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Nokia, Philips, Universal and Vodafone converge

Several of the world's most innovative companies in their fields have joined together in a project which promises the next level of portable entertainment.The group has each brought specific expertise to the project which will explore the potential applications for broadcast-enabled mobile phones and other portable devices in the car, in the home - anywhere which might benefit from wireless transmission.The aim of the exercise also includes creating or partnering with other companies to provide a range of paid services that combine the cost-efficient distribution of broadcast and multimedia data on stationary, portable and mobile devices with the personalisation, interaction and billing features of mobile networks in a way that has not been possible before. The joint project will explore the new market opportunities around interactive and TV-like services on the go and at home. A pilot will be launched in Berlin in 2004. Following the agreement signed by Nokia, Philips, Universal Studios Networks Germany and Vodafone Pilotentwicklung, the Vodafone research centre in Germany, on August 29, 2003 to form the bmco project group, the first pilot convergent platform to support delivery of broadcast content to mobile devices is being developed. The platform combines mobile communications based on GPRS and digital terrestrial broadcast, both DVB-T and the emerging DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld) standard, which uses time-slicing techniques to send data in bursts, extending the battery life of mobile devices. It will be used to explore the opportunities for new services that this form of convergence of mobile and broadcast may provide. "This platform implementation is key to enable broadcast and mobile convergence," said Prof. Dr. Claus Sattler, the bmco project manager. "We are taking the first steps towards piloting of rich media applications such as TV-like services on portable/mobile devices and phones." The bmco project partners are major players in the broadcast and mobile ecosystems. This project combines the core competences of manufacturers of TV-based and mobile devices, a mobile network operator, as well as content and service providers. Within the bmco project, user requirements, as well as the business, technical and regulatory requirements for such new applications will be examined. "We are exploring a mobile world where digital and terrestrial TV converge with mobile communications to enrich people's lives through new ways of working with information and to create new economic potential for the telecommunications and broadcast industries," said Prof. Dr. Claus Sattler. The bmco project is based in Berlin. Potential applications include broadcast-enabled mobile phones, portable devices such as laptops and web-pads as well as in-car devices, portable TV sets in and outside the home, and stationary TV sets in the home, which might benefit from wireless transmission. This may allow the provision of a range of paid services that combine the cost-efficient distribution of broadcast and multimedia data on stationary, portable and mobile devices with the personalisation, interaction and billing features of mobile networks in a way that has not been possible before. "We see that people's lives are increasingly mobile and that consumers want to be able to access their favorite multimedia content wherever they go -including TV-like programming," said Mika Kavanti, Senior Manager Product Marketing, Nokia Ventures Organization. "The bmco project provides the right combination of players and technologies to identify ways that could bring the broadcast and mobile worlds together to enable people to enjoy the best of both." "This project will demonstrate to consumers the exciting added value of bringing the Audio/Video experience into the mobile domain, enabling them to access entertainment, information and services anywhere, anytime and any way they want. We believe that these connected mobile devices will open up a wide array of new possibilities, first of all bringing more enjoyment for consumers, and secondly delivering Philips and its partners new business opportunities," states Cesar Vohringer, Chief Technology Officer, Philips Consumer Electronics. "Vodafone Pilotentwicklung is looking into new areas that offer potential for future mobile communication," said Dr. Bernd Wiemann, Head of Vodafone Pilotentwicklung. "This project complements the research we do in traditional mobile services by allowing us to investigate the possibility of new mobile services that make use of broadcasted broadband. Under the conditions in Berlin with the first German DVB-T network, it is possible to analyse the opportunities afforded by broadcast and mobile convergence." bmco (broadcast mobile convergence) is a joint pilot project in Berlin between Nokia, Philips, Universal Studios Networks Germany and Vodafone Pilotentwicklung. It was launched in August 2003, and aims to understand the business potential offered by the convergence of digital terrestrial television (DVB-T/H) and mobile communications technologies.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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