If you’re thinking of ideas for structure of panel for next year, The Great Mobile Debate: Are Mobile Apps Worth It? session may serve for some inspiration.

Stage right stood the prosecutor Matthew Dawes from the Great Britain. Dawes is the founder of AllAmber, which produces conferences. He argued that mobile apps are overinflated and focus should be on the mobile web. He argued that most people in Nigeria still have feature phones. Furthermore, mobile apps use a lot of data, which may not be cost-effective for many consumers on the continent. For him, building a mobile website is a solid  Web 3.0 strategy.

Matthew Dawes

Stage left stood the defense technologist Emeka Okoye, CEO of Vikantti. Okoye argued that mobile apps are an untapped market in Africa. They’re coming whether we like it or not and it’s best if the continent is prepared. He topped off his argument by summoning the spirit of Malcolm X quoting, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Emeka Okoye

Global statistics about smartphone and mobile app use was presented in the opening statements. What could have been a ho hum panel with a lot of text and numbers actually was a spirited discussion about tech in emerging markets. Statistics that, according to the presentation, included that 1.3 billion smartphones were sold across the world in 2014 as well as 80% of mobile apps are used just once.

The speakers brought up witnesses to the sit center stage and interrogated them. While Dawes took pride that many witnesses started their projects that included a mobile website, Okoye reveled that they were also looking towards apps as a subsequent step in their mobile strategy.

After the interrogation, Dawes and Okoye gave their closing arguments and asked the audience to vote by raising their hands.

Sorry Dawes, it looked like the jury went with Okoye on this one.



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