Many may disagree with the topic or may find it very futuristic but here what I going to discuss is the trend that is fast catching up. Phone book is considered as a major asset by the handset vendors as a catalyst to adoption of social media on mobiles. However, contrary to the expectations, there are evidences that support the theory that users may soon stop using the phone book on the mobile and retrieve the data online from the social media sites whenever required.
I biggest challenge I have found in maintaining the phone book on my mobile is that it becomes obsolete fast and I do not even come to know about it. People change jobs, locations and phone numbers. If I am not on the other person’s phone book, I would not receive his or her updated co-ordinates. The updation would also depend on his sending the updates and my saving the updates to my phone book. There are a few chances of slippage in each of these activities. This problem gets sorted out at social media sites like Linkedin/Facebook. The contact details on these sites are normally updated. A user just need to update his contact details on the social media sites and everybody comes to know about it. Think about synchronizing this information with the mobile phones or the user retrieving the information on the go whenever it is required using his mobile. With improving mobile internet connectivity, why should I rely on the mobile phone book? I just need to go to Facebook and click on the mobile number of my friend to call him.
Screenshots below show how Facebook contacts can be used:
Google Latitude is a location based application that is gaining popularity as it can show the location of social contacts. I can come to know who is around me. On this kind of map, if there are contact details available, I would click on the mobile number of my friend on the map to connect with him. I would easily find the route to his location if I want to visit him. I can directly share text, links, photos, etc. with my contacts. This would be a very cost effective and easy way to interact. I expect the mobile internet to become ubiquitous in next 2-3 years with costs coming down and carriers offering flat data plans
I see a clear trend towards an integrated phone book across the mobile phones and social media sites. There could be a single phonebook.com kind of a site emerging in the internet space which would be the central repository of the contacts across the world. This virtual directory could aggregate contact details from various social media sites. Mobile applications would then be built around the virtual phonebook and the location to provide holistic experience to the users.
Mohit is a telecom professional with rich experience over 15 years. His expertise is in the area of strategy and planning and his work experience includes stints with two of Big 5 consulting organizations, a telecom operator and a handset vendor. Mohit can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org