The Future of Mobile: Tony Fish’s keynote speech

While at the Future of Mobile, the event organised by Carsonified Systems last week in London, I enjoyed very much Tony Fish‘s key-note speech.

I asked Tony to pass me over his presentation in order to write an article for an Italian magazine, and here I am reporting just some of his notes regarding Digital Footprint.

Enjoy also his full presentation.
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Footprints: Like Neil Armstrong we all leave footprints. 2.0 has a fascination with this data, in web 2.0 language ‘the next intel inside.’ I don’t associate footprints with identity. Footprints are about where we have been, for low long, how often and the inter-relationships.

Therefore Digital Footprint is not identity, your passport, bank account or social security number. Digital Footprints come from mobile, web and TV – the digital data and metadata of who we are, the true value and why the ownership of this data is the battle ground to be won and lost, the reason why Eric Schmidt the CEO of Google wakes up thinking mobile before he looks at his email or worries about the value of double click or improving a search algorithm.

However this footprint and its digital data I contend is mine. Google gets your hands off it, but who will I trust with my digital footprint if I don’t want Google to have it. I need a trusted, open digital footprint store. Collecting, collating and serving my footprints, through an open application protocol interface across all platforms. I want to share my footprint, as this will lead to service companies improving my experience as it will become personalized. But who should I trust and what should I trust them for. To understand this we need a small diversion to chat about advertising, as this is a model to justify your views and assertions.

Advertising started with the age of assertion, “washing powder washes whiter than white”. It moved to the second phase of engagement, comparison and involvement – “look what your neighbour uses.” The current phase is about attitude – “Dirt is Good”, but advertising in what-ever shape or form requires channels and feedback, something it lacked until recently. Advertising is currently used to justify every business model, with the associated convergence or bundling issue of everything else is free. A symbiotic parasite. But the advertising to give you something for free requires an understanding of your personal data, based on your digital footprint. Therefore if I control your digital footprint, I control the advertising revenues. But as Google only controls the web footprint, control of the mobile is critical, especially when you consider Mobile adds whole new classes of unique data – location and attention.

But there is a school of thought that says if I own my digital footprint data, I could sell this to advertisers directly, but this poses the difficult question of who would store it, how it is collected, shared and protected, great topics but not for now.

I want you to consider line of sight advertising for a moment. Consider the following model. Suppose that a bill board, or a scene that it within your line of sight could be controlled by you mobile device. Advertising now becomes specific to the person looking? But how would it cope with the crowd. Would the utopia vision focus on those who are strong and marginalize the weak. The social gap becomes formed not by the technology but by those who don’t have the same opinion. We only get to listen to the voice we want – this is how you train a terrorist. As a design consideration – how about taking away the screen and then consider the uniqueness.

Indeed, where is there value, is there more value in knowing what I am doing or who I do it with. The TV can provide some data, the web probably more, but the mobile would be unique.

Therefore as you consider mobile and bring your experience – think about the context and where value is created, not why your doing it, but how others can and will extract value from it.

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