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May 2010 | Volume 2/Number 3
Mobile Services – Beyond Voice

What's Next?

By Ken Osowski

Many technologies are converging to change the landscape of mobile services that are offered including video communication and content access, pinpointing a subscriber’s location, integration with the Web, and new mobile handset capabilities.

Let’s just imagine for a minute the following scenario. A business traveler gets prepared to meet several clients the next day spread out across a large metropolitan area. The night before he logs into his personal navigation portal on the Web, allowing him to map out the next day’s activities. He specifies multiple destinations with target arrival times and names this as an itinerary. After arriving at the destination airport the next day, he logs into his navigation portal on his handset and selects this itinerary. He gets into a rental car and the handset synchronizes, using Bluetooth, with the car’s built-in video screen, enabling display of both navigation maps and live video. A split screen enables the traveler to see the moving map to his destination as well as live traffic video routed to the mobile handset and seen on the car’s video screen. Traffic cameras are manually or automatically selected ahead in the route allowing him to re-route if necessary to meet his clients on time.

Clearly this service is looking into the future, but we are headed toward scenarios like these that give us a highly useful blend of mobility, real-time information based on our location, interactivity, and integration across networks. These types of services may not be available today but this one example demonstrates how smart handsets on mobile networks can be leveraged to provide mobile subscribers high-value, integrated services that can result in incremental service plan revenues for mobile operators.

Recent research suggests that high-value video mobile services will be a vital tool in offsetting declining ARPU and will also generate additional revenues from emerging sectors such as mobile advertising. Moreover, mobile video services can prevent subscriber churn by enabling applications that enhance the customer’s mobile experience.

Many of the popular mobile applications available today focus on mobile productivity, entertainment, and gaming. These types of applications are usually available through an application store or through a simple download, and result in an increase in the amount of traffic on a service provider’s network, but not much of an increase in the operator’s revenue stream.

Network integrated mobile applications can generate service revenues for mobile operators. And deploying high-quality mobile video services is a key strategy for mobile operators to increase revenues now.

My column this year will focus on the technology required to enable successful network-based mobile applications that integrate video and other technologies, including those that address the complexities of synchronizing voice with video, and what is required to retrieve Internet video content and seamlessly move it through the network to a mobile phone with the best quality of experience possible.

Ken Osowski is director of service provider product marketing at Dialogic (www.dialogic.com).

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