'

Oracle goes mobile in a big way

Encouraged by the success of its foray into the wireless world so far, the world's second largest software company and global supplier of software for information management is sending in the big guns to lead the way ahead. Responsible for spearheading Oracle's wireless solutions in the Asia Pacific region, Senior Director Subra Venkat forecasts a fundamental shift in the way companies conduct e-business.

Subra VenkatEncouraged by the success of its foray into the wireless world so far, the world's second largest software company and global supplier of software for information management is sending in the big guns to lead the way ahead. Responsible for spearheading Oracle's wireless solutions in the Asia Pacific region, Senior Director Subra Venkat forecasts a fundamental shift in the way companies conduct e-business.

How do new technologies such as GPRS and 3G impact Oracle?
GPRS and 3G opens up a large market opportunity for Oracle to fully utilize the rich features of our Applications Server and wireless architecture. Oracle offers wireless enabling architecture through 9iAS (Applications Server) which is network independent. With GPRS and 3G (UMTS), the high bandwidth availability allows delivery of multimedia content to users, using Oracle's platform architecture.

Which are the biggest markets that is forecast?
Over the next three years, Europe and Asia will be the key growth markets for Oracle, both in location-based services as well as in mobile commerce. It is expected that by 2004, more than 50% of mobile traffic will consist of data which is a major contributor for this business growth.

With the introduction of GPRS and 3G in Europe and Asia in the next three to four years, location-based services and m-commerce will be the major growth areas for wireless applications.

According to Ovum, locations-based service is expected to generate revenues of up to US$ 5 Billion in Europe alone. Similarly, m-commerce is expected to grow to US$ 156 Billion in the next ten years.

Oracle has developed support for SSL and e-sign X.509 based security for single sign-on which is key requirement for m-commerce applications. We are also working with partners to develop WPKI technology as part of our 9iAS architecture.

With Oracle's LDAP based directory server [and] support for [a] broad range of network protocols and our XML based content management, customers can deploy a proven technology for location-based services and for m-commerce.

What's the outlook for Oracle in the wireless mobile arena?
The growth in our E-Business applications has shown tremendous growth of more than 50% over that last 9 months. Oracle9iApplication Server (Oracle9iAS) Wireless Edition, the only complete middleware for developing and deploying wireless applications, is experiencing rapid adoption in the Asia-Pacific wireless e-business market.

The second largest market for Oracle's mobile solutions after Europe, Asia Pacific is driving next-generation mobile enterprise services in markets like Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. The wireless middleware market is projected to grow to $1.5 billion in 2005.

Oracle is focused on helping companies understand how to leverage mobile technology in their business processes to achieve reduced costs and improved efficiencies. Wireless forms an integral part in our overall E-Business strategy and in today economic climate, efficiency is a priority for any enterprise.

What areas in particular is Oracle focusing on in the next 12 months?
The major focus for Oracle is enabling the E-Business suite in the wireless platform. Field Sales and Field Service are major growth areas to be addressed through wireless enablement.

We are working with many customers and partners in this area to seamlessly integrate Oracle's CRM applications as well as third party applications.

How are the countries in Asia doing in relation to technology adoption?
In terms of rolling-out new technologies such as GPRS and 3G, markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are following the footsteps of Western Europe. In my opinion, the Asian countries have learned some valuable lessons from Europe, and the regulating authorities have been more realistic in pricing the 3G spectrum licenses in Asia compared to Europe. This has opened up healthy bidding for 3G licenses in some markets.

As a result, I foresee mobile services to be priced more realistically in Asia, making it more affordable for businesses and consumers. New mobile services will also be positioned differently in Asian markets. Compared to the US, Asia has more wireless subscribers than traditional wired Internet users. With a potentially larger market, 3G services are more likely to be positioned as data enablers for wireless devices in Asia.

Unlike the current GSM services where providers count the number of subscribers based on the hand set and phone connection, new services are likely to be based on service subscriptions. One customer may subscribe to more that one service. This is also due to the way we anticipate the services will be tariffed.

In any event, the projected revenue opportunity for 3G services for Asia is US$ 12 billion by 2005, and the projected number of subscriptions is 44 Million (Source: Telecompetition Inc). The outlook for the wireless industry in Asia over the long-term is a very positive one.

More about Top 20 Telecoms' Outlook.