Monday, March 23, 2009

Mobile Panel at PhoCusWright

I had the pleasure of moderating the panel entitled : Best Practices in Mobile Applications at the PhoCusWright@ITB conference earlier this month. We had a good cross-section of panelists that included Pablo Alvarez, Group Innovation Manager, Lastminute.com, Stefano Galastri, President and CEO SIA Internet, Marina Hegemann, Managing Director, TouristMobile GmBH, Michael Lacy CEO the Handy Group, and Gerry Samuels, Founder and Executive Director Mobile Travel Technologies. We had quite a spirited discussion on a number of topics. The biggest disagreement was around the development strategy and ultimate distribution approach to mobile travel applications. I promoted the vision of multiple app stores (e.g. Apple, Google, Nokia, RIM Blackberry, T-Mobile) and my belief that was voiced in our recent publication "Mobile The Next Platform for Travel" (a summary of our special report "The Future of Mobile Travel") which recommended downloadable Web-enabled applications (versus solely browser based) as the best strategy going forward. Our panelists voiced different views, from a firm commitment to downloadable applications (Marina Hegemann) to a belief that browser based mobile applications are the future (Michael Lacy). Time will tell whose strategy is correct, but all agreed that mobile travel apps are still in their infancy and that dramatic change is ahead over the next 12 to 18 months.

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