A new U.S. president, a shaky economy and a wireless industry
surging at breakneck speed toward all things broadband. What can you expect?
The wireless industry stands at the threshold of maturation. In October, it celebrated its 25th anniversary. It has evolved through three generations of network technology and has its eye trained on the fourth. Customers have embraced the ubiquity of voice communications and are now seeking the same seamlessness with all forms of data. In that regard, the future has never looked so bright. Yet, the industry’s 26th year, with all the outside forces, could prove the most challenging.
The U.S. economy hovers on the brink of a recession, or worse. Wireless operators are pushing wireless data to counter decreasing average revenue per user (ARPUs). Their walled gardens have been opened to outside guests. Handset makers are vying to eke out every possible market share point, or at least maintain their current hold. Infrastructure companies continue to struggle to reinvent and reinvest in themselves in the face of new global competitors and forces.
Application developers are swinging for the fences trying to rise above the noise of other applications, platforms and capabilities.
What’s in store for the new year? Will operators be able to maintain their profitable voice and data efforts? Will mobile WiMAX startups be able to compete against the encumbents? Will struggling companies be able to hang on?
So many questions. So few answers. Yet Wireless Week asked wireless industry representatives what they expect in the new year. There was an air of optimism and confidence despite the challenges. The hot-button topics never strayed far from themes of the economy, broadband, mobile media, customer service and improving the bottom line.
What follows is our collection of views from all corners of the industry.
Despite 2008 ’s smartphone surge, worldwide broadband adoption and new application development platforms, our data-driven mobile economy is only on the cusp of realizing its potential. Expect 2009 to be another productive year for unwiring the enterprise, as organizations focus on pragmatic initiatives that break down information silos, increase productivity, reduce expenses and create efficiencies in a tight economic environment. Expect consumer trends to continue driving enterprise mobility strategies, placing heavy emphasis on platform agnosticism and interoperability. Finally, messaging services will continue to grow, as enterprises discover its value as an easy, cost-effective platform for sharing information with customers and employees.
Raj Nathan, Chief Marketing Officer, Sybase
Open Source’sReal Impact
While 2008 introduced the promising opportunities of open source to a broader consumer audience, most recently through Google Android, 2009 will see the rollout of even more open platform devices and wider industry backing of the open model. Open source will encourage innovation on all levels, even on mass-market devices. No longer reserved for high-end smartphones, the mobile Web will be coming to life for more everyday users through the integration of open source platforms. Mobile devices across the board are evolving to bring more advanced, PC-like features to millions, and open source is playing a large part in enabling them.
Christy Wyatt, Vice President of Software Platforms & Ecosystem, Motorola Mobile Devices
Age of the Superphone
At Zumobi, we’ve coined “Superphone” to describe the newest genre of mobile devices with larger screens, full browser capability and improved user interface (UI). These Superphones have significantly improved the consumer’s experience with the mobile Web and generated a growing number of applications available through handset, platform and carrier “Store” environments. These apps better leverage the Superphones’ capability and as a result, take opportunities for consumer – and brand – engagement with those apps to a new level. In 2009, we’ll see a greater percentage of brand-centric content appearing in the app stores as advertisers look to reach consumers through Superphones.
Ken Willner, CEO, Zumobi
3 Keys in ’09
In 2009, we will see exponential growth in mobile enterprise applications adoption. This is driven by three factors:
1. Maturity of networks, devices and applications – networks that work in virtually every corner of the globe, at broadband speeds, with the GSM ecosystem continuing to create a broad device choice, for every worker and every type of work, and with mobile solutions now available to extend virtually any backend system to any device.
2. There’s increased realization by businesses of all sizes of the value of real-time information and location services to their business processes – you don’t need to be a large, sophisticated enterprise with a large IT shop to make it happen.
3. The more proactive role that business-focused carriers plan in delivering hosted and managed enterprise mobile applications. With assistance every step of the way, there’s no reason for customers to wait.
Igor Glubochansky, Director – Industry Solutions, AT&T
As mobile apps and services continue to explode, one of the most disruptive changes we’ll see in 2009 is greater mass-market adoption of mobile messaging. The change will take place based on a new category of affordable devices whose features fall just short of smartphones. Carriers have already begun aggressive rollouts of such devices with consumer-oriented e-mail in mind and on platforms like SEVEN’s. The bottom line is simplicity and ease of use. Mobile messaging no longer will be the sole province of high-end devices, and consumers will flock to intuitive services on phones within their reach.
David H. Ratner, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Delivery, SEVEN
It’s About Monetization
2009 will be a pivotal year for mobile advertising. While you’ll see brands and mobile commerce sites further embracing mobile, they will expect to know if they are hitting the mark, acquiring the right users and delivering value – ROI and accurate targeting will be key. When it comes to mobile search, great products are only one part of the equation – it is also about distribution and reaching the end-user. And winning mobile search leads to a win in monetization. The industry, including carriers, OEMs, advertisers and content providers must make long-term investments in building and nurturing the mobile ecosystem, including mobile monetization.
Marco Boerries, Executive Vice President, Connected Life Division, Yahoo!
Mobile Video Content
1. Development of more innovative mobile video content: With increased adoption of 3G phones comes an increased demand for compelling mobile video content. That demand, along with the enormous value of new direct channels to consumers, will spur an increase in entertainment content made specifically for the mobile medium.
2. Increased demand for casual mobile games: The advanced graphical and functional capabilities of next-generation handsets create a great deal of potential for mobile gaming, making room for a wide array of new interactive, motion-controlled, educational and even health-related titles, as well as for the introduction of new and unique gaming genres and formats.
3. Ad-supported mobile content will continue to grow: Mobile advertising will continue its upward path as advertisers look for better and more targeted ways to reach consumers. The most significant increases will be seen in ad-supported video content and in more passive formats like in-game advertising.
4. Increase in contextual integration: All kinds of businesses – OEMs, online service providers, traditional media companies – will continue to look for ways to offer more to consumers while increasing revenue. Contextual integration, the seamless integration of related content and services into existing products and Websites, enables these companies to add a revenue stream that strengthens their consumer offering without incurring significant additional costs, which is an attractive combination.
Mauro Montanaro, CEO, Fox Mobile Group
Positive Social Gains Evolve
Unlimited data plans at a flat fee, together with the growth in 3G, have created a fast, easy and cost-effective mobile viewing experience in 2008.
It’s clear that consumer demand to engage with more data-intensive services over mobile devices anytime and anywhere is growing. As a consequence, the industry has seen terrific subscriber increases in locations with networks capable of 3G or better speeds.
Consumer demand for mobile video is driving increased offerings and cooperation among industry players. While much of the demand is entertainment-focused, positive social gains have also begun and should quickly evolve in 2009. Governments and next-generation operators will need to focus their efforts on methods of pushing mobile video developments to more efficiently meet societal challenges such as education and fighting poverty. Moreover, industry participants have realized that in the months and years to come, this will not be a zero-sum game. With strong commercial demand, profitable opportunities exist at every level of participation.
Francisco Varela, Strategic Partner Development Manager, YouTube
Shift Prime Time To “My Time”
The world of video and video content continues its revolutionary growth. In 2009, we’ll see video exert its influence on the need for broadband to enable the media mobility that today’s consumers, from Millennials to business professionals, demand for their personal media experiences. The explosion of video, and in particular high-definition video, the personalization of experiences resulting from the shift from prime time to my time, and the desire for high-speed networks on the go are driving the demand for broadband to enable media mobility.
Through its vision of media mobility, Motorola’s solutions link together the strengths of broadband everywhere across optimized networks to ensure rich media experiences that ultimately enable consumers to access their personalized content when (time shifting), where (place shifting) and how (device shifting) they want it.
Dan Moloney, President, Home & Networks Mobility Business, Executive Vice President, Motorola
Mobile Advertising Reckoning
2009 will be the year of accountability in mobile advertising. With the dire predictions about the economy, ad spending in the wireless world will demand deep engagement. This will be the year that advertisers will demand detailed analyses on what is working for them. In the mobile world, this will translate to advertising that does not depend on banners being displayed, but on one that delivers engagement with end-users in a measurable way. 2009 is also the year in which print advertising fights back against the online world through the mobile medium.
Adam Schneider, Vice President of Sales, SnapTell
See Me Here, There, Everywhere
Next-generation 802.11n wireless will experience broad adoption in 2009. New platforms that simplify deployment and deliver full 802.11n performance will become the de facto standard for new deployments – even prior to a formally ratified IEEE standard. Yet, more exciting are the applications that 802.11n will enable. True business quality video over wireless becomes a reality. The wireless network will be the platform for a variety of video applications, including wireless video surveillance, high-definition streaming video for mobile learning and 2-way video for mobile collaboration. The mobilization of collaborative applications with video will accelerate the pervasive adoption of high performance wireless.
Chris Kozup, Senior Manager, Mobility Solutions, Cisco
Democrats & iPhones
• The Obama Administration will be the first White House to accept feedback and suggestions via mobile. It also will make national alerting via cell phones a major initiative.
• Apple will open the iPhone up to other U.S. carriers after renegotiating with AT&T, paving the way for a new low-cost iPhone that will be the best-selling handset
of all 2009.
• The iPhone will outsell Android handsets 10:1.
• Microsoft will win a large new carrier partner for the Danger OS, building a credible consumer alternative to Android and iPhone.
Dave Limp, COO, Limbo
LTE will be accelerated through a traditional next stage evolution of HSPA+. Three forces will be behind this deployment – OPEX cost savings to LTE architecture in the network, APAC vendors gaining market share in North America evolving the traditional technology path, and WiMAX becoming the 4G option. Verizon Wireless will lead this deployment, and AT&T will quickly follow.
Marty Smuin, President of the Americas, Aircom
The Mobile Media Buy
2008 was a tremendous year for brands across advertising categories to find out that mobile media works. 2009 will be the year of standardization in mobile media buying and analytics. Integration into wired infrastructure will be critical to make it easy for agencies to plan and buy mobile – mobile Web, SMS, video and in-application advertising – in their media campaigns. This will be the catalyst for the strong growth that has been predicted for mobile advertising.
Andrew Miller, CEO, Quattro Wireless
WiMAX as the “Third Pipe”
In 2008, we saw the long expected launch of consumer WiMAX in the United States. 2009 will bring market expansion, providing a much needed “third pipe” into the home alongside DSL and cable high-speed Internet. While WiMAX is often looked at as just a mobile technology and competitive with 3G and LTE, this in-home application will bring convenience at a competitive price that many consumers will appreciate. 2008 brought the hardware, including multiple consumer-grade CPE devices. Look to 2009 for millions more to cut their landline and move to WiMAX wireless as their primary Internet connection.
Brian Feng, Senior VP, Key Accounts, ZyXEL
Despite the rocky economy, consumers still tell us that mobile communications is a necessity that they cannot easily sacrifice. Landline phones will be ditched before wireless, and there’s a long runway for incremental wireless data devices, which ultimately depend on operator subsidies to encourage upgrades.
We are entering an age of innovation – both in what consumers expect from their devices (iPhone and Android applications change the game) and in how operators and retailers manage their product lifecycles. This is a seismic shift. To compete, operators, retailers and manufacturers must access solutions around device management that allow them to make better procurement decisions, decrease time to market and increase the end-to-end efficiency of their entire supply chains.
In the very real future, those who win will be ones with the real-time information that ensures they have the right product at the right place at the right price at the right time.
Marcelo Claure, President, CEO and Chairman, Brightstar
In 2008, mobile data usage exploded, driven by a new generation of handsets and demand for bandwidth-intensive services, notably mobile Web access. In 2009, we expect to see the impact of Web 2.0 – video, social networking and location-based services – in the mobile environment, increasing demand for wireless broadband.In established markets, W-CDMA/HSPA and CDMA/EV-DO networks will grow to meet this demand, with an accompanying acceleration in the evolution to HSPA+ and LTE.In parallel, we’ll see continued growth in GSM/EDGE and strong traction for WiMAX as a way to bring broadband to underserved markets and offer an early 4G-type user experienceinsome mature markets.
Phillipe Keryer, President of Mobile Access, Alcatel-Lucent
Wireless growth will be driven by the demand for “access anywhere” broadband networks, and WiMAX will continue to be dominated by new entrants. The next two years will be a make-or-break period for WiMAX. 3G operators will remain focused on growing existing services. Operator consolidation will continue.
Revenue from data services will continue to grow and become a larger percentage of overall ARPU. Operators’ walled gardens will continue to crack to meet consumers’ increasing appetite for data services. The need for interstandard technologies and interconnect providers that facilitate both technology migration and roaming will increase to include multimode and multitechnology devices.
Martin Lippert, CEO, MACH
Quality of Service
Today’s highly competitive telecommunications environment allows for very few errors. In most markets, consumers and businesses can choose from multiple service providers and can compare the quality of service (QoS) each offers. In the quest to turn quality into a key component for distinguishing network services for business customers, proactive network management is emerging as a realistic problem solver. In order to gain a competitive edge, providers must look for ways to bundle their feature-rich services creatively. Proactive service-assurance techniques, customer reporting and service-centric SLAs are quickly emerging as key points of differentiation to be leveraged.
Vikas Trehan, Vice President of Product Management, InfoVista
Mobile Destined As“First” Screen
The industry is just starting to see mass adoption of mobile marketing, across all industry sectors. The recent economic downturn will cause marketers to shift their advertising budgets to proven digital media and monitor ROI very carefully; however, brands convinced of the power of mobile marketing will continue to invest in and support mobile in their initiatives. With over 3.4 billion mobile devices worldwide, compared to only 1 billion PCs, it is only a matter of time before mobile marketing takes on a more permanent place in the lives of marketers and consumers worldwide. Mobile is destined to become the “first” screen for advertising.
Laura Marriott, President, Mobile Marketing Association
In the coming year, expect the overall trend toward the use of Linux and open source in handsets to continue, as smartphone use grows and the current economic environment drives out costly proprietary solutions. As a result, 2009 will be particularly promising for Android-based devices, which will almost certainly exceed iPhone-like market traction with compelling devices that will explode onto the market in the second half. Economic conditions also will drive major industry shifts, with an accelerating consolidation of handset platforms and OEMs, and slower innovation on legacy platforms as OEMs cut back on R&D as average selling prices decrease.
Jason Whitmire, General Manager of Mobile Solutions, Wind River
LTE: Nothing but a Long-Term Excuse
In 2009, the noise around LTE is sure to grow even further; after all, we are supposed to witness early trials with hot chips and cool devices popping up everywhere. But mostly we will be flooded by myriad LTE announcements, and 12 months later, we will know that all these announcements amounted to nothing more but a bunch of Long-Term Excuses, intended to buy the incumbents of the 3G ecosystem more time to profit from 3G. So if you are ready for true mobile broadband services and want to pay less money for more speed, then mobile WiMAX is the service to get.
Lars Johnsson, Vice President of Business Development, Beceem Communications
Voice calling in the home is dirt cheap these days. T-Mobile USA has set the floor for unlimited calling at home to be $10/month. You can get that one of two ways, either as an add-on to your mobile phone plan with its Wi-Fi/UMA-based Unlimited Hotspot Calling service, or as part of its fixed line VoIP @Home service. This presents a competitive advantage that T-Mobile has over other U.S. operators. They can segment their unlimited, flat-rate calling plans to specific locations where low-cost, high-speed broadband gives them an advantage. As UMA-enabled handsets become the norm and voice continues to become a commodity, 2009 will be the year large incumbent operators must face this competitive threat or risk the loss of subscribers.
Steve Shaw, Vice President of Market Development, Kineto Wireless
Billing & Charging
The new year provides a definite change in atmosphere. Due to the economic uncertainty, operators will be forced to get out of "all-you-can-eat" data plans as broadband wireless growth accelerates through new devices such as the iPhone, Android and look-alikes, and that usage outpaces PC-based Internet access. However, although mobile advertising will continue to be over-hyped, some early adopters will begin to make money from it following in the footsteps of Virgin Mobile USA. In addition, there will be increasing growth in prepaid services as consumers seek to manage costs and reduce monthly service plans. Lastly, the availability of standards-based interfaces will mark the end of the mediation market, and the industry will experience further consolidation in the billing and charging sector.
Pat McCarthy, Vice President Service Delivery Solutions, Telcordia
AMI-Based Smart Grid deployments will spike dramatically in 2009. The adoption of ZigBee wireless technology both in home automation devices and with the electric utility (in next-generation of wireless smart meters) has given the two worlds a lingua franca. Demand on the straining power grid is growing 19% annually while current capacity is growing at just one-third the rate. Utilities can no longer afford to wait for power plants to come online, nor is that environmentally desirable. Wireless communications between the home and utility gives them the fastest, easiest route to conserving energy and helping manage peak demand response situations.
The world's first "ZigBee city" will go live in 2009. The city of Göteborg, Sweden, will complete its massive rollout of more 270,000 homes linked in a city-wide AMI network. The city's energy provider - Göteborg Energi AB - will save millions of euros by eliminating the need to manually read electric meters at homeowners' premises and be able to bill the actual usage to the customers. It also will serve as a model for environmentally conscious European cities seeking to curb excessive energy consumption through a smarter grid. The ZigBee AMI system will help Göteborg deliver sustainable energy services while reducing the impact of its operations on the environment.
Bob Gohn, Vice President Marketing, Ember
The Economy & Customer Experience
Current market conditions will continue to have an effect across the board in all industries, and telecom is no exception. The winners will be those companies that optimize their balance sheets, drive efficiencies and provide a superior customer experience.
The days of a customer being put on hold while an operator places numerous manual orders are coming to an end. Savvy customers are demanding their own experience and dictating the way they interact with operators as in recently seen emerging device activations. Superior customer experience in all areas of ordering, activation, provisioning, ala grab-and-go activation in the comfort of your home will continue to proliferate and become mainstream.
Omar H.Téllez, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Synchronoss Technologies
Mobile Advertising & Payments
Given the global financial climate, it will be vital for wireless operators to protect and capitalize. To maintain brand loyalty and average margin per user (AMPU), they'll need to protect their customer base - resulting in an increasing emphasis on delivering more personalized services and more flexible billing options and payment plans, including prepaid services. Those that successfully protect will be able to capitalize on the market to expand reach, capability and to develop more distinctive, innovative services.
We also see continued pressure on traditional wireline providers as multiplay service providers fine-tune their delivery and service offerings. This dynamic, combined with the impact of industry consolidation due to mergers, new spectrum license allocations and IP services, likely will result in the formation of a very different wireless landscape as we move through the year.
We'll also see mobile broadband's potential dramatically alter the wireless economy. Namely, operators will decide on their WiMAX versus LTE strategic direction. But we also greatly hope that 2009 brings an even greater focus on addressing customer connectivity requirements rather than the relentless push of technology-related offerings.
Mobile broadband expansion also means that 2009 could be a big year for mobile advertising as wireless providers work with third-party partners to try to establish the best models for advertising revenue settlement. It is important that wireless providers leverage their competitive differentiators - direct relationships with customers, access to detailed subscriber data and potentially presence information - to offer value-added services to drive advertising revenue and differentiate themselves from their Internet-driven competitors.
We'll also see wireless providers increasingly exploring mobile payments as a business model. Some providers are already adopting business models akin to retail, and we may see others explore business models similar to financial institutions.
Mobile advertising and mobile payments are just two examples of new business models that mobile broadband enables. New devices, even more sophisticated than today's iPhone and Google's phone, will increase user adoption of mobile broadband services such as video. This means that wireless providers must decide on a strategy for opening up their networks to third-party service providers and application developers. However, they will need to be careful to balance protection for their brand with the opportunity to realize revenue from cutting-edge, Web 2.0 blended services, in order to emerge as something more than just connectivity providers.
Brian Pawlus, Director of Product Management, Oracle Communications
Operators will resist closed vendor solutions in favor of economy and scalability. Nowhere will this be more evident than in the femtocell space. Vendors will attempt to lock in the femtocell itself together with the aggregation equipment. However, standard protocols and interfaces allow specialist companies to offer massively better scalability for operators and supporting multiple femtocells. This enables operators to drive the cost out of femtocell CPE and keep service prices low and profitable.
Large-scale adoption of WiMAX will cause pain for incumbent 3G operators and force their migration to 4G sooner than originally planned. With dramatically different cost points and an open all-IP infrastructure, WiMAX operators will offer better mobile broadband data service experience at a lower price. Data-hungry subscribers will flock to these services, stealing key ARPU from cellular data service offerings. LTE rollout plans will be accelerated in response, putting pressure on vendors to deliver deployment-ready solutions. Timing could not be worse since the economy at large is forcing cutbacks at most large network equipment suppliers, moving LTE delivery schedules in the opposite direction.
With venture capital all but drying up in the networking industry and the rash of recent acquisitions in the industry, the pool of innovative independent infrastructure vendors is shrinking rapidly. Competition will drive continued spending to deliver mobile broadband services. Having cash in the bank, but stagnating value propositions and revenues, NEPs will zealously compete for startup assets along with competing for customers.
Barry Hill, Vice President of Marketing, Stoke
2009 will be the year local content and services emerge as the primary use case for mobile consumers. No medium offers a stronger platform for connecting locally than the mobile device. Improvements in backend technology, defragmentation of the device landscape, more affordable data plans and a viable ad-driven economic model support investments needed to bring great local services to mobile. Local events and engagement will prove to be the strongest monetization engine for exploding mobile social networks.
Dan Smith, President, go2 Media
Here in the land of FMC, 2009 will be the year that desktop communications become integrated with mobile communications and the Web. It is this intersection of desktop, mobile and Web 2.0 that we call Unified Communications 2.0. Here's the scoop: When I say BlackBerry, you think mobile e-mail. But nowadays responding to e-mail is only a small part of what it means to be at work. "Presence" has morphed into a complicated (and sometimes existential) Web of IM and voice availability and has even come to involve Twitter-like "social" media for the enterprise. Try doing all that from your PDA on the beach! The fact is, communications media have evolved to the point where mobile phones can be complete and integrated extensions of a work station. Whereas past years have witnessed the integration of a desk phone into PC utilities, 2009 will see all of this extended to a user's mobile device.
Donovan Jones, CEO, CounterPath
There will be a significant increase in the number of counties throughout America seeking to leverage a proven offender/electronic monitoring solution. The economic downturn, combined with the ever-increasing costs of keeping someone in prison, will compel more law enforcement agencies to seek incarceration alternatives such as GPS/cellular tracking in order to provide the same level of protection to their communities at a lower cost. GPS and cellular tracking solutions will provide authorities with 24/7 location data on offenders/defendants and notification of when an individual violates very specific conditions, schedules or "inclusion/exclusion zones."
Daniel Graff-Radford, Vice President, Judicial Solutions, Omnilink Systems
Broadcast +VoD + Ad-Supported Content
Driven by the maturation of mobile devices, networks and growing customer sophistication and expectations, mobile operators will increasingly integrate broadcast, premium video on demand (VoD) and ad-supported content into a single service offering. This expansion eventually will remove the limited "silo'ed" approach employed previously in favor of an inclusive offering that leverages the benefits of each format while catering to the unique preferences of every customer. The improved customer experience and reduced pricing resulting from this shift will ultimately lead to increased customer adoption and heightened revenue opportunities for mobile operators.
Mark Hyland, Vice President of Marketing, QuickPlay Media
Subscriber demand for mobile broadband services will continue to grow, and in the current economic environment, operators will see femtocells as a tool to help address this demand without extensive opex and capex commitments. Femtocells will remove traffic and cost from the macro network, provide "intelligent coverage" to the home and broaden the addressable market for people wanting to go all-wireless.
In 2009, expect to see multiple CDMA and UMTS femtocell service launches in various markets worldwide as operators respond to economic instability by taking a realistic, measured approach to the delivery of wireless services. Longer term, femtocells will fuel the creation of a new generation of services and applications to drive revenue growth and competitive differentiation.
Dave Nowicki, Vice President of Marketing, Airvana
Mobile Advertising & LBS
• Mobile advertising revenue will grow by 50%, and premium revenue will
decrease by 50%.
• Location-based mobile ads will account for 40% of total mobile advertising, making this form of mobile advertising the fastest-growing ad segment in 2009.
Jonathon Linner, CEO and Co-Founder, Limbo
Off-Deck, Aggregators & Open Content
• Carriers will impose termination fees for MT messages that are not economically viable. Because of this, the off-deck industry will collapse in 2009. Carriers will correct the economics, but not until 2010, too late for many off-deck companies.
• Non-carrier billing for premium content takes off, allowing premium off-deck programs to thrive outside carrier control.
• By the end of 2009, there will be half as many aggregators as there are now.
• Content on carrier decks continues to lose market share, causing carriers to abandon content programming and finally truly embrace open content distribution models. Surprisingly, this and the economy depress content revenues in the short-term.
Dave Oberholzer, Vice President Corporate Development, Limbo
Carriers & MVNOs
• Overseas carriers will try to buy Sprint.
• Prepaid MVNOs will take increased market share, fueled by the softer economy.
• Verizon will look to other platforms in addition to BREW, as they find their ability to keep up with speed to market of other platforms in non-competitive markets.
Rob Lawson, CMO and Co-Founder, Limbo
People will be more socially connected while mobile than while at their desk. In real-time and on-the-spot, users will rely more on their mobile phone than the Web to stay connected to their family, friends and associates wherever they go. With the combination of photo sharing, mobile social networking, mobile e-mail, proximating (converging on a physical spot), music sharing, texting and, yes, even calling, users will see their mobile device as the primary and best way to stay connected with the people in their life they really care about.
Doug Brackbill, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Visto Corp.
Lean Times Bring Out the Best of Mobile
Heard that next year will be the Year of Mobile? Oh, you've heard that four years running? Well, there are factors at play that will finally deliver on this prediction. A bleak economy may be the catalyst - mobile's low cost, immediate measurement and the ability to easily build and re-market to mobile databases make it extremely appealing in these lean times. And mobile will power more relevant offers than ever before: Think of having the ability to send a cost-conscious consumer a cost-saving coupon directly to their mobile device at the point of their decision to purchase. It's here, now, just like mobile marketing.
Jeff Hasen, Chief Marketing Officer, HipCricket
Text Messaging Takes New Turns
In 2009, innovative uses of text messaging will become less niche and more mainstream thanks to the ubiquity and ease of this communication across many network types. For example, more mobile subscribers will use their phones to make purchases and transfer funds from their bank accounts. More pizza companies, clothing stores and other businesses will send customers discounts via SMS. Companies will use machine-to-machine communications via SMS for logistical items such as stock control and fleet management. Mass texting also will increase, whether for mass emergency alerts or personal outreach to large groups as the Obama campaign did.
Text messaging will face new fraud challenges in 2009 as criminals further extend online scams to mobile devices and develop more viruses for handsets. Subscribers will learn to separate legitimate messages from spoofed messages, and as with e-mail spam, they will also learn not to respond. Similarly, carriers will implement new mechanisms to limit the costs of sending and storing mobile spam, improving their customers' service experiences.
Alan Pascoe, Senior Manager Product Marketing, Tekelec
Deep Packet Inspection
Wireless operators will require increasingly sophisticated methods to manage and deliver an explosion of mobile data. For example, mobile video is expected to boom in the United States over the next few years, as a result of YouTube and Facebook video downloads and the iPhone's best-ever mobile screen resolution.
As cell phones continue to evolve into broadband access devices, operators will encounter bandwidth availability challenges. By identifying and prioritizing traffic - based on both users and applications - deep packet inspection (DPI) will help carriers maximize available bandwidth, assure per-subscriber service quality and ultimately better monetize data services.
Cam Cullen, Director of Americas Product Management, Allot Communications
With the rapid emergence of "mobile voice search" in 2008, mobile users are now able to "speak and search" for all kinds of content right from their mobile phones. We think the mobile search door will burst wide open in 2009 as applications spread from downloadable smartphone apps to the mass mobile market, driven by consumer and operator demand for easy access to searchable content. And what will be born in 2009? Hands-free texting, as speech-enabled mobile messaging applications will make their way onto smart and feature phones over the course of the year.
Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nuance Mobile
Consumers Control Location
The carriers, historically, have been very cautious to release location data to third parties. Privacy and security of the end-user were the guiding principles. Of course, they still are, but 2009 will be the year that users are empowered to control the release of their own location information. Carriers finally have the tools to allow the end-user to share their own location if they want to. Thousands of developers with millions of great ideas will deliver on the promise of the mobile phone: a tiny, powerful, connected social device that knows exactly where it is. We'll see entire new markets of location-aware data services exploding onto the scene - with the end-user in total control of how their information is shared.
Tasso Roumeliotis, Founder and CEO, Wavemarket
People vs. Carriers
Location, location, location. Presence combined with location will become the ultimate personalization tool for marketers in 2009.
The people have spoken with their thumbs. Text messaging is now evolving to incorporate a more instantaneous personal communication and it's safe to say that in the next year, users will begin to increasingly use MMS as a personalized media channel to connect with their circle.
The 2009 Debate: People vs. Carriers. Customers will demand more from the carriers. Operators will be asked to account for service plan costs and they will feel more pressure to offer differentiating services that enhance the mobile experience while driving revenue per unit customer.
Chris Lennartz, Vice President Product Marketing, Airwide Solutions
Traffic Sees More Wireless
In 2009, the world will be looking closely at ways to save money while trying to keep technology and innovation moving forward. As a result, there are a few trends in the wireless industry that will become more evident: 1) Municipalities will make smart investments in important areas such as emergency services, implementing wireless traffic technologies to increase safety for its emergency responders as well as the community and 2) Wireless infrastructure will continue to be improved on roads across the country in order to maximize "green" initiatives, aid traffic congestion and simplify lives via intelligent tolls and more.
Justin McNew, Chief Technology Officer, Kapsch TrafficCom
Retire Live Agents
As budgets are closely scrutinized in 2009, carriers will find a way to reduce overall costs while driving a positive customer experience. Companies worldwide will spend more than $100 billion on care in 2008, for an estimated 200 billion calls to customer service around the world, with one-third of those calls coming from mobile phones. On-device, self-service technologies will let carriers present customers with a way to solve queries directly on their handsets. Users will pay bills, check remaining minutes and obtain account information, all without requiring a live agent, ultimately saving the bottom line.
Mikael Berner, Senior Vice President and GM, Nuance Enterprise
More Focus for Mobile Advertising
For 2009, there will be a shift in mobile advertising. The last few years in mobile marketing have been full of speculation, experimentation and success for brands wanting to reach a new audience to strengthen their marketing programs. This coming year will be tighter in focus, with less experimenting and more investing in mobile marketing programs that have successful track records … mobile marketing is here to stay.
Alberto Benbunan, Founder and Corporate Development Director, Mobile Dreams Factory
Advances in Web 2.0, Surface Computing
• Wireless broadband and Web 2.0 will be significant drivers of mobile usage in the next several years.
• Mobile surface computing will enable users to interact with objects or content, manipulating information via natural and intuitive hand movements without a keypad or stylus.
• Widgets will become the new mobile user interface.
• Internet Protocol connectivity will span multiple access technologies, and applications will make real-time decisions, driven by quality of service (QOS) considerations about which access technology to use and for what purpose.
• Advanced mobile content management systems will have end-to-end frameworks that embed rules and regulations about content and usage at different control points in mobile computing systems.
• Profile management services, aided by biometric technologies such as fingerprint, iris scan or voice print identification, will be available in products.
• Mobile security will encompass infrastructure and corporate data, with mechanisms and services in place to detect and recover from attacks.
• The mobile industry will be highly proactive in its efforts to reduce the carbon footprint.
Abhijit Kabra, Software Group Senior Director, Accenture