MWC: Mobile’s Next Leap

Now that the Mobile World Congress is over, the question is: What’s next? For sure, companies will move even more mobile devices into untapped markets. Tablets will proliferate at breakneck speed, and the worldwide market will remain fragmented as regional players launch their versions for country-specific markets. Other kinds of consumer devices, like cars and medical equipment, will benefit from advances being made in ubiquitous connectivity.

And, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there’s even been a call for the industry to innovate in new ways and make organizational changes that will help the ecosystem move at mobile speed. And, yes, suggestions even included adopting social networking strategies.

“The challenge is not whether you have the capability within your own four walls. The challenge is whether you can marry the capabilities within your four walls with capabilities outside,” said Ben Verwaayen, CEO of {complink 9705|Alcatel-Lucent} during a panel discussion. “The idea that you can simply do innovation within your four walls is dead. It's all about the ability to get a kind of passion in the organization to achieve something together with the environment in which you operate.”

He added that his company had begun using social networking “from the beginning” to share ideas and models, not just to work with external partners but to break down internal silos.

Moving the industry forward, and maybe even in new directions, was also on the minds of other OEMs. {complink 3847|Nokia Corp.} CEO Stephen Elop said during a keynote speech that, apart from focusing on its partnership with Microsoft, his company was investing in new ways to reach emerging markets with low-cost handsets. He cited features such as dual SIM card capabilities, dual touch and type screens, and things that make people “feel great about what they carry in their hand” regardless of their socio-economic status.

Jim Balsillie, co-CEO at {complink 4644|Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)}, talked during the same session as Elop. His take was that there has to be a constructive alignment between carriers and consumer electronics to create a “transformational experience for consumers” while adopting a business model that provides “sustained prosperity for carriers.”

Looking more broadly across the industry, Stefan Zehle, CEO of Coleago Consulting, noted that the conversation has evolved from being about voice devices to being about push-through devices for data, content, multimedia, and applications. “The mobile phone business is changing from an 'ears' business to an 'eyes' business where people are actually looking at the screen,” he said. “It's everything around that. 'Phone' is almost a redundant term. It's about the Internet you carry permanently with you. It’s like you're walking in an IP cloud all the time.”

How much of this innovative cloud-walking will take shape over the next year is still nebulous. But, even if only a few of these big ideas take off, there will be many supply chain implications. Maybe there will be shortages or, perhaps, inventory write-downs after the ramp-up loses some of its luster. There will most certainly be dialogues about building healthier partner-relationships to deliver even more through the mobile channels. And, if we’re lucky, people will Tweet about it so we can all learn something collectively.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share more of the conversations I had and heard at the conference and how the issues raised will affect the supply chain. I’ll be looking especially at mobile applications in the automotive, embedded, and healthcare segments.

20 comments on “MWC: Mobile’s Next Leap

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    February 18, 2011

    That's a lot of brainpower in one room (figuratively speaking). I couldn't have imagined the state of mobile computing as it is now 10 years ago. This isn't exactly groundbreaking, but “simplicity” is going to be the next hurdle. I'm beginning to find all of the competing platforms, OS, apps and service options overwhelming. Obviously, it is going to shake out, but I feel like I'm already behind the curve if I wait for that to happen. This is a great summary and would be worth revisiting from time to time to see how things have developed.

  2. SP
    February 18, 2011

    When I first read the word congress I thought it has something to do with politics. No one can deny that how crucial is a mobile phone in today's era. One day if you forget taking you rphone to your office you feel something big is missing. Its almost as necessity now. would like to know more about the summary of MWC.

  3. DataCrunch
    February 18, 2011

    According to a 2010 research report by Generator Research, the worldwide mobile payments market will reach $633.4 billion by 2014.  Just to put this into perspective, the mobile payments market for 2009 was $68.7 billion.  Also, the report suggests that mobile payment users will grow by 600% to 490 million in 2014.  Mobile payment users for 2009 were 81.3 million.   

    Mobile payments could be one of those “Next Leaps” of mobile.

  4. SP
    February 19, 2011

    Thanks Dave for sharing that news. Its just amazing to know that. It would be a revolution.

  5. jbond
    February 20, 2011

    The mobile banking and bill paying seems to be the largest growth segment right now that could really skyrocket and produce excellent numbers. When you add in the new technology that allows people to photograph checks to deposit them and take a picture of documents and have the info automatically transferred to a form or spreadsheet. I for one use the mobile banking all the time. I haven't had the opportunity to use the new technology for the images, but I’ve heard great things about it.

  6. seel225
    February 20, 2011


    The world has seen a drastic change in mobile technolgy over the last decade.The competition between big players will lead to much more enchamenets in design and deveolpment of technology.In terms of software, there is a growing reasearch in operating systems and apps for different uses. Mobile business is changing from ears to eyes is very interesting quote from stefehn. So companies have to be much keen on the mutli media. Coming to hardware design, mobiles with dual core processors is being introduced to the market. Companies should focus on the design aspects for smooth functioning.

  7. Ms. Daisy
    February 20, 2011

    I trully welcome the change in mobile business, its about time we improved past Graham bells “hearing” telephone.  At a more serious level, are the mobile phones able to swipe credit card for business yet? That will certainly help commerce on the go!

    Certainly consumer needs are driving both the portability and functioning of the mobile phones.

  8. Jennifer Baljko
    February 21, 2011

    As Dave, jbond and Ms. Daisy picked up on, mobile payments came up in various conversations and keynotes during the show. And, it will take all sorts of interesting shapes. One of the things I believe Nokia's Elop mentioned (have to check my notes) was this concept of putting mobile banking into the hands of people in developing countries…people who had never had a banking account in their entire lives are now/soon will be running transactions over their phones. So, think of all the doors that opens for people especially in developing regions.

    Anecdotally, too, a friend of a friend told me that he went out to dinner with someone from the show. When the bill came, the guy pushed some buttons on his mobile, and a few seconds the waiter returned with a receipt to sign. I suppose it was some sort of credit card, PayPal or banking transfer, but it sounded like magic to me.

    If you're interested in reading more, checkheck out the story on page 13 of this MWC daily newspaper:

    Also, this is such an important topic that GSMA (the MWC's organizers) will be hold a Mobile Money Summit in Singapore the end of June. Here are some interesting stats on the site (

    Mobile Money Facts

    1. Over 1 billion customers have access to a mobile phone but no access to formal financial services
    2. There are over 90 live mobile money deployments around the world, 27 of which are in South Asia
    3. Over 80% of these deployments are in developing markets
    4. Research has shown that mobile money products and services create significant revenue benefits not just from transactions but also cost savings from airtime sales along with churn reduction and a rise in ARPU. Mobile Money generates profits.


  9. Adeniji Kayode
    February 21, 2011

    I still believe that there is more to come from the mobile world in months to come.

    while reasearch is increasing by the day, the gargets are becoming smaller in size and bigger in functions and applications.

  10. Adeniji Kayode
    February 21, 2011

    we are in the jet-age and the speed of discoveries and inventions-very high.Expect more from the mobile world in years to come.

  11. Himanshugupta
    February 21, 2011

    I also agree with you Dave that mobile will have wider role in our lives in near future. Mobile payment is already big in countries such as Japan and as the security will be better or the bank starts to standarize the process, we will see a big change. As we made transition from paper money to plastic money, we will move towards digital money.

  12. Himanshugupta
    February 21, 2011

    i find the quotes very inspiring. I am sure that listening to industry leaders is very motivating and one can get a feel of where the industry is moving towards or atleast trying to move towards. The quote of Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, “The challenge is not whether you have the capability within your own four walls. The challenge is whether you can marry the capabilities within your four walls with capabilities outside,” is what we see more and more happening around us. Jennifer, i hope to read and learn more from your articles in coming weeks.

  13. tioluwa
    February 22, 2011

    IT's a brave new world for everyone. I'm really optimistic at the possibilities and in my opinion we should be seeing a lot of “WOW” very soon.

    the mobile market has become too dynamic to endure a long period without something fresh.

    i wonder if they'll still be able to call them phone by then.first phones then smart phones, now who knows what next

  14. Ms. Daisy
    February 22, 2011


    Thanks, it is this sort of innovations and improvements on current technologies that is making life easier for people in developing countries and help create significant revenue benefits to the citizens.

    I really hope that these “Mobile Monies” create new opportunities to the citizens as they generate profits to the communities at large.


  15. elctrnx_lyf
    February 22, 2011

    Nokia partnership with Microsoft is one big News at the MWC and I wish we will see more smart phones with better apps from the Nokia-Microsoft partnership by 2012 MWC. Keeping the mobile aside there is a still a lot of innovation left ing the mobile networks space. Recent news about the new base station less concept by Alcatel-Lucent and femto cells will enter into much advancement in 2011.

  16. Jennifer Baljko
    February 22, 2011

    Yes, the Nokia-MS deal will be interesting to watch. Way I see it, they have until next year's  Consumer Eelctronics Show in Jan or the Mobile conference the end of Feb. to  launch an extraordinary product that knocks the socks off Android and Apple. They'll need brute force, secure suply, creative but incredibly functional apps, and the ecosystem strength they keep talking about. We'll how it unfolds.

    Also, I saw a bunch of signs about femtocells and near field communication technology, both of which I'm reading up on. What do you guys know about these technologies and how they are being used?


  17. Mr. Roques
    February 23, 2011

    Nokia continues to “impress” me. The are trying to reach emerging markets by… providing a dual SIM and dual touch and type screens? … Didn't they want to overtake the iPhone? Are they undecided?

    If they want to go after the emerging markets, then focus on that but they are trying to do everything (and failing in both)

  18. prabhakar_deosthali
    February 24, 2011

    A few years back there was a talk of developing a wearable computer ( PC) where your specs would become your display, a microphone in your headgear would work as an input device and the earphones the output.  With mobile technology , fast internet and cloud services the mobile handset has realised that dream of a wearable computer. The mobile has become your personal office – handling your  communications and transactions, helping you track the world events, working as your entertainment center with its streaming Audio and Video and may also monitor your health tomorrow.It is your navigator when you are driving and will order food for you from your favourite restaurant when you are hungry. So except for fighting your divorce case in the court, this little friend will be able do almost everything for you.  The home PC, the TV, The Audio system all may die their natural death…. or am I dreaming too loudly?

  19. Ashu001
    February 27, 2011

    Mr Roques,

    Your point of view is so-so relevant and to the point here…

    Nokia is failing dicisively in Emerging markets at the hands of Grey Box players as well as the Koreans while in Western Markets at the hands of Android and Apple handsets.

    Do you see the potential for the New Nokia-Windows alliance to save this sinking ship???Or do you feel as I do that Two loosers don't make a winner??



  20. Mr. Roques
    March 10, 2011

    Let me rule out my personal language barrier first… did you mean “so so” as in neither good or bad or in a good way?

    Either way, I do think that Nokia is undecided on their future and that translates into the image they show to the World.

    (And to answer your question, I don't think the MSFT deal will help)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.