Sixth sense networks are heading our way

In the future, mobile networks will engage in presence-driven communication as infrastructure becomes more intelligent and more useful to individuals and their business needs.

So says Nick Foggin, an independent expert and former group strategy director at Orange when discussing the current state of the industry and what lies ahead during an event held by BT yesterday in Milan.

"Wouldn't it be good to know that someone is there before you pick up the phone or send an email?" he said.

"It's not rocket science for the system to know I've entered a meeting room and, because I've logged in, to divert calls because I don't want to be disturbed."

Foggin also suggested that even technology not normally considered the nuts and bolts of the business infrastructure would be affected by this change. Another example cited was how useful it would be if a system recognised he was in a room and automatically adjusted the air conditioning system to his particular temperature preference.

He added: "[There will also be] high fidelity voice so it seems like the person is standing next to you rather than just a scratchy voice at the end of the telephone."

Statistics from the GSM Association state that the number of mobile phone users worldwide currently stands at more than two billion. And that figure is growing at a rate of 1,000 new users every minute.

But, while mobile technology may have reached maturity in some respects, it still has a great deal of potential yet to be realised.

"Implied penetration is certainly 100 per cent in terms of mobile handsets and heads of population. But as to the percentage of people actually using mobile phones, the figure is around 70/75 per cent. As there will always be people that are too young, too old, too sick or too poor to be part of the mobile revolution."

According to Foggin's reckoning, the industry has therefore still got a little headroom before it reaches true saturation point.

"Rest assured, 85 per cent of the population are able and willing to use mobiles," he said.

But Foggin also offered some words of warning for businesses to ensure they don't fall foul of typical mobile pitfalls.

For a mobility strategy to truly bear fruits, he believes that its aims and objectives must be in line with those of the business.

"Companies get excited by the hype and hyperbole. If you asked 10 people in the industry to describe convergence, you'd probably get 11 different definitions," he said.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.