The upcoming BlackBerry OS might be packing streaming video support, but the real moneymaking could be in video messaging. A recent report from ABI Research forecasts $17 billion in revenues from video messaging and telephony services by 2012. RIM’s still getting their feet wet in multimedia devices, and to be honest, video messaging seems a long way off. Incoming video streaming is a good start, but not only will the camera hardware have to evolve, but a network which reliably supports the data stream will also be necessary for outbound video messaging to happen. Even then, data-intensive activity like that isn’t exactly RIM’s style. The consumer angle for mobile video support is obvious (who doesn’t want a webcam on their phone?), but could video conferencing functionality make a camera more of a business-oriented feature on a BlackBerry?
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Mobile carriers have taken the hint that they need to expand services to better appeal to enterprise customers, as a recent report from Infonetics Research concludes that 80% of carriers plan to offer fixed-mobile convergence plans to corporations by April 2008 at the risk of traffic falling off their network. (FMC involves merging office voice and data services with your handheld – a phone call on a single line can be answered from either office or cellphone.) That being said, enterprise VoIP will supposedly become more and more supported, and with Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerrys pulling in to harbour, carriers don’t have much choice but to follow suit. Now, if the BlackBerry had session initiation protocol supported, RIM could have a solid foothold to get in on the ever-growing PBX phone integration business that carriers are moving towards. This isn’t to say the UMA handoff that the 8820 uses right now doesn’t have a place in new IP multimedia subsystems, but working with SIP sure would open up some possibilities.
It’s not exactly a shocker, but an Osterman Research report comissioned by Zenprise shows that “95 per cent of the 76 messaging-oriented North American decision-makers that responded to the survey said the senior managers in their organizations have BlackBerry devices”. On top of that, 65% of middle managers have a BlackBerry at their side and for half of the organizations, traveling personnel are also using them. In the long view, the report’s forecasting 100 million enterprise users by 2010. The report’s main point, however, is that since such a high percentage of of top-level executives are using the devices, IT professionals are feeling the extra pressure from above to make absolutely sure that service is up and potentially cutting into their time on other responsibilities. Does this translate into a requirement for full-time BlackBerry administrators?
The National Post is reporting that financial analysts are pitching RIM’s stock is set to hit the $275 ballpark in the next six to ten months. Considering it was sitting at around $68.58 one short year ago, that’s quite the forecast. RIM’s been keeping momentum up on the stock market however, with analysts Sera Kim and Adam Low predicting a doubling of BlackBerry users to 23 million by the end of the 2009 fiscal year. There’s plenty of new devices to look forward to, and an ever-growing smartphone market willing to gobble them up. Are there any game-changers on the radar for the next six to ten months that could throw a wrench into these predictions?
On top of a projected cellular market worth 25$ billion by 2011, Gartner predicts that data’s chunk of the Indian pie will have increased from 9.6% last year to 22%. Obviously voice still takes the lion’s share of the market, but the demand for data services is accelerating very quickly, which is good news for RIM. Prepaid customers will be more likely to get a data plan than post-paid users, and keeping prices down will be vital for success in India.
For awhile, we pictured WiMAX as a kind of fixed broadband solution. You know, the kind of thing you set up when you live in the boonies and there’s no way in hell you’re going to get a solid line from civilization to your house. However, a recent report is saying that thanks to partnerships between companies such as Clearwire and Sprint, mobile WiMAX is becoming more and more popular in the US. The most immediate implications for mobile WiMAX would be for TV and entertainment, but will the technology ever wriggle its way into the voice and data applications that BlackBerry users hold so very dear? We’d really like to read more of this report to find out, but there’s a pretty hefty pricetag on it.