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January 19, 2010

ITEXPO 2010 Speaker: Will 2010 Hold Merger Opportunities for Operators and Content Providers?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

As the competitive dance within the smartphone industry continues to intensify, there is much speculation as to who will emerge the winner. If you were to ask Andrew D’Souza, software architect, chief technology officer, Openet (News - Alert), the answer would be Google with the recent addition of the Nexus 1 and its Android (News - Alert) platform.

When asked about HD VoIP, D’Souza is sure the primary driver will be from business users. D’Souza recently talked with TMC CEO Rich Tehrani.Their interview is printed in full below.
Reflecting on the recession of 2009, D’Souza said that Openet actually experienced growth in 2009 as the demand for wireless services continues to increase. When asked to give his opinion of Obama’s first year in office, D’Souza commented that it is too soon to say. He is impressed with the activities of the FCC (News - Alert) and the administration such as Net Neutrality and privacy. If he were to assume that high office, D’Souza would ensure the maintenance and improvement of the competitive landscape.
As for areas of market growing in the next few years, Openet’s will be on wireless as wireless data use continues to skyrocket. Significant waves also surround cloud computing. At ITEXPO East 2010, D’Souza will participate in a panel discussion on mobile ads.
Asked to share his outrageous prediction for 2010, D’Souza said, “I predict that once the Comcast (News - Alert)/NBC deal is approved, we’ll probably see more companies trying to position themselves in the same light, with operators and content providers partnering in to 2010.”

Their conversation follows:
Rich Tehrani: Smartphones continue to rise, find their ways into offices and homes alike. Who will dominate that market and why?
Andrew D’Souza: I would guess that Google will be making a strong play with its recent addition of the Nexus 1 to its smart phone arsenal, and its existing presence with the Android platform. I think manufacturers and operators alike will be moving towards the open source platform that Google has embraced; this will likely become the dominant model, with all the application and service innovation from third-party developers.
RT: We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?
AD: I see the primary driver to be from business users. With more business being conducted remotely, travelers need to be on calls and stay in touch. This drives the need for high quality conferencing, both video and audio, to become widely adopted. Also, in a lot of cases, there is a disconnect in the synching between the audio and video portion. These need to become married to support business use cases. The fact that all is moving to VoIP,4G/LTE enables more granular control over QoS, which will also drive adoption.
RT: We entered 2009 in a recession and now we’re seeing signs of the economy picking up. How did the slow economy affect demand for your products and services and what are you anticipating in 2010?
AD: Openet actually experienced growth in 2009, expanding both global staff and our product portfolio. Demand for wireless services continues to increase, and it’s there that we are seeing the impact of the recession. For example, spending limits is a hot topic for both carriers and consumers—subscribers are now more careful with what they’re prepared to spend, and carriers want to make sure they are paid for the services they provide. Additionally, with smart devices only getting smarter, there has been an explosion of data traffic on every wireless network, requiring policy solutions to control bandwidth—and marking the beginning of the end for flat-rate plans. So you see, the wireless industry is in high demand even as its business models evolve to stay lucrative.
RT: President Barack Obama has been in office for nearly a year. What has surprised you, whether a pleasant surprise or disappointment, about his presidency, policies and administration?
AD: I personally think it is too soon to say. The FCC and Obama’s administration are tackling important issues around Net Neutrality and privacy, which I think is a good thing. These efforts will help various players in the industry understand where they fit in the national policy discussion. Net Neutrality is obviously more of a concern for wireless operators, and something that should be addressed. As for privacy, the regulation of how information is collected, how consumers are targeted by advertisers, are all important issues that need to be addressed now rather than later. The panel I’m participating in at ITEXPO (News - Alert) will actually tackle some of the issues around mobile advertising.
One thing I have not seen as much action as I had hoped for from this administration is the President pushing for greater broadband access and high speed internet, and I haven’t seen that in the news of late; I do remember it was mentioned during the campaign.
RT: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
AD: Overall, I’d be sure to ensure both the maintenance of and improvement of the competitive landscape; from the point of view of mergers and acquisitions, this would ensure that competitive forces are not compromised as such mergers are approved, to make sure the U.S maintains its technological edge and competitive.
RT: What are some of the areas of market growth in the next few years?
AD: One of our focuses is on wireless; 4G/LTE is what our customers are working on. With wireless data use skyrocketing, the market focus on policies and infrastructure shoring up to allow streaming video, application use and other services, will continue to meet the growing needs of business and pleasure users alike. I’ve also seen significant waves around cloud computing; once the privacy issues are addressed, this will likely be a burgeoning market with huge potential for growth, with data use in the cloud.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami, to be held Jan. 20 to 22. Talk to us about your session or sessions. Who should attend and why?
AD: The session I am participating in is a panel discussion on mobile ads. We’ll be discussing the opportunities for, challenges of and technologies involved to drive mobile advertising from its current state. One of the more important areas from a business model perspective is that more and more data services are being consumed on mobile devices and there are increased opportunities for consumers to be advertised to in a more target, personalized way. Getting around the privacy issues, operators will be able to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign, while delivering relevant ads to subscribers and increased ad revenue to advertisers. It’s definitely a timely topic that we’ll all be hearing more about in 2010.
RT: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
AD: On my personal radar, I predict that once the Comcast/NBC deal is approved, we’ll probably see more companies trying to position themselves in the same light, with operators and content providers partnering in to 2010.
To find out more about Andrew D’Souza and Openet, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. D’Souza is speaking at The Mobile Advertising Opportunity.” Don’t wait. Register now.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney


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