Monday, May 20, 2002

2002 Global Wireless Summit Wows

The 2002 Global Wireless Summit ( was not only a hit, but was a world debut too! Monday, May 20, 2002 and the Japan Society hosted 300 leading mobile, content and service industry executives for a great event that explored the latest real-world applications and advances in mobile technology. And, of course, there was plenty of networking to go around too.

I spoke with Consect co-founder and CEO Mark Frieser who gave me a full report about the day's events.

The day started with a keynote from Nobuharu Ono, the President and CEO of DoCoMo USA. Ono-san spoke about DoCoMo's strategic efforts and mission in the US and globally. He went into the technologies, applications, services and challenges in the US market. He also went into what they're doing with ATTWireless (of which they own 16%) on a practical level to develop infrastructure, devices and applications for mobile wireless.

Silicon Alley has always had a penchant for advertising-themed discussions and the next panel was on that exact subject. Underscore Marketing, LLC CEO Tim McHale moderated the discussion between panelists Hakuhodo Institute director of research Mariko Fujiwara, Vindigo Advertising and Sales VP Carrier Himelfarb, GoAmerica Inc. CFO Frank Elenio and Turner Broadcasting Sales Business Development VP Nick Johnson. They detailed the latest advances, campaigns and trends in mobile advertising from both Japanese and American perspectives and the methods you can use for wireless advertising.

The viability of putting financial and information services online on wireless devices was the subject to chew over for the next panel. The discussion between CNBC International Chairman and CEO Bill Bolster and Wall Street Journal Online publisher Neil Budde was compelling as they dolled out how stocks and news could be attained wirelessly. Meanwhile, US Wireless Data CEO and Chairman Dean Leavitt and Nikkei VP of Electronic Media Takashi Tanemura tossed witticisms back and forth regarding developments in their firms. Salans partner and chair of the Information Technologies and Communications Group Owen Kurtin moderated most deftly! - one of the key adult uses of the mobile applications.

The devices and infrastructure panel was a fun one. Attendees could here how different devices are developed, the design factors and design approach for them. Speakers were Ericsson NA Mobility Solutions VP Solomon Israel, Qualcomm Carrier Relations VP Bill Davidson, NEC America Bizdev and Product Planning director Scott Spreen and Samsung Product Management and Product Engineering VP Muzibul Khan. Consect's CEO and conference organizer Mark Frieser was the moderator for this insightful panel. They also covered how to develop for different markets. Khan, Israel and Spreen talked about approaches on developing, how-to develop and how you must react to the needs of the telecom companies to produce devices according to what they were told by network operators.

Lunching included a product showcase where attendees could play around with the latest phones from NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Casio, Toshiba, Kyocera, NEC and with applications from companies like GameLoft.

New York is also well-known for its entertainment industries and The Deal senior writer Matt Miller moderated a compelling discussion between Virgin Mobile Director of Corporate Affairs Steven Day, Pressplay CTO Bill Pence, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment Wireless Services VP Rio Caraeff and ESPN VP Rick Alessandri. So, is entertainment the killer app of 3G? Pense discussed different kinds of games, downloads and sports information you can get on mobile platforms. Caraeff talked about games available on their platform that they developed from films. You can also see what films are playing in your area, make purchases and download ringtones and characters. Day discussed sports information, ringtones and other services they have to make the user experience easier for the consumer. Guess what? They use the Internet for that! Alessandri told us about the sports applications they have created for mobile phones too.

And as if that wasn't enough, the day ended with a keynote from OQO president Colin Hunter, in which he also debuted his product for the first time on the East Coast. This modular computer company developed the first wireless modular PC - it runs Windows XP, is 9oz and can be a laptop, desktop or palmtop. OQO is a startup by three people who were instrumental at Transmetta and on the Titanium Powerbook and Thinkpad teams. The full color screen, Wi-Fi capable unit has Bluetooth and 80211B built into it is powered by 1gigahertz processor, has a battery life of 2 hours and a 10-20 gig hard-drive. You can expect to try this whiz-bang device by end of this year for a mere $1400.

All in all, it was a good turnout, about 275 people, all of whom enjoyed sake, beer and sushi for some solid networking. Future conferences are scheduled for San Diego and Tokyo in October and December, respectively, this year and for New York in May 2003. One of the big take-aways people got from this event, was the practical real-world-application information they couldn't get anywhere else.