It was a warm day in Helsinki. Minus five. And I found myself walking beside the city’s frozen lake, talking about Web analytics.

Jouko Ahvenainen heads an analytics firm which has hit upon an idea. Over lunch beside a wintery, but beautifully sunlit setting, we talked about the dramatic changes which are about to take place in the mobile industry.

Jouko runs Xtract which has traditionally been a high-end anlytics firm. Like many in the space, it creates software to analyse millions of customer transactions every hour, automating the routine work of customer analytics. Like many, they think they are unique.

But one thing might set them apart from others in their space, which is the increasing concentration on the mobile arena.

Put it this way.

We have heard quite enough about how Web analytics are wonderfully useful for working out how users move through web sites and how it can be used to improve sites. But what about mobile?

Think about it. When you go “online” via your mobile it can be a frustrating experience.

Often you are presented with a completely Web-like interface, through which you must navigate to the area which interests you most.

But this is the wrong way round surely?

Using analytics software, would it not be possible to work out – through techniques like collaborative filtering – what sort of user you are, before you even got there. Then, as you arrive, it could present you with the kind of information the brand or publisher reckoned would be most relevant at that moment.

Why not think in terms both of demographics, but also of time of day, or even type of mobile handset. A smart phone user with a more sophisticated mobile browser client is going to want something different than the user of a Vofafone “Simply” phone, yes?

Since we often interact with our mobiles at least as much as the Web – plus we take it with us, unlike the desktop PC – it makes sense that analytics solutions should start to move towards the mobile phone.

And, of course, why stop there? With so much talk about IPTV occuring these days, analytics is certain to become a feature inside the flat screen in the corner of the living room.

But, you’ll be delighted to hear, talk of mobile analytics didn’t entirely dominate our lunch! The food was far too good for that.