Friday, February 23, 2007

3GSM - Some notes from the event

Well I guess I will not be a serious business developer in the Telco wolrd if I was not present in Barcelona during the 3GSM congress so here I went and let me share with you a little summary of the trip (from my perspective obviously)

First at all I may say that the logistics of the event have improved dramatically from last year´s. I guess that being this the second time in happens in Barcelona the learnings from last year have been applied (no minor thing as we see many times events and companies which continue making the same mistakes). As it was the case last year finding a hotel even with 2/3 months in advance was an adventure (I was told that hotels as far away as 100 km from Barcelona were full). And by the way when budgeting a visit for the event next year remember to either know a couple of large vendors very well (BTW my thanks to Converse for paying for one of my partner´s invitation) or prepare to pay 350 EUR a night a least for the hotel.

First good news of the event is that music was present at the majority of vendors, operators, content providers stands. There was a lot of conversations around DRM (courtesy of Mr. Jobs PR work in the previous weeks) and how long they will last, aka everyone assume that DRM, at least on its present form, will dissapear in the near future, the questions is when. Along this topic there was a lot of discussion of evolving business models from today´s pay per use/download into subscription models with different flavours. Even clearly record labels want to move into this area while making sure their product does not go undervalue.

Even more radical interesting was to participate in debate where more redical views such as “all the music will be free in the future” (and maybe some other form of digital content) were discussed. I believe that implications of such radical scenario has many service providers especially mobile operators thinking about developing proprietary clients both for handsets and PCs, Why? If the money is not in the content, then they want to compete with yahoo (with their presentation of the new advancements of their “Go” portal) or google? I believe the answer is yes, they believe that they want to ear part of the future cake of online/mobile advertising and in order to do that they need to be one places we users/viewers spend time at

In terms of developments, we saw major handset operators present their music oriented handsets, where SonyEricsson continue their strong bet on this segment (with the recent launch and presentation of the w880 among others), but I was also surprise how Samsung is also trying to get into this space where they have not make an impact at least for the time being. Interesting enough people like Gemalto (largest worldwide provider of SIM cards) was offering a very interesting off portal music experience on their SIM toolkit in large memory SIM cards. This could be an interesting development in continents such as Latam or Africa where the SIM toolkit has had an impact on developing content services in the past. Also interested to note how some accessory providers were developing mobile music specific devices. On those terms interesting to see the battle hand on hand between Jabra and Southwing (some of the worldwide leaders on Bluetooth devices) to develop an audio music Bluetooth headphones with superb quality. So far I may say that the Southwing product did impress me (and is now part of my ever growing travel accessories back)
Last but not least there were some last good news for us. I had the chance to look at a number of competitors in our space (media/music service platform and solution providers) and I was happy to see that we continue to have a very competitive product offer and that our development plans are hitting the sweet spot of where our clients and future ones want to move into. As mentioned many times we just need to get more resources as we keep enjoying our first wave of growing revenues to keep us ahead of the game

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