SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Posts Tagged ‘Predictions’

Gartner gazes into crystal ball

Posted by Jon Russell on February 11, 2009

[A little late on this one but…] Last month, analyst industry giant Gartner used its considerable expertise and position in the mobile industry to reveal its ‘Eight Mobile Technologies to Watch in 2009 and 2010’. Always worthy of note, and no particular order they are below.

As ever, please get in touch with your thoughts and any predictions of your own.

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1. Bluetooth 3.0

The Bluetooth 3.0 specification will be released in 2009 (at which point its feature set will be frozen), with devices starting to arrive around 2010. Bluetooth 3.0 will likely include features such as ultra-low-power mode that will enable new devices, such as peripherals and sensors, and new applications, such as health monitoring. Bluetooth originated as a set of protocols operating over a single wireless bearer technology. Bluetooth 3.0 is intended to support three bearers: “classic” Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ultrawideband (UWB). It’s possible that more bearers will be supported in the future.

2. Mobile User Interfaces (UIs)

UIs have a major effect on device usability and supportability. They will also be an area of intense competition in 2009 and 2010, with manufacturers using UIs to differentiate their handsets and platforms. New and more-diverse UIs will complicate the development and support of business-to-employee (B2E) and business-to-consumer (B2C) applications. Organizations should expect more user demands for support of specific device models driven by interface preferences. Companies should also expect consumer interfaces to drive new expectations of application behavior and performance. Better interfaces will make the mobile Web more accessible on small devices, and will be a better channel to customers and employees.

3. Location Sensing

Location awareness makes mobile applications more powerful and useful; in the future, location will be a key component of contextual applications. Location sensing will also enhance systems, such as mobile presence and mobile social networking. The growing maturity of on-campus location sensing using Wi-Fi opens up a range of new applications exploiting the location of equipment or people. Organizations delivering business or consumer applications should explore the potential of location sensing; however, exploiting it may create new privacy and security challenges.

4. 802.11n

802.11n boosts Wi-Fi data rates to between 100 Mbps and 300 Mbps, and the multiple-input, multiple-output technology used by 802.11n offers the potential for better coverage in some situations. 802.11n is likely to be a long-lived standard that will define Wi-Fi performance for several years. High-speed Wi-Fi is desirable to stream media around the home and office. From an organizational perspective, 802.11n is disruptive; it’s complex to configure, and is a “rip and replace” technology that requires new access points, new client wireless interfaces, new backbone networks and a new power over Ethernet standard. However, 802.11n is the first Wi-Fi technology to offer performance on a par with the 100 Mbps Ethernet commonly used for wired connections to office PCs. It is, therefore, an enabler for the all-wireless office, and should be considered by companies equipping new offices or replacing older 802.11a/b/g systems in 2009 and 2010.

5. Display technologies

Displays constrain many characteristics of both mobile devices and applications. During 2009 and 2010, several new display technologies will impact the marketplace, including active pixel displays, passive displays and pico projectors. Pico projectors enable new mobile use cases (for example, instant presentations projected on a desktop to display information in a brief, face-to-face sales meeting). Battery life improvements are welcome for any user. Good off-axis viewing enables images and information to be shared more easily. Passive displays in devices, such as e-book readers, offer new ways to distribute and consume documents. Display technology will also become an important differentiator and a user selection criterion.

6. Mobile web and widgets

The mobile Web is emerging as a low-cost way to deliver simple mobile applications to a range of devices. It has some limitations that will not be addressed by 2010 (for example, there will be no universal standards for browser access to handset services, such as the camera or GPS). However, the mobile Web offers a compelling total cost of ownership (TCO) advantage over thick-client applications. Widgets (small mobile Web applets) are supported by many mobile browsers, and provide a way to stream simple feeds to handsets and small screens. Mobile Web applications will be a part of most B2C mobile strategies. Thin-client applications are also emerging as a practical solution to on-campus enterprise applications using Wi-Fi or cellular connections.

7. Cellular Broadband

Wireless broadband exploded in 2008, driven by the availability of technologies such as high-speed downlink packet access and high-speed uplink packet access, combined with attractive pricing from cellular operators. The performance of high-speed packet access (HSPA) provides a megabit or two of bandwidth in uplink and downlink directions, and often more. In many regions, HSPA provides adequate connectivity to replace Wi-Fi “hot spots,” and the availability of mature chipsets enables organizations to purchase laptops with built-in cellular modules that provide superior performance to add-on cards or dongles.

8. Near Field Communications (NFC)

NFC provides a simple and secure way for handsets to communicate over distances of a centimeter or two. NFC is emerging as a leading standard for applications such as mobile payment, with successful trials conducted in several countries. It also has wider applications, such as “touch to exchange information” (for example, to transfer an image from a handset to a digital photo frame, or for a handset to pick up a virtual discount voucher). Gartner does not expect much of the NFC payment or other activities to become common, even by 2010, in mature markets, such as Western Europe and the U.S. NFC is likely to become important sooner in emerging markets, with some deployments starting by 2010.


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Predictions for 2009 – from Airwide

Posted by Admin on December 10, 2008

As is common at this time of year, people are starting to predict what the new year holds in store. Personally, I’ve no idea what to expect really, so I’m pleased that other people have been able to some thinking and make some predictions.

Here Chris Lennartz, VP of Product Marketing at Airwide Solutions makes some educated guesses about 2009.

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1. Mobile messaging to defy economic downturn – Mobile messaging will continue to grow despite the current downturn in the global economy. As revenues increase, mobile messaging will be seen as the lifeline to the mobile industry. It will fuel the growth in mobile data services and will in turn steer mobile operators, device OEMs and content providers through the tricky times ahead. Our predictions support recent figures from ABI research which state that revenues from mobile messaging services will grow from $151 billion in 2008 to $212 billion by 2013. Whilst these figures are good news for the industry, they also underline the need to ensure that an operator’s underlying infrastructure is highly efficient and therefore equipped to support the increase in traffic volumes over the years ahead.

2. Less developed regions to fuel peaks in SMS activity – Most new subscribers to mobile services will come from less economically developed and newly industrialised regions, many of whom have a low disposable income. Most of the phones shipped to these markets have little more than voice and text capabilities so the growth potential for SMS in these markets will be significant.

3. Personalisation comes of age – In the Western world, we expect much of the growth in mobile messaging to come from personalised services. Customers will demand more from their operators so differentiating the services an operator can offer its subscribers through added features such as enterprise based mobile applications, email, out-of-office, auto-forward and storage/back-up capabilities will be key to not only enhancing the mobile experience but also increasing ARPU and offsetting losses in voice.

4. Mobile marketing and advertising surges ahead – Operators will also continue to generate revenues through mobile marketing and advertising – a development which in 2009 will see the introduction of location based mobile advertising. The key to success will be to incorporate a multimedia and multi-platform approach to ensure that it becomes a natural and valuable extension of the consumer.

5. Mobile internet overtakes PC based internet use – The use of the mobile internet will increase significantly by the end of 2009. According to IBM more than 50 per cent of consumers would substitute their PC based internet connection for their mobile. As the majority of new phones come with internet access as standard we predict that more people will access the internet from their mobile than their PC by the end of 2009.

6. Focus on mobile security increases as mobile commerce comes of age – As mobile phones increase in sophistication (especially smartphones), the value of the data they carry will mean greater attention will be paid to mobile security. Subscribers will expect mobile operators to take greater security measures to protect their personal data such as social security numbers, PIN codes, passwords, company financial data and other proprietary data – a fact which will become more important as mobile commerce takes off. At the moment buying travel tickets and basic consumables via the mobile internet has been popular in Japan and Korea but soon this will move to Europe and the US. An independent survey commissioned by Airwide Solutions found that 5.6 million people in the EU already access financial information from their mobile phones – a 23.6 per cent jump from the same time last year. These figures support data from the Nielsen Company which found that 9.2 million Americans have used their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. Although this is encouraging for the mobile industry, consumers must be aware of phishing scams which can steal financial information.

7. China fuels MMS uptake – The use of MMS will continue to grow especially in China where MMS is booming. Its growth will be helped by ever improving handsets and the demand for user generated content, blogging, social networking and mobile marketing. Juniper Research predicts revenues from MMS to top $16 billion in 2009. However, for this to happen mobile operators must ensure that their infrastructure and marketing is equipped to target MMS.

8. The digital youth drives changes in communication – The rise of social networks will continue and this will impact upon mobile messaging traffic as more and more people use their mobile phones to update their profiles remotely and blog on the move. It will be interesting to see what the behaviour of the digital youth will lead to as they have proven that they prefer social networking, blogging and text messaging over voice. Will this lead to the end of the voicemail as we know it?

9. Mobiles go green – As more emphasis is placed on environmentally friendly technologies, will greater attention be paid to handset recycling initiatives? With only 1 per cent of mobile handsets recycled each year globally, 65 to 85 per cent could be re-used. However, for this to be successful mobile operators must have comprehensive EIR systems in place to ensure that all mobile equipment is tracked and logged and any invalid handsets blocked from operating on mobile networks.

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