Friday, July 13, 2007

Facebook: The Killer Application for WiMAX

So Facebook has gone mainstream in the biggest way and everybody's lost their minds temporarily, but what has that got to do with WiMAX? Well, wireless broadband or 4G or LTE or even 3G is still searching for that killer application. Mobiles of any type are great for talking and texting and maybe fleet management, but who (so the argument goes) is going to be browsing the internet or watching IPTV or reading emails whilst walking down the street? The jury is out about whether people are going to want to move serious numbers of bits from one place to another; in other words: is 2G simply good enough?

Enter social networking, or as it will be known in the future - Facebook. Granted, people are unlikely to be using whilst walking around or (God forbid) driving, but even a busy day is punctuated with small islands of calm; just enough time to check what everybody is up to, and maybe cruise for an "I Love Lucy" group or stay abreast of important issues such as inappropriate hair styles. Add GPS and your mobile becomes a virtual magnet that can draw you towards (or away from) people with similar interests or friends-of-friends. It is less invasive than a phone call, more social than SMS, and more disposable than e-mail.

Why WiMAX? Actually, LTE is probably just as good, but plain 2G and 3G data services tend have lengthy connection times and poor bandwidth, and one thing that separates Facebook from the pack (some other opinions on this topic: Battelle, Scoble) is page latency. Kudos to the Facebook developers for having one of the biggest take-ups in history and never dropping a beat.

The real synergy between Facebook and WiMAX? My author friend, David, summed it up nicely when he wrote "Marconi is the patron saint of the lonely".

p.s. Why was I the first person to put these two buzzwords together and blog them? Surely there are blogging bots plugged into Zeitgeist that could be doing my job for me?

p.p.s. I just noticed they added Facebook support to Popfly. If I had any time I would be wasting it :-)

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