Hello from Web Spiders UK!
Phew… it has been a whirlwind year for me with trips to Finland, Switzerland (ITU exhibition), Channel Islands, London as well as our office in Birmingham.Â On my travels, when speaking to people at different levels about Mobile Internet, the response has almost been “Yes, it’s the next big thing.” or “I can see it being big in 1 to 2 years time”… Well, actually the time is now! In October this year (2009) Tesco launched an iPhone application for shopping and in November Sky have launched “Sky Mobile TV”, an iPhone app for viewing live TV such as news and sport.
This adds to Ocado who already have a mobile commerce iPhone application and eBay who launched, as reported by BusinessWeek in October, “its iPhone application alone facilitated $380 million in sales this year”
Google have recognised this as well by providing “Google Analytics for Mobile”.
With this in mind, and in the recognition that big brands are doing it, business will need to take a serious look at mobile as a new channel to take.Â Organisations will now not only need a website but also a mobile version of it, to assist SEO but more importantly allow browsers on handheld to have viewable information and useable functionality.
I have given a few highlights of some research statistics I have seen in the past few months below from various publications that all point towards the take off to Mobile Internet and Applications. Take into account RIM also launched the Blackberry AppWorld in April 2009.
“Mobile internet becoming a daily activity for many.”
- Comscore, March, 2009
“Big in Japan -Up to 25% of a retailer’s sales can come from m-Commerce.”
- Internet Retailing, May 2009
“Mobile buyers tend to be repeat purchasers with a higher order value than average consumer, and it can be important for them to complete transactions with ease even if it means spending more.”
- eMarketer, September 2009, Jeffrey Grau
“In the next decade, the mobile Internet will replicate the success story of the PC-based Internet as social networks, widgets, search engines or company websites adapt for mobile presentation.”
- Forrester Research, August 2009
Some of the barriers that people still talk about are cost of the handsets and also connectivity.
Taking each of these points:
Cost: Manufacturers are already in a competitive market and trying to stay ahead of the game by providing internet friendly functionality. With major manufacturers such as Samsung, RIM (Blackberry), Nokia and Apple (iPhone) all adding these facilities, I believe network operators will try to push (maybe discount) these phones with the carrot of gaining more revenue from Internet browsing. The price of the iPhone, for instance, will be especially interesting to watch over the next few months as O2’s exclusivity to sell this has ended and Orange is now able to sell the device. As the technology advances (like with computers), prices will also come down.
Connectivity: Whilst at the ITU Telecom in October, the major talking point seemed to be the evolution and adoption worldwide of WiMax Mobile, providing 4G connectivity.Â Providers such as Yota in Russia and Packet One (P1) Networks in Malaysia are really driving the way.Â Whilst in the UK, the Mobile WiMax Acceleration Group (M-WAG) has been running for a while but national mobile WiMax looks like it is on the distant horizon.Â In the meantime, the choice could be to develop a native downloadable mobile application rather than a mobile enabled website, so that the application is using the resources of the local device.
The uses of mobile applications can be wide ranging; not only covering mCommerce but also solutions like mLearning (mobile learning), entertainment (mobile TV, games, etc.), process automation (surveys, inventory management, email, sales database access), marketing/ brand campaigns, even CCTV and much more.
Within Web Spiders, we have seen strong interest in our mobile application development capabilities.
It will be interesting to watch how mobile Internet develops, but with Christmas just around the corner and new generation of mobile phone handsets (like iPhones) bound to be in people’s stockings, I can see that organisations who don’t start to quickly look at this channel and plan a strategy… well, they might get left behind. (If someone has already installed your competitors’ mobile application, will they then go back at a later date and install yours when it becomes available?)
Neil will be presenting at the Online Information & IMS exhibition on Thursday 3rd December at 3pm on “Mobilising Applications to Improve Commerce, Automate Processes and Provide Access to Information”.
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