Advice to U.S. Financial Institutions: Begin Development of Wireless Applications Now

TowerGroup Conference Panel on Mobile Financial Strategies Discusses Near-Term

Barriers and Opportunities for the Mobile Delivery Channel



Apr 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from TowerGroup

    BOSTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The time to begin development of mobile
 financial services applications is now.  This was the counsel to the U.S.
 financial services community from a panel of top wireless industry players who
 yesterday opened the second day of TowerGroup's Annual Financial Services and
 Business Technology Conference at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Mass.
     Participating in the discussion led by TowerGroup's vice president of
 research, Robert Landry, were: Berge Ayvazian, CEO of The Yankee Group; Jacob
 Goldman, Ericsson's Global Head of Sales and Marketing, Bank and Finance; and
 Joseph Ferra, Chief Wireless Officer at Fidelity Investments.  The panel was
 part of a special track of sessions focused on the topic of Mobile Financial
 Strategies.
     While acknowledging the challenges U.S. financial services players still
 face in developing the wireless channel, panelists underscored that
 infrastructure issues and fragmentation among devices and protocols are no
 longer appropriate reasons to delay market entry.
     Goldman said that while bandwidth and device adoption/ubiquity are
 critical factors, development of service platforms and applications are an
 essential next step.
     Ferra noted that Fidelity, one of the first financial institutions to
 offer personalized content over a wireless interface, grappled with this same
 question before introducing its wireless platform in 1998.  "We asked
 ourselves a lot of questions about whether we should wait for better and
 cheaper devices, wider bandwidth or better network coverage.  The answer for
 me was always emphatically 'no.'  We made the decision to take a leadership
 position and evolve with the technology.  Because of that, we now have nearly
 90,000 subscribers and are in a position to move to new levels, such as
 exploring telematics through a collaboration with OnStar."
     Ayvazian underscored the critical role that corporate America-and
 specifically established financial services institutions-has to play in
 reaching the potential of the mobile interface.  "To get to the real value of
 mobile, location-related information and embedded intelligence are going to be
 critical backdrops to other key factors like wider bandwidth and screen size.
 And it will take a substantial commitment from corporate America, not a
 handful of start-ups, to get us there."
 
    Opportunities for Professional Applications -- U.S. With 8-12 Month Lead
 
     Panelists agreed with Landry's assessment that while the bulk of attention
 has been paid to consumer adoption and applications, there are important
 opportunities in professional or enterprise applications.
     "Companies like Microsoft or IBM recognize that email has been a killer
 app for corporate users," said Goldman.  "You see them now taking these
 database and enterprise applications and adapting them to wireless interfaces,
 gearing a new generation of these products toward corporate users."
     Ferra said that while Fidelity's wireless offerings have been primarily
 B2C in orientation, the company is now taking significant steps toward
 incorporating enterprise services.  He noted that the car will offer a strong
 opportunity for offering a host of services that merge wireless enterprise and
 retail use.  Ayvazian strongly echoed this point, telling attendees to
 remember a unique quality of wireless when thinking toward application design:
 the merging of business and personal applications.
     "At Yankee Group, we expect to see the enterprise market become a much
 larger wireless player in the short term.  Ultimately, there will be an
 increased blurring between personal and business use, where your wireless
 device or car will support both your mobile office and your lifestyle," he
 said.
     TowerGroup expects what it calls "workline" applications (short for
 "workforce lifeline," or mobile applications that serve employees or
 enterprise users at a financial firms) to be a key focus for financial
 services institutions over the next three to five years-particularly in North
 America.  Its data shows North American financial services institutions
 currently leading other world regions in the development of "workline" mobile
 applications by approximately 8-12 months.
     "Most will agree that the wireless space has been over-hyped, yet it's
 clear that mobile as a delivery channel offers a unique set of opportunities
 for financial services institutions," said Landry.  "In its portability, its
 immediacy and its flexibility, wireless offers potential beyond the simple
 transactional or informational services common today in early wireless
 offerings."
     Landry said that in the short-term, TowerGroup sees strong potential for
 gained efficiencies and cost-saving in the implementation of "workline" mobile
 applications.  "As opposed to the fragmentation of the mobile retail
 landscape, financial firms will have more control over the type of device and
 infrastructure deployed when implementing 'workline' applications," he said.
     TowerGroup's Mobile Financial Strategies is the industry's most
 comprehensive resource on how mobile delivery is transforming financial
 services.  Research reports from the service are available to qualified
 members of the press for review.
 
     About TowerGroup:  TowerGroup, a Reuters company, is the leading provider
 of information technology research, advisory and consulting services
 specializing in topics critical to the global financial services industry.
 TowerGroup conducts research addressing banking, securities, investments, and
 insurance information technology, products, vendors, markets, investment
 trends and issues.  Headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, and with offices
 serving Europe and Latin America, TowerGroup serves a global client base,
 which includes some of the world's largest financial services, technology and
 consulting firms.  For additional information, visit TowerGroup online
 (http://www.towergroup.com).
 
 

SOURCE TowerGroup
    BOSTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The time to begin development of mobile
 financial services applications is now.  This was the counsel to the U.S.
 financial services community from a panel of top wireless industry players who
 yesterday opened the second day of TowerGroup's Annual Financial Services and
 Business Technology Conference at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Mass.
     Participating in the discussion led by TowerGroup's vice president of
 research, Robert Landry, were: Berge Ayvazian, CEO of The Yankee Group; Jacob
 Goldman, Ericsson's Global Head of Sales and Marketing, Bank and Finance; and
 Joseph Ferra, Chief Wireless Officer at Fidelity Investments.  The panel was
 part of a special track of sessions focused on the topic of Mobile Financial
 Strategies.
     While acknowledging the challenges U.S. financial services players still
 face in developing the wireless channel, panelists underscored that
 infrastructure issues and fragmentation among devices and protocols are no
 longer appropriate reasons to delay market entry.
     Goldman said that while bandwidth and device adoption/ubiquity are
 critical factors, development of service platforms and applications are an
 essential next step.
     Ferra noted that Fidelity, one of the first financial institutions to
 offer personalized content over a wireless interface, grappled with this same
 question before introducing its wireless platform in 1998.  "We asked
 ourselves a lot of questions about whether we should wait for better and
 cheaper devices, wider bandwidth or better network coverage.  The answer for
 me was always emphatically 'no.'  We made the decision to take a leadership
 position and evolve with the technology.  Because of that, we now have nearly
 90,000 subscribers and are in a position to move to new levels, such as
 exploring telematics through a collaboration with OnStar."
     Ayvazian underscored the critical role that corporate America-and
 specifically established financial services institutions-has to play in
 reaching the potential of the mobile interface.  "To get to the real value of
 mobile, location-related information and embedded intelligence are going to be
 critical backdrops to other key factors like wider bandwidth and screen size.
 And it will take a substantial commitment from corporate America, not a
 handful of start-ups, to get us there."
 
    Opportunities for Professional Applications -- U.S. With 8-12 Month Lead
 
     Panelists agreed with Landry's assessment that while the bulk of attention
 has been paid to consumer adoption and applications, there are important
 opportunities in professional or enterprise applications.
     "Companies like Microsoft or IBM recognize that email has been a killer
 app for corporate users," said Goldman.  "You see them now taking these
 database and enterprise applications and adapting them to wireless interfaces,
 gearing a new generation of these products toward corporate users."
     Ferra said that while Fidelity's wireless offerings have been primarily
 B2C in orientation, the company is now taking significant steps toward
 incorporating enterprise services.  He noted that the car will offer a strong
 opportunity for offering a host of services that merge wireless enterprise and
 retail use.  Ayvazian strongly echoed this point, telling attendees to
 remember a unique quality of wireless when thinking toward application design:
 the merging of business and personal applications.
     "At Yankee Group, we expect to see the enterprise market become a much
 larger wireless player in the short term.  Ultimately, there will be an
 increased blurring between personal and business use, where your wireless
 device or car will support both your mobile office and your lifestyle," he
 said.
     TowerGroup expects what it calls "workline" applications (short for
 "workforce lifeline," or mobile applications that serve employees or
 enterprise users at a financial firms) to be a key focus for financial
 services institutions over the next three to five years-particularly in North
 America.  Its data shows North American financial services institutions
 currently leading other world regions in the development of "workline" mobile
 applications by approximately 8-12 months.
     "Most will agree that the wireless space has been over-hyped, yet it's
 clear that mobile as a delivery channel offers a unique set of opportunities
 for financial services institutions," said Landry.  "In its portability, its
 immediacy and its flexibility, wireless offers potential beyond the simple
 transactional or informational services common today in early wireless
 offerings."
     Landry said that in the short-term, TowerGroup sees strong potential for
 gained efficiencies and cost-saving in the implementation of "workline" mobile
 applications.  "As opposed to the fragmentation of the mobile retail
 landscape, financial firms will have more control over the type of device and
 infrastructure deployed when implementing 'workline' applications," he said.
     TowerGroup's Mobile Financial Strategies is the industry's most
 comprehensive resource on how mobile delivery is transforming financial
 services.  Research reports from the service are available to qualified
 members of the press for review.
 
     About TowerGroup:  TowerGroup, a Reuters company, is the leading provider
 of information technology research, advisory and consulting services
 specializing in topics critical to the global financial services industry.
 TowerGroup conducts research addressing banking, securities, investments, and
 insurance information technology, products, vendors, markets, investment
 trends and issues.  Headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, and with offices
 serving Europe and Latin America, TowerGroup serves a global client base,
 which includes some of the world's largest financial services, technology and
 consulting firms.  For additional information, visit TowerGroup online
 (http://www.towergroup.com).
 
 SOURCE  TowerGroup