I was at Mobilize 2010 yesterday. Fantastic event! Congrats to the whole GigaOm team, great job. Here’s some of the stuff that really stuck out for me:
- The characterization of the panel that Liz lays out is pretty fair, there was definitely a divide between folks who thought that NFC would have an impact and those who thought it was just an expensive stepping stone. Osama from PayPal, summed up the issue as “revamping point of sale vs eliminating it completely”. He stressed that with real world objects being increasingly networked there’s not necessarily a need to have a point of sale. Just indicate you want something right there in the aisle, which flips a bit somewhere indicating a given bit of merchandise is allowed through the doors without setting off an alarm. Smart, and a logical extension of the kind of “Internet of Things” discussions we frequently have.
- Geoff from Mastercard said that they’re working on enabling mobile transactions for unbanked users via Banknet, which sounded awesomely interesting. However, I can’t dig up any info about that effort.
- Geoff also spoke about incentives and coupons getting evaluated and redeemed right along with purchase, so I have to assume that the Mastercard world of mobile transactions sees the consolidation of folks like Groupon into payments instead of leaving them distinct.
- David from Zong was one of the folks who thought that the real value of mobile payments didn’t lie with revamping POS, he said that the value would come from offers, additional CRM hookups, and being able to tie into social networks.
- I think the choicest quote from the session was actually Ilja from GetJar: “An app is just an icon. If it’s a web app or a native app makes a difference to the technologists, but consumers don’t care.”
- Jay from Mozilla also made a fantastic point that I’ve been pulling at for a while, that what we normally lump together in the web apps vs. native apps argument around the technologies used to implement applications isn’t really the interesting discussion. The more important issues lie with distribution, monetization, search, and ratings. If Apple allowed web apps in the app store we might divide up the argument differently.
- Michael from Sencha made an interesting point in that he assumed web apps were going to start replacing native apps in the enterprise before the consumer space. He said the desire to avoid device lockin and keep developer productivity high would push enterprises toward the web. Interesting. I always assumed that the need to go cross-platform would push consumer services to the web. But because consumer apps would also give up a bunch of their existing distribution channel in doing so, I can see where he’s coming from. The reasons for not going web currently are distribution and monetization, and in the enterprise you don’t have those concerns. Good point.
- Krishna pointed out that if the browser is the entire OS then the distinction between native and web goes away. I’m sure the folks working on WebOS at Palm would agree.
- Mike from ThingM laid out some pretty concise points. Anyone familiar with the concept of ubiquitous computing will find a lot of them familiar, but Mike put them into a great overall framework. He was urging folks to stop thinking in terms of individual apps or particular devices in the generic sense – but to think about services and how objects in the physical world can become the interfaces to those services. Don’t think of a camera as a device for taking pictures, but as a peripheral for Flickr.
- The overall argument was deriving from the reduced cost of adding computing. When it’s expensive to add computing to a device you only have a few devices that include computing, those devices need to be generic because they need to fill all the different roles. However, with computing getting less expensive now you can sprinkle it around as necessary, and make each instance of the tech more focused and differentiated. Most people just say “when computing gets cheap enough we might as well add it to everything”, this take of allowing the installations to move from generic to specific is a pretty significant twist on motivations, and a much more compelling framework.
There was actually a ton of additional interesting conversation, but I’m running up against my allotment of allowed blogging time for today. Diving through the tweets for #mobilize and #mobilizeconf should turn up some interesting stuff. Like Om asking why Nokia feels it’s necessary to buy developer love with millions of dollars in contest money instead of just building fantastic product the way Apple has, or the folks from Evri saying that apps effectively boil down to filters and that launching an app should be thought of as a search. Hopefully some of that stuff is out there tweeted, if not I’ll try to dig up some extra time this weekend to get some of it down.