Mobile Breakfast Series Recap – Mobile 2013

Mobile Breakfast Series Recap – Mobile 2013

The Mobile Breakfast Series Event returned back to its home ground in Seattle after a detour to Atlanta and London earlier this year. As is the tradition, we go into the pontification mode for the last event and assemble experts to help us gauge what’s going to be exciting in the coming year, the shakeups that are coming and what should we keep an eye on.





The panelists were:

Zaw Thet, Advisor, Signia Venture Partners

Zaw is a veteran entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of search, social networking, mobile, and adtech since the age of 19. Most recently Zaw was the founder and CEO of 4INFO, one of the largest mobile advertising platforms in the world. Business Week recognized him as one the “Mobile Barons” helping to shape the mobile ad industry since 2004.

Omar Javaid, Managing Director, BBO Global

Omar is the managing director of BBO Global, a boutique advisory and early stage venture firm in the wireless and media space. Prior to BBO, Omar Javaid is Vice President, Product Management of Emerging Technologies Group at Motorola Mobility, a Google company. He was part of the executive team that lead the successful turn-around of Motorola, culminating in the $12.5B acquisition by Google. In this role, he was responsible for next generation smart phone and convergence products Motorola Mobility.

Tracy Isacke, Director of Investments and Business Development, Telefonica Digital

Tracy started her career at Xerox, rising to be the first female member of the UK Board, leading a team of over 450 people. Tracy joined Telefónica in 2006 as the head of the Enterprise Sales Team for O2 UK, then she led on Telefónica’s $207m acquisition of Jajah, the Valley-based VOIP/IP Telephony company. Tracy is currently spearheading the growth of Telefónica Digital as Director of Investments and Business Development, focusing primarily on Silicon Valley, Israel and Europe, with a growing team of half a dozen employees, based in Mountain View, Madrid, London and Tel Aviv.

Todd Achilles, VP, Mobility, Hewlett-Packard Company

Todd Achilles is Vice President, Mobility for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems business unit, where he leads strategy and execution for delivering a connected experience to HP customers. Todd has spent his career in product, marketing, sales and engineering roles within telecommunications sector, including leadership positions with HTC and T-Mobile USA.

What is in store for Mobile 2013?

2012 has been an incredible year for mobile. We crossed several key industry milestones – 6.5B subscriptions, 1B subscriptions in China, 1B broadband subscriptions, 500M android activations, Apple’s monstrous march towards $1T market cap. We also saw Amazon’s aggressive moves in the mobile space, Facebook eclipsing 1B active users, and Nokia/Microsoft/RIM trying to stem the tide. Some big M&A maneuvers throughout the year. All this is setting up a very exciting Mobile 2013. There was a lot to discuss – from the tussles of Apple and Android to opportunities in commerce and big data, from Microsoft’s comeback to challenges in managing the network growth and consumer expectations. We assembled a stellar panel of mobile veterans to help us brainstorm what the big trends, big movers and shakers, and the big opportunities of 2013.

Below is the summary of the discussion:

  • Events that captured our imagination in 2012:
  • Omar – Google-Motorola, growth in smartphones around the globe
  • Zaw – The rise of mobile gaming and the move towards mobile first
  • Todd – FCC and the slew of actions they took to frame the wireless industry in the US market
  • Tracy – London Olympics, which was truly a “mobile” event helping citizens of the world “connect”
  • Post-PC or PC+
    • Depends on which business are you in – HP/Microsoft see it is a PC+ world with multiple screens interacting with the consumer, Apple sees it is a clear delineation.
    • However, the data-centric devices like tablets are starting to challenge the notion of computing.
    • Also, Smart TVs might start to make an entry that help with inter-device communication and expand developers view of the world
  • Mobile Platforms
    • Clearly an iOS and Andorid world. Microsoft will grind it out and become relevant but it is a tough slog ahead. No mention of RIM or any other platform player
    • Panel cautioned developers to over-rely on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms as a foundation of their business. If they like the business, they will just build that into the platform as a feature. VCs are becoming wary of such startups.
    • Siri and voice will be much tightly integrated into the OS in 2013. As speech recognition gets better, consumers get more comfortable, we are getting closer to the “star trek” world
    • Augmented reality could have a big year as consumers become more familiar and comfortable with AR apps.
    • Telefonica’s work with Mozilla on a web-based OS is going well and offers an alternative to the walled-garden approach of the appstores. It will first start in Latin America and might see deployment in the western markets later in the year.
  • Digital Telcos
    • Telefonica is one of the most advanced operators when it comes to attacking the opportunities in digital. It is the most formal with the formation of Telefonica Digital. It has embraced the OTT world with a launch of new initiatives across various verticals – communication, advertising, health, retail, security, cloud, etc. Tracy operator based OTT services can become the core of enterprise and consumer services
    • OTT players will continue to eat away at the operator voice and messaging revenues. Operators didn’t innovate on these services for over 20 years and we are seeing the impact of that.
    • There are also significant opportunities in M2M
    • Cross-operator services for further monetization
    • The day of data only subscriptions is not far away
    • More embedded data pricing w/ devices like notebooks
  • Hardware
    • Android is enabling new hardware segments
    • Hardware is hard, supply-chain to build and deliver billions of device is harder and it is going to get tougher in 2013
    • It will be hard for OEMs to be in the hardware game w/o any services with a possible exception of Samsung which is making its way into the services space
    • Amazon will be the one to watch in 2013 as it works to introduce tablets and a possible Smartphone
    • Google glasses is quite interesting and can open up new possibilities for developers and consumers
    • Intel got surpassed by Qualcomm due to a number of missteps and the street is valuing the future growth of QCOM higher than INTC and it will be difficult for INTC to catch-up
    • MediaTek is becoming a strong player
    • Lytro like imaging innovation in smartphones
  • Commerce
    • Mobile commerce is growing by leaps and bounds as evident by thanksgiving numbers. Mobile and social commerce will continue to make waves in 2013
    • Apps model has become an alternate to the web and while not efficient it does provide a distribution vehicle to the developers
    • App interop will be a big thing in 2013
    • Advertising works better on apps than mobile web
    • Wallet wars to continue into 2013
  • Misc
    • T-Mobile’s non-subsidy approach might not work out too well as other operators will pound on the opportunity to peel away more subs from TMO. Telefonica Spain tried it along with some other operators around the globe and the experiment didn’t go too well
    • Big data and analytics will continue to drive all sorts of new services – health to gaming. Panel cautioned startups relying on Amazon for cloud services to have appropriate backups, some startups have lost all their data due to errors and have had no recourse
    • Big opps in cloud and big data in the enterprise segment, these services will get bundled in with devices and data plans
    • OTTs are unlikely to wade into the Telco space, too capital intensive and regulatory lens is a negative
    • Interesting to see what Softbank does with Sprint. He changed the market in Japan and has the capacity to disrupt the US market
    • Latin America is full of opportunities for 2013
    • IP battles to continue but most will get settled
    • 2013 will be another great year for mobile. Stay tuned and get ready for the ride

    It was a lively discussion and I could have easily gone on for another 2-3 hours. Our audience is always top-notch and is highly educated about the nuances of the industry as was evident from the questions. 2012 was the year when Mobile Breakfast Series spread its wings and went to Atlanta and London. We had a great time putting together each of the events in 2012 and we have many more planned for 2013, so stay tuned.

    Our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward returns in Sept 2013. More details to come.

    From all of us at Chetan Sharma Consulting, we wish you and yours a great holiday season and a terrific 2013.

    Finally, as we do it every year, we launched our Annual Mobile Predictions Survey for 2013. There will be prizes for the 25 lucky winners. Be sure to share your thoughts. The survey ends Dec 28th. We will release the results in January.

    Until then,

    have a good time.