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Cross-screen applications – Momo Athens 2012

Yesterday evening Sergio Falletti was one of the speakers at Momo Athens, all talking around the theme of cross-screen applications, aka 2nd screen.

His presentation was on live participation: the way digital can bring people together around an event. It’s not the only use case for 2nd screen applications, but it is an old favourite of mine.

The presentation featured some Future Platforms works, from the Ghost Detector to Roulette Cricket and the 2011 Glastonbury apps, mixed with milestones like Big Brother, Smule’s Sonic Lighter, Million Pound Drop, the F1 companion app and Zeebox.

A few key points:

1) Consoles, mobile and web TV boxes will drive the first wave of innovation
2) Fragmentation is a distraction – there’s no denying it, but strong propositions can already shine through
3) Participation needs events – producers, brands and OS/OEMs can join broadcasters in reaching audiences over IP TV
4) Switching from passive viewing to participation is still too cumbersome – in fact participation may only really take off once most people use apps, be it specific titles or generic TV guides, to select and view broadcast content
5) New live participation formats will make you feel like you are part of something bigger, in the company of like-minded people, but still values as an individual

Sofia Svanteson from Ocean Observations talked about their service design work with telecoms and other organisations. Eurosport, for their sins, were an example of siloed digital channels.

Sergio says “the most interesting message in her presentation was that a bad customer experience is not just the result of poor design, but also of the organisation’s failure to think through the necessary changes in the ‘back office’.”

Andreas Constantinou, from Vision Mobile, then gave the kind of market review you would expect from one of the people behind the Mobile Industry Atlas. I liked his OS vs Screens grid Cross-screen_gridand agree that mobile companion apps remain the stronger cross-screen opportunity at present.

The evening didn’t stop there, like at most Momo’s. It was followed by calls for local startups to engage in awards and incubators, and by talks about Webinos, a cross-platform application framework, partly based on node.js, that’s worth keeping an eye on: it’s an open-source project, has very credible partners already involved, and some early results to show. As a widget-based runtime, it cannot however get into the App Store, and its ability to elegantly handle UI across devices remains to be seen.