Oksijen’s new product - INOX Caller Management - which was exhibited in a live network at Cebit Eurasia 2004 in August was successfully launched on 24 December 2004 at Telsim network, one of the biggest GSM operators in the Turkish region.

INOX Caller Management is an Intelligent Network (IN) based service which aims to deliver end users a full control of incoming calls in the most flexible and personalized way. The service subscribers can set a wide range of actions for the callers depending on their number, prefix or availability of the caller number in the network (CLIR or unknown numbers). Users can change their service preferences dynamically via WEB interface, SMS or IVR. They can also create personalized profiles such as general, meeting, holiday according to the specific actions they would like to take.
 
INOX Caller Management solution is compromised of several personalized services such as ring back tone, selective call barring, call forwarding, voice mail service and missed call alert, all handled by the same IN platform. This innovative all-in-one approach makes Oksijens product unique among its competitors over the world.
 
Oksijen INOX Caller Management reveals new opportunities for mobile operators in terms of new revenue generation and customer acquisition and offers an enhanced way of self expression in using mobile services to individuals and business segments.

Oplayo, the leading mobile video ASP backed by Nokia and Siemens, has today announced it passed the one million monthly paid video transactions via its Oplayo Managed Media Services (OMMS).

The service was launched with three operators in mid November 2004 and by mid-December, surpassed the one million paid video downloads and streams mark.

Philip Bourchier O'Ferrall, MD, Oplayo UK comments: "Oplayo has again demonstrated its competence in the mobile video market by generating the most monthly paid video transactions of any mobile video solutions provider in Europe. It's an exciting time for the mobile content market and Oplayo is able to offer mobile content providers and operators with a real opportunity to increase data revenue and profit."

O'Ferrall continues: "Oplayo expects the monthly paid transactions to far exceed the million mark now that we are able to complement the OMMS system with our Affiliate Scheme. The Affiliate Scheme empowers affiliate managers or Webmasters with a simple way to start offering mobile video - offering truly global sales promotion."

Oplayo OMMS, is a fully hosted solution that requires minimal upfront investment, is designed to minimise the commercial and technology risks associated with a new mobile service launch for operators.

The system supports 3GPP but, with such a limited market for 3GPP at present, the initial customers have opted for Oplayo's proprietary streaming products OplayerJV Java-based for the mass market and Oplayer for Symbian handsets, as well as Oplayo's popular player-less download product, Oplayo Vidlet, featuring true mass market, viral distribution and interactivity.

47% of IT Managers expect a surge in new mobile handheld devices in the workplace in January, says research

According to new research commissioned by O2, UK IT Manager's will face a drawn out hangover on January 4 2005, with 47% of IT managers anticipating a surge in new personal mobile devices either received as Christmas gifts or purchased in the sales infiltrating into the workplace. However, just 24% of businesses have formal policies in place to govern the use of personal mobile devices. For the rest, the influx of mobile Christmas gifts will place additional set up resource requirements upon the IT department or, go undetected into the business with potential long term security and governance ramifications.

The findings are part of a survey of 250 UK IT Managers, exploring the impact of personal mobile ownership on the IT department. Prior to Christmas 2004, the survey highlights that personal mobile device ownership in the workplace was already widespread with personal iPODS actively used in 29% of organisations, personal smart phones in 35%, personal BlackBerrys in 8% and handheld PCs in over 70% of businesses.

Despite the fact that personal ownership is increasingly widespread, businesses are still failing to equip themselves to manage personal mobility with a formal policy. Of those 76% businesses without a formal policy in place, only 12% are looking to introduce clear guidelines in 2005. Of equal concern, those with a policy tend to focus on controlling acquisition and approval of mobile devices rather than the level of actual usage. For example, only 25% of policies stipulated that users were not allowed to carry sensitive data on their mobile, whilst just 22% recommended that mobile devices were regularly backed up.

Whilst businesses continue to ignore the need for a mobile policy, the survey reveals that on average, IT managers are spending the equivalent of one working week of their time per year providing informal support for mobile devices. 53% of IT managers admitted that increasing pressure to informally support different types of handheld mobile devices is a significant concern, whilst in total 79% believed it provided a level of disruption to regular helpdesk support they are expected to provide.

Commenting on the research, Hugh Griffiths, head of data products and services, O2 UK says: “Ultimately, mobility brings a raft of benefits to the corporate workplace including better customer contact, lower office overheads and time efficiencies. However, IT Managers are clearly concerned that sooner or later connecting up the contents of the Christmas stocking is going to be their problem.  Even if people aren’t directly asking for connection support in January, sooner or later IT is going to be bought in to deal with back up problems, loss of data or security issues.”

Griffiths concludes: “As mobile continues to converge across the personal office space, businesses need to recognise that personal mobility is here to stay and needs to be accommodated - either through clear guidelines around what is allowed, or ensuring that time is written into the IT manager’s role to support employees.  Whether employees are using personal devices to download music or access email, this is all about the entry and exit of data into the business and IT departments should take the lead role.”

Adamind Ltd, a global leader in media adaptation software products for the MMS (multimedia messaging) market, has announced its intention to float on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange.

Adamind develops and sells software to global mobile operators that primarily enables delivery of images, ringtones, audio and video between mobile phones. Multimedia messaging, also known as MMS, is considered to be the next significant revenue driver for mobile operators while its use is being hindered by basic incompatibility between mobile handsets making content impossible to view by the receiving side.

Adamind’s products solve the handset incompatibility problem by real-time, “on the fly” adaptation of the content via a central software solution residing within the operator’s MMS server infrastructure. The products are sold through system integrators and strategic global MMS infrastructure vendors such as Openwave, LogicaCMG and other top class vendors to mobile phone operators worldwide. Adamind has already gained commercial deployments for MMS in over 80 tier-1 and tier-2 operator customers across the globe.

The purpose of the flotation is to enable Adamind to raise new funds to accelerate its growth plans and enhance its corporate profile.

Adamind was formed through the combination of the media adaptation businesses of Emblaze and Philips in September 2004. Pre flotation, on a fully diluted basis, Philips holds 25.5 per cent and Emblaze holds 59.5 per cent of the shares in Adamind. 15 per cent has been reserved for employees via the Employee Stock Option Program.

Media adaptation is a key requirement for the success of the rapidly growing MMS market. Furthermore, the market for media adaptation software is anticipated to grow substantially beyond MMS due to increased spending on mobile data infrastructure, rising demand for advanced handsets and the availability of a wide range of content, all aimed at driving up average subscriber revenue.

Mobile entertainment may equal big bucks for mobile operators keen to get services to market. However, applications and content test and certification processes for 3G networks have also created big challenges for mobile operators, writes Andrew Darling

As the amount of content and applications running over mobile networks increases, so too does the importance of ensuring that both network integrity is maintained and that applications function properly on a wide variety of devices. Application testing is the only way to guarantee a good user experience and early time to market for content providers and developers. And mobile operators face a major business issue with this process, not only to ensure QoS on the network, but also a consistent user experience on multiple handsets

The international mobile marketplace continues to grow across all segments. According to a recent report by Strategy Analytics, early adopters alone will account for nearly £50bn in mobile service revenues during 2004 and worldwide revenues from mobile data services are expected to increase from £34bn in 2004 to £106bn in 2009. Mobile entertainment applications are expected to account for around 28 percent of those revenues in 2009.

What all these statistics indicate is that, firstly, worldwide usage of mobile products will to continue to grow. As mobile handsets embrace new technologies and more capabilities, and as consumer comfort with using mobile products continues to develop, the mobile applications market should continue to be a profitable one. To help realise this potential, mobile applications developers, handset manufacturers and operators need to understand the requirement for testing and quality assurance standards across the industry.
Steve Glagow, director of Orange's Partner Program, says that although the amount of content and applications becoming mobilised is increasing, not all of it is endorsed by the operator. "If an application is good that doesn't necessarily mean its going to run on a network or a particular handset. It has to be tested and certified so it works every time. Anything that's in our service catalogue has gone through this process."

"We have 53 million customers around the world and we need to understand what our customers want. That's why we have the Orange Partner Program for application and content developers to focus on what we want from them," adds Glagow.

The Orange Partner Program provides a testing process for developers to follow so, as they create and submit applications, they are provided with automatic test tools. Orange works with Argo Group to provide software for developers that can test content on whatever handset is required. The software also shows how the content looks on the device screen and the developer can impose a 'pass/fail' verdict.

A second level of testing results in the application being sent to one of a number of developer centres Orange has established all over the world in 19 countries. There, the application is run over a 'live' broadcast network and again tested on the multiple handsets available in different geographic regions.

"Once we've selected the application, an Orange product manager contracts out to a third party testing house, such as NSTL in the US or Babel Media in the UK. If the developer has this phase done independently the application is certified for our catalogue and other operators. If not, we will pay for this and keep the digital signature for ourselves," says Glagow.

The entire test and certification procedure takes, on average, 90 days to complete. Glagow admits this delay can hit smaller developers hard in terms of getting their product to market and thereby generating revenue. However, he says that Orange is primarily concerned with the customer.
"We need to protect them from bad applications otherwise they won't buy from us again. Certification is well worth it for operators just in terms of CRM and the reduction in numbers of customer support calls," he adds.

Brighton-based Babel Media have co-written the certification program for mobile games testing on the European Vodafone live! portal and run it on an exclusive basis for the operator. The company developed a great deal of know-how in Quality Assurance (QA) testing from its experience in the console and PC gaming world. Managing director Algy Williams says the experience has helped it to deliver a comprehensive testing and certification program which satisfies Vodafone's demands.

"We have moved from console games platforms towards mobile games platforms and currently we have between 40 and 45 content providers who have content such as games, ring-tones and wallpaper on the Vodafone schedule. They are referred to us by Vodafone to make sure their content works properly on the portal," says Williams.

Due the increasing demand from operators for certification, handset porting and QA, this part of the business has gone from zero to 20 percent of company sales in under two years and Babel currently has around 60 people working on it.

"Time to market is the main advantage in outsourcing the testing process," Williams says. "Mobile application developers face the same challenges and problems as games developers. A huge proliferation of platforms and regional locations means that people are spending their revenues on platform testing, localisation etc. which adds a huge increase to fixed costs. If you outsource this process and concentrate on production, marketing and distribution of your products, you'll make more money more quickly."

Cambridge-based Bango.net provides content services for a number of mobile operators and also acts as a sort of clearing house for payments between operators and content providers. Founder and vice-president of alliances and marketing, Anil Malhotra, thinks all content should go through an independent channel but not just for testing.

"The operators need to spend less time acquiring content in the traditional way. O2 do their own testing but all of the operators are currently looking at squeezing costs out of the equation and that's where outsourcing partners can come in," Malhotra says. "Third parties should test the application and do the market research to see if it's a worthwhile application to put out."

Mike Short, vice-president of R&D at mmO2, agrees with this. "Third party test and certification partners are a very good way of speeding up this process. Within O2, we use SurfKitchen on O2 Active to ensure user experience is optimised for different handsets. Nokia is not as consistent as we'd like them to be in terms of content and applications working on their range of phones," he says.

Short sees standards as key to the development of a consistent test and certification process that helps everybody. "What the OMA is doing here is absolutely the right thing to do. It pulls together all the different elements of a bigger picture and provides a consistent approach to implanting standards."

While there will always be a need for diversification and platforms, the increasingly popular sentiment is that there exists a need for standardisation in the testing requirements of operators and within each of the individual platforms.

With less fragmentation across the operator and within platform testing requirements and standards, application developers and content providers will not have to navigate through a complicated and lengthy path to market. Industry-wide operator agreements in testing standards should result in quality applications that are simultaneously available across all major operator networks. The goal of the emerging movement towards one-submission testing within platform testing and QA requirements is that the applications see a more timely release to market across a greater number of handset models and devices. An application that is certified and secure is an application with greater financial value to all participants in the mobile revenue stream.

That's why, in early 2004, several key wireless players launched the Java Verified Program at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes. Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, Sony Ericsson and Sun Microsystems want the program to provide a unified process for the testing and verification of Java applications for mobile handsets. Applications can now be tested and certified only once for deployment over a wide arrange of delivery channels allowing a reduction in development costs and speedier time to market.

Through the program, mobile operators can access a large pool of wireless Java applications such as games, movie guides and video news clips. Content providers and application developers can monetize their applications more quickly and cost-effectively since meeting a single unified testing criteria will reduce the need to re-test for different distribution channels, each with their own proprietary criteria. In addition, a 'Java Powered' logo should help to expand the marketing mix of their products and provide customers with quality of assurance.

Jan Andersen, managing director of elkware, says the program will save his company both time and money. "We are very pleased to be able to leverage this program to 'write once, test once, run everywhere'. We will save a tremendous amount of time."

Both Orange and T-Mobile have since adopted the Java Verified program and all new mobile Java applications will be tested this way by one of the assigned testing partners including Babel Media, Cap Gemini, NSTL and RelQ, based in India.

"With a single mechanism to significantly reduce time-to-market, our developers can more easily reach out to millions of mobile users," says Steve Glagow, director of the Orange partner program. "The delay in the market is less of a problem for us and more of an issue for developers but they can help solve that by going to testing houses first."

O2's Mike Short sees the issue in wider terms. "The headline view is that non-SMS data is not growing as fast as we would like. Handset diversity has benefits for the market and for creating opportunities for other third parties to test and certify, but it's still a hindrance for us all."

"The GSM/GPRS/W-CDMA air interface standard is very, very strong but the application and handset standard certainly isn't consistent or strong enough yet," says Short.

However, while the move towards the standardised testing is a welcome one for operators keen to embrace a common program, Babel's Williams says Java Verified will only meet about 75 percent of operator requirements. "There will always be 25 percent for individual requirements but it does mean we are getting towards a faster process with better economies."

Nevertheless, Java Verified is beneficial to the content providers themselves as it enables them to get quality applications to the market more quickly and not necessarily through the operator channel. As Bango.net's Malhotra says "Off -portal is where the money will be made for content providers."

Trendily lower-cased mobilkom austria plans the rollout of an Austria-wide 3G full-coverage network by mid 2005, based on a smart combination of EDGE and UMTS technology, which it is calling known as UMTS PLUS, although wags might suggest it should be UMTS MINUS. 

Boris Nemsic, Telekom Austria COO Wireless and mobilkom austria CEO explained why the operator was using EDGE in infill areas where it has no UMTS coverage. "The economic rationale behind the deployment of EDGE in Austria as a complementary technology, in addition to UMTS, is that it prevents the construction of further transmission stations in the rural area."
At the end of 2004, UMTS coverage amounted to 60% of the population. The integration of EDGE in the UMTS network by summer 2005 will extend  enhanced coverage to 95%.
The first UMTS PLUS handset, combining EDGE and UMTS, is already available, the operator said.

Another high level executive at O2 has decided his future lies elsewhere. Following the exit of top man Dave McGlade, Laurence Alexander, who as ceo of O2 online is in charge of data activity as well as of in charge of products and services, is leaving to join device vendor Emblaze Mobile.

O2 is regarded as a mobile data success story, pushing revenues from data up to around the 20% mark. Alexander has been a major part of that, presiding over the content development, marketing and pricing strategies. He also presides over O2's sponsorship strategy, including deals with Arsenal and the England rugby team. His loss will undoubtedly leave a large hole within O2.
So what has enticed Alexander? Emblaze Mobile produces customised multimedia handsets, and has as its target European operators offering advanced data services. As such, Alexander, who at O2 has worked with Emblaze Ltd companies as a customer, will offer invaluable inside knowledge of operator strategies as well as top level contacts. He said that he thinks "all the pieces are in place" for Emblaze to develop from a relative unknown as a handset vendor to being a "major brand in mobile devices within three years."

The UK's first trial of TETRA digital radio communications for a private radio system has been announced today by AirRadio, a communications provider for the air transport industry.

The trial will also involve aviance UK, a provider of ground-handling services at airports. The trial has been made possible by the allocation of temporary digital bandwidth in the UHF frequency band by the UK's radio communications regulator, OFCOM.
AirRadio will install and operate the temporary digital trunk to assess the business case for private TETRA systems as well as technical issues such as the radio coverage that would be experienced in a permanent installation. aviance UK will trial digital trunk radios as part of day-to-day operations alongside its current equipment.
Brian Nicholson, Managing Director of AirRadio, commented, "Unlike other EU countries, the only spectrum released to-date for digital radio in the UK has been for public access national systems. This is the first occasion that spectrum has been made available here for a private, on-site system."
Infrastructure will be sourced from Team simoco,which has a distribution agreement for digital radio infrastructure with ETELM in France.  AirRadio will use terminals sourced from Sepura and Motorola in the UK.

Lucent has announced that it will integrate Alvarion's BreezeMAX (WiMAX-ready) product line within its Accelerate Next Generation Communications Solutions portfolio, which includes Lucent's IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) solution. Backing up that announcement, Lucent's Worldwide Services division has announced support for the deployment, and maintenance of WiMAX.

The announcement will be chiefly of interest to operators looking to provide a seamless service between different access methods, including 3G mobile and WiFi and WiMAX coverage.
BreezeMAX is Alvarion's 3G OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) platform, with advanced Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) functionality. It will be integrated to work within Lucent's converged networking portfolio, which rests on its IMS solution.
IMS is aimed at helping operators introduce new voice over IP (VoIP) and multimedia services more simply, by leveraging a common applications infrastructure to deliver services with a common "look and feel" across 3G mobile, WiFi, WiMAX, and wireline networks.
"WiMAX clearly complements existing and emerging 3G mobile and wireline networks, and can play a significant role in helping our customers deliver converged service offerings that can be accessed using a broad range of devices on a wide variety of networks," said John Marinho, vice president of strategic marketing for Lucent Technologies.
The WiMax Forum intends to begin to certify products as WiMAx Forum certified later in 2005. Alvarion expects the first demonstration of a mobile WiMAX solution based on the 802.16e standard within a year. The target launch in 2006 is intended to coincide with the availability of WiMAX-enabled devices such as laptops and PDAs that utilise chips currently under development.
Mobile WiMAX, as defined in the 802.16e standard, is intended to offer broadband services of several Mbps per subscriber or more with quality of service capabilities that enable applications such as VoIP.
The necessity for mobile operators to offer some form of fixed broadband wireless access to complement their 3G coverage is still a matter for debate, but most operators are looking at how IP could help them provide continuity of service across multiple access methods.

The mobile industry will descend on Cannes for probably the last time this year, to talk and do business at the GSM Association's 3GSM show.

Despite the special atmosphere the show has always benefited from, the event has simply outgrown both the exhibition venue and local hotel capacity. The attraction of a venue with its own airport is also understandable. So for this final show, it's hard to say what will be the chief talking points, but here are a few tasters before you head down there yourself.
For the big players, the main network equipment vendors, the focus (again) will be on next generation networks, HSDPA and IMS. The difference this year is that most of them will have some real trials to talk about. The vendors will also have to talk to operators about how they can face competition to their own business from outside the mobile world. Mobile operators are becoming keenly aware that they need to compete on price and service experience not just with each other, but with their fixed line counterparts and other media altogether.
So the vendors will also be keen to be seen to be dancing to the new tune of the operators, which is seemingly self-contradictory.
Tugged along as ever by Vodafone, now well on its way into its One Vodafone strategy review, all operators are looking for solutions that can help them introduce services in a harmonised and yet customised way. In other words, they want their platforms and management controls to be carried out in a harmonised way, but they also want those solutions to be adaptable enough to present their brands and services to customers as they choose.
This applies across the chain, whether it is billing companies, messaging providers, OSS vendors or test and network optimisation companies. If you need proof of this look at the announcements coming from the open standards bodies at the show, the OMA, OBSAI, OMTP. The "O" always stands for the same thing, by the way.
It's hard to pick highlights before the show has even started, but here is just a very small and representatively diverse selection of the trailers that have caught Mobile Europe's eye.

ZTE's European next gen debut: The Chinese manufacturer is showing 3G phones and next generation network equipment for the first time at the show. Its v.3 generation of W-CDMA equipment is R99 and R4 compatible,

Open-Plug's configurable phone initiative:
This initiative is being supported by Modelabs, Philips Semiconductors, France Telecom R&D. Sasken and Jaatayu. The intention is to support the development of phones that are easy to adapt  with new applications or user interface features at production or in the field. The approach is based around the Open-Plug ELIPS component-based Linux framework, and ModeLabs will unveil the first configurable phone. 
Aircom's OSS engineering tool may not sound all that tempting on first inspection but this stuff, and similar approaches from others, is critical. Aircom estimates the tool will reduce 2G and 3G network optimisation time by 60%. It draws terabytes of data from different sources including network statistics, planning information, configuration data and test mobile data and processes and analyses this to present suggested changes to the optimisation engineer. As we said, crucial.

Dilithium Networks has integrated its videophone software with "a major international operator's 3G cards." Stand by for video messaging and calls on your laptop, all at a scarily large scale.

Wolfson Microelectronics' blind sound test. Music lovers may want to test their hearing at the Wolfson stand, where it is contrasting its audio codecs for mobiles with the sound quality of MP3 players. See if you can tell the difference.

Subcategories