How can brands take advantage of the Apple Watch? its time to get even closer to customers

Less than six years ago mobile apps were in their infancy and many industry observers wondered whether they’d really catch on. Fast-forward to today and 87% of the time consumers spend using mobile devices is inside apps.  Its how we interact with those apps and on which non-smartphone devices that are the new battleground for device manufacturers.  This week's announcement on the commercial launch date and price points of Apple Watch finally revealed what Tim Cook has been hiding up his sleeve, adding significant firepower to the Apple armoury. Here Brett Caine, CEO, Urban Airship … [Read more...]

Lucky 13 for MEF – a new name in the year of industry evolution

CEO Rimma Perelmuter reflects on an eventful Mobile World Congress, where MEF unveiled a new identity to reinforce its expanding remit to represent the ever-broadening mobile ecosystem. This year’s 13th MEF Connects MWC in association with American Express marked a significant milestone in our history. MEF was established in 2000 to help create a new ecosystem around Mobile Entertainment when music, games and apps were not quite so ubiquitous. Mobile and MEF have certainly come a long way since these early days. Today of course it’s impossible to imagine an area of our daily lives that … [Read more...]

What it means to live in a mobile first, cloud first world

We are all familiar with the terms 'mobile' and 'cloud'.  The former means portable, wire free connectivity and the latter means network based storage.  Whilst these are obvious misconceptions its how mobile and cloud work together that provides the basis of the next wave of growth for all kinds of services.  Here, Marc Kleinmaier, Head of Developer Experience in North America for Microsoft Mobile, explores the relationship between cloud-first, mobile first world. Marc Kleinmaier speaks with MEFTV at MEF Global Forum in San Francisco, Nov 2014 Let's address the elephant in the room; how can … [Read more...]

Africa’s leapfrog to a technology-leading continent

It's no secret that Africa is, in many ways, well ahead of so called developed markets in embracing mobile technologies. The MEF Global Consumer Survey revealed that "mobile first" markets were more readily adopting a range of mobile services from mhealth to mobile banking, and African countries were chief among them, building out home grown mobile ecosystems, that meet very real consumer needs. Here Toby Shapshak, editor and publisher of Stuff magazine  gives his take on the African mobile revolution and shares why he believes Africa is a mobile-driven continent. Shapshak is a key speaker … [Read more...]

Tackling the barriers to mobile payments

2014 was a big year for mobile payments, Apple made its hotly anticipated move with the launch of the NFC powered Apple Pay, stimulating consumers to reach for their phones to pay for goods at the checkout.  One recent study by Boston Retail Partners estimates that 38% of large US retailers will be accepting Apple Pay by the end of 2015.   Other mobile payments platforms are beginning to catch fire too.  Direct Carrier Billing for example is poised as a highly convenient way to make payments for goods and services in the physical world. Below, Oliver Schmitz, Global Lead KAM Online Retail … [Read more...]

Where’s the value? Business models for the Internet of Things

The widespread deployment of sensors, smartphones and internet connected devices has ushered in an era of big data and The Internet of Things.  Even sheep, it seems, have a role to play in this emerging technology mega-trend.  But where is the value in all of the data that is generated? and does that value actively engage consumers as willing participants in the new data economy? Here Bob O’Donnell, founder and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, LLC discusses the business challenges in extracting the value that is locked up in the IoT ecosystem. In the early days of building and … [Read more...]

Is Apple Tim Cook’s Company Yet?

Its been more than three years since Steve Job's stepped aside and Tim Cook was appointed as Apple CEO.  Back then tongue-in-cheek headlines captured the zeitgeist - Cook To Improve Apple Turnover. Last week's earnings announcement - with Apple posting the biggest quarterly profit in history (net $18bn) certainly frames Tim Cook as the CEO of his generation, but how much of that reputation is built on decisions that Steve Jobs made when it was very much *his* company? Below LinkedIn editor John C Abell, discusses Steve Jobs' legacy in an article which first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse … [Read more...]

Five reasons why video is the king of mobile media in India

Videos have transformed the way that we interact with mobile media.  With the promise of deeper levels of engagement it has amped consumer data consumption and built out new possibilities for mobile advertising and marketing.  Here, Nidhi Rana, Senior Marketing and Corporate Communications Exec at MEF Member VVIDIA has taken a look at trends in the Indian mobile video space, identifying five reasons why it is the king of media. 1) Better Engagement Videos have led to a better and more personal user engagement with viewers feeling more connected to products and services that are video based … [Read more...]

Transforming lives through mobile technology – mind the bumps!

The recent MEF Global Consumer Survey noted that mobile-first regions are driving innovation across a range of mobile services, with accelerated adoption of relatively new areas of mobile such as mHealth, mobile banking and education. Here, Patrick Allainguillaume, Global Market Unit Head at Mahindra Comviva, reflects on mobile's growing importance in playing a transformative role in society.  Also check out our MEFTV interview with Patrick from MEF Connects Africa during AfricaCom. For any individual even remotely associated with the mobile telephony space today, there is very little doubt … [Read more...]

Reports of Google Glass’s Death are greatly exaggerated

News of Google ending sales of its flagship wearable, Google Glass is doing the rounds. Whilst that headline may grab attention, Google insists that the move is part of the product evolution.  Here, David Levine, CEO of UK-based Computer Vision startup explains why the Google Glass naysayers should take stock and acknowledge the lessons behind the headline. I am perturbed and puzzled in equal doses at the virtual glee a number of mainstream blogs and sites seem to be illustrating regarding Google's announcement that Google Glass will be withdrawn from sale from January … [Read more...]

Do your customers think you care? Chances are, they don’t…

Most businesses recognize the strong correlation between high levels of customer satisfaction and long-term business growth. To that end, businesses are investing heavily in loyalty programs and customer communications. But how many of these efforts are really paying off? Do customers think they are cared for as much as businesses think they care? A recent global survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital on behalf of MEF Member mBlox set out to answer these questions and more. Here, Marketing Manager Zoe Beath shares the surprising results. Businesses in the US, UK and Australia were … [Read more...]

‘Wearables’ Need To Be ‘Invisibles’ – Divorcing Tech From Fashion

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is featuring a lot of "wearables" reports Techcrunch (which all seem to be smart watches).  Here, former Financial Times journalist and publisher of influential technology blog, Silicon Valley Watcher, Tom Foremski gives us his take on the direction of this nascent market. (This article first appeared on Silicon Valley Watcher and is published here with Tom's permission) All the fuss over Apple Watch will certainly help sell a lot of watches - regular and smart. I recently started wearing a normal watch. I like the watch, not because I can look … [Read more...]

How To Take Advantage Of The Top Two Motivations For Using Apps: Loneliness And Boredom

According to a recent report from Nielsen, 68% of the consumers interviewed reported that they used apps while they were “bored" or “killing time” while 70% of app downloaders who own a smartphone said they used apps while alone or by themselves. In this blog post, Matt Collins, Global Director of Applications and Partner Marketing at MEF Member Microsoft, explains how to take advantage of these key driving forces behind app usage - loneliness and boredom. When I first saw last week’s report that shows we download apps most of all when we’re bored and lonely, I felt despair. How … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Social Internet of Things – AVG

Industry figures show that it took 25 years for the first 2.5 billion people to get online. And it’s predicted this number of connections will double in as little as the next five years. Here, Judith Bitterli, Chief Marketing Officer at AVG Technologies shares her thoughts from MEF Global Forum 2014 - plus check out an exclusive interview with Judith recorded in San Francisco, as she speaks with Hot Topics Exec Editor Tim Green for MEFTV. Much of this growth will be via mobile devices, especially from the emerging markets where the infrastructure is largely mobile. In fact researchers tell us … [Read more...]

Direct Carrier Billing and Boku’s e-money: from digital to physical purchases

Until recently, in Europe, direct carrier billing (AKA direct operator billing) was restricted to the purchase of digital goods and operated under an exemption to the European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD). This regulatory framework was largely established to deal with the purchase of ringtones and wallpapers. Now however, it’s possible for carrier billing providers to operate in full compliance with the PSD using an e-money licence, enabling carrier billing to be used for physical purchases, presenting a major new commerce opportunity. MEF member Boku is one such company that … [Read more...]

Why Direct Operator Billing Is Back In Style

From its early beginnings as a convenient way to purchase a ringtone or game with a premium rate SMS message, paying with your mobile bill has come a long way. Today, Direct Operator Billing (DOB) (sometimes referred to as Direct Carrier Billing) is recognised globally as a highly convenient way to pay for all kinds of digital goods and services. At the same time, the plethora of mobile payment wallets which have been launched over the last year and the global consumers’ increasing appetite to pay for physical goods over their mobile presents a challenge to existing incumbents. So what does … [Read more...]

Is The Future Of Education In The Cloud?

A key theme of next week’s MEF Global Forum 2014, and a highlight of the agenda for Day 1’s Innovation day, is the role of mobile technology in Education. Diana Stepner, VP of Innovation Partnerships & Developer Relations at Pearson, is one the expert panelists from the dedicated EdTech session, and here talks about some of the work that the global publishing and education company is doing to harness mobile innovation to improve the reach and quality of education. One of our aims at Pearson, as a global learning company, is to tackle the most pressing challenges in education. That’s why … [Read more...]

Enabling the move from cash to mobile money

Its no secret that much of the innovation around mobile money and mobile financial services is coming from growth markets.  Typically large sections of the population in these countries are un-banked and have limited access to any physical banking infrastructure yet feature phone and smartphone penetration is high.  Taken together these circumstances have paved the way for mobile money services which are maturing to become essential banking tools that allow more sophisticated financial services to be brought to market. In this guest blog, Sunil Sachdev, MD of financial technology company … [Read more...]

The Future of MNOs – Utility Cash Cows or Mobile Service Stars?

In the age of app stores and OTT services, mobile network operators have struggled to develop new revenue streams in the provision of content and services. Here, Mike Bradbury, CEO of billing and payments consultancy, T-Exec argues that MNOs need a cultural over-haul to compete in the mobile services economy. It is accepted fact that mobile is the dominant technological force in 2014. Latest statistics show that smartphone penetration sits at 71%, 53% of internet access is from a mobile, m-commerce accounts for 27% of all online shopping, 71% of all social media access is via a mobile handset … [Read more...]

A mobile commerce revolution: carrier billing

MEF Member Neomobile highlight everything you need to know about direct carrier billing in this guest post from CEO Gianluca D'Agostino, as well as sharing their latest infographic on how and why your business should be leveraging DCB to monetize apps and content in emerging and developed markets around the globe. The mobile commerce evolution is inseparable from the development of the digital content, starting from the late 1990s. Back in the days, mobile operators were at the center of the value chain, but consumer market was profoundly changed with the rise of ‘smart’ devices. Smartphones … [Read more...]