Communication & More
The mobile has come a long way from being a phone, communication being just one of an ever-increasing range of experiences on offer to the user.

As technology continues to evolve at break-neck speed and on an unprecedented scale, so viewing TV, shopping and banking via a mobile device is becoming commonplace.

So what does another year hold in store for the mobile? Amy Harris, Community Manager for Expert Market, offers you are five mobile trends for 2014:

1. Social Messaging is Set to Explode
By the end of 2013, trillions of multimedia messages will have been sent using smartphone, tablet WiFi connection or mobile Internet data and it's estimated that the amount is set to almost triple during 2014.

What will cause this explosion? Firstly, social messaging will become a standard part of smartphone design and handset manufacturers are already working to build the functionality into their mobile devices.

Secondly, sending text messages costs money whereas, technically speaking, social messaging does not – making it a cost effective alternative.

Thirdly, as many people are already familiar with communicating via social media, using social messaging apps which have been custom designed for mobile use, will be an easy transition to make.

2. Advertising Gets Personal
It's reported that web ad interaction is around 1 per cent while mobile click through rates can reach 18 per cent. Therefore, with more consumers preferring to browse the Internet via their smartphones, you can expect advertising content to become even more personal throughout 2014.

Marketers are getting set to learn all they can about your personal preferences, just from the way you use your phone, and the result will be an increase in targeted information based on your previous search habits.

It will appear as if your mobile is constantly anticipating your next move as it ‘gets to know you'. Although a bit creepy, at least you will be provided with information that is relevant to you, hopefully saving you some time and generally improving user experience.

3. The Virtual Wallet Becomes More Versatile
Mobile card readers are already becoming popular and that trend looks set to continue through 2014, as businesses take advantage of the ease and freedom that taking payments on the move offers them.

Some systems have the added option of a lightweight compatible thermal printer for printing out receipts on the spot. However, the need for a credit card could vanish altogether, as the inclusion of a simple app on your phone could be the future of making payments.

Near Field Communication (NFC) works in a similar way to WiFi and Bluetooth to permit wireless data transmissions between smartphones and similar devices by bringing them into close proximity with each other. The application can be used to identify a user and their bank account and allows data to be transferred between the two devices.

Similarly, you could be tapping your phone on a payment terminal to allow it to identify your account and make payment. No card or cash required and coupons, gift vouchers, loyalty cards, tickets and even airline boarding passes can be stored in your virtual wallet.

4. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Technology
The evolution of M2M technology has been made easier thanks to an increase in worldwide IP networks and connected devices. The M2M market has seen steady growth throughout 2013 and is set to see more of the same through 2014 and beyond.

No longer is M2M technology restricted to POS terminals and vehicle telematics, as it was in its earlier days. Now it can offer increased productivity and efficiency in a range of new market segments, i.e. security, retail and healthcare – to name but a few.

Machines communicating with each other, machines to automatically identify, diagnose, monitor, track, trace and update based on industry specific data will become standard workplace practice.

5. Free Ad-Supported Mobile Phones
As advertisers look for ways to get personal, they will they begin to see the true potential in mobile marketing.

Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo, thinks so. In a recent AdExchanger column, Glass points out that consumers, on average, check their phones 110 times a day. Therefore, the average screen has the capacity to deliver in excess of 3,000 impressions per month per person, making the home screen the “most valuable advertising real estate ever seen in terms of per user economics.”

Glass continues by asking who will be the first on the market to benefit from this fact by offering a free service and/or device. He believes it could happen before the end of 2014 and that “in exchange for a free service and/or device, consumers would happily exchange information about their location, purchases, behaviours and other insights to allow marketers to hyper-target ads, as well as easily drive them directly to a relevant app or website.” Time will tell!


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