12 Nov

Enabling Voice Communication on Android Apps

Check out the new guest post that I wrote on Enabling Voice Communication on Android Apps, for the Safari Books Online blog. It covers how to enable voice communication using the Android SIP Stack/API.

Enabling voice communication on Android apps is possible via the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) stack. This protocol originated in 2000 as a signaling protocol in support of Voice over IP (VoIP). With today’s move to IP wireless networks such as LTE, SIP is the core signaling protocol for voice over IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS). In this post we will explore how to enable voice communication on Android apps by using the Android Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) stack. With the transformation of traditional networks as IP-networks, and the future of voice as a “data app,” expect media-rich and location-aware communication apps, where the smartphone plays a central role in personal communications. This means that developers can now create a new breed of voice communication apps like never before. This post assumes you are somewhat familiar with the Android platform and the Java language.

Read Enabling Voice Communication on Android Apps (source: Safari Books Online).


04 Feb

Mobility in 2011 – The Network & Operators

(This is part of a series of blog posts on Mobility in 2011)

Mobility in 2011: Networks & Operators

Operators will continue their shift towards mobile data and packet services, and value add services, with a large increase on mobile network bandwidth (10X according to IDC) thanks to LTE and 3G network and updates, as well as expected growth (as in massive) consumption of such bandwidth due to the smartphones and wireless modems and mobile apps, including real-time video services.

Mobile apps and data usage will be (a new) major pain-point for operators who will be looking for new application awareness methods to help them deal with the issues related to apps, across multiple mobile platforms, and the related services on the cloud, and last but not least, higher expectations from consumers. Recall that just a month ago (Jan 2011) Apple announced its 10Billion app download; very impressive. Yes, apps and data are the operator’s “new SMS”; as in cash cow.

According to Strategy Analytics, the expected Global CAPEX for service providers is in the $Billions: $270B in 2010 –> $310B in 2015; that is a 5 Yr CAGR of 2.8% (IDC); that is massive investment.

The expected growth of cellular subscription will continue its exponential growth; the following chart shows the global cellular subscriptions by technology (Strategy Analytics).

3G UMTS (and related upgrades such as HSPA+) and EVDO, will continue to persists as the dominant network bearers while LTE gets fully deployed; we are probably talking 3-5 years. Not shown above is the fact that WiFi now accounts for more than 50% of mobile user connections to the Internet, according to a new study from Bango (Feb 2011).

Operators will and should continue catering developers. Many will and are expanding their developer programs with the goal of expanding their own developer communities, via new APIs into operator-services and revenue sharing offerings. But to succeed, operators must really invest on such programs; it is not only about offering a developer website and some APIs, but it is a continuous exercise from enabling the developers but also offering go-to-market benefits.

Operators will use “network access” as leverage to maximize the monetization of their investments. One example is via new kinds of data access (plans) fees and caps; for example, access to LTE or quality of service might cost extra. This may impact developers in different ways, including pushing responsibility to app developers when it comes to data consumption and how to be deal with the consumer. Another example is going after service providers such as Google and other high-data driven services and companies which if they succeed may affect developers as new costs imposed by service providers will be passed down to the developers somehow.

In summary in 2011, we are seeing continuous massive growth on the number of subscribers, and have started to see the move to LTE and 4G, and 4G-like speeds via 3G network updates (which is what T-Mobile has been doing). The role of WiFi on Internet-connectivity from mobile devices is clear. Apps, apps, apps are the new cash-cow for developers and publishers, and operators as well since apps drive data-usage. Operators will look for and invest on new ways to gain visibility into the impact of apps on their networks. Operators will introduce their own app stores and operator APIs, and go-to-market incentives, which together with network access, they will use as leverage, mainly to tackle the issue of lost leverage when the control/power shifted to the ecosystem. But to be determined is how such Operator app stores and APIs will do, from the adoption perspective; they must win the developer first. At the end, network access, the pipe, is the Operator’s true leverage.


01 Aug

What is next and a continuation on the theme of convergence and reasons for a mobile boom

On my previous post, Looking back — Local faster, fresher, better…, a flashback, I wrote about after how in the last 3-4 years Mobility has reached a state of adoption and commoditization that many of us have been preaching for years now.

I ended that blog/piece with a question “what is next?”

A couple of things come to mind, but these really are a continuation on the theme on convergence and the Reasons Why The Mobile/Wireless Usage Boom is Underway; the convergence between the mobile lifestyle, advanced smartphones, the advanced networks and business models:

…where if we look at what is next:

  • The mobile lifestyle continues the “Logarithmic phase” of adoption growth, for which I don’t see any slowdown for years to come;
  • On advanced handsets do we have a new handset category? Super-smartphones like the latest iPhones and Androids with increasing computing power and multitude of sensors and awesome screens with touch and snappy UIs;
  • With increased global support for advanced networks such as HSPA+ and 4G/LTE with mobile broadband network speeds that matches home/office broadband network;
  • And on the business models the continued growth of the ecosystem. On one hand, the ease of application development. On the other the App Stores and the new front-ends to these apps stores that offer improvements when compared to the native app store discovery experience. Then we have the increase in the number of developer-friendly operator services (and/or APIs) or as I like to refer the Operator Infrastructure as a Service; see On (Mobile) Cloud Computing – Multiple Perspectives to its Benefits, Drivers and Economics.

…the adoption, ecosystem and overall experience continues to get better and better and commoditization is on the way.

The focus on applications (native or web) will continue but greater focus on the data generated by the mobile handset and the applications themselves will be the next phase of innovation in mobility, all for the purpose of improving the overall contextual user experience and monetization opportunities.


09 May

On Reasons Why The Mobile/Wireless Usage Boom is Underway | Part 2

Back in April 2008, around a year after the introduction of the iPhone and Android, I wrote a piece on my blog on the Reasons Why The Mobile/Wireless Usage Boom was Underway, where I introduced the diagram below that highlights the convergence between the mobile lifestyle, advanced handsets and the state of the networks:

Here I argue that such convergence is the basis for the adoption we see today…

But why is that? For years I have focused on “application richness” as a key reason; software that extends and enhances the hardware by providing services and useful utilities, and the richer user experience and functionality the wider the adoption. And for years the topic of native vs. web mobile apps have had continued and while the promise and vision of rich web applications continues to move forward, albeit slowly, native applications have lead the way.

The answer is that (regardless of technology) it is about “monetization” and business models, and mobile is no exception. And that technology is *the* great facilitator to deliver this. After reading Mike Rowehl piece on Opening Up Mobile Monetization, which he wrote in response to John Arne Sæterås’ blog Mobile Web vs. Native Apps. Revisited, I agree that technology and application richness and user experience all by itself are not sufficient, and again, that technology all by itself is just a facilitator, and that business models play a key role.

I’ve to say though, that we have come a long way since I wrote Open ecosystems, closed ecosystems, and the reality of things back in 2006; a post that also refers to another related blog by Mike Rowehl; as you can see, we have been arguing the issue of ecosystems and openness for many years now.

So my diagram above on converge and adoption needs an tweak/update, to include the missing piece that glues it all together — the business models which is the main driver that powers it all.

As I write on My Vision page:

But what has been happening is that three related areas of mobile have been converging over the last decade: 1) the mobile lifestyle where the mobile handset is such a personal social gadget part of our daily lives, 2) the advanced smartphones that provide applications both web and native as never before and 3) the advanced, faster, more reliable and accessible networks that allows for always-on connectivity — all converging closer with business models at the center that promotes a healthy ecosystem.

In this ecosystem we have consumers and we have businesses, some that focuses on creating handsets, others on networks, while others in software services (platforms) and applications. All benefiting — the consumers via improved experiences and businesses via the ecosystem business models. It is this convergence that have enabled the momentum and ecosystem that we are currently seen.

The business models are driven by the ecosystem. And by ecosystem I mean real ecosystems that allows different entities to participate in ways that simplifies trade, the ability to easily author, publish and sell software/applications, on top on other software and infrastructure, benefiting all — the consumer and the “providers”.

The application store showed that the original carrier-based deck was an issue. Even though a business model existed back then, it was flawed. Not a true ecosystem it shows why it was so easy for application stores to lead and show the way. Today the success of application stores is starting to show their weaknesses; thousands and thousands of applications mean finding one is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But discovery today is leaps and bounds better than before; and I am sure better ways to discover will be created.

Back to my convergence diagram vs. adoption above, let’s look at some support data:

On Handset Data Traffic (and Advanced Networks)

Source the Silicon Ally Insider — The above chart shows the consumption of handset data traffic, which correlates to the mobile lifestyle and its relationship to advanced networks behind.

On Advanced Handsets

Source the Silicon Ally Insider — The above chart shows the growth in the adoption of advanced mobile handsets which correlates to the relationship between mobile lifestyle as driver (and relationship) to advanced handsets (and decline of feature-phones).

On Applications (and Business Models)

Source the Silicon Ally Insider — The above chart is about the business model and it shows the growth in the adoption of native applications; see the increase in just one year. This chart shows how the creation of native (rich) applications have increased, in my opinion, thanks to the true ecosystems as allowed by app stores which have facilitated the creation and publishing of applications and the resulting revenues from such software applications economy (business models). Would we see a similar growth once such economy is available for mobile web applications? Or is “application richness” a factor as well? While business models that benefits all in the ecosystem must exist for all this to work, application richness is a secondary factor that certainly drives excitement and adoption.

So It Is Happening

It is great to finally see “the vision” being realized, in large part thanks to Apple and Google who helped shift control and focus into the ecosystem, open systems, the developers and applications. The result has been a tremendous amount of innovation in a relatively short amount of time