So what is the future of mobile?

I went to an entertaining and intriguing event on Tuesday.

Hosted by Harvard Business Review, it was billed as the ‘future of mobile for publishers online and offline’, but rather inevitably ended up in a conversation about digital privacy, fragmentation and “the problem with the BBC”.

The one thing all the panellists agreed on (an esteemed bunch including Nathalie Nahai, Malcolm Coles, Paul Swaddle, Eric Hellweg and Carsten Sorenson) was that it’s probably pointless making predictions.

As Paul Swaddle pointed out. Ten years ago, no-one would have anticipated today’s state of affairs. Why should 2025 be any different?

There was general agreement on the needs of the user being – by and large – paramount, regardless of the size and power of the brand.

The ability of a commercial publisher to compete with the BBC (who aren’t subject to the same stringent ROI models as others) was deemed a risk, although many would argue the BBC has been a force for good when it comes to web development.

Ultimately, Nathalie Nahai put a strong case for the vast collection of personal data being hugely detrimental to general consumers as privacy will be gradually eroded.

Malcolm Coles vehemently disagreed, suggesting that when a tipping point is reached the consumer will win out.

However, Carsten Sorenson summed it up neatly by saying: “The only certainty with mobile is change.”

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