Deliverable 02 is final: first results

The deliverable "report on state-of-the-art & market situation" has reached the final status. The expected results of WP02 are the specification of exact and detailed requirements of the end-users and the identification of appropriate tools to implement the envisaged to-be situation. Further, a short market analysis will be accomplished to ensure the project is considering the right market needs.

Therefore this deliverable covers the evolution and development of important services and applications in a next generation network (NGN) environment. It goes on to address user expectations of the future services to be delivered by mobile. Applications have been grouped into specific building blocks that are enablers for the service categories considered in this deliverable. The deliverable addresses the following enabling applications:

  1. Multimedia
  2. Mobile commerce
  3. Unified messaging
  4. Voice over IP
  5. Interactive broadcasting
  6. Positioning

The main service categories addressed are:

  1. Location-based services
  2. Edutainment and infotainment
  3. B2C services
  4. Office extension
  5. Telemedicine
  6. Telematics/telemetry/monitoring

The deliverable considers quality of service (QoS) levels and the essential elements required in delivering these services. Since the billing of services relates directly to accrual of revenues, the deliverable tackles billing issues within the NGN environment. Services and applications in the non-public environment are also be covered. In all the areas above, key issues have been identified and recommendations made where appropriate. Both have been highlighted in the relevant chapters and listed separately within the deliverable.

There are two clear trends that can be recognised in the telecommunications market:

To date, these two requirements have been met by two very different solutions, namely the Internet and mobile networks, respectively. The convergence of both solutions is the ultimate goal of third generation systems, and will enable both user requirements to be met through the same platform and through new generations of access devices.

Within this converged world, an important goal of system design for third generation wireless systems is to support applications and services at performance and quality of service (QoS) levels equivalent to or better than wire line networks and to enable inter-working with other networks (e.g. 2nd generation GSM, Bluetooth, Wireless LAN). This creates the momentum behind the development of a new breed of wireless systems where the underlying technology will and must be all but irrelevant to the user.

Driven by the Internet, the amount of information accessible through networks is growing exponentially. Digitisation of information from paper, film and tape archives and creation of new multimedia information "content" based on image, video, voice and text all exist today and such information is being delivered electronically on a large scale over the fixed Internet. The electronic delivery to end-users of services such as entertainment, marketing, advertising and distance learning is nowadays also common practice. Additionally, data collected from networks of specialised embedded systems for applications such as traffic monitoring, earth resource monitoring, energy management, healthcare monitoring and even usage analysis of the networks themselves are other forms of information being sent across networks. All these forms of information will increasingly be transferred over wireless links.

Even though NGN will drive the convergence of services and drive content to be offered over a common platform, it would be a mistake to apply the business models and strategies that have been developed for the fixed Internet on a one-to-one basis to the "mobile Internet". Clearly, the end users' experience of the Internet over mobile networks will be different from their experience over the traditional "wired" Internet. This different experience will be driven by new capabilities such as mobility support and restricting factors such as limited battery power and terminal display sizes.

Enhanced features of second generation mobile networks such as SMS, GPRS and WAP enable operators to offer new services aimed at the mass market and assist them to gain experience prior to the launch of third generation systems. However, the rollout of WAP and GPRS services has only just begun. The challenge will be to master a very short learning curve for the successful deployment of third generation networks and to ensure the availability of attractive services, applications and solutions for the user both in public and private networks.

In addition, the Internet continues to grow rapidly and networks based on the Internet Protocol will become predominant in the future. "IPv6" has been chosen by NGNPP in a first step to be introduced into NGN core networks, but later to be deployed as a protocol. However, it is too early to identify specific IP applications in mobile networks that will spin-off from the deployment of IPv6. Furthermore, the Internet is clearly positioning itself as the single most important channel for delivery of information to the mass-market user. There is little doubt that the wireless communications industry will drive the Internet into new markets with the introduction of third generation mobile systems. These developments will also influence and change the Internet itself.

The two user requirements identified at the start of this section are indications that end users will be willing to pay for secure, convenient wireless data services. The question is how operators might reconsider the value of their wireless data assets to gain incremental revenues and, more significantly, incremental profit and cash flows, so that that each end user will generate higher revenues, beyond wireless voice services and low speed data. Since most future third generation services will be implemented over packet-based networks and will show very different traffic patterns to voice, these services could be priced according to network usage or volume of data rather than by the number of minutes that a subscriber is logged onto the network. As such, pricing has the potential to be a function of demand, time of day, bandwidth and delay tolerance. It is obvious that the future potential success of third generation services will very much depend on the implementation of the right pricing of these services in both level and structure.

All these aspects, namely user requirements, applications and services (both public and private), network platforms for the support of these applications and billing aspects are addressed in this deliverable.

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