Welcome to the Mobile Revolution. The Battle is Over, Mobile Won.

image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_lowry/

10 years ago if someone told you that you would be able to hold a super computer in your hand that contained, not only most of the information in the world, but knew where you were physically at all times, could talk to you, show you videos of anything you could imagine (and some you wish you hadn’t) and allowed you to directly communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world; would you have believed them?

image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_lowry/
image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_lowry/

You believe them now.

If they would have told you even 5 years ago that total PC shipments would decline 11% a year and that there would be more than 2 mobile phones per person on the planet would you have laughed at them? Ericsson predicts that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices on the planet. Today there are about 8 billion.

Mobile is your marketing strategy.

Welcome to the Mobile Revolution.

It has been established that 2012 was actually the year of mobile and we missed its quiet revolution until we started to realize it was already taking over. Apple’s introduction of the iPhone and iPad fundamentally changed the very idea of what a phone and a “computing appliance” could be. And now with Android and Microsoft pumping out new devices and features mobile is already on track to be the dominant force in every metric that matters.

There is no question that we are already in the midst of a massive sea change in the effect technology has on our daily lives.

There are some mind-blowing changes that mobile is having on our everyday lives and those impacts will continue to resonate and evolve.

How is the mobile revolution affecting marketing strategies, branding and business in general? Is it enough to have mobile marketing strategies?

The effects are enormous and complex but in an effort to bring a little clarity here are five key points to consider about what mobile means for us going forward.

Tomi T Ahonen (Mobile expert and author) said:

“Mobile is the enabling centerpiece of digital convergence. Mobile is the glue for all other digital industries to use when approaching convergence, but mobile is also the digital gateway for the real world to join in this global metamorphosis of human behavior.”

Author Mitch Joel said at the recent Lifecycle Messaging conference in San Diego:

“The only screen that matters is the one in front of you at that moment. Even if you are watching TV with a smartphone or tablet, you are only looking at one at a time so that screen is the one that matters most.”

The numbers showing how mobile is taking over the world are staggering.  The latest figures come from a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, which was conducted from July 18 to September 20, 2013. This report shows that over 55% of Americans own smartphones and over 35% own a tablet. Both numbers are up from around 3% a scant 4 years ago. The growth is dramatic.

The supremacy of mobile derives from its mobility, portability and ubiquity.  We literally carry the entire world in our pants pocket.  When was the last time you left your smartphone at home when you went out somewhere? More than 75% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. It is no longer simply an Internet or calling device, it is as essential and integrated as a wallet or purse.

[Tweet “The Revolution of Mobile is That it Means You Are Somewhere.”]

Not only are you always somewhere with your mobile device you are frequently doing something with someone. Sounds obvious at first glance but think about the differences to the age of the PC.

The Information Age was centered on the idea that with a desktop or laptop you could be anywhere and still get all the information. You could tap into the vast World Wide Web from anywhere to anywhere. It was predicated on a many point network of connected nodes.

However the reality of being “anywhere” meant that for quite a few things it meant we weren’t anywhere.  As in we were nowhere. A desktop is basically an IP address in a home or office. It is NOT a person (at least not typically a single person)

With a smartphone we literally roam the planet interacting with the world, it’s people, brands, products and services, all day long. With a mobile phone you are quite literally somewhere. Right now, right there.  This concept all by itself is big enough to need it’s own massive article but here are a few tidbits to tease the idea out.

Geofencing is a simple and innovative use of the power of being somewhere with a mobile device. A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for real world geographic locations. A geo-fence could be dynamically generated—as in a radius around a store or other location. Or a geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries, like school attendance zones or neighborhood boundaries.  Add in technologies like NFD, RFID and even Wi-Fi tagging and you have an amazing world of possibilities.  (And Minority Report like fears as well) But Bluetooth LTE seems to be the hot trend for 2014. With Apple rolling out iBeacons and others like Mobiquity and PayPal leveraging the technology, Bluetooth is set for a big 2014.

Mobile Payments are small but growing exponentially. Many leading companies are pushing new solutions such as Square’s Reader, Wallet and new Cash services, PayPal’s app, Loops magnetic swipe technology and Isis Pay Wallet using NFD among others.  You know it is real world serious when the CEO of Starbucks preaches about mobile successes in earnings calls, and now – according to the Q3 earnings report – 10 percent of the company’s total US income comes via mobile payments.

 And the massive growth of wearable computing will continue the sea change as Berg Insight forecasts that sales of smart glasses, smart watches and wearable fitness trackers will reach 64.0 million units in 2017. That’s a whole lot of somewheres.

One of the key battlegrounds raging in mobile is not over accessing everyone everywhere (i.e. nowhere), but over very specific places and the people (mobile devices) moving within them i.e. – somewhere.

Is the Desktop PC Dead? (Or just increasingly relegated to work?)

According to the latest report from Gartner:

“Worldwide PC shipments totaled 80.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an 8.6 percent decline from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments. Meanwhile, mobile phone shipments are projected to grow 3.7 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.”

 This week AT&T announced that they sold a third-quarter record 6.7 million smartphones, which accounted for a record 89% of postpaid phone sales in the U.S. The shift is in high gear.

Smartphones and tablets are getting faster, more capable and cheaper. They are also less complex, more reliable, sturdier and designed to move around and live with us. Ultra powerful, massive large screened desktop PCs will always have a place in business and the entertainment center of your home, and laptops might remain as more portable versions of that. Clearly though the momentum has switched to mobile devices for the overwhelming majority of computing devices.

Most likely the first actual casualty of this switch will be traditional laptops. (Not necessarily ultra cheap netbooks) if you can get 80-90% of the functionality, usefulness and work or play done with a tablet why do you need a separate laptop? Mine hasn’t left my desk much for the last 12 months, has yours?

Beauty is in the Eye of the Mobile Holder

Good design matters again. Thanks to companies like Apple a whole new generation (young and old) has been exposed to elegant, pleasing design that just works. Simplicity and functionality are part of the design, however it sill has to look fantastic. We literally can no longer be bothered to engage with ugly designs. From websites to email to devices to even our cars elegant design is increasingly becoming the standard with which all products are judged. Think it doesn’t matter in stodgy old B2B where all that matters is results? Think again. Enterprise email solutions provider Blue Hornet has done a study that shows some staggering numbers and reinforces that design does indeed matter and that mobile is the driving force in all areas of business.

Momentos de Compartir – Sharing is Caring, Mobile is the Moment.

The world has officially left the information age. Information still has tremendous value of course, but it is no longer the reason for the Internet or computing.  We are in the age of communication. From Social Media, to online shopping to restaurant review sites, communication with our peers is the driving force in business. Mobile is the heart and soul of this paradigm jump to the left.

Traditional desktops and laptops are insanely useful, but not very many of us routinely whip out our laptops to snap a photo of our new car or shoes let alone do a price comparison in the local electronics store while deciding which Blue Ray to buy. Social Media was born on and dominates mobile and it is starting to drive some serious revenue as this active chart from Addshoppers shows.

I interviewed Mobile Consultant and author Tim Hayden about his thoughts on the future of mobile. He said:

“2014 is the year that will see the first major bellwether of location-based marketing and offers –(rewards and loyalty programs via their phones) As Mobile Payments company Isis goes national in January 2014.”

“2014 is the year that media and commerce converge into commerce anywhere”

Link to slides:


Mobile is as mobile does. That’s why it is conquering the world one device at a time. There is only one screen that matters and one screen to rule them all. The battle is over, mobile won.


By Andy Newbom

My name is Andy Newbom. At this time there are less than 10 Newboms in the world. Not sure if thats good or bad.