Monday, October 29, 2012

What Will "Nomadic Web" Mean?

undefinedIf we are entering the era of the nomadic Web, a major question still remains: will most of the content, interactions, and organizing principles of the wired Web simply migrate to the wireless world? 

Even if the answer is, for the most part, yes, the speed of this transformation and the route it will take are far from certain, McKinsey analysts say. 

The fates of many leading stakeholders could be affected, for better or worse. The reason Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook and many other application providers are racing to secure a foothold in mobile apps is that it is not certain PC-based business models are completely transferable to the mobile domain. 

Looking just at advertising, display advertising, a mainstay of the PC web, does not translate very well to smaller screen smart phones, and requires some reworking for tablets that do not support the traditional "keyboard and mouse" interface.

Also, tablets are not used for the same reasons, or at the same places, as PCs and notebooks have been used. 

"Location," directions and other attributes of the "out and about" nomadic web likewise are different from traditional "search" and "information requests" typical of the desktop web. There is a greater commercial angle, for example, as people more often are looking for something to buy now, someplace to go, right now or someplace to go soon. 

Nor is it clear how consumer use of access networks might change, from fully mobile to untethered. There will be some consumers who might find that mobile broadband, possibly using personal hotspot features, are suitable replacements for fixed network access.

Also, though the typical assumption is that bandwidth consumption only increases over time, the nomadic web could change those expectations. In terms of raw data consumption, 90 percent of people trolling the mobile Web use fewer than two gigabytes a month.

If people begin to rely on mobile web for most of what they do on the web, that could dramatically change expectations about bandwidth growth. To be sure, there are lots of reasons for consumers to use fixed connections. 

But Austria, though an exception to the current rule, already features more people using the mobile web than fixed connections to the web. Access aside, the design and use of applications in a nomadic context is different from apps used in a PC mode. 

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