Campaign UK

ROB NOR­MAN

CHIEF DIG­I­TAL OF­FI­CER GROUP M

- Business · Tech Trends · Tech · Mobile Technology · Internet · Technology Industry · Industries · Spotify · Minecraft · Call of Duty

There are 1.5 bil­lion 4G long-term evo­lu­tion sub­scribers in the world. The world’s two big­gest me­dia sell­ers are mo­bile-dom­i­nated. More ecom­merce will be trans­acted in 2017 on mo­bile de­vices than on desktop. The two big­gest ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ings of 2017 will be sub­scriber- and ad­ver­tis­ing-funded com­pa­nies that pretty much only ex­ist on mo­bile de­vices (Snap and Spo­tify). To put it sim­ply: if the in­ter­net has be­come the op­er­at­ing sys­tem for life, then mo­bile de­vices are its defin­ing pe­riph­eral.

In 2018, the world will agree the 5G pro­to­col. It will solve one of the re­main­ing prob­lems in the ecosys­tem: con­tention. It won’t make the in­ter­net go faster but it will al­low more de­vices to per­form to their po­ten­tial in denser en­vi­ron­ments such as packed sta­di­ums or liv­ing rooms where Minecraft and

Call of Duty squab­ble over the stream. Po­ten­tial con­fin­ing fac­tors in­clude the price of band­width and data, and pol­icy is­sues around the world in re­spect of net neu­tral­ity.

As for mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing, the ge­nie is out of the bot­tle and tram­pling ev­ery­thing in its path. It has forced a Faus­tian bar­gain be­tween the own­ers and cre­ators of orig­i­nal con­tent and the plat­forms that “carry” it. The plat­forms, un­like most pub­lish­ers, have first-party data rights and a net­work of sig­nals – from search to lo­ca­tion to so­cial in­ter­ac­tions – that can be ac­ti­vated in pur­suit of mon­eti­sa­tion. Money goes to money, but the plat­forms need to be oxy­genated by con­tent and may be ap­proach­ing the point where the dis­tri­bu­tion of the spoils is in­equitable. What do you talk about when there’s noth­ing to talk about?

Mo­bile World Congress 2017 will be one more step on the road to the weapon­i­sa­tion of mo­bil­ity. Faster chips, bet­ter screens, more in­te­grated aug­mented re­al­ity, less cum­ber­some vir­tual re­al­ity, op­ti­mised net­works, pin­point lo­ca­tion and more.

You don’t have to ask what the state of mo­bile is when mo­bile is the state.

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