Ewan Macleod runs Mobile Industry Review and really dislikes mobile operators. He is The Big M devil's advocate.
Macleod spent most of his talk explaining what he would like to see from his mobile device and from his mobile network. It was very entertaining and rammed home the idea that networks do not deliver innovation.
For example, check out operator adverts and note that consumers have choice of number of texts and calls. That really gets Ewan's goat.
He then reeled off a set of deals that would really interest him – provision your own service, replace phone in 8 hours if you lost it, 5 year contract with new phones as they come out, fastest possible data connections and so on and so on. He came out with a lot of ideas.
Macleod basically wants access to services that are frictionless. He wants the transaction process reduced so many clicks become few. He is not interested in the process he just wants to get things done – and quickly.
This echoes the earlier talk by Aral Balkan on usability. But Macleod is making a bigger point about innovation or the lack of it in the UK. Time to start to think of networks in a different way.
Macleod offered a vision that sees the network underpinning services which would feed the device. Layered on top of the device is the user interface.
So this is the vision which could take us away from what Macleod calls 'the Fisher Price Age of mobile'.
However, the reality is that we will have innovation from Apple for the next 5 to 10 years.
Why? Businesses tend to stick with what works. From what I can see mobile networks are doing very well indeed so there is no need to innovate.
One question from the floor made the point that Africa is innovating with the use of mobile (banking etc). A great point. It is a hugely growing market, which makes innovation easier. Thought it also put an interesting spin on innovation in the UK – it is all happening at the app end of the market, but as we heard earlier distribution is still a real block to that innovation.
Maybe Macleod has a point . . .
Here is an interview with Macleod on what he does like about mobile . . .
And here is his presentation . . .