Mobile Panel @ TiECon2012- Emerging Trends, Applications & Opportunities to be Explored


For communications professionals, the main event at TiECon2012 -May 18th & 19th in Santa Clara, CA- will likely be Friday morning’s Mobile panel session.  The status and dynamics of the mobile industry will be assessed along with the key technologies and applications that will impact the entire mobile ecosystem.  Emerging trends, outlook and opportunities will be identified during what promises to be a stellar session.

Abstract (by TiE)
2011 has been another break-out year for mobile –Instagram, Square, Spotify have achieved enormous valuations. Android has overtaken iPhone while Apple’s iPad seems to be the only player in town. Windows Phone 8 reviews have been nothing short of stellar. Operators are experiencing record data usage and the app economy is as thriving as it has ever been! In this panel, speakers will explore what’s next. How are mobile operators and OEMs adapting to the new value chain? Where are venture firms placing bets? What are the key technology choices going forward? What is the next mobile-first trend or opportunity? Attendees will gain a perspective on what to expect as mobility becomes even more mainstream.

Session Chair & Panel Moderator:  Raj Singh,  CEO of Tempo AI, Inc

  • Anil Doradla, Analyst @ William Blair
  • Erik Ekudden, VP Tech Strat @ Ericsson
  • Matt Howard, VC @ Norwest
  • Lars Kamp, Mobile Strat @ Accenture
  • Ben Riga, Evangelist @ Microsoft

Session Preview

The panel will discuss several themes that are vital to the sustainability of the mobile industry and ecosystem.  These include:

Mobile Network Operators: 

Mobile data traffic is continuing to explode due to video downloads, video streaming, video cam uploads/downloads, etc. Netflix, Pandora, photo sharing and gaming companies are attracting new users which then consume even more mobile bandwidth. HD video is next and with wireless sensor networks to follow. For sure, the volume of data moving upstream and downstream is going to continue to grow exponentially.

M2M is causing real painpoints for operators with millions of requests of small amounts of data. Will all these different M2M traffic types cripple the provisioning and authentication systems in wireless networks?

Operator infrastructure costs are still an all-time high – what’s the network upgrade plan? Numerous data compression companies are helping to reduce the aggregate bandwidth needed for video, but will that be enough? Are data caps or throttling (heavy data users) the only way forward? Increased cell density? Smaller Cells and Heterogeneous networks? Carrier WiFi Offload? Higher throughput mobile backhaul? What combination of these will operators fund for their network upgrade plan?

In addition to having to upgrade their access, backhaul & carrier WiFi offload nets, the operators need to come up with new sources of REVENUE! The U.S.and European mobile subscriber markets are saturated at over 100%. In fact, adding new iPhone subscribers actually causes operators to lose money- due to price concessions to Apple (U.S. mobile carriers heavilly subsidize iPhone sales, such that the more of those they sell, the lower their overall profits!)

Clearly, wireless network operators need to get additional revenue from existing mobile subscribers or attract new industrial customers, e.g. M2M/Internet of Things/mobile heath care/other industry verticals.

Having missed out on the App Store bonanza, there are several path wireless telcos could take:

-Offer QoS/SLA based premium services (something they’ve never done before), e.g to support either low latency or high bandwidth apps

-Go into new markets, e.g. M2M, connected home (energy management, security, light control, entertainment, etc), mobile health care, other vertical markets

-Get revenue with a device maker that downloads content, e.g. Amazon Kindle 3G model

Which one’s will they select and what’s their chances of success?

Editors Note:    The mobile operators are at the top of the mobile ecosystem. It is their network infrastructure (cell towers/base stations for mobile access, outdoor WiFi offload, wireless backhaul, etc) that supports all the mobile apps, social networking, on line gaming, virtual goods, e-commerce, mobile banking, photo sharing, etc. If they don’t upgrade their networks or can’t make a decent profit on services, the mobile ecosystem may whither and die.


Other themes to be addressed by the panel: (time permitting):

  • Monetization & Status of Mobile Advertising
  • Discovery of Mobile Apps for Developers and Users
  • Artificial Intelligence & Cloud Enabled Apps
  • Use of HTML5 to Develop New Mobile Apps
  • Smartphones and Tablets- How Many Players Will Survive?
  • Mobile Payments & Mobile Wallets
  • Mobile Enterprise, Vertical Industry Apps & BYOD
  • International Markets, especially China & India
  • VC Investment in Mobile Ecosystem?
  • Wireless R&D Lab- hardware, software, or both?
  • Time horizon for commercial products & deployments?


Some provocative comments from Raj Singh, Mobile Panel Session Chair & Moderator:

“Mobile advertising continues to receive significant investment, but app developers are still not making money. Is iAd (Apple’s mobile advertising network) to be deemed a failure?”

“NFC (Near Field Communications) is supposed to be the savior for mobile payments, but it seems it is only used for everything outside of payments?”

“Cellular data traffic (3G, 4G) is exploding – infrastructure costs are sky-rocketing. Wireless network operators have been marginalized and continue to see profit margins squeezed by smartphone/device subsidies. Is net neutrality going to become the operators best friend, as it promises to hold new mobile apps hostage to carrier data caps (or overage charges)?”

“The App Store is Yahoo circa 1997. The top 200 apps are not sustainable. An app search interface (or engine) is next, or are we each going to get our own personalized app store?”

“WinPhone7 is beautiful but hasn’t yet made a dent in the market, despite Nokia’s endorsement and use. There is too much focus on the smartphone, the real battle is the tablet and iOS is in total domination. Willing inning the tablet market equate to winning the laptop business too?”


For more information on TiECon, please visit:


This author will be covering this panel as well as Cloud sessions at TiECon 2012. Look for future articles at on those sessions approximately one week after the TiECon 2012 event.


0 thoughts on “Mobile Panel @ TiECon2012- Emerging Trends, Applications & Opportunities to be Explored

  1. At a CTIA conference keynote session, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
    emphasized the use of a technology called “small cells,” also known as femtocells, to expand wireless capacity. Femtocells, which consumers can buy to install in their homes, improve cellphone reception by routing calls and data over (wired) broadband connections.

    Mr. Genachowski said small cells would be the key to meeting the rising demand for mobile data because they increase the density of network deployment several times over. The commission will be holding proceedings to make a band of spectrum available for carriers to install small cells on their networks themselves.

    In other words, instead of just having a small cell in the insulated environment of your home, in the coming years this cellphone-boosting technology may be on the network towers for anyone to use.

    “Small cells are a big deal,” he said during the keynote session. “The small cell revolution will drive enormous change in wireless in the coming years.”

    Simon Saunders, chairman of the Small Cell Forum, an industry trade association, said that adding 10 small cells to a network would offload 75 percent of traffic coming from users. Mr. Saunders said the use of small cells on some commercial networks was already in pilot testing, and he expected to see some deployments by the end of the year.

    An equivalent tactic to offload 3G/4G cellular data traffic is to use outdoor WiFi hotspots operated and maintained by carriers.

  2. Alan – adding to that, it seems the best opp for micro/femto/pico etc cells is w/ your cable box. This is sort-of the trojan horse triple play they could offer (eg higher speed and full coverage at home for the user but less cost for the operator b/c of landline offload). I call this front-haul.

    1. Raj- thx for your comment. Please note that there is a huge difference between femtocells to be deployed in home/small biz vs nano/pico cells that are deployed in the carrier’s 3G/4G network.
      -The motivation for nano/pico cells in the carrier network is spectrum re-use by many small cells.
      -The motivation for femtocells is completely different: offload traffic (including voice) from the 3G/4G network to the broadband Internet connection in the home or small biz.

      Hope this clarifies the distinction between femtocells and nano/pico cells, which have now been lumped together by the Small Cell Forum.

  3. As a result of this preview article, I’m now going to attend the Mobile panel rather than Cloud panel at the same time next Friday morning. You’ve certainly captured the key mobile issues in this post!

    1. A key issue for “4G”-LTE is tiered pricing and overage charges. Another is power consumption of LTE smart phones. Pricing plans will likely stabilize after some market dynamics, once LTE is common enough around country.
      However, people are learning that LTE costs more in reduced battery life and overage charges (especially when downloading or streaming large video files). Hopefully, this will be discussed by the Mobile panel, which I also plan to attend as a result of this article and related comments.

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