Yet another exciting visit to Barcelona for the annual 'must-do' Mobile World Congress event, with a record 85,000 folks in attendance this year, it was classic chaos as always with more than 1,800 exhibiting companies showcasing across 98,000 square metres of hall space and 3,800+ international media covering the action.
There's plenty of chatter about the global startup scene along with so-called 'innovation' opportunities and many challenges faced by players at all levels in that space. It would be easy to pepper this with a gazillion links to material describing how Japan is risk-adverse and/or has no VC base to build next-gen. companies.. bla-bla-bla. Such simplistic points, seldom well balanced, need another post to counter with a wave of my magic reality wand.
No, the tight focus today is two-fold: we are headed into a "Startup Renaissance" in Japan and, therefore, considering carefully near to mid-term road ahead with that being the case.
It was a great thrill, honour and my pleasure, to address delegates gathered for the 3rd Annual Mobile Marketing Conference in Manila on Oct. 25th. The IMMAP organizing team did an awesome job - loved the movie theater venue in Rockwell Power Plant - with a rock solid (ahem) Speakers lineup and fully packed 2-day Agenda, plenty of discovery opportunities.
A quick post to set the record straight. All too many times we have heard the urban legend that goes something along the lines that SoftBank brought the iPhone to Japan and that move directly translated into winning the so-called monthly net addition subscriber wars. However, the actual results - using official numbers from the TCA - paints a rather different picture.
It's Official: Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games! Clearly it will be an interesting road ahead over the next 2,510 days and, of course, that "Discover Tomorrow" campaign tagline resonates with our longtime efforts in Japan as well. While it's a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon here in the western suburbs, with local matsuri taiko drums and yokobue flutes in the air, I just wanted to mark this historic day with a few quick thoughts...
DoCoMo is always an interesting player to watch, and not just by comparison within our domestic market. Recently they made a clear 'Mid-Term Vision' statement shifting focus towards a so-called 'Lifestyle Services' company. Fair guess at first-blush on this for most folks overseas would be somewhere between 'sure, nice PR speak' and 'good luck with that' based on experience with their own local telcos. However, for those who have paid attention, again not just in Japan, the increasing action in OTT (as noted *importantly* below) and the 4th Wave concept are well upon us here.
This is not my direct turf per se, but thought perhaps it's about time to make a few points with respect to the on-going spectrum soap opera back home (disclaimer: I AM Canadian too). Simply put; a major amount of chatter related to their upcoming auction of 700MHz and continued efforts by the Fed. to attract foreign investment in order to disrupt the current cozy strangle-hold by three well-established domestic players.
While rumours of this news were circulating a few weeks ago, so we're not that surprised, maybe folks missed theseotherhints with regards to forecasting this ever evolving market. As usual overseas press, who could barely contain their delight, didn't bother to pay much attention in an effort to provide a balanced opinion.
Let's take a quick step back first to note my presentation at the recent Digital Media Asia event. While covering the Japan market, as requested, it actually focused on a niggly question for the several hundred attending delegates. Simply put: the legacy approach of their printing industry charged a cover price, say $1 for the daily newspaper, which did not cover the fixed cost of landing that product on the customers lap. The internet came along and "other people" took the PL risk to lay twisted copper and build base stations, while their "customers" paid the monthly connection fees - and - purchased hardware required to render all those digital bytes.
Just a few quick thoughts while we have a moment, as there is always plenty of background activity for us here, to note the musical chair action happening just beneath the surface. Let's peel a layer on the wonderful example of Game Theory currently taking place related to mobile operating systems and a predictable rise of Tizen over the months and years to come. For a decent current overview on this effort, including what's new in the 2.0 Magnolia build, see their FAQ section [.pdf]
>Mobikyo K.K. publishes Wireless Watch Japan, organizes MobileMonday Tokyo networking events and operates Mobile Intelligence study tours providing related custom research and advisory services. Mobikyo's founding directors are deeply connected with, respected by, and committed to, Japan's wireless and IT business community. Thousands of managers, planners, engineers and strategists depend on Mobikyo to learn about Japan's unique business models, technologies, contents, services, applications and hardware from the most innovative test-bed market for next-generation mobile industry. "Mobikyo" was chosen for the unique blending of Mobile and Tokyo. However, depending on the kanji character used for kyo, it could also mean association, capital, religion or today. With fantastic support from our clients, partners and affiliates in Japan and overseas, we have become the trusted source of independent market intelligence & business networking connections based in Tokyo.
MobileMonday Tokyo is a leading networking organization supporting Tokyo's mobile industry. We launched in September 2004, with over 70 events to-date, hosting an average 100-200 industry delegates. MobileMonday is an open platform for mobile industry visionaries, developers and industry insiders fostering cooperation and business development through live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets. Chapters are active in over 100 cities worldwide and new locations continue to launch monthly. Founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 2000, MobileMonday is organized by a global team of 300+ volunteers and it has become the world's largest mobile community network. Details via MoMo Tokyo website
Mobile Intelligence offers related custom research and consulting designed specifically for industry executives working in sales, marketing, product development, strategy, venture capital and the media. From private workshops and conference presentations to trend spotting innovation and detailed analysis, our services are based on the direct experience and lessons learned in the Japanese mobile market. We also run a unique in-Japan guided tour service providing market introductions, personal connections and actionable lessons for clients overseas. Delegates take part in seminar and attend inside sessions, at individual companies, in technology showrooms, and -- most importantly -- on the fabled streets of Tokyo. Alumni return home with a competitive edge, integrated awareness and personal contacts moving them to the forefront of new business development. Full details via Mobile Intelligence website