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Friday, December 30, 2005

Mobile TV is like open-air sex...

Happy Holidays to everyone! We've had loads of people 'taking a break' from their festivities to fill in our 10 minute 'Global Attitudes to IMS' online survey. Please join them. We will send a full report at the end of January to all those who participate: www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=909631592609

In the meantime, IMS Insider received the best possible Christmas present - a tremendous response from subscribers to the November edition of the IMS Insider Report (subscribe at
www.ims-insider.com). It described in detail a future IP-based service for mobile operators that made the best use of IMS and ranked extremely high on our 'IP Services Revenue Scorecard' [see postings below for more on that].

"This really brings to life how we need to start defining future services and the role IMS plays," said one senior marketing manager from a mobile operator.

Less encouraging (and a bit worrying), however, was an email interchange I had before Christmas with someone from the vendor side - the IMS Marketing Manager of a major Network Equipment Provider (NEP). He hadn't read the November report - because he's not yet a subscriber and is currently considering it as part of a global licence deal - but he thought it was strange that we were focusing on an 'IPTV'-related service scenario. Surely 'IPTV' is not relevant to IMS today, maybe in the future?

I strongly agree with him that 'IPTV', as it's currently defined (ie. a direct replacement of terrestrial TV, with a few more interactive bits thrown in), is precisely NOT what mobile (or FMC) operators should be focusing on.

However, as we've been saying all along in this blog and in IMS Insider reports, we need to start thinking 'outside the box' about future services. We need to look at leveraging the unique strengths that mobile operators have (particularly as a nexus for real-time multi-service management), and we need to look creatively at how we can COMBINE and BLEND functionality to create compelling SERVICE propositions (some people call them 'customer experiences') that make MONEY. Today, all we see are trials of functionality (Push-over-Cellular, Video Sharing, etc) or attempts by mobile and fixed operators to copy other service providers.

Mobile TV is a case in point. So, as the CEO of UKTV was quoted today in the Financial Times as saying, it's like open-air sex... it's a jolly exciting idea, but not always practical.

So, for the November edition of IMS Insider report we created a detailed scenario for a future 'IPTV'-related service that was very practical...and profitable.

'Practical' because it enables the mobile phone to be at the centre of a highly profitable audio-visual value chain. 'Profitable' because it allows the mobile operator to generate significant new revenues by placing it at the nexus of a more exciting customer experience.

The service of enables the customer to preview new movies releases (anytime, anyplace, anywhere), share the preview with friends over other bearers and networks, authorise selection and payment, authenticate a download via DSL to home TV, access related promotions and pass feedback and preference updates instantly across the supply chain to make future offers more relevant. And, critically, enhancing this process is core mobile telecoms messaging and voice functionality.

This is an example of a combinational service that takes best advantage of IMS, and can be delivered to customers within the next 18 months by mobile operators. It goes well beyond current Mobile TV and IPTV offerings...

In December's edition of the IMS Insider Report (available to subscribers in early January) we build on this example to show how federated identity (see www.projectliberty.org for an overview of this concept) combined with IMS makes these sorts of services very attractive to operators.

The Editor


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