Mobile Entertainment Forum launches Smart Pipe Enablers Initiative

The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) has announced that the launch of its global Smart Pipe Enablers Initiative to create an industry-wide framework that will lay the foundation for the next generation of mobile entertainment services. The impact of this initiative will be more useful services, taken up faster by the industry.

Smart Pipe Enabler Services are to be provided by operators to third-party providers of content and services, enabling the delivery of a simpler, faster, more intuitive and more enjoyable user experience for the consumer. MEF’s initiative will make a major contribution to industry efforts in this area by devising a coherent, profitable and workable model for enabling services, and accelerating their uptake through education and promotion.

The initiative has been founded by three full MEF members – the BBC, mBlox and Vodafone Group – and was formally launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Enabler services offered by network operators will deliver many capabilities to content providers, including age-verification, location, identity authentication, reliable phone applications, specific tariffs to consumers and delivery with specific quality of service. Enabled by these services, content providers can offer the consumer a better user experience, a key objective for much of MEF’s work.

The Smart Pipe Enablers Initiative will create an industry-wide framework of business requirements for standards, complementing and supporting work in other bodies such as the GSM Association on the development of technical standards.

MEF will form a working group with its members and will be liaising with regulators and other industry bodies to ensure the guidelines become the defacto reference point for enabling services across the globe.

The MEF Enablers Initiative is fundamental to the future growth of the $32 billion mobile entertainment industry, of which half is based off-portal. The value of creating a coherent and co-ordinated approach to enablers is highlighted by the enabling services that operators offer today, such as bulk SMS, premium billing, short code rental and location look-ups.

Andrew Bud, Global Chair, Mobile Entertainment Forum, highlighted the Initiative’s importance: “The mobile industry is at the dawn of a new era with many new services becoming available. As mobile content becomes richer and more sophisticated it is important for the industry to create common standards to enable the next phase of growth.

“Some operators are doing this individually or in groups, evolving into ‘smart pipes,’ but without a fully coordinated approach the market is in danger of developing a fragmented landscape that will inhibit the take up of consumer services. The MEF Enablers Initiative will address this and lay the foundation for the next generation of mobile operator services for years to come.”