GSMA 2012 in Barcelona
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress, which has been held in Barcelona since 2006. Last year, the GSMA selected Barcelona as the Mobile World Capital from 2012 to 2018.
We interviewed Eulàlia Ripoll Giralt, Mobile World Congress Event Director, GSMA Ltd. to find out more about what is happening in this sector.
In the fast paced industry of mobile telecoms, how has the MWC adapted over the years to remain current?
The mobile industry continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, and is leading a transformation in how the world communicates, how business is conducted and how people live their lives. In its conference and exhibition, the Mobile World Congress reflects the ever-changing dynamics of the mobile industry, highlighting the companies, technologies, products and services that are shaping the future of the industry.
In which industries is mobile communication making the biggest noise?
We are entering the next phase in the development of the mobile industry, one where we will see mobile connect everything in our lives. In this new Connected Life, mobile will transform society and will have a profound effect on the way we interact not only with each other, but also with our surroundings. Embedded mobile promises to revolutionise sectors such as healthcare, with remote patient monitoring; transport with smart destination management; utilities with smart metering and smart grids; and consumer electronics where every device can benefit from a mobile connection. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Barcelona has been named as the first Mobile World Capital – can you tell us more about this?
As the Mobile World Capital, Barcelona will continue to be the home of the Mobile World Congress, and will also develop a range of other programmes and activities that will span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry.
What are your predictions for the coming year in the mobile industry?
I think it’s going to be another exciting year for the mobile industry – we’ll continue to see new developments in devices with the introduction of new smartphones and tablets, and as mentioned previously, we’ll continue to see the integration of mobile into many other objects as we move towards a truly connected life.
TECHNOLOGIES, GADGETS AND CERTAIN LEGAL ASPECTS OF MOBILE COMMERCE
The devices available and the quality of today’s mobile technologies have galvanized electronic commerce. This evolution has led to the adoption of new technological standards and facilitated the influx of new economic agents to markets who stimulate investment and the innovation ecosystem.
The Internet and mobile phones make possible not only the transmission of data, but also electronic commerce and business opportunities at every level. The proliferation of smartphones and digital tablets optimizes connectivity and the user experience. In my view the new paradigm generates a clear business opportunity in a mobile context driven by high-speed Internet traffic.
In a dynamic sector like mobile electronic commerce it is essential that legal frameworks be flexible, in such a way that they can be quickly adapted to changes and contribute to eradicating inefficiencies which hamper technological development and business initiative.
In the context of the Internet and mobile telephones we are living in a world in which products and services may be acquired 24/7. That is, the temporal and geographic limitations which applied to traditional commerce have completed evaporated, which has meant a step forward and a whole series of advantages for consumers and users. This change, however, has also brought with it new challenges, both legal and technological.
The technical aspects involved with the Internet and mobile phones ought to be addressed along with the legal problems they pose. It should also be pointed out that we find an underlying dichotomy in a sector which historically has been regulated and which requires major investments, such as in telecommunications, with a free market based, at least partially on “free” Internet business models, which has led to a clash of business strategies where we are seeing just the initial phase.
On a user level, information security is very relevant when it comes to one’s personal information, while the dynamics are quite different when dealing with data in a corporate setting. In my humble opinion there are at least three basic factors which ought to be considered in the area of security:
1. The protection of personal data, given that any entity with a legal personality operating on the Internet and handling personal data must be made to comply with current legislation regulating the field. Generally, and from a business point of view, compliance with regulations is viewed as a legal stumbling block, but a much more positive and commercial view should be adopted. Why not view the protection of data as competitive advantage?
Along this line, customers must be informed of the data held on them and its handling, the file in which it is contained, the purpose or purposes for which it is used, the possibility of exercising their access, rectification, cancellation and protest rights as set down under the law, as well as possible security failures.
2. Security standard implementation. If electronic commerce has not yet taken off or seen a definitive surge forward, one reason for this is that consumers don’t trust the payment system used to carry out financial transactions on mobile Internet devices. Said standards must preserve the authentication, integrity, confidentiality and non-rejection of financial transactions.
3. The reduction of users’ learning curves. It can be said that mobile electronic commerce is plagued by a certain level of mistrust and ignorance. The problem of mistrust can be solved through security architectures. But this measure is not enough if users do not enjoy easy access to them, or if they don’t understand how to use them.
The situation is now in a transitional phrase which will allow the sector to evolve thanks to the quality of mobile technologies, innovation, and the convergence of multiproduct companies and new services. In this dynamic economic agents should exploit an innovative and competitive technological mixture which takes into consideration the legal and regulatory aspects of their business models in a global and ultraconnected context.