Read a couple of articles this week about the rise of mobile computing. About a decade ago I was at a conference where one of the keynotes was on the inevitability of ubiquitous computing or everywhere computing. I believe now that smart phones have arrived, we have realized that dream.
How big companies die
One article I read was from Forbes on Here’s why Google and Facebook might disappear in the next 5 years. The central tenet of their discussion was that the rise of mobile is a new paradigm shift just like Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 emerged over time and reinvented most of the industries that went before them.
Most companies around before the internet were unable to see and understand what would constitute a viable business model in the new Web 1.0 environment. Similarly, the major players in Web 1.0 never really saw the transition that occurred to a more interactive, information sharing that became Web 2.0.
The problem is that all these companies grew up in the reigning paradigm of the day and became successful by seeing the transition as a new way of doing business. They just couldn’t conceive that another way of doing business was coming along that was strategically different and thus, highly damaging to their now outdated, business models.
Full speed ahead
But it even get’s worse. Another article I read from Tecnology Review was titled Questions for Mobile Computing.
One interesting tidbit is that time it’s taking to reach a certain adoption level in the market is shrinking. The chart (from Apple) showed that both the iPhone and iPad has drastically shrunk the time it took to attain high market adoption.
Mobile business models
The main question in the article was how web 2.0 advertising revenue business models were going to translate into a mobile environment where they no longer controlled advertising. Many Web2.0 companies seem to be ignoring mobile at the moment but it won’t take long for companies focused on this new computing tsunami to roll over them.
Apple and Google have taken two distinctly divergent approaches to this market but at least they are (massively) engaged. That’s more than can be said for some of the web 2.0 properties out there ignoring mobile to their long term detriment.
The fact is that mobile is a new computing platform. It’s possibilities are truly extraordinary from mHealth (see my post on mHealth taking off in Kenya) and mCurrency today to Google glasses of tomorrow.
I strongly believe that those companies that see this shift now and go after it with new business models to profit from mobile computing will succeed faster and mightier than we have ever seen. The rest will be left in the dust.
The funny bit is that it’s not the developed world that’s taking the new model to new directions but the developing world. They seem better able to see mobile computing for what it is, an relatively easy way to leapfrog from the 19th century to the 21st in one jump.
So what are profitable business models that leverage mobile computing?