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Friday, September 12, 2008

Nokia Open Lab - day 2

Open Lab banner
The Open Lab workshop started proper today, after a hearty continental buffet breakfast at the hotel. (Mmmm, scrambled eggs...) The hall was tucked at the rear of the hotel, but that also meant that we wouldn't have any distractions for the next few hours.

Welcome screenWorkshops about to beginOpening speech
Altogether, about 35 bloggers or prominent tech writers had been invited to Open Lab. About a third came from the U.S. The U.K. and Finland also had fairly large representation. From Asia, there was one guy from India (though an Indian was from the U.S.), one from Japan and one from Taiwan (though both were American expatriates) and one from Singapore - yours truly. About 15 Nokia employees joined us as well.

The opening speech provided an overview of what Nokia thought of the digital and mobile landscape today and what it hoped to get out of Open Lab. Following that, we dived into the first of the four sessions. Each session consisted of a presentation, then a discussion and presentation by each group.
  1. Social media - James Whatley
    • social media has made media more "sociable" - great amplifier
    • when? NOW!
    • you are the stream, not the apps or web services (YouTube, Twitter, etc.)
    • Group 1:
      • need for people to own their own data, not depend on the service
      • privacy issues
      • services organised around groups of friends, e.g. one service for work, another for family, etc.
    • Group 2:
      • neighbourhood of communities?
      • success depends on interface
      • generational gap in usage / experience
    • Group 3:
      • currently, only a high level view of what social media is, as defined by geeks
      • need to move away from the term "social media"
      • social media needs to fade to the background
    • Group 4:
      • ego, narcissism
      • "killing time"
      • desire to communicate
      • digital drop-outs, e.g. go somewhere with no Wifi
      • low barriers to success, e.g. system, requirements
      • social media like pixels: different dots that form a picture

  2. Journey - Glenn Latham
    • mobile has changed GPS, e.g. geotagging
    • GPS films - film ending determined by geolocation
    • Group 1:
      • simplified navigation
      • need to make info useful
    • Group 2:
      • a lo of geotagged output/creation, but little usage
      • localised data that is of interest
      • need to make it easily accessible, e.g. auto-download geocache info
    • Group 3:
      • set it and forget it
    • Group 4:
      • milestones - Operation Desert Storm, Google Earth, 9/11, natural disasters
      • social recommendations - from friends/family
      • GPS to be integrated in existing services, e.g. Twitter

  3. Entertainment - Anne Toole
    • TV studios figuring out how to monetise / use new media
    • online gaming - 39% of online activity
    • only 1% create content
    • Group 1 - Internet short films
      • "Me Media" - one story, many channels
      • community involvement
    • Group 2 - music
      • watermarking / advertising
      • tip jar / micropayment
    • Group 3 - film
      • upsell, e.g. different formats, stories
      • social context, e.g. contest for consumers to participate in film
    • Group 4 - games
      • share your life as a game
      • games for solving technical issues - people describe "cute" pictures and Google will learn this and auto-categorise e.g. a cat is cute

  4. Collaborate - Chris Moore
    • corporations are willing to give up control to consumers
    • Group 1:
      • how to start / implement, i.e. top-down, organic
      • IT - from Information Technology to Interaction Technology
      • organisations as people: business process (skeleton), RSS (nerves), wiki (brain), blogs (senses), internal network/chat (blood), resources/money (muscles)
    • Group 2:
      • corporate culture needs to change
    • Group 3:
      • collaboration tools will change corporate culture
      • private versions of public service, e.g. Yammer vs Twitter
    • Group 4:
      • job aggregator
      • immediate, automated, seamless, painless
Overall, I found the session to be quite informative. Some bits left an impression on me, e.g. the metaphor of organisations as living, breathing people. However, perhaps due to the skew in participants' nationalities, I found that the opinions tended to be one-sided / biased, reflecting the First World view of the new digital landscape. My impression is that my opinions may have come across as too improbable/impossible to believe, based on their experiences in their countries, and so were not as accepted. Or maybe I wasn't forceful enough?

Anyway, I think our Chinese, Korean and Japanese friends would not agree - or even laugh at - some of our opinions. I'm sure that culture plays a big role in shaping one's opinions, especially with regards to usage of technology.

The day ended with a dinner at the hotel's pub, which had been closed off for us. I found myself sitting with some Nokia employees, so I had a chance to find out how the participants had been selected. Long story short: Nokia wanted to hear what prominent tech leaders thought of the digital future, so they sourced for representatives from around the world. I assume that they worked through their existing contacts (regional offices, partner organisations).

The night ended with a performance by local guitarist and one-man band, Petteri Sariola. That guy has some mad guitar skillz! BTW the video was recorded with the Nokia E71.

Petteri Sariola's performance from Yuhui BC on Vimeo.

Nokia Open Lab - day 1
Nokia Open Lab - day 3



brian koh said...

interesting, we definitely have a different culture.. and it's probably the geekheads that are more up-to-date with the social media services.. seems like everything else is pretty chapalang.

are you gonna discuss this further?

Yuhui said...

Yeah, I plan to elaborate more with my own feelings and opinions. But as always, if time permits.

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