Beating opertors off with a stick...

For some time now, Video Mobile has been predicted as the next big success story of the mobile world. It seems now that the wait might be over. Mobix Interactive, the specialist Video Mobile company reported today that it has had to increase its production capability three fold in the last three months to cope with demand from mobile operators for its services.

The London based company which already provides services to Vodafone, 3, T-Mobile and Orange has most recently secured a lucrative deal with O2 to provide its entire Video Mobile service for the next three years.
 
These agreements are just the start of a significant increase in demand from prospective and existing operator clients who need to launch new video services or improve their existing ones ahead of the traditional end of year rush.
 
For Mobile Operators, Video Mobile has become the must-have service and is the key component of their 3G services which many are now in the advanced stages of launching.
 
“Its not just the mobile operators either” says Matt Heiman, Chief Commercial Officer. “The whole Video Mobile market has just exploded. We have just signed deals with two major handset manufacturers and are in discussions with a specialist mobile retailer as well.”
 
Mobix Interactive has come a long way in a very short time and now less than eighteen months after its incarnation is servicing the demands of the world’s leading mobile phone operators in their quest for high quality video content.
 
The company, which is run by former Orange Director of Imagineering, Lance Stevens with serial entrepreneurs Matt Heiman and Robert Gilham, is now in an enviable position developing video from over 20 content providers within its portfolio and providing commercial live services to mobile networks all around the world.
 
Mobix is unique in its creative and technical positioning and is unrivalled in its ability to create compelling high quality Video Mobile content from a wide range of formats. This can then be delivered simultaneously across handsets from all manufacturers spanning all 2.5 and 3G mobile networks.
 
CEO Lance Stevens puts Mobix’s success down to its ability to deliver.  “In a short space of time we have developed a reputation for reliability and flexibility. Our content partners know they can trust us with their assets and that we, in turn will protect their interests”.
 
With over 80% of mobile phones sold in Europe now video capable and a predicted market of 10 Million by the end of the year, Mobix doesn’t see any signs of the rush abating. It seems that Video Mobile has really arrived and Mobix with it.
 

External Links

Mobix Interactive

Controllers help to test and improve GPRS Mobile Traffic Shaper

CellGlide, the leading provider of telco-grade mobile traffic shaping solutions for GPRS, EDGE and UMTS mobile networks, has announced it has used Adax signalling controllers to help test and improve its GPRS Mobile Traffic Shaper (MTS).

The company built a low cost SGSN platform, which incorporates the Adax ACT4-PCI and HDC-PCI Combo MTP2 cards, to simulate different mobile network deployments in the lab.  The cards provided a cost-effective signalling interface and robust testing reference for the platform and were quickly and easily integrated with the existing GPRS and SS7 stacks.  This enabled CellGlide to reduce the cost and time taken to develop the SGSN simulator and its MTS product.

The CellGlide GPRS MTS is a core data-network product, so its development and testing would normally require a complex multi-million dollar captive lab environment.  The Adax-based SGSN simulator platform could be easily scaled and/or replicated to create complex mobile network deployment configurations.  This allowed CellGlide to conduct sophisticated testing in-house, removing the high cost and inconvenience of using external testing facilities to develop their MTS product.

“We were looking for a robust signalling platform that could be easily integrated with our GPRS and SS7 stacks,” said Dr. Aharon Satt, Chief Technology Officer at CellGlide.  “The Adax products offered a solid testing reference platform with an attractive price-per-port.  This low-cost easy-integration testing infrastructure enabled us to quickly build an extensive captive environment, which in turn helped reduce product development time.”

The ACT4-PCI card is a four port, high density, channelled HDLC board that provides a cost-effective solution for Next Generation Networks and traffic monitoring applications.  The card can handle multiple protocols including X.25, Frame Relay, LAPB, LAPD, HDLC and LAPV5, providing up to 1,024 DS0s and increasing call capacity in a single system.

The HDC-PCI Combo card is a high density, multiple protocol, channelled controller for wireless, wireline and converging PSTN/IP network platforms.  It offers support for both traditional SS7 and SIGTRAN protocols for SS7 over IP, making it the ideal product for Signalling Gateways and Media Gateway Controllers, in addition to SGSNs, GGSNs, MSC and BSS nodes in GPRS networks.

m-Test Professional enables automated testing of mobile phone software to reduce time to market – optimise cost of testing and minimise the risk of product recalls

Intuwave, the mobile software specialist, and Mercury, a leader in Business Technology Optimisation (BTO), are working together to improve time to market, minimise the cost of testing operations and reduce the risk of brand damage associated with the recall of mobile phones due to software quality.

This problem is addressed by m-Test Professional - the first application specifically designed to address the growing complexity associated with the testing of Smartphones.

In conjunction with Mercury's QuickTest Professional functional test automation software, m-Test enables an almost infinite number of Smartphone operations to be physically run simultaneously on multiple phones without user intervention. Intuwave and Mercury are currently jointly running pilot implementations with two major device manufacturers and an ISV.

Andrew Wyatt, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Intuwave, said, "In the past, the shortcomings of manual testing and expensive home grown cumbersome testing robots and tools resulted in product recalls that cost companies tens of millions of dollars and incalculable damage to the value of their brand. With today's Smartphones requiring between 50,000 and 500,000 individual tests to be carried out to ensure they are fully market-ready, this problem is only going to get worse. By automating the testing of mobile software, m-Test - for the first time - allows handset manufacturers, mobile operators and independent software vendors to ensure that the devices and the applications running on them work out of the box."

m-Test links to Intuwave's technology included in the core operating system of every Symbian-based device to enable the PC to take control of a connected Smartphone. It can then be used to automate the testing not only of Smartphones but also third party applications, network services enabling mobile operators to verify and certify that handsets will work in their distinctively positioned and added-value environments. As a result of Intuwave's relationship with Mercury, m-Test enables the integration of existing comprehensive, stable and mature PC testing tools into the Smartphone environment.

Revenues from mobile ticketing applications will help turn the global mobile commerce market into an $88bn industry by 2009, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

Digital goods such as mobile entertainment (ringtones, games, wallpaper, gambling and so on) will continue to be the largest application for buying and selling via the mobile phone but ticket purchases will also emerge as a major application area by 2007 with revenues totalling $39bn by 2009.
  
The report reveals that train and bus travel, cinemas and theatres, as well as car parking, will be key ticketing application areas. Mobile users have already started to show interest in ticketing particularly in Europe and Japan.

The report also reveals that:
•Mobile entertainment transactions will be worth $48bn by 2009.
•Retail Point of Sale (POS) mobile transactions will be slow and be worth only $299m by 2009.
•RFID and Infra Red technologies are likely to have major influence on future developments of mobile as a payment device.
•The development of global standards will continue to be slow due to too many industry bodies concentrating on vested interests.

Report author Marc Ambasna-Jones said: "Mobile ticketing has the potential to be a huge application. The very nature of buying and selling tickets is high volume and low cost. This will make it easier for consumers to try it at least once because it is low risk. The aim is to make it more convenient than cash and there is willing among operators and merchants to make it happen but it will take time."
  
"Globally the m-commerce market will be fragmented mainly drawn up by continental boundaries. Each region is developing at a different pace and with different technologies in mind. There is no one global standard but this will both help and hinder m-commerce. A focus on local needs will probably help the technology develop more quickly but eventually we will be faced with a roaming problem between regions."

T-Mobile has introduced its latest mobile multimedia offering: News Express, an innovative mobile newspaper service, which is delivered directly to your handset.

News Express is made up of four channels: news, sports, weather and entertainment, which are refreshed automatically, twice a day. Each of the two daily editions contains a series of articles covering national and international news and sports updates, showbiz gossip, as well as comprehensive national weather information with three day advanced forecasts for all major cities. Reports are accompanied by relevant full-colour pictures, such as snapshots of stars & starlets, key moments of major sports events, and detailed weather maps. In addition, breaking news alerts are sent ad hoc throughout the week allowing News Express subscribers to have the latest news updates at their fingertips. All reports and breaking news contain links to further information on specific topics, which can easily be accessed via t-zones.

An interactive mobile multimedia experience
News Express is the first European service to use Macromedia’s Flash Lite 1.1 technology allowing News Express subscribers instant access to news anytime, anywhere, as well as easy navigation throughout all available stories. News updates are delivered automatically in the background of the application via relevant software that is either pre-installed or downloaded via t-zones. The customer will therefore be able to read information off-line with no need to connect and no waiting times. An easy to use graphical interface allows News Express subscribers to simply click on an icon to go directly to the latest information, bringing the power of a rich multimedia newspaper experience to the mobile phone.

“News Express is one of the cornerstones of our mobile multimedia product offerings. The service is as easy to read as a newspaper, offers a rich news experience with a slick interactive feel, and our customers can trial it free of charge until the end of October,” comments Sandy Munro, Marketing Director of T-Mobile UK. “Moving forward, we plan on expanding News Express with additional news and magazine content, including mobile versions of popular newspapers, tabloids and lifestyle magazines, effectively creating a mobile news stand.”

Pricing & Availability
Starting this week, News Express is available for download to all T-Mobile UK customers with Nokia 3650, Nokia 6600, Nokia 7610 and Sony Ericsson P900 handsets. Further handsets capable of supporting News Express will be added from September, all of which will come with pre-installed software (no download necessary), enabling customers to trial and use the service ‘out of the box’.

As an introductory offer, News Express will be free of charge to all UK customers until the end of October. After this promotional period, News Express is expected to cost £6.00 per month (minimum one-month subscription), which is less than 10 Pence per edition.

Zed and Eurosport have formed a partnership to develop and sell mobile services for major sporting events across Europe.

The partnership began with Euro 2004, Zed and Eurosport offered a range of exciting mobile services for all the International matches throughout the Euro 2004 tournament. Services will initially include ring tones, logos, games and alerts on major sporting events. The partnership is initially in place in the UK and Germany.

The partnership between Zed and Eurosport marks another significant step towards greater co-operation between Zed and media partners as Zed's Head of Partnerships, Antti-Jussi Suominen explained:

"The partnership again confirms the fact that TV and mobile services complement one another very well. This is one of our most exciting media partnerships to date and we are really pleased to be able to join forces with Europe's leading sports channel and offer our joint mobile services to their demanding audience."

Arjan Hoekstra, director of business development at Eurosport says, "The strategic importance of mobile services continues to grow. Through our cooperation with Zed, we've targeted this field for further expansion. We see the mobile phone as a channel having increasing significance on our business model in the future and this partnership
underlines our determination to offer Eurosport customers sports services regardless of platform or technology. Zed's experience in this area helps us to offer our viewers the right services with the right technology in the background."

The worldwide market for handheld devices experienced a slight sequential gain in the second quarter of 2004 but, despite strong shipments from top 5 vendors palmOne and Medion, was unable to post a year-over-year increase. According to IDC’s Worldwide Handheld QView, device shipments increased 3.2% sequentially and dropped 2.2% year-over-year in 2004 to 2.2 million units.

The Carphone Warehouse has joined forces with PhotoBox, the leading online digital photography company, so cameraphone customers can utilise a range of digital photographic services. These include storing, sharing and printing images taken on cameraphones, plus an extensive range of personalised photo gifts, all made available through PhotoBox's technology.

The Carphone Warehouse Photo Service will enable customers to:
· upload cameraphone images by MMS into FREE online album space
· share photos with friends
· order quality prints from mobile photos
· get images printed onto a range of gifts including bags, cushions and mousemats.

PhotoBox, the number one online destination for digital photography, provides the technology that powers the service.  Graham Hobson, CEO of PhotoBox, is delighted with the partnership, "Cameraphones are the latest development in imaging technology, with sales already outstripping digital cameras.  Carphone Warehouse customers can now capture, store and print their images at the touch of a button."

The Carphone Warehouse is the largest independent retailer of mobile phone communications in Europe. The company, which began trading in 1989, has recently seen record sales of cameraphones and this summer has been giving away all cameraphones on contract free, in a continued effort to maximise the category.

Rupert Elvins, European Head of Purchasing at The Carphone Warehouse, said, "PhotoBox is the ideal partner for us as they have great technological know how and experience in the digital imaging world.  Our customers constantly demand more from their phones and we want to help them realise the potential that camerphones provide. "

Industry research suggests that cameraphone sales are increasing steadily as the technology is constantly improving.  "However, we are aware that for some customers, new technology can be confusing, so to make it as accessible and intuitive as possible, the site will also include tips on downloading and sharing images," continued Rupert Elvins.

Antenova signs a research partnership with Maruwa to create a
consolidated RF module with a fully integrated antenna

The innovative antenna company Antenova moves in to the realms of RF modules with a new co-operative research agreement with Maruwa, based in Japan. The partnership will speed up the design and creation of a consolidated RF module, which will have an antenna fully integrated. The module will be developed to offer multiple antennas, an increased performance with a greater efficiency, and enable the receiving device to have a longer battery life.

Under the terms of this agreement Maruwa, a market leader in ceramic technology will share their knowledge of Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) production processes and Antenova will design the antenna utilising its High Dielectric Antenna (HDA) technology to specified chipsets for manufacture as a complete module.

The market is driving towards greater levels of integration as devices are getting smaller and PCB real-estate is in greater demand as more and more components are added to devices.  The antenna is a logical component to integrate as OEMs are looking to speed up the design cycles, make savings on Bills of Materials (BoM) as well as space while achieving increased performance.  All of these will help to ensure that the product gets to market quicker, ahead of strong competition.

LTCC is a mechanism by which layers of silver or other metals are printed onto ceramic substrates to form passive components and the layers are then stacked and fired to form a very durable end product. The key advantage of this technology is that by being able to use multiple layers, lots of different components can be fitted into a very small area and then compounded to form a single device.  Coupling this technology with Antenova's HDA antennas, which have good resistance to detuning, means that other components can be placed close to the antenna and will have minimal interference.  Other benefits of HDA technology include high efficiency, small size and good isolation.

"We are very pleased about the new developments we have made in our technology enabling us to advance the company into this new exciting direction.  We are extremely happy to be announcing this partnership with Maruwa, a market leader in ceramic technology.  There is a great synergy between the  technologies and I believe this is the start of a very profitable relationship", says Greg McCray, CEO of Antenova.

"We have been very impressed with Antenova's technology and continual innovation; their drive and determination to succeed.  We are very delighted to be part of this, by combining our efforts to bring to market a truly leading-edge product.  This product will cement our expansion into new markets and really increase our presence in the celluar and WLAN market", says Kazunari Kawabata, Senior Managing
Director of Maruwa.

Forty constabularies - including the first in Scotland - have now received O2 Airwave, the UK's first national communications system for the police.

The milestone illustrates the progress of the 5-year programme by O2 Airwave, part of mmO2 plc, to roll out the largest mobile communications network of its kind in Europe for public safety organisations.  This will gradually allow the police to replace their outdated analogue radios with the state-of-the-art public safety technology.  The £2.9bn government contract is due  for completion in Spring 2005.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary has just become the first in Scotland to take delivery of Airwave, and Sussex Police will this week be the 40th out of 51 forces to receive the service.

Over 60,000 police officers are now using Airwave in their everyday operations, and many are reporting that they not only feel safer but also identified and caught criminals as a direct result.  A large number of forces are expanding the use of Airwave to enable their officers to access the Police National Computer and other databases direct from their handsets in a matter of seconds.   Technologies, such as Automatic Vehicle Location Service, are improving response times by enabling forces to deploy officers more appropriately and helping to keep officers out on the beat instead of in the police station.

Over the next few weeks, Sussex Police will undertake a period of officer training, with the service going into operational use at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton in September.

Supt Ross Hollister of Sussex Police said: "Airwave is an important initiative to us and to the police service as a whole.  It will help us to communicate better across the county as well as talk to other forces if and when the need arises."

Over the next few months all 8 Scottish forces will receive Airwave, giving radio coverage across more than 90% of the country - a massive increase on the patchy coverage provided by the present system. Soon, for the first time ever, officers the length and breadth of Scotland will be able to talk easily to each other and with colleagues south of the border when necessary.

Chief Constable David Strang of Dumfries and Galloway described Airwave as 'a major step forward in both officer and public safety'. 

He said: "Airwave will make a enormous difference to us.  It's cutting-edge technology which will help us be more efficient, effective and stay one step ahead of criminals."

Peter Richardson, Managing Director of O2 Airwave, said: "This is a significant milestone for Airwave.  In Scotland and, indeed, in many other parts of the UK, police have had to endure patchy radio coverage and out-dated technology.  This is a situation most businesses and consumers would find unacceptable, let alone the emergency services on which we rely for public safety."

Cambridge 3G, Europe’s leading centre of excellence in broadband mobile, has announced the opening of the dedicated W-CDMA Application Test Network (ATN) in Cambridge, in association with Vodafone UK.
 

The ATN is specifically designed to foster a community of innovative broadband mobile application developers, and support them in the creation, test and commercialisation of novel applications. Vodafone UK has provided the ATN infrastructure. Cambridge 3G will manage access to the network, providing technical support to users, and through its members provide technical and commercial expertise to encourage innovation in application development and support this through to realisation.
 
David Cleevely of Analysys, Chairman of Cambridge 3G, said: "Cambridge 3G is privileged to be working with Vodafone UK on this ground-breaking initiative. The launch of the ATN is a key milestone for Cambridge 3G and it is very rewarding to see it come to fruition. We are now 'open for business' and are actively seeking organisations that wish to bring their broadband applications to market. We are especially keen to encourage leading application developers to come to Cambridge UK to take advantage of the world-class infrastructure, which includes the University and many commercial organisations that can help turn new ideas into commercial propositions. We are especially pleased that Vodafone UK has chosen to provide support for the ATN here in Cambridge."
 
The ATN will be managed by a Steering Committee of Cambridge 3G member companies with a pedigree in 3G technology, including UbiNetics, Scientific Generics, Trigenix and Vodafone UK.
 
Benefits of participation in the ATN include technical support, access to the latest available handsets and data cards, special test tariffs, and access to a network that has been designed for the testing of broadband applications in a variety of rural, suburban and urban environments. Involvement in the ATN will provide developers with a support environment and access to other members of Cambridge 3G who are able to assist in developing, testing and commercialising their applications.

Mobile Streams, the global mobile content company, announced today that they have created a superb wireless content offering with the widest range of ringtones and backgrounds for PocketThis users.

PocketThis supplies mobile data services software to operators such as Orange and O2 that allows their subscribers to save, share and act on any information with one touch from their mobile phones. Using the PocketThis-based service, subscribers can save and act on Web and WAP-based pictures, film listings, restaurant reviews, and easily text friends. As they do so, they receive a prompt with a WAP link offering ringtones and backgrounds, a service that is hosted by Mobile Streams.

Simon Buckingham, CEO of Mobile Streams said: “We are excited to be working together with PocketThis to offer more carrier subscribers from our vast range of ringtones and backgrounds.  We have a superb track record at supplying mobile carriers with the most innovative content available, and are committed to offering a first class service.  Our existing global reach together with our local presence makes us the ideal partner to supply the PocketThis service.”

“PocketThis helps mobile operators deliver the best data services to subscribers, and our relationship with Mobile Streams now ensures they’ll have access to some of the latest and most compelling content available,” said, Nancy Benovich Gilby, CEO of PocketThis.

External Links

Mobile Streams

250% growth in use of 3G services, 175% growth in Java game downloads

Enpocket, the leading mobile marketing solutions provider, has unveiled the findings from the latest Mobile Media Monitor. The quarterly analysis from Enpocket Insight helps marketers understand the changing patterns of mobile usage and provides actionable data for customer use with the Enpocket Engine. 

This quarter's analysis shows that the number of mobile phone owners using 3G services has surged by 250% over the past six months, an interesting trend considering that a number of major carriers are currently rolling out consumer 3G services across Europe.

3G services were launched in the UK in November 2002 by 3 and are now being rolled out by the major UK carriers, such as Vodafone who recently unveiled its plans for a consumer 3G launch later this year.

Less than 3% of UK mobile phone users are currently using available 3G services, but this represents considerable growth from just over 1% in Q4 of 2003.

Interestingly less than 40% of consumers who own a 3G handset actually use it for 3G services, although this has also risen - from only 25% 6 months ago.

Java games are a more mature content type, so it is no surprise that the growth rate is lower - 175% over the last 6 months, but 5.8% or 1.9 million adults have downloaded a game in the last 3 months.

Games downloading is predominantly male, and also heavily skewed to the under 24s.

Ringtones are the most mature content area in the UK, with almost one in five or 5.9 million mobile users downloading a mono ringtone in the previous 3 months.

The gender profile is becoming majority female, and the age profile of both mono and poly ringtone downloaders being very similar, with 60-70% under the age of 34.

Commenting on the latest findings Jonathon Linner, CEO of Enpocket, said:
"Mobile Media Monitor continues to show that mobile owners are getting to grips with the more advanced features on handsets, beyond SMS.  These trends bode particularly well for companies targeting the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups who lead development with the medium."

Phase 3 of the Mobile Media Monitor (UK) analysis was based on 1,000 telephone interviews undertaken by ICM for Enpocket Insight in early late April 2004, and relates to the period February 2004 to April 2004. The base was representative of UK mobile phone usage.

IN-FUSIO's gaming service becomes global reference point as operator opts for proven capability and ARPU generating service

IN-FUSIO, a leading mobile games service provider and publisher in Europe, US, and China, has announced that the Orange Group has selected its ExEn Gaming Extensions (EGE) to be a key feature of its Signature phone range, for Java-enabled handsets across Europe.

IN-FUSIO's EGE, which is compatible with all Java handsets, has been chosen by Orange for its ability to provide the most comprehensive service for generating mobile game communities and sustained repeat revenue. IN-FUSIO mobile game service players have an ARPU three times higher than Java only offerings.

While EGE supports Java and BREW platforms it is the focus on service which is winning industry support. By adding end-user and 'managed' functionality EGE ensures that the mobile game experience is fun, addictive and, above all, intuitive.

Orange first adopted IN-FUSIO's ExEn gaming service three years ago and has since built a community of loyal and avid mobile game players. With the addition of IN-FUSIO's EGE, as a device requirement, Orange is ensuring that it continues to succeed as a leading brand for the youth market.

The first Orange handset to ship with EGE is due to be launched in Q1 2005.

Gilles Raymond, co-CEO and President, IN-FUSIO said: "The decision by Orange to adopt ExEn Gaming Extensions for its Java gaming handsets goes beyond a simple decision between technologies. What is at stake today is what operators can offer their customers' communities in the form of value-added
services, increased functionality and ease of use and not what type of technology is embedded in handsets."


Julien Billot, Vice President of Marketing for Orange France said: "IN-FUSIO's EGE will introduce exciting games features and powerful players' community management tools. Thanks to our history with IN-FUSIO, we know that this dynamic combination of games and services can deliver revenues
over and above other providers. It is for this reason that we partner so closely with IN-FUSIO, and why we want the ExEn Gaming Extensions to be embedded on our Signature phone series."

Florian Seiche, Director of Devices Orange: "Our focus on Orange Signature phone customisation is to deliver an easy to use experience, that removes barriers to adoption and increase usage. In the field of mobile gaming, IN FUSIO's EGE fits perfectly with this strategy, combining the benefits of Java standard and full end to end experience definition."

Seiche added: "IN-FUSIO's ExEn Gaming Extension will introduce exciting games features and powerful players' community management tools. Orange is keen to leverage current successes with IN-FUSIO in France, the UK and the
Netherlands in order to accelerate the usage of mobile games and enhance the mobile gamer experience.