The State of the Mobile Industry

At a recent breakfast for CEOs, speaker Fred Campbell shared his insights and experiences on building American Businesses serving the Mobile Industry.  He also dared a few predictions for us all.  Here is a recap of his remarks, and his prediction for us.

Q: Fred, what is your background in the Mobile and eCommerce space?

A: My career has been dedicated to founding and building eCommerce and Mobile Apps since 1993, when I graduated from Stanford’s Business School with my MBA.  Previously, I worked as a CFO for a capital management company, CPA with a Big-Four CPA firm, and earned my Bachelors from U.C Berkeley’s Business School.  In 1993 I co-founded, which we took public and then sold to American Greetings.  After some global sight-seeing inspired revelations, I co-founded, a mobile audio-publishing technology and digital talk-radio solution.  Most recently, my 6th startup is MBN (Mobile Broadcast Network), a new technology platform for creating and publishing mobile video content.  In essence, we put a TV Studio into the palm of your hand, or the equivalent of a roving TV Reporter’s truck into your cell phone.

Q: How will MBN’s new technology affect the average person?

A: MBN can enable anyone to create and upload rich, edited video anytime, anywhere from his or her mobile phone.  MBN’s primary focus is working with large media companies, changing how they gather and report news, social media, and online auction sites.

Q: What is your take on the challenging online media world in which we live?

A: Digital media has largely shifted the way we all communicate to asynchronous conversations, starting with email, then instant messaging, texting, and more recently social media.  Our digital conversations have been mostly text-based, but photo sharing is becoming very popular.  We are also shifting from a “desktop online world” to an “always connected mobile world”. Mobile users just surpassed desktop browsers in global time usage, and will soon surpass TV viewing hours as well.  Mobile gives everyone the ability to become a true media broadcaster, anywhere, anytime.  I believe our asynchronous conversations will soon include video.  Whereas Skype and Apple’s Facetime are real-time video communication platform, I believe the more powerful use of video messaging will involve visual annotation or commenting integrated into the source media we are sharing asynchronously.

Q: How does this impact the future of business digital strategy?

A: Very soon, a business’ Mobile Apps will be more important than its website.  Chances are, your customers are already empowered with smart mobile devices or will soon be.  Your customers are using their always-on mobile connections to share data, stories, and experiences about every aspect of your business.  My advice is to join and influence these conversations.  Your Mobile App will become one of the best ways for you to accomplish this goal.  Your App will give power to your customers, and in return they will provide you with more information about themselves and their “social graph”, and loyalty to your business.  But don’t stop with your customers, empower your employees and business partners too with mobile technologies and applications.

Q: Will the impact of mobile be broad-based, or focused mainly on consumer oriented business?

A: To date, the majority of investment in mobile technologies, specifically mobile applications has been focused on consumers.  However, there is a growing wave of opportunity and investment in Mobile technologies for businesses.  Forrester Research recently reported that the SaaS and Data-Driven “Smart” apps are fueling worldwide business software growth, and that by 2014, businesses will spend nearly $50 billion annually on such applications.

Q: So every business, large or small, should be thinking about Mobile Apps?

A: Yes, for a variety of reasons:

  • B2C relationships are more personal when using mobile technology.
    • Consumers are willing to share more personal information when they engage businesses using their mobile devices.  In part, because their mobile devices are more dedicated, while PCs can often be shared with other users.  Thus, consumers see their mobile devices as more of an extension of themselves and their personalities, and personas, and when businesses to know who they are.  Consumers appreciate when businesses respect their identities, and are willing to share their location, purchasing habits, preferences, and other information stored in their devices.  When businesses embrace their personas, they are willing to be more loyal and do business with these vendors in person and online via desktop and mobile.
    • If you want happy customers…businesses have to give them mobile access.  When businesses do this well…customers often become evangelists!
  • When developing your mobile apps:
    • Plan ahead to maintain ownership and control of the code behind your Mobile App.  Work with developers who will honor this request.  Your business may outlast your App Developer.
    • More tools are available today for self-publishing your mobile Apps, such as Buziness Apps (“The fast and easy way for small businesses to create Mobile Apps”).
  • Way of future commerce:
    • Within three years consumers my largely disregard vendors who do not offer a mobile-enhanced shopping experience.  This will be for both Product and Service businesses.

Q: So how will MBN be taking advantage of this coming wave?

A: We will be aggressively going after the enterprise, or infrastructure play. Stay tuned on how we will address the consumer market!  Meanwhile, be thinking about what your first Mobile App will do for you and your business.  Now is the time to become one of the first 1% to embrace this latest technological shift!

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