Keisuke-san says his 2-1/2-year-old daughter is already interested in communicating visually on both mobile phone and on the set-top video system that he has in his SOHO office. “She sometimes says to me,’Dad, let’s do videoconferencing.’ I do not think that she understands the literal meaning of the words but she is kind of getting used to stand or sit in front of a monitor that shows a person talking on the other end of a live video call. She looks [like she’s] just enjoying it.”
“They have high-speed network links back to planet Earth. The architecture diagram of Mars Rover looks just like the architecture diagram of any ol’ Earth-based, end-to-end enterprise app. And they’ve got this problem that the network link is very slow… it has high latency.” Well of course. It covers a hundred million kilometers. In today’s program, we bring you a special year-end wrap-up including a couple of clips that didn’t make it into our regular programming. Join us for WWJ’s special year-end web video! Thanks to all for your comments and support, we look forward to another super year in 2003.
While a slowdown in new announcements can be expected during the upcoming shogatsu New Year holiday period, 2003 promises to provide even more activity now that UK-based Vodafone has launched a 3G network in Japan and is expected to seek know-how and technology from Japan for its operations elsewhere. Further, Japanese software developers are sure to continue looking outside this country’s near-saturated market for new sales opportunities.
On December 3, J-Phone Co., Ltd. held a press conference in Tokyo to announce the launch of a new third-generation (3G) wireless network under the “Vodafone Global Standard” service name. “SMS is a form of data roaming and we also have packet roaming” said J-Phone president Darryl E. Green at last week’s 3G launch, adding, “It’s not as rich as it could be, but we’re working on many things.” Watch this exclusive report from the Tokyo event, including one-on-one interviews with Green and CTO John Thompson and highlights of 3G technology demos.
Overall, I’m underwhelmed. Handset quality and clunkiness versus feature mix are widely considered to be major factors in the fizzling of FOMA to date. I think J-Phone will have to market like heck to convince people these are any better than current (great-quality) 2G models, and if DoCoMo launches better 3G models (as they are expected to do very soon), J-Phone could be in trouble.
Last month, researchers at the International University of Japan released a report detailing surprising conclusions about consumer behavior and usage of mobile networks. “Business mouths are watering at the opportunity for location-based marketing,” says professor Philip Sidel of the International University of Japan. But it ain’t necessarily so, and Sidel states: “We believe that previous authors have adopted a much too simple framework for ‘contextual marketing’.” His exhaustive research offers surprising results to those who would sell via cell
Experts see 2003 shaping up to be a banner year. For starters, DoCoMo, KDDI and J-Phone will all be coming out with refined 2G equipment. They’ll also be rolling out new 3G systems, expanding rich-media services and launching camera-enabled, programmable handsets that can serve as “e-wallet” and “e-ticket” mobile-commerce terminals.
NTT Communications doesn’t expect to generate large revenue from WLAN itself, says senior executive vice president Shuji Tomita. Instead, the company will bundle hotspot access via high-speed WLAN base stations with landline connectivity and value-added services including roaming, security, and IPv6. The company’s software will also offer secure communications into the Internet itself and into corporate intranets using IP-based VPN (virtual private network) technologies via a security server that is co-located with the corporate client’s network. They’re also busy boosting their 250-base-station network to 1,000. Phew!
KDDI’s 3G network is a success (3,293,300 subscribers as of Oct. 31) because the network is great, there is nationwide coverage (due to backwards compatibility), and the handsets are **really** terrific – not because W-CDMA is bad. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Asia’s 3G edge in mobile-phone market” on the Straits Times’ site yesterday; it may be this week’s news of most lasting significance. The authors state this regions’ advanced handsets – with color displays, data capabilities, and long battery life – give Asian makers like Sharp, NEC, Panasonic, and Samsung a clear technological advantage over rivals in Europe and the US.
You can watch streaming video on cellys in Japan, and it isn’t often that tech providers flip back the cover to show how it works. In October, NTT DoCoMo launched their V-Live service on 3G, powered by Fujitsu and US-based NMS Communications. We show the details behind the magic, then drop in on Gartner Japan to get the skinny on the business of mobile streaming. The provision of live or archived video and audio streams to mobile phones using the third-generation IMT-2000 network standard has yet to gain wide usage. Nonetheless, in October, NTT DoCoMo, Inc. strengthened its multimedia content offerings by expanding services provided under its “M-Stage” brand name. It’s still early days, but this stuff really works!