The Impact of Mobile - By the NumbersAs I get ready to go to Las Vegas for IBM Impact 2012, I am loading up my tablet with a few good books, ensuring my phone has enough space for all the pictures I am going to take, and thinking about leaving my laptop behind. Why is that? Because the way I use my devices for work has changed… And I am not unique. A quick dive into my personal Top 10 statistics on how mobile is changing the world! (in no particular order).
1) By 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access devices worldwide (Gartner).
Do you remember the days of green screens? We all went thru a long change to finally get to PC's and low and behold they had green screens too! It took another decade before the average user had a color screen and another decade before the web browser came to dominance for many of the day to day activities people do for work. It is taking half that time for the average person to expect all their applications to be available on their mobile phone. I check multiple email accounts on my mobile phone, home, work, hobbies, etc. (And I try to follow Merlin Mann and his idea of inbox zero!)
2)The mobile media sector alone reached the $1 billion revenue mark faster than any communications industry in history in 2008, taking only five years compared with 16 for the internet - New PQ Media Forecast on U.S. Mobile & Social Media Revenue
And I am not just using the mobile phone to read my email, people are making money off of me! I buy things, music, ebooks, videos, games, and productivity tools. The ability to have this personal device with me at all times, means that impulse buys are never too far away! The fact that the mobile media overtook the internet so fast, even before the incredible penetration of smart phones that we are seeing now, is amazing. What will happen in the next 5 years as more of the developing world transforms to smart phones from feature phones. How will that transform programs like M-PESA in Africa.
3) 80 percent of the world’s population now has a mobile phone
And it's not just about smart phones, mobile phones have been transformative across the globe. In Africa IBM and Airtel Ghana are bringing students together to drive innovation thru mobile development . We see that mobile cash is transforming the economics in developing nations. This means that 80% of the world's population has access to the data that we work on as developers! Ok, not all 80% have or want access to my specific application or service, but the reach of my work as a developer has certainly expanded beyond the days of PC's and a web browser.
4) On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile device, which is over twice the amount of time they spend eating - Pew Research Center Mobile Internet Reports
And it's not all work, many of us spend this time sending instant messages, tweets, and pictures to each other. Sharing what we are reading, watching, and listening to. The value of this is already seen by the popularity of things like the Oscar's apps on phones and imdb. And if I want to talk to, I am not limited to just people on my same network or device. Of course as a developer this means that I need to think about all those platforms! This can quickly be a big headache. There has to be an easier way.
5) By 2014, mobile internet usage should take over desktop internet usage - Pew Research Center Mobile Internet Reports
And I have to figure this out quick! I only have 2 years to get ready, no wait.. am I already too late? By 2014 phones will surpass desktops for internet usage! I can't wait to update my applications to run on mobile, not even just update, but perhaps even make a native app for each platform. I need to get ready now - boy am I going to busy. And if I can get it ready quickly … I have a huge market of potential customers!
6) Of the world’s 4 billion mobile phones in use, 1.08 billion are smartphones - Pew Research Center Mobile Internet Reports
I know that a quarter of those potential worlwide users will want it on their smart phone, and they expect native like capabilities.That means a different interface for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile, and if I include tablets, wow! I have a lot of work to get done.
7) It took seven years to reach nearly 40 million smartphones compared to less than two years to reach nearly 40 million tablets - 2012 U.S. Digital Future in Focus
And while it took a while to get to smartphones where they are, the tablet market is taking advantage of what we have learned, and has grown even faster. As such I need to think and learn about all those tablet platforms. And it's not just the Android, iOS, and Windows device, I now have e-readers with apps, the Kindle, the Nook, and more on the way. So many users, so little time!
8) At the end of 2011 there were more than 400 smartphone device types on the market in the U.S., providing a wide range of options for the consumer - 2012 U.S. Digital Future in Focus
Obviously I don't want to write custom apps for all of these devices, heck there is no way I can do it. But even if I focus on the 80% of the market, I am looking at a wide variety of devices I need to support. And it's not just about writing code, but it's about testing all of these potential iterations. obviously I don't have time to do that, but I need to at lead test the majors. Understanding the market penetration and doing the tradeoffs, are critical to focusing my limited time and resources where they are most effective.
9) Average smartphone usage nearly tripled in 2011. - Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011
While usage and traffic are not necessarily the same as users, I think the real change here is that we are using our mobile devices for more than just texting and emails. I listen to about 2-3 hours of podcasts each day! Some of those are video which are displacing my TV viewing. This drives a lot of traffic, and is changing my data plan impacts too. My tablet actually has a faster internet connection than my home ISP! I am finding that if I didn't have caps, I would probably not even use my home network except for some gaming! This is shift is going to change the way we all have to manage end points in our businesses. With the increase of the ability to bring your own device to work, and IBM is doing some great things here.
10) Last year’s mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. - Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011
So what does this mean in the end? It means that there is a lot going on in the world of Mobile, it's growing quickly, impacting every aspect of IT, and I need to know more about it in order to to keep up. That's why I am going to Impact 2012 in Las Vegas this year.
We will be showing off how IBM enables development for mobile using the Worklight Studio, integrated with Rational's CLM platform, and manage it with Tivoli Endpoint Manager! I get to meet the developers, talk to the product managers, and hear from customers on how they are addressing these challenges! I can't wait!