Give Me Directions, Don't Give Me Video
By Eric Lin, Fri Feb 13 09:00:00 GMT 2004

A new report from Strategy Analytics says that while operators are working on delivering users video clips and worrying about DRM, most users don't care. What they want is turn by turn directions and mobile payment.

Strategy Analytics' conclusions are drawn from surveys of mobile users from 2001 and 2003. Comparing the two surveys show use that certain services are still a bad idea, some are an idea whose time has come, and other needs were probably met in the time between the two.

In 2001 only 10% of those surveyed were interested in video clips. Even after a few video clip services were launched, only 13% were interested in them in 2003. Interest is still very low and doesn't seem to be growing, especially when compared when other services on the survey.

Interest in driving or walking directions increased from 15% in 2001 to 45% in 2003. This is not only the highest growth of any subject on the survey, but it is also the most desired feature. Clearly location based services are an idea whose time has come, and operators have acknowledged this, however it's been difficult for many of them to setup up the necessary systems for accurate location information.

M-payment was one of the most popular results in 2001's survey that are still valid for 2003. Last year almost 40% of users responded that they'd like to be able to pay for things using their cell phone. In Japan there are all sorts of soft launches for m-payment systems, but one that caught our eye this week: Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is testing a Java app to turn cell phones into ATM cards. Elsewhere m-payment lags behind, except for a few exceptions like parking meters in Lyon.

Strategy Analytics encourages carriers to work with developers to create relationships that will meet their customers' needs quicker. Though I'm tempted to also advise they shift some of their resources devoted to video services, music downloads and DRM, S.A. also points out that mobile entertainment is starting to catch people's interest, though it still falls well behind more useful mobile data applications.