Today's mobile applications are still simplistic and require too much fiddling around by users before they get anything useful, according to the head of a US wireless operator.
Speaking to an audience of telecom managers during this year's Supercomm event, John Zeglis, president of AT&T's wireless group, joked that he has become an expert at typing sentences using the keys on mobile phones. But on a serious note, he said that mobile applications needed to become more intuitive and inventive.
"Services need to be ubiquitous and [mobile] phones have to be as easy to use and programme as old fashioned alarm clocks," he said, adding that carriers should not be afraid to work with new developers to create innovative applications. "This is a team sport," he said.
Zeglis said that although wireless services have come a long way to bringing information such as local restaurants and maps to mobile consumers, these activities could be automated.
For example, operators could automatically choose and make dinner reservations at restaurants wherever the caller is located. The service provider would already know the type of food and price range their customers prefer by keeping comprehensive customer profiles, explained Zeglis. All the information the customer needs to provide is the time they want to eat.
Zeglis also said that instead of merely building fridges that create online shopping lists, those units could be connected to wireless phones to remind consumers of what they need to buy each time they pass their local supermarket.
Wireless technology could also be connected to the recent camera-on-a-pill created by scientists to look at internal organs, and Zeglis even suggested, albeit jokingly, that a wireless pill could immediately alert hospitals if the user was about to have a medical emergency.
But fantasies aside, Zeglis urged the US wireless industry not to fall further behind European carriers. Of the tightly regulated US market, he said: "The next decade will not allow us to grow unless we break the local loop monopoly and unless the government makes more spectrum available. We don't want Europe and Asia to be ahead of us in third generation communications as they are in second generation."
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