By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: Please assess the market potential for such technologies as LTE Broadcast, VoLTE and LTE’s Joyn Rich Communications Services.
Lam: Features such as VoLTE, LTE Broadcast and Joyn Rich Communications Services require a solid LTE network with good coverage in order to provide good experience to the end users. We believe these features will gain traction over time.
Walls: The features and convenience provided by RCS are encouraging. I think the jury is out on how successful this approach will be. In the end, a richer and improved group of communication features will find their way into smart devices as standard features. However, it is very unclear if RCS will be the vehicle that delivers them.
Cistulli: VoLTE is currently being supported in many Alcatel One Touch products. Features such as HD Voice benefit the carrier and the end user. This year, our products will support IR.92, which defines the IMS Profile for Voice and SMS, essentially Voice over LTE. We have future plans to support IR.94, the IMS profile for conversational video services, essentially video over LTE. RCS is a critical building block for the growth of common services across handset platforms. Alcatel supports the integration of RCS into our handsets — we work closely with our carrier partners to build on this framework.
Rasinski: While these technologies are still relatively early in their development, they can provide real value to consumers. LTE Broadcast and VoLTE are both aiming for simplified, standards-based technology as opposed to proprietary technology, which may give them an advantage in the market.
TWICE: What factors will drive usage of NFC? Tap-to-share functionality? Mobile payment?
Lam: NFC is gaining more momentum, and we do believe that it will become a mainstream feature in the future as more applications outside of mobile payment (e.g., social networking) will find ways to adapt to NFC to make it more appealing and useful to end users.
Walls: The bad news is that NFC has not taken off nearly as quickly as most anticipated. This is mostly attributed to the slow growth of mobile payments. The good news is that it only takes one great use case to take off. I think for the average consumer, it’s very confusing trying to understand the difference between Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Bluetooth, ANT+, etc. If you want growth, simplify the experience. Find a way to make them work flawlessly while being transparent to the user.
Cistulli: The most evident driver of NFC today is mobile payment solutions such as those offered through Isis, PayPal and American Express. Carriers and OEMs understand how NFC-enabled devices can be competitive differentiators, but widespread adoption of NFC is slow.
In the coming years, consumer electronics such as TVs and digital cameras, as well as home appliances, will come equipped with NFC chips. In this case, tap-to-pair functionality will help NFC become a household term.
DiCarlo: Our NFC-enabled smartphones are paired with our TecTile programmable NFC tags to enable people to complete tasks and change settings by tapping their device against a TecTile. The potential for NFC will grow as more products are preloaded with NFC technology and consumers become more comfortable sharing content, information and even payment across this wireless medium.
Rasinski: Users want technology that optimizes their lives, and they want it to be convenient. While it’s been around for a while, we are just now beginning to see how NFC can be integrated into the home, whether it is using an LG Optimus G Pro to activate an appliance with a preset setting or enabling new ways for enjoying entertainment, as the connected home becomes more common, so will NFC use.
TWICE: How will wireless charging fare in 2013?
Lam: Wireless charging will continue to expand into the market place, and we believe end users will appreciate it once they are exposed to the convenience of using it.
Walls: Consumers will gravitate to wireless charging ... slowly. Research suggests that it’s nice to have but not a must have. Driving to a lower price point and bundling will help its cause.
Cistulli: In 2013, carriers and OEMs will come closer to formulating or agreeing upon an industry standard. Concurrently, attention will be set on the outcome of current trials among handset makers and retailers. Whether PMA, Qi or A4WP prevail as the standard, our plans are to include wireless charging integration technologies into our current product roadmap as an optional feature.
DiCarlo: Wireless charging is still in its initial phase of consumer adoption, and Samsung is investing in engineering a variety of charging standards to offer our customers the widest amount of choice and the best user experience.
Rasinski: Wireless charging has been around for a while now but is finally starting to see adoption as the technology becomes available on more devices. Last year, we launched the Spectrum 2 and worked with Google on Nexus 4, both wireless charging devices. This year, we have introduced LG Optimus G Pro and Lucid2 by LG, both of which have the potential for wireless charging capabilities when equipped with a wireless charging back plate.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.