Monday, April 16, 2007

Forum Oxford: Future Technologies Conference

I attended the best conference I've ever been to, on Friday 13th - ForumOxford: Future Technologies Conference. It gathered some of the biggest brains in mobile tech, convergence, mobile internet (etc) from across the planet - at Oxford University.

Conferences can often be wasteful affairs if your thinking is anywhere close to the curve. You pay a fortune and sit listening to speakers telling you (being broadcast at) what you already knew - a year ago.

But this was something different. Not only was it fabulous value for money it was also in the 2.0 mode - sharing, interacting, challenging and igniting ideas.

It has to be the most profitable day I've spent in the last 365.

Some personal highlights: (podcasts etc are going to follow, so there may be more detail to come...)
1. Google presenting on their absolute commitment to the mobile internet - and its perfect fit with their mission statement (organising the world's information and making it accessible to all). Their promotion of the value of the long tail on mobile, too.
2. The clarification of the value of widgets/applications which mean you only update what you need when accessing the mobile internet (ie google maps for mobile). (google/symbian/Jeff Sonstein etc)
3. Google is making London its global hub for 'huge' mobile investment.
4. The emerging theme that even the mobile operators (at high levels) now 'get' the value of group forming network theory (Reed's law)- and why that means the walls not only have to come down but that they should to increase value for all parties. (3, Vodafone)
5. A stat quietly slipped in by (I think Russell Buckley at Admob) that 34% of UK mobile users now use the mobile web.
6. Prof William Webb's 'Wireless' predictions for the next 10-20 years. Brave man.
7. Vladimir Dimitroff reminding us of yet another convergence going on: in the realm of UGC the consumer and the employee are converging (expect to see this in co-creation of all kinds).
7. Personally getting name-checked three times from the stage - in a room of people of this calibre, that was a real jaw-dropper - many thanks to Tomi and Ajit.
8. Meeting some brilliant people both on the night before and at the conference itself - Hello Martin Davis, Jeremy Kloubec, Cameron Doherty, Tomi Ahonen, Ajit Joaker, Jim O'Reilly, Krzysztof Proczka, Eduardo Cruz, Jeff Sonstein, and everyone else I was lucky enough to spend time with.

and so much more... If you're at all interested in mobile/internet/world2.0 you should be at the next one: Try here for more.

It's also worth noting what a fantastic job Tomi and Ajit (the co-founders) have done at creating a truly vibrant, activated community which organises itself around a shared common interest. There's many a media company which could learn a lesson or two. Brilliant work, gentlemen.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?