Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Femtozone Services

I’ve written and Mike Q and I have podcast in the past about femtocells and how they are being used to enhance indoor cellular coverage. If you haven’t heard of them - they are basically small cellular base stations that can be put in homes or businesses. Femtocells connect using a broadband connection (DSL, Cable, Fiber, etc) in the home or business and are great in areas of poor cell reception. 

I’m not sure why they are not used more in the U.S. When I get stuck in a hotel or business where cellular coverage is poor I often find myself mumbling “This place could sure use some femtos”.

Lately I’ve been picking up some chatter about “femtozone services” and just read an interesting study from ABI Research titled Consumer Femtozone Services. According to ABI, femtozone services use key attributes such as location and presence to trigger innovative applications residing on the mobile device, or in the access point, the core gateway, or the cloud.

Here’s a few examples of how femtozone services can be used from that ABI study:

A young person arrives at the family home, and the femtocell there registers the presence of his or her mobile phone and sends out an SMS notification to the parents. Such systems are already in use in Japan. Other kinds of femtozone applications can turn on lights or activate security systems, while still others can be used to sync content between mobile phones and other devices in the home such as TVs, laptops and media players. Via the mobile network, they can even allow remote access to digital content stored at home.

ABI goes on to forecast:

About 2.3 million femtozone subscribers in 2012, providing revenue of more than $100 million. These numbers rise sharply to 2015, when 45% of femtocell users will subscribe to femtozone services. Femtozone services will see initial adoption in the Asia-Pacific region, but ultimately the North American market will be by far the largest.

ABI Practice director Aditya Kaul says, “Femtozone services will be bundled with femtocell subscriptions and will also be available individually, increasing the perceived value of having a femtocell in the home. Eventually, mobile apps available from Apple or Google App stores may be designed to work via a femtocell. The femtozone services market is expected to reach almost $2 billion in revenue by 2015, but operators need to act fast, as the popularity of Wi-Fi/GPS-based over the top applications could pose a hindrance.”

Be sure to check out ABI Research’s Consumer Femtozone Services study. For more information, follow this link.

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