Massive thanks to Tes Macpherson, @ptasocial, Founder of ptasocial.com for taking great photos and Viji Pathy, independent software consultant at MoKaadu for her account of the proceedings, below - both long time much appreciated volunteers and supporters of Mobile Monday London.
Jo Rabin opened 2012’s 7th anniversary event looking back at 7 years of Momolo and all the topics covered just in the last year...including data driven apps, mobile games, demo nights, tablets and e-books, accessible design, mobile payments, mobile marketing and the annual HTML5 vs Native debate. 2012 also saw the launch of The Mobile Academy which was hosted in conjunction with UCL.
After thanking the night’s (and annual) sponsors RIM and also annual sponsors Samsung, Jo and the team launched in to the unknown territory of the “unPanel” The idea came in as a member suggestion from the May survey and the Momolo team had felt it was a great way not only to review the year but also to give the stage over to the many interesting and expert audience members that attend the events. Momolo events are a place that members "get a voice" so they wanted to push that to the extreme.
So the night started with suggestions of topics from the audience. Then, as each topic was chosen, the audience was asked to identify the questions that should be asked. Finally, who wanted to be on the panel.
The first topic was 2013 Operating System Launches. Suggestions of areas of discussion around this topic included:-
- BB10 market penetration
- Firefox OS
- Android Sales
- Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Surface Pro tablet
- OS Fragmentation
- Jolla’s Sailfish mobile OS (successor to Nokia’s MeeGo)
- Open Source Development
|Don Turner, Developer Consultant at RIM|
Don kicked off with news of the launch of the new Blackberry platform BB10, devices are due to ship by January 2013 and RIM are keen on maximising the apps available on App World by that time, so developers are encouraged to work with RIM. Desigan also had news of the Firefox OS Marketplace which was designed, like other app stores, to be a great place for search, discovery and download of apps for the new platform. The key difference being that this was a marketplace for HTML5 apps and the OS had the advantages of an open platform based on web technologies as well as being open source. They also have partnerships with OEMs, carriers and chipset manufacturers, aiming to launch the first device in H1 2013 with Telefonica in Brazil, then going global with other devices.
|Desigan Chinniah, Firestarter for Firefox OS, Mozilla|
Are more mobile platforms a good idea given current app development is very focused around just 2 platforms, iOS and Android? David thought we needed more than 2 significant platforms but there were too many platforms currently being launched, for instance what does Firefox OS offer over other open source web platforms such as Tizen? Windows however looks strong as a contender during the next year. David also said a more secure platform for apps might be key. Simon agreed there are too many platforms but said was room for more genuine differentiation between platforms, for example, using new input mechanisms.
|Simon Judge, Mobile Consultant|
What were the favourites for different HTML5 OS’s? David’s bet was on Firefox OS because of its open credentials, Tizen although also open source may have the disadvantage now of now being closely tied with Samsung. How would Firefox OS handle secure storing of data? There are packaged application approaches in order to create secure apps, with certification possible within 2 days ideally. Could the platform remain independent while being closely aligned with network operators? Desigan thought this wouldn’t be an issue as operators had started to shift their approach looking to the future and see the benefits of having business models built on open web platforms.
|David Wood , Accenture Mobility|
The second topic chosen was Most Hyped Areas in Mobile. Suggestions for this topic included:-
- Augmented Reality
- Cloud Services
- Mobile Payments
- QR Codes
- Responsive Design
- Location Based Advertising
This time the set of panellists from the audience were Yvonne Biggins (@yvonne78), Business development Manager at Movellas (@movellas) a self-publishing community site, Calypso Harland (@calypsoharland), Marketing Consultant at Marmalade, Karen Barber (@KLBarber, Mobile Consultant and Alexis Dormandy (@adormandy) who has a background at Virgin Mobile and Orange and is currently a mobile investor and CEO of LoveThis.
|Alexis Dormandy, Investor & CEO of LoveThis|
There was some discussion around QR codes. They were often used in instances where they don’t really add any genuine value to the user, examples being tube or TV adverts - how many users had actually opted to scan the QR codes and make a purchase from this interaction? Although others thought they could be useful for enabling smaller merchants to accept payments through a very low cost mechanism without the need for infrastructure such as terminals and readers, for example a mobile application based secure mechanism such as MPayMe. They could however be an example of many mobile technologies which were too far removed from normal user interaction, and were more about showcasing clever technologies than making the experience simple for users to take advantage of - this could be argued by stats showing of around 6M browser sessions per month, the number of QR code generated sessions were a tiny.
|Yvonne Biggins (left) & Karen Barber (right)|
NFC itself could be seen as an over-hyped technology currently of limited use, maybe not down to the technology itself but that the primary uses of mobile devices did not at the moment integrate NFC channels in the same way that successful use of the technology for uses such as travel. The NFC infrastructure on which mobile apps depended was variable, for example limited PoS readers in major retailers.
|Calypso Harland, Marketing Consultant|
And this panel’s hopes for 2013? Alexis would like to see the disaggregation of apps with the device and billing dependencies. Calypso would like to see easier app submission and tools and a more focused plea for help with BB app development, and Karen would like an improvement in the showcasing of mobile technologies, for instance mobile events such as MWC of all places should integrate technologies such as NFC and mobile networking into the event organisation.
The final topic for a panel discussion was Mobile Advertising. Areas of interest included:-
- Why advertise on mobile?
- Click fraud
- Ad blocking Apps
- Push Advertising
- Virtual Goods
- Weve (operator mobile payments and advertising venture)
- Better Targeting Opportunities
- Opt Out Globally
- Does Mobile Advertising work?
- Economics of Mobile Advertising
- Data & Privacy
And the final set of panellists were John Roberts (@johnmroberts), MD of digital media company Qustodian, with a background in mobile marketing and advertising, Shafiq Mumani (@smumani), VP at Terra Advisors with an interest in all things related to mobile marketing and advertising, (@nishul1), background in finance investment and founder member at Markit and Angel Investor branching out of finance into technology and Steven Wright, previously responsible for strategy at T-Mobile and Everything Everywhere now Strategy Development Manager at RBS,
|John Roberts, Qustodian|
Additionally the cost to create and maintain relevant ads is lower for mobile and other digital media than for traditional print, and measuring consumption was much easier, including contextual consumption on mobile.
|Shafiq Mumami, Terra Advisors|
Another area of interest was using advertising to subsidise mobile services to users, especially young users who may be tempted by free voice, data and texts for instance. Companies like Blyk had found it hard to get the business model right in the past, though they were now part of Orange.
|Nishul Saperia, Founder & Investor|
Normal users wanted ads which gave them value, they preferred choices delivered to them and have more control, smart companies will use VRM rather than CRM (where the brands own the relationship) so that users were at the centre of the relationship and could control their own identity and privacy settings.
|Stephen Wright - on the right side of the panel|
We asked attendees for their written feedback after the session and we were very pleased to hear that people enjoyed it and found it informative - quite a few people mentioned enjoying the dynamism and pace.
We were thrilled with how many people got involved - and think that it really validated our view that some of the most informed and interesting viewpoints are to be found within the community itself.
One to repeat we think!