Yesterday I was lucky enough to do a presentation on “mobile money” at the Telefonica Digital Future OIPD Conference at the Mermaid Conference Centre in London. The site with more details is still up at http://www.yourdigitalfuture.co.uk/ which is a great domain to own by the way :) The event was sponsored by Smart421 and other companies who are working closely with the Online and Integration teams at Telefonica in the UK (the company also known as “O2″).

After some very amusing if fairly dodgy references by Andrew Pattinson to the growth of digital data he highlighted the stellar success of the “O2 Priority Moments” campaign which as @grahamknox of Telefonica has previously tweeted – With new adds at 50K per week, #O2 #PriorityMoments has more users than #Groupon#Foursquare and #Voucher Cloud combined. This is the power a mobile operator with around 30 million registered customers in the UK alone has.

My theme compared and contrasted the low-hype and fantastic success of M-PESA in emerging markets with the relatively mooted success of financial/mobile services in the UK with “O2 Money” just having closed in November after initially being the most successful prepaid card product in the country. All the emphasis recently seems to be on NFC-handsets and wallets like the Google Wallet just launched in US and coming here to the UK next year. but it’s interesting (according to Gartner) that there is so much hype around contactless payments and NFC when it is still 5-10 years from maturity. The quiet maturity of other services appears to be being overlooked.

Two other presenters on the day focused on historical themes. I learnt from Julian Browne, overcoming technical microphone problems to shout about the “100 Year architecture” of the web – the fascinating history of hypertext, the web and in particular the objections by Ted Nelson who proposed the alternative Xanadu paradigm – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Xanadu. The keynote speaker at the close was @IanSRobinson of neo4j who talked about the history of NoSQL and in particular graph databases.

Other speakers that I saw and enjoyed were:
Chris Perry, Joint CEO Fabric-Faster – Opportunities presented “Using consumer behaviours and patterns to drive faster delivery” which highlighted the power of Big Data and text mining for sharing marketing intelligence.

Drew Cosgrove on “Frictionless Integration” which aims to smarten up the ease with which applications will be able to use the services on offer from Telefonica. There was a great level of discussion and interest from the attendees and everyone seemed to appreciate the day away from the office and day-to-day delivery worries. Thanks to the organisers and the Mermaid Conference Centre.