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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.

1. Google says it hopes the floating network could be used to connect remote, rural and underserved areas,
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."
3. In recent years, military and aeronautical researchers have used tethered balloons to beam Internet signals back to bases on Earth. Google's balloons would be untethered and out of sight, strung out in a line around the globe. They would ride the winds around the world while Google ground controllers adjusted their altitude to keep them moving along the desired route.
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.

1. At present, almost 30 percent of our sales are derived on EMI schemes based on credit cards, which can grow exponentially when we start EMI on debit cards
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.
4. All a consumer has to do is swipe her debit or ATM card at the shop and sign a mandate form to convert the total transaction amount into equal monthly installments for a certain tenure agreed upon. At the time of the swipe, the first installment will be withdrawn from the consumer's account person will be charged for the first EMI at the time of swipe and the balance will be deducted from her bank account in equal monthly installments.
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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