai State of the Internet report can be found here.


Who will pay for content?


One of the meetings I had in New York was with NBC – one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in the world.

We had an interesting conversation ranging from world instability to the economy, sport and the army before we moved on to technology.

Since arriving in the US on the Sunday, I had heard many people explain how they no longer subscribed to TV networks (cable or satellite) and were now consuming all their content from Internet services. These services ranged from LoveFilm (subscription), Hulu (free, and advertising funded) and the amazing MLB.com to illegal streaming services (mainly for sport).

We agreed that this shift will accelerate. It will plateau – I don’t think all users will migrate from TV services, but we will see step changes, literally hundreds of thousands of users stop paying for subscription services as they move to Internet services.

I heard from another broadcaster while I was in New York that the only content that advertisers wanted to purchase is sport because of the evidence of users TIVO’ing (Sky+ or BT Vision recording) and missing the adverts out. Sport has become so dominant with advertisers because most of the time it is watched in real-time, and you can’t skip the adverts. So this broadcaster now sells packages to advertisers where sport is part of the bundle. You can’t just buy a sport advert slot any more. You have to buy the documentary channel at 3am if you want to buy the Sunday afternoon American Football slot. Brilliant!

That helps with the funding gap for advertisers. There will always be enough advertisers desperate to cover sports adverts. However, as users start to migrate to Internet services and spend less money overall on content, we are going to see a rapidly shrinking investment bucket for original content elsewhere. What will fund the new CSI, House, Heroes or documentaries? The broadcast networks are working hard to solve this problem at the moment.

One possibility is that Google or Apple (or maybe Microsoft but I think they’ve experienced enough losses from Xbox TV and film services to put them off) will become so successful at a closed-loop network that TV viewers will keep spending money through their content-stores and that will keep revenues high for content producers.

Photo of CSI: Miami writer Tamara Jaron and writer/co-producer Matt Partney at National Academy of Sciences booth, USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington, DC, courtesy of Adam Fagen on Flickr

New York report


The problem with holidays are that after returning to work, they seem to have happened so long ago! I’ve been back from holiday (please read the Holiday report) 3 weeks and it feels like… well, a lot longer.

Part of the reason it feels so long ago is that I returned to the UK on Tuesday 4th, flew to Germany to see a client (about a really fascinating new project – more details when I’m allowed to report it) and back on the 7th, and spent the 9th to 14th in New York meeting existing and [hopefully] new clients.

I love New York. I have a cousin who has lived in New York for a while, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit there several times.

Professionally, I’ve always thought that with such a huge home market, the US offers a more varied hi-tech labour market. In the UK, earning a salary in London rarely offers the opportunity to move to another city with the same standard of living or future flexibility. In the US you can experience the same standard of living (salary, house prices, etc.) up and down the East Coast, West Coast, and a dozen cities in between.

Cost of living – there’s nothing more sobering than listening to Americans talk about the cost of ‘gas’. Petrol to you and me. Gas in New York state is hovering at around $3.80 to $3.90 a US gallon. That’s £0.63p per litre. I filled up my motorbike when I returned home for £1.39 per litre. In conversation a fortnight ago I was lacking compassion for high ‘gas’ prices.

There were several events while I was in New York – it was the start of the American Football season on Monday, the final of the US Open on Monday, September 11th was on the Tuesday and it was Fashion week the whole time.

American Football – I have no comment. Although if I’d said that during a commentary, there would have been three ad breaks during that comment. OK, I do have a comment – it was the highest scoring opening weekend of American Football (I feel it’s necessary to always qualify the sport you assume the wrong shaped ball) and I’ve noticed how much bigger all the professional sports have become – more on the commercial aspect later.

The US Open was quite amusing. For the rest of the week, whenever a USan heard I was English, they wished me ‘well done’ on Murray’s first Grand Slam. The first couple of times I tried explaining the difference between English and British to no avail. If the Mexican’s or Canadians ever win something of note, I will wish those same people ‘well done’. Congratulations Murry.

September 11th was strange. It was the 11th anniversary and America is now trying to move on, which meant many of the memorial services are now being toned down and shortened. Going through that transition was always going to be painful. I read about NBC interviewing the mother of a reality TV show during the September 11th memorial service, but that was put into context on my train journey into work the day before when I was sitting opposite two chaps in their fifties also commuting.

“Are you guys working tomorrow?” One man asked his friend.

“Yes. What about you?” The friend answered.

“No, we have the day off as a memorial. I’ve organised a game of golf because I don’t get a lot of time on the weekends any more. You could have joined if you were also off.”

On my way into work I bought a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Naturally it was a drive through. It was a lovely coffee. Once I finished the coffee on the train I read the cup. You know what it’s like when you’re a bit bored. There were 10 copyrights and trademarks on the polystyrene cup. Everything that wasn’t produced directly from an animal was copyrighted. What’s the point of paying for a trademark for “Dunkin’ Decaf”? What’s wrong with just ‘Decaf’?

On to technology, it was also the announcement of the iPhone 5 while I was in New York (some disappointed colleagues in London thought I would be bringing a few handsets home). One of the expectations of “the 5” was a contactless payments capability. Go to New York and observe how far away they are from contactless payments – shops still swipe the magnetic strip. I never used Chip & PIN, and I told people (including some very bored cashiers) about contactless payments. The UK is so very, very far ahead of the US (well, New York) in payment types. It reminds me of how far ahead Europe was in mobile technologies. And on that note, USans still pay for incoming calls to the mobile. Why don’t operators just setup cold calling call centres?

Finally, one more observation. In every meeting that we had with senior managers, if we met them in their own office, they had Facebook open on their monitor. Every meeting, without exception.