What Lies Ahead for Mobile?

It is 2017, and there’s not even a pinch of doubt regarding the importance of mobile phones in our lives today. Slowly, these devices have become fundamental to our way of living, and have shaped our methods of communication and interaction to an astounding level. This permeation into our daily lives have also enabled mobiles to take a center stage when it comes to funnel the most cutting edge and innovative technologies of this age.

It isn’t as though mobile innovations are fettered to smartphones alone. They have spread beyond phones, extending to a number of new categories like home automation, virtual reality, smart cities, etc. This leads us to some speculation as to how the mobile technology is going to evolve in in the coming months of 2017.

About Apps and the Mobile Platforms

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Mobile app spending will grow and newer strategies for various platforms will fuel further innovation and competition in mobile advertising. While a number of companies have already ventured into exploiting mobile apps and services as a market to lure consumers into their ecosystems, these strategies cover a huge range of consumer devices and services.

This platform shift can be attributed to the first gen messaging apps that acted as pioneers in this field. According to an IHS Markit Forecast, the mobile app spending is bound to increase by about $20 million from 2016 to 2020.

Earlier, messaging apps have proven to be somewhat of a hindrance to traditional business models, but with an increasing audience base, which is speculated to reach about 7.5 billion by 2020, will leadi to further upheaval of mobile advertisement.

A quest to monetize this platform has made payment services crucial for further development. According to the forecast, the number of smartphones, enabled for device based payments will rise to almost 5 billion units by the year 2020.

About the Smartphones

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The established base of smartphone users has already exceeded 4 billion units, a number that is expected to cross 6 billion in about three years. Owing to the fact that the increase in the revenue of this industry depends on customers being persuaded to upgrade their smartphones, the innovations in the field will continue to grow at a good rate, and are expected to diversify the smartphone industry.

Despite the anticipated diversification of smartphones, differentiation among these phones based on their hardware will become exceedingly difficult. While most of the features like the screen, dual cameras, etc. will begin to adopt a similarity, OEMs will shift more towards software for the differentiating factor. With this in mind, software investments and partnerships will take a critical outlook so as to ensure the creation of AI-enabled experiences.

About IoT for Cellular and 5G Expectations

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Internet of Things (IoT) has already seeped into a number of cellular applications as the technology becomes more and more optimized to integrate IoT applications. While the traditional subscriber oriented technology has not proven itself up to use for typical IoT cases, the mobile ecosystem has steadily been able to integrate numerous IoT applications to the cellular technology.

As the mobile subscriber market reaches saturation, the industry looks to embrace IoT for further growth opportunities; which in turn requires significant technical innovations. This low power and low cost innovation is expected to become more viable and pronounced with the deployment of 5G services to the mobile market. The expected shipment of NB-IoT modules in 2017 is slightly over 1 million, and is expected to cross 84 million units by the year 2021.

About Voice Assistants and Artificial Intelligence

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While a lot of manufacturers have already ventured into the smart speaker market with the likes of Siri and Cortana, the global market for this feature, along with smart functionality is expecting a 10 times increase in the installed base by 2020. The competition in smart speakers by the end of 2017 and the start of 2018 will result in more third-party products and integration. The supply of turnkey platforms for multi-room assistant support to companies via platform suppliers will steadily become more streamlined, which in turn will lead to a gradual drop in smart speaker prices.

While Alexa Skills by Amazon holds the monopoly of the present market through sheer timing, we can expect the emergence of multiple virtual assistants soon. The strategy of a number of companies may include providing support to multiple virtual assistants and to try and maximize integration into the total available market.

About Advertising

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In 2016, the growth of mobile advertising was 42.4% as compared to the previous year, and was generating more than half (54.8%) of the total advertising revenue. With this shift in traffic towards the mobile platforms, not just mobile-only advertisers but also the larger brands are increasing their online and mobile marketing budgets.

With practice comes perfection, and as brands start getting more mobile savvy with installation of in-house teams dedicated solely for the purpose, app developers and publishers are now compelled to enhance their capabilities as well as offerings to serve the advertisers.

Mobile advertising has shown the most significant growth as an advertising medium in the last four years and is expected to account for more than 75% of the total online display advertising revenue by the year 2020.

About Virtual Reality

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While the total share for VR is set to increase from 16 million in 2016 to more than 90 million by 2021, mobile VR will remain the largest category in this field. However, in terms of number, the mobile VR category holds around 90% of the market right now but is expected to decline by over 50% with the introduction of more advanced standalone consoles and PC-based headsets that will provide a superior and long lasting experience.

The mobile headsets will be the major players in the VR base, but the limited content experience will lead to lower revenue as compared to other, more advanced platforms.

Too much information to process at one go? Trust us, it is worth the progress that ‘mobile’ is on the verge of making!