Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

230 Million Smartphones were Shipped in Q2 2013

The number of smartphone shipments reached 230 million in Q2 2013, representing a year-over-year growth of almost 50 percent from Q2 2012 and quarter-over-quarter growth of nearly 13 percent, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.

Samsung increased its smartphone market share by shipping an estimated 72 million smartphones and accounting for approximately 31 percent of all smartphone shipments in the quarter.

Even though Samsung posted another record quarter in terms of device shipments, they admitted slowing sales of their high-end smartphones including the Galaxy S4, with quarterly growth driven by mid-low end smartphones.

Samsung is estimated to have shipped 20 million Galaxy S4 in the first two months after its April 2013 launch, but subsequent sales are believed to have tailed off.

iPhone Sales are Up, But Profits are Down

Likewise, Apple boasted iPhone sales showing strong y-o-y growth – up by 20 percent to more than 31 million – but saw y-o-y profits fall for the second successive quarter.

Apple was also the only leading vendor to experience a q-o-q decline in smartphone sales, down 17 percent from the previous quarter: as a result its share of smartphones slipped from 18 percent in Q1 2013 to 14 percent in Q2.

With Apple confirming that new products are in the pipeline, Juniper Research still believes Apple needs to launch a very innovative device. Even though a cut-price model attractive to the emerging markets would help overall sales, Apple now must bring a game-changing device into the market to maintain its competitive edge.

Juniper believes that Apple will soon enter the smart wearables segment and that they are one of the players best placed to deliver convergence between the two segments – mobile devices and wearable devices.

The Battle for Market Share Intensifies

LG posted its highest ever smartphones sales quarter, shipping 12 million in Q2 2013, representing a y-o-y growth of an impressive 114 percent from Q2 2012. Meanwhile, Chinese demand for low and mid end smartphones led to increased sales for vendors including Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo, with each exceeding an estimated 10 million shipments in Q2 2013.

Nokia shipped 11.7 million smartphones in the fourth quarter and posted Lumia sales of 7.4 million compared to 5.6 million in the previous quarter. The company also shipped 4.3 million Asha smartphones in the second quarter.

BlackBerry’s (previously RIM) recent results – which run to a different financial schedule – are expected to see them ship around 6.9 million smartphones in Q2 2013. The Canadian company is believed to have sold nearly 2.8 million BlackBerry 10 devices over the past three months.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Global Smartphone Shipments Grew by 44 Percent

Global demand for smartphones remains strong. For the second calendar quarter in a row, smartphone shipments represented more than half (52 percent) of the world's mobile phone shipments.

Led by Samsung, an estimated 408 million handsets and 214 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

In contrast, feature phone shipments declined 20 percent year-over-year to 195 million units, as low-cost manufacturers continue to claw their way up-market with increased features.

Due to typical seasonality gains at mid-year, overall handset shipments grew 0.5 percent sequentially and more than 7 percent year-over-year. Smartphone shipments maintained a healthy growth rate of 5.5 percent sequentially and nearly 44 percent year-over-year.

"Despite concerns of premium tier smartphone saturation, both Samsung and Apple were able to deliver better than expected results in the second quarter," said Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research.

The high end of the smartphone market continued to perform well in 2Q as Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhones outpaced the overall market. Despite the surprising tenacity of premium smartphones, Apple’s market share (14.6 percent) dropped to its lowest point since 3Q’2011.

ABI Research attributes the Apple share loss to the success of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch -- and the continued growth of low cost and mass market smartphone shipments.

The second half of 2013 will be defined by fierce competition between price-aggressive OEMs moving toward the middle tiers for increased margins while at the same time top tier OEMs are diversifying portfolios into the middle in search of continued growth.

As competitors such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo move their smartphone portfolios upstream, ABI Research expects increasing margin pressure on the premium smartphone segment where the majority of industry profits reside.

Monday, July 29, 2013

High-Growth Opportunities for Mobile Ticketing Apps

As consumer adoption of smartphones increases, usage of mobile devices to purchase real world goods and services has soared. The mobile user base, once cautious of transacting on the mobile phone, now increasingly expects to be able to easily make these purchases.

More than 16 billion transport and events tickets will be delivered annually to mobile handsets by 2018, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research. That forecast is three times the volume expected this year.

While electronic ticketing adoption on mobile devices will be strong across a range of markets, volume growth will be driven by metro and bus deployments, most notably in the relatively untapped U.S. market.

2D Barcode Solutions to Prevail

The resulting Juniper report -- Mobile Ticketing Strategies: Air, Rail, Metro, Sports & Entertainment 2013-2018 -- noted that SMS-based solutions had achieved particularly strong adoption across markets such as Sweden, where mobile now accounts for 65 percent of bus ticketing sales.

However, it argued that app-based alternatives delivering 2D barcodes were expected to gain greater traction elsewhere as smartphone adoption increased and would account for the majority of sales within the forecast period in developed markets.


Upselling and Cross-Promotional Opportunities

Furthermore, the report highlighted that a number of companies across the transport and event ticketing sectors had recognized that mobile delivery offered the opportunity to add value to the ticketing process.

It argued that integration of mobile ticketing platforms with loyalty programmes was key to customer retention, offered a means of upselling additional services and cross-promotional opportunities.

"The airline industry in particular has led the way in utilising mobile as a sales and loyalty channel," said Dr Windsor Holden, research director at Juniper Research.

More than half of airlines are planning major investments in mobile ticketing over the next three years, employing mobile as a means of enhance customer self-service options throughout the end-to-end passenger travel process.

Other findings from the market study include:
  • Transport operators should consider issuing smartphones to staff for mTicket validation.
  • The short-term opportunities for NFC ticketing are limited with a lack of implementation standards a key barrier to interoperability.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How 4G LTE Mobile Networks are Reaching Maturity

With the first service providers, such as SK Telecom, now upgrading their networks to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and China Mobile deploying a TD-LTE network and issuing a huge tender for over 200,000 base stations, 4G wireless technology is maturing.

According to the findings from the latest market study by ABI Research, TD-LTE and LTE-Advanced are set to dominate the LTE installed base of macro base stations as early as 2015.

While FD-LTE will continue to represent a majority of LTE installations, it is the rapid growth in LTE-A and TD-LTE subscriptions which will drive this change.

By 2018, ABI forecasts that there will be 1.467 billion LTE subscriptions worldwide; of those, 34 percent will be on LTE-Advanced (Release 10+) networks, while 42 percent and 24 percent will be on the older Release 8/9 LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD networks, respectively.
 
"The rapid uptake in LTE-A comes as a result of the evolutionary nature of the LTE standards and the relative ease with which installed LTE base stations can be upgraded," says Nick Marshall principal analyst at ABI Research.

LTE-Advanced will progress in a phased rollout with Carrier Aggregation implemented first, followed by the eICIC, CoMP, Enhanced MIMO, and HetNet support features which will all help operators address the upsurge in network traffic.

Which 4G markets are the most mature? Relative to network size, Japan, South Korea, and China in the Asia-Pacific region will have the largest LTE macro basestation installed base in 2015 -- followed by Western Europe and North America.

However, it is North America which will account for the majority of the LTE-Advanced installed base -- driven by mobile network operators such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile/MetroPCS, and Softbank/Sprint which all have hinted at plans to introduce LTE-Advanced in the very near future.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mobile Packet Data Core Networks Growing Worldwide

As you may recall, according the the latest Cisco VNI forecast, global mobile data traffic will grow 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, with a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent.

Moreover, mobile traffic per user will reach 2,037 megabytes per month in 2017 -- that's up from 201 megabytes per month in 2012, with a CAGR of 56 percent.

Mobile network service providers around the globe have been investing in infrastructure, in anticipation of the growing demand for mobile internet access via the increased adoption of smartphones.

ABI Research found that while the overall 2012 wireless network equipment market was quite challenging for infrastructure vendors, the incessant demand for 3G and 4G mobile broadband will continue to drive significant new investment in mobile packet core equipment.

As a result, the mobile packet data core network infrastructure market will reach $1.8 billion in 2013.

"Continued growth in 3G and 4G traffic will propel the mobile packet core infrastructure to a cumulative $10 billion market over the next five years," said Joe Hoffman, principal analyst at ABI Research.

The overall mobile core network equipment market declined 12 percent in Q1 2013 from the rather moribund Q4 2012. But then the mobile network service provider investment quickly picked up once again.

Reflecting increased data demand, the packet data core market continues to expand and is up 22 percent over Q4 2012, and up 30 percent over the trailing twelve months.

In North America the hugely popular success of LTE is rapidly supplanting 2G and 3G traffic and eliminating capacity expansion needs for those technologies. Other parts of the world exhibit similar conditions, with packet core network equipment most in demand.

Market share includes the totality of a vendor’s core network business, giving an overall market strength, and much of today’s core network equipment supports 2G, 3G and 4G with only a software change.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Savings from Emerging mHealth Apps to Reach $36B

Mobilizing the Healthcare and Fitness industries is about to gain market momentum, particularly in developed nations. The converged mHealth and mFitness sectors are defined as the point where the mobile communications sector meets the healthcare sector and the fitness sector, respectively.

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, the mHealth market forecast for cumulative cost savings from remote patient monitoring will reach up to $36 billion globally, over the next five years.

This is a significant opportunity, as healthcare in the developed world moves towards the concept of offering "accountable care" services -- where funding is linked directly to the health of the patient or individual rather than being based upon the cost of treatment.

Even though remote patient monitoring -- particularly for chronic diseases -- is still at a very early stage in the development cycle, it fits well with new healthcare practices and the goal of keeping patients out of hospital.

New mHealth Models are Emerging

Meanwhile the combination of the smartphone, mHealth attachments and companion apps is creating an entirely new route for providing mHealth services.

Smartphone-based mHealth is expected to grow more rapidly than mHealth services delivered through bespoke devices, according to the assessment by Juniper.

"mHealth hardware linking directly to a companion app on the smartphone has become an exciting new area of mHealth," says Anthony Cox, associate analyst at Juniper Research. "It is also drawing attention to what mHealth can bring to the table."


Further findings from the market study include:
  • Western Europe will be the most promising new market for cardiac outpatient monitoring after the U.S. as partnerships emerge for its provision in the region.
  • Demonstrating cost-savings to those funding the healthcare sector is likely to be the most effective way of advancing mHealth.
  • There will be robust growth in the adjacent mobile-fitness industry, driven by a motivated user-base and coherent product offering from several players.
  • In spite of positive signs in several areas of the mHealth industry, the current vendor business models are hampered by a lack of clarity on how they will be reimbursed for the services they provide.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Global Market Outlook for New Video Game Consoles

The video game sector is about to get interesting, once again, with the introduction of better technology. New game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will both ship in selected markets during the 2013 holiday season. The XBOX One and Sony PS4 appear evenly matched with content remaining as the primary means of differentiation.

A number of new entrants to the fixed console market, such as Ouya, are ratcheting up the competitive field with pricing and gaming experiences intended to capture the non-core gamer segment of the marketplace.

ABI Research expects cumulative shipments of 8th generation consoles from the big three to pass 133 million during the first 5 years on market -- that's compared to nearly 140 million 7th generation consoles over the same length of time.

"With many of the casual gaming segment embracing mobile devices for gaming, without a shift in strategy and pricing the Wii U will likely fail to match the success of the Wii which will impact future console shipments," said Michael Inouye, senior analyst at ABI Research.

If China decides to lift its ban on consoles, however, in the short term this could boost future shipments of 7th generation game consoles while minimally altering the 8th generation.

According to ABI's assessment, new Google Android-based consoles are finding a niche but still lack differentiated gaming libraries from mobile devices and faced some early stage technical difficulties.

One area of growth, currently unaccounted for in the forecast, is a low-cost smart STB console ($99 or less) based on current 7th generation console technology.

The future prospects of gaming platforms depends in equal measure on compelling games and pricing falling within household reach for discretionary or gift spending.

Without solid titles and first party franchises platforms will have a difficult time finding traction - streaming media is not enough when low-cost smart STBs are readily available.

While ABI doesn’t anticipate a drop-off in game console households, barring significant changes to less developed console markets in Asia and Latin America, there isn’t a great deal of growth opportunity beyond the current installed base.

Monday, July 22, 2013

PC Shipments Decline 11% in Second Quarter 2013

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.6 million units in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13) -- that's down -11.4% compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Total global shipments were effectively right on forecast, although Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) were a few points below expectations with the difference made up in the United States.

The recent performance reflect a market that is still struggling with the transition to touch-based systems running the Windows 8 OS -- as well as justifying Ultrabook very high prices in the face of economic pressures and competition from low-price media tablets.

PC vendors seemed to be focused on inventory reduction during the second quarter, which could reflect planned launches of new models -- as well as plans to reduce any remaining unsold inventory going into the second half of the year.

However, it also suggests some caution among vendors and the channels in the face of ongoing challenges for PCs and more than a year of continuously declining shipments.



"With second quarter negative growth so close to forecast, we are still looking for some improvement during the second half of the year," said Jay Chou, senior analyst at IDC.

Slower growth in Europe and China reflect the risks, while the improved U.S. market outlook reflects potential improvement. Still, the weakness in emerging markets is a threat to a core long-term growth area.

In addition, while efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should help to make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from more better value media tablets.

One positive sign is that HP and Dell saw growth improve over recent quarters, possibly indicating stronger performance in coming quarters and reflecting more commercial replacements as we get closer to the end of Windows XP support.

Lenovo also grew faster than the market (and faster than HP and Dell), although their growth slipped below zero at -1.4% and was down from prior quarters. Slow growth for Lenovo reflects the company's focus on China, which represents over 50 percent of their shipments, and where short-term economic and inventory hurdles cut into 2Q13 shipments.

IDC says that they are also starting to see more stabilization in shipments, which may be a reflection of PC lifetimes finally starting to even out after a long period of gradual increase. The end result should be more PC replacements -- even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are much older before replacing them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

183 Million 4G LTE Subscriptions by the End of 2013

4G LTE has been the focus of yet another comprehensive global market study. ABI Research has been actively tracking the LTE market, assessing operator commitments -- both current and future.

Out of 470 LTE commitments tracked, 193 have gone commercial. Over the next 2 years, ABI anticipates another 123 network commitments to go commercial. Additionally, ABI is currently tracking 69 LTE-TDD commitments.

“By 2018, LTE deployments should deliver population coverage of 57 percent (4.2 billion) and 31 percent (2.3 billion) in legacy WCDMA and CDMA2000 markets respectively" said Jake Saunders, vice president at ABI Research.

Significantly, LTE-TDD coverage should achieve 49 percent population coverage by the end of the five year period.

These coverage targets will be driven by macro-cells and small cells. By 2018, the number of LTE macro-cell base stations will reach 2.43 million -- to achieve the population coverage targets.

Small cells are an integral part of the LTE operator’s network strategy. As a result, ABI Research estimates that 18,000 LTE outdoor small cells will ship in 2013, and will expand to 986,000 by 2018.

LTE subscriptions for the initial 8 quarters (4Q-2010 to 3Q-2012) have outstripped WCDMA (1Q-2003 to 4Q-2004) both in terms of growth-rate and absolute numbers (47.5 million LTE versus 18.3 million).

Given the number of LTE commitments and support from the handset vendors, 2013 should prove to be a year that delivers a strong adoption profile for LTE carriers, with anticipated 183 million subscriptions by year-end.

These robust subscriber acquisitions are translating into mobile network service provider revenue of $73.8 billion in 2013, and $530.5 billion by 2018.

LTE is showing significant promise, but there is more to come. Korea’s SK Telecom will be the first operator to launch commercial LTE-Advanced service (3GPP R.10). The LTE-Advanced roadmap will introduce a series of innovations that not only offer potential data download speeds of 1 Gbps, but also advanced video streaming services such as eMBMS.

LTE-Advanced’s R.12 is the 3GPP’s latest iteration that is being reviewed by vendors and mobile network operators. Release 12 should be a significant upgrade as it allows for reduced base station activity of “always-on” signaling as well as easier integration and management of M2M devices.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Top 5 Network Use Cases for SDN and NFV

Infonetics Research released the findings from its latest market study, for which leading operators were interviewed to determine the timing and priority of the many use cases for their software-defined network (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) projects.

The market study was a valid sample of network operators from around the world  -- representing 53 percent of the global telecommunications service provider capital expenditure.

The promise of SDN and NFV technology adoption is already perceived to be significant and beneficial to broadband network service providers. Therefore, we should anticipate that more market studies will uncover additional details that provide early-adopter best practices and associated lessons learned.

"For the most part, carriers are starting small with their SDN and NFV deployments, focusing on only parts of their network -- what we call 'contained domains' -- to ensure they can get the technology to work as intended," explains Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

"But momentum for more widespread use of SDN and NFV is strong, as evidenced by the vast majority of operators participating in our study who plan to deploy the technologies in key parts of their networks, from the core to aggregation to customer access," Howard adds.

Even so, Infonetics says that they believe it will be many years before we see bigger parts -- or a whole network -- controlled by SDNs. That being said, broad adoption of these technologies could accelerate if a specific compelling use case scenario emerges from the trial applications.



Highlights from the latest market study include:
  • Virtually all major operators are either evaluating SDNs now or plan to do so within the next 3 years.
  • SDN and NFV evaluation and deployments are being driven by carriers' desire for service agility resulting in quicker time to revenue and operational efficiency.
  • The top 5 network domains named by operators when asked where they plan to deploy SDNs and NFV by 2014: Within data centers, between data centers, operations and management, content delivery networks (CDNs), and cloud services.
  • 86 percent of operators are confident they will deploy SDN and NFV technology in their optical transport networks as well at some point, once standards are finalized.
  • Study participants rated CDNs, IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Emerging Markets are Adopting the Mobile Internet

The mobile internet is like a pathway to progress in the emerging markets. But only three regions of the world -- Latin America, Middle East, and Africa -- will experience mobile internet service revenue with double-digit growth between 2013 and 2018.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, this significant new growth is underpinned by the strong per subscription data consumption increasing at CAGRs of 45-49 percent.

In other words, data traffic doubles in less than every two years on average, thanks to the increased availability of affordable smart devices in the near future.

In 2018, Latin America and Middle East are expected to see an average user contributing more than 2.5 Gigabytes of traffic per month.

Low literacy rate has resulted in the low messaging volume in Africa. However, with the fastest mobile subscription growth and over-the-top applications being less prevalent, it will be the only region to enjoy consistent positive messaging service revenue growth throughout the entire forecast horizon.

"Nonetheless, a key determinant of the future consumption pattern will be the regulatory policies in the regions," says Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research.

For instance, the recent implementation of mobile number portability measure in Nigeria and the reduction in mobile termination rate in Honduras and Jamaica will go a long way in shaping the competitive landscape and encourage cellular usage.

All these rising trends, however, do not necessarily imply increased profitability. Operators in these regions need to be prepared to respond to new competition policies.

For example, a slash in termination rates means consumers have fewer reasons to subscribe to different operators concurrently. The battle to gain market share will be even more intense.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mobile Video Services to Reach $9.5 Billion by 2017

The Mobile TV and Video industry is fast beginning to realize its potential -- an application for smartphones and tablets, which consumers once shied away from due to poor graphics quality or extended loading times, is finally reaching the mainstream of users.

Revenues from streaming and download services on mobile phone and tablet devices will reach $9.5 billion by 2017, that's up from $4.5 billion in 2013.

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, this will be as a result of the maturation of the market for streaming subscription services and pay-per-title content, which will see new business models develop for smartphone and tablet users.

Benefits of a Multi-Screen Ecosystem

The new Juniper study uncovered details on how successful mobile TV subscription providers have been able to realize large revenues to date, and how their strategies will generate additional revenues over the next five years.


"In order to be truly successful in the future, I think we will see players emerge who are prioritizing their customers’ preferences -- they will do this by utilizing cloud technology, allowing consumers to resume playback on different devices, and enabling offline viewing," said Sian Rowlands, research analyst at Juniper Research.

Mobile Network Capacity Challenge

As streaming services increase in popularity on mobile devices, one market segment poised to face considerable challenge is that of the mobile operators.

This group will face continued pressure on their network capacity whilst at the same time striving to attract revenue from video and TV usage.

With regards to this latter challenge, some operators are able to leverage this opportunity through Wi-Fi offload and the services that they already offer via their triple-play bundles.

Other Operators however still need to innovate and adjust their business models to the burgeoning OTT opportunity.

Key findings from the market study include:
  • The top three markets for Mobile TV and Video in terms of revenue will be North America, Western Europe and the Far East & China, whose revenue share combined will represent over 80 percent of the total.
  • Latin America will become an important market to watch for Mobile TV, given that the World Cup and Olympics will be held there in 2014 and 2016.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Personal Computer Shipments Show No Improvement

The downward trend for personal computer demand now seems perpetual. The global PC market continued to suffer slow shipment growth in leading countries across key regions in May, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

April shipment growth had improved slightly from March in Latin America and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), but May growth has come in slower than April for each of these markets -- except India and UK.

IDC's quarterly PC forecast from May projected worldwide PC shipment declines of -11.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), -4.7 percent in the third quarter, and -1.6 percent in the fourth quarter -- resulting in total annual growth of -7.8 percent for 2013.

This follows a decline of -13.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and -4.0 percent for all of 2012. The results for May are behind pace for achieving the projected 2Q13 growth rates, although stronger June results could still make up most if not all of the difference.


"The expectation for the second quarter was not all that high, showing only minor improvement from the first quarter. But the May results reflect deteriorating conditions rather than improvement and the market will probably fall short of projections," said Loren Loverde, vice president at IDC.

That being said, IDC says that they still expect an improvement in the second half of the year -- as more new products are launched, and there's the back-to-school and holiday seasons.

But the market will likely remain cautious about the second half of 2013.

The IDC market study includes Western European countries, as well as other top markets around the world. Their Monthly PC Tracker expands on IDC's extensive Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker by providing more frequent market data on the top markets.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Augmented Reality Propels the Internet of Everything

There's an emerging application that could be a significant driver of new and exciting cloud services. According to the latest global market study by ABI Research, developer investment in Augmented Reality (AR) applications will be a key component -- and it will total $670 million in 2013.

The annual amount is expected to exceed $2.5 billion by 2018, as AR becomes a more everyday part of mobile experiences -- especially in the domain of the retail industry and commercial marketing.

This application segment accounts for 68 percent of the developer spend in 2013, with product enhancement and standalone apps contributing 22 percent and 10 percent of the total, respectively.

The most imminent growth driver for AR is cloud computing.

"The cloud is a natural fit for AR developers, considering how big benefits cloud-based content libraries present for image recognition technologies," said Aapo Markkanen, Senior analyst at ABI Research.

The leading SDKs, Qualcomm’s Vuforia and Metaio, introduced cloud recognition capabilities last year, and it’s exactly moves like those that will help bringing AR to the mainstream.

Meanwhile, the cloud has always been at the core of Aurasma -- HP’s innovative visual browser that is starting to see traction also as a platform for third-party apps.

Going forward, ABI Research believes that AR will become a significant enabler for the Internet of Everything (IoE), and namely big-data analytics. This is an area where AR and data visualizations will have a close connection to the emergent wearable computing products.

ABI practice director Dan Shey predicts, "In a world where a countless number of physical objects and structures will be connected by sensors, AR can serve as a visualization medium that will make the sensor data situational, bridged to the real-world surroundings."

The consumer aspect is unsurprisingly making most of the headlines here, but ABI says that they expect smart eyewear to initially make more waves in transforming the enterprise.

Google Glass, like the smart-glass pioneer Vuzix, will find various use cases in industry verticals -- such as engineering, logistics, and healthcare.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Emerging Markets Transform the Mobile Internet

​The apparent significance of emerging markets to the evolution of the Mobile Internet is really nothing short of a transformation. Demand for lower cost technology has helped to advance all wireless broadband deployments and it's shifting the balance of power in the process.

Case in point: China will displace the U.S. as the largest smartphone market in 2013. Brazil and India are also forecast to be in the top four countries for smartphone shipments by 2018.

Smartphone vendor interest and the strategies of the smartphone value chain are shifting accordingly.

ABI Research forecasts that Russia will come in as the eleventh largest smartphone market in 2013 and will climb to 7th in 2018.

"With room to grow, the emerging BRIC nations are displacing established markets such as the U.S. and Japan as market leaders in terms of smartphone shipments," said , Michael Morgan senior analyst at ABI Research.

ABI Research forecasts that the top five countries in 2018 will account for 51 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments while the BRIC countries will account for 33 percent of smartphone shipments.

By 2018, Western Europe and North Americas’ share of smartphone shipments will be 33 percent (equal to BRIC) down from 39 percent in 2013.

It is clear that the growth of the smartphone market over the next five years will depend on operators and handset OEMs delivering optimized and price appropriate solutions to the BRIC consumers.

In terms of total handset shipments, the BRIC countries are already in the top five, but have lagged in their global smartphone share.

ABI notes that over the past two years, Android paired with low cost hardware has opened the door to increasingly lower ASPs for smartphones.

"When you look at operating system share in emerging markets, you tend to find that Android has been busy fulfilling its mission to bring the Internet to consumers who can’t afford a traditional PC or Laptop," added senior practice director, Jeff Orr.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Bring-Your-Own-App to Work Phenomenon

There's a growing market for business use of mobile application storage and download servers or alternative cloud-based offerings. ABI Research predicts the number of large companies to adopt enterprise app stores will grow at double-digit rates through 2018.

Globally, large enterprise app store adoption will grow at 30.4 percent YoY with the manufacturing and trade industries commanding the largest share of app deployments.

North American and Western European enterprise app store adoption will grow at 20.7 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively.

However, Asia-Pacific will have the most enterprises with enterprise app stores by 2018 -- growing at 59 percent YoY.

"Mobile Application Management is growing in popularity among enterprises looking to deploy flexible mobile solutions to support Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) initiatives," said Jason McNicol, senior analyst at ABI Research.

ABI believes that the problem is finding a scalable solution to deploy enterprise apps without placing additional burdens on IT departments -- that's where a cloud-based solution may be the best option.

Enterprise app stores allow businesses to expand their mobile application portfolio yet control distribution based on role within the organization and company mobile policy.

Other benefits include enabling a mobile workforce with apps that contain key documents (i.e., PowerPoint presentations, videos, work order forms, etc.), custom app deployment to employees, and app lifecycle management (app deployment, maintenance, and retirement).

Savvy IT managers that support BYOD initiatives need to consider Bring-Your-Own-App (BYOA) initiatives as well. Widespread adoption of BYOD has led to an influx of third party apps being used to support business functions (e-mail, calendar, Office docs, document storage etc.).

Instead of blacklisting these apps, enterprises are embracing, securing, and deploying third party apps through the enterprise app store. As such, the enterprise app store is a means to support BYOA.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Mobile App Stores will Develop New Social Features

Between them, Google Play and Apple’s App Store accounted for nearly 40 billion downloads in 2012. To put this accomplishment into perspective, consider that in 2009 the entire mobile app market accounted for less than 5 billion downloads.

According to the findings from their latest market study, Juniper Research has forecast that in 2017 over 160 billion software apps will be downloaded globally onto consumer handsets and tablets.

This sharp increase in volume -- from 80 billion in 2013 -- is a result of many consumers in developing markets upgrading from feature phones to smartphones, and a growing number of apps downloaded at no upfront cost.

Games Top the List of Mobile Apps

The Juniper study also found that the majority of annual application downloads will be in the games category, with at least 40 percent of downloads arising from this area.

Furthermore, app stores will seek to improve stickiness by developing social features that enable game-play between application users.

For instance, the recently announced Google Play Game Services allows for real-time multi-player games and leader boards across not only the Android platform but also iOS and the web.

This, coupled with an increasing number of apps which are free at the point of download, will lead to an explosion in the total number of apps downloaded.


Developer and Network Operator Challenges

Nevertheless, the challenge remains for developers to profit from their apps, as the downward pressure on pricing leaves many the only option to offer their apps for free at the point of download.

The rise of the app store has effectively cut many Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) out of the application software value chain.

"Carrier billing has become an increasingly viable option for MNOs who want to see a share of app store revenues, and also for app stores who want to distribute their content to un-banked consumers," said Siân Rowlands, research analyst at Juniper Research.

Other key findings from the study include:
  • Only 5 percent of apps will be paid for at the point of download in 2017, down from 6.1 percent this year.
  • Storefronts will improve their discovery services for consumers, as the influence of Amazon’s Appstore recommendation engine becomes more prominent.
  • MNOs must realise they won’t see as great a revenue share as they did during the pre-app store era.

Monday, July 08, 2013

M2M Module Market Reached $1.5 Billion in 2012

Infonetics Research released findings from its latest mobile communications sector market study, which provides market size, analysis, and forecasts for mobile machine-to-machine (M2M) modules by technology, vertical industry, and geographic region.

Mobile network operators are deploying more M2M solutions and enterprises and consumers are increasingly adopting them across the globe -- creating a robust outlook for the overall M2M services market, as well as the mobile M2M module market.

“To put things in perspective, the mobile M2M module is just one of many technology solutions available for M2M services, one that represents less than 15 percent of active M2M connections today," said Godfrey Chua, directing analyst for M2M at Infonetics Research.

Mobile M2M modules compete against a myriad other technology solutions that enable M2M services -- including DSL and T1 lines as well as wireless technologies like WiFi, Zigbee and Bluetooth.

Many mobile network services are putting a sharp focus on -- and real resources behind -- their M2M businesses, and it’s beginning to pay off.

According to the Infonetics assessment, the fact that one of the global leaders -- AT&T in the North American market -- can speak of a billion-dollar business in this segment demonstrates the traction and growth that M2M services are experiencing to date.


Highlights of the latest market study include:
  • The global mobile M2M module market scaled to a new level in 2012, reaching $1.5 billion – that's an increase of 25 percent from the previous year.
  • While 2G technologies make up the majority of mobile M2M units now, 3G M2M is on the rise, forecast by Infonetics to grow to 56 percent of all M2M modules shipped in 2017.
  • LTE is the fastest growing mobile M2M technology segment, driven by connected car initiatives such as GM’s OnStar, China Mobile’s massive LTE-TDD network buildout, and the Chinese government’s smart cities efforts.
  • Infonetics projects a cumulative $2.6 billion will be spent over the next 5 years on mobile M2M modules for the auto/transport/logistics vertical, the key anchor for the M2M market.
  • North America and Europe are currently the main centers of mobile M2M module growth, but Asia Pacific has the fastest anticipated rate of growth due to a highly diversified economic base that creates a stratified market for M2M solutions.
  • Infonetics expects the next 18 to 36 months to bring further vendor consolidation and vetting of business models to the mobile M2M module industry.

Friday, July 05, 2013

LTE-Advanced Subscribers will Reach 500M in 2018

Fourth-generation (4G) mobile networks have already reached the tipping point in some key markets and the wireless technology is already advancing rapidly towards it in other markets across the globe.

The LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) subscriptions will take an important role in the mobile subscriber market, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 295 percent between 2013 and 2018 to reach 500 million -- which will represent 34 percent of the overall 1.47 billion LTE-related subscriptions.

Meanwhile, total LTE subscriptions for 1Q-2013 increased by 37.5 percent quarter-on-quarter, reaching 108 million, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

North America will be the most aggressive LTE-A market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe.

North America will commercially launch LTE-A by the end of 2013 and mobile subscriptions will approach 220 million by 2018, contributing 44 percent of the global LTE-A market.

"All the major mobile operators in the United States have shown their commitment to LTE-Advanced, and LTE-Advanced upgrades are underway," said Jake Saunders, vice president at ABI Research.

In Asia-Pacific, the LTE-A subscriptions will grow to reach 159 million by 2018, while in Western Europe, it should reach 55 million.

Confronted with an explosion in mobile data traffic and a need for greater bandwidth, Carrier Aggregation, an essential feature of LTE-A, can help mobile network operators to build greater transmission capacity, relieving stress on legacy spectrum assets.

By 1Q-2013, LTE subscriptions in South Korea reached 20 million, which is a remarkable 37 percent of its overall total subscriber base. There has been tremendous pent-up demand for ultra-high speed data services.

SK Telecom is aggregating two frequency bands in the 850 MHz and 1800 MHz bands to commercially launch its LTE-A services in September 2013. Moreover, all the signs indicate it is on schedule to do so.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Upside for Indoor Location-based Smartphone Apps

What if mobile applications like Google Maps could provide insight about the inside of large public buildings and other big structures? Would independent software developers find new and interesting ways to tap this data in their smartphone apps? 

While there won't be an immediate surge in indoor location-enabled handsets and applications, it's now anticipated that the ecosystem necessary to drive mass adoption of indoor location applications will be in place by 2016.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the future adoption of a variety of indoor location and proximity related technologies or hybrids are being considered across a range of different application categories -- such as retail, navigation, enterprise, personal tracking and social.

Meanwhile, these apps are also expected to enhance mobile enhanced services such as advertising, ambient intelligence, augmented reality, photography, and local search.

Even at this early stage, it is already clear that indoor location will play a major part in the future of mobile device application market development.

"The market is still very nascent with a number of major handset vendors yet to decide on what technologies they will adopt," said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI Research.

In particular, any decision from Google will likely have huge repercussions, depending on whether it opens up the Android platform or not.

There are also issues around indoor maps, data ownership, and interoperability across technologies, buildings, and mobile OS platforms.

By 2016, the ecosystem will have evolved sufficiently that ABI is forecasting strong adoption of indoor location-based service (LBS) applications, catalyzed by the increasing availability of in-store retail applications.

As smartphones proliferate, and personal privacy barriers are addressed, mobile device location will become increasingly used to enhance existing and new services. ABI believes that indoor or ubiquitous location information is a natural extension of this inevitable trend.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Exploring Social Network Apps and M2M Interactions

A new global market study by ABI Research finds that integration with social networks will add significant value to enterprise machine-to-machine (M2M) strategies in the coming years, as more savvy company leaders discover the innovation enabling potential of the Internet of Everything.

Initially, this trend will concern internal social channels -- such as Salesforce.com’s Chatter -- which is forecast to be actively used by 60,000 enterprises at end-2013.

Going forward, the emphasis will shift towards Facebook and other consumer-facing networks, which ABI Research forecasts to cover 2.9 billion users by end-2018.

"There’s an intriguing intersection developing around social networks and M2M services. At this stage the activity is nascent, but over the next five years we expect the relationship between the two to become increasingly synergistic," said Aapo Markkanen, senior analyst at ABI Research.

The innovations it results in will add a strong social ingredient to the megatrend for the next decade -- the Internet of Everything (IoE).

The immediate form of this is the mixing of machine data with CRM processes. Salesforce.com has been notably active in this field, having already teamed up with M2M players Axeda and Digi International to provide such Social-M2M convergence.

Meanwhile, there are also early signs of taking the reverse approach to this convergence -- and using social data to interact with machines. Most of these interactions stem currently from the maker movement and are enabled by open-source Arduino microcontrollers.

The most commercially prominent example is a marketing stunt that Brazilian drink brand Guarana Antarctica ran last year, featuring a campaign car that could be driven towards its destination only if there were enough "likes" and "comments" on its Facebook page.

In the future, we should expect to see also two-way flows of social and machine data.

"Today, social M2M is about informational silo-busting in enterprises and novelty experiments in the consumer space, but the concept has enough potential to enable use cases that still seem futuristic. The day when we could use Facebook as a dashboard of home automation systems is closer than you might first think," said Dan Shey, practice director at ABI Research.

Moreover, we should anticipate even more convergence of social networking and M2M apps in the coming months, particularly in the evolving managed cloud services arena.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Mobile Commerce Upside will Reach $3.2 Trillion

The value of mobile commerce transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets will exceed $3.2 trillion by 2017, that's up from $1.5 trillion this year -- according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.

The increasing popularity of mobile devices for bill payment is reflected in the fact that the mobile banking sector accounts for the lion’s share of transaction values over the next five years.

However, to put global mCommerce into context, total financial transactions in the U.S. market alone exceeded $4,400 trillion in 2012.


Key Industry Sectors Embrace Mobile

The study findings observed that a number of key industries -- retail, airline, financial institutions -- were emphasizing the importance of the mobile channel as an engagement, delivery and payment mechanism.

Juniper cited the activities of Visa and MasterCard with regards to NFC certification and the airline industry’s wider eTicketing initiative as key developments in this regard.

Furthermore, they observed that the introduction of mobile wallet services was providing first time financial access in many emerging markets where the proportion of un-banked adults exceeded 50 percent.

In the same markets, partnerships between OTT storefronts and network operators – enabling payment via carrier billing – were enabling greater access to the digital economy.

The Hurdles to Adoption

However, Juniper noted that a number of hurdles still needed to be overcome if mCommerce were to achieve its potential in the coming years.

"A significant minority of retailers have yet to optimize their sites for mobile. Unless retailers ensure a seamless, user-friendly mobile shopping experience, they will fall behind competitors who are already using mobile channels to enhance customer relationships," said Dr Windsor Holden, research director at Juniper Research.

Juniper's study findings also pointed out that lengthy POS (Point Of Sale) infrastructure replacement lifecycles were hampering NFC deployments in both the retail and transport sectors, with players understandably reluctant to upgrade infrastructure without a demonstrable return on investment.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Cyber Security Spending Reached $41.76B in 2012

​Cyber security for critical infrastructures has become an issue of primary importance to nation states. Policy is playing an increasingly important role alongside the deployment of technical measures.

The cornerstone of implementing a viable digital society relies heavily on the concept of ensuring trust in the underlying infrastructure, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Energy, telecoms, healthcare, and transport systems and other critical sectors are making use of Internet connectivity and next generation technologies to boost productivity and improve efficiency. Protecting these networks from cyber threats requires a national approach.

Governments have a duty to ensure the digital security of critical infrastructures. This requires accompanying technical efforts with policies in order to implement a coherent cyber security strategy across all sectors.

From national defense through to water management, all connected networks require strategic planning and organization to achieve an acceptable level of cyber security.

Currently, few nation states are prepared to counter a full-scale cyber-attack on their critical infrastructure. And there is no doubt that online threat agents are growing in number and in skill.

“Nation states need to focus on elaborating cyber security strategies as their critical sectors go online," said Michela Menting, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Research and development of policies, regulation, cooperative schemes, public-private partnerships, guidelines, and best practices are all important elements in developing a robust strategy that can minimize cyber risks and strengthen infrastructures.

ABI Research estimates the cyber security spending by nation states, non-governmental organizations, technical bodies, and private sector operators for critical infrastructure totaled $41.76 billion globally in 2012.

Increased spending over the next five years will be driven by a growing number of policies and procedures in education, training, R&D, awareness programs, standardization work, and cooperation among other projects.

This market study primarily assessed critical national and sector-specific strategies currently being implemented in North America and Europe.