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Authentication methods • Mar 2015

Next-generation authentication method will make smartphones more convenient, more secure

Fujitsu today announced that it has developed an iris authentication system and has built it into a prototype smartphone. Just by looking at the smartphone’s screen, the user’s iris gets read instantaneously, enabling the smartphone to be unlocked.

Currently, smartphones typically use either a password or fingerprint scan to unlock the screen or for other authentication purposes. Fujitsu’s new authentication method uses iris recognition, which is hard to forge and convenient to use. The screen can be unlocked simply by looking at it, which eliminates the trouble of having to use one’s hands such as at times when one is wearing gloves and cannot use one’s fingerprint. This results in a dramatic improvement in usability. In addition to unlocking smartphones, iris authentication could be used to log into web services without having to input an ID or password, enabling simple and secure access. Fujitsu will explore applying this technology to a wide range of fields, including security systems.

This prototype will be exhibited and demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2015, running from March 2 through March 5 in Barcelona, at the Fujitsu booth in Hall 5, 5A40.

Smartphones and tablets carry not only personally significant photos and videos, they also are where people access electronic money and personal information, and the importance of security for both personal and business is rising. In light of this, Fujitsu has focused on developing a number of authentication technologies for smartphones, tablets, and computers, including vein authentication for personal computers and fingerprint authentication for mobile phones. While smartphones all come with some form of security as a standard feature today, many users choose not to use these features because of the trouble of inputting a password or using one’s hands. To resolve this problem, Fujitsu developed
the new iris authentication system, which, in addition to being secure, offers ease of use.

About the Technology
1. A new form of biometric authentication using the iris
Iris authentication is one type of biometric authentication. It authenticates a person by authenticating the pattern of the person’s iris, which is the ring around the pupil of the eye. Fujitsu has succeeded in miniaturizing and optimizing existing iris authentication technology for incorporation into a smartphone. The pattern of one’s iris does not change much at all after the age of two, it is difficult to injure its surface, and is difficult to forge.

2. Using infrared light to acquire the iris pattern, and for registration and verification
Movements of the smooth muscle of the iris make human eye openings larger or smaller, adjusting the amount of light that enters the retina. Iris authentication technology discerns a person’s identity using the pattern of the person’s irises, which are unique for each individual, much like a fingerprint. That pattern is read by shining an infrared LED light (*1) on the eyes and taking an image of them with an infrared camera (*2) to acquire the iris pattern, which is registered and used to verify matches. The iris authentication system that Fujitsu has developed achieves highly precise authentication and is able to be used in smart devices for greater convenience.

Fujitsu’s Iris Authentication System
The parts that make up existing iris authentication systems have not had the size or performance that would lend them to use in smartphones. Fujitsu developed a custom compact and high-output infrared LED, and a custom infrared camera. These were combined with camera controller technology and biometric-authentication technology that Fujitsu has been developing for many years. The result is a system that can reliably authenticate the detailed patterns of the iris and that can be used in most everyday situations. Because this uses ActiveIRIS® from Delta ID, a high-speed, high-reliability iris recognition engine, this system can be used at a normal smartphone viewing distance, rather than within the 10-cm range that most existing iris recognition systems require. In standard photobiological safety testing (IEC 62471), the infrared LED light was verified to be safe for the eyes.

Future Development
The iris authentication system used in the prototype could be used in smartphones and tablets, of course, but could also be used in a wide range of other applications, including security solutions. Fujitsu is conducting ongoing research and development on this iris authentication technology and ways to broaden its scope, with the goal of a commercial implementation during fiscal 2015.

Glossary and Notes
1. Infrared LED
An LED that emits light in a waveband appropriate for capturing an image of the iris.

2. Infrared camera
Unlike normal photographic cameras, this is a special kind of camera that captures the waveband of light emitted by an infrared LED.




Mobile support • July 2013

Unity 4.2 Pro and Free version now fully support BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry® today announced that with the release of the Unity 4.2 update, Unity’s more than 2 million strong developer community is now able to use the free and Pro BlackBerry® 10 add-ons for Unity to publish their games for the BlackBerry 10 platform.

To further foster the development of high-quality games for BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry and Unity Technologies have teamed up to offer a number of select Unity Pro License holders a free copy of the BlackBerry Pro add-on license until November 20, 2013, if they submit a game developed with Unity to the BlackBerry® World™ storefront. Additionally, BlackBerry will provide these developers with a free BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone.(*)

BlackBerry 10 is a great platform for gaming, giving customers an immersive experience that’s fast, fluid and responsive,” said Alec Saunders, Vice President of Developer Relations and Ecosystems at BlackBerry. “Unity developers can now deliver that same immersive experience to their customers with BlackBerry 10.

The new add-on makes it very easy for Unity developers to create rich and visually stunning games for the powerful new BlackBerry 10 platform, and we encourage developers to take advantage of the limited time offer and see what BlackBerry 10 can do with their games.”

"We want to open paths for our incredibly talented community of developers to find success on the most exciting mobile technology and ecosystems," said Tony Garcia, Executive Vice President at Unity Technologies. "BlackBerry 10 provides an excellent opportunity for all of our developers to connect with an incredible user-base hungry for high-quality BlackBerry 10 games."
Developers can visit today to download Unity 4.2 which includes the BlackBerry deployment add-on.  

( *) 800 Unity licenses and BlackBerry Z10 smartphones available. Term and Conditions apply.


StrandReports • January 2013

Your choice of mobile phone determines the quality of mobile coverage you experience

It seems that phone manufacturers are running away from their responsibilities Over the last two years, Strand Consult has analyzed and documented the conditions and the challenges that mobile operators face when it comes to creating good mobile coverage across a range of countries. In the report "How mobile operators can reduce the cost for mobile masts and improve mast regulation" we document these challenges and how they can be addressed.

In most countries, telecom regulators, politicians, the media and consumers believe that good mobile coverage is simply a function of the network and is the sole responsibility of the mobile operator. However our research shows that good mobile coverage depends on six factors:

  1. the ease of the approval process for mobile infrastructure
  2. rental price for land and buildings to erect mobile masts/antennas
  3. the regulatory regime for the mobile operators,
  4. operators’ financial investment,
  5. the network technology operators use, and last but not least, the
  6. quality of the phones customers buy and how they use them.

In the report "How mobile operators can reduce the cost for mobile masts and improve mast regulation", we have described the entire process - from the time an operator gets a mobile license to when the customer gets a signal on his phone. We have described the requirements for good mobile coverage and what the political and regulatory system can do to ensure it.

To date, the one factor that has been least understood or discussed is the quality of the phone in relation to mobile coverage. To put it another way, just as there will be differences in how far a car can run on liter of petrol, a phone will vary in performance within a given network.

Strand Consult has access to measurements from operators around the world which demonstrate a big difference in the quality of the phones. Operators have not been able to share this information with consumers because of various rules and gag-orders from handset manufacturers.

At last, together with our report "How mobile operators can reduce the cost for mobile masts and improve mast regulation", we can reveal the world's first independent measurement that shows how nine of the best-selling phones perform on the mobile network standards GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS 900 and UMTS 2100.

Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen of Aalborg University together with his research team are some of the world’s leading experts on mobile phone performance and have studied this issue for years. Their recent study focused on how nine of the most popular phones perform when it comes to coverage. They have made painstaking efforts to measure the quality of the phones and published their findings. To ensure fairness and uniformity, the measurements were conducted in a state of the art laboratory with the phones, networking equipment, and head and hand mannequins of users. The results demonstrate definitively that the quality of phone plays a major role in the user’s experience of the network. Read more about the study.

At Strand Consult believe that the debate about mobile coverage also needs to incorporate the role of the mobile phone and that handset manufacturers have a responsibility to make phones that are optimized to the network so that consumers get a good experience with mobile coverage.

Key findings from the study

1. Phone quality varies by 10 fold. From the worst to best phone, there is factor of 10 factor difference in how well the individual phone compete. The antennas inside the best phones are up to ten times better than in the worst phones.

2. It’s in the way that you use it. The way the customer holds on the phone can have an impact on coverage. Sometimes a person holds a phone in such a way that it blocks the interior antenna’s connection to the network. Thus a person can unwittingly aggravate his coverage experience by a factor of 10 just by holding the phone in the wrong way. Users need to learn how to the hold the phone correctly and remember to do it each time they make a call.

3. Phone design can be optimized for humans. Although there are differences in how people hold their phones, a major study shows that about 90% of users hold the phone in one of two ways. (See “A Grip Study for Talk and Data Modes in Mobile Phones.” Pelosi, Mauro; Franek, Ondrej; Knudsen, Michael; Christensen, Morten; Pedersen, Gert Frølund. in: IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol 57, No. 4, 2009, pp. 856-865) It is possible to design the phone so that the best antenna performance is achieved, for example by using tuning devices.

4. Older versions perform better. The newest and most popular phones, Samsung Galaxy SIII and iPhone 5, fare worse than their predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy SII and the iPhone 4 and 4S when using the lower frequency band, GSM 900 and UMTS 900

5. Hold the phone so that the antenna can connect with the network. The iPhone 4S performs well provided that it is held correctly. The iPhone is designed such that the spacing of the fingers optimizes the antenna signal from the phone. In practice, there is design feature on the frame of the iPhone, and the fingers need to cradle this point. Without this adjustment, the iPhone is one of the worst performing phones.

6. Oldies but goodies. New phones do significantly worse than old phones. Buying a new and popular phone increases the likelihood of getting bad network experience.

7. Standards matter. Phones and networks operate on shared standards, for example GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS 900 and UMTS 2100. Choosing a phone that has the preferable standard to the network is extremely important if you want to ensure good coverage.

What should we expect of handset manufacturers

The point of this study and report is not to discredit any phone or manufacturer, but rather to encourage handset makers to put more emphasis on building phones that work better with the network.

We should ask phone makers why the old versions perform better than the new. Given the explosion of phones on the world market, some national or global standards for information of the quality of phones should be made available so that consumers can make more informed decisions. It is important to remember that these measurements reflect only part of the phone’s quality vis-à-vis the network.

Though not measured in this study, it has been documented that phones pose other challenges to the quality of mobile coverage from their hardware, software, as well as the number of apps installed on the phone.

The modern smartphone is very complex and may be responsible for up to 70% of the bad coverage that a user experiences. There is fierce competition among handset manufacturers in the phone market today.

In practice this means that the phones come to market with unfinished product development. Phone manufacturers only correct the errors through software updates once the customer has purchased the phone.

This allows phone manufacturers to lessen their development costs by putting the onus of product quality on operators and consumers. A good example is the iPhone 5 which was launched with a chipset that supposedly supports LTE "4G". However, as millions of customers in various countries have experienced, the iOS software that support LTE is not yet available.

Thus ensuring that phones are optimized for the network takes a backseat to getting the phones to market. We believe that the lack of focus on quality means that phone manufacturers do not do enough to solve these challenges. We believe that transparency in this area may eliminate some of the challenges that customers are experiencing on a daily basis.

The ordinary consumer has no chance to investigate these things on his own. Further,handset producers prohibit operators from publishing the measurements they have. Strand Consult believes that consumers should have such information so that they can make more informed decisions. We support mobile coverage disclosures on phones to help customers determine which phones are right for them. That there is a need for transparency and discussion about the role of the mobile handset in coverage quality. • 1/13

This study was performed in Denmark in autumn 2012. The four Danish network operators (TDC, Telenor, Telia and 3) were asked to provide a list of their top 10 selling phones from the past year. On the basis of the four lists, 9 phones were selected to ensure difference between manufacturer, type and technology. Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen and team used international accepted methods to measure how the 9 phones compete on the GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS 900 and UMTS 2100 standards.

The state of the art laboratory where the study is conducted is radio-dead, meaning that outside radio signals cannot enter, and signals from inside the lab cannot get out. Measurements are made with an artificial head and hand, simulating how a human uses a mobile phone. A call is established, and the signal transmitted from the phone. The signal received by the phone is recorded from each direction. The polarization around the phone is also noted. Measurements with the phone and each type of networking equipment are also conducted. The results are then summarized to the measured value, TIS (Total Isotropic Sensitivity) for the reception. This method is used internationally by 3GPP and CTIA.

While the study provided a uniform testing environment, it is important to remember that an individual's use of the phone can greatly influence the coverage experienced. Additionally, there can be big differences in how the same phone performs on the different standards GSM 900 GSM 1800, UMTS 900, and UMTS 2100.





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Best of MWC award • 2014

Next Generation YotaPhone Named “Best of MWC” by Dozens of International Tech Experts

The next generation YotaPhone topped the list of the best and most innovative gadgets and devices at Mobile World Congress (MWC), the “world’s greatest mobile event,” according to more than a dozen leading international business and tech media outlets.

The next version of the dual-screen, always-on YotaPhone was unveiled at this year’s MWC and received top honors from CNN, Time Techland, Computer Bild, Expert Review, Laptop Mag, PC Mag, Tech Central, PocketLint, T3, Tom’s Hardware, Tom’s Guide and Ubergizmo, among others.

The next generation handset builds on the first version of YotaPhone, which is available in Russia, Germany, France, Spain and Austria and will expand to 15 other markets in Europe and the Middle East in the next several months. The next generation YotaPhone includes full-touch control on the always-on display, bigger and better AMOLED and EPD displays, significant specification upgrades, and a thinner, sleeker and even more beautiful design.

“We are very appreciative that many tech writers attending MWC recognize the innovative and disruptive nature of the next generation YotaPhone,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov. “By adding full-touch control to the always-on display, the next generation YotaPhone is even more interactive and intuitive. We have taken a great and totally new concept in smartphone and made it even better.”

More than 10,000 MWC attendees came by the Yota Devices stand for hands-on reviews of both the first and next generation YotaPhones, as well as the company’s fast and reliable connectivity devices. • 2/14

Yota Devices is a private company dedicated to developing and producing high-tech consumer LTE devices, including smartphones, modems and routers. The company gained international prominence with the introduction of YotaPhone, the world’s first dual-screen, always-on smartphone, which was named the Best of CES 2013 by CNET. YotaPhone went on sale in five countries in December 2013 and will expand to 15 other CIS, European and Middle Eastern markets in Q1 2014. Yota Devices is also well known for producing fast, reliable portable LTE modems and routers. The company has sold nearly 4 million connectivity devices since its first products went on the market in 2009. The company’s headquarters are located in Moscow with offices in Finland, Germany and Singapore.



StrandReports • November 2013

The increasing sales of smartphones is raising 10 questions that most mobile operators should already be asking themselves

The increasing sales of smartphones is raising 10 questions that most mobile operators should already be asking themselves - if they dare.

The whole world knows that smartphone sales are literally exploding. But the underlying economy of this sales increase is something that many operators ought to take a very close look at - especially considering the parallel development of the operators’ costs in acquiring customers (SAC) and revenue per customer (ARPU).

Strand Consult has been monitoring and analysing the smartphone market across a number of countries for the past two years. Our results show that many operators are seeing their SAC exploding at the same rate as their smartphone sales growth. Unfortunately these operators are not seeing any similar growth in ARPU.

Basically operators are currently focusing on smartphones because that is what the market wants. But our research shows that many operators have no strategy on how to optimise their smartphone sales to ensure a healthy balance between their SAC and the lifetime ARPU of their customers.

We have created 10 key questions that operators should ask themselves:

  1. Has your smartphone sales resulted in higher sales, marketing and subsidies costs? If the answer is yes, is your growth in costs being compensated by a corresponding growth in mobile revenue that includes your usual profit?
  2. What size share of the premium services that smartphone users are purchasing is being invoiced via operator billing, thereby giving you revenue and how much is being invoiced via other billing models, thereby bypassing the operators?
  3. Do some smartphone brands or models result in a higher churn than others and if so, is that due to the product life cycle that the individual manufacturer is targeting?
  4. Has the increase in smartphones sales negatively influenced your stock rotation risk when purchasing, marketing, distributing and selling smartphones? In other words has it become easier or more difficult to control your stock of mobile phones?
  5. Has the increase in smartphones sales negatively influenced your customer service costs? Which channels are customers using to contact you, online, via call centres, or by using the physical retail channels that usually handles sales?
  6. Which channels are most suitable for marketing and selling smartphones? Are the channels you are using to handle this segment more cost efficient than other channels and which channels are currently your most cost efficient? Have you found the Internet to be an efficient and inexpensive method of handling smartphones sales?
  7. Have you experienced some smartphone models at times becoming so popular that you can sell them without subsidies – for example in connection with launching a new version of an already popular smartphone?
  8. How have the different smartphone OSs and their respective app stores influenced your business of selling mobile services via your own portals and app stores, and via content providers that are using operator billing when marketing and selling mobile services that are competing against the OS manufacturers?
  9. Do you think that some operators have been focusing so much on smartphones that they might have overlooked customers, customer segments or other products that could have been more profitable than the majority of the smartphone customers they have acquired? If some operators have neglected other more profitable business areas, how would that have affected their overall business?
  10. In your opinion, who has profited the most on the smartphone market? Is it the operators, the dealers, the customers or the smartphone manufacturers? Who has made the largest investments and who is getting the biggest return on the money they have spent?

We could easily add more questions to the above list and we have no doubt that many operators already know some of the answers to our smartphone market questions. However we believe that it is very important for the mobile industry to have an open debate about the smartphone market, especially if you want to make money and be successful in this area in the future. • 11/13

Strand Consult has been following the mobile industry for 16 years. We were the first in the world to voice criticism about the iPhone and how the iPhone was having a negative influence on many operators’ business cases. Our iPhone market report from 2009 reached a distribution of over 10,000 copies and is probably the single most read and quoted report in the history of the mobile industry.

If you would like to learn more about the smartphone market, how it is developing and how you as a market player in this business can achieve success, please do not hesitate to contact Strand Consult.

We can offer you a unique workshop concept that can help you create and optimise your smartphone business strategy.  





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