Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mobile 2.0 by the Bay

I was a panelist at the 2nd annual Mobile 2.0 event in San Francisco yesterday on the "Disruptive Innovations" panel moderated by Daniel Appelquist who has been organizing the event. The conference was sold out and the level of attendance was very impressive mixing industry experts and veterans from operators, technology leaders as well as some young blood from the start up world. The global emphasis was also encouraging given the U.S. and Silicon Valley centric viewpoints one can find at similar conferences around here. Actually, this to me is the biggest factor of differentiation at mobile events and especially those sponsored by a very grassroots Mobile Monday. Kudos to the organizing team for a job well done!

As for my panel we had a distinguished list that made it interesting despite being the closing panel:
  • Daniel Appelquist, Vodafone (Moderator)
  • Kaj "HeGe" Haggman, Nokia
  • Peter Stark, Sony Ericsson
  • Daniel Graf, Kyte.TV
  • Atakan Cetinsoy, MyStrands
My main argument was that the tipping point for a true Mobile 2.0 experience will have to be driven by intense personalization. By that I mean the kind of personalization that will make data services indispensable part of the consumer's lives instead of a nice to have, which is what it is to me in its current form - and a rather expensive one at that if I may say.

The personalized mobile computing devices of the future will be collecting many relevant, implicit user behavioral data and store a subset of it on the device itself but more importantly will update a richer profile on the network to maintain a memory of user history. This in turn can give way to a variety of "must have" personalization experiences going forward. This smart layer and the set of analytics tools that will manipulate it is almost completely missing at this time. While corporations all around the globe are spending billions on market research that gets old fast and billions on enterprise software projects with long implementation cycles and results that on average under deliver the promises made at inception, marketers and advertisers will be quick to realize the paradigm shift if an only if consumer behavior can be analyzed and presented near real time in a meaningful manner.

One of the audience members correctly mentioned how scary an idea this may be to the consumer if privacy issues are not properly addressed. I am a true believer in letting the user/consumer drive their permissions and privacy settings and with few exceptions I believe they should have fully transparent access to their profile info. I think this issue will be paramount in negotiating the new rules of customer contact in the world of Mobile Social Computing with no easy answers unfortunately. It is not too late at all though to set the ground rules and steal a page from the developments in the web world.

Next year try to make it to the City by the Bay for the 3rd annual Mobile 2.o and we'll continue to slice and dice these hot topics armed with a year's worth of stats, facts, rumors and flops!