CeBIT: The Future is in Integration, Not Technology

“There is not going to be one Next Big Thing – it’s going to be many things working together, combined to work seamlessly” said Motorola’s president and COO, Michael Zafirovski in his speech at CeBIT yesterday. This seems to be a common theme emerging from CeBIT, and is reflected in the nature of the mobile devices coming into the market.

It’s almost impossible to buy a mobile phone that is just a phone. Even the most basic phone available has a some sort of PDA functionality, games and a simple WAP browser. Many phones appearing now are in fact more sophisticated than the people you see chatting into them – and the phones at least will continue to get more sophisticated and useful.

Where the challenge for network providers and mobile phone manufacturers lies now is bringing several channels of communication together: many consumers have a fixed line at home (often more than one), a mobile for each person, a mobile in the car, a phone in the office, email on some devices not others … it goes on. Although solutions have been banded around for years (Wildfire, anyone?) the scale of the problem is now far greater than was anticipated before the rapid growth of mobile communications and internet usage began ten years ago.

The current situation does not allow for simplicity and will begin to turn users away unless investment into the seamless integration of devices and services begins to rival the effort put into getting the latest megapixel camera into the smallest form factor.

Opening remarks presented by Simon Perry at the Digital-Lifestyles theme day at IBC September 2003 (PDF).

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?