In 2014, mobile communications will be evolving, rather than revolving, as mobile operators (MNOs) continue to invest heavily in the rollout of next-generation infrastructure.
This is according to Frost & Sullivan, who sets out a list of predictions for 2014, believing that the patent war will ease, and flexible/wearable devices will start to make a dent.
F&S predictions include:
More than three-quarters of European MNOs will offer machine-to-machine (M2M) in 2014.
Market entry barriers are falling as the M2M value chain accelerates standardisation in processes, products, and services.
In 2014, the focus of both IT buyers and providers shifts to the Internet of Things (IoT), as more data will be generated by machines than by human beings. The explosion of IoT activity in 2014 and beyond will be driven by the nexus of low-cost sensors, connectivity networks, cloud computing, advanced data analytics, and mobility.
MNOs will make greater use of their network assets and available data to apply analytics to prepare as a digital service provider.
This data will be used to enable organizations to increase efficiency and effectiveness, stimulate revenues, innovate, and transform the way they do business.
While in 2014 there will be continued heavy investments in 4G infrastructure to meet the insatiable demand for data, telecommunication networks need a new approach designed around capacity, energy efficiency, and cost optimisation.
The network of the future has to be high-speed, scalable, secure, and reliable. Software and
data can make networks intelligent, flexible, and adaptable.
Software can also boost the distribution of network resources and reduce maintenance costs and energy consumption.
Consequently, the number of initiatives in software-centric networking—in particular,
software-defined networks (SDN)—is expected to surge in 2014.
Frost & Sullivan research suggests cloud-based mPayments will offer immediate opportunities for payment service providers and mobile operators that play an active role in the value chain.
Research also indicates that in 2014 there will be many commercial NFC based
mPayment service launches, with expectations that the technology could finally gain a
foothold in the new year.
Chnese assault on the west
In the past year, smartphone shipments in China increased by 103%. This explosive domestic growth propelled some firms towards the top of the global market share charts.
Globally, Lenovo, ZTE, and Huawei are sell more smartphones than Blackberry and Nokia, and 2014 will be the year these companies really start gaining traction in Western markets.
Lenovo is most likely to break into Western markets in the short term. The wildcard, and arguably the most interesting company, is Xiaomi. Its unique business model is worth watching as the smartphone market matures globally.
With the average selling price of hardware falling and margins shrinking, many companies will look to adopt Xiaomi’s model of selling services to generate revenues.
Lower costs and manufacturing know-how will enable Chinese companies to survive in such competitive conditions; in order to thrive, they must focus on innovation, marketing, and services.
Despite a flurry of product launches, wearable devices have failed to gain mass-market
acceptance. But 2014 could be the year of change.
First, smartphone and tablet users are demonstrating preferences for even more connected lifestyles, demanding everything from weather forecasts and traffic reports to messages at their fingertips.
A wearable device, whether strapped to a wrist or part of a pair of glasses, offers a viable alternative to traditional handheld products. Second, functionality of wearable devices will increase.
Previously confined to delivering only pre-programmed information, the leaps in technology now allow devices to display anything from Twitter updates to body temperature readings.
New functions have emerged, and with them, new markets. Wearables are shifting from having a tech-enthusiast image to having an everyday consumer image that can be integrated with contemporary style or fit within a range of products designed for a particular purpose.