For prosperity – I used to love my days in Siemens. From an interview I did with IT Weekly (i think!) when I was heading up the m-business side of things ….
“If content is king…”
Context – Multimedia has been the buzzword in the mobile communications business
for some time but can it provide genuine value for business users?
We look at what services such as MMS, Picture Messaging, web browsing
and mobile portal intranets are offering major corporate enterprise in
terms of real business benefits, both b2b and b2c.
Has MMS got a genuine business application now and into the future?
Is Picture Messaging a business tool or gimmick for a Friday night at the pub?
MMS is currently a gimmick, its just finding its feet in the market. Through this priming process and acceptance in the market (exactly the same as any new technology) users will start to define ‘the applications of the future’ that will add value to both business and consumer users, they understand their needs best, not some developer sitting an office. However, because mobile phones have become truly pervasive, any new application or services will be qualified out very quickly in the market, users already have a clear view on what usability and value is all about.
Picture messaging is a broad term that covers both real time capture of photos or extracting images from back office enterprise systems. In terms of determining business value different levels of granularity must be considered. Remember that bandwidth, speed and converge are all precious for a mobile worker and graphics require 10 times the transmission time/bandwidth maybe sacrificing with quality of the content sent. Organisations need to question the real business value associated with media which can be defined based on context, frequency of use and most importantly cost of downtime or ‘starvation of information’. However, if the value is high a picture can say more than 1000 words. For example: a utilities engineer being able to view a schematic of water pipes in a road, a police office taking pictures of accident scene included in a report.
Question – Looking ahead, what potential does mobile streaming media offer corporate users?
Answer – Again, its really like MMS. Remember that bandwidth, speed and converge are all precious for a mobile worker and graphics require 10 times the transmission time/bandwidth maybe sacrificing with quality of the content sent. Organisations need to question the real business value associated with media which can be defined based on context, frequency of use and most importantly cost of downtime or ‘starvation of information’.
The potential of streaming media is huge but again put it in context. I really have no urge to watch a video on my mobile phone, the user experience is very poor and I would much rather sit at home. However, streaming media for a paramedic at a road side incident could be invaluable in saving lives, enabling doctors or specialists to aid decisions away from the scene. Think about an engineer fixing a machine, instead of downloading manuals they could have a context based media search that will present them with a ‘training video’ or virtual manual enabling them to rapidly identify and fix a fault in a single visit.
Currently cost, technology and bandwidth issues challenge us but in the future as acceptance gains, economies of scale prevail streaming media will become a powerful business tool.
Question – Technically, can current handset and network interoperability be overcome?
My answer – I have a very short answer to this, yes. What vendors really need to understand is that wireless or mobility is a very complex area, the most complex yet. If you really look hard, solutions built with the user in mind require collaboration between experts in wireless, enterprise and business. Network operators are not enterprise integration specialists and vice versa. No one organisation can stand up and say they are experts in all areas. However there are a few who are trying, which is holding the market back. Large corporations are looking to own a significant proportion or all of a particular market, trying to re-invest themselves thus spreading themselves tin on expertise. The user experience of this is delusion, poor solutions with little value add.
Come on guys, the market is big enough for everyone. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle exist, we just need to put them together. As with the internet age, there was a common message ‘Don’t go at it alone!’, collaborate to build solutions with your joint customers in mind or we will go no-where fast.
This really leads onto the question. If the vendors large and small collaborate handset and network issues will be overcome through market standardisation. Its already happening to an extent but many failed starts have left the market nervous.