Mobile Internet is the most significant industry disruption in 30 years -- and it is touching peoples’ lives in fundamental ways, says Stevan Hoyle, Director Asia and Africa at Vodafone Global Enterprises.
With over 210,000 Android phones activated every day – and Android based mobiles steadily overtaking the global sales of iPhones; with phones getting smarter and tablets slowly eating into the laptop market; with emerging markets in Asia – and increasingly in Africa – providing the breakthrough for smartphones over feature phones ….. customers increasingly tell service providers: Serve us where we operate – not where you are!
Hoyle spoke to IndiaTechOnline at CommunicAsia in Singapore, last week, shortly before he and Juan-Jose Juan Vodafone’s Global Head of Innovation, made a presentation to the media on the company’s global enterprise roadmap.
The Indian phone market poses some interesting challenges: The market is dominated by lower-end models. Local brands such as Micromax, which emphasise low cost and long battery life over functionality, are stealing market share from Nokia. Smartphone sales are small, accounting for six per cent of total sales this year. iPhones are bought only by a limited number of gadget addicts in the big cities. The contrast with China, where 4G networks are being rolled out and smartphones account for 11.2 per cent of current sales, is stark.
As phones improve, with larger screens and faster processors, the opportunities for marketers will increase. Mobile games are already a thriving niche, and will be a convenient way for Western businesses to promote their brands. The Bollywood film industry currently uses games to raise awareness of new releases, while movie quizzes and cricket games to promote the Indian Premier League are the two other most popular games genres. Mobile ticketing and voucher distribution are still pretty new in India. The appeal is the cost: instead of posting pieces of paper to offer discounts, marketers can text a barcode that can be redeemed at retail outlets. Location-based marketing, increasingly common in the UK and US, is just getting started. (From GameChanger ( Vodafone): Marketing India-Style Charles Orton-Jones).
But Africa is in some senses, even more challenging and exciting ground for mobile-based empowerment. Hoyle points at mobile payment systems like M-Pesa in Kenya which are breaking the mould, so to speak, in the way people can buy and sell from the convenience of their homes.
With a 40 percent share of mobile to mobile traffic, Vodafone is in a good position to get a feel for the way telecom – indeed all people centred – technology is headed.
Which is why they have created a special Web resource – www.futureagenda.org – which attempts to unite some of the world’s best brains, and bring ‘open foresight’ to bear on the greatest technological challenges of the next decade. In the mobile arena alone, trends like data explosion, the consumerisation of enterprise, the ubiquity of smart devices and unified communications ..all point to a gradual if inexorable shift to the Cloud based model of both personal and corporate interactions.
You can can download the Future Agenda in e-book format at http://www.futureagenda.org/pg/cx/view#450
June 30 2011