Dave Penny, VP at NMS, is moderating the first session after lunch entitled "Community Goes Mobile" with panelists:
Prakash Iyer, Founder and CEO, envIO networks -- a market centric approach to recommendations and content discovery. They are still in stealth mode, but already he's said more than shows up on their website.
Nicolas Arauz, Co-founder and Managing Director, Xipto LLC -- some notes earlier today...
Dan Melinger, CEO, Socialight -- location aware social recommendations particularly useful when you want friends comments on where you are right now.
Jouni Welander, Head of New Solutions US, Nokia Siemens Networks -- most people know NSN...
Some comments I found interesting:
Jouni showed a Nokia Siemens forecast that by 2016 there would be 5 billion people connected. I can't imagine it will take that long... Of course they are talking about real people, not just subscriptions, but still... Why so long?
Jouni also mentioned a study that says 12 million people used mobile devices to access social networking sites in June 2007. Half of these were US users accessing either MySpace or Facebook.
Prakash differentiates mobile community by location but also by the different characteristics of the mobile environment. On the other hand, neither Prakash nor Dan see the need for different services on the Internet and on mobile -- they will just be different interfaces to the same community. Nicolas focuses on how personal the mobile device is, e.g. spam on a mobile is much more intrusive.
A lot of discussion about location and privacy issues. All of the panelist seem to assume that location is something that may become available from the service providers. So far, no one has mentioned Navizon which I wrote about last week. The real issue is trust and the need to push control of location information to the user. Edge solutions sound best to me, but everyone seems to assume they'll have to work with operators to get location info.
A long discussion of swarming, i.e. too many people including completely unrelated people showing up for a suburban party, political protests, or related, cyber bullying. Also discussion of privacy in virtual worlds and in your on-line social persona. The panelists are worried about privacy, but everyone on the panel is over 30. My impression (even though I'm over 50) is that today's youth are much more comfortable with living their lives publicly. Or to put it another way, it used to be if you lived in a small town, everyone knew everything that went on. Today, it's not just in a small town.
Making money -- social networks must appear to be free as they are on the Internet. Money comes from driving traffic (on a flat rate plan), perhaps by offering some premium service to a subset of users and, eventually, by advertising and advertising-like activities, for example, content discovery and content recommendations.
In response to a question, Nicolas made the point that your closest contacts on your mobile may churn quite rapidly but can be represented by who you've communicated with in the past 24 hours and/or past week. To me that suggests that a mobile social network client should capture all your phone calls and SMSs and ask you if they are people to add to your social network (and if so, where and how they are to be added). And, sure enough, three minutes later Nicolas added the idea that your biggest mobile social network is the people you call and SMS in any given day.
General agreement that mobile social networking won't really take off until it is available across operators. Exclusive deals won't promote widespread adoption.
Dan suggests that handset standardization should come through browsers, although this will take time to roll out.
**** Minor corrections 12 Oct 2007 *****