July 12, 2012
I spent a most empowering week in a castle in Germany, exploring the current state and the future of mobile. The MLOVE ConFestival gathered 200 thought leaders from around the world, exploring how communication and mobile are progressing quickly and how it is indeed our responsibility to make mobile technology usable – helping the underserved, challenging human constraint, and communicating more effectively as a society.
The opening session featured Jonathan MacDonald, cofounder of marketing agency this fluid world, who vividly expressed mobile as originating from the African drum beat. Since its rhythms were used to represent an idea, to communicate far distances, and even sometimes to confuse with dual meaning, he said, it was indeed our first mobile device.
We learned nemonic memory tricks from a USA National Memory Champion, Chester Santos, who argued that mobile should not be an excuse to forget or limit human interaction. By demonstrating his memory of the names of the people he met that day – 40-plus attendees – he taught us the importance of human communication and how mobility should be a means to enhance this.
Transmedia specialist Mara Balestrini expressed how mobile is changing the climate of Latin America. She showcased her social project featuring senior citizens, who began to understand the importance of mobile only when given iPhones and a challenge to navigate in an unknown part of town. They found the Maps app and delighted at finding their way through town easily. Technology became usable to them, and they were so appreciative.
We learned about Singularity, the theory where man meets machine, and expert Yuri Van Geest talked about how it’s actually occurring now with devices like the Nike Fuel Band. These electronic monitoring devices will become second nature, he said, and their ability to track and monitor our health will prove invaluable for a declining health care system.
Scientists from PCH Innovations concluded day one (yes, this was only the first day). They demonstrated the future in a video with a car that expresses your emotions through smiling or frowning headlights, a completely solar hospital that they are currently building, and clothing made of LED screens that (once advertisers get their way) will most definitely be flooding Fashion Week with advertising … but so is mobile, and the world is converging.
The conference culminated with some phenomenal startup pitches. I wondered whether startups would pitch better if all tech conferences were set in such a supportive ecosystem – in love. Every mobile app developer, digital innovator, startup, social entrepreneur, small business owner, and simply anyone with a desire to “be the change they want to see” – who understands that this change will heavily rely on mobile tech – should have the opportunity to bring about that change. MLOVE demonstrated the progression of technology in its most human and altruistic form – to make the world better, a point often forgotten as we use our social networks to spread gossip or devour the hottest new game.
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