No ‘i’ in Apple Announcement . . . But a Lot of ‘ME’

Filed in Mobile Engagement, Mobile Marketing by on October 16, 2014 0 Comments

No_I2-ThumbnailLast month, we announced the launch of our new Mobile Engagement Suite and the “ME” theme we’ve adopted for describing our mobile cloud solutions. By “ME,” we mean “mobile engagement” as well as “me” the pronoun, which conveys the individual personalization that our new suite enables for each and every customer.

Our launch followed Apple’s Sept. 9 Apple Pay and Apple Watch unveiling. From a branding standpoint, it was notable that Apple dropped the iconic “i” from the product names. More significantly, Apple’s announcement ushered in a new iteration of ME, and this may turn out to be the most serious innovation to date in the much hyped assault on creating a  mobile marketplace.

With all of the media coverage of the new iPhone and Apple Watch, marketers, business leaders and product developers should take pause and examine the innovation being driven by Apple’s hardware and software advancements. Understanding how to harness the power of the changes these developments will mark the difference between the companies that gain an immediate competitive edge in ME and those that follow the pack.

Here are what I see as some of the most important takeaways from the Apple announcement and what it means for ME:

  • It’s all coming together. Apple’s payment system (Apple Pay), wearable device (Apple Watch), interactive notification system (iOS 8), security (iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner), presentation (iOS 7 Passbook), music and content store (iTunes), and market clout (partnership with MasterCard, Visa and American Express), as well as the Apple consumer base itself, are aligned to realize near-frictionless transactions in the new mobile marketplace. With its end-to-end integration and die-hard customer base, Apple will teach consumers the value of the experience and remove worrisome barriers to adoption. In the same way, with the iPad, Apple demonstrated how its innovation can change the market. In this new era of ME, Apple and its mobile ecosystems will innovate to extend and enrich the underlying technology and user experience, creating even more services and experiences.
  • Mobile context is huge! Mobile context – information gained from location, identity, customer usage patterns and enterprise applications – will be the spice that makes the mobile commerce experience awesome. As consumers come to expect frictionless transactions, mobile context will be what companies use to enhance the experience, delight customers, and make their mobile experiences stand out from the competition. Personalized, context-based offers and notifications delivered at the right time, to the right consumer, through the right mobile channel, will be required to influence the loyalty and purchasing decisions of today’s increasingly tech-savvy consumers.
  • Passbook will get a boost. Building on the consumer’s new awareness of Passbook, this application (part of iOS 7 and beyond) and Apple’s Passes will get more attention as an effective way to present offers to users. Moreover, the Pass specification is likely to be further established as the default standard. Among the primary ways to deliver a mobile offering – which include apps, text messaging and the mobile Web – Passbook, or more generically, light apps, has had the least traction to date. This is in spite of the intrinsic benefits of the Passbook app being preinstalled on Apple devices along with Passbook’s geolocation, rich-graphic and update capabilities. Expect newfound interest in this tool as company understanding and consumer use expand.
  • As with all innovation the big question is . . . when? Apple has a good deal of work to do before we see widespread adoption of the Apple Pay service. Payment infrastructure, enabled devices and competitors will all impact Apple’s success. Apple announced 220,000 point-of-sale-enabled devices. That represents 2 percent of the 10 million point-of-sale devices in the U.S. Unlike the relatively short life of a phone (two years), the typical life for a point-of-sale terminal is eight years. What’s more, competitors will have their own views on this ecosystem. U.S. mobile operators also have a program underway called Softcard, formerly ISIS Wallet, and, of course, there is the Android Google Wallet along with a host of other manufacturer and app providers.

All in all, the Apple announcement sets the stage for an exciting era of mobile innovation, especially for ME. We’ll have to wait until next year to gauge the impact of some elements of the announcement, but it’s clear that ME for commerce just got a big boost.

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About the Author ()

Rob Hammond is a former Senior Director of Mobile Engagement at Syniverse.

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