Xconomist of the Week: Mark Lowenstein on Mobile’s Next Waves

1/26/12Follow @xconomy

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by night,” he says. Cambridge, MA-based Apptopia is working to remedy this with an online exchange enabling developers to unload their apps. And Boston-based Fiksu recently introduced a platform out to help mobile apps to generate more revenue. San Francisco’s Chomp aims to help consumers wade through the content with an app for discovering relevant apps.

—Advertising. Mobile advertising network providers have matured, with many startups having been acquired by much bigger players. “You can really see that we’re now onto the second phase of companies in the mobile advertising space,” says Lowenstein. Those new mobile advertising companies are focused on infrastructure for better delivering mobile ad content, like analytics and location optimization (technology provided by Boston’s Where, now part of PayPal), he says. Plus, bigger brands are starting to make mobile advertising a more “meaningful” part of their ad budgets, he says. “It’s where we were with Internet advertising eight to 10 years ago.” (Some tech companies to watch in this area are Nexage, Jumptap, Locately, and Mobile Intelligence Solutions.)

—Content delivery. What else are big shots turning to mobile for? Major video content delivery. Sports in particular. Networks are working to secure the mobile rights for NFL and NCAA content, says Lowenstein. Companies focused on optimizing video content delivery will be busier on this front, he says. Makes sense, given Cambridge, MA-based Akamai’s (NASDAQ: AKAM) recent acquisition of Cotendo, a West Coast competitor that has a strong mobile content delivery focus. And Portland, OR-based Elemental Technologies is a player to watch on the video processing front. One of Lowenstein’s 2012 predictions was that this rich mobile content could come at premium prices for consumers, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that.

—Voice Controls. We’ve talked before about the impact that Apple’s Siri has had on voice-to-text software companies in Boston and beyond. (One example: Vlingo being acquired by Nuance Communications so the two can compete with other giants in mobile voice-assisted technology). But don’t expect that to stay confined to cell phones. More consumer devices, like tablets and TVs sitting in your living room, will be adding voice-enabled features. “That can only bode well for the expertise and the companies that are involved in that,” Lowenstein says.

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