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Fall Into CTIA

We're a little less than a month away from CTIA IT & Entertainment and, though IT & Entertainment are rarely used in the same sentence, we'll overlook that long enough to say that this year's show should certainly be a good one.

What makes a show good? Well, this is a shaky economy, and this version of the CTIA show is all about redefining corporate business models by adding powerful mobile computing and content. To answer the question, a tradeshow is always more fun when you leave with a bigger list of questions than you arrived with. And I can absolutely see that happening in San Diego next month.

Two emerging areas we'll be looking at more closely include machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and mobile media and content.

M2M, on a high-speed wireless data network, allows for a completely different way to do remote monitoring and surveillance. That alone has huge implications for personal safety and first responders. But it also can mean a change in the way enterprises and municipalities do business.

When you have machines do some of your more mundane tasks via a two-way, high-speed mobile network, you might see some efficiencies that weren't even possible just a couple of years ago. That's why carriers have made it so clear that they're getting behind this space:

The mobile content space is a different animal. There is so much going on there that any attempt to synthesize it here will just make your head explode. Here's what I'll be watching at CTIA: mobile content services that completely bypass the mobile operators.

As noted in today's FREE report, "Telecom Market Spotlight: North America," one example of this trend is Sling Media Inc. 's Slingbox support for mobile devices. It's not just a whim for Sling Media. It's a core part of their strategy. (See John Gilmore, Sling Media President & CEO.)

Sure, mobile operators can charge for the mobile data usage when someone uses an app like Sling's. But Sling lets consumers send their home pay-TV service content over the Internet, and it can land on their mobile devices via a WiFi link at the airport, for example. How much money is the mobile provider making off of that?

Because WiFi is so pervasive and reliable, and because so many mobile devices now include WiFi capabilities, I think we'll see a lot more services that leave out the big mobile carriers completely, at least until the next-generation of mobile broadband networks is complete. Well, that's my theory, anyway, and CTIA is the perfect place to put it to the test.

What are you looking to see and hear at CTIA IT & Entertainment? While answering that question, don't forget that we're still looking to decide what wireless infrastructure; business services; and consumer services our editors should name as Light Reading's Top Picks this year. Don't hold back. Let us know what products and services we should be talking about.

See you at the show.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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