I recently attended the Mobile Future Forward summit hosted at Newcastle Golf Club near Seattle. It was the first time I attended the event, and I was impressed by the relevant, cutting-edge topics and by the caliber of the presenters and the attendees. The venue was very accommodating – with a beautiful weather, the view from the top of the golf resort was scenic.
Figure 1: The summit was hosted at the Newcastle Golf Club
The event has started with a keynote address by Chetan Sharma, CEO, Chetan Sharma Consulting, the organizer of the event. Chetan talked about the “Golden Age of Mobile: the connected intelligence era”. The age of information and telecommunications has laid the foundations of the “Connected Intelligence Era” wherein ubiquitous connectivity will be able to harness the intelligence programmed in the contextually-aware objects around us. See Figure 2 below about the role of Mobile in the global trillion dollar industries.
One example provided was about how GE used sensor data to fine tune their maintenance schedules. This enabled GE to change their business model from selling aircraft engines to renting them out on a per-hour basis, allowing them to optimize revenues and margins per engine. A second example provided was about how Microsoft worked with an elevator company to integrate the data from their 8600 elevators around the globe so that the company could do preventative maintenance instead of waiting for something to fail. It used machine learning to predict with certain accuracy if something is going to go wrong and how quickly the tech needs to be dispatched to proactively fix the problem. This approach will result in an increased customer satisfaction and retention through an increased elevator uptime and an significant efficiency gain and reduction in costs for the company operating the elevators.
Figure 2: Global Trillion Dollar Industries
The next session was a fireside chat with Glenn Lurie, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility on Connected Intelligence: Opportunities and Leadership. Glenn talked about AT&T’s plans for expansion and innovation based on delivering integrated and personalized customer experiences: easy, instant gratification; choices and bundles (single experience). This direction will be made possible by the recent acquisition by AT&T of DirectTV, which propelled AT&T to become the largest pay TV provider in the U.S. and the world.
With 120 million devices connected by their network, AT&T’s focus on the Internet of Things (IoT)is reflected in their initiatives in the automotive industry with Jaguar and Land Rover, as well as in digital life security and home automation. AT&T is committed to invest and to maintain their legacy of innovation, to experiment, to fail fast and learn and make adjustments and then to move on.
Another interesting session was related to Media and Advertising, a vertical where “software is the brand”. “Is advertising dead?”, asked Renny Gleeson, Global Director, Wieden+Kennedy. Both Sanjay Macwan, SVP and CTO at NBCUniversal and Robert Gelick, SVP and GM – Digital at CBSInteractive think that data will inform advertising. “Content finds consumers”, Sanjay said, live content is going to consumers and “being where the audience is”.
The next gen of digital advertising will take advantage of new platforms to enable users to share content differently, to enable unique, immersive, 360 degree experiences by leveraging virtual reality. For example, CBS interactive streams live from 4 cameras placed in the house in Big Brother, enabling users to get access to live and exclusive content. Advertising takes the format of branded content, which is co-produced and distributed through various channels.
The session on Mobile Commerce and Payments provided some staggering stats: $4.5 trillions spent in 2013 in US on retail, with mobile purchases (including tablets) increasing 70.0% to reach $41.71 billion.
Figure 3: Mobile retail commerce sales in the United States from 2013 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Mobile is becoming an increasingly common form of e-Commerce payment, with mobile payments share of e-Commerce sales growing from 6.7% in 2011 to an estimated 20.6% in 2015.
Figure 4: U.S. mobile retail commerce sales as percentage of e-commerce sales from 2011 to 2016, by device
In order to achieve frictionless payments on mobile, we must overcome the challenges associated to single-sign-on (SSO), security and fraud. We are now at an inflection point – while near-field-communication (NFC) card payments have not become mainstream, their adoption is definitely on the rise. Electronic payments can be used for other purposes: for example, Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing Officer, shared how MasterCard powered the Nigerian Identity Card Program, with 13 Million Cards issued at the launch of the program.
During the cocktail reception, which took place at the end of the event, I had the opportunity to chat with several attendees and speakers, including Mark Showers, CIO, Reinsurance Group of America, Anand Chandrashekaran, Chief Product Officer, Snapdeal and Robert Gelick, SVP and GM – Digital, CBS Interactive. I also met several clients and colleagues from Vancouver, including Scott McGillivray, Chief Strategist at iQmetrix, Narayan Sainaney, CTO at Mojio, and Steve Whitfield, Manager, Mobile Technology Solutions at Lululemon.
Overall, it was a great summit to attend for executives in the technology space, who want to stay apprised about the latest developments in IoT, mobility, big data, media and advertising, and mobile payments.