HQ: Munich, Germany
Products (Primary): IYOUIT
Survey Respondents: Matthias Wagner
Vendor Category: R&D Project
Installed base: --
The only reason IYOUIT isn’t a runaway global success is because it’s still a research project supported by NTT DOCOMO and the Telematica Instituut.
IYOUIT is a very deliberate effort to explore the use of Semantic Web (SW) technology in mobile environments. IYOUIT integrates a wide range of services such as GPS location, location-based points of interest, picture sharing, local weather, messaging, and more. Some of these data are user generated, while other data are generated automatically, and the application goes even further by connecting to services like Flickr and Twitter. Furthermore, the rich mobile experience is complemented by a Web site (https://www.iyouit.eu/portal/) that displays real time updates from IYOUIT users around the world.
The IYOUIT client is made to run on mobile phones that use the S60 operating system, which means just about any high end phone made by Nokia, LG, or Samsung, along with a few models made by Lenovo and Panasonic. The client is lightweight and its interaction with the network has been tuned to minimize the amount of data passed back and forth. This decision was made deliberately to reduce the impact on subscription plans that charge based on device throughput. Processing demands at the device level have been calibrated to reduce overhead while reasoning, ontology management, and processing-intensive functions occur on the network.
Launched June, 2008, IYOUIT’s user base is still small as these things go – in December, 2008 the project has roughly 1,000 users distributed across 50 countries, with most users concentrated in Europe.
When you’re one of a kind, it’s difficult to contrast with existing products, but some fundamental (and remarkable) qualities include the fact that this application works, it’s available for download right now, it genuinely uses SW technology and it’s made for mobile devices. IYOUIT seamlessly combines the mobile experience with context based enhancements delivered by the network and users can even set “triggers” to be alerted when specified conditions are met, e.g., while you’re at your favorite coffee shop you can be alerted when one of your IYOUIT buddies arrives.
Six/Twelve Month Plans:
As a research project, IYOUIT serves as a learning environment and isn’t necessarily tied to commercial delivery schedules. Nonetheless, the team behind IYOUIT certainly has plans and one that could be discussed is the creation of a developer connection. If this effort succeeds, it’s easy to imagine the creation of more applications and in turn, growth in the user base. In fact, the IYOUIT team is counting on open participation and they’re looking forward to new discoveries.
IYOUIT is much more than an intriguing mobile SW application, so let’s broaden our context (fitting, isn’t it?).
- While the application is presently geared for relatively high-end phones, all those phones use the S60 operating system originally created by Nokia.
- Presently, Nokia holds about 40% of the global mobile device market and even if this figure is adjusted to reflect just the higher end of Nokia’s product line, that’s still a lot of phones.
- Samsung, LG, and others combine to increase the potential user base even further.
- Nokia has a history of SW research and development that dates back to roughly 1996 and equally, the company has a long history of participating in the open source community.
- Nokia’s recent SW research seems to focus on the creation of application development tools (http://research.nokia.com/research/projects/), which would play into the promise of IYOUIT very nicely.
- Nokia’s stated corporate strategy is based on its device business, mobile content, and network infrastructure. Offerings like IYOUIT could be a big win for NTT DOCOMO, Nokia, and just about anyone else who can get involved.
- NTT DOCOMO is based in Japan and while it’s a cliché at this point, the Asian countries are probably still well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to developing, deploying, and using mobile technology.
Put these factors together and IYOUIT begins to look like the tip of an iceberg – one that will mean big wins for NTT DOCOMO and other global companies and likely, big wins for innovative startups that create valuable products and services for an environment that’s increasingly ready-made to receive them. Wow!