Mobile 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0, Telco 2.0 : A perfect storm?


Earlier this week, I spoke at the Mobile Monday event in London .

In my talk about ‘Mobile trends’, I mentioned that user generated content along with a number of other forces are conspiring to radically transform the Mobile data industry, as we know it today.

At exactly the same time, the first Mobile 2.0 event was being held in San Francisco. From all accounts, it was a great success!

The Mobile 2.0 event, along with Mobile Web 2.0(which Tony Fish and I talk of in our book) and also Telco 2.0 are all speaking of a radical metamorphosis within the Mobile Data Industry.

Although, these three initiatives approach the same changes from different facets, they all have some common themes underpinning them.

The common themes between Mobile 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0 and Telco 2.0, as I see them, are an emphasis on Open Web standards, IP protocols, Convergence and new services spanning the Web and the Mobile Web.

Daniel says in his post about Mobile 2.0

In short, mobile 2.0 leaps the mobile platform forward to where the Internet is today, and shows us how the mobile phone can become a first class citizen,

or even a leading citizen, of the Web.

Thus, Mobile 2.0 pertains to the evolution of the core Mobile platform i.e. access technologies. So, better access technologies coupled with more sophisticated features of the network(IMS, Presence, Identity, Security, Converged services etc) will lead to many more (as yet undefined) applications spanning these technologies

So, I see Mobile 2.0 as a more sophisticated network

This is reflected in Dan’s post when he says

SMS -> IM, mobile blogging

MMS -> Media sharing

Operator Portals -> Mobile Web and search

Operator chooses -> User chooses

Premium SMS billing -> Mobile stored value Accounts

Java Games -> Connected Applications (e.g. photo sharing, blogging)

Presence & Push-To-Talk -> VOIP applications

WAP sites -> Web sites that adapt for mobile browsers

WAP push -> RSS readers

Wallpaper -> Idle screen applications

Location services -> Google maps application

Content consumption -> Content creation (e.g. mobile blogging)

Mobile Web 2.0, on the other hand, starts with the definition of Web 2.0 and then extends it to Mobile devices. This is reflected in our book on Mobile Web 2.0 and at the three characteristics of mobile web 2.0

Finally Telco 2.0 , (by Martin Geddes and his team), takes a very radical approach looking at all aspects of a Telecoms network; including Voice, Data, customer services etc. I think of it almost like Reengineering the corporation for the Telecoms Operator.

I see a synergistic approach in these initiatives. We all acknowledge that problems exist within the industry. But at the same time, we all believe in the potential of the Mobile Data Industry.

And we have all cross promoted each other’s work.

For instance, I have blogged about both the Mobile 2.0 initiative and the Telco 2.0 initiative .

Tony fish, co-author of Mobile Web 2.0, is a speaker at the Mobile 2.0 event

One would argue that all these initiatives are merely hype and we are all piggybacking on the ‘2.0’ bandwagon.

However, the depth of the analysis and also the openness of the views makes me think otherwise.

Curiously, many of the people involved are not from a traditional telecoms background. For instance, Daniel has a Web development background prior to Vodafone. I have a consultancy background and also the Web and Martin is also from a similar background(Oracle).

There is an irony in non-telecoms people talking about ‘telecoms industry 2.0’.

But historically, innovation has often come from when outsiders have injected radical ideas to a discipline

For instance, the science of Genetics was fostered by Gregor Mendel (a priest)

Irrespective of who initiates these new ideas into the Telecoms industry, I think we all acknowledge that change is needed – but also that we live in exciting times!

Even over the past year, so much more has happened and I believe that there is much more to come!

Finally, one could ask, what about countries such as Japan and Korea? Should they not be driving the new wave of applications world wide?

In my view, the industry in the West (and even in Asia – with the exclusion of Japan, China and Korea) is following Open standards. Japan and Korea (and increasingly China) are following closed, proprietary standards. On one hand, it leads to a rapid uptake of mobile data. On the other hand, it could be argued that these closed standards do not play out outside their respective geographies.

So, to recap, I am very keen to grow the whole industry by encouraging Mobile 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0 and Telecoms 2.0

It’s like the movie A Perfect Storm: we are seeing a unique set of conditions coming together to create a turbulence which, we hope, will propel the industry forward.


  1. James says:

    For sure it’s a bandwagon! But bandwagons are good since they give everyone a sense of collective enthusiasm.
    (That’s exactly what we’ve seen with Web 2.0, and now it’s happening in our garden too)
    Always one to band my wagons, I’d like to throw another one in the mix…
    (My particular speciality is quality of service which in today’s telecoms world is normally deduced through passive measurement of data within networks).
    But that’s a bit vague for measuring mobile users’ experience. So I’m on a mission to buzzify “QOS2.0″. Watch this space :-)
    On a serious note, I am sure we are all aware that the quality of the content, handsets, and the networks – and their interoperability – remains a hurdle we’ll need to keep working on.
    Whatever the version of the paradigm!