Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GSMA outlines potential for embedded mobile

BARCELONA, SPAIN: The GSMA announced several important updates to its Embedded Mobile initiative, a program to accelerate the global adoption of wireless connectivity in a wide range of devices in key vertical markets such as consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive and utilities.

First, the GSMA has published a set of industry guidelines to reduce design complexity and fragmentation, to in turn deliver cost-effective modules for the embedded mobile market. In a second development, the GSMA has announced a partnership with the Continua Health Alliance, a non-profit, open industry organisation of healthcare and technology companies, to promote innovation and drive the use of embedded mobile solutions in healthcare. Finally, the GSMA has announced the winners of its Embedded Mobile Competition, for the best device and the best end-to-end service.

“The global potential for connected devices is huge – it’s more than just mobile phones and laptop PCs. It can be anything that has a mobile connection embedded in it such as a camera, a music player, a car, a smart meter or a health monitor,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at the GSMA.

“Predictions around how many devices will be connected to mobile networks vary, but we expect to see up to 50 billion connected devices over the next 15 years, finally making the prospect of a truly connected lifestyle a reality. Reducing the cost of innovative healthcare solutions, lowering carbon emissions and substantially improving energy efficiency are just some of the significant societal benefits connected devices will provide the world over.”

Modules for embedded mobile market
The GSMA and 25 leading organisations have developed a set of industry guidelines for the design and implementation of embedded modules in new device categories. These guidelines promote a core family of module types with the aim of driving economies of scale to lower the cost of embedding modules in everyday devices.

The guidelines also provide an opportunity for the mobile industry to work with the consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive and utilities sectors by addressing sector-specific connectivity needs. Initial proposals have been outlined for simpler certification and cost-effective provisioning processes to speed up the launch of new embedded devices and services. The industry will also play a key role in helping users understand which devices are ready to use on a mobile network through a simple service mark identification program.

GSMA in mHealth relationship with Continua Health Alliance
Recognising the important role embedded mobile technology will play in healthcare, the GSMA announced its collaboration with the Continua Health Alliance to grow and promote the global mHealth sector. The two organisations will leverage the expertise of their members to enable interoperability for connected devices and create a scalable and viable market for mHealth.

They will jointly work on standardisation processes in both the mobile and healthcare sectors, providing guidelines to enable mobility in mHealth devices, and jointly promote mHealth-related activities. The mobile industry can contribute substantially to improving the accessibility of healthcare systems around the world, as well as helping to reduce costs, by providing solutions to diagnose disease, monitor patient health and intervene ahead of acute events.

McKinsey, the global management consultancy, and the GSMA predict the healthcare industry could see approximately $175-200 billion in annual cost savings for managing chronic diseases in OECD and BRIC countries alone through remote monitoring.

Other key areas of focus for the GSMA’s Embedded Mobile initiative include energy management and transportation. The use of smart meters that can transmit detailed, real-time information back to a utility company and to a home or business can typically reduce energy consumption by 3.5 percent to 7 percent.

A new breed of mobile applications will allow users to remotely adjust heating and lighting to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption. For the automotive industry, mobile connectivity in vehicles can improve everything from vehicle maintenance to in-car entertainment, as well as helping motorists avoid areas of traffic congestion and providing efficient destination management for commercial transportation.

Winners of Embedded Mobile competition
The GSMA named the winners of its Embedded Mobile Competition, which recognises new and innovative devices and services and is designed to encourage innovation and partnerships. This phase of the competition identified best-in-class devices and services that are commercially available now or will be in the near future.

A panel of nine judges from organisations including ABI Research, Beecham Research, Current Analysis, Orange, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Ventura Team and Yankee Group, rated entries on innovation, functionality, business models and market potential.

The winners are:

Best Embedded Mobile Device Category: Isabella and AT&T for VizitTM (two-way, fully interactive digital photo frame)

Best Embedded Mobile End-to-End Service Category (jointly awarded):Samsung and KT for its ‘connected digital signage and consumer electronics convergence service.

Philips and Cinterion for System One (mHealth respironics sleep therapy service).

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