I won’t be making too many predictions like the one above. But one I am happy to put my name to is that 2010 will be the year of mobile.
Whether mobile will take off or not this year has been the subject of much discussion with colleagues. There’s a lot of caution; many of us have been burnt by previous false dawns. But against the evidence – massive penetration of cheap smart phones, uptake of mobile broadband and the explosion of apps – we have to be more ambitious about mobile in 2010.
From my vantage, the world of democracy and politics will be very much part of this mobile bonanza. Here are three prime areas:
1. General Election campaigning
Every party, media outlet and activist group will make extensive use of the web – that’s a given. It will be in the use of mobile that innovations and headlines will be made.
Whether its micro-donations to parties, opposition flash-mobs at events or manifestos in 160 characters – the mobile will make the election feel closer, more personal and more accessible.
Overkill, imposition and data security will all prove problematic.
2. Social marketing
As the functionality of mobiles increases, so the costs of social marketing via mobiles will decrease.
Government marketers have long been interested in mobile, and with the ability to run cheaper, better targeted campaigns we will rush to mobile in our droves. Expect lots of location-based games and personalised advice through apps.
The challenges will be around monitoring, evaluation and creativity (i.e. how to make it look and feel cool).
3. Service delivery
Fuelled by the sudden windfall of public sector data, we can expect a boom in mobile-based interaction with public services.
It is likely that most of these will be packaged up by social enterprises but government will also get involved, especially local authorities. Prime for development will be emergency services, transport infrastructure and environmental services.
Data security, security of payments and records management will prove problematic.