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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 08, 2014 • Issue 14:09:01

The Mobile Buzz:
How contextualization will shape m-commerce

It's no secret mobile device makers are racing to get in front of the competition with the latest, greatest, whiz-bang technology that will surely set a worldwide standard for mobile usability and consumer product adoption. After all, who wouldn't want to outsmart the impressive run of Apple Inc. iOS devices and become the next pacesetter in what is arguably the hottest commercial industry on the planet?

The Green Sheet researched what is predicted for the future of mobile devices and how these trends are expected to impact adoption of mobile commerce. Through this exercise, we learned that the trendiest of trends in mobile device technology is a concept known as contextualization.

Contextualization is a fancy word for the automated process of gathering personal data to create a more contextual experience. For example, Google Inc. tracks every single user click and uses the data collected to anticipate personal interests and predict new behaviors. In turn, Facebook Inc. uses contextual data mapping to prioritize and serve up what they believe users want to see most on their Facebook pages. It only makes sense to contextualize the user experience when every human being is bombarded with thousands of "pick me" messages every day.

The new mobile context

Contextualization trends are all about marketing to consumers and understanding what, when and where a consumer is most ready to buy. With smartphone penetration reaching a reported 68.8 percent in the United States during the first quarter of 2014, contextualization has gone mobile.

U.K.-based event organizer Open Mobile Media talked with Daniel Danker, Chief Product Officer at Shazam Entertainment Ltd., about the geolocation capabilities of mobile devices. "Mobile has given them a way to deliver information targeted by location while also getting unprecedented understanding of where and when people are accessing that content," Danker said.

As mobile device technology and the current generation of predictive services continues to emerge, alternative Wi-Fi-driven devices such as automobile computers, home monitoring systems, and wearable bio-tracking devices are expected to begin interfacing data with smartphones to provide an end-to-end contextualized experience.

Soon, in addition to conveniently buying a searched-for product using a mobile device, consumers will be intuitively guided by the device itself to products and services they need. It is predicted mobile devices will have the ability to prompt the purchase of everything from taxi rides to new tires to medications, precisely when the personal device deems it is needed.

The parallelism of contextualization

In the same Open Mobile Media interview, Kevin Fishner, Director of Growth at Kiip Inc., pointed out, "Mobile devices collect user behavior every second – it's only a matter of time before correlative trends are discovered."

Fishner also alluded to the existence of a parallel evolution behind the scenes where an ecosystem of service providers is coming together. As mobile commerce adoption continues to rise quarter over quarter, the trend of big contextual data collection on mobile devices will also become more valuable to global marketers and merchants. Putting products and services first in line when consumers are predicted to buy them has always been the Holy Grail for marketers.

However, as more contextual data gets collected and stored on personal devices, mobile buying trends could potentially skyrocket. Furthermore, data pertaining to personal health, wellness, and social behaviors will routinely be collected through an ever-broadening network of environmental devices. This means professional- and service-based businesses in the real estate, restaurant, salon and health-care markets, among others, will also be able to leverage scheduling apps, educational offerings and service subscriptions – delivered through smartphones – to collect contextual data to provide better services.

It is predicted that technologies guiding the emergence of mobile wallets, contactless payments and person-to-person payments will continue to evolve and gain adoption in tandem with mobile data contextualization. Along with that, mobile transactions will become virtually seamless for consumers: shoppers will be able to purchase whatever they need, whenever they need it and wherever they may be.

The Open Mobile Summit will host a mobile device technology conference in San Francisco this November, where 600 of the world's top mobile professionals are expected to convene to discuss tomorrow's mobile ecosystem. end of article

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