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The Future of Mobile – the plan of attack

The MIR team — Dan Lane, Ben Smith and James Whatley — will be on site early at the Future of Mobile. Both Dan and Ben have HD walk-about cameras, ready to capture gigabytes of footage from around the Future of Mobile.

If you’ve all of a sudden found a space in your diary and you’re keen to come along, we can probably get you in, still — with a bit of assistance from organiser, Dominic. If you really want to come along — drop me a text on +44 7769 658 104 and I’ll connect you with Dominic and sort it out.

I’m on stage doing a 6 minute State Of The Industry viewpoint at 12:40, then again at 5pm hosting the “Barriers and Gateways for mobile start ups” panel discussion. I have tons of questions and prompts on behalf the braying masses. At a recent event a similar panel turned into a ‘screw-the-operator gangbang’. I think that’s how it was described to me. We’re not having any of that on this panel though. I’m hunting for constructive, insightful and enlightening debate and I’m confident the panel — that is, Justin Davies (NinetyTen), James Body (Truphone), Carl Uminski (Trutap), Alfie of Moblog and Daniel Appelquist of Vodafone — will deliver, big time.

Each one of these chaps is tip top insightful on their own, so – together – it’s going to be rather fascinating. As a panel chairperson, I favour the shut-up-and-let-them-talk approach. That doesn’t work too well if you’re surrounded by total arses who give you one line answers to the questions you pose (as happened to me in Silicon Valley in February.. shocking!). I ended up having to do my own on-the-fly presentation to the audience whilst the twots on the panel dribbled into their microphones. Thankfully, organiser Dominic has assembled these starfighters to save me from dribble-oblivion.

I had been thinking of starting the panel off by saying ‘Mobile Operators Are Shit. Discuss’.

Job done. 49 minutes and 50 seconds of contentious debate and poor Daniel Appelquist stuck in the corner.

To do that would be to miss the real issue. With the likes of, what, 18 million customers using a plethora of different handsets you can’t simply phone up every mobile operator and invite them to tea.

The market is certainly changing though — the barriers are reducing and the gateways are increasing. Slowly. But dramatically. Witness, for example, the Starmap iPhone developer who knocked back $336k in 3.5 months.

But is it all about application stores? Are mobile operators doing enough to support introduction of sustainable revenue models for developers?

We shall see.

Each one of the panel is thoroughly, thoroughly steeped in experience. There’s no bullshit. They’ve all brought applications and services to market. They’ve all been at the mobile consumer ‘coalface’. Critically, they’ve all been doing this for a long time too. I’m going to be particularly interested in their perceptions of the difference between, say, nowadays and 2 years ago. I remember, for example, when Justin of NinetyTen brought BuddyPing out to market. We’ve closely followed the continuing successes of Alfie’s Moblog. We’re certainly no stranger to Truphone — James Body has appeared regularly in our MIR Show footage and is one of our go-to-guys when we need a mobile tech perspective. (We also just interviewed Truphone’s new CEO last week for the MIR Show). Carl Uminski has been turning Trutap inside out in front of my eyes, revolutionising their technical infrastructure to heavily focus on the emerging markets.

Daniel Appelquist is, for me, a slightly unknown quantity since I haven’t met him directly. But he’s rated by people I rate. And he’s not just a rent-a-MNO-view chap. He wrote Mobile Internet for Dummies, founded MoMo London and is a technology strategist for Big Red.

As well as having two roving HD cameras, we’re bringing the mother-camera. The shit hot massive one. On a tripod. And we’re plonking it slap bang in the centre of the event. We’re going to be aiming to get as many people as possible on camera, giving opinions and elevator pitches. If you see one of the MIR team, come on up and say hi.

See you there…



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