Saturday, January 22, 2005

Top 10 Tech Trends..Text Messaging

From Always-On Text messaging to take over.

At a November 2004 Churchill Club event, AwaysOn creator and editor-in-chief Tony Perkins led a panel of tech and financial visionaries as they debated the top technology trends for the coming year. This is the seventh excerpt from that discussion.

Perkins: OK, No. 7, Esther [Dyson]: Americans will use cell phone text messaging for a variety of tasks, and vendor service providers will jump into the game for everything from personalized marketing to drug compliance.

Esther Dyson: (Ms. Dyson is chairman of EDventure Holdings.) To some extent, this is already happening (in the sense that vendors are jumping in), but we're way behind Europe and China in this. I think what's really happening here is that the Internet changes geography. Now, it's changing geography in the link between physical and virtual; it's getting more ubiquitous. It's not just the person sitting in front of you; people are linked to the internet as they move around—in their cars, wherever they go.

The other thing that's happening is time: Suddenly, the way you time things has changed dramatically. If you watch your kids, they don't schedule in advance. They say, 'I'll text you Friday night. I'll let you know where I am. Come find me.' The way people make appointments—I was sitting in the car coming down here with somebody who was doing his schedule with his wife by text—you no longer need to plan as much in advance, so that changes. Some [of this scheduling is done by] cell phone, but a lot of it's text, and as we get better calendaring systems, there's going to be more text stuff.

I also think there's going to be a huge number of text-based applications. For example, why can't you get a text message every time you or someone else tries to use your credit card? If somebody else is using it, you'd like to know. And if it's you, you just say so, no problem. I think in everything from fraud detection to being reminded to take your meds, finding out where your kid is, and knowing when the school bus is coming, these local mobile applications are going to grow dramatically.

Esther are you reading my blog?

Second, I think you're going to see a lot of photo blogging; multimedia messaging is going to grow as well.

Roger McNamee: (Mr. McNamee is the co-founder and managing director of Silver Lake Partners and Integral Capital Partners.) I'm going to need to get another three or four more things on my belt for all the things that were said.

Dyson: Can I ask the audience how many of you send text messages?

John Doerr: (Mr. Doerr is a partner with Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers.)

I think this is going on if you go to Google Mobile and type in send text message: pizza94025; this gets you a list of pizza parlors close to Palo Alto, Calif. But it's also possible that we might leap beyond this to richer applications in text.

Where I had a bit of difficulty and then derived some comfort was when you start adding photos and downloaded applications, because I think it's certainly true that if there is a next big thing we can find now, [it would be] these things that surround Roger's belt. What do you call that radiation belt? Van Allan Radiation? I really regret that Joe [Schoendorf] and Esther are sitting next to Roger ...

Joe Schoendorf: (Mr. Schoendorf is a partner with Accel Partners.) About half of you raised your hands when Esther asked how many of you send text messages. How many of you have kids? They're doing it all the time.

Doerr: The ones that have a lot of devices on their belt.

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