Richard Hocking our EMEA Director of Performance Marketing & Mobile Development attended this year's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. Here are his trends from the conference:
Mobile World Congress 2013 showcased the very latest developments in mobile technology which are set to change human behaviour across the globe this year and in the future. The following are 10 key themes I’ve identified which will be significant for all marketers when considering how mobile will impact on campaigns for brands and businesses.
The battle to be the leading handset is as intense as ever with Barcelona wallpapered in gigantic posters. One of the handset launches that captured the imagination is the Nokia 105. The entry level product, which will retail at an unbelievable £13, appears to be a very smart move. This type of handset and pricing is aimed squarely at the untapped first time buyer’s market of S America, Africa, Russia and Asia Pacific which will fast-track the number of mobile phone owners worldwide. It also has a second potential use though as a few delegates commented they may buy one as a “reserve” phone.
The mobile sector is definitely on the lookout for a strong third operating system to join Apple and Google in the mix. It was hard not to notice both Google and Apple by their absence at this event.
One of the challengers for this third slot could be Mozilla Firefox. IOS and Android account for 90% of smart phone so it’s interesting to hear Mozilla Firefox announce that it had lured 17 operators onto its platform. However it was Canonical’s new operating system Ubuntu that has grabbed the attention and created the most buzz with many commentators claiming it to be the most exciting thing at the MWC. Now it has to live up to its promise to try to establish that prized number 3 position.
Mobile is proving to be a human experiences platform that can go beyond entertainment to fundamentally benefit humanity.
In US and Europe 54% of our time on mobile is on apps; mobile phones are essentially an entertainment platform. In contrast, in Africa the two most important features on a feature phone are a flashlight and FM radio – features that are the fundamental in terms of communication and navigation.
Fascinating human experience stories where mobile has transformed lives included Kenya n nurses using regular SMS to update the central blood bank database and are recompensed through a unique reward scheme through additional data on their tariff. Meanwhile, Indian fisherman in Brahia Brazil have diversified their fishing approach to prevent overfishing, using apps to educate them about when they need to move the Oysters to maximise harvest.
NFC is on the cusp of becoming mainstream. The organisers of (GSMA) have significantly promoted NFC with point of sale terminals and significant promotional material throughout the congress including a pavilion where you can experience near field communication (NFC) in action.
It’s not just the organisers backing NFC. Visa have a large stand this year and it’s no coincidence that they announced an alliance with one of SMG’s clients Samsung earlier in the week, the first of its kind with a leading handset manufacturer to use their devices to make payments. An alliance with the world’s largest producer of phones will only accelerate NFC and I think this will be the first of many alliances throughout the year.
The big developments in the mobile sector are speculated to come from “wearable” mobility devices such as glasses, watches and health monitoring and how we mine the data from these.
Others are forecasting a potential Amazon subsidised phone akin to the Kindle model with further commentators suggesting Lenovo could be disruptive in the handset market.
The opportunity for the next 12 months is how we use mobile to connect content to consumers through innovative and exciting ways to enhance human experiences.
Richard Hocking - EMEA Director of Performance Marketing & Mobile Development