Mobile Vision
By, Mon Mar 18 00:00:00 GMT 2002

Senior executives at Orange, Nokia, Siemens, T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless share their views on the future of the mobile Internet.

Answer (Mohan Gyani, President of AT&T Wireless Mobility Group):
First and foremost, I see an industry of extraordinary opportunity. That’s because we are creating an advanced next-generation network that will support such fundamentally new mobile Internet capabilities as streaming and downloaded audio and video, picture messaging, sophisticated gaming, and voice-activated services, among many exciting possibilities. Industry research indicates that these new capabilities could create new annual data revenues of $15 to $20 billion by mid-decade.

Answer (Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia):
At Nokia, our vision can be neatly summed up in just two words: Mobile World. By bringing together technologies and services from both the mobile and Internet domains, we will provide people the opportunity to create their own “mobile worlds” – a solution that best suits individual needs, requirements and preferences.

Almost 2000 years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote, 'Time is a sort of river of passing events, and so strong is its current, no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place.' Today, these words remain as true as ever, especially when it comes to the realm of technological development. And, once again, we see our industry in transition as growth in mobile voice services begins to slow and industry players prepare for the launch of new multimedia products and services.

We are already experiencing the rapid pace of digital convergence and the impact this is having on the relationships between players in different industries. At the same time a second wave of convergence is taking place. IP Convergence will be a major discontinuity in our industry, enabling a seamless and standardized service creation environment and true compatibility among different types of applications and devices.

But no matter what new technologies, applications and services may be introduced, the future is all about one thing – and that's serving people better. Technologies, as such, have become secondary to what they are able to deliver. This means we must keep the customer at the forefront of our thinking. We must make sure that people are able to use different mobile services in harmony across various markets, operators and terminals. A business environment is like an ecosystem, and through an open systems approach, this ecosystem can be energized to stimulate true competition.

Achieving our vision will mean commitment to developing technological competencies that meet real consumer needs. It will mean pioneering work in research and development. It will mean innovative work in understanding what people really want, and creating a wide range of products and solutions because people, and people's needs, are different.

In an industry that is a melting pot of many exciting things, if you have a strong appetite for innovation, then anything is possible. Nokia’s vision is one of great, unfolding potential where we are all empowered to shape the mobile world of our choice.

Answer (John Allwood, Executive VP of Orange UK):
The mobile industry is currently undergoing a major shift. Until a few years ago, the industry was focused solely on voice communication. Now, data and the wide range of services it will enable, is the focus. We are now not simply focused on mobile phones and voice communications, but on offering life services.

Data-led life services are the future of your phone, offering everything you want at the touch of a button. Your wirefree phone will tell you when your fridge needs restocking and will even help you run your bath, if this appeals! It will be your car keys, house keys, shopping directory and stockbroker. It will help you order your drink at a bar without ever having to fight the crowd. It will be your electronic purse, allowing you to shop online and have your gift paid, packaged and delivered to your door.

It will offer you, the user, the interactive front seat at your favorite sports event. It will be your mobile jukebox and your personal cinema on the move. It will monitor your health, order your mother flowers and make sure you’re on time for dinner. It will give you the life services you want, wherever, whenever and however you choose.

Answer (Rudi Lamprecht, President & CEO of Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group):
The problem with vision is the lack of it in much of the mobile industry today. We have become too focused on the mobile technology instead of thinking about its uses. We need to look more carefully at how machines can be used to make users lives easier - and the role mobile technology plays in this.

In the fixed Internet world, we could use technology to improve and streamline processes such as sales and customer care. There are still some bugs to be fixed, but overall we have succeeded in creating a new environment in which companies and customers can interact on one-to-one basis. In the mobile Internet we will see a revolution in customer relationship management because the technology will enable a more personal relationship between the company and the customer.

The existence of location-based services, which are now just in their infancy, will take interaction between individuals as well as interaction between companies and their customers to a whole new level. The result will be completely personalized services – and perhaps the development of services that will be offered without the customer even asking for them. An example of this might be a travel information service that knows you are stuck in traffic and offers automatic routes without asking. Because it knows your location and your preferences the service will make itself available.

The mobile Internet will be a world without limits – and it will allow the user a world of opportunities, because the services will be designed from the start to emphasize mobility. It won’t look at all like the early days of mobile data where we have seen attempts to enable the same content users can get on their PCs. The results of surveys I have read show that 55% of people have the feeling of not having sufficient time for things that matter in their lives. I believe the revolution of communication by means of mobile Internet, 3G or whatever may come after that simply belongs to the evolution of our society. It will make life easier because it will allow you to manage your life faster and with more flexibility.

The same holds true in a business-to-business scenario. The location-based aspect of services and the fact that machines will be using wireless technology to communicate with each other will revolutionize business processes on a global scale. It will be a change equal to another industrial revolution. The fixed Internet, you’ll remember, shed light on sales and support processes. The mobile Internet will streamline and automate all the other processes in the chain of events we group under the term “commerce.” From manufacturing to inventory management to shipping, the mobile Internet will make life easier for all involved parties. This will mean incredible increases in efficiency and allow businesses to focus their resources more on serving the customer. The mobile Internet will place the individual at the center of its universe and not the technology. The individual will be served by technology and not the other way around.

Answer (Nikesh Arora, CEO of T-Mobile online, Deutche Telekom's mobile portal business):
The question we really need to be asking is: What is the future of the mobile data industry? We use our mobile devices today to make phone calls and access relatively few mobile data services. Currently we live in a “phone-plus” environment, where our device’s primary purpose is voice communication - yet it is slowly transforming into a different kind of communications tool; one in which data connectivity becomes central and voice communications inherit a more marginal role.

To get there we’ll need to tailor different devices for different markets, and enable customers to further enhance them as they become more and more personal. The industrial design can be aligned with the content, and the content aligned with the end-user’s needs. Users will start migrating to devices suited for entertainment and gaming, reading email and surfing the Internet, accessing corporate networks and editing documents on the go – all to varying degrees.

Yesterday’s concept of a separate personal digital assistant, communicator, and smartphone is quickly becoming less and less accurate, and far less relevant. As mobile devices converge in functionality, opportunity might lay not with any one device having a specific technological edge over the other, but how the devices are tailored for different markets.

It's Mobile Vision week on TheFeature! offers, in parallel to CTIA, its readers leading executive insights into the outlook of the mobile Internet in 3 to 5 years from now. Stay tuned!