Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MSc & undergrad in Social Computing

The University of Michigan, the first to offer a master's specialization in social computing, is now opening up the opportunity to undergrads with the launch of a new undergraduate major in informatics that features a social computing track.

Students in the social computing informatics track will build and evaluate social software applications and study the influences of these systems on society.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mobile Internet Penetration

I was sitting in my car the other day, waiting for a friend to arrive at the airport. Flight was delayed for 2,5 hours. Luckily enough I had my pda with me so I spent a couple of hours browsing around, reading blogs etc. Otherwise I would have to just sit in my car and talk on my mobile until my friend came to the rescue. Unfortunately it was almost 2:00 am so i don't think many friends would be available and willing to chat, at least in this continent. Alternative to that would be counting all airplanes arriving and leaving the airport and calculating the median of the interval between two consecutive arrivals and then divide it by the number of city buses leaving the airport and their departure intervals... Or something similar...
So, I felt very lucky for being able to just browse around, read my emails and access my office data from my mobile. I really felt joy and satisfaction in being able to do something useful with my time which would otherwise have gone to waste. I was thankful for the mobile internet service!
And then the question came to me. What is the penetration of mobile Internet usage? Is it something people use, or is it still considered a luxury service amongst the lucky ones who can afford it?

Next day, I googled a little bit and came across a research recently conducted by nielsen on the subject.

Nielsen currently tracks mobile Internet penetration in 16 countries (Greece is not one of them). Among these countries, the U.S. leads in mobile Internet penetration among wireless subscribers with 15.6%, followed by the U.K. (12.9%) and Italy (11.9%).

Of the countries tracked, Indonesia and New Zealand have some of the lowest mobile Internet penetration rates—just 1 out of 100 Indonesian subscribers uses the mobile Internet each month, and just 1.6% of New Zealand’s mobile subscribers do so.

In the U.S., mobile Internet has become a mass medium. As of May 2008, there were 40 million active users of the mobile Internet in the U.S., based on past 30-day usage. And this is just a subset of the 95 million U.S. mobile users who subscribed to the service but do not necessarily use it. To break it down:

  • There were 254 million U.S. mobile subscribers in Q1 2008, according to CTIA, the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunication Industry
  • According to Nielsen, 144 million (57%) U.S. mobile subscribers were data users in Q1 2008 (defined as those subscribers who used their phone for any data use, such as SMS [Short Message Service] text messaging or accessing the mobile Internet)
  • Ninety-five million (37%) U.S. mobile subscribers paid for access to the mobile Internet, either as part of a subscription or as a transaction
  • Forty million subscribers (15.6% in May 2008) were active users of mobile Internet services, using those services at least once on a monthly basis
  • Mobile Internet use accounted for $1.7 billion in revenue in Q1 2008 (more than $5 billion in total revenue in 2007)

The audience using mobile Internet in the U.S. is demographically diverse enough to present marketing opportunities for all types of products and services.

Less talk, more text

Bring on the keyboard!

According to a new research by Nielsen, the average mobile subscriber in the US sent and received more SMS text messages than mobile telephone calls during Q2 2008. This was the second consecutive quarter in which the average number of text messages was significantly higher than the average number of phone calls.

Average Monthly Calls Made/Received and Text Messages Sent/Received per US Mobile Phone Subscriber, by Age, Q2 2008

Although the research is an indicator of rising mobile data use, the two types of mobile communication are not directly comparable. Users typically convey far more information in a voice call than in a text, so text "conversations" can require multiple messages.

It was clear until now that sms messaging was popular among younger mobile users but nowdays the tendency is towards global adoption. Features like click to map, click to call or click to video embedded in messages open an era of new possibilities and services.