It has long been said in the mobile industry that end users want service, not technology. But because smartphone connectivity has always been delivered by the cellular network, the separation of service and technology has never really been tested.
In 2014, with the arrival of Wi-Fi First, which demonstrated an alternative service model, things began to change. In 2015, as cable operators and internet giants are realizing the benefits they might be able to bring to their core businesses with a wireless connectivity offering, the change is accelerating.
These new players don’t see connectivity as restricted to the cellular network, they see it as deliverable across a range of networks; cellular, domestic Wi-Fi, commercial Wi-Fi and amenity Wi-Fi.
This model of service provision, rather than being Wi-Fi First, or Mobile First, is Connectivity First. It is a recognition that no single technology in isolation can deliver the optimum connectivity experience to the end user.
I believe it is a direct response to the entrenched thinking that technology is more important than service. The reality is that the emergence of a Wi-Fi First movement committed to disruption was actively facilitated by the mobile operator community’s tentative approach to Wi-Fi. By thinking in a technology-restricted way, this community encouraged the emergence of an alternative.
In seeking to clarify our thinking around this important shift, we created the Connectivity First Manifesto—a statement of our beliefs about the provision of smartphone connectivity and how it is evolving.
At Devicescape we believe that 2015 will be the year in which mobile operators, driven by this changing competitive landscape, will recognize that Connectivity as delivered to the end user needs to be bigger than any one network, or any single bearer technology.
In line with this, we believe operators must and will look to expand their remit beyond the networks to which they have historically confined operations.
Indeed, we expect it will become imperative in 2015 for operators to reflect this new understanding of service requirements with the delivery of a unified smartphone connectivity experience constructed from all available resources.
Services built on Wi-Fi or cellular in isolation will surely continue to find a market but the best user experience will be the one built on their combination.
The Connectivity First Manifesto is intended to stimulate discussion and invite response. I hope you enjoy reading it and I urge you to join that discussion.
You can download it at www.devicescape.com/connectivity-first.