Wednesday Dec 16, 2009

Strategic News Service: Tech Predictions for 2010

Mark Anderson, publisher of Strategic News Service, talks about his yearly technology predictions in the following Business Week library video.    An overriding theme seems to be that consumers are demanding, and progressively getting, highly personalized, context-aware, mobile services and content. This demand driving big changes in hardware platforms, operating systems, media distribution and pricing, and network infrastructure. Much of the work I am involved with at Sun is focused directly on these major shifts in markets and technology. This whole area is rife with large, market changing opportunities.

A longer audio presentation, recorded December 10, 2009 at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, is available. Listen to the presentation now.

Thanks to Kip Meacham for sharing the link.

Saturday Aug 29, 2009

Screens of our Lives

In today's hyper-connected, web 2.0 world, it is increasingly crucial for companies to interact with their customers through highly personalized, context-aware, blended services on whatever device or devices those customers choose - the  "screens of our lives."  It seems sometimes that the rising generation of young people have developed intimate relationships with the entire range of online devices.

Perhaps Jeremy Duncan of Zits comic fame, takes this a bit to the extreme.

Zits - August 29, 2009.

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Wednesday Jun 03, 2009

Congratulations, GT-RNOC, MoVue and Innovative Students!

Earlier this year, I was privileged to participate in the review process for finalists in the Convergence Innovation Competition sponsored by the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC).  I was deeply impressed with the innovation displayed by the Georgia Tech students in the projects they presented.

Yesterday, I received a link to the competition results.  Let me add my congratulations to all involved!  Both students and advisors displayed great creativity and worked very hard to provide innovative outcomes.  Thanks to the sponsors who made it possible.

It was great to learn that the project I liked most was awarded first place overall.  MoVue exploited the camera, GPS and accelerometer subsystems within an Android phone to present a novel user interface showing icons and point of interest information on the device screen in real time, visually filtered according to personal interest and history.  I believe this type of user-focused, context-aware application holds strong promise for commercial success.

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Monday Mar 02, 2009

I'd Like a Phone with My Chips, Please

A Wisconsin woman found a Nokia phone in her bag of potato chips, reported The Consumerist last Friday.

I used to love to find surprises inside of Crackerjacks, but this may be going a bit too far!

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Tuesday Sep 02, 2008

Identity Paramount for Mobility

As the mobile Internet arrives, Identity becomes paramount, points out Andrew Jaquity, Security Program Manager, Yankee Group, in a compelling article in last Friday's RCR Wireless News. A few of his statements impressed me:

"As the mobile Internet becomes a reality, it will pull identity issues along with it. Users will take their identities (user names and passwords, personal attributes, location) with them on their phones. Vendors can significantly ease user pain by working together."

"Mobile operators should add identity management features to give users more control. "

"Security-software vendors should ally themselves with trusted parties, rather than compete with them."

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Wednesday Dec 19, 2007

Love/Hate Relationship with Google

I recently had an interesting discussion with a telecommunications executive about Google. He loves the way Google creates demand that increases the percentage of potential subscribers who buy his broadband Internet services; he hates Google's penchant for giving away services for free. Most of all, he hates Google's avowed ambition for "world domination."

"Will Google get into the wireless telephony business?" I asked.

"No, the high cost of installing and operating a mobile phone business is far too expensive," he said, "even for a cash-rich company like Google."

But he was quick to point out that Google's bluffs in that direction have already caused Verizon and AT&T to announce they are opening their networks to non-proprietary phones. The Open Handset Alliance and Google's intention to bid in the 700 mHz spectrum auction next month has the big carriers churning.

Isn't competition interesting?

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Friday Nov 16, 2007

Why Mobile Internet World? Babies and Phones

Why in the world (pun intended) would an Identity guy spend the week in Boston attending Mobile Internet World while my Sun Identity colleagues and the rest of the mainstream Identity community were focused on the Gartner Identity & Access Management Summit in Los Angeles?

Two words: Babies + Phones.

My favorite statistic from MIW is this: Every second of every day in this world, 4 babies are born and 32 mobile phones are sold. That is eight phones for every baby! That is real market growth! In spades!

As the Enterprise Identity Management market matures, I am convinced that the larger opportunity ahead of us is providing the Identity infrastructure for next generation consumer services. All indicators from MWI point to that fact. Consider these major themes:

  • The mobile network necessary to support live video and other rich media services is not all in place, but is getting there.
  • Mobile users already outnumber PC users 4-1 and the divide is rapidly growing.
  • There is huge upside market potential for network operators and service providers to deliver services.
  • Subscribers are demanding highly personalized, rich user experiences and content.
  • Advertizers are demanding highly targeted, addressable, interactive advertizing.

"Personalization, "rapid growth," "huge scale" are exciting concepts when it comes Identity. Digital Identity is an enabling, underpinning concept for this entire industry.

Do challenges exist? Sure. But huge scale and rapid growth and thinking big is what my emerging Identity culture is all about.

By the way, the baby photo is of my granddaughter Eve Dixon. She has grown up since that photo was taken into a lovable year-and-a-half year old. She doesn't yet own a phone.

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Thursday Nov 15, 2007

links for 2007-11-16

Mobile Internet World - Day 3

The first edition of the Mobile Internet World conference is now in the history books. It was certainly well-worth my time to participate. Attendance declined a bit today, but I enjoyed most of the sessions more than yesterday. The highlights of sessions I attended are included below. Tomorrow, I'll post a summary of overall themes.

Mobile Internet Now & Tomorrow - An Operator View (Alexandre Froment-Curtil, Head of Vodafone live! and Mobile Internet, Vodafone Group Marketing)

  • The Eurpoean mobile Internet market has 100 million active subscribers using data services and shows 80% YOY growth in mobile music revenues.
  • Key factors in DSL / Broadband growth were content availability, pricing simplicity and network speed. Mobile internet growth will probably depend on the same factors
  • Vodafone's marketing slogan is "Take the Internet Out - It's now on your mobile ... make the most of now."
  • Vodafone is very bullish on this market. They believe that mobility will transform the Internet. Mobile will become the dominant tool for Internet access.
  • 4 babies are born every second in the world; 32 phones are sold every second (8 phones per baby!)
  • The customer of tomorrow will:
    • Be highly connected
    • Use multiple interfaces / devices
    • Access at all times of the day
    • Maintain an online identity - live in the online world
  • Successful services will integrate four dimensions of customer's life (content, space, people, time)
  • Vodafone is confident about the role of operators
  • In conclusion:
    • The journey has begun - we have begun to experience success
    • There is one internet - different ways to experience it
    • Operators must build on customer trust and offer a converged and open service environment

The Evolution of Mobile Broadband (Ray Dolan, SVP Strategy and Market Development, Qualcomm Enterprise Services)

  • Convergence in the wireless world depends on
    • Network evolution
    • Mobile device evolution
    • Service escalation
  • New, powerful processors will put more power in the handset. The Snapdragon processor is 1ghz, dual core, low power consumption.
  • The iPod blurs the boundary between PC and phone.
  • We must deliver increasingly powerful services for customers.
  • UMB and WiMAX will likely co-exist.

Mobile Internet: Realizing the Business Potential in the New Multimedia World (Pankaj Asundi, Vice President Media and Content, Ericsson)

  • The "My Life" video was a great depiction of potential of global interaction via online connection, as told by person in the future recalling digital interaction events of the past.
  • We must think how services may affect users in their lives.
  • "Digital natives" are those that grow up in connected world.
  • The rich digital lifestyle is changing consumer behavior.
  • We must sure people get what they want, when they want it. Users must be at the center of the design process.
  • The mobile media value chain is transforming rapidly, including advertisers, media companies, aggregators, carriers and consumers (acting both as generators and consumers of content).
  • Multiple industries (telco, web and new media) are addressing consumers (same wallet, same attention span) from three different angles. The three industries need to come together.
  • Participants in the value chain must:
    • Reach the user across multiple channels and platforms.
    • Engage the user by richer and more compelling services.
    • Monetize the user by leveraging customer insight and adapting musiness models.
Marketing in a New Mobile World (Larry Weber, Chairman and Founder, W2 Group)
  • Software vendors will take over the mobile industry, as they took over the computer industry in late 1980's.
  • The mobile device is becoming the primary user device - not the laptop or PC.
  • We are too technically focused. We must focus on creating environments on mobile. Transactions will come after creation of environment.
  • Mobile advertizing is the next frontier. One third of the $120 billion in TV ads are DVR'd and skipped. This will drive a big shift from TV to mobile and social media on the web.
  • We must not focus on mobile as a single medium. The challenge is to bring many media types together.
  • Demographics are no longer the most important advertizing factors. Behavior is key.
  • Brands will need to engage with specific audiences they wish to reach. The mobile device and be the ultimate method for carrying on dialog with consumer.
  • The phone is a social device. The killer app is conversation. That fundamental concept begs to be leveraged.

Executive Roundtable: Mobile Internet Ecosystem (Panel discussion led by Berge Ayvazian, CSO Yankee Group, Conference Co-Chair)

James Pearce, Vice President of Technology, dotMobi (.mobi domain)
Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director, CMO Council
B. Craig Cumberland, Sr. Director Technology and Applications Marketing, Nokia
Lawrence (Larry) Moores, Vice President, Global Marketing and Product Management, Real Networks

  • The ecosystem includes everything from the handset to the rest of the world.
  • Customer expectations goes ahead of technology adaptation - continues to challenge technology.
  • Consumers are suffering "function fatique and feature frustration" on handsets, while not necessarily getting functions they want.
  • Developers are a critical part of the ecosystems. One positive thing about Android is that it puts developers at the front of the queue.
  • A large percent of smart phone users are active users of mobile Internet.
  • SMS has not yet been leveraged to its potential.
  • We are still struggling with compelling user experience - just not there yet.
  • Content licensing or Digital Rights Management are big problems

How Carriers Drive Revenues from the Mobile Web Today (Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software)

  • Opera's vision is to provide the best Internet experience on any device.
  • 26 million people have downloaded and used Opera Mini
  • Widgets are a method of providing special user experience within a web brower. Over 1500 widgets have been developed for the Opera browser. WC3 is working on widget standard.
  • Examples of carriers successfully using the Opera browser include T-mobile, KDDI and Vodafone.
Content Adaptation: Wired to Mobile (Brendan Benzing, InfoSpace, Inc.; Eran Wyler, InfoGin)
  • Search and navigation will be starting point for all mobile media.
  • No one portal will serve needs of all people.
  • Search should be optimized for the phone.
  • Content can't just be transcoded. It must be understood and translated to the small screen.
  • InfoGin handles javascript and Flash and copes with sites optimized for Internet Explorer.
Venture Capital Activity in the Mobile Internet Ecosystem (Paul Schaut, Independent Advisor - was CEO of Internet bubble company)

Bob Geiman, Polaris Ventures
Jeff Glass, Bain Capital
B. Lane MacDonald, Alta Communications
Dinesh Moorjani, IAC Search and Media

  • Key trends and challenges
    • Is the mobile Internet different than the Internet?
    • Will new brands be created or will existing brands move to this space?
    • Will carriers let new brands emerge in this space?
    • Can you build your own brand in this space?
    • Without the right capacity, services become meaningless - are investments happening to enable this?
    • Carriers would rather that video streaming not happen on the cellular network. New networks are needed.
    • The tremendous number of permutations of handsets, operating systems, code bases, etc., is not solved yet.
  • The one-to-one interface of the mobile is attractive for targeted advertizing. Its potential is enormous.
  • Carriers hold the bulk of power in the industry - determination of who wins depends largely on them.
  • The iPhone has increased general awareness of the potential of mobile devices, but Apple is not friendly to companies who want to chart their own destiny.
  • The Google-led Open Handset Alliance is generating buzz but it is too early to tell about success. Google becoming a dominant force in mobile doesn't necessarily foster innovation, because they can squash startups.
  • Advice to Startups:
    • Startups need to balance working through carriers and selling direct to consumers, providing multifaceted distribution channels
    • Think about mobile's strong opportunity in developing markets.
    • Learn from those who have gone before you - figure out what is working - refine the model to get scale.
    • If you are trying something that is not working, find new ways leverage what you have ; build strategic assets.
    • Pay attention to the folks in the value chain that can say yes or no along the way. Have a value proposition that can satisfy needs of everyone who can say yes or no.

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Wednesday Nov 14, 2007

Mobile Internet World - Day 2

Today is the first "official" day of the inaugural Mobile Internet World conference. There was standing room only for today's sessions. The highlights of the sessions I attended are included below:

Conference Opening Address: Anywhere: The Killer App for the Mobile Internet (Emily Nagle Green, President & CEO, Yankee Group)

  • The vision of Yankee Group is that computers and their netorks are moving us towards ubiquitous connectivity, when all people and all things are connected, Anywhere.
  • Mobility implies lliberation - no longer being chained to one place, one device, one network. We can have our work and play with us.
  • Today's mobile Internet is not all that good yet. The economic contribution of mobile Internet is small.
  • What happened when motors became small and less expensive? They transformed from standalone devices to components of special-purpose devices (e.g. motors in washing machines, can openers and blenders.
  • Connectivity is the 21st century anolog of electric motors being embedded in appliances. Connectivity is more than than connecting screens. What if cars, motorcyles, garage door openers, air conditioners or home security systems were connected? Connectivity is about adding value to consumer life style. We must ask challenging questions: what devices can be made more valuable by adding connectivity?
  • What obstacles, if conquered, would lead to market growth?
    • Insufficient and uncertain radio spectrum
    • Too expense equipment and tariffs
    • Device subsidies; carrier controls
    • Unsatisfactory network performance
    • Inefficient application devleopment environment
    • Limits and fears about location information usage
  • Conclusion: The mobile internet is the next massive value creation opportunity in technology.

Mobile Internet Utopia (Greg Clayman, Executive Vice President of Digital Distribution and Business Development, MTV Networks)

  • Key areas of focus for MTV networks in the mobile Internet market include:
    • Openness of technology and platforms
    • Innovation, including learning from the web experience and understanding the new economics of mobile
    • Focusing on what consumers want.
  • Targeted advertising has huge potential; long way to go.
  • Social networking has redefined the online culture. We need to take provide connection to social networks on mobile phones.
  • The online culture is a "recommnedation culture." We need to focus on audience engagement.

Mobilizing the Internet: One Carrier's Unique Perspective (Jack Dziak, Senior Vice President Corporate Strategy, Sprint Nextel)

  • Megatrends driving growth in the mobile market include
    • wireless - wireless minutes growing 30%/year, as wireline minutes decline
    • internet growth - internet is mainstay of daily growth
  • Of the $59 ARPU for Sprint subscribers last month, $10 was in data services.
  • Mobile telephony has centered around voice services, but is now evolving toward data. Broadband services are evolving from fixed broadband to mobile Internet.
  • Network performance must be defined by both speed and capacity in an environment of scarce spectrum.
  • Sprint's two major initiatives in mobile Internet include WiMAX and Open Handset Alliance (OHA).
  • Wimax represents new flexible platform with a 10x cost/performance improvement.
  • Sprint likes OHA because it will
    • Facilitate customer access to mobile internet
    • Provide open tools for creative, innovative and compelling applications
    • Drive mobile data usage (this is their real focus)
    • Enable customer choice
  • Growth of the mobile Internet will require:
    • More network capacity at lower cost
    • Innovation in distribution to many types of devices
    • Innovation in multimedia solutions (interactive and personalized)
    • Affordability and flexibility of payment
    • Improvements to backhaul network
    • Devices with lower power consumption and higher battery life.
  • To add value on top of OHA, carriers must add value by combining location, presence and status to services.

Escaping the Walled Garden: Growing the Mobile Web with Open Standards (Tim Berners-Lee, Director, World Wide Web Consortium)

  • The most important things about the world wide web:
    • It is universal
    • It runs on any hardware and any software
    • It works in any language
    • It is accessible to the disabled
    • It works with information from scribbles to finished books
    • It is a great sandbox to foster innovation
  • The web was successful because it allowed creative re-use. Content created once could be used many times in unanticipated ways.
  • The long tail on the WWW is huge, even though major channels are important.
  • Open standards are essential. If enough people bet on a standard, markets take off - often in different ways than imagined. Companies that choose proprietary methods will lose out on market growth when standards ultimately win.
  • The W3C - Mobile Web Initiative is developing guidelines on how to use standards for mobile web.

Keynote: Making Wireless Global, Affordable and Personal (Greg Delagi, Texas Instruments, Senior Vice President, General Manager of TI's Wireless Terminals Business)

  • The global mobile phone market is huge: 3 billion active subscribers; will grow to 4 billion by 2010. One billion mobile phones sold per year.
  • Mobile phone sales growth factors include:
    • Replacement devices, which provide compelling new features
    • New subscribers, particularly driven by affordability for high growth economies (e.g. India, China, Eastern Europe and South America)
  • Smartphones are the fastest growing segment in mobile industry.
  • The mobile phone and consumer electronics experience will increasingly interact because of functional convergence on a single device.
  • Mobility will liberate and extend the web 2.0 experience.
  • Increased data rates will enable higher performance applications.

Luncheon Keynote Presentation: Open Internet, Open Platform: Open Opportunities (Kiyo Oishi, SVP Global Marketing, ACCESS)

  • The Google OFA annoucement focused a lot of attention on the mobile Internet market.
  • One billion mobile broadband users by are expected by 2013.
  • Software complexity is driving hardware development faster than Moore's law can accommodate.
  • An open Internet and open platforms will lead to a converged world.
  • Mobile Linux is experiencing explosive growth.

Is An Open Platform the Future of the Mobile Internet? (Panel discussion led by John Jackson, Vice President, Yankee Group) Greg Delagi, Texas Instruments, Senior Vice President, General Manager of TI's Wireless Terminals Business Rich Miner, VP Wireless Strategy, Google
Didier Diaz, SVP Product Strategy Management, ACCESS
Stephanie Mehta, Senior Writer, FORTUNE Magazine
Bill Weinberg, Marketing Director, Linux Phone Standards Forum
Kevin Packingham, Vice President of Wireless Product Management and Usability, Sprint Nextel

  • OHA shows that the market is getting serious about bridging the gap between mobile and the Internet
  • Companies must look to provide value to their customer. Ultimately, consumers want choice.
  • Open source has never been developed in this industry. The industry has paid lip service to openness, but has typically done only a portion of what is necessary to open things up.
  • OHA includes a thin operating system layers, plus a set of other functions.
  • It is felt that the open platform will increase the speed of innovation and reduce fragmentation, but there is some concern that OHA is "fighting fragmentation with fragmentation."
  • Will carriers want to control what the user will experience when they turn on the phone? Will carriers be willing to relinquish valuable real estate to other players?
  • Carriers currently are responsible to take customer care calls. This is a built in economic disadvantage for carrier.

Global Trends Driving the Mobile Internet (Marc Patterson, Vice President and General Manager - Mobile Data Services, BT Global Services)

  • We operate in a market too complex for one company or organization to control. Collaboration is essential.
  • Key challenges for businesses include cost reduction, globalization and agility.
  • The key driver for mobility in enterprise applications is enabling business functionality, not in providing cheaper access.
  • The converged enterprise mobility ecosystem must address home, office and mobile devices - taking the office whereever you go.
  • The "prosumer" (professional consumer) is creating a revolution in enterprisers. The edge is blurred between business and home users.
  • HS/DPA (not WiMAX) is rolling out rapidly in Europe. Adoptions rates have been "staggering."
  • Rapid adoption of flat top tariffs instead of usage based tariffs is increasing demand for wireless broadband.
  • Mobile Unified Communications, a seamless integration of communications technologies, is the Holy Grail.

Building Business Models for the Mobile Internet (Panel discussion led by Rory Altman, Altman Vilandrie & Company)

Lubna Dajani, Mobile Monday
Douglas Edwards, Handmark
Tuomo Sihvola, Widsets
Carl Taylor, Hutchison Whampoa Europe
Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera Software

  • When tariffs move to flat rate charges - uptake skyrockets.
  • Mobility use cases - not just web browsing on the phone - will enable growth .
  • There was a significant difference of opinion on whether mobile web browsers were sufficient or whether other applications were needed.
  • Mobile browsers have widespread adoption. The Opera Mini browser has 100K dowloads per day and enables 1billion page views per month.
  • Improving mobile browsers may not be a strong enough use case to make users come daily into a mobile experience. We need daily users - driven by something that attracts them into constant mobile Internet experience.
  • The user experience on the handset is fundamentally different than for a PC. It must be simplified and improved. It must be more relevant to the user.
  • Only 12% of handsets in US have data plans. Only 3-4% actually use them.
  • There is a disconnect between the number of people actually getting mobile Internet access and projected ad revenue.
  • For PC Internet access, ad revenue tracked penetration of broadband into the home. What will the trend to which will predict mobile advertising growth?
  • If carriers engage with brands and technology companies, they will share in revenue streams. If they choose walled gardens (walled prisons) they will lose.
  • The winners may depend on who is capable of delivering the customer.
  • Europe is increasingly embracing handset subsidies to add post-paid customers, while the US is trying to get away from subsidies.
  • Carriers will continue to have power until people change their attitudes of buying devices for voice and text. Consumers have not yet made the leap from "device as phone" to "device as convergent communicator."
  • Multiple industry entrants (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Google) drive innovation. We should collaborate on basics and compete on value add.
  • Widgets are one model that leverage web standards but give a richer user experience on the device.
  • The secret for advertising is to make it relevant and not obnoxious. People regularly pay for printed media that is full of advertising - a form of information of interest to the purchaser. "Advertising as content" should speak to people about what they are interested in.

Demystifying the Next Generation of Mobile Internet Technologies (Caroline Gabriel, ReThink Research (chair)

  • Darren Koenig, Director, Wireless Communications, TeleAtlas
    • Connectivity and Context are key
    • consumers are finally aware - they want advanced features. For example, 84% of consumers want GPS on next phone.
    • Eventually, Locations Based Services (LBS) will be embedded in everything.
  • Bennett Marks, Open Mobile Alliance / Nokia
    • After 10 years in market making, 2007 marks the time to move to the next step
    • Critical factors for growth include growing the development community and deploying contextualization technologies in a much bigger scope than GPS (e.g. patterns of usage, physical environment, work vs. play role.)
  • Dan Stoops, Alcatel-Lucent
    • Consumer don't care about technology acronymns - they care about choice and services.
    • Services must be merged or linked across across traditional boundaries.
  • Faraz Syed, Mobile Complete
    • Do consumers really know about the existence of these cool products? How will they find out?
  • Rao Yallapragada, Qualcomm
    • 3G technologies are delivering mobile broadband today
    • UMB and LTE are positioned to dominate the future

Mobile Widgets. Web 2.0 and beyond... (Dan Shugrue, Senior Business Development Manager, S60 Platform, Nokia)

  • Here and now is the inflection point about how we access the Internet
    • More converged devices than laptops.
    • Consumers spending more time with IM, flickr, youtube, etc. than spending on mobile telephony
    • Apple and Google enter the mobile space.
    • Big market: 4 billion subscribers by 2010 - 90% of worlds population will be covered; 60% penetration to population.
    • Bigger installed base of converged devices than laptops today
  • Open standards are required for growth.
  • The Nokia S-60 platform is uses open standards and is openly licensed to multiple handset manufacturers.
  • Widgets are small, specialized applications that access web services and phone services to provide a richer user experience.
  • Widgets enable the long tail of innovation by allowing developers to easily leverage web technologies.

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Tuesday Nov 13, 2007

Mobile Internet World - Technologies and Trends

Welcome to my synopsis of the first day of Mobile Internet World - a "pre-conference" workshop addressing key technologies and trends in the mobile Internet market. l worried a bit when less than 75 people were on hand at the start of the opening session. That number doubled during the first half hour and grew some more by noon. It still wasn't an overwhelming attendance, but I found the sessions to be very informative and thought-provoking. Key messages delivered by each speaker or panel are summarized below:

Uncorking Mobile Internet Profit (Philip Marshall, PhD, Vice President, Enabling Technologies, Yankee Group)

  • New, complex business models apply to achieve profitability in the mobile Internet marketplace
  • Two primary types of services exist:
    • "Best of breed applications," that drive subscription revenue: video telephony, messaging, mobile TV, etc, which require heavy duty service delivery environments
    • "Horizontally federated Internet services," including ebay, google, etc., that require a lightweight services distribution environment.
  • A third set of services, such as security services, health care, connected home, etc., that require more reliability than traditional Internet services, but less infrastructure than best of breed applications. This may provide strong opportunity for new revenue generation.
  • Key factors in adding value to services may include location, personalization and context.
  • Carriers need to migrate to a business model that is more about service distribution and less about network.
  • We can think of a successful service delivery model as being like the retail distribution model, where the device (mobile device or set top box) is a point of presence, much like a retail store or shopping mall.

Enabling networks in the mobile Internet (Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Rethink Research)

  • According to prior market projections, mobile data services were supposed to reach 50% of ARPU by now. It has reached only 12% - a major disappointment
  • The two most important factors for profitability in mobile internet are cost per Mbps and which services will consumers adopt - high perceived value and low cost to deliver.
  • WiMAX is the closest thing we have to 4G. WiMAX allows carriers to scale up as needed, rather than building a complete network and waiting for customers to come. WiMAX is currently the leading technology, but LTE is catching up.
  • The handset is the most important factor in customer acceptance. It must be compelling to the subscriber. Unfortunately, there are no really good devices yet. Devices like the iPhone are accelerting efforts to create the best platform.
  • Think of the device as an extension of the user. Devices and platforms will determine the success of platforms.

Mobile TV: One Last Push (Peter White, President, Rethink Research; Editor, Faultline)

  • Video across the mobile Internet is very difficult. Mobile web video will not become significant for 5-6 years.
  • Many competing standards are in play. DVB/H is the current leader, although MediaFLO is growing. The current Nokai/MediaFLO ligitation will play a large role in adoption of MediaFLO or Nokia technology.
  • Markets outside the US (e.g. Japan, Korea, China) favor DVB-H. The US may support multiple technologies. The technology landscape will have little clarity for several years.
  • Existing network infrastructure lacks capacity to handle broad adoption of mobile video. A big question is who will invest in the infrastructure to develop it.
  • MVNO's want mobile TV. They may subsidize the rollout of video capable handsets.

Digital Children: Mobiles and the Disruptive Future (Dr. Norman Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer, Wireless Grids Corporation)

  • Children and young people of today, who thrive on mobile connectivity, are the customers of tomorrow, with power to disrupt existing business models.
  • Children don't distinguish between online and offline. To them, it is just all part of normal life.
  • Kids seek to establish their own Identities and reputations through participation in online activities such as instant messaging and social networks.
  • Acknowledgement from others, expressed as reponse to blogs and messaging, is the currency of young people's lives. They establish reputation through responses they receive.
  • Young people are drawn to technologies that are easily personalized and used in individual ways. Social status is established and maintained through the ability to personalize new technology.
  • Rather than the old information broacast model used by radio and TV, where centralized authorities determined what information would be disseminated to the masses, today's culture centers around each individual, who chooses what media is relevant and with whom each should interact.
  • Owning a particular cool device is no long the prevailing status symbol. It is what you do with that device and how you use it to interact with your friends that establishes status.
  • The "holy grail" of the mobile Internet are tools that allow kids to use their mobile devices to create services they use on the Internet.
  • We should delight, not delimit, the user.

Catalyzing the Mobile Industry (Bruce Stewart, Vice President and General Manager for Connected Life Americas, Yahoo! Inc.)

  • This conference is indicative of the importance of the mobile Internet today.
  • Mobile devices are increasingly important in our daily lives - we don't leave home without them. These devices are always with us, they are personal and they keep us connected.
  • Positive, compelling user experience, not devices or network speed, drives usage.
  • The major focus areas to improve user experience are:
    • Ease of use
    • Discoverability
    • Pricing transparency
    • Openness
  • Yahoo Go and OneSearch are examples of user applications that provide compelling user experience on mobile devices.
  • Data plans must be simplified to accelerate user adoption.
  • Openness is a key catalyst for subscribers to get what they want.
  • Ad volume on the mobile Internet is still quite low. A volume of $16 billion per year is expected by 2011. Significant improvement in the process of mobile advertizing will be needed to reach this level. Service providers must deliver consumers en masse before ad agengies will pay to reach them.
  • Yahoo is clearly focused on mobile advertising: "We feel and incredible responsibility to our advertizers," and "we are incredibly tuned in" to advertising metrics."

From Mobile Advertising to Anywhere Commerce (Boyd Peterson - Yankee Group, Andy Belt - Monitor Group)

  • "A platform upon which our applications can be used in a mobile context is the Holy Grail" - Eric Schmidt, Google Analyst Day
  • The mobile Internet has large, unrealized potential. About 44% of US mobile telephony customers say they would like to access the Internet from their phones, but only 6% currently do so. Current annual global services revenue (mobile data plans) is $9.5 billion, but latent revenue opportunity for mobile Internet connectivity is $66 billion.
  • Personal profile information, including preference, behavior, history and presence, can enable customized interventions into the buying process - leading to high value transactions being enabled by mobile devices. This high degree of personalization of the advertising / buying process is the reason advertizers are interested in learning how to address this market.
  • The "Holy Grail" of mobile Internet advertizing is a location specific, intensively interactive, user driven process.
  • A "Market Zone Map" was used to show various industries that deliver value to the mobile Internet market. The "most valuable frontier" is the intersection of the wireless and Internet information sectors.
  • The consumer electronics sector is driven by selling devices with a rapid, predictable upgrade cycle. They want to subvert ad-driven or subscription-driven business models so they can sell more gear.
  • When consumers were asked in a poll which vendors they trusted to helping them use their mobile phone, #1 and #2 were Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Google was closely behind at #3, illustrating their prominence in the fight for industry dominance.
  • The fight for dominance in the mobile Internet market is focused on who can harvest the value of services provided to mobile consumers.
  • Google desperately doesn't want to be in the last mile of broadband communications, but definitely wants to have open broadband communications. They have much to gain from open platforms.
  • Carriers are making a lot of money on the status quo, and typically favor more closed platforms that keep them in control. Mobile carriers with less market share may be willing to take more risk and partner with companies like Google in order to capture market opportunities.

Learning to profit from anywhere advertizing (Panel discussion led by Ford Cappilary, Monitor Group)

  • Many changes are occuring in the advertizing value chain applying to the mobile Internet. There is much consolidation of small players. Large Internet players are moving into the mobile Internet.
  • Mobile advertising represents large opportunity, but is currently small.
  • Generally low penetration of mobile data services is a large barrier to wider mobile advertizing.
  • Advertizing metrics are critical to satisfy customer demands for ROI.
  • New ways to advertize on mobile devices and measure success must be found. Current methods don't translate well.
  • The mobile device is increasingly the "first screen" a consumer refers to. Carriers are in a good position to control the "first screen." Google is trying to make sure carriers don't control the "first screen."
  • Carriers are at the top of the value chain and must find how to deliver value. One way would be to open API's they control (such as location services) so others could subscribe.
  • When asked "who in this room has accessed the mobile web?" everyone raised their hands. When asked, "was it a good experience?" no one raised their hand. General consensus showed that current user experience on the mobile web is abysmal.

Enabling the delivery of anywhere transactions (Panel discussion led by Berge Ayvazian, chief strategy officer, Yankee Group)

Joseph Ferra - chief wireless office of Fidelity ebusiness
Carsten Boers - president, Buongiorno marketing services US, inc.
Dan Olschawang, president and ceo, JumpTap

  • Fidelity has a mobile Internet service to complement their web site. Customers are increasingly asking "if I can do it on, I want to do it on my mobile device."
  • Context is king in delivering services to a mobile user. Services should engage with a customer based on context - pushed to him where he is, when he needs it, based on what he needs to do.
  • JumpTap is a mobile advertising company, focused on delivering results to users what they really want, when they want it.
  • Customers are not looking for browsing via the mobile device. They want "customer utilities" that deliver value.
  • 40-50 startups are establishing social networks for mobile phones.

The anywhere transaction model (Panel Discussion)

Jordan Berman, ATT mobility
Carrie Cypher, Conde Net
Alex Bombeck

  • is trying to build useful and beautiful functions on the phone. It was generally felt this is not done well by most applications.
  • Uniqueness of targeting is the biggest factor for success in mobile advertizing.
  • Advertizing should focus on how to improve the time value cycle of the purchase cycle? This is not traditional advertising, but assisting consumer in buying process.
  • The mobile phone is the "remote control to your life."
  • AT&T tries to be "the consumer's champion." They consider what will be relevant and important tot he consumer. They try to understant how to translate existing user behaviors to the mobile phone lifestyle and try to discover new behavior that might be enabled by the mobile Interent experience.
  • A big challenge is how to educate consumers about how to use the mobile Internet.
  • Mobile ads should be part of an overall marketing program, not a separate silo.
  • Carriers mus balance their desire to serve users with their need to serve brands who advertize with them.
  • It was generally felt that market leadership in this area was the carriers' game to lose. It is probably the biggest opportunity they have, but they may be reluctant to make necessary changes. The will need to open up so innovation will happen.
  • Heavy investment in infrastructure is require to drive success in the mobile Internet.

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Monday Nov 12, 2007

Onsite at Mobile Internet World

I am sitting in the conference hall, waiting for the first session of Mobile Internet World to begin. I am sitting on the back row, lamenting the fact that the only power access I could find is on the back row, and battery technology is not sufficiently advanced to allow me to run on battery power all day.

I plan to post a synopsis of the sessions I attend each evening. Stay tuned.

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Mobile Internet World

I am in Boston, MA, for the week to attend Mobile Internet World. I am particularly interested in the emerging technologies and business models for delivering highly personalized, blended services over the mobile network, as one prong of the three-screen strategy being addressed by telcos and cable operators. It should be in an interesting week.

I am approaching the week with three basis hypotheses:

  • Mobile services need to be highly personalized, which implies strong integration of Identity principles.
  • Mobile services should be composites of services from multiple sources, which implies a service oriented architecture.
  • Mobile servcies demand new business models.
It will be interesting to see if I'm on track.

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Saturday Nov 03, 2007

Nokia N10 Internet Tablet

Click on "Take a Look" on the Nokia N10 Internet Tablet introduction page for an interesting view of what a compelling mobile user experience in the Participation Age can be.

The iPhone is not the only game in town. The accelerating trend towards rich user experience in the palm of your hand is great to see.

Thanks to GigaOM for the tip.

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Discovering Identity was founded on in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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