While the use of femtocells to improve coverage has been the driver behind initial uptake, a new study claims that femtocell applications will open the technology to a much wider usage model.
According to a new report from ABI Research, femtozone services that use location and presence to trigger apps resident on users' handsets will help boost femtocell shipments and generate service revenues for operators.
To illustrate its point, ABI believes that apps such as a family alert system could prove popular. This would involve a femtocell registering a family member when they arrive home and then sending a text message alerting others within the family of their location. Other femtozone apps could turn on lights or activate security systems, or be used to sync content between handsets and other in-home devices such as TVs, PCs and media players.
The research firm forecasts that around 2.3 million mobile subscribers will be using femtozone services in 2012, creating revenue of more than $100 million. However, ABI believes that this figure will rise sharply by 2015, when 45 per cent of femtocell users will be subscribing to femtozone services. These new apps will initially see adoption in the Asia-Pacific region, although ABI claims that ultimately North America will outstrip all other markets.
"Femtozone services will be bundled with femtocell subscriptions and will also be available individually, increasing the perceived value of having a femtocell in the home," ABI practice director Aditya Kaul said in a release. "Eventually, mobile apps available from Apple or Google App stores may be designed to work via a femtocell. The femtozone services market is expected to reach almost US$2 billion in revenue by 2015, but operators need to act fast, as the popularity of Wi-Fi/GPS-based over the top applications could pose a hindrance."
- see this EE Times article
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