Two Worlds Connected: Consumer Electronics Meets Mobile Broadband explores relationships between the CE and cellular industries. The full report is available exclusively to members of the UMTS Forum.
The study argues that while the market for connected devices remains embryonic, CE device connectivity will outstrip overall wireless market growth in the next five years. This trend is signalled by a wave of device categories from e-Book readers to satnav devices that are already starting to demand access to cellular data networks.
The collision between mobile broadband networks and connected devices from digital cameras to personal health monitors will see by our own estimation as many as a billion additional connections by 2016, comments UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaim. As an industry association, our remit to guide and inform all players in the mobile value chain has now expanded to embrace consumer electronics.
The future growth of the mobile communications and CE industries are intrinsically linked, continues Bienaim. Over the next few years, mobile broadband will enable the cost-effective deployment of always on devices for the consumer. The largest area for future growth in mobile communications is in devices like gaming consoles, e-reading devices, in-vehicle entertainment, home appliances and healthcare.
Theres no doubt that the CE industry must connect or perish, adds Bienaim. In particular, we encourage operators and CE vendors to collaborate on developing new business models like revenue sharing that reduce upfront investment risk while generating new sources of value.
Its time for operators to look beyond connectivity and access models concludes Bienaim. They must play a higher-profile role in managing the whole customer experience, from novel routes to market and technology platform management to packaged offerings that help mobilise CE devices.
Two Worlds Connected was authored for the UMTS Forum by Strategy Analytics, who completed end-user research with more than 30 in-depth interviews with players across the mobile/CE value chain. Companies polled in the study included fixed, mobile and integrated operators, plus wireless technology vendors, consumer electronics manufacturers, media companies and regulators.
Key findings of the report include:
- There is no doubt that Consumer Electronics (CE) devices are becoming increasingly connected. The CE industry is in flux and must quickly connect or perish.
- CE devices are not yet the main driver for mobile broadband, and this will remain for the short to medium term.
- Mobile broadband enabled devices largely support mobile usage.
- Wi-Fi will remain the dominant access technology in homes.
- Cloud- and media server-based solutions will coexist.
- Business models are very much the key barrier to mobile broadband enabled CE devices on a large scale. Operators thus need to regain their pivotal role in the ecosystem and to stimulate the development of mobile-enabled CE, rather than relying on the main impetus from CE vendors. A collaborative approach between operators and CE vendors will contribute creating a sustainable service business.
- Other potential barriers to ubiquitous mobile broadband include market and spectrum fragmentation, chip prices, and the need for a clear value proposition for LTE to be understood by CE players.