"Context has replaced content as King of the Hill" in mobile... or so stated the participants at MassTLC's Mobile Summit. Gathering the mobile ecosystem for jam-packed Friday morning panels included the chance to learn the carrier's strategies on 4G, business models that are, and aren't making money, and how quickly will the mobile third screen become the first. For the capstone to this interactive morning, nine emerging mobile companies highlighted their technologies in a rapid fire presentation and then demoed them during the reception.
Kicking off the event was a keynote panel on the promise and reality of 4G. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all see promise in 4G, especially as it relates to machine-to-machine communications. Tom Robertson of Sprint emphasized this point with an example of how the LAPD is using cameras around town to see crime as it is happening and respond within minutes. Within the few weeks of use they made 100 arrests.
All agreed that moving from a 'can you hear me now' mentality to a 'what can I do now' will require the ecosystem creating applications that take advantage of infrastructure available. And business models that will capitalize on this opportunity.
The $$ of Mobile panel discussed how mobile is a horizontal play and there will be a number of business models that make money – not just advertising and some will combine with prior models to succeed. Predictions are that in the next 10 years, 50% of the workforce will spend 50% of their time away from the office thanks to solutions enabled in mobile and contrary to prior times, CIOs won't be able to say no the their users requests. This opens up lots of opportunity in the enterprise for mobile – besides just applications on the iPad.
In the third screen becoming the first screen panel Joe Ferra, Chief Wireless Officer for Fidelity, shared that given the prevalence of mobile, they design their systems to get people what they want in the amount of time they have 'before the light turns green.' Users are also expecting more context to their experience because they know content providers know where they are, what device they are using and the time of day. When providers do take advantage of this information with targeted ads, it pays off. Click through rates on mobile ads average about .8%...where as on the internet just .2%.
2011 will be a building year for 4G, and all agree there is significant promise and multiple opportunities for entrepreneurs with this evolving technology - particularly those focused on creative solutions for increased 'battery power'. Todd Adams of Verizon highlighted this point and emphasized the importance of the entire industry focusing on this issue.
Thanks to AT&T, Cisco and pwc for their sponsorship of the event.
Click to view pwc's 2009 North America wireless industry report.