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Monday, July 4, 2011

4G: Key Applications for Future Mobile Terminals

Mobile users have always had a positive attitude towards novel and useful applications and services. There is no doubt of the importance of wireless applications and services in the future. Applications and services will shape the development of future terminals as terminal capabilities determine the type and performance of applications and services that the terminal can support.
A distinctive characteristic of 4G is the fact that a whole range of different terminals will be used, ranging from simple voice and messaging only, to very advanced and powerful computer-like terminals relying on advanced input/output technology. Thus, applications and services are factors as critical to the success of the future mobile terminal business as the different technologies.

Convergence between broadcast and telecommunication is already in progress, and in the future this convergence will be accelerated rapidly to include several different fields, such as broadcast, telecommunication, and computer. Broadcast, Digital Rights Management, Multimedia Messaging Service, over the air provisioning, presence, PoC, and user plane location are important applications

Mobile broadcast services refer to a broad range of services that make use of the one-to-many communication paradigm. Current developments in terminal technologies and digital broadcast systems have made broadcast services possible to use in the mobile environment. This, in turn, will enable low-cost mobile distribution of multimedia content to users in the service area. Consequently, substantial new business opportunities will open up for content and service providers as well as terminal and system vendors. Digital broadcast technologies such as DVB-T/H , ISDB-T, 3GPP/MBMS, and DAB will make possible the distribution of any digital content through the broadcast channel, such as audio and video streams, movies, application software, or Web pages, with dramatically lower costs. Indeed, the delivery costs of broadcasting are insensitive to the number of receivers (within the coverage area of a transmitter). Consequently, media content can be delivered to large audiences at a fractional unit cost when compared to conventional mobile delivery over two-way, point-to-point wireless networks.

Digital Rights Management
Digital Rights Management (DRM) defines a set of technologies that provides the means to control the distribution and consumption of the digital media objects as shown below.

  • Presentity, a logical entity referring to the subject of the presence information. It includes a person, a group of people, a nonhuman entity, or even an abstract entity such as service itself.

  • Presence source, which contains the information on the presentity and publishes the presence information on behalf of the presentity.

  • Presence server, which collects the presence information from the presence sources, processes the collected presence information to resolve a consistent view on the presentity, and notifies the watcher(s) such presence information.

  • Watcher, which receives from the presence server the presence information on the presentity. The presence service enables an entity to recognize its surrounding service environments, allowing the adaptive service behavior. For example, a user wants to reach his friend and has both telephone call and instant messaging service available. By virtue of the presence information on his friend, he finds out that his friend is reachable with the instant messaging and uses it to communicate with him.

Such a service environment-cognizant system is envisaged not only for enhancing existing services but also for expediting the provisioning of richer information and the advent of new value-added services.

User Plane Location
Mobile location services based on the location of mobile devices are becoming increasingly widespread. User plane location employs user plane data bearers (e.g., IP) for transferring location assistance information such as GPS assistance and for carrying positioning technology related protocols between a mobile terminal and the network. User plane location is considered a cost-effective way of transferring location information required for computing the target mobile’s location. To offer a location service to a client, considerable signaling and position information is transferred between actors. Currently, assisted-GPS (A-GPS) provides more accurate positioning of a targeted mobile than other available standardized positioning technologies. However, A-GPS over control plane of Radio Resource Control (RRC) or Radio Resource LCS Protocol (RRLP) requires modifications to existing network elements and interfaces (for signaling procedures between the terminal and the network). Location over user plane needs only an IP capable network and requires minimum modification to the network, and therefore user plane location is an efficient solution that can be deployed rapidly.

PTT over Cellular
PoC, a newly defined terminology in OMA, is a mobile application service that adopts unidirectional communications. It allows mobile users to be engaged in an immediate communication with other users in a one-to-one call or a one-to-many call. As known by its name, one of the characteristic features of PoC service is its half-duplex transmission, and thus it requires floor control mechanism. On this point, it is similar to a walkie-talkie application where a user presses a button to talk with an individual user or broadcast to a group of users. After a speaker sends his voice, the receiving participants either hear the sender’s voice without any action on their part (without having to answer the call), or are notified and have to accept the call before hearing the sender’s voice. This depends on the answer settings of the receiving users. Other participants can just respond once this initial speech is complete and are allowed to talk to target participants. This feature of half-duplex communication contrasts with a general voice call, which is full duplex, where more than one person can talk simultaneously. The illustration below shows the perspective view of the PoC service for one-to-one call and group call.

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