Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Six Wishes for Wireless for 2006

Looking around the web at the turn of the year we see a number of sites offering either a review of 2005 or predictions for 2006. I started to write my own review of 2005 and gave up after a few hours as it made depressing reading for me personally in just how poorly the mobile industry had performed. In thinking that 2005 was not a good year I did not see that 2006 was going to see a recovery. Thus I took a leaf out of my daughter’s books and have written a wish list for 2006.

My first wish is that the Mobile Networks remember just what they are a UTILITY rather than a Media/Entertainment business. In understanding the fundamental fact they need to improve coverage so I may use my handset where and when I want to. Once they have fixed the coverage issue they can then turn their attention to a CRM system that remembers what I am, what I use and what I do not use and using this information perhaps they can allow me to personalise the service I want. Once they see themselves as a first class utility they can finally fix the billing system so that it becomes something useful rather than an inhibitor as it seems to be now.

My next wish is that we remember that 3G wireless was spoken about as an enhanced voice service. Let’s remember that we are using a phone, rather than a microcomputer/music player/gaming console, this being the case voice should be at the centre of what we do with it. By enhanced voice let’s look at some simple things like Stereo sound as well as impressive “Star Trek” services that are driven by intelligent speech engines. I can remember Orange justifying the investment in 3G with a presentation called Adam & Eve I loved it so much that I believed.

A Genuine Unified Messaging system is my third wish. If I am to make my mobile phone the central communications device I want to be able to review my Email, texts, Voicemail, IM just as I can with my laptop using a simple screen. I do not expect to be able to respond in the best way to these messages using my handset just to be able to make a decision as to what’s important and what’s not. Within this great UM client I also want the ability to set presence and in doing so my handset and Network to respond to those settings. For example, when I am in a meeting switch everything over to a text based service and when I am driving my car switch it all over to voice.

A DRM system that works for everyone is fourth on the list. When I buy content from a media company I would like the opportunity to enjoy it on my phone should I wish to. Once I have bought a ringtone for example when I upgrade my handset as well as copying all the contacts I would like to copy the tones that I have assigned them, if I am using them with the same mobile number what’s the issue?

Handset manufacturers take a leaf out of the Car makers design handbook is my next wish. Volkswagen bases its whole car range on a small number of spaceframes, yet we the consumer are offered VW, AUDI, Seat and Skoda styled cars. Thus Sony Ericsson needs to offer more handset to us consumers so that we can find the style and functionality that best suits are needs rather than walk around with a handset that we are happy with some of the time.

My last wish is that everyone in the mobile industry remembers that it’s better to have a small slice of a bigger pie than own the whole of a tiny pie. At times it has to be better to make a sacrifice that allows everyone to benefit than holdback in fear that someone else might make some cash.

So that’s it six wishes for Wireless in 2006. How many will be realised? Will any be achieved this year? Is anyone reading this and if so has it made them think?

1 comment:

Martin said...

In some parts of the world, the wireless industry has moved forward somewhat. Austria and Germany now both have network operators offering a 3G data flatrate for around 30 Euros (20 pounds) a month. Italy also has very good data offers with a 1GB for 20 euros/month with a prepaid card!

And then there is Yahoo! Go which might be the first step of your unified messaging vision.

Wireless data rates in the U.K. seem to be very high. I really don't quite get that, there's enough competition you would think to spur similar developments as those described above. Instead they all insist on their walled garden (grrrrr.) strategy. Hope that will change soon.

Martin