Tuesday, October 28, 2008

IBM Concludes that the Future of the Internet is MOBILE

IBM has just released the results of its new study which explored the growing importance of the mobile phone as the "platform of choice" for accessing the Internet. They received responses from 600 respondents in the U.S., the U.K. and China and lead researcher Dr. Sungyoul Lee concluded that: "With 70 percent of consumers worldwide who believe that the mobile Internet has the potential to add significant to moderate value to their day-to-day lives, the time is now for companies to develop intuitive applications and services that allow people of all ages to effortlessly access and use the Internet while on the go -- anytime, and anywhere."

But company executives must not take this as an open mandate to simply port their existing Internet content to the mobile platform. That would be an enormous and costly mistake.

Instead, business leaders must look at the Mobile platform as an entirely new channel, with distinct differences from the fixed PC (or even portable, laptop PC with a wireless connection). Consumer behavior on the mobile platform mandates a different approach that leverages the power of the mobile platform.

For example, Amazon.co.jp here in Japan did not replicate it's PC site experience on the mobile platform, but instead significantly modified it to match with the mobile consumer experience. One of the most important innovations (one that I believe suggests a complete paradigm shift in marketing competition) is their development of Scan Search. Through the use of a simple bar-code reader, they have turned the mobile phone into a huge competitive advantage. With a consumer shopping in a competitors store, using Scan Search, that consumer can get an immediate price comparison, read peer reviews, and explore recommendations for similar books all at Amazon.

While such a model may not be possible to replicate in other sectors or industries, this is a clear lesson than the mobile phone and its enormous set of capabilities has the opportunity to truly re-shape how we develop and implement our "eMarketing" initiatives.

This IBM study offers a very important glimpse of what will come, and look forward to continuing our own studies in this area.