Enterprise 2.0?

Don’t worry, I am not trying to define another “2.0ism.” However, I attended an event earlier in the week at which the term Enterprise 2.0 was defined by a speaker, but the definition he gave stuck me as more like “Intranets 1.0” — that is, knowledge management tools applied to the enterprise space. Yes — corporates have been trying to get better about knowledge management for years — why is Enterprise 2.0 any different?  It strikes me that Enterprise 2.0 will actually be tools and applications that run on the Web and are made available to knowledge workers through the browser. These applications will enable all kinds of knowledge sharing and office automation but totally free to the corporate and funded by ads. This model totally undercuts the traditional IT software / services providers and empowers the workforce to self-organize and use the tools that best fit their unit / group / activity. Of course, savvy knowledge workers are already doing this — using IM to conduct business against corporate IT policies, or using Google docs & spreadsheets to collaborate between different office locations. When these applications really do become as powerful as their desktop and enterprise-network-bound equivalents and when CIOs and CFOs wake up to this fact that and realize the whole corporate IT and enterprise applications ecosystem has suddenly become irrelevant, that will be Enterprise 2.0. Just my €.02.

Posted in Technology, Web 2.0

mobile2.0 Event: The World Reacts

We have had some great coverage of the mobile2.0 event appear in the blogosphere and the press. Here are four particularly good and detailed run-downs of the day:



http://jlarienza.blogspot.com/2006/11/mobile-20-san-francisco.html (in Spanish)


I was particularly impressed with the coverage in the Register. They never print anything positive about anything, so we must have done something right. If you attended the event and you wrote about it on your blog or took pictures, please leave a comment or trackback on the mobile2.0 event blog, here.

Posted in Blogs, mobile 2.0, Mobile Monday, Mobile Web, Mobility Tagged with: ,

WordPress Has Landed

Well — I’m off Blogger and on to WordPress. The whole process was surprisingly simple. I’ve been wringing my hands about doing this for months now thanks to the WordPress migration tools, the whole thing was virtually painless. I feel like I’ve gone from a Volkswagen to a Ferrari. WordPress is so configurable. It’s got a whole ecosystem of plug-ins and themes (including the aforementioned wp-mobile plug-in which detects mobile browsers and feeds them mobile-friendly pages). It’s open. Most importantly, if I want to change it in some way, I can edit every single file.

Now — I say the wp-mobile plug-in is cool, and it is, but there is a big problem with it, and that has to do with, what else, device detection. The plug-in knows you’re browsing from a mobile device because it matches the user-agent string against a list of strings that are hard-coded into the PHP program. If you read my previous post on Device Description Nirvana or are familiar with the work of the MWI Device Descriptions working group, then you’ll know that this issue of device descriptions is a thorny one. In the world of device description nirvana, this plug-in would use an API to query a global database of user agent strings to definitively determine if the incoming request is from a mobile device or not. More importantly, it would be able to use the capabilities of these devices to make intelligent decisions about how best to adapt the page for that particular device. Until that time, however, I wonder if some enterprising soul will at least integrate this plug-in with the WURFL open-source project.

Posted in Blogs, Mobile Web, W3C Tagged with: , ,

The Big Import

I am in the process of bringing this blog over from Blogger to WordPress. In the process, I am learning all about WordPress and the wonderful plug-in (modified by Mike Rowehl) which creates mobile-friendly pages. During this transitionary phase, some links to this site might not work. Please bear with me.

Posted in Blogs

Web 2.0 Sorted

Web 2.0 Summit Session on Mobile

Wow! We filled the room at Web 2.0 with people standing at the back. Anssi and I were completely aligned on delivering the message of the open Web on the mobile. The audience was really receptive and asked good questions. Lots of good comments after the panel. Time for lunch now.


Posted in Mobile Web

One Down, One to Go

Wow! Mobile2.0 exceeded my expectations in almost every way. 270 mobile and Web industry professionals filled the Grand Hyatt ballroom in San Francisco. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures myself because I was running around like a madman. We had great speakers and panelists, an engaged and participatory audience, and a hugely positive vibe during the breaks and at the reception. So many people came up to me with good things to say about the event. So many people commented that they felt like this was the start of something new – a new phase in the development of mobile services. So many peopled said they’d attend again if and when we run another event. I hope to post more wrap-up notes (and photos) later.

By the end of the day, I was more convinced than ever that we are at a turning point for the mobile Web.

Now I’m sitting in the Web 2.0 conference about to participate in a panel called “The Mobile Discussion.” This panel is buried at the bottom of the schedule, up against “BlogHer.” It has no description text. It has two people on it — me and Anssi Vanjoki from Nokia (plus the moderator, Om Malik).

Somehow, I can’t help but think that there is a huge disconnect here. How can I bring the message of mobile2.0 here to Web 2.0? Is it even important to do so? I’ve had a few conversations here and so far people seem receptive to the mobile Web message.


Posted in Mobile Monday, Mobile Web

What is “Mobile 2.0” (Beta)


I should start this post with an extra disclaimer: although I work for Vodafone, this article does not represent Vodafone policy nor is it a product roadmap or public statement on behalf of Vodafone or any of its subsidiary companies. It is purely and simply my opinion. This is also marked as “beta” because mobile 2.0 is a work in progress in a constantly shifting mobile technology landscape.

Mobile 2.0?

Ever since Tim O’Reilly wrote his famous article on Web 2.0, everyone wants to jump on the 2.0 bandwagon. We now have “media 2.0,” “advertising 2.0,” “TV 2.0,” etc… to contend with. So why do the same and try to define mobile 2.0? The answer is that people out there are already using this term. I think there is a danger that the definition of mobile 2.0 will become hijacked either to become synonymous with “Web 2.0 applications and services brought to your phone” (which is part of the story but not the whole story) or with multimedia applications (again, only part of the story).

But if we’re going to have a mobile 2.0, I think we would do well to base the definition on the Web 2.0 mind set and thinking. With that in mind, here are some revised extensions of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 set of examples applied to mobile 2.0 (revised somewhat from my original draft definition).

SMS -> IM, mobile blogging
MMS -> Media sharing
Operator Portals -> Mobile Web and search
Operator chooses -> User chooses
Premium SMS billing -> Mobile stored value Accounts
Java Games -> Connected Applications (e.g. photo sharing, blogging)
Presence & Push-To-Talk -> VOIP applications
WAP sites -> Web sites that adapt for mobile browsers
WAP push -> RSS readers
Wallpaper -> Idle screen applications
Location services -> Google maps application
Content consumption -> Content creation (e.g. mobile blogging)

In short, mobile 2.0 leaps the mobile platform forward to where the Internet is today, and shows us how the mobile phone can become a first class citizen, or even a leading citizen, of the Web. What mobile 2.0 does not mean, at least in my mind, is more sophisticated, but still essentially closed, mobile applications and services (although these will also continue to play an important role in the mobile value chain). Openness and user choice are essential components of mobile 2.0.

Towards a Definition of Mobile 2.0

The term of “mobile 2.0” can best be defined as the next generation of data services to mobile connected devices. To understand what this next generation is, you must look to Web 1.0. I was developing content on the Internet before there was a Web. My fiction magazine, Quanta, published its first issue in 1989. The potential to reach a world-wide audience (even if it was limited mostly to those at educational institutions at that time) was extremely compelling. Those of us who had experienced the power of the Internet immediately saw its potential, but it certainly didn’t seem like it could ever be a consumer service. The Web changed all that. By putting the already-existing concept of hypertext together with the seamless interconnectivity of the Internet, the Web brought us a compelling human interface paradigm that users could grasp. But the Web, even at that time, also made it relatively easy to create content. The ability of the Web to empower anyone to create a compelling service was its magic.

In the business landscape, consumer expectations have been molded by the Web. Consumers no longer want to be dictated to – they want choice. They want to choose which services they access. If one social networking site is no longer cool, they will switch to another. If a Web-based grocery delivery service doesn’t measure up, consumers will quickly choose another. Imagine a world in which the only data services you could interact with were ones that your cable operator chose for you. At the beginning of the 90’s, many companies were thinking along these lines. Instead of the vast choice the Web has to offer today, you could have been confined to ordering a pizza (from one of a small number of chains) through your TV. It may be difficult to remember now, but this cable TV based vision of the “information superhighway” was very real in some people’s minds. On the PC, Microsoft aggressively pursued this vision with their MSN product (then seen as a competitor to AOL). They sought to buy up the exclusive online publishing rights to newspapers in order to ensure that you could only view certain content through MSN. Quite rightly, they viewed the Web as a threat to this model. When I briefly worked for AOL in 1997, it was already clear to most people that the Web was it. However, the prevailing attitude at AOL was that the real content that mattered was on the AOL portal and that access to the Web was a feature of this portal (grudgingly provided through a badly integrated browser). Flash forward to 2006 and we find that both Microsoft and AOL have embraced the Web. Closed consumer portals on the PC are a thing of the past.

Today, with the reality of the Web pervading our lives, it’s almost unimaginable that you couldn’t sit down in front of your computer and reach out to any information source or service of your choosing at the click of a mouse – that you could live in a world of a confined set of services, chosen for us by a service provider. Could FlickR or Youtube ever have even launched on such a platform? Could Wikipedia? Craigslist? The use of RSS? Would you be able to reach across the globe to find alternative points of view from news sources around the world? Could we have seen the rise of the blog? Social bookmarking? The answer is no. None of these services or technologies could have developed in that kind of heavily controlled service landscape.

And yet that’s what we expect people to be happy with on the mobile platform. We need to remember the lessons of Web 1.0 and apply these lessons to the development of the Web and connected applications on the mobile platform. But mobile data services are changing.

This change has been made possible by a number of convergent elements. Certainly, the sophistication of devices is one of them. Even consumer mobile phones are sporting color screens, increased processing power and performance. This has been largely driven by the rise of the camera phone. At the same time, the mobile networks are getting faster and cheaper. Mobile browsers are becoming more sophisticated about rendering pages designed for large screens. Content and service providers are becoming more savvy about designing user experiences specifically for mobile users.

The result is that the Web as we know it is changing. It is becoming pocketable. The Web is coming outside.

What Place for Mobile Operators in Mobile 2.0?

Mobile network operators (or “Carriers” as they are sometimes referred to) occupy an immensely important position in the mobile industry value chain. They run the networks including authentication, connecting calls, messaging, interconnect, roaming and all the other complexities inherent in delivering seamless 24/7 uptime service. They manage retail networks and customer service. They source phones and devices from device manufacturers and resell these. They are heavily regulated.

In this world of open, unfettered access to services and software across the Internet is the role of the operator diminished to that of a “bit pipe?” Laying aside for a second the relative merits of being a bit pipe, I think the answer is “no.” By enabling innovation in an open way, operators can continue to be at the center of the data services value chain. This shift is already happening. Major operators have opened up their portals and are starting to turn them from walled gardens into jumping off points for the mobile Web. This points to the second essential role that operators can play in the mobile 2.0 value chain: discovery of content and services.

Another important way that operators can maximize their role in the mobile 2.0 world and avoid becoming solely a bit pipe is through exposure of enablers. Exposing your enablers sounds like lewd behavior, but to explain what I mean, take the example of Amazon. Amazon, through its Amazon Web Services division, exposes APIs to third party developers. Small companies and even individual developers can build their own applications on top of Amazon’s platform. This brings more money to Amazon because most of these third party applications are about browsing and mining Amazon’s catalog (and therefore eventually result in more sales for Amazon). Amazon could have taken a tightly controlled approach to their service, but by exposing APIs, they have enabled a whole ecosystem of affiliates and suppliers to grow up around them. Importantly, you don’t need to go have a meeting with an Amazon executive and sign a contract or even pay any fee to start using Amazon Web Services APIs. You simply visit a web site and accept a click-through license.

Operators have long exposed APIs to third parties and they know a great deal about enabling ecosystems to grow up around them and about delivering third party services through their ecosystem. In Europe, operators have been working with third party messaging providers to provide information, news, chat and other services via SMS. Often, these services are provided through premium-rate SMS which means users are charged a premium for use of these services.

Browsers and Connected Applications

Mobile browsers are getting better and better. Since I’ve been chairing the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices working group, I’ve seen a revolution start to take place in the mobile browsing field (which I hope has been somewhat influenced by the work of that group). The mobile Web plays a key role in mobile 2.0 by enabling innovation in the so-called long tail. Because of the mobile Web, it is possible for one person working on his own to develop with freely available and open source tools a social networking service for mobile device users, and to effectively reach a global audience with this service. Of course, we take this for granted on the PC Web, but this capability is only now becoming a reality on the mobile platform.

But it’s not all about the browser. The browser plays a crucial role because it allows access to a range of content sources, but it can also act as a delivery mechanism for connected applications. Most consumer phones today are able to download and install applications (be they Java applications or OS-specific apps for a variety of so-called “smart phone” platforms). Interestingly, it is this feature that Opera exploited when they released Opera Mini. Opera mini is a downloadable connected application that becomes the browser and therefore the conduit for more downloadable connected apps.

Finally, browser-based AJAX applications mobile widgets will play an increasingly important role in providing compelling services to users. Browser manufacturers and others are already scrambling to develop the killer widget platform.

The reason these technologies are so powerful is that they enable innovation by providing a simple framework for developing and deploying applications. Just as the Web did with PCs, the mobile Web and connected applications bring users compelling experiences and services that they can understand and start using quickly, with relatively little learning curve.

Open Applications Leverage Open Standards

Lastly, it is important to note that mobile 2.0 applications need to leverage open standards. Applications that sit on top of closed and proprietary protocols and formats are antithetical to the kind of innovation that will be key to the growth of the mobile Web. Establishing open standards around HTML, CSS and XML has greatly contributed to the growth and success of the medium and to its continued innovation. We are already seeing standards pay off big-time on the mobile platform as well in both the Java/JCP space (where we are finally realizing write-once-run-anywhere) and in the mobile Web.

Mobile 2.0 Is Here

When I traveled to Spain on business last month, I took pictures with my camera phone which were automatically uploaded to a photo sharing service as I took them using a photo upload application that I had downloaded over the mobile Web. My beautiful wife and kids were able to track my trip in pictures by checking back with the photo sharing site as I traveled and no PC was involved on my end. A downloaded mapping application on my phone allowed me to easily find my way from the city of Gigón to Bilbao, and I was able to access Wikipedia entries on cities I visited to find background information when I needed it. A downloaded mobile IM client embedded on my email device allowed me to keep in touch with colleagues and friends. Mobile 2.0 is not “the Future.” it is services that already exist all around us. These services are maturing at an amazing rate and what they are doing is effectively knitting together Web 2.0 with the mobile platform to create something new: a new class of services that leverage mobility but are as easy to use and ubiquitous as the Web is today. These services point the way forward for the mobile data industry.


Posted in mobile 2.0, Mobile Web Tagged with:

Digital Identity Forum

Hey! I’ll be chairing a session tomorrow at the Digital Identity Forum event here in London. The topic of the session (which leads off the two-day event) is “Next Generation Digital Identity.” My interest in digital identity is in the abstract sense — how will people think about and manage the aspects of their identity as those aspects increasingly become digital assets? Can we overcome some of the basic issues around identity management in the online and offline world that exist today with better application of technology? I believe that we can, but I think this also means that people need to become more savvy about how they manage their digital identity when the tools are made available for them to do so.

I am really looking forward to this event, especially as it’s being organized by David Birch from Consult Hyperion who gave such a great talk at June’s Mobile Monday (available on the Podcast).

Posted in Identity

Google Docs Graduation Day

Google Docs (née “Writely”) and Spreadsheets have graduated. Two weeks ago, Google quietly moved Google Spreadsheets and the newly christened Google Docs over from one side of the Google Labs page to the other (the “graduated” products). No big announcement , and the products remain tagged as Beta (but what isn’t these days?).

I’ve been using Google Spreadsheets for a few months now, as a simple issue/action-tracking tool for one project and as a means to track sponsorships for the mobile2.0 event I’ve been organizing.

When I first heard about Google Spreadsheets, I remember shrugging my shoulders. Sure, it was a cool idea to run a spreadsheet inside the browser and it showed off Google’s Ajax mojo, but what, really, was the point? Excepting the cool factor, why would I ever use this instead of good old trusty Excel? My “ah ha” moment came when I discovered the powerful collaboration features. The ability for multiple contributors to collaborate on the same spreadsheet a
the same time and view each others’ work in near-real-time, using nothing but an off-the-shelf browser is a quantum leap.

In the case of mobile2.0, it’s enabled me to quickly collaborate with partners distributed in different time zones and to be sure that we’re all looking at the same information at the same time. This is the kind of collaboration the Internet was built to support, but somehow the big IT vendors have not been able to bring it to us.

But what does any of this have to do with widgets? At the Fundamentos Web conference which I spoke at earlier in the month, W3C’s Dean Jackson presented a vision for the future of widgets (the semi-ubiquitous desktop mini-applications – Microsoft calls them “gadgets” – that generally run inside a browser engine and are developed using Web technologies such as JavaScript and HTML).

In Dean’s vision of the future, widgets, or at least the packaging of widgets, become standardized so that a widget written for one engine (say Apple’s Dashboard) can work in any other (Opera’s widget engine, for example). Futhermore, as widgets become increasingly complex, they will become unbound from the Widget engine so that, from a user perspective, they can appear as fully fledged applications.

So… if you take Google Docs & Spreadsheets with all their collaboration power, combined with a standardized and enhanced widget framework and unbound from the browser and widget engine, let me ask a simple question. Why would I ever use Microsoft Excel or Word again?

Posted in Web 2.0

What’s 2.0 2.0?

You know — I used to be the kind of guy who sneered at people who said things like “Web 2.0” or “whatever 2.0.” I still am. I am not by nature a joiner. For the longest time in the mid-nineties I resisted using the indefinite article in front of the word email (as in “I’ll send you an email.”) I still believe the word email is not a singular noun. “I’ll send you email” is correct. “I’ll send you an email” is incorrect. I always have to apologize in advance if I use the word “leverage” or “synergy” in a meeting. I have always found jargon fascinating, in that using jargon tends to shut people out – to create exclusive clubs. I prefer inclusive modes of working and I believe that in general it’s worth the time to explain yourself in plain language rather than using jargon.

So anyway, when I first heard this term “Web 2.0” I thought “what a load of crap.” But then when I read the article and heard a few presentations and started to talk to people about it, the term clicked. And it has clicked with enough people that it’s become a useful way to talk about a set of topics in one breath. I still think it’s a bit silly and when I use it, I do so with a dash of irony, but I do use it.

Aside from “Web 2.0” people have not started adding 2.0 to anything to make a point that that thing has evolved into something different. In some ways, 2.0 has taken the place of “Extreme!” especially in tech circles.

But what’s next? Calling the evolution of X “X 2.0” is a meme that has nearly played itself out. I say “nearly,” because I’m obviously trying to ride the wave of this meme with the mobile2.0 event. But when 2.0 jumps the shark, what’s next?

What’s “2.0” 2.0?

All I can say that I hope it’s not 3.0. That would be extremely silly and disappointing.

Unfortunately, I already see people jumping on the “Web 3.0” bandwagon. I don’t think we have enough of “Web 2.0” under our belts yet to imagine “what comes next.” The Web took about 10 years to mature as a medium and by my arbitrary measurement (when blogging became the hot topic at the U.S. Democratic national convention) we are only 2 years into “Web 2.0.” Let’s let Web 2.0 steep a little more before declaring it a done deal.

Posted in Web 2.0

Who is Daniel K. Appelquist?

I'm an American ex-pat living in London and an independent consultant and advocate for emerging web technologies, the open web, open source and open data. As well, I am co-chair of the W3C Technical Architecture Group, I am a founder and co-organizer of the Over the Air hack day series and a founder of Mobile Monday London. I'm a former .com CTO and subsequent .com refugee. I am a parent dealing with the increasing complexities of raising children in a hyper-connected world.

If you are so inclined, you may find my public key on Keybase.io.

My books:
Mobile Internet for Dummies

For more info, see my Linkedin profile.

More (probably than you ever wanted to know) about Torgo.


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