Marko Ahtisaari's talk at Reboot

End of the afternoon at Reboot, Mark Ahtisaari (Director of Design Strategy at Nokia) talked about "Mobile 2.0: Social Renaissance", basically describing the second stage of mobile communication. The mobile industry today has a huge scale: it reached 2bn mobile subscribers today.

The next 2bn are very different, in terms of usage patterns + income. He's wondering about how can something grow to become so big so quickly? This is due to 3 features: - an object with a social function (familiar before: making a phone call and later sending txt messages) tied to a service - service providers subsidizing price (by mobile operators) - the shift from a familiar collective object to a personal object (this is less quoted in the marketing literature), one of the 3 things you carry (with some form of payment + keys): mobile essentials

Because of this growth, this object becomes an hybrid object: a magnet to draws to it other functionalities: knowing time (watch), waking up (alarm clock), taking pictures (cameras).

So far, it was about mobile 1.5 = in the last 3 years, the interest of this industry shifted to another rhetoric: about a separate internet of some kind that would appear (wap...). There was a lot of emphasis on media content at the expense of human created content (social cooperative content)

To him, there are 7 challenges that can be opportunities: - reach: Mobile 2.0 = the next to 2bn users, largely coming from the new markets: BRICs (Brasil, Russia, India, China) - sometimes off: user interface + social design questions, there will be a reaction towars the always-onness - hackability: an important aspect of design is to let the user complete objects: Nokia pushed that: changeable covers, physical personnalisation (stickers, strap-on...and not only kids; and not only in western culture: adding LEDs on phone in India), user interface skin: it's someone's thing, you can pimp your ride, you can pimp your phone. It's also possible to script or sketch your cell phone (python). Finally: mobile phone repair chain (even enhancement of mobile phone). - social primitives: the SMS has been used to inform, flirt, joke, flattened... gift giving, signaling (to present intention, what I am listening too, the use of the IM line/mood), photostream, peer production (a la wikipedia or flickr), remixing - openness: if the core is social interaction, all the successfull forms of interactions are based on open standards/protocols (free:dom); what shape communication take when it's completely free? And it's never free, someone always has to pay. FON is a good thing for that matter - simplicity: new ways to configure the user interface ("Making the simple complicated is commonplace, making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity" Charles Mingus): Indian vibration chatting machine (stereo hifi tapes) - justice: how do we sustainably connect the 2bn who are not connected? if the core growth is in the social interaction then the question of fairness of access emerges.

More about it in his notes about this other presentation