Thursday, 23 October 2008

Towards the Mobile Olympics of 2012

Three potential mobile centric innovation enablers:

We live in a mobile phone centric world; in the UK we have had more network registered mobile connections than the total population for over two years.

Mobile phones in the UK also outnumber internet broadband connections by a ratio of 3 to 1.

This year, Mobile Internet usage is growing at a rate of 25% and in August over 17 million individual users connected to the mobile web.

The global figures are equally impressive with over 3.4 billion mobile connections in a world population of 6 billion and this figure is still growing significantly.

Towards a personal Olympics
As early as 2010, all new mobile phones will be mobile internet and mobile email ready and will have sophisticated camera functionality as standard. Mobile social networking and sharing rich moments with friends and family, will be a commonplace occurrence. Therefore visitors to the 2012 London Olympics will be recording and sharing their own personal memories of the games. This “of the moment” dynamic view will provide a great opportunity to experience the Olympics in a unique way, by creating for instance “MyGames2012” portal, where visitors can upload and share their Olympic experience in a controlled manner.

The site could include competitions for the best content/pictures/video and our Olympic athletes could also have a Facebook style personal contact area for their fans; ultimately we would have a unique national archive of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mobile Media coverage
The Beijing Olympics had unprecedented internet media coverage and this included significant coverage for mobile internet devices. Big media organisations such as NBC, and the BBC provided live 24/7 mobile web, mobile alerts and mobile video coverage. In August the MDA saw a 500,000 increase in the number of mobile internet users during the two weeks of the Beijing games.

By 2012, tariff changes and device functionality will ensure Mobile Internet and streaming media will be being used on a regular basis by upward of 40 million Brits. This new wave of mobile consumers will put more emphasis on the need to produce innovative mobile content, from a medal watch for Team GB to action replays of the best action etc.

All of this means that the wireless operators must ensure that their capacity planning factors in the anticipated popularity of the Olympics. The wireless provisioning, in and around the stadiums, will need to encompass GSM based bearers as well as WiFi, WiMax and Bluetooth which can all be used to distribute local event-based content and information.

One significant consideration with media coverage is the cost associated with viewing this content, especially for the foreign visitor. Data roaming costs need to be transparent to the user or at a fixed cost throughout their Olympic experience.

Transport and Ticketing
Mobile phones are currently being used for purchasing small items and trials of mobile payment systems are proving to be successful, although by 2012 not all mobile phones will support the enabling technology known as Near Field Communication’s (NFC).

By 2012 we will be using our NFC enabled mobile phones on the underground and public transport systems of London as an Oyster card replacement. There are significant opportunities to combine mobile internet, GPS location and mapping to provide visitors to the games with travel plans (using public transport), avoiding congested areas, making reservation in hotels and restaurants, tickets for the games and real-time security alerts and warnings.

Examples of mobile content and public transport planning are already happening and the London Borough of Newham recently launched their own mobile portal, which allows their users to find a music gig or a restaurant and then plan a route via the public transport system. This type of application will be developed further to take into account location based services and mobile payments, to deliver a rich but intuitive solution for the Olympic visitor.

To try out the Newham mobile portal simply TEXT Newham to 65101

These are just three possibilities for the Olympics, however the opportunity for a mobile games is potentially limitless.

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