Key Points Made at the MCA Digital Road Map, March 2012

The Big Picture
When it comes to predicting the future, where organisations and brands need to focus is how mobile and digital ecosystems can help their customers make better decisions faster.

In addition, the future of mobile will delivered through the cloud: linking people, brands and services together to create new offerings and value.

For a FREE copy of this report, please e-mail:

Some Key Points
Our view of the future can be summarised thus:

In the mobile ecosystem, much of the promised past has yet to be delivered.  And when it is, it’s sometimes executed badly: not doing the right stuff right. So there’s a lot of catching up to be done before even thinking about the future.

But before anyone eulogises about the future one of the issues that has held back the growth of mobile is connectivity: the networks haven’t had the bandwidth or capacity to seamlessly cope with customer traffic and needs. In fact, it’s not been possible to do all the things that pundits have been screaming for brands and retailers to do. The introduction of 4G will help but it’s also essential to add capacity and coverage. Only then will we see the full potential of mobile realised.

We are on the cusp of the post PC age but the future will only come to those have created a coherent mobile strategy and really understand what their consumers or customers want; in fact not just a generic strategy but one that is increasingly personalised.

Mobiles will all be smart phones and cross-over tablets..

Mobile operators will want to expand their provision of original content and services.

Near-term technical innovations include waterproofing, TV broadcasting, expansion of NFC wallet features, safety warnings, scam and virus detects, and the use of the mobile as an ID device.

Despite its ubiquity and being at the point of convergence, mobile is part of an ecosystem; integration across this system is crucial and that will only come from using the Cloud. It’s been suggested that there are three clouds: a personal cloud, a business cloud and a network cloud that is able to link the two., adding value through sophisticated data processing.

The future of mobile will continue to embrace some very simple tools like messaging; there is a tendency to think the future is all about the sexy big budget stuff or about social.

Currently the biggest single use of mobiles is? SMS. 5bn people send SMS messages and that’s a number still growing; that’s 5 times bigger than Facebook. And MMS now has over 2.5bn users…and that will grow. We look at the phone once every 6.5seconds according to Nokia – and much of the time it’s to look at a message because over 8 trillion are sent annually.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon. For example, Apps are niche, most have miniscule penetration, and the average download across all apps is <10,000

  • The best/most popular apps are pure escapism, news and entertainment, or tools that provide a valuable function.
  • Already a plethora of me-too apps with little differentiation is leading to scepticism among consumers or little usage once downloaded.
  • Apps should do a small number of things, well and simply
  • Apps need to be part of a connected ecosystem and not be left on their own.
  • Usability and context (knowing when and where the app will be used) underpin success.

Coca Cola has a rule of 70:20:10 mobile strategy – 70% of their mobile dollars to SMS and MMS mobile messaging; 20% to the mobile Internet; and only 10% in mobile apps.

NTT launched the first commercial mobile network in 1979. There views on the key consumer needs in the future are:

  • Convenience: how can I make my life easier by using the phone?
  • Safety and Security: how can the mobile help me live a safer life?
  • Enjoyment pleasure: how can I get all my entertainment needs through the mobile?

They see the mobile as the personal life agent, helping people lead smarter lives. Brands and organisations should heed this and not use the mobile to create further clutter.

One clear role of mobile is to help us in our daily lives: improved navigation devices and information systems. They will help use energy more efficiently; be more eco-aware and enhance our abilities to take action.

Mobiles will become an essential part of well-being and healthcare – not just for people but pets for example.

Finally, we must constantly respect our consumers; we must constantly respect their privacy and their data. We must earn their trust every day so that they use all of these services free of concerns.

Some essential facts but which are inevitable out of date as soon as you read them:

  • 5.9 bn active mobile subscriptions out of a 7 bn world population
  • 4 bn unique users
  • UAE first market to have 200% penetration – 77 markets have over 100%
  • 20% of global users have two mobile phones
  • 33% of phones sold over Christmas were smartphone but global penetration is 19%
  • Smartphone penetration in HKK, SING and AUS reaching 50%
  • OS: Symbian 33%, Android 31%, Apple 16%, RIM 12%….
  • 2.5bn active MMS users
  • 800m use only mobile to access web
  • $14.4bn advertising revenues
  • Nokia reported a year ago that the average person looks as a phone 150 times per day once every 6.5 minutes.
  • Apple has just celebrated its 25 billionth app download

Graham Thomas, Digital Economy Director, IORMA 

For a FREE copy of this report, please e-mail: