Why Mobile is the Future of Everything
Humans have always survived and thrived through technologies that improved our capacity to be mobile. The War Chariots of the Ancient Hittites and later the Egyptians allowed them to spread hegemony throughout the Middle East and North Africa; and the roads of Ancient Rome allowed the Eternal City to establish Pax Romana throughout much of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for 200 years.
In more modern times, the steam engine allowed the Western Europe and North America to create a booming trans-atlantic trade as well as thriving continent-spanning railroad systems . At the turn of the 20th century, the combustible engine led to the global domination of the automobile. And, roughly 100 years later, the evolution of the newest form of mobile technology — SmartPhones, Mobile apps and the Internet of Things — continues to disrupt and change the world.
There are a few key differences between mobile phones and the older mobile technologies discussed above:
♦ Mobile App technology interweaves itself throughout more industries at a more fundamental level. Cars certainly changed how business was conducted, especially in the terms of increased distribution capabilities, but Mobile Apps are much more disruptive throughout all industries in many more ways. This will be covered in more detail below
♦ The speed at which Mobile apps are affecting change is staggering. It took the automobile more than two decades to become a tool for the average person. To this day, there are many places that rarely ever see a vehicle. Mobile apps took the world by storm in less than a decade.
♦ Largely this quick and widespread adoption is thanks to the large availability and ease of access of mobile apps (the Internet puts limited boundaries to entry for much of the world) as well as the low entry risk of apps (most are free and require little time/energy investment from users). But this is also because of how effective mobile apps are, as well as mobile app is a catchall term.
♦ As mentioned above, apps weave themselves into many industries, but it’s important to note that apps are viewed very differently from most other industries. People often see Mobile apps as all one industry and one monolithic tool; apps essentially refer any and all programs we use to interact with our internet-capable devices. It’s actually an odd way to view mobile apps as we don’t do it with any other piece of technology. But few other industries are treated the same: products utilizing the combustible engine (or the technology derived from it) as one industry; instead these are divided into cars, planes, trains, et cetera.
♦ All of the other factors above also lead to perhaps the key difference between apps and other technologies for mobility; the disruptive power of mobile apps is astounding. One would be hard-pressed to find another industry that has changed so much, so quickly in such a global fashion.
♦ The last key difference we will mention is that chariots, roads, cars, etc are technological tools to improve one’s mobility. On the other hand, apps are tools to improve access to other technologies while mobile. This is a seemingly small difference, but is possibly the most fundamental difference we’ve discussed.
Hopefully, the above points have demonstrated why and how mobile apps are different from other technologies surrounding mobility. The rest of this post is going to briefly cover three major industries being affected by mobile apps: Retail/Commerce (eCommerce); Human Resources (HR); and the Food Services Industry (i.e. restaurants and bars).
mCommerce is a division of eCommerce that is, not surprisingly, conducted solely through mobile apps. In 2013 (about 5 years after the first mobile apps), mCommerce was already worth 1.5 trillion dollars globally, a number expected to more than double by this time next year. As desktops slowly fade into irrelevancy, this number will continue to grow exponentially. Eventually, mCommerce is likely to be the way most of the world shops. The clever entrepreneur would get involved with this industry now, before it becomes overly saturated.
Human Resources is a necessary part of any business. A business owner’s most valuable asset are their employees, but managing those same employees is one of the most difficult parts of running any organization. Mobile app technology has reached the point where they have become extremely helpful in collecting and analyzing data. This has led to better understandings of employees, better management practices and improved employee satisfaction — as well as improved CEO satisfaction.
• Food Service
Often those in non-tech business have a hard time seeing how apps and other technologies can improve their own business. This relates back to the wide-spread applicability of apps — it’s hard to realize just how vast intertwined into all aspects of the economy the mobile industry has become. The truth is that non-tech business, especially local ones, can benefit almost more than any other industry from apps. Apps that help with HR management (as discussed above) can help improve scheduling and employee satisfaction; custom apps can improve inventory management; and — most importantly for local businesses, apps provide an inexpensive, easy marketing and brand awareness tool. They allow SMBs to compete in the same arena as global companies and vast restaurant chains.
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