The Big B-Opportunity
By, Tue Mar 19 00:00:00 GMT 2002

User-friendly services a boon for the future of the mobile Internet, according to senior executives at Orange, Nokia, Siemens, T-mobile and AT&T Wireless.

Answer (Mohan Gyani, President of AT&T Wireless Mobility Group):
There is little doubt that there is a big opportunity for mobile multimedia services – for example, streaming and downloading audio and video, picture messaging, sophisticated gaming, voice-activated services, and more. These services could create new annual data revenues of $15 to $20 billion by mid-decade. But let’s not forget the huge opportunities are in voice. After all, only 12 percent of all voice traffic is now handled by wireless carriers. There are an estimated 80 million untapped potential new subscribers for traditional wireless voice services who could generate more than $50 billion in annual new revenues for the industry.

Answer (Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia):
As we move in this industry from a generation driven by voice to a generation driven by data and multimedia, new structures are forming. Competition dynamics are changing as more players enter the game; from PDA manufacturers to network providers; from developers to media and Internet companies.

As consumers we are also changing the way communicate. In a world brimming with data, we are beginning to function more and more in a 'phone-to-phone' environment, where graphics, pictures, video, and other information is transmitted between mobile devices.

Of course it's easy for CEOs to get glassy eyed while espousing their visions and views with nothing substantial to back them up. But in our industry the future is here. This is not Star Trek. Color, imaging and multimedia messaging really are arriving. The world's first imaging phones have been launched, and we expect to see volume sales take off in the near future, bringing growth opportunities to industry players across the board.

Consider new devices coming on stream such as imaging phones that also have cameras; or phones that work as music players or game consoles. These products are creating entirely new markets and entirely new ways of communicating.

History has proven that advances in the way we communicate can give rise to entirely new communication cultures. Much like the transition from radio to TV, the move from voice to imaging marks a whole new generation of mobile communications. And yet this is not television, this is something even more potentially life changing. In the world of television, we are observers - in the mobile world, we are partakers. Television watchers consume content, in the mobile world we create our own content – we become directors of our own show.

Answer (John Allwood, Executive VP of Orange UK):
Understanding and anticipating customer needs and bringing together services for them is what’s important when your wireless device becomes the delivery mechanism for services. As an industry, we are in the process of understanding the dynamics of each of the new value chains that we will enter with 3G technology and the pricing expectations of our customers. There are also potentially trillions of micro-transactions that will be made using wireless devices, and we are confident there will be considerable amounts of revenue generated from that.

We also anticipate increasing revenues from e- and m- commerce, telemetry and telematics, business solutions and consumer services. These services will cover a broad range of applications from financial services to gaming. They will generate substantial revenues through the increasing number of users who will be attracted to this portfolio.

Answer (Rudi Lamprecht, President & CEO of Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group):
I believe that the services are what will simplify an individual’s life and permit the existence of new business opportunities. The key lies in developing services that are easy to operate and allow mobile subscribers to simplify and enrich their lives. Of course, the development of these services will continually evolve to become even more specialized as mobile solutions are incorporated into the daily lives of the subscribers. I believe the opportunity is in developing a whole array of services that increase the quality of our lives

For example, Siemens, by also drawing on its resources in its medical and technology groups, is involved in a project we call “Tomorrow’s Hospital.” In it patients wear wireless “wellness monitors” capable of continuously checking their condition and notifying the doctor of their exact location if a problem arises. The patients’ beds are equipped with Internet connected displays and doctors have PDAs that allow them to access medical records from anywhere within the facility – or around the world. This digital and wireless hospital is an example of the kinds of services that enrich and simplify our lives.

Answer (Nikesh Arora, CEO of T-Mobile online, Deutche Telekom's mobile portal business):
When you consider the potential of mobile applications, opportunities abound - in both consumer and business markets. The bottom line is that both consumers and business professionals want to enable productivity with mobile devices, in one form or another. You can take that to the next level and also say that, at some point, human intervention may not be required and the devices themselves will communicate with each other on their own accord, looking for ways to improve their own intelligent networks.

Here we have an opportunity before us, because someone will have to design those applications and make them work – and work efficiently. In the past, a lot of effort was made which ignored the end-to-end perspective. What is important is to have a high degree of integration between the device and the applications and the processes that the device will be used for – all with a network that makes it seamless, invisible to the end-user.

Examples of this include logistics, telematics, customer relationship management, inventory control, and resource planning – it’s a long list of things that we already do everyday. But it’s only the beginning.

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!