BARCELONA; Feb. 15 – Consumers say that mobile connectivity in devices connected to the Internet make their lives richer and more enjoyable, but wireless carriers and corporations need to collaborate closely to accelerate widespread availability of embedded mobile devices and services to be valuable to consumers, according to research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and the GSMA.
Embedded mobile devices are products that are networked via cellular radio technology embedded in the devices. These devices can range from e-readers, to cameras, to home appliances.
The surveys queried three groups: early-adopter consumers that own at least four networked devices and use multiple Internet software services; high-level managers at companies outside the traditional mobile industry who are committed to embedded connectivity, and executives at mobile network operators (MNOs). The purpose of the research was to assess the embedded wireless market opportunity and the main barriers to its development. The corporate and MNO research focused on the automotive, health care, energy markets, and the digital home segment. .
The early-adopter consumers surveyed anticipate a proliferation of networked devices and a better life as a result. Seventy-six percent believe that most of the electronic devices they purchase in the future will connect to the Internet. The majority agree that these networked devices will save them time (88 percent), simplify their lives (86 percent), bring them closer to friends and family (82 percent), and make their lives richer and more enjoyable (82 percent). However, more than half (54 percent) of the consumer survey respondents believe that different devices that connect to the Internet do not work together as well as they should.
According to the survey, a majority of consumers would welcome a single supplier for billing of networked devices (61 percent), managing their networked devices (59 percent) and providing customer support (59 percent) and web access to view their network devices (56 percent). Most (51 percent) would also like to purchase these networked devices and download applications from a single supplier.
When asked about security and technical support, 77 percent of consumers said they worry that devices connected to the Internet would expose them to viruses and other malware, while 76 percent are concerned personal data could fall into the wrong hands. Half of the respondents (50 percent) think customer support would fail to solve technical problems as they occur.
“Mobile networks are continuing to evolve beyond being a conduit for phone calls, to becoming the medium that lets everything talk with everything – and the key to this transition is embedded devices. Consumer interest is growing, and we believe that mobile network operators would be wise to consider moving rapidly and deliberately to stake out their space in the emerging embedded wireless value chain,” said Andy Zimmerman, global managing director, mobility, Accenture.
“It is very clear that the opportunity for embedded mobile devices and services is enormous,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA. “To fully capitalize on this opportunity, it is essential that mobile and other industry sectors collaborate closely to develop a robust and dynamic ecosystem that will spur the widespread availability and adoption of embedded mobile initiatives such as the GSMA’s Embedded Mobile program will play a key role in making this vision a reality.”
Consumers cite interest in networked systems for health care, automobile monitoring, home security, energy management
Early-adopter consumers were also asked their opinions about networked systems designed to enable caregivers to look after an older person living alone, manage home security and energy management systems, and monitor their automobiles. The research found:
•Sixty-two percent of auto owners, and 57 percent of all consumers surveyed said they would be interested in embedded mobile systems for automobiles. These systems could transmit a car’s GPS position to a web site to locate the car in case of theft, or give users access to automotive performance data including acceleration rates, braking patterns, engine speed, fuel flow and mileage over a web site, which drivers could review.
•Seventy- two percent of all consumers surveyed said they wanted to learn more about a home energy management system, and 55 percent of total respondents expressed interest in home security systems with embedded wireless.
•When asked about mobile-enabled caregiver systems, 41 percent of consumers indicated interest, and 72 percent of respondents who currently provide care for elders indicated interest. Caregiver systems includedevices that connect to one another and the Internet to monitor a person’s vital signs, level of physical activity, and physical condition, as well as devices that monitor for safety hazards. These systems enable monitoring via a laptop or a smart phone, send out “alerts” in case of an emergency and provide associated voice service that permits instant communication at the touch of a button.
Corporate innovators are committed to embedded connectivity, but are struggling with the business model, according to survey
According to the research, a majority (89 percent) of corporate respondents said that embedded wireless networking technology is important to their competitive future.
Sixty-three percent of corporate respondents said that the leading barrier to commercializing their embedded wireless products is finding the right business model, followed by issues involving standards and choice of technology platforms (53 percent), and interoperability with other devices and services from other organizations (52 percent). Almost 70 percent of corporate respondents said they consider MNOs to be desirable partners as the world migrates from standalone embedded mobile devices to integrated systems.
One MNO interviewed said that transitioning to a new business model is challenging because it calls for new ways of thinking and it involves multiple parties, each of which wants to be compensated but may not wish to share risks and revenues. Another MNO interviewed said that the lack of clear standards is impeding the development of systems that require interoperability, and adds to development costs.
Corporate respondents are seeking support from MNOs on the technical and commercial side for launching new networked devices and services. They identified billing (61 percent), device diagnostics (61 percent) and integrating a device with mobile voice services (59 percent) as the three most valuable technical resources that an MNO could offer to support these new services. On the commercial side, corporate respondents identified tailored pricing plans (67 percent), field support for installation and maintenance (55 percent), and selling and marketing devices or services through the operator’s sales channel (52 percent) as the leading commercial resources that companies might want from MNOs, according to those surveyed.
According to the survey, corporate respondents are seeking support from MNOs on the technical and commercial side for launching new networked devices and services. They identified billing (61 percent), device diagnostics (61 percent), and integrating a device with mobile voice services (59 percent) as the three most valuable technical resources that an MNO could offer to support these new services. On the commercial side, corporate respondents said that tailored pricing plans (67 percent), field support for installation and maintenance (55 percent), and selling and marketing devices or services through the operator’s sales channel (52 percent), are the leading commercial resources that companies might want from MNOs.
“There is recognition among MNOs, corporate and consumer respondents that the next big wave of growth will come from systems solutions,” Zimmerman said. “This requires a level of openness at both the device connection point, where everything plugs in, and at the applications orchestration level, where information from multiple devices is merged.”
Spotlight on embedded devices at Mobile World Congress
At Mobile World Congress, Accenture will be able to show how the concepts raised in the research – especially growth in several vertical markets — might play out from a consumer’s perspective. In the GSMA Embedded Mobile Zone (7EMZ, App Planet – Hall 7), Accenture will demonstrate its systems approach that promotes rapid prototyping and interoperability across devices. Visitors will see live demonstrations that show how Accenture and companies with whom it is collaborating can deliver innovative solutions designed to enable its clients to significantly improve their performance in software product development and testing across the digital ecosystem.
An online consumer survey was conducted of 1,005 early innovator consumers in 10 countries (the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, India, and Brazil. Early innovator consumers are early adopters of Internet services and Internet enabled devices. To qualify for the survey, these respondents had to own at least four networked devices, and had to have used four Internet software services within the last month. To eliminate age and sex bias, the sample for each country was evenly divided between men and women and between the 18-to-30 and over-30 age groups.
Telephone interviews were conducted with executives at 12 mobile networks operators in North America, Europe and Asia.
High level managers — innovators in companies outside the traditional mobile industry and are applying network technology to their next generation of products and services – were also polled. This portion of the research focused on four vertical markets: automotive, energy, health care and the digital home. Telephone interviews were conducted with 65 executives representing the four vertical markets in North America, Europe, and Asia.
For more information, visit www.accenture.com/embedded.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 176,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.58 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2009. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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