Friday, December 1, 2006

WiFi-Cellular Convergence Conference Hilights

I was in Dallas this week, and Chaired the first day of Informa's Wi-Fi/Cellular Convergence conference. It was a pretty small event, but the content was very good, the audience was a good mix of carriers and vendors, and everyone got to know each other pretty well. Since everything took place in one room, I don't have much to show you. However, the venue was very upscale and quite photogenic. It took place at the Hotel Crescent Court, which is not a place I would normally hang out, but it sure was nice.

In terms of the content, the presentations covered the full range of topics. The first day focused on the business case and business issues around why carriers would want to put cellular and WiFi together. Day 2 covered the technical issues and challenges - lots of IMS, SIP, FMC, UMA, QoS and security there. I was not able to stay for the third day, which was dedicated to dual mode handsets, but from all accounts looked to be quite interesting.

All told, I came away with a clearer understanding as to why cellular and WiFi are coming together, and there was a consistent message that this is an important step along the way to FMC. On their own, cellular and WiFi can each address specific needs, but there is a lot of synergy that will come from integrating the two. Most speakers were pretty certain about where WiFi is going, but less so about WiMax. It was generally seen as a wildcard, but one that will have a significant impact, especially on cellular. But no one is quite sure just how or when. No surprise there, but it was good to hear it from so many people.

One of the highlights for me came from Nokia's presentation, which was given by Vipul Mehrotra. He gave a great overview about how Nokia's phones are evolving to support dual mode services, and multimedia communications with great ease of use. At one point he talked about how that day, Nokia had announced support for Gizmo, a SIP-based service that is similar to Skype.

This was the only time I heard any Voice 2.0-type vendors mentioned, and I warmed up to him right away. One of my mantras during the conference was that the applications developers stand to become big winners in this space, as once this level of convergence becomes reality, there will be unlimited opportunities for cool, innovative services that carriers will be able to offer for virtually any niche market. I think my message was well received!

Gizmo will be very familiar to any reader of Andy Abramson's blog, and I mention this for a reason. Later that day when I got back online, I saw that Andy had already posted about this news release, and was very pleased to see that Nokia was supporting Gizmo so strongly. Well, Andy may have had the online scoop, but I think I have the visual scoop. One of the photos below is from Vipul's slide that mentions support for Gizmo. Given that the news came out that day, I suspect our group was one of the first to learn about it via a slide presentation from Nokia. Right place, right time!

Aside from a brief recap of the conference, this post also marks the debut of my N93 photos. In recent posts I've mentioned how my son Max has been using the Nokia N93 for a while, and he recently posted his review about it. Well, it's finally my turn to use the phone, and I'm putting the N90 aside for now.

If you've seen my N90 photos on various other posts, I think you'll notice a marked improvement in the photo quality here. The Crescent Court is very Euro and caters to a well heeled clientele, and the setting is very dramatic. Great for taking photos, and I've included some examples below to demonstrate how well the N93 captures detail, color and depth of field. I couldn't get results like this with the N90, and you can expect to see more of the same in upcoming posts. Enjoy.


First, here's my view of the audience from the podium

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Nokia presentation - Vipul's slide about the Gizmo announcement - you saw it first here!

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The courtyard just outside the venue. Incredibly, it snowed the next day!

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2 comments:

ipcom said...

Posted by: JC

"All told, I came away with a clearer understanding as to why cellular and WiFi are coming together, ... this is an important step along the way to FMC. ...there is a lot of synergy that will come from integrating the two."


Perhaps this is obvious, but elaboration might provide an interesting read for some of us. Thx.

ipcom said...

Posted by: Alpa

Hi Jon,

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I have a question..
�Need to talk to 5-10 cellular technical experts. I need to transmit large amounts of data (not a real time application). I control the two end points but nothing in between�

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Sign up n lemme know what u think�my mail id is barot.alpa@gmail.com

Cheers
Alpa