By Tomi Ahonen (Author of six global bestselling hardcover books, three eBooks, and working GLOBALLY for customers in technology. Founding member of ForumOxford.com, Wireless Watch, Carnival of Mobilists. Referenced in 50 books by other authors)
BIGGER THAN YOU THOUGHT
There are more mobiles than humans yes, you had read that. But that is unprecedented by any tech, more people have mobiles than TVs, PCs or cars yes. But also more than credit cards or bank accounts. More people have mobiles than have running water or electricity or even have a roof over their heads. More people use mobile phones than wear a wristwatch or have any use for paper and pencil. But even illiterate people can use a mobile – and do. Homeless people have mobile phones. Refugees who abandon everything else, bring their mobiles. There has never been anything like mobile. You thought you were prepared and had internalized how massive mobile was. You miscalculated. Its far bigger.
FAST FASTER FASTEST
The telephone made the world move faster. Telephony gave us such tech as the fax. The internet was far faster than the phone with tech like email and the browser. Social Media is faster yet, led by Facebook and Twitter. Mobile is all that. Only faster. Telephone calls went to mobile. The internet is shifting to mobile. Social media is almost totally mobile already. Mobile does all that but only faster still. Everything you ever learned about the power of faster, applies to mobile only its even faster still. Only 20% of emails are opened. 97% of SMS text messages are opened! Average response time for email is 48 hours. Text messages get average response in 3 minutes! Your competion? They probably already knew all this.
The PC was the most versatile tech that humankind had seen. The internet supercharged that. Mobile is both a PC and the internet, but mobile is much more than what the PC and internet are, or indeed can ever become. A selfie camera? A payment instrument at Starbucks? An emergency flashlight when the lights go out? A map with perfect GPS positioning? Your alarm clock? Mobile is by far the most versatile gadget that humankind has ever created. This means its the ultimate ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of do-anything, be-anything miracle machine. Yet mobile is still young and evolving.
Mobile is versatile. That means its complex. The Mobile industry is the most complex major industry on the planet. Consider it has to do all the telephone industry did, but do it now with full mobility (and globally). Consider it has to do all the PC industry did, but without a keyboard or mouse, all on touch-screens. Consider it has to do all the internet did, but on a far smaller screen and wirelessly. Yet it also does payments, cameras, location-precision, etc. The most complex industry ever. And far more difficult than rocket science. That means a lot of confusion, bad info, mistakes and poor judgement. It means also huge opportunities. As the mistakes are plentiful, and the growth rate breathtaking, it means some win big (Google, Apple), others fail miserably (Yahoo, Nokia). You cannot afford to make blatant, obvious mistakes when the stakes are so high.
USED WITH ALL OTHER MEDIA
This is a weird one, but should give you pause. Do you listen to your radio while watching a movie in the cinema? Do you read a newspaper while surfing the internet? Do you carry your TV with you while reading the ad on a billboard as you drive across town in a car or bus? Sometimes we may have the radio on for background music while reading a newspaper. We may have the TV on while surfing on the internet. But no media or tech has ever been participating – participating simultaneously – in our consumption of ANOTHER media. Television asks us to vote via mobile phones. Radio asks for audience opinions via mobile. Newspapers ask for readers to send in ‘citizen journalism’ photographs via mobile. What happens if you lose your password to your email service? They will send the security code.. to your mobile phone! When a movie ends in the cinema, the first messages are sent while the end credits are rolling is, telling friends if that movie was worth seeing. Even billboards are building interactivity, through mobile. There has never been one media that interjects itself into all other media! Mobile (and only mobile) already can be used with all other media. And that is only spreading and expanding. Partly because nothing is as easy to measure as mobile. I call mobile the magical measurement machine.
221 TIMES PER DAY
Mobile is the most addictive tech there has ever been. University studies have measured the mobile addiction to be similar to that of cigarette smoking. TV, radio, even the internet do not get that level of addiction. This is not hype. This has been measured in university studies across the planet. As addictive as cigarette smoking. There is no going back. Our mobile habit will only get ever more involved and ever more intense, ie more addicted. The average mobile phone user looks at his or her phone 150 times per day. For smartphone users, its 221 times per day. No other gadget or media or tech produces as intense relevance nor as intense withdrawal symptoms if we are without it. When ranking possessions and valuables, mobile trumps wallets, credit cards, tablets, and family heirloom photographs. All this has been tested and reported. Which means, the relevance of mobile to humankind is only getting more intense, personal and powerful.
FASTEST GROWING GIANT INDUSTRY EVER
Mobile is one of rare Trillion-dollar sized industries (1,000 Billion dollars in annual revenues). TV, cinema, personal computers, videogames, newspapers, the internet, etc are nowhere near that size and never have been that big. What are so big? Cars are a Trillion dollar global industry. Armaments are a Trillion dollar industry. Food, construction, banking, healthcare.. about a dozen industries rank in the Trillions. Mobile became a Trillion dollar industry in only 29 years from launch. That was a world record (it still stands). Today mobile is already at $1.6T and still growing fast. Mobile is literally, the fastest-growing giant industry of the economic history of humankind. You understand strategy. You undestand money. The fastest-growing industry ever? It means, mobile also has produced, and is producing more wealth than any industry ever in any comparable time. More millionaires, more Billionaires. More successful startups and more success to big corporations. Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago. Today its the most profitable company that ever existed. Apple didn’t build its profits on the Mac or iPod or iTunes or iPad. Most of Apple’s profits come.. from mobile. If you are not going to pursue the mobile side of your business, your competitors will bury you.
As the opportunity to ‘get rich quick’ is set to a whole new level with mobile, that attracts every conceivable rival. Not just tech and media giants like Apple a computer maker, Google an internet giant, BBC a broadcaster or Sony a home electronics giant; but companies utterly outside the realm of possible competitors to Vodafone, Verizon, China Mobile, T-Mobile and Telefonica. Companies such as Starbucks, the second largest restaurant chain on the planet whose CEO says the most important thing to its future is.. mobile. Starbucks has just become – in only 3 years – the most used ‘stored value’ mobile wallet provider on the planet. Home Depot, the world’s largest retailer for tools, says mobile gives it an ‘endless aisle’ where it can sell 10 times more tools than in its largest superstore. Visa the largest credit card company says the future of payments is not plastic nor electronic cash, but mobile. Car manufacturers, airlines, hotels, almost any industry is suddenly racing into mobile. Pepsi just launched a smartphone in China. The unprecedented breadth of competitors means, you can be destroyed at your own game. In year 2000 the world’s largest camera manufacturers were Minolta, Nikon, Konica and Canon. That year Nokia, Apple and Samsung didn’t sell any cameras. Only ten years later the most used cameras on the planet were on phones made by Nokia, Samsung and Apple. Meanwhile, Minolta and Konica had quit the camera business.
The government of Singapore offers all government services through mobile except for passports. Estonia was first country to hold a national election where citizens could vote via mobile. UAE became the first country to issue national driver’s licences in mobile versions. Kenya will let you register your company by mobile. Spain was the first country where contract signatures could be signed by simple SMS text message. Norway became the first country where you can file your tax return not just with mobile, but for most taxpayers, by simple text message. Sweden intends to become the first country to eliminate cash; 80% of its bus tickets for example are paid by mobile. To eliminate cash. In our lifetime. Cash has been around for over 3,000 years. We will live to see its end. Not killed by plastic credit cards or Paypal or bitcoins. Mobile will kill cash. Not my words, the words of Visa the largest credit card company. Coca Cola, the largest beverage company has already launched a virtual currency as part of its loyalty program… of course on mobile. The mobile industry is the most creative technical and business opportunity that ever existed.
MOST VOLATILE MEANS BIGGEST RISK
The rapid speed of the industry, the huge complexity, the rapid evolution, and the ever increasing number of rivals and competitors, keep shifting the landscape and changing the rules, creating unprecedented volatility. No giant global industry has ever seen in a 2 year period its number 1 player fall outside the Top 3, simultaneously its number 4 player leapfrog numbers 2 and 3, to become number, 1 unless some kind of massive corporate fraud was involved (Enron) or a catastrophic incident (Pan Am bombing). Nokia was the world’s largest smartphone maker in 2010. Blackberry was number 2, Apple number 3, Samsung number 4. Nokia was four times the size of Samsung. By 2012, in two years, Nokia was out of the Top 5 and Samsung was number 1. This didn’t happen with Ford, Toyota, GM and Volkswagen. This didn’t happen with Airbus, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas and Tupolev. This didn’t happen with HP, Dell, Compaq and Lenovo. When there is a change at the top of any other major industry, it is a slow process that is signaled well in advance and the number two becomes the new leader and the past leader only falls to number 2, etc. But mobile is literally the giant industry of the greatest risk. Risk to fail, but also risk to succeed – beyond one’s wildest dreams. You have to be bold, and you must have a clear strategic focus.
EVERYTHING ELSE IS SUBSERVIENT
So you hear all the other pitches. Someone says you need to focus on the cloud, or on social media, or on big data, or on the internet of things. Or whatnot. There is one unifying theme to all those hot tech stories. Yes, that is
only mobile. Cloud computing will be pretty worthless without mobile. Its like building an airplane without the wings. Maybe a comfortable tube to sit in but it isn’t goint to take you anywhere. Social media is already mostly mobile and going fully mobile, so say all its leaders starting with Facebook and Twitter. The Internet of Things will not be all mobile, but most of the connectivity across the ‘things’ will transit mobile part of the way if not all the way. The internet of things without mobile is just things. And Big Data. Having Big Data without mobile is like having a car without its gasoline (or diesel, or ok, electric car, without electricity). Whatever other big tech projects you have, mobile is integral to them or supersedes them (or both).
Largest, And fastest. Also most versatile. And most complex. Also the most addictive. Only one used with all other media. Also fastest-growing, as well as most competitive. Plus its most volatile. Finally all other major tech trends are either subservient to, or superceded by.. mobile. Any ONE of those ten reasons alone, would justify you to increase your focus to mobile this year. But nothing in human history has been this pervasive nor this impactful. Not water viaducts, not the steam engine, not electricity, not the telegraph, not the telephone, not cars, not airplanes, not rockets, not the computer, not nuclear power and not the internet. Nothing has changed humankind as much as mobile has done in the past two decades – and we are not even at full speed yet. The best days of mobile are only now starting. Largest, fastest, most versatile and most complex. Most addictive and used with other media. Fastest-growing, most competitive and most volatile. And the other hot tech topics, Cloud Computing, Social Media, Internet of Things and Big Data – all depend on or will be replaced by.. mobile.
With that, I humbly submit to you, that whatever you had budgeted to mobile for 2016, be it your budget, your resources or your time, now you need to make that bigger. Because your competitors surely are. Oh, and we at The Futures Agency? We know mobile, we can help…
(reposted from Communities Dominate blog)