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The D Live conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal in California, is one of the largest conferences in tech. It prides itself to bring together CEOs, founders, pioneers and investors to talk about global technology. With the latest edition just a few days ago, we look at what tech’s leaders and visionaries believe will be the future of communication.
With the focus on the development of mobile communication in Asia, namely China and India, WSJ D Live invited Bin Lin, co-founder of Xiaomi, and Vikas Jain, co-founder of Micromax Informatix, both producers of mobile phones. India is still a country where many haven’t used the Internet yet, but also where the phone is used as the main computer. But what is noticeable is that the vision and narrative of both companies that say they don’t sell technology, but an experience. It’s about using the smartness of the smartphone.
The learning curve is high which leads to customers buying new phones on average every 14 months. The market structure is also decidedly different to Europe or the US where carrier providers subsidise the hardware and enable customers to buy more high-end gadgets. In India you buy the hardware at the actual cost of the hardware. Companies release many models a year, similar to the car industry, all targeting their own customer segment. And users rapidly exchange their phones to match their experience, needs and income.
Also here the phone is not main communication device anymore, but merely a gateway to a bigger world. It is an enabler for an experience with the Internet, which then provides the access to all the services we would buy a phone for originally. This is also visible in China’s Xiaomi company starts branching out to other services, such as TV s or air purifiers, that contribute to a smarter home and are controlled by your phone. They see their phones now at the center of a bigger net, holding everything together, but not the only device.
The conference also shed light upon how leaders such as Facebook see the future of communication. Facebook has recently often been reproached for building a walled garden. Users don’t need to leave their environment anymore consisting of Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Now rolling out Instant Articles on Facebook this development will increase. But Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer sees the company till to this day as a directory as well as medium to express yourself to somebody else. Recent developments are not there to change the vision of the company but to lower barriers and improve user experience. The most important thing is to enable users to see the things relevant to them. Inside or outside the Facebook environment makes no difference in strategy but only in decreasing the effort users need to make to reach their desired content.
Our platforms change, the content changes, but in the end we still want to communicate with each other.