Google has officially announced "Project Loon," its plan to connect the entire world to the Internet that uses a decidedly 19th century technology:
To build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It's very early days, but we've built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today's 3G networks or faster.
The solar-powered, remote-controlled balloons would navigate stratospheric winds 20 kilometers above the surface of the earth, well above the altitude where most planes travel. Similar to the way satellite internet works, the balloons would communicate with special antennas and receiver stations on the ground.
2. One of the most obvious barriers, it would seem, to using high-altitude balloons riding the winds of the upper atmosphere is the fact that they'll always be on the move. Not surprisingly, Google says it plans to solve the problem of having balloons where they're needed when they're needed using "some complex algorithms and lots of computing power."
4. Ground stations about 60 miles apart would bounce Internet signals up to the balloons. The signals would hop backward from one balloon to the next to keep people continuously connected. Solar panels attached to the inflatables would generate electricity to power the Internet circuit boards, radios and antennas, as well as the onboard flight-control equipment.
5. Each balloon would provide Internet service for an area twice the size of NewYork City, or about 780square miles, and because of their high altitude, rugged terrain is not a problem.
Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) payment option, which has emerged as the biggest consumer promotion bait for high-end phones and several other products, will soon be available on debit cards, thanks to a technology being co-developed by The Mobile Store.
The country's largest mobile phone retail chain with more than 800 outlets has developed a technology along with Bangalore-based Innoviti Embedded Solutions to offer monthly installment payment option on debit cards from next month.
Currently EMI schemes are available on credit card payment or by issuing post-dated cheques to consumer finance companies.
The technology can have a significant impact on sales of high-value consumer items. "The potential is huge in our industry since almost 70 percent buyers of high-end smartphones costing above Rs 20,000 still buy them on cash," he said. "We would offer this option on phones costing above Rs 5,000 or so."
The Mobile Store was one of the earliest retail chains to start offering EMI payment option on credit cards and had early this year launched Apple's hugely successful EMI scheme on iPhonethat immediately helped its sales increase three times.
2. This is because the debit card consumer base in the country at 200 million is ten times that of credit cards.
3. The Mobile Store, which is 90 percent owned by the Essar Group and 10 percent by ILFS, and Innoviti Embedded Solutions have jointly applied for patenting of the transaction method, entitled 'A method for real-time distribution of credit on a savings account at a merchant location.
5. The Mobile Store, along with the bank that issued the debit card, will determine the eligibility for EMI credit to a consumer based on the savings account history, fixed deposits, salary history and other loans.
6. The retail chain lately turned around its operations and achieved EBITDA profitability since the last four months. It had shut down or relocated over 300 unprofitable stores in the last two years.
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