Across all our market segments and regions, mobile is acting as a catalyst of change and innovation for transforming commerce. As the payments and mobile worlds ‘connect’ in order to enable this dynamic new ecosystem, there is no better place to find out how the future’s going to shape up than at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
Big players, big business
Representing what is now a $1.6 trillion industry – and expected to become a multi-trillion dollar industry in the next decade – Mobile World Congress gathers 72,000 movers and shakers from every nation. All of them seeking to find out ‘what happens next’ – either from the conference programme, the award-winning exhibition, or the thousands of ‘C level’ meetings that are taking place during the week.
New visions, new devices
The most eagerly anticipated event had to be the opening keynote by Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, who explained the thinking behind the WhatsApp acquisition and shared his vision of connecting every person on the planet via the internet.
Meanwhile, within the halls, it is the multitude of new smart devices launched daily that are stealing the show. Among these are a whole category of new wearable devices – including wrist bands from Sony and wristwatches from Samsung – with comms, connectivity, analytics, environmental sensors and body monitoring built in .
Payment Enabled Apps
A highlight of MWC for me has to be MasterCard’s new MasterPass in-app payments, which will eliminate the need for users to store their bank card information across multiple mobile apps. Providing a faster, simpler payment experience, it also means users can buy items or service via one tap on their smartphones, without leaving the app environment.
Mobile apps will be a crucial market for us if findings from ABI Research are to go by. It reveals that overall revenues from mobile apps, including in-app purchases, will hit $46 billion by 2016 – a staggering five times what was made in 2011.
NFC Still Excites
With 115 million NFC handset owners expected to spend just over $48 billion using their NFC phones by 2017 (Strategy Analytics), it’s also reassuring to see that NFC remains a major focus for the mobile industry. In fact, VeriFone’s Dan Soffer was involved in a stimulating panel discussion – “The Road Ahead for Mobile NFC Services” – which discussed how Mobile NFC services are influenced by local market dynamics.
Interestingly, this year’s ‘NFC Experience’ has also been expanded to provide an even greater range of mobile NFC services for MWC attendees. Via NFC we were able to access the venue, pay for food and peer-to-peer network – not to mention the many retail, online commerce and transport applications being demonstrated.