Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Mobile Monday: Trends in Japan
I could attend the Mobile Monday in Zurich which had the topic Trends in Japan. Koji Fukada, President of YUMENI Inc., gave a tele-presentation live from Japan. He emphasized the importance of social networks on mobile networks, yielding fives times more users than accessing these services from desktop computers. I also liked the twitter-wallr being projected next to the slides where some people from audience did a pretty good job in posting summarizing life tweets of the talks...
Second Daniel Scuka, former editor of Mobikyo claimed in his talk that the mobile business success in Japan is not due to the unique user culture, instead it's the unique competitive culture in the business environment and regulatory regulations. The different carriers were competing not just on services but also using different communication technologies. This has fostered much more innovation than in Europe (see also here for details about this talk). I especially like table the showing "innovations" of the iphone having been released before.
Finally there was the talk of Jan Michael Hess, founder of MobileEconomy. He was reporting about the success of Felica and deriving lessons for Europe. He was a proclaiming Japan being six years ahead. However, what I didn't was the trick he was playing: taking the huge number of wireless payment and assuming that all of those would use this technology on their phones while there wireless cards being used in Japan as well.
Overall, I was pretty impressed from what we can learn from Japan. However, we also have to be careful to consider and understand ecosystem: I'm pretty convinced that the success of mobile internet in Japan largely depends also on the long commuting distances. Japanese often commute an hour and more to work using public transport where making calls is strongly forbidden. So, people have to do something else with their phones...gaming, web surfing, social networking.