We sat down with Ulrich Rozier, the CEO of Humanoid to find out what his top picks were from this year’s GSMA Mobile World Conference along with his view on the challenges for NGN. Humanoid is a media network dedicated to new technology in France (FrAndroid, LesArdoises, FraWin, etc.) and to services (Appxoid, Mobs, Roxino, etc.) that generates more than 65 million UV per year.
1- What were your biggest surprises this year at Mobile World Congress ?
We were expecting a lot of things for this edition. On my side, I could barely imagine how advanced Nokia was with its “Nokia X” strategy. The Finish-American reveal 3 smartphones that are pretty entry-market, and which run with Android, with a whole bunch of services. It’s not that easy to convince the general public, at least the technology savvy one, that Nokia works with Android while remaining Microsoft. The brand image, its colourful design and its price positioning should help, even if its technical assets are not huge.
The other surprise is Finnish too! Sailfish, launched by former Nokia engineers, presented their first OS and their first smartphone called Jolla. Based on MeeGo, it provides a very refreshing and innovative interface. The home screen of Sailfish OS is a potentially richer alternative to iOS or Android, with a sense of details which is a real visual enjoyment. Nonetheless, I’m not sure that this technology can become the standard within mobile OS market. It will probably be acquired…
Finally, a Russian constructor has developed the Yotaphone. A device which has 2 screens: a traditional LCD IPS on the front, and an e-ink screen in the back. The integration really makes the job.
2- Networks have to adapt to growing usages and a boom of new services. Latency should be reduced, while keeping a good resilience. What are the biggest challenges for you?
We need to rethink infrastructures, it’s obvious. I was discussing with Qualcomm, they have solutions, but implementing them is very costly while profitability is not always there. In France, with Free, what consumers have to pay got really reduced; Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile accelerated 4G LTE offers for the French, which made this technology accessible…Nonetheless, infrastructures suffered from this competition. Infrastructures tend to be less qualitative, internet providers and telco companies hesitate when it comes to investing in good material and at the end, the user also experiences that. 3G performances have never been that bad, but 3G antennas are saturated. A lot of telco companies launch newer, cheaper offers with new brands, but what very few clients know is that these offers are far from being a priority on the network. Performances are then very often far from what “traditional” consumers experience.
Finally, interconnection of antennas need to be changed. We opted for a “long distance” network in France. We should invest in short distance network, even if we increase the density of antennas. In South Korea, they can then deliver an indoor coverage, in shopping centres or in the tube.
3- Have you ever experienced a sort of frustration while using apps or services?
You’re right, we can talk about waste – resources, interfaces and efficiency! App builders don’t have a refined reflex. Today, with sensors on our devices or with services capturing data, it’s easier to create a context-sensitive user experience. Suggesting better interfaces with the right content at the right time will mean that every successful app builder is context aware. The less it’s visible, the more efficient it is.
4- Who should we carefully watch ?
I’m really into connected objects. It goes beyond what we might imagine with bathroom scales or ribbons. ‘Internet of Things’ is a true revolution. I’m following what’s going on in the management of connected objects like sen.se. I follow enterprise apps: it can be mobile apps or even personalized Android ROM. Android is very often at the centre of these challenges as it’s a very flexible platform. I also follow what’s going on around iBeacon (Apple) based on Bluetooth 4.0. It can generate very tangible experiences in a wide diversity of industries. And so to the Internet of Things