It's time for the enterprise to shine

It's time for the enterprise to shine

About six weeks ago I wrote a column saying that I thought that entertainment would once again dominate CTIA IT and Entertainment show in San Francisco Oct. 23-25. That has certainly been the case the past number of years.

However, over the past few weeks I've changed my mind. We are at a turning point in the mobile entertainment industry. It is maturing and operators are no longer intent upon striking deals with the mobile executives at the studios. Instead, the focus is now on solving specific technical hurdles-like the user interface-which impedes consumer spending and stops mobile entertainment adoption from migrating beyond the young adult and teen market. Another focus is on resolving business model issues.  Does 99 cents per download make sense or should operators embrace the monthly all-you-can-eat subscription model for over the air music downloads?

While there will certainly be heated discussions on these issues at the conference, I suspect that enterprise segment may actually steal the show.  I think operators have tired of all the mobile entertainment glitz. Celebrities, once a novelty at these conferences, have become passé. Seeing Paris Hilton, or P. Diddy on stage just doesn't carry the same weight as it did in the past.  

Instead, wireless operators are looking for a return on the investments they made in upgrading their networks to 1xEV-DO Rev. A and UMTS/HSDPA. With broadband network coverage widely deployed, enterprises are much more likely to spend big bucks to make their workforces mobile. Plus there are now many more devices and applications available to streamline this process and aid the mobile worker. And operators are finally figuring out how to more effectively sell their services to the enterprise, whether that's using their own sales force or by enlisting the aid of one of the many managed mobile solution providers.

At this year's conference many of the panel sessions will focus on the practicalities. Topics such as "Selecting the Right Device" and "Email Solutions: Issues to Adoption" are for IT managers looking to deploy wireless throughout their companies.

Isn't it time that enterprise finally had its chance to shine at the CTIA IT Show?  I think so and I'm anticipating we'll hear more about enterprise-oriented announcements and alliances in the coming weeks. -Sue

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