Year after year, marketers have awaited the coming of "The Year of Mobile," holding it in as much awe and admiration as they might if it were the Second Coming. And yes, 2010 seems to be the year when the Mobile Messiah has touched down to bestow peace, love, angry birds, and always-on connectivity upon the land.
Image via The Washington Post. Copyright of Nick Anderson
But as John Swords, partner and ringleader at Circ.us, and Jonathan Schaaf, global director of global digital strategy at Omnicom Media group, mentioned in their innovation presentation at the iMedia Agency Summit this afternoon, there's still so much more to come for the mobile platform.
Swordspointed out a few signs that mobile still has some growth spurts in store:
- Mobile devices are getting ever more powerful. It used to be a few years between releases; now we have them more than once a year.
- In the next 1 to 2 years, we'll be seeing mobile speeds that will rival that of broadband, which means a host of new apps and devices will become possible.
- We're starting to move from having one device that does everything to a disparate device ecosystem where people are using certain devices that specialize in accomplishing certain tasks.
- Tagging systems and technologies like near-field communications will take us to next level in terms of awareness of our surroundings.
We started with the base phone (Motorola), then evolved to the iPhone, which has more sensors, inputs and capabilities. But just like the computing experience has evolved from the desktop to laptops, tablets, and netbooks, so too will the definition of mobile expand beyond the device that provides it.
In the present, we have Wi-Fi picture frames; we have cars that come with Wi-Fi service; we have scales that will post your weight to your social networks; AR goggles can overlay information for what you are viewing; and there are even bras that can detect physiological changes that signal distress and will alert police if it senses that the wearer is in danger. (Of course, this could also mean a lot of false alarms and embarrassing situations for women with odd fetishes and fantasies.)
So the important consideration for marketers isn't whether mobile adoption and penetration has reached the point where they must be embracing the channel, but rather that they need to think about how to integrate the powerful innovative technologies that are on the way into their outreach -- not just to be credited as doing it, but to do it in a smart way that enhances the brand value and enriches the consumer's life on its behalf.
And from Swords' and Schaaf's perspective, the mobile evolution will, indeed, forge onward, with the marketplace developing new approaches to point of sale, new tools that provide deeper consumer engagement, new strategies for more collaborative experiences, and new channels to connect brands and consumers with more convenience and opportunities to reward loyalty.