The way in which we connect and communicate is shifting across all industry sectors due to the digital transformation which is taking place all around us. New advancements in communication technology are reshaping the industry and with this, new revenue streams are opening up. As developments and innovation in mobile tech continue to accelerate with ‘smart’ automation across devices and objects, more sophisticated, secure services are becoming increasingly present in our daily lives.
Here are some mobile predictions we envision will take hold in 2016 and beyond:
#1: CONNECTING OUR WORLD WITH IOT AND M2M
As we become fully immersed in the next wave of digital, 2016 is expected to be another game-changing year. Today, we live in an ever-connected mobile world, with more than 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally. Everything in 2016 will be connected – with expanding access points across more applications and information available at the touch of a button. From traditional mobile devices, wearables, home electronic devices, automotive devices to environmental platforms, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine is slatted take hold and present new business opportunities at every turn.
IoT, for example, has seen substantial growth, with a recent enterprise survey from Ovum reporting that over 35% of respondents were already using or deploying M2M/IoT. This trend is set to continue into next year, with this expansion supported by new digital technology such as WebRTC, for better global, unified, real-time communications. With these advances, we will start to see the integration of advertising opportunities for brands within these objects. The study also reports that IT organizations have realized this shift and, 2016 expects to see the overall number of organizations who have adopted optimized mobility applications to quadruple.
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#2: FOCUSING ON THE BIG APP
Mobile websites are often only mobile-friendly versions of their respective online portal. Many brands are not fully utilizing the mobile experience – and with the rise of in-app web browsing, this could cause the death of the mobile web. In 2015, native apps provided users with a better, more sophisticated and targeted experience, while still enabling them to move from window to window.
Messaging platforms are the most popular mobile apps according to Portio Research Ltd and users will have a continued appetite for the personalization these services allow. In addition, the year ahead for the mobile application industry, will see continued tremendous growth with increased connected devices and rapidly evolving technologies. With approximately 35,000 successful applications available to mobile users world-wide, those big apps can continue to grow their communities by adding a richer experience with technology like WebRTC to drive further contextual, click to communicate interaction which will give businesses the tools they need to replicate the customized experience of messaging services with an element of human connection with advancements in video.
#3: PRIORITIZING DATA AND SECURITY
Hackers have become more intelligent than ever in their effort to break the technology around us. Of course, there is no slowing on the reliance of mobile for a number of industries – including retail, banking and healthcare – and the mobile industry must look for more ways to keep data and privacy a top priority in 2016.
Businesses will take greater precautionary measures to protect their networks, data and customers. We are seeing deeper levels of end-to-end encryption solutions being added to systems and services, particularly those online and with over-the-top (OTT) applications. Communication Service Providers (CSPs), enterprises and developers are doing more to strengthen security, which is evident with the implementation of two and multi-factor authentication and one time passwords (OTP), particularly with financial applications and online services where data is core to the transaction.
Given that mobile communications is a prime target for hackers who desire to penetrate critical infrastructures and businesses, CSPs need to be aware of the types of attacks and tools that are used by spammers, scammers and fraudsters to safeguard subscribers. Loopholes in signaling protocols such as SS7 have recently been exposed which mean hackers can steal money, listen in on conversations, monitor messages, determine a subscriber’s location, manipulate network and subscriber data, and generally disrupt services. As the digital space develops further, emphasis must be faced by organizations to build security into all business processes from conceptualization to development.
#4: PUTTING CUSTOMERS AT THE FOREFRONT
“The customer is always right”, as the saying goes, and for a long time customer service technology has seen little evolution. In 2015, businesses took this to heart of their communications by implementing more convenient ways for customer interaction, with the use of rich messaging, video and click to communicate technology for business engagement. In 2016, mobile services will place more emphasis on smarter communications and more personalized client interactions.
This evolution will be underpinned by technology like WebRTC, where we will see more instances of new digital banks and retail stores where a user gets the full “human” interactive experience but via an app. With user context at the core of such offerings, when a customer clicks to communicate via the app, their call - which can be video- can firstly be routed to personnel in the customer branch or store who may know the customer or diverted to an agent in a call center. With a bank, for example, when a session comes through, the customer is already authenticated and the agent can access the customer’s transaction history so they can address queries or resolve issues by pulling relevant contextual information from the user’s mobile app, eliminating the need for users to repeat information. Bringing the most appropriate agent and contextual information translates to a faster call resolution and personalized service for the user, without having to visit a physical branch or store.
#5: TAKING ON THE CHALLENGES OF A GROWING MOBILE INDUSTRY
By 2020, an estimated 5 billion users will be connected to 5 devices each. This significant figure, if it is to happen, must be supported by a platform that can maintain performance as well as a high standard of consumer experience. Huge amounts of capacity will need to be provided through more flexible mobile broadband technologies as rich content explodes further across mobile devices.
As the number of “smart” users continues to increase, operators must continue developing their services, as maintaining a cellular platform of that size is extremely complex. The discussions around 5 and 6G as well as the services will be enhanced by key performance requirements (driven by increasing consumer demand) such as virtually zero latency to support tactile Internet, M2M control and augmented reality. Operators and service providers must also continue to embrace network function virtualization (NFV) as the new architecture for service delivery and operation.
If 2015 was a fast year, buckle your seatbelts for 2016 - it’s going to be a year of change, development and growth across the mobile ecosystem. What are some trends you think will take shape in the coming year?