From relevant mobile marketing and communications that reach us on every step of the consumer journey to mobile money services that enable us to conduct financial transactions to the advance of cloud-based services that give us easy access to our files and networks anywhere, anytime, mobile is finally taking its cues from people, not just what technology makes possible.
Against this backdrop, an effective content delivery strategy must start with the individual and then integrate the channels/screens that matter the most to deliver the best experience possible. Thus, mobile is not the third screen (or even the first if we consider that digital natives and developing markets access everything using mobile devices). Mobile is the glue that allows companies to deliver 360-degree content experiences, designed from the ground up, to flow seamlessly across platforms and devices.
And don't think that this flexibility is a nice-to-have. My discussions with senior executives and industry influencers force me to conclude that the capabilities to deliver a great experience across all the screens we access will soon be table stakes.
This shift is also the chief focus of The Netsize Guide by Gemalto NV -- the fourth mobile industry book I have had the pleasure to research and write on behalf of my client Netsize, a communications and commerce solutions company that is also a subsidiary of Gemalto. This year the book charts new territory, moving beyond recounting the industry milestones to indentifying the three themes that will define the next phase of mobile: transaction, transformation, and trust.
The chapter titled "Transaction" looks at how we increasingly rely on our mobile devices to discover, research, and ultimately interact with content. Thanks to the advance of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology and QR code schemes that make buying content, goods, and services (both physical and digital) a breeze, many of these interactions end in a transaction.
In "Transformation," the discussion centers on the capabilities that allow mobile to impact long-established business models around content, communications, and connectivity. The cloud allows us to demand -- and expect -- simple and easy access to our media, content, and networks anywhere, anytime.
Significant progress in search, personalization, and artificial intelligence (AI) over just the past 12 months allows us to think of our mobile phones as smart assistants, equipped with intelligence, judgment, and humanlike traits. And the advance of IP-based applications that enable one-to-many messaging encourages the growth of one-to-many broadcast models that revolutionize communications and disrupt the telecoms strategies that placed mobile operators in control.
The chapter "Trust" is the most thought-provoking, offering us a new perspective and suggesting that trust (and the companies that succeed in earning it from customers) will define the next phase of industry innovation and growth.
Why will trust be so important? Because only a relationship built on trust will provide companies access to the customer insights and information they require in order to deliver the applications, content, and services (combined to produce a balanced and effective cross-media strategy) we want -- and will come to demand.
Indeed, a walk through our daily routine confirms the pivotal importance of trust in all things mobile (and digital). We demand relevant advertising and content, for example. However, only companies we trust with our data will be able to deliver us what we will likely appreciate. We are willing to buy goods and services with our mobile phones. However, it's the companies that can ensure the integrity of our data and transactions that will be the ones we do business with. We want to communicate and connect via our social networks. But we can also abandon these communities overnight if (like Facebook) the social networking companies we trust with our personal information choose to divulge this data to third parties and partners without our knowledge or consent.
Connect the dots, and trust is critical. It is the most fundamental competency required by all the players that make up the digital business ecosystem, one that is expanding to include content companies, providers, brands, developers, and companies across all verticals. Most importantly, this ecosystem exists to serve us -- the people. Thus, building and maintaining our trust will emerge as the key determinant of competitive advantage and, ultimately, success.