Mobile 2.0: What Drives Growth in Mobility?

Tuesday I participated in the Mobile 2.0Business Day” in San Francisco. Thanks to Gregory, Mike, Daniel, Peter, and Rudy for putting on another great event.

The industry has come a long way since the first Mobile 2.0 event in 2006 – in fact, it has grown into the vision that was being explored way back then. In 2007, I participated in a “fireside chat” panel moderated by Tony Fish, and on Tuesday, I found myself back on the same panel, moderated again by Tony.

My co-panelists this year were James Parton of Telefonica O2, Fabio Sisinni of Paypal, and David Katz of Yahoo. Tony did a good job of leading us through a broad array of topics. I’ll probably touch on a couple of the other topics in other posts, but for now, I think I’ll focus on the discussion towards the end of the panel that was most thought provoking for me.

Tony provoked us with a statement along the lines of: “I don’t believe that there’s really any innovation in mobile. If the best we have to offer is location check-in apps, we don’t have much to be proud of.”

I responded by identifying four drivers of innovation and growth in mobility. Having had more time to think about it, I’ll add a fifth.

1. The Mobile Internet. Much of the innovation we’ve seen so far is simply derived from mobility catching up with the desktop in terms of processing power, graphics, and of course, broadband with 4G. Much of what we see in the App Stores are simply things we’ve traditionally done on a desktop, perhaps tweaked a bit to work well in a mobile environment. There’s nothing wrong with that and we’ve certainly seen tremendous growth driven by this simple catching up.

2. Context. What sets mobility apart from the Internet is the rich contextual information that has never before been available. Where I am. Who I’m with/near. What I’m doing. All of this context made possible in large part because the mobile experience is intensely personal. So far, the contextual aspects of mobility have mostly played out in location-based apps including navigation and check-in services. But again, nothing wrong with that, and as additional contextual data becomes available, we should expect to continue to see innovation and growth.

3. The Internet of Things, Machine to Machine, Connected Devices, Bandwidth Built In, whatever you want to call it… I believe that every product that today has a microprocessor, in the future will have wireless connectivity. We’ve already seen the impact of the Kindle and other eReaders on the publishing industry. Over the next few years we will see tremendous innovation and growth driven by more and more products having wireless built in.

4. Synchronization/Coordination. As more and more devices around us have wireless connectivity and different pieces of the context, those objects will start communicating with each other to create tremendous new value for the end user.

5. Business Integration. The one I forgot about on Tuesday is the one I’ve probably focused on more than any other the past few years. I believe that mobility will be integrated into every product, every service, and every process by businesses across industries. This will enable tremendous innovation in how businesses compete and will result in significant industry growth.

Thanks Tony! These are the kinds of things I like to think about!

3 Responses to “Mobile 2.0: What Drives Growth in Mobility?”

  1. Tony Fish says:


    great post – it was a great panel and thanks for your contribution.

    My notes are here

    On business integration – I expect it is how quickly we get to sharing data that will drive the speed.

  2. Russ says:

    Tony – thanks for including me in your panel and thanks too for pointing me towards your notes!

  3. […] weekend I wrote a couple of posts about what we talked about on my panel at Mobile 2.0 and specifically my responses to […]

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