CTIA Day Three: Keynote--Communication is key

Social networking and its potential on mobile phones was the theme of the day three keynote at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment today. In what proved to be a brilliantly programmed keynote panel, Helio’s Sky Dayton, Digital Chocolate’s Trip Hawkins and Virgin Mobile’s Dan Schulman traded insights and laughs to a crowd in desperate need for a refreshing change of pace. Aside from using phones to update and view blogs or other social network services, the main thrust of the conversation was how to use the core communicative feature of mobile devices to move content. It’s not just a carrier pushing content down a pipe to a consumer who buys it. The point rather is to let users communicate with each other about the content they like and then let them be the agents of promotion with the carrier simply providing the sale. Sky Dayton revealed that a full third of the content sold on the Helio network is a result of the company’s gifting/begging service. “The majority of content bought in the future will be a direct result of a recommendation from a friend,” Dayton said. “The industry that we’re in is the thing that is helping people communicate more. I can’t think of anything cooler than that.” An interesting side note is the potential to promote social causes via wireless. While kids today certainly want alerts on the next rave or club promotion, many are equally interested in getting alerts about volunteers needed in there area. Finally, the addition of location-awareness to social networking is the missing link that all on the panel felt will launch the category going forward. Being able to push a button and determine who on you buddy list is in the same area is a potentially great feature, as long as certain issues like privacy, security and the like are addressed. -Antony