Saturday, December 12, 2009

Emerging devices and next-gen M2M to fuel 3G to 4G network transformation

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: In the wake of the global economic meltdown which significantly impacted the consumer device segment of the telecommunications industry, service providers have continued to invest in their networks and move forward with plans to migrate from 3G to 4G technologies.

Why? Frost & Sullivan predicts the number of devices connected to the Internet via service provider networks is projected to grow substantially in the upcoming years.

"We're entering a period of time in which every device than can be connected will be connected to the Internet and other devices," states James Brehm, Senior Consultant, Mobility and the Unwired Experience, Frost & Sullivan.

Forecasts range from the tens of billions to one trillion connected devices, depending on definitions used. "Hyper-connectivity," the "Everywhere-Anytime Internet," and "Smart Services" are just some of the names being given to the phenomena by industry participants.

In a recent keynote, AT&T's mobility czar Ralph De La Vega discussed how connected eReaders, Netbooks, and Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) will fuel the next wave of wireless growth. Frost & Sullivan's own research suggests wireless penetration rates growing from near 90 percent to over 250 percent within the next five years.

Individual consumers and organizations of all sizes, across almost all industry vertical sectors, and in all regions around the world, are interested in the benefits that this hyper-connectedness will provide. Aside from providing a tremendous growth opportunity for silicon manufacturers and device vendors, a similar bonanza awaits the service provider community.

Key drivers of the market include:
* Consumer desire for connectivity any time, anywhere.
* New device form factors.
* Improved network capabilities.
* Improved device user interfaces.
* New partnerships and business models.

While these opportunities exist, new and exciting challenges also await, the foremost being the ability to provide a favorable customer and end-user experience, as growth increases exponentially.

Hiding the technology from the consumer and enabling a favorable customer experience, which is a key in minimizing churn, will be the key to success of new, long-tail applications that can deliver a continuous stream of revenue to the service provider.

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