The Everything Mobile Forum hosted by ictQATAR over the weekend was a great success. World leaders in innovative apps, mobile technology and regulatory issues gathered to share their perspectives on the future of everything mobile.
So many interesting facts and stats turned up at the conference such as most people look at their mobiles on average 150 times per day! Everywhere you look in Qatar people are engaging with mobile devices, the mobile subscription rate here stands at 142%, indicating that many people have multiple phones. Qatar also has one of the highest rates worldwide for smartphone usage at 75 percent according to the very latest findings so we are clearly a very mobile connected nation.
Many of the panelists at the event were young entrepreneurs who started out with nothing more than a spread sheet a good idea a couple of years ago and are now effectively digital millionaires. During his presentation Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg and co-founder of Milk Inc., spoke about how he used the savings he’d set aside to put a deposit on a house to start his business and how much this worried his family. However, it paid off and he is now a wealthy investor of the most lucrative online companies such as Twitter and Foursquare.
Kevin founded Digg when community rating of digital information was still a relatively new concept, predating the Facebook ‘like’ option. It was this visionary touch that has seen him rise through the digital stratosphere to be named by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. Being at the forefront of innovation, it is no surprise that Kevin has now turned his attention to mobile apps through launching Milk Inc. last year. They have already successfully introduced Oink, a tool for ranking real-world items, to this competitive marketplace and there will be many more money spinning apps to come.
But can mobile apps and mobile technology, that is often given away freely, or at least very cheaply, be truly profitable? In his presentation Kevin referred to one of his peers who had invented an app currently being downloaded at a rate of 20,000 per day at a cost of $1.99 – you do the math. To hear more about innovation and the profitability of apps, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.
The energetic and informative Tomi Ahonen, a true mobile technology guru and author of twelve books on the subject would say mobile technology is very profitable. In his presentation Tomi spoke about a craze catching on in Japan (and where technology goes in Japan, the rest of the world is sure to follow) whereby books are written and released on mobile devices. One such book, A Deep Love, was released as an M-Book and has so far made $435 million, it may well reach a billion dollars before sales drop off, he said.
According to Tomi, ‘mobile’ has the ability to drive sales and increase profitability exponentially. For example, Tesco’s South Korean shops called Home Plus increased profitability by 130 percent by introducing virtual shops for commuters who could scan QR codes of items they wanted on virtual shelves at train stations and those items would then be immediately delivered to their homes. How’s that for mobile innovation meets commerce?
That’s all very well for those people with commercial interests but what about those who are interested in ‘mobile’ for social good? Well, Claire Diaz Ortiz, who leads social innovation at Twitter and authored Twitter for Good: Change the world one Tweet at a Time, believes you can marry technology with social good. She spoke about the journalist who live tweeted a raid on a brothel, how rural farmers in underdeveloped countries were using mobile technology to ensure they got a fair price for their goods which was transforming their lives and how one young orphan so craved connection, he risked his life to make a call. If you’d like to hear more from Claire Diaz Ortiz, have a look at our video here.
There were so many inventive and inspiring ideas at the Everything Mobile events that we can’t explore them all here, such as how you can scan the food on your plate with an app that will tell you how many calories you are about to eat – to how e-Health will see your personal information on weight, heart rate or blood sugar uploaded automatically to your healthcare practitioner. There were discussions on the structure of regulation in Qatar, what to look out for if you are interested in getting in on the app act, and the latest research on smartphone usage in Qatar. So if you would like a more detailed account of the apps, the innovations and the future of everything mobile, please sign up to our newsletter here.