Nokia Executive VP Anssi Vanjoki gave this morning’s keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, explaining the global mobile giant’s vision of the future mobile Web, and why it paid $8 billion for Navteq.
Nokia’s influence and positioning in the mobile world is no secret: 1.3 billion of the 4 billion global mobile devices are Nokia. Vanjoki believes the majority of these devices — in both developed and underdeveloped nations — need to evolve into better Web communication devices.
From a historical perspective, some of the converging technological and social factors happening in the mobile industry today, are simply following an evolutionary path that’s transpired over the past 20 years.
“In 1992, we predicted that 25 percent of individuals in developed countries would be carrying mobile phones. That number ended up being 60 percent,” said Vanjoki. “This changed the telecommunication paradigm; instead of calling fixed places, we were now calling people.”
Now, additional layers of context are forming around these nodes (people) given hardware and connectivity advancements. This includes mobile broadband, mobile device storage capacity and, importantly, geolocation capability.
The latter will really enable Vanjoki’s vision of the mobile Web, which basically involves a mashup of what we now know as mapping, telecom and social networking. This is essentially a much more sophisticated vision of what we’re currently seeing in mobile applications like Loopt and Google Latitude.
“The user interface for this mobile computer becomes the map,” he said. “You can see everything of interest in the world around you — where you are, what’s going on around you, your ‘social location’ and what is the true context of that location.”
In terms of putting the pieces together, there are many enabling factors, including cultural, legislative and technological. Nokia clearly has a great deal of influence where it sits with the latter and for Vanjoki, data are paramount.
“Why did we pay $8 billion for Navteq? It’s a database for everything,” he said. “Everything on this planet can be described as coordinates. Everyone can have coordinates.”