Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mobile Markets: Nokia 'Mobile Man' tells of a story

Mobile Markets: Nokia 'Mobile Man' tells of a story

This excellent construction, made up entirely of mobile phones, is Nokia's collaborative project with Beijing postal service to encourage recycling of mobile phones that can be handed in at post offices, according to the news article at   

It's great to see projects like, which tend to draw promotions using creative and talented ideas demonstrating the evolving and transforming world of mobile phones and its market places. Back in 2007 I posted on another creative work cellphone-transformer, which, yet again, shows a design that captures the imagination displaying the versatile uses to which a mobile phone might be put.

The business and ecomonic philosophy that resides behind these creative images equally tells of a story of growth and success. If recycling is happening then, perhaps, that is as a likely consequence of mobile ubiquity taking hold. That is a nice statement, but can I back it up?  I don't have my finger on every financial and market research pulse, but, apart from anecdotal references, there are various stats out there from the market research firms. Indeed, back in 2008 I blogged (staggering-figures-for-mobile-phone) on the state of the mobile data market when the economic downturn (which appears to have started in 2007 so we are led to believe) had got a firmer grip on global markets. In 2010 the stats still showed extraordinary figures (, although the exact detail where all this activity occurs to generate such figures may not be obvious. It may be compelling to want to know how many consumers send text and mms messages (see OFCOM website for stats), but that is not the full picture. There are the other data markets in business to consider, such as the M2M market place (winwin) and comments by industry pundits on the mobile payments market (cellular-news).

It is useful to see how industry people collate information and bring amassed facts together in order to express their views and vision on what all the facts mean to them in aggregrate. An example of this can be seen in Tomi Ahonen's enthusiastic commentary found in Insiders Guide To Mobile (lulu) with references to trillion dollar market, over 4 billion users and the segmented factors when drawn together identified to him what is forecast for mobile. A view of one segment of the mobile phone market, apps, is simply a further illustration of information to be sourced to underpin market trends (windows-phone-apps-reach-new-market), another is sales and market penetration, such as Apple's iPhone outrageously outstanding sales growth.

If I removed from the context of the above commentary discussion about modern technology, and simply focussed on what an image might communicate, I could have been talking about social, cultural and economic life that might have been depicted by way of an 18th/19th century painting (irrespective of whether the painting is by an impressionist or not). Whilst the image above may not be an old master piece, the image still has a story to explicitly convey and that, in forensic terms, requires understanding all or part of any implicit subtext the image can also communicate.

My forensic skills, acquired over the years, meant that my reaction to seeing this image (even though photo/art imagery is not my subject), was to look at it as evidence and then set out to see what I could deduce from there. In reality we do this everyday in our work. We see a SIM card. We then want to know what it is and what is inside. In order to know what we are dealing with we need to know how it works and what can be held inside and whether all or part thereof can be revealed. Moreover, we need to know what amounts to 'conformance' and within that framework which conforming element is 'mandatory' and which is 'optional'. Once we have that background we can then begin to understand what is 'non-conforming' and/or 'unusual'. This path can equally be taken when dealing with mobile phones and RF investigations.

In conclusion, the subtext of this discussion can be revealed. However mobile phones maybe presented to the world, it is our job in forensics not to change that messsage, but to break down the presentation into its various building block elements in order that we know how each piece works and then how the pieces fit together and work and cooperate together.  This is because a true forensic standard requires of the individual to obtain knowledge by way of commentary, appropriate training, standards, specs and investigation, that includes examination and testing (trial and error), which is one side of the coin. The other side of this coin is knowing what the 'thing' in its final state is intended to do, which requiries understanding of the market place it which the 'thing' is to be adopted.  Using skills and techniques like these provide for a rich source of experience, too. Essentially, learning to bring all the pieces that are needed into play and being able to demonstrate that identifies the forensic examiner working with a well hone, self-principled approach of high standard.

For MTEB students, the summer recess is now here. Sure, have a great time and relax and enjoy the break, but don't waste valuable time. Great people strive in life because they want to go beyond what has already been achieved. Take time out from relaxing to bring together the exposure you have had to mobile knowledge and experience you have acquired, thus far. Select a particular line of investigative enquiry and see how far you get with it. I have identified some links above to illustrate a way forward or choose a different subject matter; remember to be able to demonstrate the primary basics of 'bush' methodology.

No comments: