Some key points to highlight about the current smartphone market to keep in mind as your company determines its mobility strategy:
- Handset shipment in 2016 increased by 0.6%. Its slowest growth ever.
- Smartphone sales continue, but year-on-year (YoY) growth has cratered. The global market is saturated.
- Advances in hardware are becoming incremental.
- People are holding on to their devices longer due to lengthier contracts with service providers, who are increasingly moving away from subsidies.
- Advances in software and services though are booming.
Why is this important? As the hardware and connectivity platforms in the smartphone ecosystem mature and stabilise, all of the big new innovations are happening on the software and services side, specifically around cloud computing, AI, and voice interaction. Of course, innovations have always happened in software but the difference now is that we are looking at a period where companies can invest in using more advanced features without fear of them being made obsolete in 18 months by another new “standard” or completely deprecated.
To put it another way, it’s not just about AI and other hot tech of the day. It’s about exploiting the tried-and-true smartphone technology that’s already here and ready that can really move the needle on your business.
In this new environment, enterprises can proceed more aggressively in investing in mobile workforce solutions knowing that the underlying hardware is not radically changing as it has for the last decade. This certainty allows solution providers to capture more and more performance from the existing sensors, processing, and so forth from the existing technological mix.
Ideas to Consider:
- Guest Services. Any business reliant on the guest experience (hotels, restaurants, casinos, events, etc.) can benefit by empowering their guest-facing employees with information to track loyal guests for personalised interactions and proximity alerts to serve every guest better. It can also mean utilising fewer staff more efficiently, while also creating a personalised and differentiated experience.
- Frictionless Logistics. Instrumenting your supply chain, particularly the end point, means being able to surface rich information to managers, delivery, and staff to make decisions regarding inventory and ordering needs. This is just the first step though, as companies that have already done this are now moving into predictive ordering solutions that use machine learning and big data to incorporate many other contextual sources of information (global weather patterns, flight disruptions, etc.) to make increasingly automated decision making and keeping the business running smoothly. This applies to big box retailers, consumer brands, construction, shipping and transport, and almost any other business.
- Location-Based Targeting. Define “micro-locations” to trigger an alert such as a special discount when your customer is headed for the exit, or on that outfit you know they’ll love.
- Reduce Waste. Eurostar was able to reduce their mobile service costs by 50% and improve maintenance times through their mobility initiative. By giving train drivers and managers iPads to access information, they are able to better comply with regulatory requirements, reduce paper waste, and more efficiently fulfil maintenance tasks.
These are just some very obvious ideas. Once we begin a conversation with a company we are always able to transform their business strategy, unique cultural values, strengths and weaknesses into a mobile first offering that creates a significant market advantage for them and unleashes new forms of value.
And with mobile hardware maturing, the investment companies make in their mobile solutions now will experience a much longer shelf life requiring smaller continuous deliveries to maintain their service and improve and adapt. The buzz right now is all about AI, VR, Voice, bots and so forth, but it misses that there’s a whole portfolio of incredible technology that is mature, tried and tested – waiting to be exploited by enterprises in new and meaningful ways for their employees and customers.
Allen Smith, Managing Director, DMI Nordics
 “The Next Big Thing in Smartphones? The Software”, The Wall St. Journal; 11 January 2017