Instead of relying on expensive reports and specialists, can many of our existing habits and observations be used to predict the future?
Sometimes, personal insights are the best indicator of how technology(especially mobile devices) are changing our lives in a big way ..
For example, like many people, I gave up wearing a watch a long time ago(the phone is my watch) .
I think if more people(especially the young) take this up then very soon, watches will become a niche / luxury item .
Here are three more observations from my life which could point to a potential uptake of new technologies/services .
Welcome any examples you may have
a) YouTube is paving the way for Mobile TV and video
Watching TV/video clips on mobile devices is a favourite target of the doomsday brigade.
Who will watch TV on a small screen? And for how long? Etc etc ..
However, let’s take my own example.
Having lost track of the number of times I have watched my four favourite videos on YouTube .. links below if you are interested (U2 – One – the Buffalo/Bison version; Pink Floyd – Learning to fly ; Pink Floyd – Run like hell and Guns and Roses – Sweet child of mine ) – here is a thought ..
YouTube is paving the way for Mobile TV and video ..
The argument is simple ..
We always think of the screens of life. For example in our book Mobile Web 2.0 we cover the six screens of life as follows
The ‘BIG’ screens of life
Cinema (shared with other members of the public)
TV (shared privately within our homes)
PC (personal or shared use)
The ‘small’ screens of life
Fixed/Portable Players (fixed devices in things that move such as cars, planes, etc)
Information screens e.g. iPod, radio
The mobile device, an individual and personalised handheld device
But .. What ‘screen’ is YouTube?(it’s a ‘screen within a screen)
Further, we have people (like me) watching clips in a small screen – many times over and over again.
Is it a big step to then think that people will be getting used to watching clips on a phone if they are getting used to watching clips on a smaller YouTube screen? (The only other time we do this is when we are flying – but that’s for a smaller duration – often not out of choice)
Hence, is YouTube, paving the way for Mobile TV/video?
b) The mobile address book is going to be the key battle ground
Being a frequent traveller, I use a specific taxi company – and the drivers are mostly familiar.
One day, I met a driver who I used to know a long time ago – but from another taxi company. Apparently, he had switched jobs to the company I now used. When he saw me, his first question was ‘Why did I stop using the other(i.e. his old) taxi company?’
My response was .. No I had not stopped using the company.
Apparently, what happened is: I changed the number of the taxi company under my phone address book entry .. ‘Taxi’ and from then on .. I was using the new company without ever realising it!
All the branding/promotion etc etc is useless if a service is mapped into an address book phone number.
This has implications for local/yellow pages type services.
Whoever can get on that address book will get the business!
The management of an address book could be more complex i.e. I would like a service which will call a secondary provider if the first one is busy etc etc ..
Device manufacturers would have a key edge here!
c) Inspite of much fanfare, the Google Phone will be VERY familiar .. And that’s a good thing ..
Much has been said about the Google phone – and a lot of it speculative. However, if Google chooses to leverage it’s existing strengths on the Web, then .. It has a powerful proposition – one which I think many people would be interested in buying into.
And it will sound very familiar – because we are already using the same content now!
Take this example
A few years ago, when you searched for a hotel name, you got a whole bunch of useless links (mainly put there by the travel industry’s SEO folk). The hotel’s website itself came way down a few pages.
This is not very useful.
Today, it’s a thing of the past as more and more landmarks are on Google maps.
For example, if you search for ‘hotel four seasons San Francisco’ – you get the result as shown below. This is very useful and can only get better as more landmarks go on Google maps.
The next logical step is – access via a phone, geotagging, location based find my nearest etc.
Yes, ANY phone could do this but if the Google phone is oriented to this feature(and working closely with Google maps), it will be immediately useful – and predictable; and predictable is a good thing!
To conclude ..
So, what current usage patterns do you see in your own life which point to the usage of a new technology in the near future?
And here are my four favourite videos ..
Run like hell (Pink floyd)
Sweet child of mine (Guns and Roses)
Learning to fly (Pink floyd)