Juniper Research, makers of research and publishers of mindblowingly big 5-year-predictions recently released a report on “Mobile 2.0″.
The term, according to the free promotional white paper that comes with it, is to mean mobile services around the social web, geo-location and presence and may be based on
a mash-up of application functions and communication channels [that] can include mobile messaging and voice – namely SMS, MMS, mobile IM and VoIP.
All this is spot-on and quite agreeable (and I haven’t come to the predicted market size in – you guessed it – 5 years yet) but I feel they are missing a major, major point here, and that has to do with (if you want to call it that way) “mash-ups” and “convergence”: in short, they fall foul to the old mistake that, as media move on, the predicted revenues for a new medium is being comprised of the products and services of the old one; and that is wrong!
Mash-ups can already be seen between different kind of applications the report mentions (and, most notably, with some it didn’t mention at all): E.g. FourSquare or Gowalla are service that utilise presence (allowing your friends to see where you are). You can also share it via social networks and contact these friends (perhaps to ask them if they want to meet up as they are only 2 blocks down the road) but they have also added gaming elements (mayor of Oxford Circus or Union Square anyone?), and it was these latter ones that arguably gave the edge to the service and lifted them over and above many similar location-aware apps. The combination of a variety of the feature sets Juniper identified as being distinctly “2.0″, namely presence, social, and geo-location with other, “classic” products and services will unleash an even greater power: playful social interaction is not necessarily confined to “classic” games:
For instance did Ford take it a step further with the latest model of the Fusion Hybrid: they put something akin to a Tamagotchi into the car, which promotes economical driving: a plant grows (at the very right in the picture) when you drive economically, and it withers when you don’t. Cool, huh? What they do is to appeal to the senses of competition and, arguably, care in order to foster more economical driving. What’s missing is that drivers could share their “scores” with friends, challenge each other and, long-long-term, get rewards (eco-tax credit?) if they perform particularly well. Playful social interaction in a car – who would have thought?
So, for once (!), I think I may be able to beat Juniper’s lofty predictions; not sure if in total numbers (they’re always hard to beat on that: the one for mobile 2.0 is already at a not too shabby $19bn) but as to the scope of the market. Good times!