How Will (Is) Mobile Internet Access Change(ing) Our Lives

Morgan Stanley’s latest April 2010 internet trend report predicts that the number of mobile internet users will exceed desktop internet users in the next five years globally, and thus mobile devices will become the next big platforms for people to connect to the internet.

Josh Levison from IPG Emerging Media Lab has also painted a very promising picture of mobile industry for us in last week’s class, and he predicted that mobile phones would be the primary engaging online tool in the near future.

I believe as mobile platforms keep growing, they will provide a strong and unique media channel to add atop the plethora of already existing media channels that can immerse people in an always-on media world.

Compared with other media channels, mobile platforms provide much more immediate connectivity to people, and the users’ mobile habits make the platforms more interactive. Because of mobile devices’ portability, they will also lead the development of location-based media outreach. This means storytellers can deliver more customized content to people’s phones according to their physical location, and that content could synchronize with billboards, posters, and other preset media content at that physical location to create a more immersive and interactive experience for people. I can image some serendipitous storytelling could be made possible now that mobile devices are becoming an internet portal. For example, a movie studio could deliver location-based messages to a movie fan’s phone to instruct them to find some hints about a movie near their current location. The hints could be hidden under a bus stop bench or be written as a special code in a billboard, and if the fan could discover the code and send it back to the movie studio, relevant rewards like movie tickets could be granted to reward the user’s participation.

The above mentioned method is just one simple way to engage users with mobile platforms. I can also see many other sophisticated mobile device interactions being adopted by adding a layer of the alternate reality gaming mechanisms to the overall storytelling design, and making the story a more personal experience for users.

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