Corum group presentation – trends and predictions for 2012

Today I participated in an annual call with The Corum Group, a Seattle based M&A group focused on trends and opportunities for 2012 across the broad software, internet and mobile spaces. I was part of a panel that included some friends and people I really respect, including;

  • Dan Shapiro, Google — Social Domination
  • Chris Bray, IBM — The Year Ahead
  • T.A. McCann, RIM — Revolution in Mobile
  • Peter Coffee, Salesforce — Cloud Strategies
  • Steve Singh, CEO, Concur — SaaS in 2012
  • Reese Jones — the Berkeley Lab Sage
  • John Heyman, Actuate Partners — “Selling for a Billion”

I made the following key points about “revolutions in mobile

The rise and importance of “group based messaging”

oThis is being driven by 3 main factors, the user interaction model of groups versus individuals, the features of D (delivered) and R (read) on the messages creating new “social contracts” and the pricing, as these features are usually included in a data plan vs. extra charges for texting. Some examples of progress in this space include;

§BBM (with ~50M daily actives and over 100B messages/month) is driving growth and engagement for Blackberry in new segments (young people and international, like Indonesia)
Facebook buys Beluga in Feb 2011– team and foundation of group chat

§Facebook launces Messenger for Mobile (including many group features and phone calling)

§Skype buys GroupMe

§Apple lauches iMessage as part of IOS5, adding the D/R features

§Blackberry launches “social platform” for developers – blurring the lines between the apps and the conversation


§more evolved kinds of solutions, interfaces and overlap of services (text, phone, photos, video, gaming…)

§more acquisitions around companies like Path, Kik or Instagram or others who combine social + groups + communications

§Windows Phone creates interesting solutions around Skype

Evolutions of “people centric experiences”

oMobile users are interacting with more people, on more networks with more updates, so they need solutions that can aggregate, prioritize and focus their attention on what’s most relevant, especially in a mobile context.

oSome examples of advances in this space;

§RIM buys Gist in Feb 2011 to bring these features to native Blackberry and Playbook

§Windows Mango and dynamic “people” tab

§Android “ice cream sandwich” People views – see a demo from LeWeb in Paris

§RIM and Microsoft weaving in Facebook and Twitter messages and personas into the experience


§Major developments and emphasis on the social graph

§Native contact managers get more like Gist

§Push notifications evolve to be smarter to alert you to “what you need to know right now about the people you care about”

The perfect portable computer

oOur mobile devices have become smart data collection devices and this can be especially effective when it comes to health and fitness solutions, where passive data collection, cloud based analytics and a community can create all kinds of value. Solutions around health and fitness which would already include things like Daily BurnFitbitRunKeeperStravaRestwiseJawbone Up…are a foundation for the future of athletic performance, one small aspect of health.


§Unique health solutions that combine mobile + cloud + community + analytics will emerge and go more mainstream as well as more specialized for critical health conditions

§More hardware solutions that augment the phone will emerge (like Square or Up), where the phone acts as the brain, interface and connection to the internet and it is augmented with additional hardware for specific data collection.

Tension between native, web and cloud solutions for developers

oThe number of mobile, connected and smart devices will grow dramatically (duh). But, for a developer, there will be lots of fragmentation in Android ecosystem (more devices * more form factors) + lot of tablets and this will drive some to rely more on the cloud and/or HTML5 experiences. However, this is hard and lots of specific choices need to be made. This is made worse when apps could leverage the growing capabilities of the devices (e.g. compass or camera) which is harder via an HTML5 app. So, there will be a proliferation of tools and approaches to deal with all this. One example of recent activity is;

§Adobe buys Nitobi (makers of PhoneGap)


§Some players like Red FoundryRhoMobile and others will be gain real momentum and some will be purchased by major players to get into the mobile dev space

All in all, it is a tremendously exciting time to be working in the mobile space. The full re-broadcast of the event can be found here

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