I lived through the first go-round of mobile hype. In the late 90′s, my employer tasked a division within the company to enable mobile transactions. Needless to say, it didn’t take. Not near enough adoption of mobile in general within the market to make it fly. But, I remain convinced this time is different. Mobile, in myriad ways, is set to take off and influence how consumers interact with your brand down the road. Here’s why:
- Improved form factors drive usability enhancements. Devices such as the iPhone will change consumers’ perception of what a mobile device should offer, thus driving demand for similar capabilities in other products (whether mobile phone, GPS, in-dash control panel, what-have-you).
- Network capacity permits richer experiences. Probably more important than usability – at least at first. Just as increased deployment of broadband revitalized the PC-based web (where were AJAX or other RIA technologies prior?), increased mobile capacity will enable more useful experiences for consumers on mobile devices.
- Generational shift. Nothing influences the future as much as kids growing up. Mobile may be farther out than we think – but may be all the larger for it once Junior demands broadband video, location-based services and network-oriented search (i.e., where my friends at?).
I still believe these changes will influence offline purchases more than online for some time (I mean, if I’m out and about on my phone anyway, why not swing by and pick up the gizmo-du-jour?). Still, this market is getting closer every day.
What do you think? What factors am I missing in this race? Or am I completely off my nut here?