The new complexity

Fjord Family

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 15.01.08

Reflections from MWC by Olof Schybergson

This year’s show promised us a new mobile horizon and whether it’s the buzz around Mozilla’s Firefox OS, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 or Ericsson’s web communication demo, they all point to a shift that we’re calling ‘the new complexity’.

Consider how many devices have recently converged: A phone used to be a phone; then it became a computer. The tablet used to be a smaller computer; now it’s also a phone. Your web browser now lets you make calls using IP. Your dedicated camera is becoming a sharing hub, controlled from your smartphone. Your watch tells you how many calories or steps you’ve taken: so is it a health monitor or a watch? Is the Yota device an e-reader or a smartphone?

It seems that everything finally is connected now, and after the relative order placed on things by the iOS and Android operating systems, things are getting complex again. It’s not only the dawn of new complexity for companies playing in the space, but also for the people who use them. As a result we’ll see the services battle reach a new high.

This presents two opportunities for companies:

  1. Be the ones who seamlessly connect everything and make sense of it. Apple has done it for last ten years, but is losing its lustre for some. Your connected home, connected car, wearables, eHealth: these are not areas that Apple looks to be throwing resources into, so who will make sense of it all for people?
  2. Focus on a targeted solution and keep the proposition narrow, to establish a clear beachhead in a crowded market. Early and successful examples include PayPal that’s become the dominant mobile payment provider without using NFC, Go Pro for action sports, or Dropbox for file sharing.

The core challenge for anyone operating in the ‘new complexity’ it’s that we must focus on people and create meaningful experiences that users don’t have to devote their lives to figuring out. Elegance and simplicity will reign and those who come out on tops will be those who are quick to put the user first, and who understand the value of simplicity in an increasingly bewildering digital world.

Image courtesy of Michael Heiss


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