Embedded wireless broadband is a tremendous growth opportunity in the consumer electronics (CE) space such as laptops, netbooks, digital cameras, e-book readers, gaming, portable navigation, and other devices.
Embedded wireless provides network operators the opportunity of maximizing revenues and profits via the efficient use of network capacity and spectrum assets, and potential revenue sharing from applications and services. At the same time, device OEMs can innovate to open up vast possibilities in the consumer electronics space in ways never imagined before.
More importantly, network operators now have an opportunity to leverage their core competencies and transform themselves from staid bandwidth providers to solutions/managed service providers who help companies leverage embedded wireless to foster innovation & differentiation in new markets, promote new business models, and enhance revenue opportunities ….much like IBM transformed itself from a pure hardware and software player to a solutions and managed services provider.
But many hurdles have to be overcome before embedded wireless can be mainstream in consumer electronic devices. New players, new devices, and new market dynamics will call for creative business models different from the traditional handset business model. The challenges may be categorized into seven key areas.
1. Lower entry barriers for OEMs
- Easy wireless integration by OEM with minimal BoM (bill-of-materials) impact
- Easy device provisionability with minimal burden on OEM
- Easy device upgradeability
- Easy integration into IT infrastructure and back office systems
- Expedient Testing & Certification – Simplified and efficient
2. Win-win business model between OEMs and Operators
- Clear OEM/Operator business strategy
- Clearly identified target market(s) and ROI
- Clearly understood impact on current business model
- What are the strategic competitive advantages?
3. Device design targeted for well-defined user experience
- Specific device type (Data-only versus Voice+Data) targeted at well defined application/user experience at optimal cost
- Ergonomic accessibility features
- Features for enhanced user experience
- Content, multimedia & graphics, page length, and download times optimized for specific device and user experience
- Upgradeability – Device renewability, OTA upgradeability, Content portability
4. Application, Content, and VAS developer ecosystem
- Win-Win business model between Application/VAS providers and OEMs
- Developer-friendly environment incl. a standardized ‘open’ application development platform, and easy access to SDK, device simulator, and toolkits
- A centralized App store (either through OEM or through the Operator) to distribute the applications
- Expedient Application Testing & Certification
5. Efficient device deployment
- Out-of-the-box flexible provisionability – Pre-provisioned, or simple 1-step on-line post-provisioning
- An ‘Open network access’ model where any device can operate on any network.
- Traditional distribution channels must be empowered to distribute easily
6. Simplified business model for consumers
- Straightforward, simple, and compelling value proposition – centered on enhanced user experience and customer ownership
- Targeted at lower total COO
- Customized business model (versus one-size fits all)
7. Compelling end-user experience
- Enhanced convenience, mobility, productivity, and user experience.
- Built on familiar usage patterns
- Easy out-of-box experience (Learn, Pre-loaded applications & content, provisioning/activation)
- Enhanced operational (normal) usability experience – Overall ease of operation, accessibility, performance & responsiveness, battery life, reliability, peripheral connectivity to other devices
- Superior aftermarket service – Customer service, Accessories
- Availability of content, where applicable
Embedded wireless heralds a paradigm shift and a new revolution in consumer electronics.The new embedded wireless device world will provide opportunities for all players in the mobile ecosystem – Operators, Device OEMs, Application/VAS developers, System Integrators, Module providers, and Chipset providers.
2009 is the Year for Embedded Wireless. Beyond consumer devices, embedded wireless is finding its way into new domains – M2M communications, smart grid or smart meter technologies (energy conservation), and wireless medical devices (remote health monitoring).
This is a new frontier and it calls for new ideas and fresh perspectives. Many Operators (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.), OEMs, and consumer electronics companies have created separate divisions, un-shackled from their old ways of doing business, to address this emerging segment.
The opportunity is NOW! Are you ready?
★★★ There’s more info & insight on how you can penetrate the embedded wireless space at http://emblazeworld.com/ in the Resources section (see whitepapers)