Mobile Convention Amsterdam. In tweets.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to speak at Mobile Convention Amsterdam. It was a largely commercial event, with a focus on marketing in particular, but the organisers wanted at least one session on the social impact of the technology. Before and after my talk there was plenty to tweet about, so in the spirit of previous “in tweets” posts here’s a summary of some of the more interesting takeaways from the day.

Context: For years our single digital view of the world was through a desktop computer, later wired to a modem and later again, the Internet. Today we’re free to roam and are spoilt for choice with multiple views – from PC’s to laptops to tablets to mobiles. The landscape is unrecognisable from just a few years ago.

Context: A comment which will ring alarm bells among privacy and security experts, but one not lost on the mobile marketing community (or dictatorial, oppressive regimes come to that).

Context: Not everything has to be “new” to be “innovative”.

Context: How Nokia, a mobile pioneer, saw the shift as mobiles became smaller and smaller, and smarter and smarter.

Context: Anyone aware of the history of this fascinating company will know they’ve already re-invented themselves a number of times in their long history. Rubber, cabling and paper all feature. Mobile phones were nowhere in site until the 1980’s. It was a surprise move back then – any future move out of mobiles will be the same, but not impossible given their current troubles.

Context: The iPhone was somewhat written-off by analysts in its early days. That’s the beauty of disruptive technology.

Context: As if we needed reminding of the lightning speed of innovation in the mobile space, Horace Dediu makes the point that the biggest thing in mobile today wasn’t even around a few short years ago.

Context: This is arguably one of the problems being faced by Nokia (with Symbian) and Microsoft (with Windows). Apple had no legacy to deal with, no backwards compatibility to consider, no ‘shoehorning’ of platforms. Symbian, by way of a counter example, was never designed for touch screens but ended up powering many of Nokia’s.

Context: If Apple are to stay ahead in a ridiculously fast-paced industry then they’ll need to be the ones to supersede the iPhone for style, speed and functionality. If they don’t, someone else will. Samsung are certainly having a good go.

Context: A splash of self-promotion ahead of my lunchtime talk.

Context: One of the growing criticisms of the ICT4D approach is that technology often leads the way. Start with the problem – the experience – whether you’re designing for a merchant banker in New York or a fisherman in Mombassa.

Context: QR codes certainly haven’t set the mobile world on fire, but it was a surprise to hear that when they are used properly (which isn’t often) they have a pretty good hit rate.

Context: The BBC talk about their approach to the 2012 Olympics digital coverage, where the user experience will be consistent across multiple platforms (they hope).

Context: Nice to have some numbers on this. Tomi certainly highlights the usefulness of SMS in emergency and disaster reporting/response.

Context: Text messages may be small, but send enough of them and you’ve got the equivalent of a pretty wide pipe.

Context: No-one in the audience expected this. “Visa”, “m-PESA”, “Mastercard” were all favourites as the inventors of mobile money (it depends, of course, how you define ‘invent’). Thinking of mobile money as 13 years old also reminds us that, even though it’s got the buzz right now, it’s not all that new.

Context: The meteoric rise of m-PESA continues. It’s streets ahead of anything else even before it hits that magical 50% figure.

Context: Tomi is a great and engaging speaker. Check out his free eBook if you want more.

Previous “In tweets” posts include:
The Networked Society Forum. In tweets.
The Aspen Environment Forum. In tweets.
Tim Smit. In tweets.

29 thoughts on “Mobile Convention Amsterdam. In tweets.

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  15. Brian Longwe says:

    if the claim to Coca-Cola inventing mobile money because their vending machines were sms-enabled. It could also be argued that whoever invented airtime was the inventor of mobile money as airtime has been and still is used as a currency in many places.

  16. kiwanja says:

    @Brian – Thanks for the comment (and tweet!). I agree that the statement on Coke is pushing it a bit, but it’s an interesting suggestion. Airtime is indeed a ‘currency’ now but that only initially became possible when pre-pay really took off, and even then people only texted voucher codes to ‘transfer’ or ‘pay’ a debt. Airtime is only really a currency when it can be transferred electronically from one mobile to another (or to a machine). In 1999 I don’t think this was happening.

  17. Brian Longwe says:

    @Kenny I agree with you (to a certain extent) but airtime in the form of scratch cards has been used as currency from day one. And even before mobile, there were prepaid international calling cards being used as currency for all kinds of stuff (including some v. unpleasant/illegal trading)

  18. kiwanja says:

    @Brian – Absolutely, but the scratch card number was exchanged as the payment (usually by text message). The transaction wasn’t carried out between two mobiles without any need for anything else. It’s all down to how you define “mobile money” I guess.

  19. Brian Longwe says:

    A company called MCash in partnership with HFB Uganda has launched an e-wallet service where you can use your phone, your finger or an NFC card – I guess when a payment can be made via finger then the money is as “mobile” as it can get… ­čÖé Point is – we need to move away from associating the concept of mobile money with a mobile phone (technology) – and embrace the reality that there are other mechanisms to ensure a person can transact wherever they are…

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