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May 17, 2007

Nortel's Thomas Speaks to Communication Developers

By Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director

A last-minute replacement for Vish Nandall, Nortel’s (News - Alert) Michael Thomas delivered a keynote presentation titled Wireless Service Providers (WiSPs) and Application Service Providers (ASPs) Partnering for Mobile Internet Applications.

Thomas asked the audience, “Why should ASPs partner with Wireless ISPs (WiSPs)?”
Developers have been faced with a series of challenges when it comes to creating applications for the wireless space. For one thing, wireless networks traditionally featured lower bandwidth relative to fixed Internet.
As bandwidth increases, there is an opportunity to create applications to run over wireless broadband networks.
Thomas discussed other historical impediments, including:
  • Unfriendly handset ergonomics;
  • Difficulty in obtaining and viewing content
  • A lack of mobile content development guidelines, which hinders usability and deters content development
On the positive side, groups such as the W3C are making moves, addressing the mobile device and development space by providing a series of best practices and mobile device descriptions.
A fragmented market limits the market scope for developers, by giving them less to shoot at, and as such, reduces the developer’s incentive to create applications.
The increasing amount of broadband is a mitigating factor. Thomas also mentioned that he believes that the walled gardens are crumbling as carriers like Sprint (News - Alert) announce more openness.
So, there is a huge demand being forecast for enterprise mobile applications coupled with communications. But Thomas warned that best effort VoIP is not good enough for mobile customers, and only a WiSP can deliver consistently “quality” of voice.
Some of the other trends that are creating opportunities for developers are
  • Increased desire for personalization of user services;
  • Gen “Y” social networking, and Multiplayer Multimedia Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are all looking to take advantage of the latest innovations;
  • Seamless service across all devices with content/application adaptation per device/place/time/role, etc…
Thomas reiterated, “Broadband decouples applications from access, and broadband enables the opportunity to create newer richer multimedia applications.”
The last trend Thomas touched on was IMS.
“This is a whole new opportunity to develop applications,” he said.
In the end, WiSPs need ASPs to create innovative applications and in order to compete. Developers need to be cognizant of creating applications designed for handsets and delivered with the goal of expedited time to market. Thomas concluded by stating that collaborating with WiSPs can open market segments for some ASPs and improve market share for others.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for Internet Telephony Magazine (News - Alert). To see more articles, please visit Greg Galitzine’s columnist page.


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