I had the great pleasure this afternoon of participating in a panel during a session at the Mobile Asia Congress, entitled “Mobile Internet – Missing Link or Misnomer”. Skillfully moderated by Martin Gutberlet from Garter (thanks Martin!) the panel drew together an eclectic mix of content providers, mobile operators and handset folks, discussing ways in which the mobile Internet experience can be made more relevant, contextual and pervasive for consumers.
Our panel was chartered to specifically discuss monetisation strategies for mobile – including location, charging, and demographics. I was joined by KTF’s Dr Terry Ahn, Jagdish Mitra from Canvas Technologies, and Kul Wadhwa from the Wikimedia Foundation. Besides being an interesting discussion, the panel gave me much food for thought about contextual browsing on the mobile, and whether it would soon become as commonplace as the “regular” Internet.
Case in point: I usually open a PC browser with some sort of intent. It might be to check my Gmail while travelling, see what my friends are up to on Facebook, maybe to check the weather or to research a company or topic I’m interested in. (Yes, I may use the word “research”, what I really mean is “Google”!).
There’s a sense of service “discovery” that doesn’t apply too much to my PC browsing habits: I have maybe a dozen sites bookmarked that I use frequently, and its amazing how irregularly I stray from these. On the mobile, however, I’m positively hungry for new things, and usually am slightly disappointed when I find something is just a poor facsimile of a service or content supply that is much better on the PC browser.
So for the mobile Internet to get really interesting, the services themselves have to become more contextual and personalised, but also the means by which we discover services (and can make a decision as to their applicable relevance to us in the mobile context) needs to improve. The experience really needs to be something more than a vanilla menu-based operator portal, and it needs to point me to things that I’ll like. And, importantly, benefit from through use of my mobile rather than a PC.
Is this too much to ask? We’ll see how mobile Internet services evolve over the next few years. Thanks to all at the GSMA for making the Macau event engaging and relevant.