The Second Coming of Mobile
A decade ago it was difficult to imagine that mobile would be anything more than a secondary add-on to the personal computer. Yet, history has chartered an altogether different course for the same.
This year is going to be a landmark year in two respects. We are going to see the debut of the Apple Watch which is going to help decide the mainstream future of wearables.
Pebble, the first smart watch, has grown its user base over the years and even launched the new Pebble Time with a colored e-ink display this year. However, the fact that it has only managed to sell about 400,000 units since inception is a big disappointment.
Wearables as a category is really important because most technology companies have managed to reach their cieling in terms of innovating with mobiles. Wearables are acting as a breath of fresh air. Most companies like Samsung and LG who have been struggling will look at wearbles as the next fad to keep their earnings going for the next few years.
Marketers and advertisers who have managed to push social media advertising rates through the roofs shall finally have another shot at direct marketing. Hopefully, they will be successful this time.
Big Data firms that have been hungry for data and are tracking almost every single move of their customers shall have enough data to mine in the near future. With inputs on lifestyle and social behavior advertising is going to be a lot more focused in the near future.
Next, we are going to see the feasibility of mobile wallets both domestically and internationally. While Apple Pay is trying hard internationally, the homegrown PayTM, which managed to raise another round of funding from Ratan Tata has its work cut out in the near future.
M-wallets are going to change the way users shop and emerge as a direct threat to the two big card providers namely Visa and Mastercard. With lower fees and wider adoption e-wallets are going to find wider support from governments. This is extremely important for a country like India where majority of the transactions carried out via cash escape the lens of the government authorities.
While digital wallets shall enable better financial data availability and inclusion, they will also act as a breather for e-commerce companies whose COD models are acting as a roadblock in their profitability. While a successful adoption of mobile wallets in urban areas is likely what remains to be seen is the feasibility of the mobile wallet in rural and semi-urban areas.
Wider adoption shall in turn lead to greater innovation. RobinHood, an app in the United States, provides stock trading with the lowest comissions possible while Digit helps save users money every month. Both of these show the endless possibilities that a widespread adoption of mobile wallets shall enable.
What remains to be seen is whether smart watches shall be feasible,whether mobile wallets shall survive as standalone apps or be integrated in mobile phones and if mobile wallets will finder wider adoption in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India.