I am very honored to be able to release the Foreword to my 10th book, The Insider's Guide to Mobile. As I am finishing the free edition of the 350 page eBook, I can now announce and reprint the Foreword, as written by Raimo van der Klein, the CEO of Layar, the company that is popularizing Augmented Reality for smartphones. This is Raimo's Foreword:
In 1999 I joined Nokia Networks as a Product Marketing Manager. In those days we were selling GPRS networks to operators, showing them a future full of data services. These exciting promising data services were the very reason for me to switch from retail to telecom (as we called it in those days). The first phones I got from my employer Nokia were the Communicator 9110 and the Nokia 7110 (the first WAP phone). Both phones showed me the future of mobile. The Communicator already then made it possible to install apps on your ‘phone’ and the 7110 showed me KPN’s operator portal with actual published mobile content. Already in the very first year in the existence of the mobile internet, all major use-cases for mobile services that are now so very popular on current smartphones, were identified. We talked in those early days about dating, friendfinders, local search, (LBS) games, social networks, content sharing, etc. Looking back, we basically worked the past 10 years on removing barriers for the successful uptake of the mobile internet. In these last 10 years we have all learned from a tremendous amount of start-ups that tried to find the right proposition in one of those hot service categories. Many entered the market too early, or something in the product/market equation did not work. Most of the time this was related to either the lack of location information, limited bandwith or huge costs for data. I believe it is important to recognize that the current success stories in mobile are built on the 'remains' of many failed businesses and their legacy of learnings.
I realized in 2007 that nearly all barriers for succesful mobile services had been removed. After having worked at the infrastructure, hardware and operator side, I saw that the time was right for the uptake of mobile internet services. The foundation was, so to say, completed. So I left KPN, from my post as Principal Innovation Manager at the time, and decided to enter the game of mobile services as a freelancer. In that year together with some other mobile enthusiasts we also launched Mobile Monday Amsterdam. We felt that this networking initiative was the right platform to fuel the development of mobile services. It brought together people from all parts of the valuechain to discuss how and what to build on this foundation of infrastructure, hardware and bitpipes.
Basically now we have entered the third wave of mobile. First was Communication, second was Content and now the third is Context. We are barely scratching the surface of this third wave. Context is restructuring mobile services so, that it utilises contextual datapoints to optimize the service experience for the users. Contextual datapoints are for example location, proximity to objects, proximity to friends, the user’s viewing angle, actual time, your direct surroundings and much more. Most of these contextual datapoints are gathered through mobile phone sensors such as GPS, Accelerometers and NFC readers. The exciting stuff is happening in the middle, between the organized data in the cloud and the actual 'dumb' sensor information. In the complete history of content we have never been confronted with creating sensor based dynamic services that fit the context of a user. The design principles for delivering these kind of exciting services have yet to be written. Areas of attention for the creation of these services are; implicit versus explicit service offerings, vertical integrated solutions versus horizontal platforms that are build on top of the sensors and the balance between utilitarian short service exposure and addictive user engagement. I consider this phase in mobile to be the phase where we will see the true face of this medium.
Currently I am CEO of Layar, the world’s leading Augmented Reality platform. We have created a horizontal platform on top of sensor information like GPS, camera, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass that delivers Augmented Reality experiences created by thousands of developers to millions of users around the world. Our mission is to bring impactful Augmented Reality experiences into the everyday lives of people. We believe that a platform that not only uses all the sensor input to design a service experience but also offers the possibility to integrate this service experience in real life can create experiences that have a much deeper impact on users than anything we have witnessed in the digital field until now. In a sense Layar is adding a digital layer to reality. Our thriving developer community has developed thousands of layers fitting an endless amount of use-cases across the world. From layers that show you restaurant reviews when you are standing in front of them to exciting massive multiplayer games right in the streets of your city. The use-cases to create digital experiences are literally endless. We started Layar in 2009, currently over 50 people work at Layar. We have received over 12.5 million euro in funding and Intel Capital is one of our investors. With this company we are building the foundation for the distribution of the next generation of contextual services that are experienced in the real world through Augmented Reality.
At the time that I worked at KPN somewhere end of 2006 I read the book Communities Dominate Brands and started reading the associated blog. I was an instant fan of Tomi and Alan Moore. Every blogpost was an absolute eye opener and the volume of interesting facts and case studies was overwhelming. Their book and blog really contributed to widening my vision of mobile and showing me the potential of social services. Tomi continued to be on top of market trends around mobile ads, gaming, social networking. His vision as Mobile as the all eating 7th Mass Media is a great example of his strong vision. As he was a true source of inspiration for the Mobile Monday Amsterdam team we invited him over to present his thoughts about mobile at one of our sessions. Amsterdam has fallen in love with him from that day onwards. His charismatic and unique presentation style together with his strong vision and volume of useful facts and case studies makes him a unique individual and thoughtleader in the mobile space.
I can recommend this book to anyone that wants to have a complete overview of the current mobile landscape. It touches all aspects of the mobile value constellation. It’s absolutely packed with facts and casestudies. It brings the current mobile landscape into context by going back in history and by comparing it to other industry developments. After reading this book you know mobile!
Raimo van der Klein
Thank you Raimo! I really appreciate it that you were kind enough to write the Foreword to this, my anniversary book, and I have already updated the free eBook edition at Lulu so anyone downloading it now will receive the version with your Foreword.
For anyone who wants to read the full 350 page eBook, The Insider's Guide to Mobile, the book is in near-final form now, includes my recommended people to follow on Twitter, etc. and I have added a couple o new charts and tables as well. Please remember you may freely forward the Insider's Guide to anyone who you think might be interested in a book about our industry. Here is the link to the free eBook at Lulu: Tomi Ahonen 10th book The Insider's Guide to Mobile, full free edition.