Monday May 22, 2006

www 2006

At www.2006, Sir David Browne, (Chairman of Motorola) gave the opening keynote speech after the obligatory bagpipes & highland dancing. Actually the conference was opened by Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister (the politician, not the vicar) who welcomed the conference to Scotland. Interesting speech, listing and aligning Scotland historic intellectual endeavours to the future of the world without getting up the nose of this non-Scottish Brit. I suppose its one of the reasons he's No 1. He mentioned the use of today's internet technology by the University of the Highlands & Islands Millenium Institute to create a virtual university. It'd be worth checking out what they did.

I wonder! I was disappointed with Sir David's speech, maybe I'm begining to get it. Speed of change, personalisation, global scale all are creating massive opportunity. I quite liked his progression of technology that enables audio mobility, from a radio with valves being moved between rooms to car radios to hand held walkie talkies via mobile bricks to todays hand sets. (Arguably the story of mobility is actually the story of battery technology). Some key bullets are, "the device formerly known as the mobile phone" will become the 4th screen, after the TV, the computer and the car. There is a need to learn how to understand value and not service nor time. Perhaps one of the best tag lines was,

"Only long term competitive advantage is the rate at which we learn!"

But two thirds of the world don't have a phone. Conquering the digital divide means addressing some serious geo-political problems. City Business School have published research showing the correlation and cause between {mobile} phone adoption and economic growth, imagine the contribution of the 4bn non-connected people to the global economy. I know that at the moment, they're often more concerned with food and freedom and giving them a phone and a stake in global capitalism isn't exactly priority number one for these disenfranchised people.

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