I am a Tag....not an number

I am a tag, not a number

In my book titled  "Mobile Web 2.0" (published in 2006) Ajit (co-author) and I identified that mobileweb2.0 holds that the mean and mechanism by which I was uniquely identified by and could be associated with, which was a number; no longer holds true.

The key aspect of this is that in the old world I was found, contacted utilising and was identified by numbers, this may have been a phone number or a passport number. In the new world I will be found and identified by tags, centred on who I am as identified by my name.  Further; it will not just be me, companies are identified by brands but we have to-date contacted or connected to them by numbers, now companies, using their brands and product names will be uniquely identified by these names.  Is there a real difference, in the consumers eyes; yes!, In deep technical aspects, probably not, since there will still be a mechanism for resolving names and numbers, but the value of resolving numbers (directories) and its controlling influence has passed.

What does all this mean for me as an individual ?


I am a tag not a number.  In the very old days I had one number, in fact it was not mine either, if was the shared Fish Family home phone number.  People could, if the so wished, call up directory enquiries or look up in the phone book this number. Eventually having only one number passed an in the modern age I have several numbers (mobile, Skypein, office, DDI, home, home office, to name a few)  If someone wants these numbers, they would need my business card, may be linked to Linkedin or Plaxo or could go to each of the service providers directory services and eventually get my numbers.

However, why did you want the numbers, why have I got some many numbers.  Because I can be reached in a variety of means, depending on where I am and the cost of telephony I wish to suffer.  In essence however, all you wanted to do was to “speak” with me.  Actually, all you wanted was to connect with Tony Fish or Ajit Joaker who wrote about mobileweb2.0 in London in June 06.

However, there is another way.  Instead of worrying about using the telcom operators directory search, not knowing which operator I am with, how about using a web search engine to connect.  Imagine, you type in my name, the search engine now responds with not a pile of numbers, but offers you a choice of what you would like to do.   Do you want to call, message, lowest call route (LCR), VoIP call. You click yes. The search engine has now become the telco, not by offering infrastructure but by offering the directory resolving feature, and I am now a name not a number.  So why tags?

Lets assume that as you read this, download the slides, look for the update of the book, you store this new data on your computer and you tag the information with something useful.  Suppose you tag it with Ajit or Tony.  Suppose, as I have tagged the same information on my computer with Ajit and Tony and Mobileweb2.0 etc etc.  Suppose also that I have tagged my contact details with my name.  Now a tag based search engine could resolve the search, and hence draw out the connection opportunities, and can even then set up the connection.  If would be possible that I have set preference for my location, and therefore you could be offered to meet me in the Starbucks on Berkeley Street, W1 opposite my office as I am in there at the moment!

What becomes evident is that none of this depends on knowing a number or how connection happens and it is certainly not fixed mobile convergence! There is someone who may perform the task, but nobody needs know.

Surly this all breaks down when you have many people with the same name! The simplicity of the tags is that everyone will uniquely tag is different ways, each of these will build unique identifies for people with the same name.

Now how does this extend to the corporate.  Corporate discovered many years ago that Vanity numbers worked.  This being 0800 Flowers etc.  There was no need to remember the phone number, you could type in the name on an alpha numeric key pad.  This developed into short codes on the mobile and is likely to introduce a whole new mobile vanity number opportunity.

It is possible that you will dial COKE, BMW or TAXI, FLOWERS and be connected.  A corporate will be able to remove the cost of reprinting different number for customer services or for competitions by geography.  Instead all one number.  But better, this number will be available from fixed, mobile and PC based origination devices.  Calls will automatically be least cost routed saving customer and supplier cash.

Mobile will be the first to drive these changes, and will be the driver.  It will be the there at the point of inspiration to capture ideas, but also there when you need to connect and find, without the requirements to have it all stored locally.