If you want to read more about the uniqueness of Mobile, I refer you to the following articles by Tomi Ahnon. They are quite worth your time:
One of the unique capabilities of the phone is that it can act as a connector between your offline and online activities. This is something that the Web has difficulties with because it is not as portable, as personalised, as contextually aware as the phone. This great deck of slides shows powerful examples of how this is done in the context of enhancing your offline shopping experiences:
For those who don't have the time to click through the slides, the main thesis of the deck is that we are now using the phone for playing sudoku and reading NYtimes. That is what we called filling in 'dead times'. This is the lowest denominator for the phone and is not unexpected as we always export current content and services to new media and platforms. The bigger opportunity however is to find pain points outside of these 'dead times' and create truly mobile naive service/products that solve these pain points.
The phone can be a powerful hyperlink to connect the physical and online world. As stated in the slides, it is a tool that can reveal hidden information, context and relationships in the physical world and connect them to the online environment. Such connections can potentially create real value that improves our lives physically.
So, if you need inspirations on how Mobile can connect offline and online, check out these mobile pearls that are featured in the slides :
- Mobile Pearl #1: Paying for your groceries through the phone instead of waiting in long queues. Through the same application, you can now help the users to take care of their grocery budgeting and maybe even include digital coupons as well as other reward programmes.
- Mobile Pearl #2: Searching for a book through your phone while you are physically in the store. The location aware phone will then guide you to the right shelf where your desired book is located.
- Mobile Pearl #3: Using your phone to sample music, be it in Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, and have the ability to instantly purchase and listen to it. If we push this further, we can use the music as a form of social objects to connect real people or friends around us physically.
- Mobile Pearl #4: Paying for your 2nd cup of starbucks coffee through your phone so that you don't have to get out of your seat.
Even all these pearls are just early attempts at connecting the physical and online spaces. As we learn how to better leverage on the phone, I am sure we will see much more innovative and useful applications and services.