Wireless consulting company inCode, a division of VeriSign, has released its predictions for the 10 most important events in the wireless industry for the coming year. The list, compiled by inCodes senior staff, has had 80 percent accuracy since its inception, according to the company.
"We have been doing this since 2004, and we issue a release of 10 predictions each year," said Bengt Nordstrom, inCode vice president for Europe, Middle East and Asia, in Stockholm, Sweden. "We feel strongly in our role as an industry participant, and to share our views of what would happen. We want to inspire our industry to improve and invent," he said.
"Our predictions are really coming from work from within the industry," Nordstrom said, explaining the methodology for developing the list. "Our clients are Tier 1 and Tier 2 vendors in the industry, so were part of the planning. We consolidate everything were seeing and working with and try to figure out what is the most important thing for the next 12 months," he said.
Here are inCodes predictions:
- Social networking goes mobile. Sites such as MySpace and Facebook will add mobile users to their business model, and similar services will gain popularity with professionals and older users.
- Mobile TV. Its just now making its first entries into the mobile device market, but it will become a primary driver of revenues.
- Cheaper and more flexible multifunction devices. Look for 3G devices but with more functionality, higher speeds, and prices below $99.
- GPS will become the location technology that the wireless industry actually uses in 2007. While many phones already have GPS support, applications that use that capability will blossom.
- Internet Big Names will play a major role in IP Multimedia Services for mobile devices. An inCode study found that while these services havent taken off as expected, this may be because users dont understand what they do. Expect to see names like Yahoo and Google on your mobile device.
- China and India will become the hot mobile device markets, and as a result, mobile devices and services will focus on those markets first, rather than the United States and Europe as in the past.
- Mobile advertising will boom. Be prepared for ads with your text messages and elsewhere on your 3G phone, targeted just for you.
- Home entertainment will become part of the wireless world. This will include music and video downloads over both high-speed data connections and Wi-Fi. You will be able to play music, watch television or meet other data communications needs with your wireless device. This will be especially important in emerging markets, according to inCode.
- Users realize that security is important. 2007 may be the year that hackers really make a move on the mobile device universe. Virus attacks, data loss and theft will become major concerns, and companies will finally need to pay attention to the risks from mobile devices.
- Enterprises will embrace mobility. Companies will incorporate mobile devices throughout the corporation and will start to depend on wireless access to data as a routine practice. Some companies may completely replace their wired telephone infrastructure with wireless devices.
The companys report also had one item on its wish list: that operators finally get the basics right. Among those basics, according to inCode, are improvements to battery life, coverage gaps, E911 access, confusing bills and frustrating customer service.
Nordstrom says that for the wireless industry to really grow to its full potential, it must learn to adopt the Internet business model, which he said was why the predictions contained a lot about the Internet. "One of the reasons for that is that the Internet industry is reinventing itself every moth. New and exciting services are happening every day," he said.
Nordstrom said that such a change would make innovation much easier in the wireless industry. He said that this is especially true in how the wireless industry reaches out to its customers. With the Internet, he said, "The threshold for reaching the customer should be very low. You dont need hundreds of thousands of dollars for reaching the customer." But Nordstrom noted that the wireless industry has not accomplished that yet. "The threshold is much higher in the mobile phone industry," he said.
To read more about inCodes 2007 predictions, as well as its predictions for previous years, click here.
The full text of the inCode Top 10 List can be found here, in Word format.