I really couldn’t let this week pass without commenting on the bunch of announcements from the telecom and phone sector. The iPhone rolls out in the UK of course, but that’s old news, and been covered well enough already. The news that did interested me is the Google Android approach to the market, and the Nokia approach with its Ovi Portal for Internet based services. However I want to comment on these announcements in what I think is a different way from all the other blogs have read on these moves.
The updated news this week on the Ovi Portal is that Vodafone, who I would have classed as a potential competitor in the provision of Internet services, has decided to team with Nokia, as has Telefonica. Taken together, and assuming that the three partners will now bundle and share their existing Internet services such as the Vodafone Live! Portal with its strong focus on music, this represents a real force in the market. It may well have been driven by the Google move with Android as the Google approach of a bundled operating system and basic services for cell phones looks like a real market disrupting move reminiscent of Microsoft and the PC (and yes the sharp eyed will notice the author’s name, and it is my son, but hopefully you will agree that it’s a thoughtful post on this topic from his cell phone / mobility blog site).
So what is my different take on this? Well I want to point out that we are now entering the fifth era of our industry;

  • 1) the calculating computer
  • 2) the programmable mainframe
  • 3) the departmental mini application
  • 4) the information PC and now
  • 5) the People centric Web.

In each of the eras the solutions were designed around the key element, and in the first four this meant different types of machines. What Web 2.0 really means is designing solutions around people, just consider the principle elements; Social Networks, Social Tagging, WiKis, Blogs and MashUps. The interfacing, and use, is all people based with the machine hidden as much as possible.
You can take this further by remarking that Software as a Software, SaaS, offers subscriptions to people rather than licensing software for use on a machine! So should we look surprised that the action seems to be shifting towards phones? After all a phone is a distinctly friendly human interface device and is designed to be carried around by a person, not something you can do so well with a desktop or even a notebook PC. On the last point some of the latest notebooks seem to be shrinking towards phone sizes and proudly even boast about the use of telecom connectivity technology!
The point about designing solutions around a people model and not around PC Server model may go some way towards answering another frequently raised question; why don’t IT professionals get Web 2.0 use in Business, even if they use it in their home life? Well if you have spent your professional life concentrating on making sure solutions are deployed in accordance with one set of principles then its difficult to change, especially if you don’t immediately grasp this change in what is the key element to design round.
Am I right in this bold assertion? Looking forward to some good posts!!