GSMA’s Mobile Asia Expo – #2

There’s more to say about GSMA’s Mobile Asia Expo and the Connected Living Summit …

For context, GSMA’s Connected Living Program includes mAutomotive, Connected Cities, mHealth, and mEducation verticals. Regarding mEducation, GSMA has been focusing on addressing market barriers to Mobile Learning worldwide and assisting mobile operators, content providers, educational institutes, and governments to transform education via mobile technology.

In the mEducation session of the conference, GSMA’s Ronda Zelezny-Green (mEducation Knowledge Manager) adeptly moderated a panel of speakers that included leaders from Qualcomm, Nokia, Smart Communications (Philippines telecom), QooCo (language learning), Sesame Street Education Workshop, KT (Formerly Korea Telecom), and Spain’s Centro Superior para la Ensenanza Virtual (CSEV).

Panelists cited examples of successful Mobile Learning projects and discussed opportunities as well as barriers. For example, while mobile phones number 6.3 billion today (up from 5 billion last year) and high speed broadband is spreading rapidly, the lack of infrastructure in some schools makes delivery of digital learning very challenging. Often if a school does have broadband, it’s only for administrators and possibly teachers–not students. YTL’s Wing Lee talked about the challenges of covering “the last mile.”

Hee Kyoung Song, senior vice president of KT cited an example of solving this infrastructure problem by offering cloud-based ebook and library services that schools can access via mobile devices. KT has a subsidiary (KT OIC) that is a major education publisher in South Korea and “a global leader in the development of smart-learning content and digital language learning solutions.”

I should mention that in her mEducation Market Trend slides, Song included some of Ambient Insight’s high level revenue and growth data for the Asia region:

Hee Kyoung Song m-Education Market Trends

Hee Kyoung Song m-Education Market Trends

Another barrier to Mobile Learning that Ambient Insight has also identified is the need to train teachers in using mobile technologies. It was gratifying to hear examples of Mobile Learning value added services (VAS) that also included professional development for teachers.

Nokia fully understands the large opportunity that Mobile Learning VAS offers. Willie Cher, Head of Nokia Life China, talked about their very successful VAS. One slide presented identified the types of “lifelong learning” that nine different user-types engaged in; child, student, lesurite, citizen, worker, spouse, home maker, parent, and retiree.

Willie Cher, Nokia Life China - "Addressing Lifelong Learning"

Willie Cher, Nokia Life China – “Addressing Lifelong Learning”

I still have more to say about the Connected Living Summit and will do so in the next blog…

GSMA’s Asia Mobile Expo – #1

Mobile Asia Expo 2013-06-26 029_crop (2)

Last month, Ambient Insight’s Chief Research Officer Sam Adkins and I traveled to China to deliver a presentation at an invitation-only meeting of GSM Association’s (GSMA) mobile network operators (MNOs) and to attend the 3-day Connected Living Summit that GSMA organized in conjunction with their Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai.

(This new event is the GSMA’s Asia version of their Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona each year.)

Given the Asia region’s explosive interest in mobile (which we’ve detailed in our recently released Mobile Learning in Asia report 2012-2017), it’s not surprising that attendance at GSMA’s Mobile Asia Expo and Conference climbed over to 20,000 this year, up 30% from their inaugural year.

2013-06-24 002_Sam_crop (3)The Asia region is experiencing a boom in Mobile Learning: we forecast the highest growth rate (17.3% of any region in the world. We find China is a particularly interesting market for Mobile Learning–with their rising consumer class and recent announcement of the Chinese government’s decision to accelerate their 4G license allocation.

It’s going to take me a couple of blog entries to share what we learned.

Richard Cockle, GSMA’s Connected Living Program director, opened the closed session (for GSMA members) and introduced speakers Wing K Lee, CEO of YTL Communications (Malaysia telecom) and Willie Cher, Head of Nokia Life, China; both spoke about their highly successful projects.

  • YTL just received a Malaysian government tender (Sam checked: $465 million for the first five years) to deploy their 1BestariNet platform—with content from Khan Academy, British Council, TED, Coursera, and Crash—across every school in Malaysia. That’s 400,000 teachers; 6,000,000 students, and 4,000,000 parents—quite an ambitious 15-year project. But then, YTL claims to be the largest 4G network in all of southeast Asia and covers 85% of Malaysians.
  • Nokia Life, an SMS learning service that’s either preloaded (free) on Nokia devices or downloadable for a fee, now has 100 million users, up from 78 million in September 2012 across Asia and Africa. Equally impressive is their 72% retention rate—very unusual. This far reaching information service focuses on education, health, agriculture, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and women.

We provided insights on key catalysts, new revenue streams, and business opportunities; and contributed market sizing in the Asia Mobile Learning market.

Shanghai 1st morning 2013-06-21 013I have to mention that Shanghai is a splendid, sprawling, surreal city with an 11-route smoothly functioning subway system (of which, as a resident of the Seattle area–a city with no subway–I was truly envious). It has a  great user interface so it was easy to traverse 3 subway lines from the hotel in the old town area across (well, under) the Huangpu River, to the Expo site in the newly-sprouted Pudong trade and finance area. Unfortunately, even a fast subway system or Maglev train couldn’t connect us to Ambient Insight’s Advisory  Group member Aaron Pulkka (Chairman of Metal Rabbit games, China) who was briefly in Shanghai.

PleaseCherishTheGrassCompared to almost anywhere on earth, Shanghai is a huge city–with over 20 million people (Walking on the Bund one night, I think we saw most of them.) But still, there is a gentleness in the city.

Next up: More about GSMA’s mEducation session…

Tyson

CEO Ambient Insight

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