Sep. 2000 Issue of WebBusiness MagazineThin Air
Part 3 of 4: Kelly Quinn of the Aberdeen Group

Part 1: Mark Zohar of Forrester Research

Part 2: Charul Vyas of IDC

Part 3: Kelly Quinn of the Aberdeen Group

Part 4: Seamus McAteer of Jupiter Communications

The market for wireless Internet devices is said to be the next big thing. How big is big? In an effort to better understand where wisdom ends and hype begins, WebBusiness talked to analysts at four major consultancies, Forrester, the Aberdeen Group, Jupiter Communications and IDC. The interviews are published one each week over four weeks. 
    This week, WebBusiness talks about the potential of the wireless market with Kelly Quinn, a senior industry analyst at the Aberdeen group. Quinn agrees with last week's remarks by Charul Vyas of IDC, that businesses should be prepared for mobile commerce because it is going to be a very big deal in a relatively short time. But Quinn warns that mobile commerce is not the same as e-commerce, and those who mistake the two will pay for their confusion. 
WebBusiness: In a recent report, the Aberdeen Group predicted that in 2004, 74 million users, or one third of all wireless subscribers would access the wireless Web. How do you think the wireless Web is going to evolve over the next four years? 
Quinn: In the US market we see it evolving as something that is driven by end user needs. Right now it is being pushed an awful lot by technology, but we haven't seen the adoption justify it. One thing we are going to see in the next four years is a real shakeout in perspective going form technology centric to user centric. 
wireless - older English term for radio
wireless subscribers - mobile telephone / cellphone / handy users
the wireless Web - the internet accessible over wireless 
to see the adoption - to the acceptance by the market
WB: What is the wireless Web going to be used for? Shopping, research, directions? 
Quinn: Anything that has an immediate need. Anything that is location or time sensitive in a mobile environment. Probably not research, but things like directions, shopping, in certain environments, and transactions in a business setting - absolutely. Things like stock trades, because that stuff is really time sensitive. 
WB: How will the wireless Web be used in business? Will a salesperson be able to tap into the company Intranet, for example, on a phone or a handheld device from anywhere and check on the availability of a product? 
Quinn: Yes, it's already being used like that. 
WB: Will the wireless Web save businesses money? 
Quinn: Short term-yes, long term-no. 
WB: What's the future of mobile commerce [m-commerce]? 
Quinn: Every body does have to be ready for m-commerce, but that does not mean that everyone has to be deployed by December of 2000. I think that it is in the best interest of most enterprises to begin really evaluating what their mobile business solutions are going to be, and not just mobile-commerce but their mobile business solutions period. Both for their internal users and their outside customers.
does have to be ready - really has to be prepared
period - British "full stop" = American "period" = German "punkt", meaning fertig, that's it, no more to say.
Not just mobile commerce, but all of mobile business. 
WB: There are many different wireless technologies, such as WAP and i-mode. Which technologies will succeed, and why? 
Quinn: In the US we are going to see WAP be the main access method. In the long term I think 3G solutions that are coming in that will supercede WAP. 
WAP - Wireless Access Protocol
i-mode - Internet mode
3G - third generation (UMTS) 
WB: How can business executives prepare for the wireless future? 
Quinn: By taking a look at their end user base to see if they actually have any tangible mobile needs. If they do, take a look at exactly what they have a mobile need for, because it may be very different from a wired connection need. 
    Companies also have to be cautious about trading on to this because it is not e-commerce it's mobile-commerce and it is very different. It is the convergence of the telecom industry and the Internet itself and that's a whole different beast. When I suggest that they take a step back and look at it from the opposite end of the supply chain, I say that for a reason, because we don't know for sure how the market is going to shake out. They need to go back through every single stage of the supply chain and figure out what exactly the need is, not put too much into it, but don't under invest. 
WB: Should companies have a m-commerce plan for the future? 
Quinn: Yes. 
m-commerce - mobile commerce,as opposed to electronic commerce or internet-based commerce
WB: Will it create new industries? 
Quinn: Yes. It is going to create industries that are actually hybrid creatures between the telecom's industry (which comes from a monopoly environment), the wireless industry, and the Internet industry (which comes from a totally radical capitalism environment). What the actual manifestation of that is going to look like, as far as what sort of approach they have to information dispensation, to customer ownership, and things like that, when the market matures, well that's pretty much up in the air right now.