MWC: O2 chief's predictions for Mobile World Congress

MWC: O2 chief's predictions for Mobile World Congress

Mike Short, head of research and development at O2 is a veteran of Mobile World Congress. He gives his predictions for next week's international event…

Mike Short, R & D director O2Mobile Data and Applications

There will be a lot of experience shared around the 3G evolution, mobile internet and mobile email space again this year as we head towards a much richer and comprehensive data market. 

The growing influence of the web will also come through in both business and consumer applications, touching new sectors such as transport, health and education.

Mobile commerce and banking  

Support for the GSMA Pay-By-Mobile initiative took off last year with a range of handset manufacturers and operators such as Nokia, Motorola, O2, Vodafone and Orange pledging to examine the use of NFC for contactless payments. With the UK’s first large scale NFC trial – the O2 Wallet – going live in November 2007, Mobile World Congress will be a platform for further brands to review and discuss their plans for using NFC technology in 2008.  

This may also be complemented by GSMA led money transfer initiatives, to help the unbanked through mobile around the world.

Mobile advertising

2008 will be the year that mobile advertising comes of age. With more consumers than ever, browsing the web through their mobile handsets, shows a significant and largely untapped audience for advertisers to target customers appropriately with relevant messaging. At MWC expect operators, partnering with advertising specialists, to discuss how they can provide better targeting and measurement for mobile advertising, campaigns, from behavioural and demographic to geographic and channel-based targeting.

Screens, eyewear and accessories

When Bluetooth was first unveiled, largely for headsets, back in 1998 it did not achieve immediate consumer acceptance until around 2002. Talk has now moved to the adoption of screens and video eyewear. MWC 2008 should see the start of products such as pico projectors. With companies like Plastic Logic, Polymer vision, Vuzix, Microvision, and MyVu on show it will be interesting to see how this market develops as we move from a verbal to a visual world of mobile. It may not be long now before wearing video eyewear on the beach to watch the latest episode of Lost, whilst still getting a tan and protecting your eyes from the sun may not be far off. 

Mobile communities and social networking

The steady growth of Facebook, Bebo and MySpace means making these communities truly mobile will generate excitement as well. The mobile industry has dabbled in this area with messaging and applications that can be downloaded straight to a handset, but there are still a lot more to be understood and implemented. We will see further offerings coming down the line later this year, potentially around what the future holds for user generated content (UGC) on mobile. The recent announcement of EYEVIBE by O2 and 3 in the UK is just one illustration of this.  

M2M forecast

Machine to machine or M2M will continue to grow as mobile provides new opportunities for machine as well as people connectivity. Telematics services are already growing rapidly now that GSM/3G modules have fallen in cost, and can be designed into longer term telematics applications from healthcare to transport, from environmental management to energy.

With more (mobile) phones than people in most developed nations, the global forecast of M2M could be as high as 60 billion by 2020, based on there being 10 times more machines than people around the world, but this will only happen with broader cross sector co-operation and partnerships.  

Barcelona tapas – something for everyone

  • Mobile video and TV – expect many more demos and trials to be announced, but no one single standard adopted globally 
  • Mobile bar code standards
  • GPS will be integrated more fully into networks and devices enabling many new innovative mapping and location based services
  • Environmental /climate change solutions – the role that mobile can play in this


Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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