Even though mobile devices – our constant companions – have penetrated nearly every aspect of daily life, the mobile mountain keeps on rising. While worldwide mobile subscriptions (both smartphones and traditional cellular connections) have surpassed 7 billion, according to the International Telecommunication Union, the 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report predicts big changes over the next five years. Besides a doubling of smartphone subscriptions to 6.1 billion, this report projects a staggering 26 billion connected devices – including cars, utility meters and other machines – as the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to take hold.
The heart of the digital economy
This extreme connectivity has resulted in a deluge of data. In fact, some estimate that 90% percent of the world’s data has been produced just over the past few years. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that much of that information comes from smartphones, which track the interests, whereabouts, and online interactions of users.
Affordable storage, processing, and transmission costs have allowed businesses to stockpile huge amounts of information, but figuring out what to do with that data is another story. The research firm IDC describes 90% percent of this data as “dark,” meaning it’s information businesses are not using. Now imagine what will happen once IoT brings more traditionally unconnected machines and appliances online. The changes could make what seems like a tsunami of data today look like just a ripple in a few years.
Companies need to adapt to take full advantage of the unique opportunities ahead. At SAP, we consider mobile the heart of the new digital economy. We help companies reimagine their mobile businesses by delivering industry-specific and context-aware mobile applications, and providing an open and flexible mobile platform. Not only do we enable secure, on-the-go access, but we also embed mobile services into our SAP HANA Cloud Platform. That gives our customers a streamlined, intuitive, comprehensive product. When all of these technologies work together – whether mobile, analytics, core database, or IoT – it is incredibly easy for our customers to innovate.
The transformative power of mobile
Mobile enables deep personalization. Companies can push user-specific offers if they know their customers’ histories and can tie that information to real-time data, such as when customers enter specific stores. Instead of targeting a group such as working moms or Millennials, businesses can now reach a market of one. Hallmark, for example, launched a new specialty retail concept called HMK using SAP Mobile Platform. This technology allows the card company to gain real-time visibility into inventory and service activities as customers create unique, personalized gifts. SAP is also developing the Barcelona for You Tourist Network, which is designed to deliver customized recommendations, location-aware special offers, and sightseeing information (wait times at attractions, for instance). The network uses SAP City Connect, a new solution designed to simplify the way people experience cities.
How transformative is mobile technology? Utilities now use sensors and predictive analytics to monitor expensive enterprise assets in remote areas, such as wind turbines in oceans. These capabilities provide a warning function, allowing utilities to dispatch the right technicians to fix a machine before it actually fails. Mobile technology also can improve efficiency and save money. Hydro Tasmania used the SAP Work Manager mobile app to enable a mobile workforce, eliminating paperwork and improving decision making throughout the organization.
Mobile technology can even provide new revenue sources. For instance, an SAP client, a tire company, is experimenting with putting real-time sensors in tires to monitor wear and tear. The sensors could help the company shift from its traditional low-margin products-oriented economic model to a more lucrative service-oriented one.
With the right tools, businesses can strike gold in the mountain of mobile data now available. The hugely valuable insights to be mined in this data can help them optimize their operations, discover new revenue streams, and delight their customers with superior experiences.
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