Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

What was the most important issue to come out of February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in your opinion, and why?

   

Rainer Deutschmann, T-Mobile executive VP, mobile internet:

Three things: accessories, open source applications and faster network speeds. Mobile accessories are morphing from gimmicks to business-essentials. For example, in-car kits. In the past these used to be big, expensive installations that had to be changed every time you changed handset or car. They’ve become much smaller in recent years and our exclusive accessories partner Beewi (a deal we launched at MWC) has just launched a credit-card sized hands free speaker.

In terms of open source applications, all the talk at the forums and technology sessions we attended was about mobile applications and open source. Great to see so many techies and business heads excited about the same thing! I think both handsets and handset software are evolving towards the open source ecosystem.

Open source means that manufacturers and software developers open up their software to give developers better access. This will give developers a real chance of

Andy Tow

creating applications tailor made to that particular handset. This is also great news for mobile B2B resellers, as the hype around mobile applications is making businesses more aware of the benefits, making applications an easier sell.

And on network speeds, we saw some fascinating presentations, from the builders like Nokia Siemens and Ericsson, to the operators like Orange and O2. The capability is there for speeds of up to 100 mbps, which means the mobile networks can compete with fixed line broadband.

 

Ken Denman, Openwave CEO:

One of the major talking points this year at Mobile World Congress was the shift in Western nations from text and voice traffic, to data. In order for the industry to further develop strategies to harness this growing trend, it’s critical to understand what consumers are doing online.

Mobile users today currently experience good data access. However, as capacity and efficiency issues rise to the top driven by mobile data and messaging growth. This is expected to put pressure on operators and subsequently heavy data users. This upward trend in data usage needs to be addressed by operators promptly, as more and more subscribers go off-portal, which to many operators is in effect off the radar.

Effective monitoring of mobile traffic creates a window for carriers to build a 360-

Ken Denman, Openwave CEO
degree view of their subscribers individually or in aggregate. Analytics provide a clear map of the content being accessed and the audiences using it, which is critical information that can help operators to monitor, manage and monetise the mobile internet.
 

James Parton, O2 Litmus head:

As expected, a number of handset manufacturers and operators used Mobile World Congress to announce new developer platforms and app stores. This reinforces the impact that smartphones, such as the iPhone, have had on the market and recognises the importance of the growing applications market.

There is strong demand from early adopters who want to utilise the potential of their handsets and the increases in network bandwidth. Equally, we see demand from organisations looking toward third party services, which can help increase productivity and communication, and stimulate innovation.

Among those who launched apps stores in Barcelona were Microsoft and Nokia. Like many of the other app stores in the market, we feel they have missed a fundamental

James Parton, O2 Litmus head

component; customer insight.

The end user needs to be empowered to grow the market opportunity. Customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, opinionated and want to be involved to help shape the design and features of applications. We believe this is fundamental to the quality of the end product. In order to facilitate this, the app store providers have an important role to play as they should provide the infrastructure, customer base and support required to maintain this process and add real value.

We chose Mobile World Congress to reach out to consumers to get involved in O2 Litmus, our mash up between a developer platform and an app store rolled into one, but with a significant difference. O2 Litmus is founded on the principles of collaboration and customer involvement.

O2 Litmus also wants to be far more than just a place to spot great apps. We are committed to helping developers grow successful businesses, not just successful apps, so we are working hard to provide a rich range of tools and services to help achieve this.

 

Mark Loughran, Nokia UK managing director:

It was undoubtedly personalisation of devices using the latest applications and services. At Nokia we are hugely excited about the opportunity to transform the internet into a fully personalised experience that is responsive to you and your friends’ interests and locations.

The launch of Nokias Ovi Store was a prime example of this. It will provide consumers with relevant content targeted to their interests and locale. There is going to be no shortage of apps for mobile devices this year, but consumers are going to become more discerning and will not always want to be guided straight to the 20 most popular ever, or 10 most downloaded this month. They will want relevant content on the right device for their needs. This is a major differentiator for Nokia and the Ovi Store, as is the range of our devices.

Mark Loughran
 

People are going to be more choosy about their technology and savvy companies, as in the last recession, will emerge the stronger for this. I feel really excited about Nokia’s potential this year to develop cutting edge products and services to meet consumers rapidly evolving demands.

In these times, it is more than ever vital that we continue to innovate and deliver cutting edge handsets. The launch of the Nokia N97 is a key device within our wider portfolio. I’m really looking forward to its successful launch in the summer.

I’m also excited by Nokia’s continuing ability to keep developing a strong product pipeline across a breadth of consumer needs. The Nokia E75 and Nokia E55, for example, make it easier than ever to get email on your phone and feature our most advanced messaging solutions. The Nokia 6700 is another important launch of for us. More than ever a range of choice is a mark of the fittest companies and this spring will provide the proof that this is true.

 

Ben Dowd, Telefónica O2 UK business sales director:

Winter is tough for everyone with short days and long dark nights, but this year we all face the daunting prospect of moving into Spring with recession looming over us. For some though the current economic downturn can be an opportunity and with the right support and direction businesses can use this time to their benefit.

The ICT sector is in an ideal position to help businesses work more effectively and efficiently over the coming months and years. Our recent multi-national deal with DPWN is a great example of how, by streamlining their communications and IT infrastructure and reducing the number of suppliers they work with, they are hoping to drive huge cost savings of around Euro 150 million.

The same approach can be taken by other businesses, both small and large, by reviewing the products and services they have and seeing where efficiencies can be

made. As a result companies who can offer businesses better guidance and support, not just the services they want to sell, could potentially be in a far better position post downturn.

So I guess the three things I would like to see in the next few months are: the ICT sector working more closely with business to provide solutions that can help their customers become more efficient; to see businesses get closer to their customers rather than offering one size fits all service; and finally businesses promoting a more sustainable future, both internally and externally.

 

Tow, Avenir:

Our three wishes? Firstly, that the current economic climate forces companies to look at cash generation and cost cutting. My hope for spring would be for businesses to move from panic mode to focused business. I think many will realise that ‘mobile working cuts costs’, be that mobile email, mobile applications or mobile broadband.

Large corporates are already reaping the benefits of mobile working, with large scale implementations of mobile email and applications. But it is the smaller companies at the backbone of the British economy that can get at least as much benefit from mobile working. So my second wish is in relation to the first. That it’s high time to bridge the mobile working gap. A key element will be the ongoing news flow about mobile applications around the iPhone App Store and the HTC G1; as customers continue to adopt applications, businesses are more likely to believe the productivity messages.

Finally, as the three product areas and sales channels of IT, fixed line telecoms and mobile telecoms converge, my wish would be for less of a collision – across all there industries – and more of a working together to the benefit to customers. Only if we can demonstrate added value will cross over products such as mobile VoIP and mobile applications become widely adopted.

 
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