by Stuart Ridgway, Original Music for Film and Television

In mid-October, 2009, Sonny Bhatia and I traveled to San Francisco to attend the Web 2.0 Summit 2009 aka Web Squared.  As I review my notes I’m reminded that the caliber of speakers was remarkably high:  it was a Who’s Who of presidents and CEO’s from the Web 2.0 World.  They covered a wide range of topics which I have organized into four main groups:  mobile, right now, reality check, and super-cool stuff.

This article will give you a good idea of what the big players, and some small players, are doing in the Web 2.0 space.  I’ve included links to webcasts from the summit.  You may also be interested in the Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On white paper authored by our hosts, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle.  It examines more of the amazing possibilities yet to be manifested from Web 2.0.


Not surprisingly, I heard the words mobile phone throughout the conference.  Companies are  investing heavily in ways they can get their content onto your phone.  But it’s not just stand-alone apps:  companies are seeing the value of connecting people through their phones – without them actually talking!  As these companies collect raw data from connected users, they are looking for ways to derive meaning from those large data sets.

A remarkable example is software that tracks people’s cell-phone-to-tower signals (anonymously supposedly) and maps how they move in a physical space.  An example of how this information can be used for good is to track people’s movement in a mall.  If there is a fire, people act spontaneously and run to the nearest exit.  By mapping their true behavior mall architects can better design multiple avenues to safety.

As creepy as the abuse of this knowledge might be, it’s inevitable.  According to Mary Meeker, leader of Morgan Stanley’s global technology research team, there will probably be ten times the number of iPhone users as PC users.  The iPhone is the fastest growing piece of hardware ever.  Wireless broadband will hit 20% penetration in 2010 and Amazon will likely do 15% of its sales as mobile e-commerce.  It’s all about phones.

Companies that are building robust mobile applications for their services include PayPal (buy anything, anywhere at any time), MySpace, and AOL.  And Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director, “The W3C and mobile industry leaders are working together to improve Web content production and access for mobile users and the greater Web.”

Major players are moving into this space by redeveloping their core products to become next year’s mobile platform.  Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, announced the Open Screen Project that enables consumers to engage across any device, anywhere.  The goal is to remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops, mobile phones, televisions, and other devices.

This includes opening up Adobe’s media servers, getting Flash onto every mobile device (including the iPhone), and creating a VOIP stack embedded into Flash.  In the end, they hope to build the ultimate open platform.  Mobile access, mobile platforms and mobile apps all feed right into the right now mentality, which is what I write about in Part 2.

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