A recent survey by O2 identified more than 200 firms creating innovative mobile products and services for businesses and consumers. Its list of 50 “companies to watch” accounted for a &£1bn market that flourishes on the back of 63 million mobile phones currently owned in the UK.
This amazing explosion in the past 20 years, which has taken us from mid-1980s bricks to devices that can play music, check e-mail and make live video calls, also heralds a critical mass where businesses can no longer ignore the mobile phone and the opportunities it presents.
The UK is a world leader when it comes to mobile technology and, while this might make us proud, making our companies more competitive and leading edge might be a better to way to prove our patriotism.
The implications for UK businesses are endless. Those on O2’s list work with some of the world’s largest and fastest moving companies, developing marketing strategies specifically for mobile technologies. These include Google, Disney, Coca-Cola, Ford and Cisco. Behind the scenes, a growing army of “aggregators” offer suites of services, from SMS-based products for TV to music downloads.
But it is going to be in the small and medium-sized enterprise market where the critical mass I mentioned earlier really takes hold. Some companies may simply use mobile technology through PC-to-text services to communicate with an external workforce from the office, while other organisations – such as financial services – may let customers manage bank accounts or insurance policies, or trade shares from mobile devices.
The UK is one of the best places to build mobile products and services. Therefore companies must take full advantage of the rapid innovation and evolution of the mobile market, staying one step ahead, locally and internationally.