Operating in the “Cloud” & Mobile Advertising

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013
By Farrukh I. Younus
Freelance Writer - United Kingdom

43% of CNN website's page views from Africa were on mobile phones.
Barcelona MWC 2013

Opening the third day of keynotes was Tom Wheeler, MD of Core Capital Partners. Wheeler spoke on how the consumer became untethered from their phone and now, with the cloud, how the consumer is becoming untethered from their files, giving the example of Dropbox who maintain over a billion files a day.

Joachim Horn, CTIO of Tele2, spoke next opining that the cloud is one of the few hypes in the industry which has substance. Horn observed that operators have traditionally been too slow to change, giving the example of how they decided to update their HR system. After some study, they discovered that it would take 1.5 years. However by using a cloud-based solution, they were able to set it up within six weeks. Still, to transition to the new system it took eight additional months, showing that the transition to the newer cloud-based system itself would take time. Horn also stressed the importance of not customising services, instead using existing standards to ensure that subsequent updates can be rolled out even faster.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Juniper Networks, distinguished between a business and a consumer cloud, where the latter includes advertising, e-m-commerce, and on-line media. Johnson provided a statistic showing that $31bn had been generated in the business cloud and that opportunities exist to avoid the 'dumb pipe' scenario, outlining three key areas to focus: security and trust, the delivery of faster services, and an enhanced user experience.

Susan Whiting, Vice Chair of Nielsen, stressed on the importance of asking content creators what actions they want to engage the audience, and what the final deliverable of that engagement would be. Interestingly, a recent report showed than 1/3 of Chinese smartphone users actually increased their viewing of TV, despite watching TV channels on their mobile phones. Another interesting statistic, 70% of Indian smartphone users see a mobile advert once a week, which differs to once a day elsewhere, but crucially, smartphone users in the developed markets are less likely to engage with the advert, whereas smartphone users in the developing economies are more likely - quality over quantity.

Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu began with the example that last year’s Nexus would be the next year’s entry level smartphone, that’s to say the rate at which the industry is evolving is fast. Shuttleworth stressed that while the cloud may be the engine through which to deliver services, it is the rich Graphical User Interface (GUI) on a phone that makes for an engaging experience, retaining consumer interest.

Drew Houston, Founder and CEO of Dropbox, continued this theme, observing that to the average person, there is no cloud per se, rather, the consumer simply perceives the end deliverable. Houston gave the example of a man who had taken photos of his child from birth on his phone, only to one day accidentally put it in a washing machine and lost the photos. By coincidence, he happened to enable the save to cloud feature and all of the photographs he thought he had lost, had in fact been saved in the cloud. Thus, the ease with which a device can connect becomes crucial to ensuring a rich experience and with 500m devices already connecting a day, the way the consumer will engage with cloud storage will continue to change.

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Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide, spoke of the importance of location, knowing where the consumer is, sending them the right message, at the right time and at the right location. Amongst the examples Gunning provided was to tempt the audience into a Big Mac (incidentally, one of the four congress restaurants, served burgers for lunch), where in France the consumer can order a burger on their phone and pick up with ease.

Peter Bale, VP & GM Digital, CNN International, spoke of the importance of a human sound, a familiar association and the impact that has on the customer experience. Bale shared that 34% of American citizens use CNN Mobile in the US, and that there had been a 222% increase in the usage of desktops and tablets through which to access the site; that is to say that while mobile has its place, other platforms are also being used to access their content.

Adding further context Bale informing us that 43% of page views from Africa were on mobile, but that generally different devices would be used at different times of day, meaning that to optimise reach, content can be catered for the respective devices at the optimal times of day.

Nathan Eagle, CEO of Jana, outlined a quite remarkable project, the ability to reach and compensate 3.4 billion people in the developing world, instantly. Eagle explained how the developing world has a $200 billion spend, on relatively irrelevant traditional advertising and how using Jana, any number of people in any number of countries could be reached.

One barrier Eagle observed was the comparative cost of engaging via mobile, where some would spend up to 10% of their daily wage to make calls and send SMSs. One of the many examples Eagle shared was a campaign in Indonesia which was designed to raise awareness of a yogurt brand, sales shot up by 27%. Another campaign in Vietnam saw 20,000 customers engaged in just 24 hours. The Jana initiative is thus a mean of shifting engagement from billboards which are ineffective to targeting consumers at the device level.

The two themes for today's keynotes, operating in the cloud and mobile in media, delivered an educational realization: the consumer seeks choice, engagement and opportunity, expecting a seamless experience in the knowledge that data being provided and auctioned upon is safe. The real message hitting home is that the growth rate and pace of opportunity has only just begun and that scope exists for a wide variety of new players to the market to compete with, as well as work with the existing network operators when delivering services.

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End Note: 'Supported by our online platform for accommodation www.wimdu.com, the perfect hotel alternative'.
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Farrukh I Younus has a background in mobile phone strategy across Europe and Asia, and has visited China on more than 25 occasions. Dedicated to understanding and delivering solutions based on new technology, Younus has spoken on the subject to the European Parliament in Brussels, and regularly attends industry-leading conferences. He currently runs a video platform, Implausibleblog, delivering lifestyle content via social media; where his focus is on understanding consumer behaviour with regards to digital content and digital advertising. His interests include travel, nouvelle cuisine, and chocolate.

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