First there was e-business, now comes mobile business. Industry insider Edoardo Narduzzi looks at the different opportunities and challenges posed by data on the move.
The take-off of the mobile Internet has been unique. Just as market exuberance for Internet companies peaked in early 2000, tender offers and beauty contests for 3G licences and the so-called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) third-generation network of mobile carriers were beginning across Europe. Inevitably, business activity based on the convergence of wireless technology with the web has suffered from the fact that making profits through the Internet has proven to be difficult for any experimental business model and tough for mobile operators; in addition, 3G licenses have been, on average, too expensive.
What had earlier appeared to be a new Eldorado suddenly became a mirage. Delays in the launch of new devices and the implementation of GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) services by mobile operators provided additional proof of the risks involved in the mobile Internet game.
Nevertheless it is important to understand that the mobile Internet will be quite different from the first wave of fixed broadband Internet. A more promising future is gaining momentum. Wireless networks already offer new ways to surf the net and consumers can now access the web through mobile devices. This will grow in the coming years, especially in the European Union and Asia.
This new wave of technological evolution will affect private life and social interaction as well as business even more than the Internet has so far. In the near future, useful information, company data, health tests and much more will be “wearable”. Such information will stay with us wherever we may be on the planet.