Executives from across the Qtel Group gathered in Barcelona, Spain for the third annual Innovation Exchange
The third annual 2011 Innovation Exchange in Barcelona, hosted by the Qtel Group and supported by the GSMA and the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), has assembled leading companies from across the mobile value chain to outline the development path of the next generation of mobile technologies.
Demand for new, original mobile content and applications in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia is likely to grow exponentially over the next three years, driven by improvements in mobile networks, devices and new services, according to experts gathered in Barcelona.
Research company Nielsen has forecast that there will be more smartphones sold than feature phones in the U.S. market by the end of 2011, while markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East are also likely to see a rapid increase, driving demand for new applications and mobile-ready content.
The major theme of Innovation Exchange this year is "Shifting Gears," with the spotlight on new technologies and business models emerging within the communications market. Key sessions cover social networking, mobile media measurement and mobile relationship marketing. There are also sessions on enterprise mobility services including discussions on cloud services and mEducation.
The goal of the event is to provide a lively forum for ideas to grow, fuelled by industry experts, and focused on the market's emerging technologies and business models. Today, a wide range of services such as films, music, mobile money and fleet management can all be delivered at the touch of a handset, and many companies are looking at the best ways to deliver such services to customers.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Qtel Group CEO, said: “The new generation of mobile applications and services are playing an increasingly significant role in our industry, and we believe that the Qtel Group will continue to champion innovation on a regional and global level. For the past three years, the Qtel Group Innovation Exchange has made a significant contribution to our own strategy for innovation, and to the wider industry discussion about the potential of this exciting sector.”
Held on the eve of the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Innovation Exchange reflects the increasing international crossover between mobile network operators, application developers, large consumer brands, advertising agencies, social networks and even universities.
The Qtel Group Innovation Exchange 2011 hosts participants including Google, Oracle, BMW, Opera, and Skype, as well as operators from the Qtel Group, including Indosat, Wataniya Kuwait, Nawras, Tunisiana, Nedjma and Qtel.
Henry Stevens, Director of Media and Entertainment, GSMA said: “New trends like Mobile Advertising are not only opening up new revenue streams for communications companies, they are also transforming the relationships between companies and their customers. We see huge potential for greater collaboration across the industry, which is why we strongly support the Qtel Group’s Innovation Exchange.”
Rimma Perelmuter, MEF Executive Director said: “We’re delighted to support Innovation Exchange for the third year running. By encouraging involvement from companies throughout the mobile media value chain, we have seen how this forum can stimulate innovations, foster new deals and drive development. In particular, we see significant scope for growth in partnerships across emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East.”
The sector has the potential to become highly lucrative in key markets in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, given the accelerating adoption of mobile and the region’s relative economic dynamism.
Over the past year, the Qtel Group has launched a number of important initiatives in this field, such as Backstage, the innovative mobile music service. It has also supported the opening of the first Middle East office for the MEF in Doha, Qatar.