Mobile business is the next generation of e-business, in which virtually any traditional business function can be delivered via mobile devices such as cell phones, pagers, or PDAs. The goal of mobile business and m-commerce is to enable people to conduct business and make purchases using portable devices as easily and efficiently as they could in the office or at home. The Essential Guide to Mobile Business is a complete, up-to-the-minute briefing on m-business for every non-technical professional.
KEY TOPICS:Leading m-business implementers Ingrid Vos and Pieter de Klein introduce the mobile Internet, comparing it to the traditional Internet from three different perspectives: customer, entrepreneur, and developer. You'll review key m-business technologies such as WAP and Bluetooth, and preview tomorrow's advances, such as GPRS, UMTS, and EDGE. Vos and Klein present a series of detailed case studies designed to help you identify your best m-business opportunities, and offer a detailed five-step action plan for establishing your mobile Internet presence.
MARKET:For all investors, business decision-makers, marketing, sales, public relations, and other professionals who need accurate, accessible information about emerging wireless technologies.
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Chapter 1: WAP and the FutureThis chapter concentrates on new techniques such as WAP and GPRS. Benefits of these techniques and the possibilities they offer to current and future users are described. Thanks to these techniques, everyone will be able to access the Internet from mobile telephones, organizers, or other mobile equipment. Via Internet, a wide range of other services will be accessible. Also, related technologies like EDGE, UMTS Bluetooth, and mobile positioning are explained.
Specially Designed for Mobile CommunicationWireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a standardized protocol that enables an application to be set up between a mobile telephone and a server. This enables Internet access, as well as use of other applications. The mobile user (Figure 1.1) can access information and applications on the Internet or on his or her company's Intranet. This was already possible before the introduction of WAP. A user who has access to a laptop or organizer can connect to Internet via mobile telephone. The user calls into an Internet service provider via a mobile phone in exactly the same way that he or she would do via a fixed telephone line. The user's interface is identical, but the speed is considerably slower. The bandwidth of a GSM connection is 9.6 kbit per second compared to the 56.6 or 64 kbit per second maximum provided by a fixed PSTN or ISDN telephone network. The GSM connection will be disconnected more often and give more transmission faults than a connection via a fixed telephone network because it is a radio connection.
The Internet is a simple and efficient method of delivering services to millions of PC users. WAP was specially developed to make the convenience of the Internet available to mobile users without the need for a laptop. This means that WAP takes into account the following limitations of the mobile terminal and the mobile connection:
- Low bandwidth. Mobile networks have a lower bandwidth than fixed net-works. This leads to lower performance. WAP minimizes traffic over the mobile network, enabling better performance. The WAP protocol elimi-nates unnecessary information, enabling only about half the quantity of data that is needed by a standard HTTP/TCP/IP stack to deliver the same content.
- Long delays. Mobile networks have longer delays than fixed networks due to the lower data speed. For the user this means a long wait before a reac-tion to his or her action. WAP minimizes the number of question-and-an-swer sessions between the mobile appliance and the WAP device.
- Poor connection stability. Mobile networks can be unavailable to the user for shorter or longer periods, for example, due to limited capacity or breakdown in radio contact. WAP minimizes the effects of signal failure by maintaining the logical session intact. Also, specific lost data can be re-sent on a selective basis.
- Limited screen size. Mobile terminals (even PDAs) have a small screen compared to a desktop. The size of the human hand will always limit screen size, even with the arrival of slightly bigger handhelds. WAP takes account of the small screen by breaking the total interaction with the user up into small parts (the so-called cards) that can be shown on small screens. Examples of interactions are text screens, lists of options, input fields, or combinations of these.
- Limited input possibilities. Mobile terminals have a small keyboard for data input. This is clearly much more difficult to use than the QWERTY keyboard on a PC. Text as well as numbers can be input with WAP, but in-put will generally be limited.
- Limited memory and processor capacity. Mobile terminals have very limited memory and processing speed compared to PCs. This is true for working memory and space for programs that the manufacturer puts in the terminal. WAP needs little memory or processing speed.
- Limited battery capacity. Access to mobile services increases the use of the radio interface and with it the consumption of power. WAP restricts the use of bandwidth and thus also the battery consumption.
Openwave, The Founder of WAP
When the broadband hype broke out in Silicon Valley at the end of 1994, Alain Rossmann, the founder of what is now Openwave, set himself the goal of making the Internet accessible via mobile telephones. In spite of all the limitations of a small device, Rossmann saw the value of Internet on the cellular: You always have it with you. He also foresaw a mass market. In 1996, AT&T was the first company to step into the mobile Internet world with the introduction of PocketNet. The product did not take off in the mass market, mainly because there were only a few types of large, heavy devices available. In the business market, numerous applications developed for transportation and logistics are still in use.
In 1997, in order to break into the fast-growing global mass market for mobile telephony, Openwave (then called Unwired Planet) decided to share its technological lead with dominant mobile telecom suppliers Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola with the aim of making its technology the de facto standard. The WAP Forum was born. This "new economy" decision was certainly good for Unwired Planet. The WAP Forum developed into the industrial platform for mobile Internet. Unwired Planet changed its name to Phone.com. Phone.com itself has a developers forum where more than 100,000 developers are registered. The Phone.com microbrowser has been licensed to more than 20 mobile telephone suppliers and is used by Motorola, Alcatel, Panasonic, Siemens, and Samsung, among others. The French Vodafone daughter, SFR, was the first European mobile operator to take the plunge. In March 1999, E.medi@ saw the light, as part of a mobile telephone package for small businesses. E.medi@ was based on Phone.com's own HDML programming language, the basis for WAP's WML.
Phone.com's application for a stock market offering in June 1999 gave financial room for expansion. Sales offices have now been opened in all important mobile markets. Also, Phone.com has carried out a number of acquisitions. They have bought Apion to serve the European operator market, @motion to add mobile speech recognition, Paragon for synchronization products for synchronization of PDAs and mobile telephones with the most important organizer platforms, and Onebox for unified messaging. These acquisitions have enabled Phone.com to expand its gateway product with personalization modules, telephony applications, and Intranet applications. Also, Phone.com has released a separate synchronization product under the name FoneSync Essentials ( www.fonesync.com). This product enables synchronization of the most important organizer platforms (e.g., Microsoft, Lotus) with a whole range of types of mobile telephones and PDAs.
In November 2000, Phone.com and Software.com, a developer of Internet infrastructure software for communications service providers, merged, adding a broad range of messaging products to the Phone.com portfolio. The merged company was called Openwave and it currently serves mobile operators in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. In the Japanese market—the biggest and most advanced mobile Internet market at the moment—Openwave has IDO and KDDI as customers. With i-mode, Japanese market leader NTT DoCoMo has developed its own WAP variant (see the section "Japanese Competition for WAP?"). Openwave claims to be the worldwide leader of open Internet-based communication infrastructure software and applications with more than 80 mobile operator customers like Vodafone Mannesmann (Germany), Telecom Italia, Sprint, and British Telecom.
The first commercial WAP services were based on the WAP 1.1 standard, issued in June 1999. The first commercial services were launched at the end of 1999 (info from KPN Mobile premiered on November 25, 1999). Prior to WAP 1.1, a number of mobile operators carried out a pilot with WAP 1.0. WAP 1.1 deviates somewhat from the WAP 1.0 standard and equipment based on WAP 1.0 cannot be used for services that are based on WAP 1.1. The Siemens S25 handset used a WAP 1.0 browser that was not compatible with any WAP service.
The WAP 1.2 specifications were approved in June 2000. The first commercial services based on WAP 1.2 were introduced early 2001. WAP 1.2 is backward-compatible with WAP 1.1. This means that WAP 1.1 handsets work with WAP 1.2-based services. WAP 1.2 provided several technical enhancements of WAP 1.1 functionality and a range of new functionality—SMS push services, end-to-end security using the SIM card (or another smart card), and integration of voice telephony services. The characteristics of the new functionality will be explained later.
WAP 2.0—released in Summer 2001—incorporates TCP/IP and xHTML into the WAP standard, offering programmers the facility to develop an application for both fixed and wireless Internet at once. WAP 2.0 also anticipates the upcoming faster networks and services, solving earlier stumbling blocks like security, personalization, and provisioning. WAP 2.0 should also be backward-compatible with WAP 1.x. The WAP Building Blocks
In many respects WAP resembles the Internet. An example is the manner in which interaction takes place. With WAP the user also has a browser at his or her disposal, enabling a request for an Internet address to be entered. This request is transferred to a WAP gateway via a mobile connection. This gateway sends the information request on to the WAP server. The server sends the required information back via the gateway. The gateway sends it back to the mobile phone over the mobile connection.
The WAP building blocks (Figure 1.2) are:
- the WAP client (the browser in the mobile telephone)
- the WAP gateway
- the server
- supporting services
WAP ClientTo make use of a WAP service, the user must have a mobile device that is equipped for WAP. Such a phone is equipped with a WAP microbrowser, which fulfills navigation and presentation functions just like Internet browsers on a PC. The navigation function enables the user to request information by entering an Internet address. The browser receives information from the Internet address and presents this to the mobile user. In addition, the browser is equipped with functionality that makes integration of telephone services possible....
Table of ContentsPreface.
Structure of the Book.
WAP and the Future.
2. Similarities and Differences between WAP and the Internet.
3. The Rapid Development of Mobile Communications.
4. The Internet.
6. Mobile Internet: Get on Board Now, or Wait?
Opportunities and Threats of Mobile Internet for Your Business.
7. WAP in the Real World.
9. Five Steps to a Successful WAP Site.
10. A Look into the Mobile Future.
Appendix A. Examples and Tips to Build a WAP Site.
Appendix B. List of Interesting URLs.
About the Authors.
What happened? In most countries, WAP was hyped by vendors of mobile phones or network equipment as the mobile Internet, showing images on mobile phones, which will not be possible for years to come. So when people finally got hold of a mobile phone capable of using WAP (availability was very limited the first year), they were disappointed that the services on their screen were not even close to the services shown in all the ads.
What's next? After this initial disappointment, people now have a more realistic expectation of what mobile access to the Internet can mean to them. Mobile operators and service providers create knowledge to improve services and customer satisfaction. Most mobile phones sold today are equipped with a WAP browser or (c)HTML browser, creating more opportunities for successful implementation and marketing of mobile Internet services.
But how? Don't make the mistake of thinking that the mobile Internet is equal to the "fixed" Internet, but mobile. Mobile phones have their own particular usage patterns and characteristics that need to be taken into account when designing and marketing a mobile Internet service.
Why this book? We believe that the mobile phone will become part of almost everybody's life and that people will want to use it for more than just talking with friends, family, or business relations. We predict that the mobile phone will grow from a voice communications device into a multipurpose terminal allowing people to communicate, exchange messages and email, use it as their information terminal and guide, their personal shopper, and even as their wallet. In this book, we describe both the technical developments and the societal trends that lead us to believe this. We explain what WAP and i-mode are, which markets will emerge because of the mobile Internet, and the opportunities this offers you and your company.
Who should read this book? Each manager interested in the developments of new channels to his or her customers or better communications with his or her sales force and other employees in the field, should read this book. Although the book starts with an overview of the technical developments, this is by no means a technical book. We looked at WAP and the mobile Internet from a business and marketing point of view. We tried to offer informative but easy-to-read material to a broad group of people interested in new developments—people wondering how to benefit from those developments.
Structure of the BookChapter 1 explains WAP and other technical developments like i-mode, GPRS, UMTS, SMS, location determination, and Bluetooth. We explain the abbreviations and, more important, describe which possibilities they offer for a user.
WAP and the mobile Internet are often named in one breath. Chapter 2 shows the similarities and differences between WAP and the use of the Internet via the PC. We show this from the perspective of the user, the service provider, and the service developer.
In Chapters 3, 4, and 5, we explore the markets for mobile telephony, the Internet, and mobile Internet. The developments and roles in each of these markets are explained and the use of mobile telephony and the Internet is described. At the end of Chapter 5, the playing field for WAP and the mobile Internet is clear from both a functional and a business perspective and we turn our perspective to the reader's situation. Which services could you offer your customers using the mobile Internet? In Chapter 6, we look at the most important trends in society you can react to with mobile Internet services. In the next chapter, we look at your playing field. What will customers expect from you in the future? Which movements will suppliers make? What will your competitors do? Will new players enter your market? Which substitution effects can you expect? In Chapter 8, we visit different companies that already have experience with WAP. What activities do they deploy with WAP? What is their business model? What are their experiences with the introduction of a WAP service?
In Chapter 9, we offer a five-step approach to a successful WAP site. Chapter 10 gives a view of a day in the mobile future. Of course it's up to you to think and act toward an even better mobile future. We hope this book contributes to your mobile Internet business success.
We were, as marketers, responsible for the introduction of the first commercial WAP service in Europe: minfo. This experience along with a lot of additional research has enabled us to write this book.