Mobile Computing Fashion and Style in the Mobile Handset Industry Jan 2007
The next phase of the Internet revolution is here Wireless Data is the promise to bring about an information communications revolution that will connect anybody, anywhere to any information, instantly! The content distribution boundaries are fading out. The convergence of technologies is creating extraordinary opportunities for organizations to break down the boundaries between people and information.
Convergence of Internet and Wireless technologies has made mobile computing the technology that will deliver.Mobile wireless technologies are going to act as glue towards bringing together the wired and wireless to share and distribute information seamlessly across each other’s are as of reference. Impact: Like any new technology, the Mobile Computing world has also generated a lot of excitement and hype. Given this scenario, it is important that the basic principles and concepts behind these technologies are well understood and realistically applied to a solution in order to generate the maximum possible benefit for the organization investing in this technology.
Wireless technologies have simply been popular owing to their contribution in enhancing the user experience to instantly connect anytime and from anywhere. These technologies are enhancing themselves constantly to make available more and more high-speed data rates to consumers on their mobile devices. A true convergence is likely once the quality of information exchange and the speed rates are capable of matching up to those of fixed networks.
Implementation of a wireless solution enables an organization to create, access, process, store and exchange information with out the constraint of a single location. This improves the quality, accessibility, efficiency and, therefore, effectiveness of the information. Mobile computing can be achieved by a combination of hardware, systems,middleware and application software and some mode of communication. This has been made possible in recent times due to the evolution of extremely powerful but small computing devices such as smartphones and PDAs, and subsequently, relevant software and communication infrastructures.
So why is mobile computing needed ? Today, a lot of business happens while people arein the field; a lot of time is spent travelling and the customer constantly demands more focussed services. Hence, it can be understood that wherever business needs to happen outside the corporate walls, there is an opportunity for Mobile Computing. It could also be effectively applied to other fields such as tele-medicine, safety engineering, disaster management, e-governance, etc. In other words, the term Mobile Computing can be defined as describing the use of computing devices — which usually interact in some fashion with a central information system — while away from the normal, fixed workplace.
Enabling Wireless Technologies: First Generation mobile communication technologies such as AMPS, ETACS, NMT were designed for specific business purposes of voice communications. Different bandwidths and protocols made it difficult to enlarge the network for digital processing. Emergence of new technologies such as EDGE, CDMA 2000, GSM, W-CDMA and availability of larger bandwidth at high frequency ranges has made it possible to transmit data over the air and has made mobile computing a reality.
While telecom infrastructures have made it possible to have online transactions, device manufacturers have come up with small versions of computing devices, with pocket sizes, that could run small applications and carry personalized information. With operating systems such as PalmOS, Widows Mobile, Symbian, Android and Mac Os it has been possible for the people on the move to carry compelling application and valuable information such as a personal calendar, emails, appointments,etc., on a small device, which can later be synchronized with the PC when they get back home or to the office.
Emergence of these devices and technologies have led to a huge potential to develop applications in varied segments, be it banking, airlines, stocks, advertisements,insurance, gaming, gambling, CRM, Location-Based Services, etc. Anything and everything that was available to a user on the Internet has the potential to be menabled for the user on the move. In addition, the technology has provided an avenue to launch services that can match the unique needs of a mobile person. This has led to tremendous IT investment opportunities for organizations to develop a variety of solutions, right from stacks, to utilities, to accessories, to portals, to services. Online transactions on the move have enabled the efficiency and effectiveness of any business process. Keeping this in mind, it is important to understand all these aspects of Mobile Computing technologies in the right perspective, in order to have a proper overall strategy towards absorbing these technologies in an organization.
Challenges Like any new and emerging technology, the mobile computing market is itself going through its own evolutionary process. New communication media, data access protocols, devices, operating systems and middleware are emerging from time to time. The basic issue that all these technologies are looking at is the nature of the medium itself. Interoperability and accessibility become important to any service in the mobile arena. The problems of battery life, security of information as well as of the device itself are still being addressed and technologies are still evolving. While all these issues remain to be addressed, it cannot be denied that the technology has immense potential to enable a customer to have enhanced experience in terms of accessing valuable information while he/she is playing golf, relaxing on a beach, waiting for a meeting, travelling in a train, and many more scenarios. Investments in research and development to improve the underlying technologies is only going to accelerate more investments in providing customers specialized services while they are on the move.
Future Watch: Future 3G technologies such as EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, and HSUPA and 4G Broad band will enable a larger amount of data that can be exchanged while on the move and will determine the path the wired and wireless computing field will take. This will create the need for convergence of digital appliances, assimilation of the technologies, fading of content distribution boundaries and therefore, the need to provide a common framework for organizations to meet these challenges. It isn't tough anymore to imagine the near future where the small machine in the pocket will replace a variety of appliances that a person needs to carry — mobile phones, personal computer, driver license, credit card, remote control, security device, smart cash, etc. — all combined in a single device . .
Mobile Computing is a versatile technology that has created the necessity for organizations to review their existing business processes and realign them to a mobile workforce and customer base, in order to improve operational efficiency, communication, and customer service, with a view to reduce the overall business cycles. It provides the IT solution providers with immense opportunity to strategize and implement solutions that will eventually be of benefit to the organization.
The backbone of the Mobile Wireless revolution comprises the underlying communication technologies that are driving the information bandwidth available to consumers on the move. What once started out as a medium to exchange phone calls while on the move, has evolved into a realistic medium over which people, companies and organizations can exchange valuable data. Already, initiatives such as SMS, WAP,Wi-Fi, WI-MAX, Bluetooth, LTE, etc., have exploited the data capability of wireless networks to deliver value-added services to the customers.
Mobile phones no longer are limited to making phone calls . In today’s world, the purpose envisioned in the designer’s mind becomes more important. Our collective creativity at MICRONICS is giving rise to innovative mobile phone designs and new models that will create “Blue oceans” of uncontested market space. We must continue to develop cutting-edge technologies and services based on the smart phone to allow users access to a wealth of information, provided at affordable prices anytime and anyplace.
Smart phones are sophisticated devices that are not shared by multiple users, and their replacement cycle is shorter than that of other IT products. For these reasons,the size of the global mobile phone market continues to grow. Just 41 million mobile phones were sold worldwide in 1995, and annual growth in the advanced markets never exceeded 10%. However, growth in the emerging markets has continued to rise, and global sales surpassed 950 million units in 2006 to record sells of 1-Billion units in 2007.
Fashion and Style in the Mobile Handset Industry The handset as a canvas for fashion, style and branding A sociological connection between fashion and the mobile handset? In the space of 15 years, the mobile handset has moved from a niche telephony device, to become the most ubiquitous item of personal consumer electronics worldwide. This has made it an obvious tableau for the expression of an individual’s fashion tastes and style.
The handset is a fully mobile device: it travels every where with its owner and is visible to others. To make a call it is placed to the side of the head. To compose a text, the device is held out in front. It is laid out on tables in office meeting rooms and school canteens, beside you in restaurants, and at the bar. The handset can act as an ideal canvas for an outward and visible statement of the owner’s tastes and values. Fashion is the ever-changing pattern of consumer tastes, driven by a wide range of random events. Events such as war, a shift in house prices, the introduction of a new technology, or the emergence of a new musical sound,can influence the consumer taste curve. In practice, fashion is something more specific. It is a set of seasonally driven colours, styles, and motifs that are combined and mixed in a huge variety of ways by a wide range of parties in order to appeal to targeted consumer demographics. This is not restricted to designers sending dresses down the catwalk, but also includes car manufacturers, furniture producers and mobile handset manufacturers, among many others.
A fashion handset is one where the consumer’s purchase decision is based primarily on the aesthetics of the device. The aesthetics include both the styling of the device as well as any brand associated with it. Today, the primary conduit for fashion and style into the handset market are the handset vendors themselves. As a result of the increasingly commoditized conditions in the handset industry, the return on technology innovation is falling. In an age of standardised handset platforms, it is increasingly difficult for Tier One vendors to differentiate their products from that of low-cost, Asian ODMs by simply adding enhanced technology features. For the consumer faced with a range of seemingly identical devices from a technical perspective, fashion and sty ling allow a reasoned, value-driven consumption decisions to be made. The aesthetics of a device can generate an emotional response by consumers, to which they will ascribe a value and for which they will pay a premium.The result is that fashion and styling are playing an increasingly important role in the profitability strategies of The result is that fashion and styling are playing an increasingly important role in the profitability strategies of the handset manufacturers as they strive to distinguish their products in the market.
This has been, and will continue to be, a key driver of fashion into the mobile handset market. This report examines the fashion and style strategies employed by the major handset vendors in the market today. These strategies fall into four groups, consisting of: the incorporation of fashion and styling elements across a handset portfolio; co-branding collaborations with fashion brands; formation of a sub-portfolio of handsets geared specifically at the fashion and style conscious market; and the establishment of independent, fashion focused handset subsidiaries.
There are clear benefits for the mobile operators in distributing fashionable and branded handsets through their channel, including opportunities for customer retention, customer acquisition, ARPU growth, enhancement of brand values and subsidy removal. However, there are also a number of difficulties for operators in becoming involved with these devices, and much of these issues revolve around conflicts of brand. As the market matures and consumers’ handset tastes become more sophisticated, demand for fashion phones will increase. We estimate that, by 2010, sufficient consumer demand will exist to support the sale of 23 million fashion and luxury fashion handsets. While this will account for just 2% of all handsets shipped worldwide, thesale of these phones will constitute 12% of handset retail revenue.
RENE ROSENTHAL RANDY PEARSON AND MICHAEL KIRSHMAN