3GSM flash back and fashion forwardNo Comments |
3GSM is here again, the annual “everything to do with wireless and mobile phones” love fest in Barcelona. I always eagerly anticipate the exhibition because it’s an extravaganza, a freak show, and I used to go every year.
60,000 people, 1,300 booths, oh, the hype, the networking (i.e. parties), the jostling for media to cover your story. 3GSM is about entrepreneurs on speed, PR people taking vitamin B shots to survive, and demo babes selling their wares in hellish heels (you try standing in them for 12 hours a day) – and not much else.
I’ve been following the coverage, and I must admit I’ve been disappointed. This could partially be because I’m not there, but it does seem that the BIG announcements, the ones that shake, shudder and even convulse the industry, forcing it forward with such speed that barely anyone has a chance to sort through the ramifications until well after the conference, have not happened this year.
Instead, the news focuses on fashion, and how content and location-based services are the Holy Grail. (Even though I’m not really sure there is anything “new” in that news). Launching new mobile phones continues to be a big part of the show and everyone is still trying to demonstrate that a phone will be the “remote control” for life, a concept that’s been around since mobile phones began gaining traction in the ’90s. Music, games, MySpace and everything else is rammed on the phone as people try to make it a tool for more than just communication.
However, using the Internet on phones still hasn’t achieved the usage rates expected, and this is largely because the experience still isn’t where it needs to be. Mobile surfing can be clumsy and slow. 3G still hasn’t delivered on its promise of speed and quality of service, so the talk has now turned to HSDPA.
This all sounds so eerily familiar – flash back five years ago, when Forrester wrote a report about the lack of vision at the 3GSM 2002 show.
One big difference from five years ago is the growth. Back then it was about cautious optimism amidst a post-telecom-crash (and post-Nortel debacle) throng (see here, for example). Five years later, the show has tripled in size, and the feeling is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, my blog (and views) demonstrate that there is now an expectation of visionary thinking and seismic announcements.
Good on 3GSM and the industry, it’s quite a comeback, and I wish I was there with my vitamin B to take it all in
Further reading on 3GSM
Main site: http://3gsmworldcongress.com/index.asp
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