THE MOBILE OPPORTUNITY
Mobile devices will become the hub of social media communications, and operate at all levels of our connected lives. There will be an abundance of location aware applications providing useful information to connect users face to face who happen to be in the same location.
Consumers will drive the next evolution of social media applications for mobile devices and many applications will disappear as new technologies (such as GPS location aware applications) evolve.
Mobile phone manufacturers are creating applications for the phone, but there’s a problem. There are currently no set standards for application development across mobile device platforms. If one user is using an iPhone and the other is using a Nokia, there are limited chances for interaction between the two devices. Applications which have been developed for different models of the Windows phone need to be modified to suit each different model. Users want technologies and applications for their mobile device but with the lack of cross-platform support in mobiles, it is difficult to get any cluster effects.
Without these cluster effects, the technology will not be widely adopted. Without wide adoption, there will be no impetus to develop new technologies. And with the huge amount of different devices that are available across different platforms, there are limited opportunities to move forward. So how do you get access to the same platform from all these different devices? The obvious solution is to develop your application to work on the browser. You would also need to make sure that all applications that have been written for the browser comply with international standards. This ensures that your application will work across all of the mobile device platforms and all of the different operating systems and hardware. Or you could buy an iPad…
In hardware terms, the Apple iPad will completely redefine the way we think about consumer devices and interaction on the web. Those that struggle with the form factor of the small smartphones or have chunky fingers will welcome this new device. Anyone who has problems interacting effectively with the tiny keypads will embrace this new form of communication. The iPad will drive greater consumer engagement, and social media will be the vehicle of communication. Augmented reality applications on the iPad will bring a new dimension to e-commerce.
Privacy will become more granular, as social media items become more discoverable. Profiles will be customisable for your different online personas. For example, you may want to customise different settings for your work persona compared with the settings for your home persona. Then there are the other roles you might have. You may be a school governor; you may sit on a committee or a council. You may perform charity work anonymously, or you may be a silent and invisible spectator. There will be new mechanisms in place on social platforms which will ensure that the setting you adopt to communicate with your friends will not cross boundaries into your corporate life.
Conversely, collaboration applications inside the firewall will evolve to incorporate social media connectors and features within the enterprise application.
The email client will become much more than just a place to receive email and view your calendar. Email will include threaded conversations, status updates from presence aware applications, video and instant messaging. Some of these features are already present in clients such as Outlook and Notes. You will be able to seamlessly switch between Facebook type applications and your inbox. Your Twitter stream and your RSS feeds will be accessed from one place. Your work life and your social life will blur. The application shift from your work life to your personal life will become more streamlined and transparent. Companies will adopt social software more readily as they realise that effective employee collaboration in whatever format makes for more productive working environments. There will be a grass roots adoption of social media platforms inside the firewall as an aid to communication and effective interaction.
But most of all, social media, in whatever form, is here to stay. Do you want to join in the great conversation or do you want to watch it happening? Whatever your choice is, I hope you will benefit from the newsmakers, the influencers and the huge amount of knowledge from the rest of the crowd.