The Mobile Horizons Thought Leadership Forum was held earlier this month in Istanbul to explore the latest trends and future vision of Mobile at the center of our lives.
Organized by Mobile Innovation Accelerator m-Spark.org and sponsored by Qualcomm, the conference focused on The Retail Revolution, Mobile Commerce and Banking, Wearable Technologies, Internet of Things, Brain to Machine Interfaces, and the Impact of Connectivity on our lives.
Mobile Entertainment Forum’s Andrew Bud opened the conference with an historical perspective on where mobile came from and where its going next…Mobile was first the voice device, then it became a data device, then it became your wallet, and now it will be YOU, your personal identity.
[see the presentation Mobile's Big Evolution on SlideShare]
A wide range of mobile subjects were covered at the conference, as the future of mobile will effect many parts of our lives. Here are several of the key take-aways from the sessions.
The “Retail Revolution” was one of the main topics at Mobile Horizons. The key trend is that each of the activities involved in commerce – such as finding products, recommendations, price comparison, paying, loyalty – are now being linked together as well as becoming individualized and personalized in real time.
[see the presentation: Retail Revolution on Slideshare]
Increasingly, “Loyalty” focused systems are linking up with other parts of the commerce world, and are becoming the center point for merchants to provide better customer experience and improve relationships. This was shown in a new, leading edge loyalty system launched by MUDO, a leading Turkish department store chain.
[see the presentation Leading Edge Loyalty on Slideshare]
Garanti Bank is one of the world’s most innovative banks in terms of payments. They support many different types of payments for different types of commerce and merchants, and currently 80% of their transactions happen through digital channels.
Garanti’s mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times, and they are actively promoting an “Open API” strategy to allow merchants to include funds transfer capabilities into their own websites.
They has also just launched a new app and service called iGaranti, which is more of an integrated offer, supporting not only banking and a virtual wallet, but also shopping features such as a channel for special promotions and a location-based deal finder.
[see the presentation: Garanti's Digital Channels on Slideshare]
Another interesting development was that mobile shops are turning in to bank branches in Russia! Mobile operator MTS showed a case study of how by using their 3,500 mobile stores as bank branches, they became the largest bank in Russia overnite!
[see the presentation Banking Disruption: are mobile operators the new banks of the future? on Slideshare]
There are a very wide range of wearable devices that are available today, including cameras, sport tracking, e-health and wellness, smart clothing, motion and brain trackers, smart watches and smart glasses.
It is unlikely that all the specialized wearable hardware will migrate into the standard smartphone, for reasons of weight, accuracy, and battery life. Similarly, it is unlikely that the market will evolve to a wearable only, no-smartphone scenario. This is because most wearables can’t easily include screens, interfaces, and communications capability.
So the likely future situation is where we have a smartphone which acts as a central hub for a person’s wearable devices. The smartphone will provide screen plus interface plus communications, and the wearable devices will provide the specialized measure/monitoring capability.
[see the presentation: Connected Life: Wearable Technologies, Quantified Self, New Interfaces, What's Next" on Slideshare]
A panel of top Turkish executives from Qualcomm, Turkcell, and Nokia discussed in detail the Turkish mobile market.
Turkey is actually a very strong smartphone market, much more than people think. The smartphone installed base grew by 58% in 2012, and currently 7 out of 10 phones sold is a smartphone.
One of the key new mobile market focus areas in Turkey is M2M applications.
The Turkish regulations recently changed to dramatically reduce the taxes on data-only, low bandwidth mobile subscriptions. Previously very high taxes had been a serious deterrent to the uptake of M2M solutions, and so mobile operators are now looking to focus on this area.
A second focus area for the mobile industry is the use of mobile to improve the quality of life for the rural population. For example, a number of m-Women initiatives have started to assist rural women through the use of mobile.