A recent survey on domestic
For reasons that remain unclear to me, many US wireless phone users can’t get next to the potential of their mobile phones. And network providers aren’t much help in pushing cell phones to new levels either. They’re too married to the mistaken belief I really want to watch television or grainy YouTube videos on a tiny screen.
Have entrepreneurs really done their homework? Is there a single mobile phone software developer who can sit in a face to face meeting and tell me that they’ve ever seen a group of domestic US subscribers playing cell phonegames on the train to San Francisco from Palo Alto, or better yet, has anyone ever seen a mobile phone user so caught up in a game they missed their destination on the BART crossing from the East Bay to San Francisco?
Guess what? Mobile cell phone games are still a $0 sum market in the US.
Maybe the next big thing might be mobile search—which makes money for the search engine provider, and the network, but not the company that was searched for in the first place.
I think it’s time to pull back the focus on mobile phone apps for a minute and see if we can isolate one application that becomes the horse pulling the mobile the application cart. Let’s look at the matrix:
Standardized Bluetooth or network connectivity to retail outlets?
Check. It’s there, at long last
Consumer willingness to explore the capabilities of next generation smart phones? Yup, we got a market that’s doing that as well. That box gets a check mark too.
Consumer banks willing to let customers access and perform transactions from their cell phones? Check.
Let’s take a look through the vciew finder at mobile technology and think about what’s missing. I think the answer to that is a glaringly obvious application that’s the first step up the ziggurat that represents this market.
The application is one that lets me carry my identity and specific financial and other information on my cell phone. I would like to be able to beam encrypted data to kiosks and transact a little business.
For example, about twice a year I wander into the local BassPro mega store and buy a couple saltwater lures and a button-down long sleeve shirt that looks fabulous when starched and ironed. When I go into BassPro, I don’t mind that they know I’m there and I’m not offended if they try to sell me something. What a joy it would be to use my cell phone as part of my credit or debit card transaction.
Take this a step further. If the information stored in my phone is at least128-bit secure, includes a current photo and address and has my California driver’s license number as well as a another unique identification number such as my passport ID number, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to use to board an airplane to fly hither and yon domestically.
The big catch, of course is getting Homeland Security and its TSA organization to buy into a non-paper system. It’s at this step where the need for a trusted software brand that’s accustomed to dealing with the government comes in. Right off the top of my head examples of brands that already have this relationship and the skills to build such an application (which could be used for both mobile commerce and personal identification) include: Oracle, Intuit, Microsoft, and a couple of others.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that a switch from a paper-based or laminated plastic system to electronic ID may happen overnight. I am however patient enough to carry my cell phone and my wallet until all the bugs get worked out.
I think this is important enough that I’m willing to pay $25 a year for this service. And, like when I recently lost my driver’s license on a business trip to San Francisco, this type of software seems like a more effective of validating who I am, thanusing my Sam’s Club member card that has my picture on it.
This is exactly the sort of concept I’d love to see shown at Demo in the coming years. Let’s see, a secure electronic document I can carry in my cell phone or a bulging piece of old animal flesh stuck in the back pocket of my jeans? Not much of a choice is it?—Jim Forbes, 08/22/1008.