Feature Article

January 08, 2010

Questioning the Future of 4GWE on Device Anticipations: 4G Wireless Evolution Speaker

In this age of apps, the next evolution in available technology is bound to be even bigger and better. According to Scott Snyder, senior partner at Decision Strategies International, richer and more immersive applications are in our future.
In a recent interview with MobilityTechzone contributor’s Carl Ford, printed in full below, Snyder also highlighted that the apps of the future will “sense” everything we need them to and offer enhanced context.

As for challenges in the adoption of 4GWE, Snyder said two primary issues exist. Not only will networks struggle to stay ahead of the massive traffic from more capable devices and richer applications, they will also have to figure out how to recoup investments as the move continues toward more open networks. Anticipated 4G devices for Snyder include literally everything. He also said social networks will become a critical research tool for the enterprise.

The full conversation 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?
Scott Snyder: Increased bandwidth and interconnectivity coupled with smarter devices will enable richer, more immersive applications. Applications will incorporate more “sensing” of the environment, user preferences, and user context into their functionality.   Sensing may include location, movement/speed, health, air quality, lighting, temperature, proximity of other users, etc. User preference information could include health, diet, entertainment, fitness, social, content, shopping, among other attributes. And finally, context may include everything personal and professional activities as well as the specific setting for the user.

CF: 4GWE is all about how customers’ adoption of technology is changing the network. What critical issues do you foresee for network operators?
SS: Two primary issues. One is staying ahead of the tsunami of traffic that will result from more capable devices (tablets, smartphones, netbooks, etc.) and richer applications. AT&T user’s are feeling the pain of this now. This almost accelerates the need for higher speed networks like HSPA+, LTE, and 802.16m. The other issue is figuring out how to recoup the investment given the move towards more open networks. Carriers will need to change their revenue model to earn fees for managed applications/services in addition to just pipes, which will experience constant price pressure.

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?

SS: Everything. There should be anywhere from 100 to 1,000 connected devices per person in the next 10 years. Everything from heart monitors to spa controls will be networked wirelessly. I expect energy monitoring/metering to be the next big wave of connected devices.
CF: Social networking is a large part of consumers’ use of their smartphones. How should we expect it to impact our work lives?

SS: Social networks will become a critical research tool for enterprises to sense new ideas for products and services and understand information flows and patterns to become more productive. Wireless creates hyper-extended social nets where the device becomes the interconnect between personal and professional lives. This will fuel more innovation allowing ideas to flow back and forth between both the professional and enterprise worlds. This will also create security challenges for enterprises.
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?

SS: WiMax and LTE are close cousins, especially as WiMax migrates to 802.16m and LTE moves to LTE-Advanced. This will allow for string economies of scale for equipment which is good for carriers and users. Also, with the 802.21 standard, there is an opportunity to drive interoperability without having to collapse the standards in the near term.
CF: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
SS: I would make wireless innovation a national imperative with significant public-private partnering around wireless technologies and infrastructure. The US is in a great position to lead the world in next gen wireless including smart/cognitive devices, applications, sensor networks, and smart antennas. We need to take advantage of this by building out open infrastructure that allows innovators to create new solutions but also incents carriers to manage the QoS across networks for the benefit of all players. This means regulators allow carriers to charge for different levels of QoS, but require the carriers to support interoperability and open devices across all networks.
CF: What are some of the areas of 4G you’re expecting to grow in the next few years?
SS: 4G will have its largest impact in areas that require rich, interactive applications with low latency and broad coverage. Healthcare, energy, transportation, retail, and entertainment applications should lead the pack. In terms of geography, I would expect Southeast Asia and the Nordic countries to once again lead the pack with the US and Europe a close second given the rising penetration of high-end devices.
CF: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
SS: Google’s Android becomes the dominant operating system and Wal-Mart becomes the largest wireless carrier in terms of subs (as an MVNO).
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?
SS: My Industry Perspective session will focus on raising the Wireless IQ of enterprises so that they can leverage wireless as an innovation platform versus just as a communication tool. This will be a key to 4G’s success by unlocking Digital Swarms across different sectors to create new products and services, and ways of doing business.
The Mobile Ventures panel discussion will focus on where the profit opportunities will be in the 4G value chain and how the carriers can best participate in these.
To find out more about Scott Synder and Decisions Strategies International, 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. Synder will speak at the “Industry Perspective - Decision Strategies International” panel and at the “4G Mobile Ventures.” Don’t wait. Register now.

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

Edited by Amy Tierney

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