Here's a link to a very interesting presentation of fellow book author Paul Golding about the real time web and it's impact on mobile. A powerful train of thought and I would summarize what he calls the real time web as follows:
- Today, the web (or the Internet in general) on mobile devices is still dominated by polling, i.e. the user requesting web pages.
- Paul foresees that news and events happening around the world in real time will be pushed automatically to both mobile devices and of course also to desktop PCs and notebooks. Desktop and idle screen widgets based on web technologies is one possibility for this.
- Information is meshed up on the Internet before it is pushed to the user on his mobile or stationary device. An example of this for example is TweetNews that sorts Yahoo search results with input from Twitter to increase the relevancy of breaking news that is spreading mach faster via social media than via the traditional channels.
- Content is not only created by others and put on the web for public use, but everyone is creating content that while being private should be pushed into the web as well so it is accessible by its creator and owner from different devices and can be mashed-up with other content. An example for content that should be accessible from everywhere is the calender or address book.
I think that his ideas are great and many of them are already worked on by Google, Nokia and others. However, for the last bullet point where I would like to add a different idea. While I like the idea of mashing-up lets say my address book with information about online instant messaging availability of other persons, I don't really like my address book information in the hands of anyone else but me. In other words, I don't like my private information to be stored on a server on the web, I want it stored on a device under my control.
And I think that this is where mobile network operators with fixed line assets can come into play. Instead of having my private information stored in the web, it could also be stored in the user's home network. Fixed/Mobile network operators have all the pieces of the puzzle together to make this work and not much competition to fear. They are in the unique position to sell the following bits and pieces together to their customers:
- A DSL modem / Wi-Fi / Femto box (also known as a home gateway)
- Services running on that box or via that box accessible from within the home network and via a secure connection from the outside
- Wireless Access
- Preconfigured devices with connected home services that use the cellular / Wi-Fi / femto depending on where they are to access that information.
Of course network operators can't do it on their own, they need device manufacturers to deliver home gateways and software for mobile devices capable of doing that. It's a great possibility to compete with similar services that are web based, a territory where network operators have difficulty to compete in. And the best, the customers will love them for it, since they offer such connected home services with more security and privacy than what is possible on the web.
And for the mash-up part of the scenario it doesn't really matter if a central server mashes up the content or if a service in the home network do that.