Feature Article

December 14, 2009

Simplicity a Key to 4G-Ready Devices: 4GWE Conference Speaker

One company that made a big splash in the smartphone space this month was fring, a self-described “mobile Internet community and communication service that allows friends to connect, share experiences and enhance their online communities together.”
 
As TMC CEO Rich Tehrani wrote in a blog entry that includes a video demonstration, the company’s update to an iPhone application allows Skype video calls to be transmitted to the iPhone screen.
 
“They could have potentially made the application work as a 2-way video solution but alas, the camera is on the wrong side,” Tehrani said. “Apple will probably solve this problem with the next iPhone which will most likely have a camera on both sides like some Nokia phones on the market today.”
 
Applications and smartphones are two areas of interest that fring founder and chief architect, Boaz Zilberman discussed with Carl Ford in an interview, printed in full below, regarding the 4G space.
 
According to Zilberman – who is speaking during the 4GWE Conference, to be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, in a session titled “Applications and Networks, Oh My” – 4G devices coming down the pipe include those that will bring more powerful general-purpose computing-telephony platforms to address the needs of the early adopters’ community.
 
“However, the most important segment will be a range of customized mobile devices that will deliver well-tailored and dedicated services to address the need for simplicity and easy to operate of the early majority segment,” Zilberman said. “Early clues to such devices we can see in digital photo frames, e-readers, navigation and such. With the right price point of $100 to $200 we should see cooking recipe tabulate, bad-side devices, personal TV monitors and more.”
 
Zilberman also has some interesting and compelling thoughts on the evolution of applications as network broadband expands.
 
Their full exchange follows.
 
Carl Ford: Applications are all the rage in the marketplace, and they’re helping sell consumers on today's network. How should we expect applications to evolve as network broadband expands?
 
Boaz Zilberman: Broadband availability over wireless networks will speed up the transformation of mobile telephony terminals into everywhere-anytime digital lifestyle interactivity. In such a reality, mobile applications are the tools that will enable consumers to move their Internet and digital connectivity experiences from the PC (wireline) domain into the new mobile domain. As such, we will gradually see a move of the popular Web browsing services, video presentations, music, social interaction and such into anywhere experience.
 
However, the interesting and yet-to-be-seen new innovation will come from those applications that will be able to make sense out of the mobility capabilities of the device – location aware applications, local images and environmental conditions.

CF: 4GWE is all about how customers’ adoption of technology is changing the network. What critical issues do you foresee for network operators?
 
BZ: The unconditional request that consumers put in front of mobile carriers is openness. Open the network and enable my device to do anything digital. Open it to any innovation or service that pops up in the market. The fear of operators is that such a move will force them into an insignificant role in the mobile echo system, what we call ‘dumb-pipe,’ and lesser revenues.
 
However, I believe that the service intensive requirements of the mobile communication echo system will always leave the highest stack and control in the hands of mobile carriers. They should use the opportunity to take openness and services diversity into an even higher growth opportunity, innovative consumer’s services and revenue streams.

CF: Barnes & Noble has now joined the e-reader business and Garmin has added new networking solutions. What devices do you expect to join the 4G world?

BZ: I believe that the near future will bring more powerful general-purpose computing-telephony platforms to address the needs of the early adopters’ community.
 
However, the most important segment will be a range of customized mobile devices that will deliver well tailored and dedicated services to address the need for simplicity and easy to operate of the early majority segment. Early clues to such devices we can see in digital photo frames, e-readers, navigation and such. With the right price point of $100 to $200 we should see cooking recipe tabulate; bad-side devices; personal TV monitors and more.
 
CF: Social networking is a large part of consumers’ use of their smartphones. How should we expect it to impact our work lives?

BZ: Social networking will become another element in the mix of our communication and interaction experiences. People will be able to choose between a wide verity of tools and networks that provide different set of experiences and tools for inter-personal communication.
 
Networks like Facebook and twitter extend today the options we have to interact with our fellow friends and co-worker in much as the same way that the SMS service extended the telephony experiences a couple of years ago.
 
CF: WiFi led the way into MIMO and OFDM, and WiMAX and LTE are now alternate methods of adoption of these technologies. How should we classify the technologies? Are they competitive, complimentary or serving separate requirements?

BZ: From the consumers point of view, none of it really matter unless it provides a better level of services – reliable communication everywhere, un-interrupted connectivity, high bandwidth and affordable costs.
 
To date, the new technologies do offer a better set of services and connectivity. At some point the marginal differences will seize to be of any importance to consumers
 
CF: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
 
Net neutrality.
 
CF: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
 
BZ: Microsoft re-entry into this market.
 
CF: Talk to me specifically about your presentation at the 4G Wireless Evolution conference. What kinds of people or companies should come to your session?
 
BZ: I would like to see more operators in my session. I think that those people are the one that hold-back the rush of our industry into a more prosperous era – for them, for their customers and for us.
 
To find out more about Boaz Zilberman and fring, visit the company at the 4GWE Conference. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami and collocated with ITEXPO East 2010, the 4GWE Conference will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Zilberman is speaking during “Applications and Networks – Oh My.” Don’t wait. Register now.

Michael Dinan is a group managing editor for MobilityTechzone, overseeing MobilityTechzone's Web editorial team and covering news in the IP communications, CRM and VoIP industries. He also oversees production of e-Newsletters in the areas of 4G wireless technology and smart products. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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