Now that we’re counting down to the end of the year, seems like a good time to review what happened in the mobile events world in 2012.
Lacking the balls (crystal or otherwise) to get into the prediction business, The Showmanator didn’t actually stick his neck out and come up with a Mobile Trends for 2012 or a Top 10 cataclysmic changes coming down the wire. Quite apart from the fact that taking a random moment in time like a New Year as a reason for predicting the next 12 months seemed about as sensible as casting runes, or divining the future at the bottom of a tea-cup, January disappeared in a puff of events and the moment for such cleverness passed.
In any case, humble pie in my experience doesn’t taste too good when one has to eat it after the predictions turn out to be a couple of spots of dirt on the surface of crystal ball! Much better to become a critic and consider (with the extreme advantage of 2020 vision) other people’s top 10s for 2012 and how well they stood up. The methodology involved in this research was taking a random sample of five predictions and then choosing the ones that were common to all— doesn’t get much more scientific than that!
1. The smartphone revolutionaries will continue demolish the barricades of the feature phone die-hards. No argument there! In some places, smartphone penetration is as high as 65% and still rising. In fact so accurate is this that in the countries where there are most smartphone users such as UK, US and Australia, MacDonald’s staff see people off with warming cries of “Have an ‘Appy Day!” in recognition with people’s extraordinary attachment to their mobiles and app addiction is a genuine concern.
2. Android will become the market leader over iOS — well this maybe happening in the wider apposphere, but in our little events microcosm, iOS still rules the event app world. Blackberry’s hanging in there too and Windows phones have again failed to inspire.
3. Tablets will continue to grow in popularity … that would be another tick although it seems like a statement of the bleeding obvious, rather than a prescient insight, especially thanks to Apple’s now handbag-sized offer…
4. Apple maps will transform the word as we know it — Apple certainly did release its much vaunted mapping replacement for Google on iOS — but it’s a total dog! Australian police actually see it as life threatening. Apparently over the last month, at least six Australians have been left stranded in the desert after following its directions! However, this has to be a case of watch this space … http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/12/11/australian-police-says-apple-maps-can-be-life-threatening/#ixzz2EmXspYid
5. People will get wise to the fact that the mobile is an entity in its own right. As one commentator put it, “mobile is not merely a small-screen extension of the PC web, but a parallel universe that increasingly operates as an alternative to the “fixed internet” for many people.” Yup, go to the top of the class everyone who threw their hats into the ring on this one.
6. Apps & HTML5 (web apps) both have their place in the scheme of things. Another tick — web apps open up the world of apps to all mobile users, but native apps continue to flourish and we’re seeing many more people who understand the difference between the two and also that consumers expect specialised mobile experiences which are hard to achieve without going down the native track.
7. RIP RIM! Many were saying at the beginning of the year that RIM (Research in Motion, the creator of BlackBerry) wouldn’t see the year out. The BlackBerry 10, seen as the do or die product, didn’t happen in 2012 — currently ETA January … or March 2013, depending on who you believe — and, as Jonny Evans put it in a Computerworld blog post (http://blogs.computerworld.com/smartphones/21099/blackberry-10-why-rim-needs-fight-apple-survive) in October, “Research and Motion (RIM) has been pronounced dead so often it’s only got two ways to go: die, or fight back.” Will it be enough or will Amazon appear at the twelfth hour like the proverbial US cavalry in an old Western? Anyway, going into 2013, the jury’s still out!
8. 2012 will be the year when mobile advertising takes root. Well yes … er … em … no actually. In our world particularly, mobile advertising is a very mixed blessing. For sure, some free event apps include the dreaded third party advertising, but who wants their events diminished like that? However, with smartphone going stratospheric in some geographies, it’s likely to be coming ready or not. But in our industry, it’s more a question of do we want it?
9. It will also be the year the industry ‘gets’ near field communications —Although this has to happen soon, by the end of the year very few handsets were being shipped with NFC capability, notably the Apple 5, as a standard feature. Until they are, mobile payments really fire and QR codes will reign supreme.
10. Augmented reality becomes more than an appealing novelty — well, if that’s the case we’re not seeing too many compelling case studies coming through and the commercial model remains murky.
Can’t wait to see what they’re all seeing in their crystal balls for 2013!