Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mobile Devices - The New Business Model

Currently almost all the "valuable" functionality of the mobile phone is derived from connecting with the network. Almost all business models are based around this central theme and already there is a lot of clutter in this space. However there is a lot of space for innovative business models to exploit inter-device interactions. The next stage of development of mobile devices will be in exploitation of the inter-device interaction.
The "Close-By" opportunity
One serious impediment for exploitation of mobile services is the lack of location tracking at close range. At the most a phone can be tracked to the nearest tower. Lets imagine if it were possible to track a phone right down to within 5-10 meters. We all know Bluetooth can enable this very effectively.
The stumbling block
First constraint is that people switch off their bluetooth communications. Can one overcome this constraint? Of course, if offers are flashed only on bluetooth then people will switch on their bluetooth.
Second is privacy. People will not welcome spam on their mobile devices. Frankly the messages one gets while roaming are extremely irritating.
Third is security. Why will I enable my bluetooth connections for others to send messages to me? Will it mean I will be exposed to Viruses or any other threats?
The Bright Idea
To avoid this advertisers need to place constraints on themselves. These could be enforced technologically too. Like for example imagine a program, a bluetooth message trasmitter server and a receiver client, that makes sure the messages are customised and welcome. How?
Imagine the "client program" has options that let me choose the products for which I want offers. The "server program" knows and only sends me those offers that I have asked for!! This "client program" can be freely distributable with mobile phones (just like our dear Adobe Acrobat). The "server program" will be bought by local advertisers (shops, malls, bus service providers etc) and telecom companies will run them. We all know that the "client Program" can be configured to be independant accepting only from "known" "server programs" thus eliminating security threats.
In sum...
I think this means my mobile experience will be much more valuable, there will be additional revenue for Telecom service providers, and local advertisers will have lower advertising cost enabling highly targetted advertising. Wont it make a better world? What Say?