How to succeed in the new mobile economy

As technology continues to advance, the mobile ecosystem has successfully built a host of new business models, from automotive to health and education to the connected living space at home.

This marks an incredibly exciting time for the customers who will able to embrace an evolved mobile experience, the developers and device manufacturers who can continue to drive innovation and the operators who must develop strong value propositions to entice the 21st century mobile user away from competitors.

From an operator perspective however, delivering new and innovative services is no mean feat. Thanks to the enormous growth of long term evolution (LTE), operators are tasked with having to support increasing data demands all the while maintaining a consistently high level of service quality.

Making sense of such data to understand the habits of mobile consumers in the new mobile economy is critical and, if implemented quickly enough, is something that could present a key point of differentiation against competitors. If harnessed properly, big data and real-time business intelligence can enable operators to make more accurate, data-driven decisions based on past and expected behaviour.

Armed with such insight, customer packages can be designed and personalised in a bespoke manner, all in time with the ever evolving user preferences of today. 

Not only are operators struggling to gain the necessary insight they need to compete, but they are doing so at a time where costs are spiralling and profits plateauing. The rise of smartphones and the mobile internet have changed the mobile experience forever, so much so that traditional voice calls and SMS represent only a small part of a mobile users phone usage habits.

With the revenues of two crucial cash cows starting to plateau, cost saving has of course become a top priority for operators across the globe. The economic downturn has seen many turn towards open source technology in an attempt to reduce IT spend and this of course remains one potential transition available to operators today.

A drive towards open source would not only help to encourage a closer relationship with developers who are also embracing the software, but it would further allow for considerable cost savings, with new flexible applications only needing to be developed and implemented once internally.

Despite the challenges, operators continue to stand in a unique position when it comes to championing the new mobile economy. The network assets and customer insight that operators have at their fingertips is essential in helping to develop the new content and services needed to guarantee a richer mobile landscape for all.

With mobile users gradually moving away from the humble text message, operators now have the opportunity to collaborate more closely with other ecosystem players to help find new revenue streams. Partnerships like this are becoming increasingly popular across the board with Sk telecom and telefónica digital recently establishing venture capital funds to innovative mobile ecosystem start-ups, for example.

It is precisely this industry innovation that makes mobile such an exciting space to operate in today. Device manufacturers are continuing in their efforts to make smartphones smarter and content providers are embracing new hardware and software tools to offer new experiences. Google and Apple continue to enjoy a virtual duopoly in the global smartphone market owning 79 percent and 14.2 percent of sales respectively, according to Gartner.

However there are signs that things are starting to change and the simultaneous emergence of four new open source mobile operating systems (Firefox OS, Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu Mobile) certainly hints towards a fundamental shift within the current landscape. Whether or not each succeeds is yet to be confirmed but the signs are there that customers are willing to embrace new operating platforms built with innovation in mind.

The new mobile economy marks a truly exciting time for all. In the mobile space innovation comes as much from apps as it does handset design. Key to this innovation is a deep understanding of customer wants and needs, something that operators can have in abundance if they adopt the right business intelligence tools.

Those that are able to exploit this data and insight in the timeliest fashion will be presented with a truly exciting opportunity that will benefit customers and the entire mobile ecosystem.

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