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June 12, 2014

Morphing at Light Speed - Engage Your Consumers Better

Posted by Suryaprakash K. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:26 AM

An Interview With Mary Meeker 121 [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_GUDhXVdB4]

Every year, several of us eagerly wait for the release of Mary Meeker's report. We use it to reconfirm some of our beliefs and validate the trends we observe. I recently watched, with much interest, the 2014 Internet Trends presentation. And there it was - a note about how companies (Western or otherwise) must open themselves up to just how significantly international consumers are connecting to their organizations as well as to each other. Right now, billions of mobile users across Asia, Africa, and South America are fundamentally changing the way the Internet works and how the world does business. Mobile devices and platforms are integral to how most of the world connects with each other, orders goods and services, and consumes news and information.

The proliferation of mobile device is forcing the outsourcing of end-user computing devices back to the end-user, with or without the enterprise approving of it. Consumers and employees are increasingly consuming enterprise apps on their mobile platforms, and seamlessly combining enterprise apps with hundreds of collaboration apps and thousands of utility apps. Sales teams are using their enterprise CRM systems, and at the same time, sharing contacts and collaborating via WhasApp, for instance. Users of WhatsApp send 50 billion messages each day. The Japan-based messaging app Line handles 10 billion messages a day. While Facebook is still very relevant as a mass broadcast model, WhatsApp and Snapchat offer people a means to maintain close and frequent contacts with smaller groups. The power of these platforms is immense. The knowledge these platforms accumulate about on the new hyper-connected consumers is a big asset. No wonder Facebook paid $19 Billion to acquire WhatsApp. More than the $17 Bn that GE is bidding for Alstom!

The ubiquitous mobile platform is itself a creative disruptive. Consider this - In 2005, the mobile world was dominated by three operating systems: Linux, Nokia Symbian, and Blackberry OS. Between the three of them, they accounted for some 90 percent of the operating systems of the world's smart phones. Today, just eight years later, those three operating systems power less than three percent of the world's smart phones. Some 97 percent of the devices run either Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, three systems that were barely known in 2005.

The columnist Matthew Panzarino recently wrote that we're entering an age of apps as service layers. "These are apps you have on your phone but only open when you know they explicitly have something to say to you. They aren't for 'idle browsing,' they're purpose-built & informed by contextual signals like hardware sensors, location, history of use & predictive computation." It's truly the unbundling of the Internet - thanks to mobility. Just five years ago mobile carriers were focused on advertising as a revenue stream to supplement their subscription fees. Today, their revenues from mobile apps are around $26 billion compared to about $12 billion from ads. Mobile apps are becoming the conduit for global commerce and communication.

Mobile platforms are also made for video and image sharing. As they replace desktops as the global platform of choice, consumers will utilize the types of social media that allow them to facilitate what's known as the "visual web." How many businesses are on top of this trend? I ask because digital consumers can spread opinions about products, services, and brands very quickly. And this is only slated to increase.

As mobile platforms begin to multiply and evolve with intensity, another problem (and a potentially lucrative solution) that has arisen involves security. A "vulnerable" system - a system without a robust set of security measures - that is placed on the Internet is compromised in less than 15 minutes. In fact, according to that Internet presentation, more than 95 percent of networks will be compromised in some way. And direct cyber attacks will inevitably rise as mobile platforms increase in popularity.

Let's face it: Mobility is difficult to wrap your head around if you're comfortable in a world of desktops and laptops. And it's also intimidating if you don't know how to anticipate the new kinds of security threats that come with mobility's rise. It's changing global commerce, and the access model to a hyper-connected consumer so quickly that it pays to put out the right solutions for your business. Businesses need to mobilize themselves to fully embrace the hyper-connected always-on consumers; entertain mobile consumers with "to person, in context, at spot, on time" information, product and service from easy-to-use mobile apps; empower them with mobile social communities through the ubiquitous mobile messaging ecosystem; and most critically, ensure they have absolute confidence that they will enjoy the best of mobile computing. By doing so, businesses can stay on top of the shift and positively impact both revenues and costs.

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