Mobile Hub

Mobile Hub

In the third instalment of a new series of opinion pieces called Mobile Hub, mobile celebrates a milestone – its 40th Birthday.


Happy Birthday.

Mobile has been celebrating, as it’s just turned 40 years old.  Yup 40 years ago, Martin Cooper a VP at Motorola made the first mobile call to friend and rival Joel Engel at AT&T.  It took Motorola a further 10 years to develop a commercial product, the Motorola DynaTAC which cost nearly $4,000, and was about 30 cms tall.  For most of the intervening time, the IT&T sector has been understandably hell-bent on reducing the size of the units, and they’ve done well, probably could do better if the battery lot got their act together.  But maybe this is isn’t a problem after all given phones seem to getting bigger, and the term ‘phone’ is irrelevant anyway.  Let’s move on.


Fastest selling Samsung.

Samsung are saying their new S4 is their fastest shipping handset ever (to carriers).  The S4 launched across 60 countries a little more than a month ago, and it’s on track to top 10 million units being purchased by telcos. The confidence to on-sell to consumers is well placed.


‘What’s in it for me’ – Mobile monetisation.

As the content pay-wall battle simmers on, a new piece of research and thinking has emerged from The Yankee Group. The ‘Redefining Virtual Currency’ study casts some light on consumer’s attitudes to accruing credit through consuming ads amongst other arrangements.  The U.S. virtual currency market is valued at U.S.$47.5 billion and forecasted to grow by 14 percent to U.S.$55.4 billion by 2017.  Looking beyond these (U.S.) numbers, more notable I think, is the reported willingness of consumers to share personal information as their currency in a trade, i.e. in exchange for a free app download or free content. In the study, approximately 25% of respondents stated they provided information about themselves every 3 months in order to get a free download of a normally paid app. The Yankee Group rightly argue that consumers controlling some information flow between themselves and media organisations has been the case as long as content has existed, but the ubiquity of smart devices and also publishers seeking to accelerate the monetisation of digital platforms is fuelling this.


There’s opportunity for brands as well in content being offered in exchange for users information.  Branded content is seeing real growth across APAC, and I feel this is set to continue whilst we encounter growing regulations around consumer data privacy. Legislators take note, allow businesses to exercise responsibly in this area, and everybody will be happier.


Tracking and the cookie.

Whilst I’m on the subject of useful data, there have been sharp intakes of breath around the so-called ‘Death Of The Cookie’. Paul Cimino, VP/GM at Merkle (, gives cookies as we know them 5 years. He’s right, and that is a good thing. The mobile world has always been an unstable, even hostile environment for cookies, therefore, as necessity is the mother of invention, mobile specialists have become quite adept at building intelligence and delivering relevancy through other techniques.  One of the by-products of the perception of a cookie-less future gives the focus ‘big data’ is enjoying some added spice, with organisations already looking to forge closer, more transparent ties to their users, finding a new reason to try a wee bit harder.


Understanding Consumers behaviour on mobile.

Being able to get a handle on users mobile media activities has got easier in Australia this month with Nielsen’s launch of their on-device monitoring product within Online Ratings.  It shows daily breakdowns across operating system and devices on sites within Mobile Market Intelligence.  This does not include applications currently however.

Some insights accompanied the launch of course.  For period May 1st-May 15th 2013, at an aggregate level, traffic by device breakdown for the period was; Computer 65%, Mobile 25%, Tablet 9%, Other 1%.


Mobile in retail.

Another few building bricks towards scalable NFC’s have fallen into place in Australia with the announcement by EFTPOS, the ubiquitous payment system, of a partnership with C-SAM to trial secure mobile wallet payment technology models. The mPayment sector is bristling with activity as mentioned in Mobile Hub previously, but this seems a gear change for Australia.  Earlier in the year Samsung and Visa entered a global partnership where Visa payWave NFC tech will be installed into Samsung models, with the ability, naturally, for customers banks to link into handsets.  The important factor in all this is of course the base of handsets that have the tech fully enabled, and when critical mass will be reached to achieve a decent level of adoption, and create a competitive marketplace amongst providers and solutions. That’s not a 2013 reality.  Interestingly, in the U.S., a study by IHL Group on mobile being used at POS to transact, acknowledges the space is in it’s infancy, however is not without optimism, with 28% of retailers planning to adopt some form of mobile POS by the end of 2013. 


Mobile futures.

The prize to the most mobile-centric global agency CEO goes to Paul Gunning of interactive group, Tribal DDB.  He suggests that if his business isn’t deriving 80% of it’s revenue from mobile in the next few years, then it’s going to be in trouble.  This feels steep, as the economics don’t stack up against such an aggressive timescale, but Paul is absolutely right to throw the gauntlet down to his own tribe.

And lastly, at this weeks iAB Australia Awards judging, where incidentally there was a lot of great digital work was on show, there were more than a few corridor conversations about introducing more mobile orientated categories into next years Awards to reflect the creativity and volume of mobile work.  Who could successfully argue against that?

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