4 Notable Trends in Mobile from GigaOM’s Mobilize Conference

It is high conference season in San Francisco and I attended GigaOM‘s Mobilize: The Future of the Mobile Web conference where leaders in the mobile industry discussed and debated their work and outlook on the field. The conference website has great video coverage of the event, if you want to dive in.  In the meantime I want to highlight a few of the trends that caught my attention.

Education goes mobile: Ever a do-gooder, I’m always alert to learn of globally valuable applications for leading edge technology.  A number of Mobilize attendees are working on educational applications for mobile technology, including the tablet.  For example, Marvell is working on a tablet device for all students.  Imagine the possibilities inside a classroom if every child had a tablet (or a laptop)?  In this vein, they just launched Mobilyze which will fund educational apps.

Geo-fencing is the next big thing in mobile marketing:Placecast enables businesses to create location based fences around their stores.  So for example, if you own a coffee shop and you want to reach shoppers within 2 blocks of your store with an offer, you can set up mobile alerts to go to opt-in subscribers nearby.  Feedback from subscribers has been positive and Placecast reported a 65% redemption rate in the fast food category.

Tablets are all the rage: Everyone is all riled up about tablets.  And I’ve never seen so many iPads as at these tech conferences.  Tablets create a new market where mobile devices are already saturated, like the US.  But I think for the time being, developing world efforts and growth will focus on handheld mobile devices.

Devices < Services: Mike Kuniavsky,  CEO of ThingM explained his theory about the future of technology: as devices get cheaper and cheaper due to Moore’s Law, and as technology products become more specific, and as data moves from locally stored to cloud stored, the devices themselves become less valuable.  The service is what’s valuable, and even the app or the website matters less.  Kuniavsky calls the device used to access the service, it’s avatar.  So Apple TV is a service avatar for iTunes and Roku is a service avatar for Netflix. You can read the transcript here. This means we need to focus on enabling access to services.

What other trends in mobile are you seeing/benefiting from/intrigued by?

Look out for my upcoming coverage of Socap 2010 where I’ll be mainly reporting on the mobile track.

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on GreenBiz.com, and on JustMeans.

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