Mobile Imagineering

Atul Chitnis, Senior VP (Product Technologies & Strategy) at Geodesic Information Systems brings up an interesting subject of discussion ‘Mobile Imagineering‘ this (July) MoMo meet in Bangalore.

Though the talk was quite theoretical in nature but definitely made a lot of sense. The two keywords to capture out of his talk were: Today & mobility.

Definition of Today‘ – It is quite apparent that we as problem solvers try to identify a potential problem today in a system, apply technology to it to bring a solution & hence try to monetize on it. The fundamental problem in this model however is ‘today becomes the history tomorrow’, so what you develop in reality is for the history, hence it is very certain that several visionaries like you must also be doing the same job in parallel.

Thus, nothing done for today is likely to sustain, to sustain, think beyond, get into the future, imagine what could be done then, strive to work on it and thats the trait of a real visionary!

Mobility‘ – The misguided definition of today seems to be highly transparent in the mobile world, where basic element missing across all the applications is the ‘mobility factor’. If we are to see then a mobile applications should broadly offer two fundamenltal features i.e. easy navigation with the single hand (if you got to apply both the hands, think again), secondly person should be able to use while on move, if some application demands user to be constant/still (demands a thought again).

Somehow we seem to be revolving about solving the present day situations, biased on paradigms and helping ourselves creating everyday new and better mousetrap. For example we as problem solvers aren’t able to come out of the desktop world & are busy replicating the similar applications for the mobiles again.

What is to be seen is the iPod example, they do something simple, something very much focussed, not biased with any paradigm but very much in essence for the kind of market they target. Comparing if we see, desktop world really din’t achieve the traction (given the allowed time) as it did for TV, radio or the new generation iPod. Aren’t there any lessons to be learnt here?

To cite an example, demonstration of the game ‘Arcade Reality, which takes the background captured by the camera and the demons are floating around, target is to shoot these demons down, since the background is realtime, the user tends to move and can play with the single hand, and thats the true mobility factor, made lots  of sense.

The real and unbiased version of his talk can be captured on his blog.

My personal opinion

In the first place, I completely agree to what Atul came up with and took time to compile it in an effective manner. Given the monetization aspect of the application or the software product/application , there seem to be two fundamental problem in India still.

1. VCs or seed/angel investors might still find it difficult to digest to lend some pennies to you. As far as I understand, no good software is good unless it is built around very good revenue model or some revenue model is built around it. Thus, the question remains is – How do you monetize this software?

2. Even if you write such an application today thinking of tomorrow, the market & acceptance is still unknown. Whom do you target the software to?

Probably the concept hold good for the companies building in-house products with a fixed revenue being invested on R&D or just in case you are quite sure of some big elephant will come hunting for you to acquire you soon as you come out in your alpha even. Don’t know how practical and over-optimistic the later thought is!


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