Mobile Themes in 2012: Q1

Daniel Maycock is one of Slalom’s acknowledged thought leaders in the realm of new and emerging technology.

Both at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress (MWC), companies were making big announcements on what will be hot topics for 2012. As there’s a great deal of content already out there, I decided to cover the bigger topics that I saw as most prevalent at the conference, and include some links to get further information.

Now, for the big themes…

The Internet of Things: Mobile 2.0
It was evident this year, that a big theme for mobile companies was the connected home experience. This isn’t just because the Slalom team helped with the AT&T Digital Life™ exhibit, but rather was a topic covered by a number of different mobile companies throughout the conference. Now that mobile devices have hit a critical mass around the world, companies invested in mobile technology and networks are beginning to promote ways in which to take better advantage of this connectivity, through Machine-To-Machine (M2M) technologies as well as sensors, and other context-rich technologies to help grow the level of interactivity between mobile devices and the world surrounding them. Furthermore, as revenue growth from mobile devices is reduced due to saturation in the marketplace, companies that traditionally grow their revenue based on growing the number of services/features/devices that customers have, will need to branch out into new revenue streams to maintain steady growth and increase Average-Revenue-Per-User (ARPU).

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4G/LTE
LTE was a big topic this year, with many companies advertising either the increased network capacity or increased ability on devices to consume greater amounts of data. Issues like spectrum constraints, diminished battery life, and expensive network upgrades loomed over this topic though, demonstrating that the industry is a ways off from making this technology something everyone the world over will utilize on a regular basis.

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Mobile Payments
Near-Field-Communications (NFC) enabled devices were a big topic for companies like Visa & Google this year, with many announcements coming out about NFC-enabled devices from vendors such as Samsung and even some rumors as to whether or not Apple will jump into the NFC arena any time soon. What’s evident though, is that companies are banking on this becoming a strong interest for consumers, as the technology to enable secure mobile payments is set to be released by a number of OEMs this year. NFC is also being targeted for implementations such as door security, and identity confirmation. What’s yet to be determined is how NFC will compete against barcode exchange, such as the system Starbucks uses to make transactions via mobile phone.

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Mobile & The Cloud
With more devices being utilized by people around the world, more and more services are being pushed to the cloud as services expand on mobile devices. From social networks, to media hosting, the cloud is providing the backbone for many services mobile devices rely on and will continue to serve as the worldwide host for mobile services in all forms. This is not only true with consumer services, but with enterprise-focused solutions such as salesforce. This year at MWC, every major vendor had some indication of how they were utilizing the cloud, from provide better QOS to offering more features/functions.

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Bigger Screens, Faster Phones
Mobile devices are growing in both features, functions, and specifications. With networks & solutions growing in capability, the phones are leading the charge. From 41 megapixel cameras, to quad core processors, phones are quickly becoming capable of performing more complex tasks such as data crunching, and hi-def video processing. This added functionality, combined with greater capabilities from back-end servers, and a stronger pipeline in the form of LTE, the mobile space is only beginning to heat up now that mobile companies are shifting from simply providing devices and services, to enhancing and enriching the devices we’ve all come to rely on.

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Conclusion
This year will be a big one, in terms of introducing new services and continuing to expand on how people utilize their devices.What’s evident is that mobile devices won’t simply become another device to access and interact with information, like a tablet or laptop, but will shape and transform the way we interact with information overall. Mobile won’t simply become another pathway, but will become the pathway and everything else will be shaped around it. What’s important to consider then, is not if mobile will make an impact on your business area, but rather what impact mobile technology will have.

Slalom Consulting's Seattle Office Slalom Consulting's Mobile Focus Area
More about Slalom Consulting’s Seattle office. More about Slalom Consulting’s Mobile focus.

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About Daniel Maycock
Driven & passionate IT thought leader with several years experience working with companies to help solve their most difficult technology issues. Focus is around successful adoption of emerging technologies, such as Mobile & Cloud technologies, and providing the tools & expertise to help companies successfully adopt these technologies where they make the most business sense.

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