BCG Report Assesses Mobile's Transformative Impact and Potential
A Mobile "Health Check" for Companies
BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/15/13 -- In the year that mobile
access will overtake fixed-line access as the world's primary way of
going online, multiple technological, economic, and demographic
factors are converging to give mobile the capabilities, scale, and
reach achieved by few other technological advances, according to a
new report by The Boston Consulting Group. In "Through the Mobile
Looking Glass: The Transformative Potential of Mobile Technologies,"
BCG argues that the realization of this scale and reach is beginning
to drive new waves of innovation in companies and economies around
The BCG report outlines three main models of mobile's development.
The operator-centric "collaborative" model is best exemplified in
Japan, where mobile use is most advanced and has had the broadest
consumer impact, driven substantially by aggressive partnership
building by telco leader NTT Docomo. More than 500,000 merchants now
participate in Docomo's mobile-payment service, for example.
The "competitive" model is most evident in the United States, where
players at all levels of the mobile "stack" compete to provide
products and services to other industry participants as well as to
consumers. Although this model has created thousands of application
entrepreneurs and driven mobile's penetration of many traditional
industries, its impact is limited to some degree by fear of
"frenemies." Many companies see the potential of mobile; they also
fear that other players will use it to invade their turf.
A third, "greenfield" model is unfolding in many developing markets,
such as India and several African nations, which have seen a big
increase in the use of mobile phones over the past decade. In these
countries, most consumers' experience with the Internet will be
entirely through mobile devices and technologies.
"Forty years after the first mobile phone call, the playing field is
uneven, but this does not necessarily benefit rich countries or
nations with extensive telecommunications networks, as some might
suppose," said David Dean, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the
report. "Innovation can come from anywhere and in fact may be more
likely to come fr
om places without legacy business models to protect.
Perhaps more than any previous technological phenomenon, particularly
an advance of such radical proportions, mobile has the potential to
be a hard-hitting economic leveler."
Mobile's effect on different industries has thus far varied, and this
will probably continue to be the case, although the principal
difference ultimately is likely to be in speed of adoption rather
than extent of impact. In the media and retail sectors, for example,
mobile is hastening and deepening the disruption wrought by the
Internet. By contrast, in health care, industry complexity and
entrenched interests have thus far limited mobile's sway, even though
consumers, providers, insurers, and other participants all recognize
its potential to improve care and lower costs.
The BCG report argues that mobile's rapid development presents both
policymakers and business leaders with a host of complex, rapidly
evolving challenges. Governments are hampered by their inability to
assess change and address its implications at anywhere near the speed
of technological advancement. Companies can simplify the nature of
the issues they face by putting their businesses through a "mobile
health check" -- a roster of questions that clarify their readiness
to operate in an increasingly mobile age.
"The overriding question that CEOs need to ask themselves is whether
consumers and employees can engage with the company through the
device of their choosing, at a time and place of their determination,
and come away from the experience satisfied and having accomplished
what they set out to do," said report coauthor Sampath Sowmyanarayan,
a BCG partner and global leader of the telecom sector of the firm's
Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice.
"The answer for most companies today is no. Those businesses that are
first to be able to give an affirmative response will have a decided
advantage as some 80 million Millennial consumers in the United
States alone mature into full-fledged economic participants and the
next billion consumers come online in developing markets. For these
groups, their online experience is going to be 100 percent mobile."
A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com.
To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric
Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Boston Consulting Group
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