Social media and telecoms futures are intertwined

22 Sep 2008

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Social media entrepreneurs are closely observing the rollout of next-generation networks (NGNs), which will be vital to the uptake and evolution of services such as Nimble.ie, Bebo and Facebook.

Social media entrepreneur and founder of Nimble.ie, Per Jacobsson, who will be a guest speaker at the forthcoming TIF conference on 21 October, says that Ireland has a small window of time to get its telecoms infrastructure in order for the next wave of the internet.

Started on the back of a college project, Nimble.ie has now notched up to 117,000 users – ahead of what social networking giant Facebook achieved in Ireland after its first year.

Some 60pc of Nimble’s 117,000 audience is female and the site’s owners reckon they have in the space of a single year captured 20pc of the Irish population of 16-24 year olds. The site boasts between four and six million views per month.

Jacobsson is a keen observer of Ireland’s business landscape and believes the country has only a brief window of time to sort itself out and embrace change. “The country is a very expensive place to do business and multinationals are aware of this. Ireland will be left to build up a services industry of its own.

“Crucial to all of this is infrastructure, and broadband is vital. We have come a long way – we’ve gone from 5pc to 55pc broadband penetration – but we need to go further in terms of the spread of quality broadband.”

Jacobsson is adamant that the future of social media will be influenced by the development of the mobile landscape and the increased sophistication of devices.

“The first step right now is about developing good platforms for the PC, but the next step is really the mobile phone. It may take a few years before it dominates in Europe and North America the same way as it does in Japan, where people use their phones to surf the internet and socialise.”

Proving himself the pure entrepreneur, Jacobsson already has other business ideas, but intends to keep them under wraps.

However, he is a believer in the power of the internet and has a vision of where it will all go from here. “Everything is moving towards the internet. More and more devices are being connected through the web and it will be ubiquitous.

“In many ways the internet is everywhere, available through cables and wires. It’s a delivery system and I think that 10 years down the road, we’ll have fridges connected to the internet ordering new supplies when they run out or allowing people to switch on their home heating from their mobile phones.”

By John Kennedy

Per Jacobsson will be a guest speaker at the forthcoming TIF annual conference which takes place on 21 October next. For more information go to: www.tif.ie

Pictured: social media entrepreneur and founder of Nimble.ie, Per Jacobssen

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com