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Mobile Monday, Munich 02/05/2007

MobileMondayWe have been at this week’s MobileMonday in Munich, Germany. Being the first “real” MobileMonday for us, except the Mobile 2.0 Event in San Francisco last November, and being the first MobileMonday in Munich at all it has been a premiere in many ways. The overall topic of the evening was “Next Generation Mobile Internet” and it sounded like the perfect topic for PavingWays.

Here’s a quick review of the event from our perspective.
The event was organized by the MoMo Munich people, namely Daniel Melter, Harald Mueller and Christian Ehl. Russell Buckley was “hired” as the MC of the evening and he did a good job, especially with silencing the crowd at some points during the evening.

When we arrived at the location one thing was clear: this was no cheap location - situated in the heart of Munich, the “8seasons” is a premium-class party location right accross the opera house -very nice, except parking is not cheap anywhere around.

Speakers and presentations of the evening promised to be very interesting in the event schedule. Unfortunately most of the presentations turned out to be more product pitches than anything else. We would have preferred to hear more about general trends, applications and innovations and especially about the “Next Generation Mobile Internet” as it was advertised than we actually did. Here’s the details…
Speakers and Presentations
Teppo Paavola (Nokia RnD)

His presentation start centered around convergence (mobileTV) and divergence (connection methods,users, devices). Then he explained the “long tail” (many smaller groups) and that non-voice applications on phones in general were in a very early stage.

New application approaches should be beta tested, intuitive, based on existing web techologies and on open platforms - nothing new, but amen to that. He went on examining what would be the most popular services in a world where everything is connected and concluded:
  • friend networks
  • pictures and sound
  • interactive stuff like translators

Again amen to that.
One interesting part of the presentation was the fact that Teppo brought a Nokia N95, we didn’t manage to talk to him afterwards and see it though.
Klaus Menhorn (M:Metrics)

Klaus presented his company and the services they are offering. Basically they track user behavior and device capabilities - I wanted to ask the question how deep this capability examination would go, i.e. if they could tell me if a given device’s web browser suports the XMLHttpRequest or not, but I didn’t manage to.

An interesting fact on his slides was that the market sizes of the US (200m) and the top 5 European countries (GB, IT, ES, D, F) was about equal.

Unfortunately there was nothing to see about mobile web usage whatsoever.
Henning Ralf (iconmobile)

My favorite presentation of the evening, both because of its content and the way it was presented. The main topic was social networks and user generated content. The most interesting bits were:
  • users of any service demand an ROI
  • on a typical operator portal users mostly (24%) use messaging/chat and downloads (20%)
  • revenues with social networks and blogs are soaring
  • walled gardens are mostly walled deserts
  • buddy lists are the center of social networks and very important
  • many accounts does not mean many users
  • segmentation and a special purpose of a network are important
  • the trend in mobile businesses shifts from operator-user to operator-publisher-aggregator-advertiser-user models
  • other trends are: monetarization, mobilization, segmentation, vertical integration and community channel shift
Mikko Saarelainen (Gofresh)

Mikko also did a good job presenting his service, a social networking and content sharing application that is exclusively available on the mobile web. They launched in May 2006 and have currently more than 250.000 registered users with an esimated 4 million in the end of 2007. The service is completely free and revenue is generated from advertisement.

An interesting thing was that they review every content element that is being contributed by the community. There was also a statement that mobile web access in Germany is more expensive than anywhere else in Europe, whereas in some countries it’s actually free.

Mikko also presented his predictions for the future:
  • flatrates for mobile data transmissions will increase along with the user’s acceptance
  • mobile content and mobile phone optimized web sites will increase
  • mobile communities will be the ultimate CRM tool
  • by 2010 everyone will have a mobile phone with internet access and there will be more users using their phone to access the web than their computers
Bastian Lehmann (Refresh Mobile)

Another product pitch - this time it was an installable application (Java) that connects to the web and pulls electronic versions of magazines for later viewing (offline). The application is called Mobizines and the company is a management buy-out from T-Mobile.

The application is basically free, but every issue of one of the electronic magazines costs you a couple of cents (or pence). To me it appeared like you would get a nice looking RSS reader and pay for the content.

The mobile web was missing here entirely - except that the magazines are downloaded to your phone through a GPRS connection.
Andy Smith (

And yet another product presentation - this time even related to the mobile web! made news recently for serving one billion mobile ads. Simply put they do affiliate programs, just not with banners, but text ads - and of course for mobile websites and services. The main emerging opportunities for selling text ads this way were interesting:
  • number of phones with browsers is increasing
  • there’s a growth in off-portal mobile websites
  • there are many new channels in general: mobile content, proucts and websites

To finish off, Andy presented a complete walk-through on - from creating a user account over creating a simple text ad to spending 10 bucks in 3 minutes. Very impressive, I just felt a little bad for the guys that actually clicked on these text ads with no real destination.
People Met

There were a few possibilities to meet people during the whole event. The first one was while lining at the entrance. Then there was some socializing going on before and after the presentations. That’s when we met one of the rather few attendees that was not working in a major mobile related company (carriers, advertising agencies, consulting etc.). We met one or two MobileMonday Munich people and people from Vodafone, Sevenone Interactive and a couple of other larger companies and had some interesting talks.
I also had a little chat with Ben Nolan, apart from being a RoR hacker and snowboarder he’s trying to establish a mobile social network in Germany quite soon.
Lessons Learnt

Many people at MobileMonday wear suites and are from big companies. We had expected to meet some more start-up people at these events, but apparently MoMo is a good reflection of what is going on in the mobile industry in general - big companies are big in business, but here and there smaller start-ups are coming in. We will continue to do so and will also attend the next MobileMonday in Düsseldorf in the end February.
What Else

Slides of all MobileMonday’s presentations in Germany can be found at the MobileMonday Germany website over here.