11:00 AM -- There was a lot of competition this year for the mobile categories in Light Reading's 2012 Leading Lights awards.
And, unlike last year when newborn Long Term Evolution (LTE) took the cake, it was hard to choose a clear-cut winner. (You can see the full list of finalists here; free registration required.)
The Leading Lights Awards and Light Reading Hall of Fame winners will be revealed Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Manhattan Penthouse.
Here, in no particular order, are the six finalists for Best New Service or App (Mobile).
Telefónica Digital's TU Me
Through its digital group, Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is one of the best, if not only, examples of a wireless operator embracing over-the-top technology to build compelling services. TU Me, its unified communications app, is one of its most innovative applications yet. The Skype competitor is free, available to anyone and is constantly updated based on user feedback. It's the kind of processes you'd expect from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), not a telco, which makes it especially notable.
Users have been downloading the app in droves since it was first launched in early May. As of July, the app had already racked up 600,000 active users.
LinkedIn's iPad appLinkedIn Corp. is, by far, the preferred social network for professionals. While the desktop interface has needed several updates to be a navigable and easy-to-use, the iPad app is extremely robust and completely rethought. It was built from the ground up for the tablet size and multi-touch experience with real-time notifications, a calendar integrated with contacts' profiles and a social news aggregator that displays news your contacts have shared, as well as their job updates.
What makes LinkedIn's iPad app more impressive is that it was built using 95 percent HTML5 code, which means it will work on any mobile device. The developers built it in a way that doesn't sacrifice functionality for ubiquity, and that's rare to see in most mobile apps today.
Sprint's Single Source Enablement
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are seeing resurgence in the U.S., and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is responsible for many of the new startups on the scene. Its Single Source Enablement platform lets essentially anyone from an entrepreneur to a CLEC with only a wireline business become a wireless operator. Sprint has made it painless to get up and running. It takes care of all the systems, processes, customer care, online Web enablement and the warehousing and distribution of devices, so the MVNO can focus on building a customer base. Sprint is also letting its MVNOs bill however they'd like to, and they'll be able to use the LTE network as soon as even Sprint can.
Sprint has signed up more than 300 wholesale partners, including MVNOs like FreedomPop , which is offering a "freemium" mobile data service, Republic Wireless , featuring a Wi-Fi-first model, and Ting, pitching prepaid data buckets to share amongst devices. Even if all the MVNOs aren't ultimately successful, it's good business for Sprint to become the champion of wholesale.
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.