In September 2011 I had the pleasure to be invited by my good friend and augmented citizen Dan Romescu (@dromescu), a world-travelling mobile tech guru, to the Eastern-European Mobile Monday summit in Bucharest, Romania.

The event, which gathered several hundred highly talented mobile developers and small companies mainly from Eastern Europe was sponsored bya series of device manufacturers, Telco operators & other mobile services companies. (They know why they do that….they need the developer’s talents to create content for monetizing their networks & devices..)

I saw a lot of very interesting developments, apps, trends & foresight in this whole area that looks like to be one of the goldmines of the future economy. And having been in Eastern Europe and especially in Romania also made me feel that this part of Europe has a lot of potential, motivation and energy, maybe something we in the Western part of Europe could need more of these days….

But back to conference. My presentation was about mobile apps as a service or part of a service system.

A mobile app is not an end in it self: It’s a tool that provides a service, or part of a service, to help users to get their jobs done in a certain context. And increasingly, the operational & computational intelligence of an app happens somewhere on computers in the cloud and the smartphone is only a window, or in terms of service design, a touchpoint (or several ones) in a service experience. Also, we see more and more multichannel digital services, from for example reading ebooks on a Kindle to the Withings line of products and services in wellbeing and healthcare.

Of course, there is still room for stand alone apps where they make sense, but increasingly the smartphone and mobile apps, as Mike Kuniavsky calls it, are service avatars: They provide an interface, an access to a service. In terms of service-dominant logic and service design this perfectly makes sense but also illustrates the need for mobile developers and mobile distributors to not only think of their developments in terms of technology and interaction design for the mere interfaces. Instead, these mobile developments are a part, or one ingredient in a more complex service system where service (and UX) design methods and service innovation thinking becomes increasingly important in order to create the service experiences that rock (from a user satisfaction & the provider’s point of view) !

Last but not least, thanks to a great crew and people in Bucharest and all what they did to make this conference a good experience. And thanks to IDG Romania, the editors of PC World, Computerworld Romania and Network World Romania who interviewed me on these and other topics. The interview was published in November 2011 and here is an English transcription of it.

Hope to be back soon ;)