February 16, 2011

Rise of the Ecosystem

What I’ve experienced first-hand at the Mobile World Congress show this year in Barcelona is that mobility is beyond basic 3G and 4G connectivity… it is about usability, personalization, and the user experience.  The buzzword this year is not Android, LTE, or my personal favorites, the twitter or Facebook revolution. No. It is about the ecosystem.

I’ve been following mobility for a number of years, and the importance of this world beyond the device became only too clear at the end of last week when Nokia and Microsoft set out to create the ‘3rd ecosystem.’  Nobody could have predicted such a rapid transition, winding down the era of Symbian and MeeGo, and running ahead  into the future. But it has happened and I can step back and see the greater impact.

The ecosystem now extends beyond the app store and Angry Birds.  Enterprises are deploying their own internal application portals, and even Salesforce.com has gotten into the game.  The smartphone or tablet is now an extension of the individual, never out of reach (for better or for worse), and even my daughters, ages 8 and 6, are adapting this ecosystem to their own needs and desires.  It will be fascinating to see how it evolves as they grow.

Sure, there are plenty of bright shiny things being announced this week… mega-tablets running Android 3.0, 3D smartphones, and processors that could launch a man to the moon when I was a kid.  But at the end of the day, it is how you personalize your device… how you make it usable, both within the enterprise and on the sofa at home.  That is the real meaning of an ecosystem.  From a show that originally focused on speeds, feeds, devices, and service management, we’ve come a long way.  -Dave

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