The information and technology society is evolving from parallel networks and publication channels (Broadcast - Web - Telecom) to an increasingly converging infrastructure, introducing network cooperation and cross-channel services. After the home gateways, mobile phone and wireless handsets are very likely to be the next multi-networks services platform.
What will be the use of a mobile phone in the coming years? The massive success of services like SMS, Camera, and Ring tones clearly shows that a mobile device can be more than a voice-centric terminal. Mobile devices are changing, following fashions (e.g. adding mirror, color jackets) and supporting more technical features (e.g. memory capacity, MMS, bandwidth, video recorder). But it is unlikely that the features mentioned below will provide a sustainable growth.
Pleasurable interfaces, simple access to content without perceived latency, simple and seamless navigation within applications, are today the necessary features for mass-market services. Poorness of Wap and I-mode needs to be replaced by functional rich-media services in order to accelerate return of investments made on networks infrastructure.
Rich-media technology federates the use of personal and professional services: calling, playing, viewing media, emailing... on the same device. Defining the right and efficient Rich-media standard is a key challenge for all actors involved in the mobile industry. It is also a challenge by the numerous technical requirements that shall be met: to satisfy market expectations, Rich Media technology needs indeed to take in account requirements defined in terms of ergonomic usage (user interface) as well as service-enabling features such as adaptation to mobile network and devices, real-time interactivity within connected services, on-line/off-line accessibility, interface with DRM solutions and multi-network access.