Qualcomm and the internet of everything [Daily News Egypt]
But before we reach that point, let's look at where the market stands today.
"Wireless has become the biggest tech platform in the history of mankind," Lancia said.
US-based Qualcomm designs, manufactures and markets digital wireless telecommunications products and services. The company is set to open an Egypt office by the end of 2011.
Qualcomm's strategy is to expand the availability of 3G services and promote the use of wireless mobile devices. Once it lays the foundation by enabling its market partners operators, handset manufacturers and app developers Qualcomm can then come in and offer its products and services on a wider scale.
Today, there are 5.7 billion wireless subscribers worldwide, and around 1.4 billion 3G subscribers. "Only 25 percent are on 3G and Qualcomm's focus is to migrate those over to 3G," he added.
By 2015, it is predicted that there will be 3.2 billion 3G subscribers, signifying a rapid uptake in 3G around 1 million subscribers daily.
As the market evolves and grows, the "key parameters that will help the wireless market take off are the alignment of devices, apps/services and networks; each of these is driving the other."
The main growth drivers for 2G to 3G migration include new markets, smartphones, devices and technology. Already, the subscriber base is decreasing for 2G, and by 2013, there will be more people leaving 2G than subscribing, which, Lancia said, is a "pretty historic point in our industry."
In line with the changes in the market, mobile internet is seen to have more of an impact than fixed internet: By 2014, 75-80 percent of subscribers will be on mobile broadband versus fixed broadband.
"It's a much different experience. Today with the ability to surf the net and get applications and data real-time, and have location-based services, that has pushed [mobile internet] to have more of an impact," he added.
One of the main features of this trend is the development and further penetration of smartphones. Operators are shifting to smartphones more aggressively, representing around 25 percent of annual revenue growth.
In the first half of 2011, more than 90 smartphone models were launched. Smartphones sales in 2010 were 300 million (20 percent of all handsets) but by 2015, that number is expected to exceed 1 billion (50 percent) globally.
Total mobile app downloads are 20 billion to date and are due to surpass 100 billion by 2015.
However, to realize these figures, Lancia said, "there needs to be shift in terms of pricing smartphones."
Especially since a significant part of this growth is expected to come from emerging markets, which will be supported by the push for lower-end smartphones.
While the US is still the biggest market, China is set to come out on top in terms of total smartphones by 2013.
"We're seeing segmentation even in lower-tier…$100 smartphones will give the necessary push to expand beyond volumes today," Lancia said.
"One of our efforts to help drive this is to help bring down the cost of smartphones. One way to do this is to integrate more technologies into our chipsets, giving OEMs a better chance to develop lower-end smartphones," he added.
Similarly, one of the main factors needed to drive a shift from 2G to 3G are lower prices, to spur migration from high-end feature phones to low-end smartphones.
"Mobile is no longer a communications mechanism; it's really a computing environment," Lancia said. "Qualcomm moved from being a wireless company to being mobile, which equals connectivity plus the computing aspects."
Since a lot of people don't have access to internet or a computing device, Qualcomm sees that the first and only computer or access to internet for some may be through a smartphone. Another reason why lower-priced smartphones are vital to market growth.
And even beyond smartphones, other types of connectivity help expand the market, and the growth rate in non-handset segment is also accelerating.
The current debate in the market is whether tablets will "cannibalize" PCs. Lancia thinks it's too early to tell, and over time, will depend on the functionality of tablets.
But according to a recent US survey of tablet owners, 75 percent are using tablet over laptop or desktop for traditional computing. Still, this depends on the usage.
"There was no tablet market last year…now there's a significant market," he said, adding that tablets will grow around 48-78 percent CAGR from 2010-2015. Already, around 120 tablets were launched or announced since the iPad came out.
This is causing another market shift, with non-traditional computing companies entering the field. For example Cisco developed a tablet for the enterprise market. As this happens, the "shift toward mobile computing is opening up innovation for a broad base of companies," he said.
In 2010, mobile data traffic more than doubled, and is expected to grow by 10 or 12 times its size in the next five years.
"The changing capacity of networks means more investments are needed," unlike before when capacity was there but not being used.
In turn, innovative pricing from operators will enable the growth as they seek flexibility in pricing data. "Voice offers are flattening, data offers are growing," he said. "One way to grow is to create innovative pricing plans."
Content-based plans are already emerging. For example, Colombia's Mobistar offers a specific Facebook plan.
Multi-device subscriptions are another way to diversify data packages, as are usage-based plans. "Networks are at peak from 9 pm to midnight, unlike voice. There could be 'data happy hour' plans at nonpeak times," Lancia said.
Described as Qualcomm's "bread and butter," the company is continuing to make advancements to improving the standards that increase data rates, decrease latency and improve the overall experience.
"While there's a lot of momentum behind LTE… we don't see LTE as a more efficient technology," Lancia said. Instead, the company views it as a way to "open doors to companies that may have been on the sidelines to actually come in."
LTE (long-term evolution) is described as a "high performance air interface" for mobile communication systems the last step toward 4G radio technologies set to increase the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks.
"There are other motivations driving this technology. …It's not a nirvana," he added.
"We see LTE taking the role of capacity offload in dense areas of network," with continued reliance on 2G and 3G networks outside of these dense areas, making "multi-mode modems in chipsets very important."
The future vision entails making every device around consumers smart, what the company refers to as the "internet of everything."
"The way the market is developing, anything and everything can be connected, so the key is tying all this together, and we are focused on helping make this a reality," he said.
Health is key area where wireless will have an impact, for example. It's about personalizing health, empowering users with the information that will help them monitor and, in turn, enhance, their health.
One way is to have body sensors connected to smartphones or directly to the hospital. Ideally, the home would be a hub for your health data. "A whole group in Qualcomm was formed to help drive this forward," he said.
This new technology will "help improve efficiency, and where healthcare is not affordable, this will help consumers."
The further future vision is to enable phones to take on senses. For example, to be able to smell dangerous odors. "If you're sweating, it can detect that and give you options depending on mood or feelings. …[Also] hearing, your phone can sense environment and go into specific settings. If it's very quiet, for example, it knows you've entered a meeting and goes on silent."
Augmented reality is the way forward. Basically, it entails virtual 2D and 3D content superimposed onto images.
"So far they're GPS or compass-based," he said. You can hold up your phone at a mall for example and see where the sales are at which stores. But for more accuracy in the future, the camera will act as your eye.
"From a network perspective, we envision a world where there are multiple radios all around you," he said.
(c) 2011 Daily NewsEgypt Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
- OPINION: Firms should use the power of video to boost their websites [Daily Post (Liverpool, England)]
- More than $600,000 saved [Athens Daily Review, Texas]
- Marylanders on the Move: September 12, 2011 [Daily Record, The (Baltimore, MD)]
- Most Asian nations realising Internet cannot be tamed
- Cisco Delivers Innovative Compact Routers to Enable Vending Machines, Vehicles and Medical Equipment to Join the ‘Internet of Things’