MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Mobile is the new Social

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 07, 2013

Entering 2013, it is almost impossible not to consider the opinions of online, media and advertising pundits heralding the power of mobile. Even though the first mobile phone was released in 1946 (yes, 1946 thanks to AT&T) they didn't get "smart" until the Blackberry hit the market in 1999 and Ericsson introduced the the "smart" term related to its R380 mobile phone.  But, the current phase of smartphones really arrived when Apple launched the iPhone and its App Store in2007. Apps have changed our relationship with our mobile phones, turning them into devices that combine work and play, encouraging us to advance from texting and emailing to interacting with content enabled by the plethora of apps.

When it comes to social networks, mobile is the future. Facebook was criticized in 2012 for its lack of a clear mobile strategy. As the details of their mobile strategy were clarified, the stock began to climb. The Pew Research Center reported in late 2012 that 60% of Americans use their smartphone to access social sites (vs. 68% in Great Britain, 72% in Greece and 74% in Mexico). Why are smartphones so popular with business users? One reason is portability. While mobile phones started as large, cumbersome devices - they quickly shrunk to compact, pocket size devices. Interestingly, the form factor has increase in size to allow for larger screens, but they still fit in pockets. Analysts are already predicting a combination smartphone-tablet as gadget enthusiasts head to CES in Las Vegas this week.

More importantly, smartphones are multifunctional. Not only to they enable voice and data, in the form of both text messaging and email. They allow users to share pictures and video. If you are in business, you can share pictures of products, quickly read and reply to customer questions, research competitive offerings or download the latest price list. With network connectivity constantly improving, accessibility via 3G, 4G or WiFi networks allows sharing of greater volumes of data. From a social perspective, LinkedIn's mobile apps continue to evolve and will allow you to see who's nearby - enabling ad hoc meetings with colleagues in the same locale. Or perhaps you notice a negative tweet about your company, your smartphone allows you take action to resolve a potential problem - whether that is to respond to the tweet, call your social media gurus or text a colleague.

Social networks may connect us to friends and colleagues, but mobile is the enabler for that connectivity. The advancement of mobile apps targeting the B2B community is the next wave of investment. In 2013, look out for apps that improve productivity for the road warrior. Mobile will displace social as the most talked about technology.

What's your perspective?