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.

Telco 2.0 and Mobile web 2.0


A few weeks ago, I had lunch with Martin Geddes

Martin and I have similar views; as befitting the names of our respective blogs ‘Telepocalypse’ and ‘Open Gardens’. So, it was a fascinating discussion.

Martin (and Chris Barraclough ) of STL partners are setting up an initiative called Telco 2.0 and a Telco 2.0 event

It’s a pity I can’t attend this because I am speaking at Ajaxworldexpo in Santa Clara but it promises to be a fascinating event. Having written the book about Mobile Web 2.0, I was always interested in what Martin meant by Telco 2.0.

Martin gives a number of definitions for Telco 2.0 on his blog but the best way I can describe Telco 2.0 as I understand it is as follows:

I am a fan of Dr Michael Hammer’s work – specifically his book Re engineering the corporation

In that context, I can describe Telco 2.0 as Re engineering the telecoms industry for the (IP) future .

This fits in with Martin’s concise definition as in : ‘“T2-compliant operator = the stock market believes it has long-term sustainable basis for growth in an IP-based world’

The issues addressed by Telco 2.0 are indeed fascinating because they look at all aspects of a telecoms network(including voice, network convergence, IP etc). In Mobile Web 2.0, I approached the issue from the view point of the Web(which was my background prior to being involved with the Mobile Web in 1999). It took 360 odd pages to write Mobile Web 2.0 i.e. considering the issues involved in extending the ‘Web’ to the ‘Mobile Web’. I can only imagine the complexities of extending the whole existing telecoms infrastructure to the IP world

In any case, I think the Telecoms operators are in good hands with the Telco 2.0 initiative!.

Pity I will miss this event. Its on Oct 4 and 5. Details at Telco 2.0 event. Many people I know are there including Tomi Ahonen and Tom Weiss. Forumoxford is also supporting this event.

If you are there, say ‘Hi’ to these guys!