I have always maintained that the killer mobile app of the Internet was Email. I know it is not cool but it is by far the most important backbone of communication channel. Email has become the infrastructure utility of the Internet. I think if one looks back the most prolific usage of a mobile application which resulted in creation and catapulting of Blackberry to super stardom was the email. I remember the time when we used to carry two mobile devices, Blackberry for email and a mobile phone for voice. Blackberry really came up with the solution by solving the two devices problem and that made them the de-facto device for the business professional. When I started my career with Ernst & Young, we had an intricate communication system called the E&Y Voicemail. It was a voice messaging system that you can use with any phone, you dialed into a standard number punched the 4 digit code of the person you want to leave a voicemail for and voila you did. It was used extensively within the company as the main communication channel when email was not sufficient. I wonder if they still use it, I know that all the Big 5 Accounting and Management Consulting companies had their own way of doing this asynchronous voice communication.
The motivation and idea to write this blog post came to me while I was reading a paper written by ANDREW ODLYZKO with the title “The Volume and Value of InformationWhat is interesting in this table is that voice minutes have more or less plateaued, however Text messaging is exploding. This is not anything new and the growth of Twitter and 140 characters is a useful trend and it is the basis for the Texting communication. I have written about why I believe Voice and Sound are going to be next big thing. The idea for a killer app, I am sure there already exists one for voice messaging. You limit the size of what can be said with a simple interface and that voicemail gets delivered to any device of choice actually to all the end points of communication to the individual you want to communicate to. The author of the above paper alludes to such an app:
Human culture is largely oral, after all, and the huge revenues of voice telephony testify to the utility of voice communication. Voice messaging could provide a nice hybrid between the traditional telephony and email/texting, one that even illiterate people could use. Some voice messaging is taking place, but in clumsy forms, and what is needed is something really simple, such as a button on a handset that a person could press to ensure that after the called party number is dialed, a message is recorded and deposited directly in a voice mail system.) Or are there other social communication changes that are playing a role? However, the advantage of mobility that wireless offers is undeniable and may have implications for Internet traffic growth rates.
There you go, the next killer app of course the app becomes a killer app only when there is enough uptake to make the network effect work. Think of Instagram for Voice. I think some the text message startup that are out there could be the natural extension providers for this application. I am going to propose this problem when we have a hackathon in Reykjavik University on May 29th as part of Startup Iceland Conference to be hosted in Andrews Theater in Ásbrú Enterprise Park.