If you are reading this article, you are one of the 3 billion people online today and one of the 2 billion that have a smartphone as of 2014 according to Benedict Evans of the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. By 2020 there will be two to three times more smartphones than PC's, he said.
What does this mean for all of us? Think cameras (photo & video). Think locational awareness (ads, friends, commerce). Think payments (hello Apple Pay).
The opportunity for the hardware providers is even larger as consumers turn over their smartphone devices every 2 years as opposed to their desktop computers that turned over every 5 years.
The impact does not stop at just the sheer number of devices.
As I mentioned, each smartphone device is equipped with additional hardware. By now we are used to having a camera and a GPS on the phone. But what comes next? Sensors are being added that connect the many disparate data sources that are important to each one of us. From clothing, to connected cars and homes to connected representations of our functioning body, our smartphone is emerging as the center hub of all of our activity.
By 2020, 80 percent of the world's population will hold a smartphone in their hand every day. The most revealing statistic was that the utility of mobile increases as income falls. Clearly stated, the less fortunate rely on their smartphone to manage just about everything they do without a desktop or tablet or dedicated internet connection.
So, what does this mean for you and your business?
Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Which customers of your today spend the majority of their time on mobile and how can you adjust your business to leverage those targets?
- Where (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) do your customers spend the majority of their mobile time and how can you ride on that to the benefit of your business?
- What sensors are coming down the road over the next 3-5 years and how do they impact my current business?
- What mobile business opportunities are created that would augment your current business model. (The development costs are a faction of what you might expect.)
Each new application of earth-moving technology creates new business opportunities. As an investor through The Startup Factory and an advisor to software tech companies around the globe, I have shifted my lens to a mobile-heavy strategy for some time now. Use the same lens for your business or suffer the consequences.