Digital is Different

2011 prediction: Make it mobile

December: it’s the month for next year’s prediction lists. Ten or so nuggets of forecast wisdom about the world we’re about to live in. As 2010 ticks over into 2011, I think there’s just one mantra for marketers: “Make it mobile”

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For a decade “mobile” has meant phones. Not any more – at least not exclusively. Apple’s iPad broke the barrier between phones & computing screens, but it’ll be android, Windows mobile et al that deliver the volume. The change will be astonishingly swift. The iPad set new marks for growth, and the arrival of iPad2 will keep the momentum high (iPad2 in February 2011?). Entry level 7″ Android tablets are heading under the $100 mark early in 2011. Between that sub $100 price point, and mobile contract subsidies , we’re going to see an explosion in tablet sales, on all platforms.

The consequences? Mobile data will grow: “Bruno Jacobfeuernborn CTO Deutsche Telecoms says near future Data traffic will grow 60x in mobile, while only 5x in fixed” @tomiahonen #wsamobile
Sixty times!

Royal Pingdom summarises the operating systems thus:

Worldwide mobile OS usage

The detail is:

Mobile OS market share based on web usage

These ‘share’ bars don’t of course show the relative numbers of active handsets, or their economic  value.

Tomi Ahonen, again:

” 20% of the Kenyan GDP transits a mobile phone today. It was only 10% as late as May and m-banking is only 4 years old. It passed 50% of all banking users just this spring. Meanwhile M-Pesa the biggest mobile banking service in Kenya has projected that 25% of the Kenyan GDP will transit a mobile phone before the end of 2010.”

That rate of growth challenges iPad!

The African symbian handsets are already handling huge proportions of GDP: developed countries are (relatively) tinkering with App sales and Near Field Communications. The ‘developed’ world will catch up on the transaction potential of mobile platforms in 2011.

Or rather, the more mature computing markets will bring their established computing behaviours to mobile screens – large & small.

In 2011.

Semantic publishing: simple search improvement

Semantic isn’t ‘news’ per-se… but there’s a perceptible shift away from industrial publishing models towards digital thinking. Maybe the media hysteria around Twitter tipped the old school over the edge. {Twitter is very *very* significant, but not (yet, its user base and audience is small, relative to its media footprint) for its mass adoption… but for changing the way that folk use the web… for making writers of readers, and dragging writers out of private social ghettos into the public eye.} Thomson Reuters’ OpenCalais & blogger version Tagaroo is an interesting case in point.

By adding semantic metadata to professional and amateur publishers, ThomsonReuters are breaking down a barrier between traditional news media and personal, social news channels. Giving personal users access to the same service (adapted for small scale use) is a tacit agreement that some news is best found by individual amateur reporters (isn’t it?)… and that by collaborating with every part of the news spectrum, presumably Thomson Reuters expects to get more readers for higher quality news.

Starting a business community

As you’d expect, Teligent gives a very quick & precise heads-up on adding community to a business:
6 Things For The Community Strategist To Think About

You’d think that folk starting social businesses would get past the technology & think about what their users expect – should a start-up be fortunate enough to have any users… Last year Rapleaf upset some folk when early adopters felt their privacy had been violated. Rapleaf reacted quickly, and a crisis was avoided.
This year, socialminder managed to stir up the privacy storm.

Two things to note.
1 The storm raged faster & more intensely this time around, as Twitter spread the ‘news’.
2 Early adopters have different expectations from later mass users… they’re probably *more* sensitive to privacy abuse. (I’ve no science to back this up, just years of watching 😉

socialminder (& indeed rapleaf) aren’t doing anything that Plaxo et al get up to – but the mass user perhaps doesn’t manage their network reputation as sensitively as tech-savvy early adopter types. That’s a challenge for any savvy startup in this area – early adopters are (probably) a vital part of your launch strategy. Their feedback can iron out many bugs & unintended design consequences.

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New York Times to halt online subscriptions?

“(Reuters) – The New York Times Co. plans to stop charging Internet users for access to its columnists and Op-Ed pieces on a section of its Web site known as TimesSelect, The New York Post reported on Tuesday.”

An interesting development. The New York Times has been at the leading edge of developing its web content – as you might well expect of one of the world’s great newspapers. It has in the past been reported as being among the first papers to profit from its online edition. Presumably now the online readership has grown – and the advertising rate card costs have risen – to the point where the additional free readership & ad revenue will more than compensate for lost subscription revenues.

And of course it’s a very strong competitive move.

future of eMail

It’s good to see mozilla pushing their Thunderbird mail client forwards over the horizon.
I’ve used Thunderbird on & off for several years – at the moment it’s ‘on’, just.

There’s not too many problems with Thunderbird – most of the issues are with email, not any specific mail programme. I’d prefer if it collaborated more with other services – by which I mean with open standards, so that I can plug any service into Thunderbird. And some more speed would be good when syncing IMAP accounts… as would much tighter integration with browsers (not just Firefox), so that the leap from email to other media content (web page, podcast, video, IPTV programme and so forth) was as small as possible. That speed issue alone makes it tough to see how Thunderbird in its present state could get close to delivering mobileemail services.

As a marketer, the easier that a programme is to use, the more I like it: if folk receiving email find it easier to get to engaging content, then that’s good for online marketers.

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alt. Microsoft Office

this post by made me think about my own experiences with alternatives to Microsoft Office (Office for Mac, in my case)… I used to use writely – now the word processing tool at Google Docs – and found it fantastic for instant collaboration, particularly amongst folks who had never collaborated on a document as a virtual team.

I recently tried the spreadsheet in Google’s docs – & it’s just too slow on my 2mb broadband connection, even for the simple stuff I try to get done on Excel. If I can think faster than a computer runs or software renders my typing, then something’s way wrong!

I’ve been using NeoOffice for a few months on my desktop – and it works very nicely – I’m not missing MSOffice. There’s an early look at NeoOffice 2.2 for download That said, my next book Customer 2.0 is coming along nicely, in Word: I’ve written books & dissertations in Word before, and feel more comfortable handling a (very) long document in Word.

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Business forums: need help?

I must admit to being surprised at how low-res the top business topics on Squidoo It’s all important stuff, but small scale topics. Somehow I’d have expected the top lenses to be on bigger issues, with more momentum.

I guess my benchmark is the excellent community at marketingprofs, which has grown steadily from launch – and the team have done an excellent job in managing their contributors’ reputation point system to maintain a high standard of advice.

Global community dream

In an hour Honda F1’s earthdream campaign goes live. It costs $100million to run an F1 team for a year: are they going to try to get 1 million people to buy a pixel at $100… I’d pitch for 10 million at $10. By asking individuals to put their name on a pixel, and make an environmental commitment, they’re building a large global community. I wonder what they’ll use it for?

Customer 2.0: marketing meets transparency in search of trust

Web2.0 was coined in 2004 by O’Reilley media – so you’d think that 3 years on, business would recognise the symptoms (and cost savings) of Customer2.0

You’d be wrong.

What happens when you mashup Customer 2.0 with Business 1.0?

A train-wreck, usually.

And this blog is here to celebrate businesses that recognise the value of meeting Customer 2.0’s needs and expectations – and of course, just occasionally, noting when Business gets it wrong.

The catalyst for this now blog is the launch of phuser – a *very* Web2.0 messaging service. I’m supporting the team, and blogging their customers’ experiences. So please expect phuser experiences to thread themselves through posts.