Mobile Web 2.0 – Web 2.0 and Its Impact on Mobility
Part Two of Three: Will "Tagging" Signify the End of the Telephone Number?
Feb. 23, 2007 04:30 PM
Welcome to the second part of this 3-part article. Much has happened since I wrote the first part: for instance, I am now a member of the Web 2.0 Workgroup and I have also been selected to speak at SYS-CON's SOA Web Services Conference & Expo 2006 in New York City in June.
Mobile Web 2.0 Defined
This definition firmly drives the mobile Internet from the fixed Internet since the web becomes the point of configuration of a new service and the mobile device becomes an extension of that service (the ability to access the service anywhere/any time).
We struggled with the definition of a "restricted device." The only feature we could find common to all restricted devices is "they are battery driven." But then – watches have batteries. So, we decided to extend the definition of "restricted devices" by incorporating Barbara Ballard’s carry principle .Thus, a restricted device could now be deemed as
Finally, there is a difference between a "carried" device and a "mobile device which is in a vehicle." For example – in a car, a GPS navigator is a "mobile device" and in a plane, the in-flight entertainment screen is also "mobile." However, neither of these devices is "carried" and neither has the same screen/power restrictions as devices that are "carried."
However, it's clear that the mobile phone is an example of a restricted device. But there is more to "Mobile Web 2.0" than extending "Web 2.0 to mobile phones." We believe that Web 2.0 has the capacity to fundamentally alter the world of telecoms and mobile networks. That’s because the phone number – that last bastion of leverage – is itself under threat! Tags will replace numbers.
"I Am Not a Number, I Am a Tag!"
This worked fine when I had one number but it all got very complex when I left my youthful years and went to work. Soon I had an office number, a DDI number, my digs and my home (parents) numbers. The office then added e-mail IDs and a mobile number. At a personal level, I got a range of IMs (Instant Message IDs) and e-mail IDs (university, first e-mail, grown up e-mail, own domain e-mail). Now, it is followed by a range of VoIP numbers! And so it goes on...
To ensure that I spent lots of money calling and chatting some clever people created voice messaging services so that you could ask me to call back if I was not on one of those numbers, or you could only remember one of them. Some cleverer people created unified messaging in the hope that all my messages would go to one place. However, there is no one place to resolve the "number to name" problem.
This means I have to spend a vast amount of time maintaining an increasing database of people and their various numbers. The old system of the telephone directory sort of works, search engines can search many directories to find my many numbers and IP addresses - if they are available.
But why bother with numbers in the first place? Why relinquish control to them? Why should we not break free?
For instance, why is it so hard to keep your number when changing houses or mobile service providers?(at a cost I might add!) You have "become" the number. And nowadays, that’s increasingly "numbers" plural! People are forced to remember your various numbers and some do – but most will find it increasingly difficult.
But then came tags...and we believe that tags will erode 100 years of telecoms regulations on numbering and also the one control point that telephone operators/carriers still believe is untouchable. i.e. the number itself.
Imagine a world where you do not care what your number is or how many you have. A world where tags replace numbers. Others (friends, work mates, people who you see and meet) tag your data so that they can find you again.
Tony Fish could tag "Tony Fish" with his 50 words, others will tag "Tony Fish" with their views and that’s how they will remember the name. Collectively, all Tony’s tags will uniquely identify me as "Tony Fish" and not the other 462 Tony Fishes that are about!
A new type of search engine will emerge. The new search engine will not deliver my identity (and breach data protection regulations). Instead, they (the provider of the search service) will offer a service to enable "connection." "Find Tony Fish" will produce the result: Tony is currently in Starbucks on Oxford Street do you want to meet, IM, Mail, chat to him.
You see what we mean by "I am no longer a number, I am a Tag"?
You can visualize it as below
How will this start?
We would not expect that a carrier/ operator can be the first to implement such a system - due to the legacy of existing systems and their requirement for seeing a business model first. Rather, we expect it will be organic. I will start tagging, you will start tagging and thus a network will emerge. I will add my contacts and notes from Outlook, from Thunderbird, from Plaxo, from LinkedIn and then the tags will grow!
A federated service provider will become the "search engine by tags" – searching my professional information. I will have added personal contacts for family so they are in by default (i.e. linked through me). The value proposition for the user appears when someone in your network modifies or updates the data with new details and that data automatically updates your data set, saving time and maintaining contact.
The bigger the network you have, the more frequently your information is refreshed and the more fresh and valuable it is.
As a commercial extension, it would be possible for a service provider to combine tags from several people within a program that would provide to each "paying premium member" an improved data set. The commercial models will grow based on the knowledge and context within the search and tags.
Therefore we can see a federated, consensus-driven business model allowing both restricted and free communication services from a search engine. Eventually, everyone tags, search engines get access to my desktop and I permit my presence to be made known.
Thus, I become a "tag," an individual – and not a number!
Mobile Web 2.0 – A Service Blueprint
Web 2.0 being a bandwagon, you are likely to see many services jumping on it. However, most are bandwagon-seekers and cooked up by over-enthusiastic marketing departments.
So, in the final section, we now discuss a sample Mobile Web 2.0 service in detail. This service could act as a template for you in deciding future Mobile Web 2.0 systems and in separating the real from the fake.
As you probably know, both del.icio.us and flickr are based on tags. However, note that - in a mobile context - a "tag" would have a different meaning from the same term used in a web context. People do not like to enter a lot of information on a mobile device. Thus a tag in a mobile sense would be explicit information entered by the user(i.e. a "web" tag) but more importantly information captured implicitly when the image was captured (for example the user’s location).
Such a service would enable you to:
From a user perspective, the user would be able to
Let’s break down the components further. We need:
Tagging an Image
At the point the image is taken from a camera phone, there are three classes of data elements we could potentially capture
a) Temporal for example the time that the image was captured
The client component captures all the data elements and sends them to the server. It also displays the results from the server. (The garage cinema research uses a system called Mobile Media Metadata (MMM)which performs this function).
Finding ‘missing elements’ of your image
Thus, if the third user wanted to know ‘the river in the image’ or the ‘building in the image’ - they would be presented with a likely set of related points of interest which could include the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament. (Laughably trivial – I know – but it illustrates the point!)
Sharing Your Images
So, Is This a Mobile Web 2.0 Service?
The two aspects not covered above are
These are implementation issues and could easily be included. So, IMHO - indeed this is an example of a Mobile Web 2.0 Service!
Mobile Media Metadata for Mobile Imaging : Marc Davis University of California at Berkeley and Risto Sarvas Helsinki Institute for Information Technology
From Context to Content: Leveraging Context to Infer Media Metadata
The carry principle: Barbara Ballard - http://www.littlespringsdesign.com/blog/2005/09/14/the-carry-principle/
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