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Showing posts from August, 2008

Quest for the B2B Digital Marketing Blueprint

Business marketers cling to legacy marketing tactics that they admit fail to work as well as they would like, according to a Forrester Research assessment. By moving their marketing online, B2B marketers will evolve from tactical demand generation to strategic ownership of the customer relationship. To catch up with buyers who now flock to digital channels, marketers must abandon the time-worn broadcast media mindset from a bygone era and adopt online community-focused marketing. From January 2007 to the end of July 2008, Forrester fielded a steady stream of B2B marketing inquiries -- 282 in total -- to help marketers tackle a range of tactical to strategic issues. Which key issues rose to the top? Balancing the marketing mix: there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to best practices, and marketers still struggle to find the answers to the following two questions: Which tactics work the best? How much emphasis should we place on digital channels over traditional?

UK Policy Changes Required for Broadband

Can the UK catch up to the Asia-Pacific leadership of the global mobile phone market? Adjustments to the UK regulatory policy framework are required -- given the rapid adoption of mobile broadband services, according to an Ofcom commissioned report from Analysys Mason. Their market study, which forms part of Ofcom's Mobile Sector Assessment consultation, considers the recent dramatic increases in data service usage, which could accelerate over the next five years, and this ubiquitous mobile broadband access may change the nature of the mobile proposition. Widespread access to real Internet-based services from laptops and mobile handsets, as well as the development of new applications based around mobile IP connectivity, would offer considerable additional value to UK consumers and businesses. "The current UK regulatory framework governing the delivery of mobile services was established to promote competition in infrastructure-based services that were delivered solely throug

Worldwide Demand for PC Microprocessors

Worldwide PC microprocessor shipments in the second calendar quarter of 2008 (2Q08) reached record levels again, according to the latest market data from IDC. The continued shift in demand raises questions about the long-term implications on the tech sector. Despite the fact that the second quarter is typically the slowest quarter of the calendar year for processor demand, and concerns about the economic woes in the U.S., worldwide processor unit shipments grew 3.1 percent quarter over quarter and 16.1 percent year over year. Strong vendor price competition in the middle and low-end of the desktop PC processor and mobile PC processor market segments caused overall market revenue to decline 4.5 percent quarter over quarter to $7.7 billion. "While sequential market growth is unusual in the second quarter of the calendar year, it's clear that in 2Q08 Intel's processor shipments drove the growth," said Shane Rau, director at IDC. "Intel's processor shipments

Cable Telephone Service Trending Upward

Wireline phone service subscriptions continue to decline, but there's one exception to the downward spiral. Cable telephony subscriber growth continues to be strong, with almost 8 million new subscribers added around the world over the past 12 months, according to a market study by In-Stat. Growth in North America has been particularly strong, as cable operators near the end of their transition to voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) enabled network architectures, the high-tech market research firm says. "Current priorities for cable telephony service providers are expanding the availability of their service and attracting business end-users, especially small and medium-sized businesses," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. Their research covers the worldwide market for cable telephony. It discusses the business case for cable telephony services, the availability of the service, and examines specific network architectures. In addition, it updates leading cable TV operato

WiMAX in India and Other Developing Areas

India remains the biggest single hope for revenue and global influence for WiMAX, according to the latest market study by Infonetics Research. Their assessment focuses on targeted regions and countries around the world that have strong potential for fixed and mobile WiMAX markets, either because they have huge populations, or the broadband demands of the population are not being met by existing technologies. After India, Infonetics expects Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Brazil to lead in WiMAX uptake, with the number of WiMAX subscribers in each of these developing regions roughly doubling to tripling each year through at least 2011. Sales of fixed and mobile WiMAX network equipment, such as ASN gateways, base stations, CPE, and NICs are likewise forecast to skyrocket in these regions. WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE in the next few

Four Hundred Percent Increase in HD Discs

The high definition (HD) video disc markets in both the U.S. and Europe continue to perform in line with expectations, following a more bullish outlook once the world shifted to one format at the beginning of this year. All eyes are on Q4 with many wondering just how big it will get, with so many HD video title releases planned to reach the shelves with the DVD release. The consensus seems to be that consumers will buy close to 45 million Blu-ray HD discs in the U.S. this year -- more than 400 percent up on last year. On big titles, the share of total sales being taken by HD has already hit 5-6 percent and by Q4 it is possible well see a 10 or even 12 percent share for some of the really big hitters. In Europe, awareness and uptake are still lower overall, although in the key markets the retailers and the studios are reacting to an uplift in interest this year and are gearing up for a good end to 2008. "We expect 2 percent of unit sales in the lead markets of the UK and France

Solid Growth in the Home Networks Market

With growing broadband subscribers, a rise in residential gateway use, and increases in the Asia-Pacific market, the worldwide installed base of home networks is expected to break the 200 million mark by the end of 2008. Compared to previous years, the growth of the total market for broadband and network customer premises equipment (CPE) is slowing, but is expected to remain positive through at least 2012 as technological upgrades will spur replacements, according to an In-Stat market study. The total CPE market now includes broadband modems, routers, and residential gateway equipment for DSL, cable, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), Fixed Wireless Broadband (FWB), and Fixed Satellite Broadband (FSB), the high-tech market research firm says. "With worldwide broadband subscribers predicted to exceed 500 million in 2010, there will be a very significant installed base of equipment that presents opportunities for replacements and upgrades," says Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. &quo

CDMA Operators Continue Sunk Investment

Although the overall dynamics of CDMA markets are overshadowed by progress around UMTS/HSPA and the migration to LTE, CDMA operators continue to upgrade their networks to provide capacity for higher numbers of bandwidth-intensive data services. "Worldwide EVDO Rev A subscriber numbers ramped up more than eightfold between Q2 2007 and Q2 2008," says ABI Research analyst Khor Hwai Lin. "The U.S. and South Korean markets shows the highest growth rate for EVDO Rev A. The increased support for LTE from incumbent CDMA operators does not imply the imminent death of EVDO Rev A and B, because LTE is addressing different market needs compared to 3G." EVDO Rev A subscribers are forecast to exceed 54 million by 2013 while Rev B subscribers will also increase, to 25 million. More than 31 million subscribers worldwide are already using HSDPA while 3.2 million subscribers were on HSUPA networks by Q2 2008. Upgrades to HSUPA continue to take place aggressively around Western Eu

Caution About the SMB Tech Spend Upside

According to IDC, there's more concern about the economy among SMBs worldwide than interest in the most innovative technology. Current economic growth and business conditions are by far the greatest concern for SMBs, particularly in North America, Latin America, and Western Europe. "While the growth of SMB investment in technology will continue to outpace spending growth in larger firms, economic and business conditions are on everyone's mind," said John Roberts, research manager for Global SMB Research at IDC. "Despite the global slowdown, SMBs across all regions need to look ahead to when the global economy rebounds. Most still have a near term focus, with only modest interest in technology areas that have been getting a lot of attention elsewhere." IDC's regional SMB analysts assessed the current level of interest in five areas -- (1) future economic growth and business conditions, (2) green technology, (3) software-as-a-service (SaaS), (4) virtual

VoIP Services Continue Upward Trajectory

Infonetics Research reports that worldwide revenue from hosted VoIP and managed IP PBX services jumped 52 percent to $24 billion in 2007 after surging 66 percent in 2006, and is expected to grow in the strong double-digits through at least 2011. The Infonetics market study uncovered that hosted VoIP services continue to outpace managed IP PBX services by far, with residential services fueling market growth. While VoIP services are being embraced by consumers worldwide, businesses have been comparatively slower in their adoption due to various roadblocks. This is about to change, as technical issues are resolved. For example, many PBX manufacturers have already added SIP trunking interfaces to their equipment, and more recently, they've greatly expanded the list of certified service providers, and that's going to fuel the growth in SIP trunking services. These kinds of developments will boost the overall VoIP business services segment for years to come. Highlights of the Inf

Text Messaging Laid Foundation for Growth

"Text me" has become a part of the everyday vernacular. In fact, total spending on mobile messaging services will rise 15 percent from $65 billion in 2007 to over $88 billion by 2012, according to a consumer market study by Strategy Analytics. Although SMS will continue to contribute to the vast share of mobile phone messaging spend, the availability of low-cost flat-rate data plans will enable rapid growth in usage of traditional PC based messaging services, such as email and instant messaging via mobile. By 2012 mobile email will account for 20 percent of total end user mobile messaging spending. Senior Analyst Nitesh Patel noted, "Mobile messaging, which includes SMS, MMS, mobile email and instant messaging, will account for over 40 percent of the total consumer spend on mobile media and messaging services in 2012. We anticipate growing adoption of consumer email access via mobile, as flat-rate pricing, combined with improving email provisioning and device user exp

Digital Marketing Shift Impacts Newspapers

Advertisers in the U.S. will spend $24.9 billion online this year, according to the latest report from eMarketer. That estimate is slightly lower than they released in March 2008 -- which predicted that U.S. online advertising spending would reach $25.9 billion in 2008. Regardless of the economic problems in the market, to be clear, the lowered estimate still represents an increase of 17.4 percent over 2007. "Even as the potent mix of a misfiring economy and consumer's changing media habits shave advertising dollars from traditional venues, such as newspapers and television, Internet ad spending will continue to grow rapidly," said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. Once again, as previously reported, increased digital marketing spending is coming directly out of traditional media budgets. The growing evidence is undisputed. Although TV ad spending is set to increase by 7.1 percent in 2008 to $72.6 billion, eMarketer predicts such spending will actually

Marketing to the Mobile Gamer Consumer

Gaming on a mobile phone is rapidly becoming a very hot commodity within the mobile data arena, in many cases surpassing mobile music and mobile video revenues for the cell phone operators. According to In-Stat's latest market Study, there are meaningful differences between survey respondents who play games on their mobile phones, and those who don't. Of the respondents who are mobile gamers, most are under 35 and tend to spend more money on their handsets than non-gamers. But wait, there's more to this evolving market segment than just the gaming revenue. These mobile subscribers also choose to upgrade their handsets more often, purchase more premium entertainment services (in addition to games), and have higher overall monthly mobile phone service spending than non-gaming consumers. That said, despite the interest in mobile games and mobile data applications, three-fourths of survey respondents said they do not play games on their handsets. As mobile voice revenues d

Femtocell Market Segmentation Advantage

Informa Telecoms & Media expects the number of femtocells deployed by the end of 2013 to exceed the 40 million mark, with 22 million net additions in 2013 alone. This installed base could help mobile operators to offload up to 8 percent of total mobile traffic to fixed networks via the customer's wireline connection. This could enable service providers to attain significant savings by reducing the need to create additional macro-cell capacity to cope with this traffic. However, whether these savings materialize depends on a number of factors -- the nature of the operator, the mobile access technology involved, the value proposition to the end-user, the region targeted, and the level of investments the operator has already made in upgrading its mobile network. According to Informa, to handle the same amount of traffic carried by the 22 million femtocell deployments in 2013 would in theory require a $13.8 billion investment in macrocell capacity. This is the potential sum if o

Usage of Social Networking Grows Globally

ComScore released a study of worldwide usage of social networking sites, indicating that while the growth in new users in North America is beginning to level off, it is burgeoning in other regions around the world. During the past year, the total North American audience of social networkers has grown 9 percent compared to a much larger 25 percent growth for the world at large. The Middle East-Africa region (up 66 percent), Europe (up 35 percent), and Latin America (up 33 percent) have each grown at well-above average rates. During the past year, many of the top social networking sites have demonstrated rapid growth in their global user bases. Facebook.com, which took over the global lead among social networking sites in April 2008, has made a concerted effort to become more culturally relevant in markets outside the U.S. Its introduction of natural language interfaces in several markets has helped propel the site to 153 percent growth during the past year. Meanwhile, the emphasis H

Managed Services Demand in U.S. SMBs

Demand for high-quality, high-performance network connectivity will drive U.S. SMBs to spend heavily on IP VPN managed services over the next five years. Related annual revenues will rise from less than $2 billion last year to more than $6.5 billion in 2012, according to the latest study by Light Reading. "The SMB market is the next great networking frontier," says Charles Carr, research analyst for Light Reading. Presently, the total U.S. managed IP services market is split between two networking solution types. "Within the IP VPN market, the SMB sector is clearly a sweet spot for service providers and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 28 percent, versus only 12 percent in the large-enterprise space through 2012." SMBs that have relied on legacy Frame Relay services need more robust and flexible connections to remain competitive, Carr notes. SMBs need the flexibility and scaleability of a more robust networking solution, such as the MPLS/IP vi

Continued Upside for Video Server Market

According to ABI Research, the broadcast, cable, and telco TV segments of worldwide video server markets are all growing at a healthy pace, and total revenues are expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2013. Of the three, the telco TV market is showing the strongest investment growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent over 2007-2013. Cable will experience a CAGR of about 13.5 percent, while broadcast markets show the slowest growth at 8 percent. "Cable, broadcast and telco TV are all highly competitive markets for video servers," says ABI Research industry analyst Zippy Aima. "Cable and broadcast are the more traditional modes of entertainment for consumers, but cable providers and telcos have been quicker to adapt to market trends and to offer innovative consumer services. But to remain competitive, even the broadcast segment has tried its hand at hybrid deployments and similar initiatives." After a slow start in North America, telco TV is now growing

Why Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Service is Bundled

The number of Wi-Fi hotspots providing public wireless LAN access continues to grow globally and more people are using them, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. But access revenues for service providers do not appear to be keeping up with the growth in use, the high-tech market research firm says. "Because of this trend, hotspot operators are turning to other methods to generate revenues," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "Operators have started bundling hotspot access with other services, such as fixed and mobile broadband. This way, consumers can access hotspots without paying a separate fee, and operators can generate some access revenue by bundling the cost of the service into a bigger service package that consumers are willing to purchase." The research covers the worldwide market for wireless hotspots. It provides end-user data on how and where the service is used and consumer willingness to pay for hotspot services. Supply-side analysis

Home Net Expansion of Multimedia Services

Rapid growth in home networking -- approaching 168 million households worldwide in 2008 -- is laying the foundation for expansion of multimedia services internationally and especially in the European markets, according to the latest Parks Associates study. The market research firm will host their CONNECTIONS Europe Summit to discuss the implications of this market growth and share the latest findings of its Global Digital Living (GDL) project. Parks Associates launched GDL in 2005 to track and analyze international adoption and consumer attitudes toward advanced digital technologies and services. The most recent survey studies the growth of entertainment services in the top European markets. The project includes country profiles and consumer surveys and examines adoption and valuation of DVDs, online video and video-on-demand, DVRs, and high-definition TV services, among other topics. "Broadband growth pushed Europe ahead of North America in terms of home network adoption,&quo

Mobile to Wireline Ratio Now Three to One

Infonetics Research reports there were three times more mobile subscribers than access line subscribers worldwide in 2007 -- approximately 3.3 billion vs. 1.1 billion -- and expects continued strong growth in mobile subscribers, mainly driven by basic voice service needs in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The Infonetics report shows that the number of mobile subscribers jumped 31 percent in 2007 over 2006, while access line subscribers declined 5 percent. "Subscribers in Brazil, Russia, and later this year China, are migrating to 3G, which in turn will lead to a 2G and 2.5G to 3G subscriber migration process in 2008. However, current GSM deployment patterns remain unabated, with double-digit GSM subscriber growth rates being common in BRIC countries," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst at Infonetics Research. Highlights from the Infonetics report include: - The number of worldwide mobile subscribers will reach 5.2 billion by 2011. - Cellular mobile

Broadband SPs Witness a Dramatic Decline

North American broadband service providers (SPs) witnessed a dramatic decline in the number of net new subscriptions in the second quarter of 2008, according to a market study by Strategy Analytics. While seasonality and market maturity explain some of the phenomenon, the broadband operator's recently reported second quarter results point to other factors. According to John Lee, Analyst in the Strategy Analytics, "There is a fair amount of seasonality in broadband, so a dip in the second quarter is not altogether unexpected. However, the magnitude of this decline suggests that the current economic environment is hampering the ability of service providers to garner new customers." Each of the top four U.S. service providers, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable, saw its number of net new subscriptions fall precipitously in the second quarter, with the cable companies faring slightly better than the telcos. "This is not a situation where existing consu

China is the Largest TV & Broadband Market

According to In-Stat, there's a growing trend where Internet TV sets can download or view video content from the Internet in China. In fact, China has become the largest market for both TV and broadband access in the world. There are 400 million household TV Sets in the China market; 160 million Cable TV households in the China market, with 30 million DTV users at the end of 2007; and more than 70 million fixed broadband subscribers, with more than 250 million Internet users. Internet video-related activities are fast becoming the most popular among Chinese Internet users. The total number of Internet video viewers in China -- by In-Stat's definition, anyone who watches video from Internet sources or downloads video content via the public Internet -- reached 98 million in 2007. Accordingly, the content, especially the latest videos on the Internet, has been spreading widely and there are now many Internet video portals. Motivation to download or view video from the Internet

Home Office Worker Needs Going Unmet

According to the latest Forrester Research study, economic, social, and technological trends give consumers and their employers the incentives and the applications that they need to opt for working at home. However, consumers who work from home have telecom needs that extend beyond the requirements of the average residential user. Rather than commuting to a central office every day, 9 percent of North American consumers telecommute from home for an external employer, and 22.8 million run a business out of their home. The typical consumer has a growing bandwidth need -- for watching video online, downloading music, or playing games -- and wants a phone line that works, but the home worker's expectations are even more stringent. Specifically, the home office worker needs include: More bandwidth, both downstream and upstream -- For both telecommuters and home-based business owners, bandwidth is important. Consumers who work at home require downstream bandwidth for downloading larg

Video on a Mobile Phone Not Popular in US

While nearly one-third of U.S. households have a video-capable mobile phone, service providers are struggling to find an audience for their mobile video services, according to a market study by Parks Associates. The latest report by the market research firm found a majority of consumers with a video-capable mobile phone have never used the video features. For example, 56 percent have never watched a video clip using a mobile phone. These low usage rates are discouraging for operators hoping to boost revenues through new TV and video services. "Buy before you try is always a tough sell," said John Barrett, Director of Research, Parks Associates. "Most subscribers must pay additional money to watch video and mobile TV services, even once they have purchased an appropriate phone. This circumstance presents an obvious chicken-and-egg obstacle to adoption. Many consumers are hesitant to pay for a new, unfamiliar service, but they will remain unfamiliar with the service un

Designer Brand Mobile Phones Add Profit

Ready for your designer handset? Dior recently introduced its own line of in-house designed mobile phones. Other prestige brands are also adding cellular handsets to their product lines. As personal items used frequently in public, mobile handsets can take on a powerful symbolism, representing the user's social status and personality. In partnership with handset manufacturers and vendors, luxury brands are starting to carve out a distinct niche within the cellular handset industry. ABI Research forecasts that revenues from luxury branded handsets will exceed $11 billion next year, increasing to more than $43 billion in 2013. Research director Kevin Burden comments, "For luxury goods producers, mobile phones are a logical addition to their basic product portfolios of jewelry, watches, and other fashion accessories. From the perspective of handset manufacturers, a luxury mobile phone does not simply mean a new handset model, it represents a meaningful strategic approach to in

Digital TV in Western Europe Reaches 104M

Informa Telecoms & Media's latest market study shows that digital TV penetration of Western European households broke the 50 percent barrier in 2007, ending the year at 54 percent, up from 42 percent at the end of 2006. The 12th edition of Informa's report forecasts that digital homes in the region will reach 104 million by the end of 2008, rising to 157 million by 2013, equivalent to a 90 percent penetration rate. Despite the rosy picture, full digital conversion is only expected in four (Finland, France, Ireland and the UK) of Western Europe's fifteen major broadcast TV countries. Adam Thomas, Informa's Media Research Manager, said "While cable will remain the region's leading pay TV platform, the satellite subscriber base is eating into its dominance. Satellite's much higher ARPU levels mean it will exceed cable in revenue terms during 2009." Cable is also expected to lose its position as the leading platform, when digital terrestrial TV (DT

Online Video Growth Exceeds Prior Estimate

In case you haven't noticed, online video is totally pervasive. The worldwide online video market is experiencing truly dramatic growth, according to In-Stat's latest market study it's beyond most prior estimates. Worldwide online video revenue is now expected to eclipse $4.5 billion by 2012, up from $1.2 billion in 2008, the high-tech market research firm says. Purchased or rented videos are expected to offer the most robust growth for online video in the near term, in large part due to an increase in subscription services such as Netflix, which charges a flat monthly fee to deliver an optimal combination of packaged goods and online content that can be viewed on home TV sets. Ad-supported professional video from major TV networks will become a strong revenue contributor by 2012. "What is now seen as a predominantly younger pastime will spread to encompass a wider group of people, in part due to the aging of current online video viewers, but also as a result of wo

Video File Sharing Prosper in Italy & Spain

Italy and Spain are forging ahead of the U.S. and other European countries in the early adoption of online and web TV services, according to the latest Strategy Analytics market study. The Strategy Analytics survey of 3500 Internet users found that 22 percent of Spanish respondents are regular users of streamed video from broadcaster websites, compared to 18 percent in the U.S. and only 8 percent in Germany. Their report estimates that 32 million people in the U.S. and 34 million in Europe are now regular users of video streaming from broadcast network websites. "Internet users in Southern Europe are clearly making the most of the Internet's capacity to deliver video programming choice," notes Martin Olausson, Director of Digital Media Strategies. "The success of web TV in these countries is in contrast to the relative lack of interest in traditional multichannel television services from cable and satellite service providers." The popularity of video file s

Linux to Dominate on Mobile Internet Devices

The Mobile Internet Devices (MID) market is likely to be the first example of a greenfield situation in which all mobile operating systems start on the same equal footing, without the baggage of previous histories -- such as existed in the smartphone market. The Linux OS, in the form of Moblin, LiMo and Maemo, looks ready to take the lion's share of the MID market and is set to capture unit volumes of 50 millions units per annum in 2013. ABI Research vice president and research director Stuart Carlaw says, "Maemo is already in this space thanks to the patronage of Nokia; Moblin will benefit from tight integration with Atom and Intel's drive; and LiMo is actively being positioned for this market. The flexibility, customization and very positive cost comparison to Windows Mobile looks set to ensure that Linux takes the leading role in this market." One of the more significant aspects of the Linux OS in this market is its ability to provide a converged platform that c

Consumer Internet Video Growth Bonanza

U.S. consumers will spend over $6 billion for Internet video services by 2013, with direct-to-TV videos accounting for 75 percent of that revenue, according to Parks Associates latest market study. Their new report finds that greater ownership of connected game consoles, networked TVs, and alternative video-on-demand set-top receivers is generating significant growth in user-paid revenues. "Consumption of premium Internet video content to date has been low," said Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Parks Associates. "Services have been available only on less-than-optimal screens -- PCs and portable multimedia players. But new connected products that link to premium Internet video services are emerging at a rapid pace, moving the Internet video viewing experience into the living room. This shift will help grow revenues considerably." Scherf said the Internet video market is maturing as portals, aggregators, broadcasters, and other content creators and

Privacy Concerns for Mobile Social Nets

The recent emergence of location-based mobile social networking services is revolutionizing social net practices by allowing users to share real-life experiences via geo-tagged multimedia content, exchange recommendations about places, identify nearby friends and set up ad-hoc face to face meetings. "Location-based mobile social networking revenues will reach $3.3 billion by 2013, but successful business models may differ from what many observers expect," says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. "While location-based advertising integrated with sophisticated algorithms holds a lot of promise, the current reality rather points to licensing and revenue-sharing models as the way forward for social networking start-ups to grow their customer base and reach profitability." Recent evidence includes the agreements between GyPSii and both Garmin and Samsung. Similarly, Loopt has established partnerships with all major U.S. cellular carriers. New positioning

Blu-Ray Anticlimax Saved by the PlayStation

Blu-ray DVD players are not flying off retailer shelves, at least not in the numbers the industry might hope for. Perhaps it's a video solution in search of a problem. A market study by ABI Research has revealed a widespread consumer reluctance to commit to a Blu-ray player in the near future -- over half of the 1000 respondents of a survey citing other priorities, say they have no plans to purchase one; a further 23 percent are likely to buy, but not until sometime in 2009. ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson says that much of the lukewarm response can be attributed to consumer perceptions about the value proposition that Blu-ray delivers. Consumers were happy to embrace standard DVD when that format arrived because the improvement in quality over VHS videotapes was dramatic. Standard DVD didn't require the purchase of a new TV either. In contrast, while half of the respondents to the survey rated Blu-ray's quality as much better than standard DVD, another 40 p

Virtual Worlds Create the Ultimate Money Pit

Strategy Analytics, which guides companies in terms of expected returns from virtual worlds investments, believes that real profit is still elusive. "Virtual Worlds have witnessed considerable growth among consumers, but companies have lacked the economic justification, metrics, and process to guide investments," according to Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics and chief architect of their study. Barry Gilbert, Vice President and Research Director of the Strategy Analytics Virtual World Strategies program, adds "Companies will require more specific measurement tools in order to continue their investments in virtual worlds." Their market study finds that many companies have found that investments in virtual worlds have not met expectations. Their problems begin with poorly implemented media strategies that do not include virtual worlds as part of an integrated PR and promotional effort, and end with a lack of understanding of the appropriate metrics for

Community Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

According to Forrester Research, the permanent transition from IT-led technology purchasing (IT) to business-led solutions implementation (BT) means that marketers must begin adopting "community marketing" disciplines now. In order to succeed, tech marketers must address new audiences, forge and deliver on more substantive value propositions, and play by the new Web 2.0 interaction rules. Seems simple enough, right? Well, in practice, execution of these strategies will largely depend on your current talent pool -- particularly their digital marketing skills and willingness to change. Technology marketing professionals must be able to participate directly in IT communities and customer adoption networks -- and guide the activities of other community participants. That said, headcount allocations, internal relationships with other business functions, job descriptions, and incentives must all be tuned to support community marketing practices. Community marketing processes

Smartphone Growth Tops the Mobile Sector

When will the wireless sector reach total market saturation? Apparently not anytime soon. The worldwide mobile phone market continued solid double-digit growth in the second quarter (2Q08) as competition in high-end devices heated up. According to IDC's market assessment, vendors shipped a total of 306.0 million units, an increase of 5.6 percent from the 289.7 million units shipped during the previous quarter and up 15.3 percent from the 265.4 million units shipped during 2Q07. Total shipments for the quarter were in line with IDC's expectations, even as vendors cited economic challenges and changing demands within key regions. "Since the start of the year, vendors have been wary of the potential decrease in demand for mobile phones," says Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends Team. "That has not stopped vendors from experimenting with and releasing a host of mid-range and high-end devices with GPS, touch

Consumer Network-Attached Storage Device

The rapid growth in consumer digital content libraries will push worldwide sales of network-attached storage (NAS) devices to nearly 13 million units by 2012, according to the latest market study by Parks Associates. "Current file storage solutions are not equipped to handle consumer's ever-growing libraries of digital photos, music, and video," said Jane Shields, research analyst, Parks Associates. "Soon the average broadband household will need close to a terabyte of storage for their media collections on PCs, portable devices, and DVRs. However, the industry will need to pay attention to additional features beyond storage capacity as these devices approach the mass market." In targeting this broader market, companies should develop storage solutions that emphasize easier file allocation, searching, and media sharing. Manufacturers and retailers must carefully select the features to market. Messages that emphasize content sharing have as much resonance wit

301 Million Mobile Phones Shipped in Q208

In the second quarter of 2008, Tier One mobile phone handset vendors enjoyed year-over-year unit shipment growth of between 15 and 22 percent. ABI Research estimates that 301 million units were shipped during the quarter and therefore reaffirms its forecast that the mobile device market will deliver 13 percent growth to take 2008 annual shipments to 1.3 billion units. "If there is an economic slowdown, no one bothered to tell the mobile device buying public," says ABI Research vice president Jake Saunders. "In particular, consumers in emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America shrugged off inflation fears to sign up as mobile phone users. These healthy gains in net subscriber additions are stimulating replacement and upgrade sales. In developed markets handset purchases tended to be flat, but those consumers who did purchase dug deeper and paid out more for coveted higher-end handsets and smart-phones." In terms of market share, Nokia ha

Mobile M2M Market Upside to Reach $57B

According to a new Strategy Analytics market study, regulatory compliance will help to drive the mobile M2M market from $16 billion in 2008 to over $57 billion by 2014. Through its ongoing research, Strategy Analytics identifies five key barriers to scaling the global M2M market, and analyzes the positions and evolution of key industry stakeholders, as the M2M market broadens across major application groups, including: - Lack of a low-cost local access media that can be implemented on a global basis; - The fragmented nature of both the technology vendors and the solutions they provide; - Lack of any single significant application that can consolidate the market and drive demand forward; - The complex nature of M2M solutions increases associated development and integration costs; - SP's inability to express the benefits of M2M in anything other than cost savings, rather than exploiting and encouraging the service enablement capacity of mobile M2M. "Historically, the mobi

SMB Demand for IP VPN Managed Services

The need for network connectivity will drive U.S. small and medium business (SMB) to spend heavily on IP VPN managed services over the next five years -- with annual revenues rising from less than $2 billion last year to more than $6.5 billion in 2012, according to the latest market study by Light Reading. "The SMB market is the next great networking frontier," says Charles Carr, research analyst for Light Reading. "Presently, the total U.S. managed IP services market is split between two networking solution types -- within the IP VPN market, the SMB sector is clearly a sweet spot for service providers and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 28 percent, versus only 12 percent in the large-enterprise space through 2012." SMBs that have relied on legacy Frame Relay services need more robust and flexible connections to remain competitive, Carr notes. SMBs need the flexibility and scaleability of a more robust networking solution, such as the MPLS/IP vi

New Demand Drives Mobile Data Revenue

Revenues from mobile data services are set to exceed $200 billion this year for the first time, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. Total mobile data revenues were approximately $157 billion in 2007. Research from the first quarter of 2008 reveals that mobile data service revenues exceeded $49 billion, accounting for a 42.7 percent year over year increase. This figure means that mobile operators now generate approximately one fifth of their revenue from data services; this is significant given that a general slowdown in voice revenues is forcing the pace around the importance of data services for mobile operators. Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that non-SMS data contributed $17.48 billion of revenue in Q108, accounting for 35.6 percent of total data revenues. The Asia Pacific region comprises 40 percent of the world's data revenues (over $20 billion in Q108), representing an above average year over year growth rate of 48 percent. The biggest regional riser, howe

SMS Messaging Will Generate $177 Billion

SMS will continue to maintain its lead as the highest mobile data service revenue generator across all messaging categories, providing global service revenues of $177 billion in 2013. But in a recent market study by ABI Research, regional differences will determine the success of messaging expansion into the Web, advertising, and the incorporation of mobile messaging within social networking media. "Innovative companies are exploring opportunities for expanding mobile messaging access to Web sites as well as targeting customers with content and ads," says principal analyst Dan Shey. "To be successful with these enhanced services, companies that supply mobile messaging products and services must understand the regional distributions for customer type, payment preferences, message delivery method, and usage.” For instance, developed regions of North America and Europe have the highest messaging ARPUs, and send the most messages from the computer to the mobile device us

Internet Video Now also Means Mobile Video

In the past year, two forces have emerged to radically change the definition of mobile video applications, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. First, Internet delivery of user-generated and professionally produced content is moving viewers from their living rooms to their computers, the high-tech market research firm says. Second, high-quality mobile devices that use wireless networks (such as Apple's Wi-Fi iPhone and iPod Touch) are improving mobile access to the Internet in general. As a result, Internet video increasingly means mobile video. In-Stat identified two potential models for mobile TV viewing -- waiting room and leisure time -- with very different requirements. David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst, points out, "Personal devices such as cellphones and personal media players are preferred for the waiting room scenario. However, if there is more time available, survey respondents preferred larger screens on products such mobile Internet devices or ultr

IPTV and IP Video Equipment Rapid Growth

Revenue from service provider and enterprise telecom equipment reached $139 billion worldwide in 2007, up 13 percent from 2006, and are forecast to grow 26 percent to $174 billion in 2011, according to a market study by Infonetics Research. According to their report, the 5-year compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for all segments tracked in the report range from slightly negative to strong double digits from 2007 to 2011, with IPTV and IP video equipment growing the fastest, followed by service provider VoIP and IMS equipment. Service provider wireless and FMC equipment and enterprise routers, switches, and wireless LAN equipment make up the largest portions of revenue. The increases Infonetics say they are seeing in the overall telecom and datacom equipment market are being fueled by the transformation to IP packet networks, as evidenced by strong growth in the IPTV and service provider VoIP and IMS segments. Highlights from the report include: - The largest equipment category,

Mobile Maps Application Usage Increased

ComScore reported that the use of mobile maps is increasingly popular in the U.S. and Europe, with 8 percent of American mobile phone subscribers and 3 percent of European subscribers accessing maps from mobiles in the three-month period ending May 2008. This represents a growth rate of 82 percent and 49 percent in the number of users, respectively. According to the comScore M:Metrics Benchmark Study, the iPhone is the leading device used to access maps in the United States, and in Europe, the device trails the Nokia N95 and N70. According to comScore, 73 percent of mobile subscribers accessing maps are doing so via the browser in the U.S., and in Europe, 57 percent. Less than a third of Americans and Europeans are using a downloaded application, which allows even feature phones, with less computing power and often smaller screens, to better render graphic-rich maps and directions. Despite the ubiquity of SMS usage in Europe,the penetration of consumers accessing maps and direction

Groundswell: a Story About Lost Influence

Has traditional advertising and public relations lost its prior influence on the public? That was the overriding question that the authors of the book " Groundswell : winning in a world transformed by social technologies" left me to consider. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, both of Forrester Research, have written a balanced perspective regarding the implications of social technologies impact within the marketplace. Granted, this is the type of commentary that can be interpreted in several different ways. That said, as mass-media buyers apply their legacy skills in measuring impressions and imprints, you can't help but wonder if those metrics -- and therefore the results being reported -- have any meaningful relevance or benefit to advertisers. High Price of Mass-Media Irrelevance Likewise, when assessing the results of traditional public relations investments, if the vast majority of people that are exposed to the carefully crafted content have learned to disregard

Video on Demand, Competitive Differentiator

With competition heating up for video services in Europe, service providers will employ Video On Demand (VOD) as a key differentiator in acquiring new subscribers, with evidence suggesting that the move from near-VOD to true VOD dramatically increases adoption rates. VOD is fast becoming a must-have feature -- and for those operators with the technology already in place, the next step is to differentiate even further via HD VOD, along with increasing the size of the content library. ABI Research, in a recent market study, categorizes the growth of VOD subscriber levels in the contexts of programming and functionality. The number of concurrent VOD streams will increase markedly over the next five years, and the Asia-Pacific region is poised to experience high levels of growth -- from 1.66 million VOD streams in 2007 to almost 21 million in 2013. In total, the global trend toward increased usage of VOD streams will multiply tenfold throughout the years 2007 to 2013, with a compound a

MMORPG Services Will Need More Gamers

Massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) publishers may have to start giving away playing time to attract more players into online role-playing worlds, according to the latest market study by Parks Associates. This consumer study of 2,000+ U.S. Internet gamers found only power gamers are interested in subscribing to an MMORPG service, whereas social, dormant, and leisure gamers all show significant interest in a free-to-play, micro-transaction based model. The MMORPG market will be difficult to enter with a subscription model at this stage. "World of Warcraft, with over 10 million players, exceeded expectations for subscription based MMORPGs, but it's unlikely any other publishers will achieve the same in the near term using a subscription model," said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director, Broadband and Gaming, Parks Associates. Fourteen percent of gamers not currently playing MMORPGs would be interested in playing if they could play for free. Only 2 percent o