Skip to main content

Is 2016 the year of mobility technology?

Few business leaders would argue with the fact that in 2016, a strong, innovative mobility strategy is a critical business success factor. Industry commentators across the board point to mobility as a game changer. Harnessing mobility – in all its guises – is a top priority for organisations looking to drive customer engagement, improve competitiveness, and boost operational efficiency.

But keeping pace with the rapid development of mobile technology is no small feat. In 2015, the GSMA reported that the number of mobile devices is now greater that the number of people in the world. This will increase by multiple factors as alternative mobile devices, such as wearables, become the norm.

Amongst its many 2016 predictions, Gartner comments that ‘unprecedented connectivity’ between devices and smart machines will drive a dramatic transformation, redefining business models. In a different report (focused solely on the US market), Gartner predicts that by 2017, a staggering fifty per cent of US digital commerce revenue will be driven by mobile engagement behaviour.

The time to future-proof is now

Businesses that truly want to exploit the potential for these mobile trends and reach end users in new, lucrative ways will have to think in big and bold terms if they are to differentiate themselves from their competition.

To get ahead, organisations need to think carefully about how they push innovation boundaries and future-proof their mobile strategies.

What’s also clear is that innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, and in many different forms. A wise CIO or CTO learns to seek best practice from many different sources, adopting and adapting as they go.

For example, Google is a leading light in the use of spatial decision-making and geolocation through mobile devices. When users are travelling, Google understands where people are and can provide relevant, personalised information, such as the local weather and advice on what to do, direct to devices.

By tapping into this data pool and thinking outside the box, businesses can offer real time, bespoke services to their customers. Similarly, they can understand customers in far greater detail and market to them with much greater accuracy in the future, generating new revenue streams.

An unlikely example of innovation best practice

As well as using mobility innovation to create new revenue opportunities, brands also need to consider how technology can improve on existing practices. Filing your tax returns might not seem like a great place to cite innovative, disruptive technology. Indeed, it’s not the sexiest end of the innovation spectrum.

Furthermore, one might not expect to look to the Department of ZAKAT and Income Tax (DZIT) in Saudi Arabia for examples of innovation best practice. However, the department has successfully rolled out an online portal solution that enables citizens to check, edit, and submit complex tax documents through multiple devices. Through the deployment of SAP’s Tax and Revenue Management system, the DZIT has modernised and disrupted one of the most traditional consumer activities. The whole taxpaying process has been digitised, reducing the risk of late tax payments and greatly enhancing the user’s experience. Filing your tax return has become a pleasure (almost!)

What we can learn from Google Glass

Finally, it’s also fascinating to consider how technology may fail in one scenario, and yet find a purpose elsewhere.

Google Glass was abandoned last year by Google and deemed a failure as a commercial entity aimed at consumers. Yet we are now starting to see organisations utilising Google Glass technology for bespoke activities and business processes. For example, the manufacturing industry is using the technology and reaping the rewards.

Engineers wearing Google Glass headsets get hands-free access to emergency stop buttons, machine locations, and system controls. When combined with access to the internet, this provides a truly connected experience – delivering real-time data back to the office. This type of technology increases productivity and other businesses should look into how it could benefit them.

For organisations to maximise their investment in mobility technology in 2016, it’s crucial that they keep an open mind and think beyond the obvious possibilities. Execs tasked with sourcing innovation strategies need to challenge their suppliers, technology partners, and legacy tech solutions. They need to stretch the boundaries of what is possible and embrace the multiplicities of invention at their disposal.

The potential for data analysis and analytics through device and machine-to-machine interconnectivity is only in its infancy. So now is the time to deploy future-proofed mobile strategies that will last for years to come.

Partho Bhattacharya, Managing Director of Invenio Business Solutions