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Future of Wireless International Conference 2012

Highlights need for change in the ‘Reshaping of the Mobile Industry’

Over 350 senior mobile industry executives, academics and advisors from 25 countries converged on Cambridge last week to focus on the ‘Reshaping of the Mobile Industry', driven by the increasing influence of new ‘Over The Top' (OTT) web and digital media brands such as Facebook, Google, Skype and Twitter. The 4th Future of Wireless International Conference - organised by Cambridge Wireless, the leading independent wireless business and technology community - also featured an exhibition, Innovation Hothouse area for start-ups and ‘speed-dating' services run by the UKTI to bring together UK and overseas businesses.

With growing demand for wireless data and the dominance of the major mobile operators under threat, speakers and delegates from all sections of the mobile ecosystem agreed that innovation and changes to business models were needed. Keynote speaker Olaf Swantee, CEO at Everything Everywhere, said that the UK's digital infrastructure was already falling behind other counties and restated his commitment to launch the country's first 4G network by year-end, with prompt regulatory approval that would relieve the strain on its data networks, where traffic is growing by 250 percent a year. "4G will allow us to deliver mobile broadband to the 2-3million households in rural areas that do not have an acceptable fixed-line connections and offer new services such in TV, video, real-time gaming and M2M by working with application partners," said Swantee.

Other speakers included Joe Barrett, Senior Director of Marketing, European Innovation Development at Qualcomm who spoke about the importance for wireless operators to innovate, along with Paul Taylor, Engineering Manager at Google who provided an insight into the role of speech; Matthew Postgate, Head of R&D at the BBC who explored mobile broadcasting and Professor Christopher Lowe from the University of Cambridge who delivered his vision for mHealth.

"For over twenty-five years, the wireless industry has delivered value to consumers by investing and innovating in technology and business models for voice and data services," said Dr. David Cleevely FREng FIET, Chairman of Cambridge Wireless who opened the conference. "Today, network operators, device manufacturers and their supply ecosystems, are in the midst of a deep seismic change and need to take a fresh view of their business models as consumers migrate towards content and services provided by web and digital media brands."

The ‘Cambridge Debate' chaired by BBC News correspondent Peter Day looked at whether the future of innovation in the wireless industry is in the virtual rather than the physical world.

"The centre of gravity of innovation in the mobile industry has moved to the internet and the cloud where the future is all about apps, content and services, accessed whenever and wherever they are needed," argued Ray Anderson, CEO at Bango. But Accenture's David Wood said that players in the physical world will always have a fundamental role in innovation: "inherent, long-lasting value results from design, engineering and manufacturing expertise." While the debate closed the gap; the vote at the end of the debate came down in favour of the physical world.

The 2012 Future of Wireless International Conference at The Møller Centre and Churchill College Cambridge also featured exhibition zones along with hands-on workshops, facilitated brainstorms and plenary sessions. Next generation wireless starts-ups showcased their innovative ideas in the Start-Up Zone and the five winners from the Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups 2011 competition had the opportunity to pitch to the full conference at the Innovation Hothouse.

"The Future of Wireless International Conference has grown year-on-year and continues to attract an impressive line-up of international speakers and delegates from all parts of the mobile ecosystem to focus on critical issues facing the wireless industry," said Soraya Jones, CEO of Cambridge Wireless. "The success of the Conference and continued expansion with new members from the UK and beyond further strengthens the position of Cambridge Wireless as a leading global forum for the wireless industry."

Cambridge Wireless is grateful for the support from conference partners, UK Trade and Investment and ICTKTN, and its sponsors: Qualcomm, Anite, Cambridge Consultants, Rohde & Schwarz, Broadcom, The Technology Partnership (TTP), IC-Group, Aeroflex, Arkessa, Jaltek Group, Agilent Technologies, Otaniemi Marketing (Finland), Olswang and the Canadian High Commission (which includes representatives from British Columbia, Ontario International Marketing Centre, Alberta and Invest Quebec)

About Cambridge Wireless

Cambridge Wireless is a leading industry forum and vibrant community with a rapidly expanding network of companies actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. In addition to high level networking dinners and events, a strong educational programme and business development activities, Cambridge Wireless runs the annual Future of Wireless International Conference along with the prestigious Discovering Start-Ups programme and competition to support emerging, innovative wireless companies.

Over 15 Special Interest Groups focused on specific technologies and market sectors, also provide opportunities for members to meet, form partnerships to exploit new commercial opportunities, and share knowledge and information about the latest industry trends and hot topics. Cambridge Wireless has partnerships with other leading industry clusters and organisations around the world to extend its international reach and to keep members up to date with the latest global developments and business opportunities. For more information, please visit www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/futureofwireless

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