It’s year 2010.
Ten years ago many of us who were already part of the mobile business, had a vision. It was about future mobile services that would revolutionize the world. There were so many things that gave people ideas what all could be done. And yet the reality was in a way far away from the current state of affairs.
In reality the phones were clumsy, networks were slow the and apps were not there.
Then the future happened.
Many of those things envisioned by mobile software houses and giants-of-the-age such as Nokia, were suddenly here. That was the iPhone phenomenon that was about to start.
But you know what, there will be new future.
And as much as I Like Apple, the future may be also something else than Apple 11 (remember Apple II…) as well. You know, Steve won’t be here forever.
So what would the future be like?
I like number seven, so let’s go seven years further and imagine what could we have by 2017.
There are great research projects going on by companies like Intel, concerning for example what they call Socially Enabled Services. And there is great amount of buzz around Context-aware services. Those are good basic assumptions that could be realized in the coming seven years.
Mobile phone (or whatever we call it at that time, probably still is the same) will do a variety of things. And all of those tasks done will feel just natural for us, the way how it always should have been.
So let’s say the mobile is going to be an organizer, an entertainment device, a payment device as well as a security center. Or more shortly, whatever you want it to be.
As you know, there’s a saying now “There’s an App for that”.
So do I need somehow always find out which App could I right now use? And then download and install it? I don’t think so.
That’s where the concepts of “context-aware” and “socially enabled” will step into the picture. As the phone already knows who you are, where you are (and where you probably should be) as well who you know, it can use that information for your benefit.
It certainly makes sense that the phone itself would make sure that at any given moment you have those Apps in your phone that you need right now, right here. When you’re done with the movie you were watching with your girlfriend, there’s an App for you to find a romantic restaurant nearby, or tell where your friends are so you can meet them (or avoid them) or quite simply show the transport options to your… or her home.
An App appearing automatically would tell you how to find your friends, or how to avoid them!
But it would be quite different when you’re on a business trip in a foreign city, there would be Apps to help you find services you normally use in your home town. All downloaded naturally while you’re covered by a Wireless LAN. Some things may not change this fast, so I’m assuming the high data roaming charges will still apply even in seven years.
It could also be that it is not only your “phone” that has Apps. What if your television, refrigerator and even your home door would have “Apps”? Well, just imagine your home door telling when entering home “Please wait before opening the door while an update is being downloaded”. Well, that would happen with the Microsoft Doors (they already got Windows, right?).
Having Apps everywhere there will be an obvious need to keep everything in sync. That would easily be solved by having (almost) anything in the cloud, all the Apps being automatically in sync. It could also be that the Apps would talk to each other, one way or another. Maybe your Phone App will tell the Door App that this guy owns this house, and the Door App tells the air conditioning App that there is somebody home now.
Apps talking to each other in order to get things done… A second coming of magic agents?
The transition may not be smooth however. As it looks now, Apple is winning the App War and has locked in people like me with all the Apps which I use to manage my life. Neither the Apps nor the data are transferable. We need a real Appgyver to get rid of this problem.
But what does this mean to the mobile operator’s role? As everything will be in the cloud, and everything will be used with the mobile phone, it’s a unique position to control everything. So being a Big Brother is very easy. We’ll see what happens here.
I can say that this is only the start of an evolution that will turn the mobile phone into our trusted and indispensable companion in life, a remote control of your life.
One more thing.
By 2017, Nokia, our once so innovative business machine has gone through a massive re-construction. Seppo Elo, the CEO, had stepped down as expected already on September 22nd, 2011 and was replaced yet again by a Finn. Most of the old crew was gone by that time, finally releasing the dead lock caused by those not interested in keeping up with the world. Year 2014 Nokia bought the first Finnish company in its history, for an astonishing 3.7 Billion Euros. It was a company which invented App DNA, a revolutionary Next Generation cloud-based ecosystem. That helped to turn Nokia (by 2017) into the leader of cloud-based cross-platform/cross-app ecosystem.
And Finland was saved, once again.