“Mobiles en ville” (mobile in town) is a research project steered by France Telecom, in collaboration with ENST Paris and Mobiluck. Its goal is to contribute to the development of mobile multimedia services by analysing the social impact of these technologies and the logics behind the development of their uses, in particular with regards to mobility and forms of social interaction in an urban environment.
The project looks at the correlation between moving around in town and communication behaviours, but also the usage of broadband mobile media services and contents, as well as the development of geolocated community service platforms and usage trials.
A French project summary states that the research, which is currently ongoing, starts from the premise that the usage of broadband mobiles is not only determined by technological access and fee structure, but also by how well they are integrated with existing modes of urban mobility and by the social conventions on what is acceptable behaviour in a public environment.
Research methods are a mixture of ethnography and shadowing on the one hand, and state of the art automatic tracing of mobile phone data on the other.
“Mobiles en ville” consists in fact of three separate research projects, as described in detail in the French project summary.
A first one, lead by France Telecom, looks at the relation between geographic mobility and the use of mobile services. What places and situations are most suited for the use of mobiles and for which services? To what extent does the type of mobility of the user (nearby travel, long-distance, shared travel, foot travel, car travel) influence the use of mobile services? And do the type of mobile services have an influence on mobility itself?
ENST Paris takes the lead in a second research project, which focuses on the use of new media contents on the mobile: television watching , recording and exchanging of videos, video calling, ringtones, music listening and downloading, and contactless micropayments, and in particular when, how, in which context and by whom.
The final research project, lead by Mobiluck, focuses on the opportunity to provide information and services via Bluetooth in the urban environment, and analyses when to offer them, how many users are reachable this way, where they are, and what their behaviours and expectations are.