On the 29th and 30th of November I had the pleasure of attending and speaking on a panel at this years Apps World exhibition at the Olympia in London. I hadn’t been to this particular event before. I was certain that the hall would be full of well established large companies capitalising on their presence whilst smaller companies typically occupied the economy ‘edge’ booths and stands. What greeted me though was different and far more interesting.
There were of course stands and booths of varying sizes but almost all of the companies there had a start-up or business discovery mode feel about them. Some of the companies there were pure start-up companies, many offering middleware solutions for app development, whilst others were representing brand new divisions within existing established businesses. What surprised me for example is that none of the larger operators had a presence there. The nearest to that was Intel’s stand where they were showing off Intel’s new App mobile store meant for laptops – in particular the tasty looking Ultra Laptops.
It reminded me of the computer games industry some 15 or 20 years ago – burgeoning at the seams for growth, with everyone involved literally creating the industry through innovation. The feeling was the same here – there’s very few truly established de-facto standards for development, publishing and advertising. Lots of companies vying to disrupt, tap undiscovered market potential and to be the next big thing. It’s an exciting place and time for an entrepreneur.
During the train journey down I noticed that a friend of mine, Rob Wilmot (@RobWilmot) was tweeting about a presentation that he was about to give on the use of LinkedIn – at the Olympia no less! You can read his blog here: bit.ly/s7oDut. I didn’t know that the Olympia was also hosting an event called Online Information 2011. A much bigger event, as it turned out – quite a contrast to the Apps World event. After tweeting back to Rob and later catching up over a builders grade strong tea, I decided to pay the Online Information exhibition a visit.
The Online Information show was much bigger, full of more established software and information businesses. Internationals abounded. What was lacking there, surprisingly, was the whole smartdevice and mobile revolution that was taking place in the other hall of the Olympia at Apps World.
My takeaway from this is that when these worlds collide it’s going to be an explosion of diversity and opportunity. We’re going to see some seriously important companies rise from this collision over the next couple of years.