The Year of Mobile?

Posted in Audience Series, Blog

PlaceIQ’s Audience Series sets out to highlight the importance of segments in the advertising world. As the pioneer of mobile’s application to location intelligence, and leaders in the mobile audience field, PlaceIQ has the knowledge you need. Key audience experts from each PIQ department — from engineering, to data science, to sales — will tackle a new topic each week to give a 360-degree view on this vast, ever-changing industry.

Duncan McCall
By Duncan McCall

We’re all amusingly familiar with the seemingly annual ritual that takes place with various analysts proclaiming that the upcoming year will be the “Year of Mobile.”

This has always struck me as analogous to saying it’s the “year of the car” or the “year of the computer.”

It bugged me that no one really took this statement to task, so I gave a presentation recently titled “The Year of Mobile,” and when I started really thinking about this concept, it became quite an interesting exercise.

So what year could actually be considered the mythical “Year of Mobile” if you were to actually try and identify one?

Maybe it was 1983, when Motorola launched the first mobile phone: the DynaTAC (forever immortalized by Gordan Gekko). That had to be the year of mobile…right?

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Or perhaps 1989, when the Motorola StarTAC came out, and every sales rep worth their salt was flashing off their slick new clamshell mobile.

No? Well then what about 1993, when Nokia launched their first real GSM phone, complete with a calendar and the oh-so additive game of Snake.

If not then it had to be 1999. Blackberry took email on a phone mainstream with huge success – a watershed moment if there ever was one.

What about 2007? This had to be it. iPhone and Android ushered in the smartphone with what was to be the fastest consumer adoption of any consumer technology in history.

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Then of course it dawned on me: There was no “Year of Mobile.” We are simply living in the Age Of Mobile.

As we sit now with this so-called smart phone revolution well underway, we have these always-on, always-near, location-aware, connected devices that we check 40 times a day.

We’ve all seen first-hand how these devices have changed our daily lives.

They’ve changed the way we consume news and take and share photos. They’ve rendered paper maps almost obsolete. Ultimately, they have changed the way we actually behave, communicate and interact with one another.

They are also starting to change the way that brands and advertisers communicate with their customers and learn how their products are interacted with in the real world. They may even provide a platform to realizing the long, unfulfilled dream of one-to-one marketing.

Even more, we’re still in the very early days of this revolution. We’ve only just passed majority usage in the US, and with wearables, indoor location, health and fitness, mobile payments – all barely getting started, but along with many other mobile integrated technologies – poised to have a tremendously disruptive and transformative effect on our lives.

Analysts search for some magical metric in a short time horizon to identify that mobile has finally arrived. I think that ultimately we are in the middle of a technology phase that will be measured in decades and will continue to morph and change and defy simple labels or even accurate measurement.

So here’s to embracing the fact that we’re not in the “Year of Mobile.” We’re simply living in the Age of Mobile.
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PlaceIQ’s Audience Series sets out to highlight the importance of segments in the advertising world. As the pioneer of mobile’s application to location intelligence, and leaders in the mobile audience field, PlaceIQ has the knowledge you need. Key audience experts from each PIQ department — from engineering, to data science, to sales — will tackle a new topic each week to give a 360-degree view on this vast, ever-changing industry.