Posts Tagged ‘Smartphone’

International CES 2014: A tipping point for the Internet of Things?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
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Cisco’s shopping cart

As predicted, the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show simply overflowed with examples of IoT finally becoming a marketplace reality – from the connected home to the connected automobile to digital health – as well as large companies vying for the opportunity to merge cloud and mobile technologies with sensors and MEMS technology.

In his keynote presentation John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, predicted that “2014 would be the transformational pivot point for IoT” and that the total cost benefit going forward could be as high as $19 trillion for both public and private sectors. He foresees retail, for example, gaining at least $1.5 trillion in benefits from the implementation of smart shopping carts that both assist and track customers.

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FootLogger demo

The pace, scale and potential impact of IoT emergence has drawn attention from multiple interested parties associated with policy and regulations. During a panel discussion on this subject, FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen encouraged governments to better understand the effects and benefits of innovation on society, and to assess whether existing laws or regulations in the market place can right any potential threats. Adam Thierer, senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, warned against the “precautionary principle” model which curtails innovation until it can be proven to not be a serious threat to society. He sees the EU as following this worldview in its approach to privacy and IoT, and he strongly endorses the principle of “permissionless innovation” fostered by the U.S. which deems that experimentation with new technologies and business models should generally be permitted by default. In reality, evolution of IoT will most likely be a combination of all three due to the explosive growth and diversity of the technology globally.

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FashionTEQ notification ring

In another session on MEMS and sensor fusion, Mike Luna, CTO of Jawbone, pointed out that technology on its own is not the key to success. Luna believes that the real challenge for companies such as Jawbone, Nike and Fitbit with their new wearable products will be ensuring that they seamlessly fit into consumers’ everyday lives. Key to this is making sure that they do not adversely react with bodily or external substances, so that they can just be worn and forgotten. Only then can consistent and reliable data be obtained from them and used in such areas as health, sports or general lifestyle enhancement. These new wearables not only communicate with smartphones but with one another and, according to Luna, are in effect creating the Internet of Me, where they become hubs for connection and exchange of data. For wearable technology to really take off I believe that people need to feel socially comfortable with it, and I was interested to see the large number of European, Asian and American companies pursuing the fashion vector for wearables, whether it was notification jewelry such as pendants and rings, or watches that blended style with technology.

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Multiple eyewear options

Rival eyewear products were also abundant at this year’s CES, some incorporating cameras that stream everyday life or automatically take pictures to create an individual’s video blog. Others focused on the industrial space, creating safety glasses with video streaming capability that can be used for training, diagnostic or quality assurance purposes, for example on a production line when a video recording of the process could prove useful. Add to this the increased use of augmented reality, as seen in Googles Glass, and the production and education environment of the future looks very different.

Judging by the technologies on display at this year’s CES, the future is closer than most of us realize. Conference speaker Rob Nail, CEO and Associate Founder of Singularity University, warned, however, that humans are not educated to cope with the exponential technology growth curve that we are currently experiencing. Worse still, he presented evidence that we have limited capability to forecast it. The good news is that, when we finally accept what’s happening, we apparently adapt very quickly! Over the next year it will be interesting to see if the Internet of Everything turns out to be the fundamental tipping point that keynote speaker John Chambers predicts, or if it’s merely one of many on the accelerating exponential technology curve referenced above.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Has Google Seeded the Future of Mobile?

Monday, February 10th, 2014

This past week’s news was dominated by Apple struggling to fulfill Wall Street’s expectations, Samsung’s proposal to reinvent itself as a software company and, the coup de grace, Google selling Motorola to Lenovo. All of these events reveal an industry in transition.

Smartphones, as we know, have transformed the mobile experience for consumers but have hardly changed since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. They have become faster, bigger and have more sensors but they remain square, slim screens that in developed markets cost around $400. In this scenario Samsung and Apple have thrived, sucking out 90% of the industry profitability.

ARA Motorola projectClearly, the future for smartphones lies in the emerging markets where the next 2 to 3 billion devices will be sold and the price point will be closer to $100. So will these two giants still dominate or will Chinese players such as Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad and an army of white label manufacturers take over this space? Is the smartphone/mobile industry about to enter the commoditization phase?

Against this background it was interesting to see that Google is holding on to the Advanced Technology team that is developing the Ara endoskeleton phone design system, which was revealed late last year. Also revealed was a partnership with Phonebloks with the intent of creating an ecosystem of hardware developers to work with the software developers that support Android. The initial offerings will probably not be successful but the following should be taken into consideration:  for the past few years chip manufacturers have been producing ever more capable systems on chip designs, two examples being Qualcomm’s Snapdragon that dominates the smartphone space and Intel’s Edison for the M2M and Internet of Things space. With the advent of 3D manufacturing and ever more capable components, the concept of a spine that acts as a connector may be the catalyst for a fundamental rethink of devices.

Eco-mobIt is no coincidence that ZTE presented a concept design, Eco-Mobius, at CES 2014 that uses a sliding track enabling users to assemble and disassemble screens, core processors, memory, camera and battery; here the concept of “customize your own device” seems to coincide with a growing interest in wearables. The future may well see the fusion of these two trends with fashion styling enabling devices to fit seamlessly into peoples’ lives.

Discussions around the Internet of Things, Internet of Everything and the Internet of Me are all about the future pervasiveness of mobile connectivity across multiple industries as well as the “always on” digital world we live in. These modular architecture concepts that Google and ZTE are experimenting with will help facilitate this. But, more importantly, since Google excels at building ecosystems, if they succeed in creating an ecosystem of hardware developers to fuse with software companies, the future of mobile will see a complete change. Google may well have seeded the future direction of the industry in a way that only a few of us have foreseen.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

2014: The Year of Digital Renaissance?

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Digi Renaissance firework 2013As fireworks fill the skies tonight and 2013 comes to a close, it seems a good time to reflect on the current state of the telecoms and ICT industries, and what has changed in the last five years. Having just participated in the 2013 ITU Telecom World Conference in Bangkok, this gave me the opportunity to assess whether the Digital Renaissance that we at KeySo Global have being predicting has in fact transpired.

In 2009 the world was reeling from 12 months of global financial turbulence and anxiety levels were high. WiMAX was causing angst for U.S. carriers and the iPhone was forcing the rethinking of how Wi-Fi and cellular could effectively inter-operate. Data congestion on overloaded 3G networks designed for voice was reaching critical levels as operators adjusted to the realities of YouTube video upload and downloads. The European markets and technology suppliers were firmly in control of the industry, with Nokia the dominant handset supplier controlling 38% of the 1.1 billion phones sold that year. Apple, on the other hand, was gaining credibility and achieved a respectable 2%. ICT was the main theme of the conference as cellular held center stage with 67% market penetration, having enabled 4.6 billion people globally to have access to personal communication capability. In 2009 the prime discussion, therefore, was around internet connection and the role that mobile could play here.

graphic oneFast forward to the 2013 conference in Asia and the global economy, having experienced five years of unprecedented instability, is still in a volatile state where virtually every treasured economic rulebook has been proven ineffective in controlling a 24/7 interconnected digital world. This has been facilitated in part due to cellular penetration reaching 96% and 6.8 billon people having access to cellular – 3.5 billion of whom are in the Asia Pacific region. More significantly, the number of people now online has increased from 26% to 39%. The single biggest contributor to this has been mobile broadband access which has grown from below 10% in 2009 to 30% penetration this year. This growth is closely tied to smartphone growth as well as the availability of lower cost data packages.  In 2009 smartphonesgraphic 2 accounted for approximately 10% of handset shipments, whereas in the 3rd quarter of 2013 smartphones totaled 250 million units, over 55% of total phone shipments that quarter. The biggest loser in this dramatic shift in emphasis towards smartphones and operating systems has been Nokia, but others such as Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Sharp, Rim, HTC and Motorola have been damaged along the way, to greater or lesser degrees, by the shift to an Android world.

In conclusion, we are living in a far more connected world than we were five years ago. However, the extent to which the interconnection of this increasingly complex human digital and physical world is understood is limited and the ripple effects of these technologies on industry structures have only just started to appear. Telecoms and ICT are certainly not immune to these, as we have seen, but within the next five years we will see the boundary industries of automotive, medical, retail, utilities and manufacturing become increasingly subject to the transformative effects of the mobile internet.

Of greater interest will be the unanticipated consequences that will undoubtedly emerge from the mobile internet and Internet of Things blending with big data analytics, and the unavoidable impact this will have on digital life and behaviors. As an increasingly urbanized planet adopts these technologies to facilitate ever smarter cities, the opportunities for ICT to make a difference to societies are colossal – but the question is how to bring the people along with these changes, and instill trust in them that technology will be used for good and that ethical government will prevail? Clearly, the recent Snowden revelations on the NSA and other agencies have given everyone pause for thought.

As we enter 2014, it is clear that the Digital Renaissance is technically well underway but the structural and behavioral implications are only just beginning to emerge and, when they do surface, I suspect that the predominant challenges we face will be societal. In shaping the future of this brave new world we need to engage its citizens, understand their needs and manage the “Faustian bargain” that will be a fine balance between a surveillance state and the right to privacy. None of these challenges are unsurmountable but they are ones that will need careful monitoring, open conversations and perseverance on the part of governments, industry and citizens around the globe.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Digital Awareness – a Critical Component for Success

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

A key pillar of our work at KeySo Global is the belief that digital technology has significantly impacted and changed the digital lives of every one of us, and that systems and business models are consequently having to adapt to meet multiple stakeholders’ expectations.

Business models are dynamic and unique, and are a reflection of historic development, management personalities, economic and business environments, customer and channel requirements as well as resource, assets and technology. As much as humans like stability, no business model stays the same, no matter how perfect it seems at the time.  In their 2001 book entitled “How Digital Is Your Business” Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison compared the brilliance of the Dell business model with competitors like HP, Compaq and, at that time, struggling Apple. Dell spent limited amounts on R&D, leveraged a choice board for consumers to design their own PC, and outsourced manufacturing to Taiwan and distribution logistics to FedEx; this was seen as a virtue at the time when compared with HP, Compaq and Apple. Technology and a successful business model don’t guarantee success if a company doesn’t keep up with consumer need changes or fails to innovate. The focus that Apple placed on user experience changed the game; in recent news we’ve seen how Dell’s business model is now struggling to compete against the growth of smartphones, tablets and cloud services – particularly those of Apple.

Being aware and responding to developments around you is a significant and important part of senior management responsibility. We strongly advocate the interaction with external resources that will bring a different perspective to a business. Utilizing “thought leaders” or tools that allow the current situation to be viewed from a different vantage point can greatly strengthen a company’s thinking and focus. As the saying goes “no single event makes a trend” but the search, listing and assembly of data from multiple sources can enable companies to recognize emerging patterns and opportunities, particularly in complementary industries where competitive shifts in business models could be applicable.

Over the last few weeks I’ve observed in the news a number of noteworthy events that will, I’m sure, impact multiple industries. I’ve listed these below, together with what I believe are the broader implications for business.

Recent news events:

  • Online clothes shopping hit 10% of U.S. sales.
  • Macy’s overall sales increased by 11.7% and their online sales increased by 48.9%.
  • H&M and Inditex – European fashion retailers – are reported tochange their in-store clothing range every two weeks.
  • 15% of shopping malls will close in the U.S. over the next five years.
  • Amazon’s fourth-quarter sales were down but their margins increased.
  • Netflix develops streamed original content (House of Cards) targeted at “cord cutters” abandoning cable and satellite TV.
  • Traditional Procter & Gamble partners with crowd sourcing venture capitalists “Circle Up” for new ideas and innovation.
  • BSkyB in the U.K. introduces advertising based on localized demographics and TV program choice.

Digital implications for your business:

  • smartphones and tablets have changed consumer behavior patterns i.e. online couch shopping and mobile price comparison
  • traditional T.V. advertising is losing its effectiveness
  • the digital consumer expects broader and more frequently refreshed product lines
  • digital business models enable diverse competitive offerings
  • traditional business models now embrace crowd sourcing and funding

If they haven’t already done so, these implications and others like them are likely to impact your business model. My message here is that you need to become aware of digital change and be prepared to do something about it. Have you checked to see if neighboring industries and competitors are already responding to the urgent need to adapt? The big question is – are you? Are you ready to take the first steps towards adopting a digital strategy, one that will strengthen your competitive position in today’s digital marketplace?

We at KeySo Global can help. To discuss how you can structure a digital strategy innovation session, contact us at info@keysoglobal.com or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President KeySo Global

Are New Players Forcing the Mobile Industry to Change?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

As much as this year’s CES was about the influence of mobile at the center of consumer electronic growth and development, there was little that was outstanding from the perspective of new mobile device introduction.

Certainly Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia and Intel talked about enhanced chip set technology that has increased performance and graphics while cutting back on power consumption, and Samsung showcased their new flexible screen technology; but apart from the above, no real breakthrough or “wow” products were announced.

Most mobile device manufacturers tend to hold off until Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February to showcase their new product portfolios for the upcoming year. Increasingly a minority of the big guys have premier events before MWC. Apple has done this is past years and in all probability RIM is planning to introduce its new Blackberry this year. The audience at MWC is made up of global operators that provide the purchasing power and the ability to make or even break manufacturers with decisions to range their products and link them to new services and subsidy provision.

The dawning of a fundamental shift in the composition of the mobile industry may, however, have been observed at this year’s CES. The two major Chinese infrastructure manufacturers that have struggled to gain market position in the U.S. – and in one case is being actively barred – are working on building their customer brand and device portfolio. ZTE and Huawei both had large stands and comprehensive product offerings at CES, and the two companies showcased their new products that clearly targeted the Samsung S3 and Galaxy Note. ZTE launched its Grand S LTE unit and seemed determined to let everyone know that they are now the number 4 smartphone manufacturer worldwide. Huawei’s main product introductions, however, lack LTE capability which is a little surprising given the North American market focus on LTE growth. I am sure that there will be an announcement at MWC, or possibly later at CTIA in May that will address this hole in the U.S. portfolio. The real point is that these two companies are striving to build brand awareness and become household names; at the same time they are targeting Samsung which, together with Apple, is taking a 90% chunk of the profit currently generated in the smartphone market.

The Chinese are known for their long term strategic plays and it is likely that they will be the root cause of a complete shake-up of the mobile space that we are about to witness. The Apple’s and Samsung’s will undoubtedly survive but will be under increased pressure to maintain their brand and technology prowess, and at the same time sustain the margins that Wall Street has become accustomed to. Those manufacturers in the middle of the mobile market will find it a struggle. HTC, which showcased a star product at Mobile World Congress last year, now has non-existent profits and has failed to maintain its technology and brand presence. At CES this year, rumor had it that a major European / U.S. carrier was considering deranging and dropping HTC because they no longer offer hero products or have the brand to support them.

Amongst this turmoil, RIM will also face the challenge of re-establishing itself in the market, despite the introduction of its new Blackberry 10. Both LG and Sony may be forced into a niche, and Nokia could become to Microsoft what Motorola has become to Google – a hardware capability but with no direction or insight into how to recreate the Apple model.

Playing in the background are the major equipment manufacturers, such as Foxcomm, which build products for major smartphone, tablet and PC manufacturers. Within the last year Foxcomm has acquired the brand, Sharp, primarily for use in China but, one would suspect, ultimately as a potential global distribution channel.

With the stage set, the next 18 months could prove to be pivotal in terms of the strategic scenarios that play out. More significantly, the role of the mobile operator as orchestrator could once again be changing to the role of king-maker or breaker as they decide to support the upstarts or partner with the incumbents. Watch this space!

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

 

Qualcomm at the Birth of the Mobile Generation

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, opened this year’s keynote “Born Mobile” at CES in Las Vegas by pointing out that this was the first time a mobile company has opened the show. Globally, mobile is at the heart and center of everything we do, transforming the way we live and giving rise to the new “Generation M”.  A survey of those people who have grown up “mobile” identified that 84% of them can’t go one day without their devices. Mobile is the largest technology platform in the history of mankind. There are 6.4 billion mobile connections worldwide and 1 million smartphones are added daily which is twice the global daily birth rate.

Qualcomm took the opportunity to share the platform with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft who has been the traditional opening keynote for many years. Ballmer showcased Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset used in the Windows-based Nokia Lumina 900 and HTC8X. Cementing their relationship, Ballmer thanked Jacobs for the opportunity to partner with Qualcomm and to experience being “born mobile”.  I would have to suspect that the famous “Wintel” partnership is in its sunset years… so what will the new partnership be called?

Jacob’s keynote offered insight into the new Snapdragon 800 chipset which will offer faster wireless connection in mobile devices by the second half of this year.  This quad core chip, operating at 2.5 Ghz, has 75% better performance and power efficiency than those of previous generations. These are coupled with enhanced graphics, next generation WiFi 802.11AC and LTE to provide online console gaming graphics capability.  Additionally, the chipset enables the playback and more importantly the capture and sharing of ultra-high definition video. This aspect is probably the most significant element in accelerating the penetration of ultra HD, which most thought would be constrained by the slow adoption of the TV industry. To demonstrate the power of the chip, Jacobs introduced the film producer, Guillermo del Toro, who previewed his upcoming ultra HD film “Pacific Rim”, played back on a Snapdragon device.

We were given a glimpse into many other exciting ways that Qualcomm is partnering to help interconnected devices, including sensors, facilitate the creation of a “digital sixth sense” that can gather information from the cyber world and bring it into the real world. One example given was an app being made available this summer called “Big Bird’s Words”. The Big Bird app from Sesame Street is devised as an early reading tool for children; it works on a device fitted with a camera and uses text recognition to enable children to point to words that Big Bird then repeats.

Overall, it was a high profile and powerful presentation that anchors Qualcomm at the center of the new “Generation M” world. To close, Adam Levine and two others from Maroon 5 played acoustic versions of some of their hits including “Pay Phone” – which Jacobs quipped should be renamed “Mobile Phone”!

Steve Bell, Principal, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

Consumer Electronic Trends to Watch – Live Report from CES in Las Vegas

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Shawn DuBravac,  Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) identified in his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday four critical trends that will shape the future of the consumer electronics industry.

The Post Smartphone Era

Penetration of smartphones in the U.S. has surpassed the 52% mark but more significantly tablets have doubled their penetration in just 12 months, moving from 22% to 44%. In today’s digital world where multiple devices are commonplace in every household, these effectively act as hubs. They are mechanisms for accessing additional technologies, from door locks to health and fitness applications, and act as “second screens” for controlling security, domestic appliances, cars and TV’s. DuBravac referred to smartphones and tablets as “viewfinders into our digital lives”.

The Age of Algorithms

Prior to 2001 most information captured was analogue. With the continual reduction of cost for processing and sensors, more and more devices now have the capability to collect, communicate and share information digitally. In the U.S. there will be 350 million IP addressable devices sold in 2013 and about 1 billion worldwide. In reality, the cost curve of technology is enabling the “sensorization” of devices. The challenge in the future will be curating the enormous density of data-strings that will be generated as sensors proliferate.  Participating at this year’s CES are a record number of automotive companies, reflecting the growing interest of the industry in the role of sensors and connectivity. The fact that the Google car drove 300k miles last year and that Audi, Lexus, Ford and several others are focusing on this area of technology is an indication of how significant it could become. The Chairman of Continental has said that a driverless commercial solution is possible by 2025. In this age of algorithms, data is the new currency which raises ever more concern about security and privacy.

Contextual Connectivity

In recent years, the mood of the industry was captured by the advent of smart TV’s that could connect to the internet. Now the focus is on using intelligence received from sensors to make the interaction between the smart TV and the consumer more relevant and appropriate. One example is the use of cameras that monitor who is watching a program to ensure that appropriate advertising is screened when children are present; another are glass panes in store windows that display information tailored to the individual who is walking past that store, based on their smartphone details shared via social media, store card check-ins or through NFC payments.

Changing the Flow of the Story

The prevalence of “second screens” indicates that we are becoming digital omnivores who consume secondary information while watching a primary screen or previews prior to selecting a program. With household penetration of tablets and smartphones hitting 1.4 per household in the U.S. in 2012 (compared with 2.9 TV’s per household), the second screen is a real phenomenon.  In fact sales of small screen TV’s have declined 20 to 30% in the last 3 years. The concept that engagement starts on the second screen means that the paradigms for use-case scenarios are rapidly changing and need to be understood by the content providers, networks and advertisers. The story may not start on the big screen but when it reaches it the challenge is to maintain engagement and interaction on the second screen. Interestingly, sales of jumbo screen TV’s for main living spaces are on the increase in the U.S.

What becomes evident from these trends is that consumers’ rapid adoption of technology into their digital lives is changing their expectations and forcing business models to adapt accordingly. It appears that, even in the consumer industries, many large companies are being slow to respond and the bulk of innovative ideas and add-on products are being generated by hybrid start-ups.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

Which 3 Digital Technologies became Catalysts for Change?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

So what exactly have we recognized as being the three catalyst technologies or products that emerged in the year 2007? Below is an overview of each of these and highlighted are the main factors that we believe have influenced their evolution and subsequent relevance today.

WiMAX

WiMAX was an early 4G technology that started the move of the U.S. market to wireless broadband; it is often likened to “Wi-Fi on steroids”. The fact that Sprint and Clearwire, a startup that was supported by Google and Intel, could deliver blisteringly fast mobile Internet service forced AT&T and Verizon, the two largest U.S. carriers, to accelerate their deployment of 4G LTE. This development meant that standards needed to be agreed upon and formalized, and that network equipment manufacturers needed to accelerate production in order to provide for these large customers.

Having AT&T and Verizon focus on a single frequency (700 MHz) made it easier for device manufacturers to accelerate their development of 4G Internet products and deliver consumer-ready devices. The fact that some of these device manufacturers had been working on WiMAX devices in cooperation with semiconductor providers meant that they could accelerate products based on the WiMAX chipsets that almost 80% matched LTE.

Subsequently, both Sprint and T-Mobile have also either invested in or announced plans to build a 4G LTE network on top of their existing systems. What this means is that for the first time all four large U.S. carriers are offering mobile Internet services utilizing the same technology as the rest of the world, enabling global interoperability and roaming.

The iPhone

The second catalyst product was the iPhone which has received much acclaim for its elegant design and simple user interface. The real essence of the catalytic change that the iPhone initiated, however, was a shift in the consumer paradigm of a mobile device being used solely for communication to one that enabled interaction. The iPhone allows users to connect easily on-the-go and to share information, content, pictures and video simply and effortlessly. When it was first released, users found the interface to be so effortless that data volumes climbed exponentially and severely disrupted the AT&T network that had not been designed for large data capability! This forced AT&T, as well as other mobile operators, to rethink the entire concept of network architecture to include Wi-Fi as an offload mechanism. It also resulted in AT&T acquiring Wayport, and in the process becoming the single largest operator of Wi-F in the U.S.

Not only did the iPhone change the existing consumer paradigm and network architectures, it also broke the carrier stranglehold on its relationship with the subscriber. The iPhone was and still is provisioned via iTunes, which had previously been the domain of the mobile operator. This relationship with the subscriber, initiated at the time of purchase, was then solidified through the introduction of the app store and ultimately the iCloud. Apple effectively took the existing mobile business model, tore it up and replaced it with a hybrid that established a stronger bond with the consumer based on end-to-end user experience. The impact of the iPhone’s innovative design, end-to-end system, business model, user paradigm and elegant packaging of an everyday technology has had a tsunami-like impact on RIM, Motorola and Nokia, as well as on major mobile operators around the globe.

The Amazon Kindle

The third catalyst product that has been an instrumental agent of change is the Amazon Kindle. This device did for a 500-year-old product concept, the book, what the Walkman or iPod did for music. Best sellers are now cheaper and easier to obtain via the Kindle which provides on-the-go access to the world’s largest library/bookstore. This simple to use, low cost device made the mobile Internet transparent to the user by incorporating the cost of access into the price of the book. Amazon achieved this by creating a blanket connection relationship with AT&T for global access. The fact that the Kindle e-Reader automatically creates a relationship with Amazon means that loyal subscribers are a natural evolution. Proof that this technological revolution is affecting the literary world is evidenced by the number of large bookstores, such as Borders in the U.S., that have closed, and Barnes & Noble swiftly producing their own e-Reader, the Nook.

The iPhone and the e-Reader together have evolved into an instant-on class of device – the tablet – that satisfies the mobile consumer’s need to instantly connect, be entertained and informed. While small enough to remain portable, smartphones and tablets facilitate sharing, learning, creating and interacting using wireless broadband connectivity (3G, 4G and WiMAX) and these in turn have become indispensable parts of our everyday digital lives.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

 

Mobile Industry Trends and Beyond

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

 

 

The mobile industry is a global business that generates $1.5 trillion in revenue every year, approximately 1.5% of the world’s GDP. Throughout its 30 year history the industry has become ever more inextricably intertwined with the global economy. The World Bank estimates that for every 10% increase in mobile penetration the GDP in developed countries increases by 0.6%, in developing countries by 0.8% and for low income countries GDP increases by 1.4 %.

The bottom line is that wireless communications are impacting our personal and business lives because the physical networks are, in the words of President Clinton, “facilitating networks of collaboration and cooperation” that make boundaries transparent between countries, industries, societies and cultures. As the connected world shrinks in a virtual sense, possibility expands in a real sense as boundaries blur and new and previously unforeseen opportunities emerge globally. It is against this background that it becomes critical for industry leaders to make themselves aware of the emerging mobile trends and the implications they have on the global economic landscape, and more specifically on their own businesses.

Emerging Mobile Trends

  1. Mobile technology is disrupting business models and consumer habits, not just within Telecoms but also neighboring industries. The medical, utility, transportation, education and banking industries are all experiencing a shift from simple communication to total connectivity anywhere that mobility facilitates. Some are embracing the opportunities that this brings faster than others, resulting in significant redistribution of wealth along multiple value chains. Industry structures will most likely change as companies look at horizontal and vertical integration to acquire “Super Stacks” of intellectual property in order to exert increased control over their business model.
  2. Over the Top (OTT) Communication Services, easily downloaded from “App Stores”, are encouraging consumers to explore different ways of communicating, wherever they are and with whom they want, across multiple platforms. Voice has become just another bit of data in the new networked world. Consequently there is gradual recognition that mobile operators do not have a monopoly on the provision of voice over their networks; this could ultimately be the end of the existing subsidy model for phones and smartphones.
  3. Network architecture is being rethought to handle the masses of data resulting from the unprecedented growth in uploading and sharing of video from mobile phones. The traditional asymmetric network design has been found wanting and has forced a more symmetric heterogeneous networks (Het-Nets) structure that encompasses multiple technologies, spectrum and access capabilities, including offload to Wi-Fi. This frantic scramble by operators to provide the vision and reality of “anywhere – anytime – anyhow connectivity” has a significant cost implication at a time when the industry economics are in flux.
  4. Clouds of Things” captures the convergence of five rapidly developing vectors of technology: the Internet of Things, Hybrid Clouds, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality. “Clouds of Things” will provide intelligent management, control, utilization and distribution of resources. This convergence of capability will be driven by the needs of smart cities as the increasing flight to urbanization continues. It is forecast that by the year 2016 thirty percent of the global population will be living in cities.
  5. Smart connected homes are becoming a reality as embedded and “black box” connectivity become simple to use and install, or come as part of a home automation package from cable companies, utilities or security firms. This will allow enhanced and remote management of all of the connected consumer electronic devices within a household. Smart home management will be facilitated by personal tablets and smartphones linked to augmented reality and will inevitably result in peoples’ social behaviors adapting and changing.
  6. The Mobile Wallet, utilizing Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, could revolutionize online and offline commerce as it is currently understood. This technology appears to be closer to reality in 2012 than ever before and is being deployed in millions of smartphones by multiple manufacturers.  However, in the developed markets there is need for systems and infrastructure change in order to handle mobile wallet transactions; this requires the agreement of many parties with vested interests, many of which are not yet aligned. Unless the complex industry value chain (retailers, card issuers, banks, mobile operators, internet intermediaries to name but a few) can meet consumers’ expectations for “elegant” mobile solutions (simplicity of use, privacy and security) then adoption by users will be inhibited.
  7. Smart devices, together with consumer adoption of “there’s an app for that”, revealed the enormous power and flexibility of the mobile internet. Beyond web apps, HTML5 is the next evolution of the mobile web. It is a comprehensive app development platform that can be used on multiple browsers and phone operating systems. Businesses providing services and content are attracted to HTML5 to overcome the following issues: the fragmentation of Android across an increasing number of device manufacturers and Apple app store economics that takes 30% of each app transaction while restricting these businesses access to their own subscriber information.
  8. Seamless connections management software, with varying degrees of capability, will soon become common place on devices to meet consumers’ expectations for simple, elegant, lower cost access everywhere across the world. It will also enable operators to load- balance across increasingly complex networks using multiple technologies and spectrum. This software will also help operators address the challenge that IT managers face in aligning Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) requirements with corporate security needs.
  9. Green ownership philosophies and government policy are focusing attention on ecological and energy saving issues. It is forcing a rethink of the total cost of ownership calculation for networks and, by default, the cost of consumer and enterprise services. This calculation becomes more complex now that it has to address an increased number of factors: the traditional economic pressures that are compounded by the exponential rise in data traffic, the increasing expectation of customers for access anywhere, as well as the impact of environmental pollution and concerns about energy efficiency.
  10. Mobile discovery will increasingly become the focus of mobile marketing specialists in the same way that SEO is an integral part of internet marketing today. Addressing the abundance of apps, services and information is a new type of problem. Mobile operators are complicating this situation by starting to mine vast amounts of subscriber data. They are blending this intelligence with offerings from a rich ecosystem of service and content providers, and creating unique personalized propositions for consumers that are targeted by location and context. With this diversity of offering, the challenge for small businesses and app developers is how to stand out in this operator and app store dominated environment? This is the emerging art and science of mobile discovery.

For more information about any of the above contact us at +1847-478-1633 or info@keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

“Mobile Gaming – Everything to Play For”

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A $60 billion market over the next five years

A brand new and increasingly popular category of business, Mobile Gaming, has taken the market by storm. Three interrelated components of the converged wireless world have given rise to its exponential growth and rapidly increasing popularity:

  • Increased availability of wireless broadband on cellular and Wi-Fi
  • Abundance of reasonably priced smartphones and tablets
  • Easy accessibility to app stores that expand the functionality of mobile devices

 

 

Mobile Market Developments

Mobile gaming is a global phenomenon but because it is leading the world in 4G, LTE and smartphone penetration, the U.S.market is taking off more rapidly, as shown by the following developments:

  • Forecasts indicate that 4.3 billion smartphones and 1.2 billion tablets will be sold globally over the next 5 years. These devices have transformed daily habits, enabling mobile entertainment – and gaming in particular – to become an integral part of everyday life.
  •  ComScore saw gaming usage increase by 77% in 2011 in the U.S. where 31% of mobile users play games on their devices, and 27% in the 5 largest European countries. Gaming is the number one entertainment activity for tablet users in the U.S.

P.J. McNeally, of Digital World Research, concluded: “Gaming is now a ‘need to have’ category, not a ‘nice to have’ category for mobile devices, whether they be tablets or phones.”

Shifting Business Models

The impact of these developments is that the industry’s value chain and the way that games are sold are being forced to change with the adoption of the new “freemium” business model in the mobile environment. The “freemium” model provides the initial game for free but the user is then charged for subsequent in-game purchases. Currently incremental revenue is only generated by about 5 -10% of active game players and this will have to increase if existing games companies are to survive.

The impact of value chain shifts can be seen in the plight of Nintendo where the console market has been severely impacted by the “freemium” model. Consumers find it difficult to justify paying for a stand-alone gaming device, plus games, when they can download these for free on their smartphones or tablets and then play them on their TV’s using HDMI cables.

What does the Future Hold?

For the mobile consumer, the online “word-of-mouth effect” combined with the growing power of social networking will be a significant driver of viral game growth and in-game purchases.

In the mobile gaming category, businesses boundaries will continue to blur as value chains adapt to the converged space of ICT, telecoms and consumer electronics – coined the “Crossover Era” by Gamesbeat. As devices become more sophisticated, games incorporate more advanced features and gamers continue to view mobile entertainment as a “must have”, this market segment will without doubt continue to grow rapidly, evolving into a $60+ billion market over the next five years.

Contact us at info@keysoglobal.com or +1847-478-1633 to obtain a copy of our final report on Mobile Gaming.

Article first published as Mobile Gaming – Everything to Play For on Technorati.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global   www.keysoglobal.com