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Enterprise 2.0 – Drop The Web 2.0 Myths

Dr.Steve Hodgkinson, Research Director

Enterprise 2.0 – the dawn of a new organizational age?
When Enterprise 2.0 first hit the radar, many of us were excited by the new social collaboration tools and their power to usher in new collaborative behaviors.

Some of this promise has indeed been realized. The market for Enterprise 2.0 software is strong and growing, with social computing functionality such as profiles, wikis, blogs, microblogs, tagging, and presence now widely available, both in specialized Enterprise 2.0 products and embedded into office productivity and unified communications suites.

Organizations that are happy with their Enterprise 2.0 platforms find that they actually do lubricate interactions in ways that earlier, more rigid, groupware and content management solutions did not.

Sustaining participation in Enterprise 2.0 is harder than it first appeared
While some organizations naturally embrace the collaborative paradigm that lies behind Enterprise 2.0, others remain recalcitrant. Participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms can be slow to take off and fragile once the initial burst of enthusiasm from the passionate is over. It is becoming apparent that many organizations find it more difficult than it first appeared to sustain an architecture of participation in the workplace in the way that it appears to happen naturally in the Web 2.0 world.

Challenge the myths
One theme that is emerging more clearly is the folly of assuming that innovations and behaviors that work in the consumer realm will simply self propagate in the enterprise. In the consumer realm anything goes, and whatever survives and prospers is deemed to be “good”.

The enterprise realm, however, is more constrained in its purpose and population. Enterprises exist to pursue their mission, and are rife with processes and behaviors that stifle the social dynamics that exist in the wilds of the Internet.

It is time to confront some common myths. Enterprise 2.0 is not just about appealing to “Generation Y” and digital natives – we must engage workers of all ages. Not all people will leap to Enterprise 2.0 platforms without training and support. Not everyone in the workplace loves hyper-transparency. It is not OK that 1% write, 9% comment, and 90% passively consume; workplace collaboration needs more pervasive participation to be useful. Not everyone is naturally collaborative – collaborating, or not, is a learned behavior at work. Collaboration doesn’t necessarily “just happen” when a platform is provided.

Web 2.0 is a survival-of-the-fittest jungle, where people opt in to sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn for their own self-actualization and entertainment. Enterprise 2.0 is a designed, purposeful space, where particular behaviors and activities need to be created and nurtured.

Think like a gardener, not an engineer
Enterprise 2.0 requires a different approach to traditional IT systems implementation. Implementing a transaction processing system can be viewed as an engineering task because the users really have no choice. They must use the system to do their jobs. User participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms, in contrast, is entirely voluntary. People choose to collaborate, or not.
Organizations that are experiencing disappointing outcomes with Enterprise 2.0 need to take a fresh look at how they are going about it.

Thinking like a gardener rather than an engineer is helpful. Choose the right business problem to solve, create the initial structure sensitively, seed the conversations, moderate them carefully to stimulate engagement and shape behavior, show commitment to “feeding and weeding” the collaboration, acknowledge good behaviors, and manage the lifecycle of topics and threads to keep things vibrant.

Successful implementation of an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is a social thing. It is all about changing people’s behavior. Enterprise 2.0 platforms are simply the gardener’s tools – if the garden dies it is seldom the tool’s fault. Ovum/pr

Google, eBay in Talks to Add PayPal Option to Android Market

By Jason Ankeny

Google is in talks with eBay to incorporate the online auction giant's PayPal digital payment service into its Android Market application storefront in an effort to simplify the software purchase process. Citing multiple sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Google may introduce a PayPal option as soon as this year--at present, consumers must pay for Android Market downloads via credit card or Google's Checkout service.

Conventional wisdom suggests a more popular and user-friendly Android Market purchase option would galvanize developer interest in creating apps for the Android platform--last week, research firm Gartner reported that Android is now the third largest smartphone operating system worldwide, edging past Apple's iOS, but Apple's App Store boasts more than 225,000 applications for the iPhone and iPod touch while Android Market features about 70,000. PayPal boasts 87 million active accounts, and continues to add roughly a million new users per quarter.

In late June, Google updated the terms of its Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement in advance of introducing new application payment mechanisms, strongly hinting it will expand the storefront's operator billing options. Writing on the Android Developers Blog, Android developer advocate Tim Bray stated the DDA changes impact Section 13.1, adding "authorized carriers" as an indemnified party, as well as the new Section 13.2, which covers indemnity for payment processors for claims related to tax accrual. The updated DDA "is in preparation for some work we're doing on introducing new payment options, which we think developers will like," Bray wrote. [FierceWireless]

Survey: iPad Surpasses Print as Preferred Reading Option

  • Posted: Monday, August 16, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: iPad

By Jason Ankeny

Just months after the iPad first hit stores, early adopters already prefer the Apple tablet device to traditional print media formats, according to a new study conducted by media agency Cooper Murphy Webb. Among 1,034 U.K.-based iPad owners surveyed, 31 percent cite the tablet as their preferred method for reading newspapers and magazines, ahead of laptops/PCs (26 percent), print (21 percent) and mobile phones (12 percent). Thirty seven percent of respondents also cite the iPad as their preferred gaming device, outpacing traditional game consoles (35 percent), computers (22 percent) and mobile phones (6 percent).

However, laptops and PCs remain the preferred web browsing device for 55 percent of respondents, with 38 percent favoring the iPad and 7 percent citing mobile phones.
Twenty eight percent of iPad owners use the device between 10 and 20 hours a week--15 percent use it for more than 20 hours each week, and 24 percent use it between five and 10 hours. Although 33 percent of respondents say their PC or laptop remains their primary entertainment device, the iPad is now the leading entertainment destination for 24 percent, ahead of mobile phones (22 percent) and television (19 percent). [FierceMobileContent]

Publishing Platform for Digital Comics Launched by Finnish Startup Epuuk

Easy-to-use publishing format guards copyrights, Aims to change the market for digital comics

Epuuk, a supplier of digital comics for mobile devices and browsers, has launched its service in Finland and is set to expand to other geographies. The service guards copyrights and brings a new model of distribution for digital content. Epuuk is currently in the public beta phase and features content mostly in Finnish. The current selection varies from well-known international titles to Finnish indie comics, with more comics in the English language to come.

“Digital music became wide-spread on pirates’ terms, and damages done by illegal distribution have proven difficult to fix”, said Jarmo Kylmämaa, Managing Director of Epuuk. “Like record collections before, book collections are now going through a phase of digitalization and book publishers must move quickly to keep the development on track from the start. Our aim is to create a digital platform that serves the interests of readers, comic artists and publishers alike.”

Epuuk features both individual comic strips and whole comic albums. Comics bought from the service are saved in the user’s own digital comic shelf, where they can be read anytime and anywhere with a mobile device or web browser. Epuuk comics are kept undamaged, in order, and safe - even if users change their computers or lose their phones.

Epuuk is used with an app suited for most mobile phones or with any web browser by logging into the service. Users can also save one offline copy of their comics to be read on a mobile device. The content format used in Epuuk can be read with various devices, but is best suited for newish mobile phones equipped with large screens. The content does not require large amounts of memory or capacity, unlike PDF or JPG files for example. In the future, Epuuk’s content will also be made available on wireless reading devices.

“Our distribution channel guards copyrights, boosts the utilization of digital publishing rights, and offers a new publishing channel for indie comic artists”, explained Lauri Gorski, Business Development Director of Epuuk. “The web helps artists find their audience and serve the long tail that make publishing profitable also for niches titles. With Epuuk, artists and publishers have the means to distribute their content in a controlled way and collect small payments without excessive processing costs.”

Adapting content into Epuuk’s distribution format is a light and fast process. Epuuk’s affordable pricing and easy-to-use technology reduce comic artists’ need to offer free samples of work. The service lowers artists’ thresholds for bringing works onto the market and offers a way to test demand before printing an album on paper, as readers can be reached anywhere in the world online. [NetProfile Tech News]

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Networks

Consumers do want relationships

The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board.

Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care?

“Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “

According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.

Another survey, by Edison Research, found that 16% of social network users had friended brands there. And half (51%) had done so on Twitter.

Coupons remain a leading driver of brand interactions in social networks. Learning about sales and new products is also a strong motivator for people to interact with companies in social media. Beyond the tangibles, such as coupons, consumers do gain positive feelings about a brand as a result of their interactions.

Still, social networks are not seen as primary research sources when consumers are looking to buy. Although people are very inclined to take advice from friends and family about products they are interested in, they are not nearly as likely to seek out their social network friends when they are researching online.

According to a study by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group, only 3% of online buyers said they sought recommendations from social network friends first, compared with 57% who started with search engines. [Read more - eMarketer]

eServGlobal’s FlexiContent To Boost Operator Revenue During World Cup

  • Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Content Business

eServGlobal Limited, a provider of smarter transaction management solutions in Charging, Payment, Retention and Network Services, has announced that its FlexiContent Services will be available through over a dozen operators during the 2010 soccer world cup in South Africa.

Commencing June 11, the world cup is expected to attract the attention of over 1 billion mobile subscribers, many wanting the all important ‘live scores’ on their mobile phone. FlexiContent allows operators to quickly capitalize on subscriber needs during popular events by providing the much sought-after information and entertainment tools.

Launched earlier this year at the Cup of African Nations with 12 regional Orange Group affiliates, eServGlobal’s FlexiContent allows operators to generate new revenue during major events. It is a carrier-grade service that uses a rapid application development environment allowing operators to offer innovative content and two way message-based services without any set-up costs. Operators can use sporting competitions, TV shows and other current events to encourage subscriber usage of premium SMS services.

FlexiContent includes Games & Information Services, allowing subscribers to use Premium SMS to access match progress reports and results in REALTIME. FlexiContent also includes a variety of games, such as Instant Win, Predict & Win and Credit Goal, where subscribers play for airtime or financial rewards. Revenue is created through customers’ Premium SMS transactions.

FlexiContent also includes the Closed User Group Chat tool, where subscribers can SMS chat with selected friends about the competition and upcoming games. Once someone is added to the group they can invite other subscribers, encouraging increased ARPU (average revenue per user) through friendly competition.

Due to the platform's capability during previous events (revenue creation, network entertainment and customer stimulation), twelve service providers have selected to offer FlexiContent services during this year’s world cup.

Craig Halliday, COO, eServGlobal, said “We are extremely pleased with FlexiContent’s early popularity and look forward to delivering our new MMS service, where subscribers can ask to see the winning goal after the game, immediately after the first match on June 11.”/ Newswire

PCCW: A Best Practice Showing How to Gain Success via Convergence?

Like many incumbent telcos, PCCW’s fixed business is facing stiff competition, especially from fixed-to-mobile substitution. However, it continues to maintain a stable fixed-line subscriber base and experience growth in other revenue-generating sectors. In PCCW’s case, its convergent strategy is the driving force behind this success.

“Rather than abandoning its fixed business, it has invested in innovative new services, under the brand ‘eye’, in an attempt to not only stabilise its fixed-line subscriber base but also migrate those customers onto higher tariffs in order to grow its overall business”, said Sherrie Huang, Analyst based in Hong Kong.

PCCW positions its eye services as lifestyle services for all family members. PCCW eye, launched in 2007, delivers voice, SMS, infotainment, and lifestyle applications via multimedia fixed telephones. The upgraded PCCW eye2, launched in 2009, enables the user to access content such as now-TV and music videos via a portable touchscreen home portal. While other operators have failed in delivering similar strategies, PCCW has found that the eye services have improved customer “stickiness” and facilitated ARPU uplift. Huang adds, “We believe the main reasons for its success are its quad-play capability, clear positioning, good customization, and continuous innovation”, added Huang.

Overall PCCW has a strong TV capability and a well-developed quad-play solution, with innovative terminals and customized applications. The company offers bundled packages and convergent services, leveraging its strengths to defend/improve subscriber base and ARPU, while aggressively seeking out new revenue sources.

The main convergent services PCCW offers are content and applications such as now-TV and MOOV (PCCW’s online music service), shared among its four customer delivery platforms where appropriate. PCCW supports single billing and synchronization of content/playlists among platforms (e.g. its music playlist). It also offers significant discounts for bundled packages.

The success of PCCW’s convergent strategy can be seen in its financial and operational performances. It has seen fast growth in its subscriber base of convergent services. Also, the ARPU of convergent services is generally much higher than that of separate services, which has helped PCCW to stabilize its fixed service revenues and grow its pay-TV revenues. The monthly fee for its eye services is two to three times of that of normal fixed-line services.

PCCW is facing limited growth opportunities in the Hong Kong market and an increasing challenge from competitors; for example, CSL launched HSPA+ and will launch LTE this year, while HKBN is aggressively promoting its 100Mbps FTTH offering. “Further convergence and more innovative offerings will be needed if PCCW is to continue to defend its position in the market against such aggressive competition”, comments Huang. The player plans to enrich its convergent service portfolio further in 2H10 by (for example) adding popular Internet applications to eye2, and even offering an eye3 service, possibly with integrated mobile and Internet features, in the near future.

However, as the incumbent and with many subscribers in each market segment, it is very difficult for PCCW to make changes to or upgrade its support systems for convergent service delivery. “As well as network upgrades and construction, PCCW will also need to optimize its organizational structure and consolidate procedures and systems – a painful but necessary step toward long-term success”, Sherrie Huang concludes, “Another tricky problem facing PCCW will be how to balance its investments against the stringent cost controls required to continue to make a profit in today’s difficult economic climate”.

Hence for incumbents, PCCW can be a good case study showing how to maintain the previous investment as well as current market position, and how to develop new revenue sources. /Ovum-pr

J.D. Power: Touchscreen Input Leads Smartphone Satisfaction

  • Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Smartphone

By Jason Ankeny

Smartphone owners with touchscreen-enabled devices enjoy considerably higher satisfaction than consumers with phones incorporating more conventional input mechanisms like text keyboards, according to marketing information services firm J.D. Power and Associates' 2010 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study.

Among smartphone owners with touchscreen, satisfaction averages 771 on a 1,000-point scale, nearly 40 index points higher than other wireless subscribers--J.D. Power notes that slightly more than one half of respondents indicate their smartphone includes a touchscreen interface, adding that Apple ranks highest among smartphone manufacturers with a consumer satisfaction score of 810, followed by Research In Motion at 741.

The J.D. Power study also reports that both smartphone and feature phone users are increasingly using their devices for entertainment and media sharing. A quarter of mass-market handset owners now send and receive multimedia and picture messages, up 25 percent from just six months ago, while smartphone users are nearly twice as likely to share multimedia messages. Moreover, 17 percent of touchscreen-based smartphone users say they frequently download and watch video content, significantly higher than the segment average.

Additional findings of the J.D. Power survey:

Sixty percent of smartphone owners report downloading third-party games for entertainment, and 46 percent download travel software, e.g. maps and weather applications. Thirty-one percent say they download utility applications, while 26 percent say they download business-specific software.

Thirty-five percent of feature phone owners indicate they want GPS features on their next handset, compared to 15 percent of smartphone owners.

Younger users are more satisfied with their handset, regardless of whether they own a feature phone or a smartphone. Satisfaction among feature phone users ages 18 to 24 is 35 index points higher than the segment average, while satisfaction among smartphone users within the same demographic is 18 index points above the norm. [FierceMobileContent]

Enterprise Mobility in China: USD 4.1 Billion Market in 2014

  • Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Business Analysis

According to a new report from Ovum, the global analyst and consulting company, enterprises in China are beginning to express increasing demand for enterprise mobility for reasons such as higher affordability, more option for customization, and easier deployment.

Chinese companies are still in the early phases of enterprise mobility deployment. “This is evident from the limited types of mobile devices which have been procured and issued to their mobile employees,” explains Jane Wang, Senior Analyst at Ovum.

The China enterprise mobility market is not large compared to leading Asia-Pacific markets, but Ovum forecasts that future growth rate will be fast. “We expect enterprise mobility revenues to steadily grow, exceeding $4.1 billion by 2014,” said Jane Wang, based in Beijing.

Applications will be expanded and upgraded. As 3G and WLAN become more popular in China, and enterprise users recognise the benefits of mobile applications, enterprise users will extend their mobility requirements from the initial usage, such as network construction and push email into mobile OA, mobile ERP and other high end enterprise applications.

“The potential of enterprise mobility in each vertical industry is determined by its level of ICT adoption”, advised Wang. “In China, the vertical industries with higher adoption of ICT are finance, telecommunications, government and manufacturing”. Among these industries the proportion of enterprise mobility spending is less than 10% of their ICT annual budget; Ovum observes that these industries, in varying degrees, have strong potential demand on the enterprise mobility.

For example, the banking industry shows the interests of mobile banking, mobile payments, and there are pilot cases in several banking. Central and local governments in the process of building e-government systems are also raising demand, such as electronic police force to use of PDA and cellular applications.

Although the adoption are still small scale and at an early stage, Ovum believes if the enterprise mobility services provider offer a good experience to users at headquarters, enterprises will extend mobility services to their branches in the future.

Also, Ovum expects new verticals to emerge in the short term. Starting in 2009, for example, the Chinese government has been investing to reform the health care industry, and generating IT and communications requirements such as networked medical record systems and mobile applications to manage patient/doctor appointments and other communications. The electric power industry is also trying to set up intelligent grid planning, which will drive the demand of the power industry for machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile applications.

Ovum’s 2009 SME survey results show that SME demand and spending for enterprise mobility is relatively low. Service providers are offering them mobility services such as push email and SMS platforms. However, with the great enterprise number, over 90% of the amount of Chinese enterprises, SMEs represent a largely market space with opportunities and potential for high growth. SMEs expect to expand the share of their telecoms budget devoted to mobility, and many companies expect to use more mobility applications such as mobile IM and mobile multimedia. [pr/Ovum]

Google AdWords Goes Mobile Across Android, iPhone

By Jason Ankeny

Google announced a new mobile interface for its AdWords advertising program, promising iPhone, Android and Palm Pre smartphone users efficient access to their accounts. AdWords is Google's flagship advertising product and primary source of revenue--the program offers pay-per-click and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads, and spans local, national and international distribution. The new AdWords for mobile touts a streamlined user experience including remote access to key alerts and statistics, enabling advertisers to make quick changes and basic edits on the go.

"AdWords for mobile works best when you customize your experience," writes Google AdWords staffer Miles Johnson on the Inside AdWords blog. "Before using the mobile website, you should log in from your desktop computer and choose the parts of your account that you want to monitor closely. Set up custom alerts for key account events (like when your campaign reaches 90 percent of your daily budget, or when your traffic drops substantially compared to the previous week), and saved filters to flag your most important keywords and campaigns. You'll then see these filters and alerts on your AdWords for mobile home screen... If you need access to the other parts of your account, like ads or campaign settings, you can switch to the desktop version of AdWords through a link at the bottom of the screen."

Johnson adds that AdWords will be implemented as the default mobile interface for a small percentage of English language advertisers. Google plans to enable the feature for additional advertisers and languages in the weeks ahead. [FierceMobileContent]

Significant Opportunity for Mobile Content in Emerging Markets

  • Posted: Wednesday, February 03, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Business Analysis

Telecoms operators in emerging markets* must improve their strategy and execution if they are to ensure sustained success in the mobile content and applications arena, according to Ovum. The global advisory and consulting firm believes operators are yet to commit sufficient attention and resources to what is a small but growing market with significant potential.

According to Ovum, which has recently completed extensive research* on the subject, most operators have so far been too busy with land grab and expansion to be able to make the transition from providing basic voice and SMS services.

Significant potential

The content and applications market in emerging markets is currently immature and represents a very small part of the mobile market.

SMS and mobile Internet aside, content accounts for 5–7% of most operator revenues, and most of this is basic services such as ringtones, logos, wallpapers, simple games and news/information services.

“There are multiple reasons for this state of play”, said Angel Dobardziev, practice leader at Ovum.

“Many operators have yet to commit significant organisational focus and resources to this area. Users, many of whom have very recently crossed the communications divide, are still focusing their limited budgets on basic voice and SMS services.

“Penetration of more capable mid-range devices and smartphones, which enable a richer mobile content experience, remains low. 3G coverage also remains patchy in many markets, contributing to a slow multimedia experience.”

Confidence among operators

Many emerging market operators feel very confident about their current market position, and few are concerned about device vendors’ inroads into content and applications through applications stores or vertically integrated mid- to low-end services such as Nokia Life Tools.

The low penetration of smartphones and the immature payment infrastructure (which makes their billing capability that much more valuable) are the key planks of operator confidence in their market position.

This is the main reason that emerging market operators take a big cut of the content revenues – around 50%, far higher than the prevailing 30% norm in mature markets.

A strong content ecosystem will be the key market driver

Ovum believes the development of a strong, balanced and effective value chain will be one of the key factors that will shape the future of mobile content services in emerging markets.

Mobile operators currently occupy a central role in the value chain, but few are giving mobile content services the attention required to develop an attractive service portfolio in order to succeed.

“Of course, there are other important factors that will play a major role in market development”, said Mr Dobardziev.

“The availability of affordable mid-range devices that enable a richer content experience is still low, but is set to rapidly improve in the medium term, although smartphone penetration will remain relatively low.”

Literacy challenges will be a key barrier, particularly in rural areas, and solutions to overcome this, such as IVR and video, will be few and far between. Local content and applications tailored for, and in the language of, diverse local communities are still sparse, although this will improve rapidly in the medium term.

Hence, while different markets will evolve at different rates, in emerging markets as a whole we expect all of the above factors to lead to muted market development in the short term.

Operators need to improve their content strategies

Ovum’s research indicates that many operators’ strategies need more refined customer segmentation, stronger marketing (in its broadest sense), more effective management of the content value chain and a carefully considered application store strategy. Operator shortcomings are understandable: mobile content and applications require a very different mindset to selling voice and SMS.

In particular, operators must use their dominant position in the mobile content value chain wisely.

This means working effectively with other players in the value chain and, more importantly, ensuring there are adequate incentives for them.

“Key emerging market operators are in a good position to tackle the challenges of launching an own-brand application store”, concluded Mr Dobardziev.

“However, this will not be the default route for all operators and there are a number of other application store strategies to explore, including partnering with other operators or third-party application stores.” [PR/Ovum]

Compliance Will Drive IT Opportunities in 2010

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Business Analysis

According to Ovum’s new report on 2010 Trends of Financial Markets Technology, financial markets institutions will focus back on achieving revenue growth in 2010, moving on from financial crisis. However, government intervention and regulation will mean that institutions will not be a return to business as usual. The Obama proposals already confirm Ovum’s view on this aspect.

“This will create new IT opportunities for vendors in 2010. However, vendors will need to deal with flat overall IT market as IT cost management remains the order of the day”, said Daniel Mayo, Principal Analyst in Ovum’s Financial Services Technology team.

While government policies will change the industry in the medium-term, 2010 business strategy will be significantly impacted by regulatory policies around risk, compliance, governance and incentive structures. Despite cost pressures remaining in IT, technology will be a required component of strategies to managing future demands

The industry business strategy will be dominated by regulatory focus on liquidity, risk management and driving a structural change in business behavior. Information management and analytics will need to form bedrock of compliance and risk management solutions to allow institutions to deal with a continual evolution of compliance requirements

“Given the events of 2008 and 2009, it is unsurprising that regulators will be focused in driving greater transparency and stronger risk management in the financial markets technology sector”, adds Mayo, based in London. As an immediate outcome, this will drive greater demand for greater frequency, rigor and extent of regulatory reporting. However, in 2010 this will extend from focus on reporting to governance, incentive structures and actual business practices and controls.

The challenge for institutions will be dealing with the evolving nature of demands over 2010 as local and international regulators and governments develop strategies to transform the financial markets sector. While revenue growth will return in 2010, institutions need to maintain strong cost control to restore profitability and IT functions will have to meet demands within flat IT budgets. “This will require institutions to adopt a transformative approach to governance, risk management and compliance, rather than attempt to deal with demands on a one by one basis”, concludes Daniel Mayo. [PR/Ovum]

Southwest: Inflight WiFi Will Come to Entire Fleet by 2012

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Internet, Wi-Fi

By Lynnette Luna

Southwest Airlines announced late last week that it signed an equipment purchase contract with inflight WiFi provider Row 44, which provides high-speed Internet access via the Ku band satellites. The airlines said it has now begun the process of ordering equipment and scheduling for a full-fleet installation after ending the equipment testing phase.

Southwest chose Row 44 back in August but has since remained quiet about its specific plans, only saying inflight WiFi rollouts would begin in 2010.Southwest plans to begin installing equipment during the second quarter with a goal of equipping 15 aircraft per month initially and increasing that number to 25 per month. "With this schedule, we estimate that our full fleet of more than 540 planes will be outfitted with WiFi service by early 2012," said Southwest's Dave Ridley in a blog post.

Still unanswered is the cost of the service. The airlines isn't announcing that yet, saying it's still testing a myriad of price point on the four aircraft that are currently equipped with WiFi. Currently, passengers on certain WiFi-available flights pay between $2 and $12 per flight depending on travel distance and the type of device passengers are connecting. As such, an iPod Touch user may pay a different price than a laptop user.[FierceBroadbandWireless]

iPad: Apple Takes a Bite of the e-books Market

  • Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2010
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Business Analysis

By Adam Leach, Principal Analyst

Yesterday Apple launched its much anticipated tablet device, the iPad, and with it Steve Jobs proclaimed that Apple was now a mobile device company. Apple hopes to kick-start the market for e-books with its iPad and iBookstore service, and replicate its success with the iPod and iTunes. However, like the iPhone, the key to the iPad’s success will be the value added by the enthusiastic community of Apple developers.

iBookstore is to books what iTunes is to music

The iPad, which resembles an enlarged iPhone, with a 9.7-inch touch-screen, will be available worldwide from March 2010. Apple has produced a unique device that has multiple use cases, from e-book reading to video watching and gaming.

A key aspect of the iPad proposition is Apple’s iBooks application. It allows users to both read e-books on the device and, importantly, to purchase new books and download them directly to the iPad. This puts the iPad in direct competition with other e-book readers, but most notably with Amazon’s Kindle. The revenue-generating capacity of the e-book market looks significant, with early estimates for the Kindle 2 last year suggesting that the device had generated over $100 million in revenues in little more than two months after its launch in February. Apple will be aiming higher still with the iPad, which should also deliver a useful uptick to its other content stores.

The iPad’s advantage over the similarly priced Kindle DX is that it provides a host of multimedia functions as well as e-book reading. Although this seems like bad news for Amazon, the iPad will certainly increase the market for e-books.

The iPad as a platform

The iPad is based on the iPhone OS, and applications built for the iPhone will run on the iPad, providing users with access to over 140,000 existing applications, giving them content from the start. However, the real value will be delivered once developers start delivering applications optimised for the iPad. Although this will require extra effort for developers and cause fragmentation, some will be motivated by first-mover advantage. However, the larger shift will happen once there is a proven addressable market.

The iPad, like the first versions of the iPhone, has a number of limitations (such as no camera and no multitasking capability), and it is tempting to believe that these will limit its success. Apple will refine the iPad through OS updates and new hardware, but still needs to deliver a compelling experience for the initial version of the iPad. It cannot rely purely on improvements that are not yet delivered to establish the product.

Apple is essentially acting as a highly specialised MVNO

If, as Apple’s press release seems to imply, the device will be tied to AT&T, even in international markets, this may leave a greater legacy, with local carriers potentially cut out of the revenue loop created by such a relationship, except through roaming charges. The potential for many more such selective agreements to be made between platform vendors and specific carriers is clearly a concern for those excluded from such deals. It is also consistent with the idea of tight interdependency between specific SMART and LEAN players outlined in Ovum’s Telecoms 2020 Vision report series.

As with Amazon and the Kindle, Apple with the iPhone and iPad is essentially acting as a highly specialised MVNO, piggybacking on AT&T’s international access agreements. But while there appears to be very little scope for other carriers to join the party, there may in practice prove to be opportunities for regional operators to act as the host carriers for the iPad once its geographical reach extends beyond the US and the as-yet-unannounced initial international markets.

Cheap data plans will help adoption of the iPad

AT&T’s data plans for the device are cheap compared to current big-screen mobile broadband prices, but are nowhere near as generous. Users opting for the 3G device can pay either $14.99 per month for 250MB or $30 for unlimited data, both without the need for a fixed contract term. The ‘unlimited’ plan is a good deal cheaper than the $50–60 per month plans currently seen for netbooks. However, 250MB per month would be limiting for many users on an iPhone. Significantly, both plans come with free access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots. This reinforces the idea of the device as nomadic rather than truly mobile like the iPod or iPhone. [PR/Ovum]