Has it really only been 12 months since this time last year? As ever in the world of mobile, things move so fast that real-time seems to be on fast forward.
Looking back on 2014, it was a year when mobile advertising once again claimed a lot of the headlines. When programmatic was tipped to take over the world, and not just the mobile world, but digital, TV, print and everything else in between too. A year when the big guns, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, continued to muscle their way to the top, digging deep when necessary to buy up the companies threatening their dominance. And a year when smartwatches and other wearable tech moved from early adopter luxury to everyday accessory.
Looking ahead, for us here at Mobile Marketing, 2015 promises to be a big year. On 1 November next year, we celebrate our 10th birthday. When we launched in 2005, the iPhone was just a sketch on Jony Ive’s whiteboard (probably) the App Store was an even more distant dream, and the most desirable handset you could buy was made by Nokia and did a very bad, very basic and very slow version of the internet.
Compare that with where we are today, where the only reason I’m not dreaming of a White Christmas is because my Weather Channel app tells me there’s no chance of it happening. (The weather on Thursday where I live, according to the app, is set fair, a bit of sunshine, temperature 7 degrees Celsius, with just a 10 per cent chance of rain.)
Where, if I need to get anywhere on Christmas Day, I can summon a cab using Hailo, Addison Lee, Uber, Kabbee, or any other of the taxi-hailing apps on my Samsung phone, and be kept fully informed of its ETA, how much it will cost, and even what the driver’s name is.
Where, if I do summon up the energy after a big Christmas lunch to ride my bike or go for a walk or even a run, my Moves and Strava apps will feed back to me exactly how much ground I covered and at what speed. Or if not, maybe I’ll use the Fitbit I put on my wish list to Santa this year.
And where, if I don’t fancy the Queen’s Speech, I can choose from a few hundred other programmes to watch on iPlayer from the comfort of my phone. Where my kids, of course, will be oblivious to what’s going on around them anyway as they message their friends on Facebook to find out what Santa brought them. And where anyone over the age of 5 who doesn’t have their own tablet knows it’s not something to shout about.
Yes, mobile tech has evolved beyond recognition over the past 10 years, and it’s enriching the lives of millions of people round the world, including many people in emerging markets, where mobile money services, to quote just one example, are changing lives for the better in ways that those of us in more developed regions find hard to appreciate.
The end of another rollercoaster year is a great time to reflect on that, and to ponder, as we look ahead to a world of driverless cars and virtual worlds, how much longer it will be before someone comes up with a smartphone battery that can last a full day…
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.