Monday, June 27, 2011

Open Mobile Summit London -June 27th

By Robert Kempf

The hope for the 3rd ecosystem and partnering for success.

This year’s Open Mobile Summit in London at June 10th was an exciting event with a great line-up of executives from the mobile devices, operator, publishing, banking and content industry. It was again all about the very dynamic changes in the value chain and the implications on monetization points and strategies.

With companies who made a winning bet given the changing industry dynamics, through emerging players trying to find their spot and highly challenged established players a broad range of different perspectives were given. Some of the highlights and trends are summarized below:

Operators: success through partnering. Though there is still high focus on a branded service experience, leveraging and customizing existing solutions including the content is seen as the most promising route forward. This partnering model will allow for a better risk and reward model creating a win:win for operators and service/content providers and will at the same time increase the ability to not only act as a bit pipe for operators .

Nokia: It is all about creating the 3rd ecosystem. Stephen Elop was evangelizing that besides Apple and Android, Nokia sees space for a 3rd major ecosystem called Windows Phone. Though the presentation was excellent and all key ingredients for creating a successful ecosystem where addressed, the analyst community present at Open Mobile Summit was quite pessimistic about the success changes given the planned timing for the first phone launches and the trends in the other major ecosystems around Apple and Android. Also the rumors of Nokia being acquired by Microsoft, Samsung or other players was a discussion point again.

Mobile Payment: Mobile wallet is coming. There was no doubt about mobile wallet being now adopted on a larger scale though there were different estimations in terms of adoption rate. With major operators, financial institutions and core technology providers backing and pushing mobile payment using NFC and other technologies the year 2012 is seen as the inflection point of mass adoption.

Multiscreen: Content portability across screens. The evolution of modern user interface and application frameworks, not only limited to Flash technology or HTML5, will make multi-screen experience a commodity in the near futures. Content will not be optimized for a single screen size, but will support all types of screens and form factors. Support of different MMI methodologies for different types of devices and specifics on screen layout to adopt for the multitude of form factors will required education of developers and further invest in the operating systems.

Mobile Advertising: Going to the next level. As for private TV, advertising is and will remain one of the main monetization points in the connected devices space. The key trend is from a rather dumb placement of ads in applications and web to an increasingly tailored and customized approach of placing ads meeting end user demand. Besides preferences, behavior and position also the dimension of time will be used more and more to trigger commerce.

Operating systems: Apple, Android – that’s it? Surprisingly the discussions outside the Apple camp did focus only on Android and there was not much discussion around QNX/RIM, Symbian, WebOS or Windows Phone. OEMs seem to be quite satisfied with the freedom they have with Android based on the panel discussion with SonyEricsson, Motorola and LGE participation. There was no sense of fears in the OEM community that Google will significantly change the Android licensing model or will restrict OEMs in their freedom to differentiate. Also interesting to note that no other rising star in the mobile operating space was identified – so seems Android will be around for some time still.

Applications: Native versus WebApps again. The native versus Web application discussion will be ongoing forever, as there are many pros and cons for both which should lead to the conclusion that both are needed. Also at the Open Mobile Summit the discussions were along these lines. Though HTML5 and other technologies enrich the capabilities for Web applications and extend the number of native applications that can now be implemented as Web applications, there is still a large space for native implementations especially when it comes to performance and security critical use cases. The trend towards WebApps will continue at the cost of native applications, but there is no sign that native apps will go away soon.

Outside of these main trends the Angry Birds success story presented by their Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka was an entertaining as well as very insightful experience. Besides the very long way they had to go before coding this number one hit, their ability to monetize on Angry Birds outside the mobile games field got quite some attention. Besides t-shirts and toys we will see other gadgets, comics and animated movies for the Angry Birds fans. So it is all about building and monetizing on a brand…

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