Along with a colleague, I attended the London chapter meeting of mobilemonday whose raisin d’etre is to be a community of mobile professionals.
They describe themselves with the following words:
“The open community promotes the mobile industry and fosters cooperation and networking among people in the industry and their companies by providing opportunities for personal and virtual contacts.”
If you click through to the London site you can sign up to their newsletter and see the proposed subjects of future meetings.
The subject of the panel was concerned with whether we were experiencing a bubble 2.0 along similar lines to bubble 1.0. Although the discussion was erudite, due to the quality of the panel members, I can’t say I gained a lot of additional insight to the chosen theme.
We should not forget that it was a mobile oriented event and not one looking at Internet-based Web 2.0 stuff, so listening to the discussion with a mobile filter switched on, I had the most curious feeling of deja vu throughout the evening. Having sat through many such events and vendor presentations on the subject of WAP services during the late 1990s it struck me that there is a view that not much has changed in the intervening years.
One of the aspects of bubble 1.0 that was not mentioned, was that were back then oodles of start-ups trying to force fit services onto an embryonic Internet infrastructure that could not support them from a performance perspective at the time. The service concepts were fine but they were just a decade too early! Two examples of this are video telephony and ASP services (services hosted in the network rather than running on your local PC).
Nearly all of these ventures were doomed from the start because performance and reliability of the extant IP networks turned out to be marginal at best (this was one of the contributing factors to the subsequent market crash, along with much too money being invested in these non-workable concepts). With Internet services, all that is pretty much behind us now that we have such a high penetration of broadband in homes. Perhaps if, like Snow White, those entrepreneurs had gone to sleep for a decade and woken up in 2006 they would now be in a position to really deliver all those innovative services of yesteryear!
It strikes me, if we can put 3 / 3.5G to one side for the moment, that in this sense we are replicating bubble 1.0 again. It could be conjectured that this is where we are again with today’s mobile data and content services with many good ideas being stifled by:
- the poor level of mobile network infrastructure performance.
- the severely limited capabilities of the mobile phone itself – principally screen size.
Today, mobile service evangelists are busily developing sensible content-based services but take up is constrained because of poor user experience. This leads to poor revenue which is compounded by the perceived need to make services free with a contribution to cost derived from advertising.
Overall, it was an enjoyable and useful evening and it’s always pleasing to see how buoyant the UK really is with entrepreneurial energy.
Maybe today’s mobile entrepreneurs should go to sleep and wake up ten years from now to find that much neeeded mobile infrastructure that could deliver a user experience that would be second to none?
Let’s hope that bubble 2.0 is different from bubble 1.0 and this is not required!