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Looking Forward To 2009

crystal_ball.gifA wise man once said that “predicting the future is the art of seeing the present logically extended”. In light of the continuing the economic crisis, what does 2009 hold for the world of mobile advertising, marketing, and messaging?

Timo Ahomäki is Chief Scientist & VP Product Management at Airwide Solution, a leading messaging company. Timo has given this some thought – here are Timo’s top predictions for 2009.

1. Mobile messaging to defy economic downturn – Mobile messaging will increasingly be seen as the lifeline to the mobile industry. Support from the youth market who regard it as cheap, fast, private, easy and silent will fuel the growth in mobile data services and in turn will steer mobile operators, device OEMs and content providers through the tricky times ahead. Our predictions support recent figures from M:Metrics which state that the number of people using SMS has increased 3.3% year on year across Europe.

2. Less developed regions to fuel peaks in SMS activity
– With their low disposable incomes, less economically developed countries will supply new subscribers to mobile services. Most of the phones shipped to these markets have little more than voice and text capabilities so the growth potential for SMS will be significant. ABI research states that the number of messaging users will increase year on year by over 10% in countries in Asia, South America and Africa.

timo_ahomaki.gif3. China fuels MMS uptake – MMS is booming in China. Its growth in 2009 will be helped by ever improving handsets and the demand for user generated content, blogging, social networking and mobile marketing. Juniper Research predicts revenues from MMS to top $16 billion in 2009. However, for this to happen mobile operators must ensure that their infrastructure and marketing is equipped to target MMS.

4. Personalisation comes of age – Personalised services will push the growth in mobile messaging during 2009 as differentiating user experience becomes key and demand from their operators increases. Differentiating the services an operator can provide through added features such as productivity and security-based SMS applications, like out-of-office, auto-forward, storage/back-up capabilities and messaging firewalls will be key to enhancing the mobile experience and increasing messaging ARPU and offsetting generic price decline on SMS and MMS.

5. Mobile marketing and advertising surges ahead – 2009 will see the introduction of location based mobile advertising to the table. Incorporating a multimedia and multi-platform approach is key to ensuring it becomes a natural and valuable extension of the consumer. The new business model that this enables will help consumers keep up their SMS habits in economically challenging times by opting for advertisement-funded discounts.

6. Mobile internet overtakes PC based internet use
– According to IBM more than 50 per cent of consumers would substitute their PC based internet connection for their mobile. As the majority of new phones come with internet access as standard we predict that more people will access the internet from their mobile than their PC by the end of 2009. According to T-Mobile Germany, browsing on iPhones was 30 times more than on other handsets, and at Vodafone Germany 45% of data ARPU already is mobile internet, due to partnerships with Google, YouTube and MySpace and using widgets.

7. Focus on mobile security increases as mobile commerce comes of age – The mobile phone has evolved to a point that the value of the data held requires a greater level of security. Subscribers will expect mobile operators to take greater security measures to protect their financial, personal or company data – a fact which will become more important as mobile commerce takes off. An independent survey commissioned by Airwide Solutions found that 5.6 million people in the EU already access financial information from their mobile phones – a 23.6 per cent jump from 2007.

8. The digital youth drives changes in communication
– Social networking will continue to grow, with an impact on mobile messaging traffic as more people use their mobile phones to update their profiles remotely and blog on the move, The youth market continues to prefer text messaging over voice, will this lead to the end of the voicemail as we know it?

9. Mobiles go green – As attention shifts to environmentally friendly technologies, will greater attention be paid to handset recycling initiatives? With only one per cent of mobile handsets recycled globally each year, 65 to 85 per cent could be re-used. However, for this to be successful mobile operators must have comprehensive EIR systems in place to ensure that all mobile equipment is tracked and logged and any invalid handsets blocked from operating on mobile networks.

Will I be right or wrong? Only time will tell. It’s always difficult to predict the future of mobile messaging, however it’s essential to enable mobile operators to ensure their infrastructure is flexible and scalable. By breaking down traditional messaging infrastructure silos into separate, scalable tiers, operators can respond to market conditions and launch new services as and when they need to, to meet customer demand. Many operators are already taking these steps and will find that they have transformed their legacy infrastructure into a future proof one that is prepared for the future.

22.12.2008    Tags:
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