The Mobile Opportunity: Even Greater Than the Web
The universe of mobile apps might seem daunting, but when you're planning your company's mobile strategy you have a valuable model right in front of you: the web. A quick look at the history of the web and its parallels with the mobile space can be reassuring and instructive as companies work through the necessary four steps to creating a mobile strategy.
During the web revolution, several companies and organizations grew into giants by accurately understanding and effectively leveraging the World Wide Web's nature and potential. Google, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia and others recognized the new medium's potential as a huge international marketplace for information and commerce.
But before the web reached its present level of maturity it evolved through three broad stages: an exploratory phase, in which web content was primarily informational; an acceleration phase, during which companies figured out how to take advantage of the web's potential for interactivity; and a third phase which saw companies transform their online relationships with their users into sophisticated vehicles for commerce.
Mobile is going through the same three-stage process. It's relatively easy to create apps that function as electronic brochures. Broadly speaking, smartphones with their small screens are especially suited for such basic functions. Tablets, the newer form factor popularized by Apple's iPad, are well situated for the second phase, and with 17.4 million shipped
in the first quarter of 2012 (11.8 million of them iPads) the tablet format has established itself more firmly than almost anyone would have predicted before the iPad. And now, as we approach the holiday season, additional hardware options, like Smart TVs and corporate telematics rollouts, are just beginning to expand mobile's reach further into stage three territory.
Of course, there will be differences between the mobile revolution and its web predecessor. In terms of number of connected devices, mobile will be larger. It will be more complex because there's no single dominant OS. And it will be more personal, because unlike websites, mobile apps are all about the user. The key is that companies now have a window of opportunity to think about how mobile can empower their business as radically as the web did.
And a little historical perspective goes a long way.
Learn more about four steps to creating a mobile strategy.