Business Time: Key Takeaways from MWC 2015

By Giovanni Benini, Director of Product Management – Global SMS, OpenMarket, for Mobile Marketing

It’s time to say goodbye to this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and reflect upon last week’s wild ride. With over 93,000 participants this year, the show not only set new attendance records, but it also provided a plethora of memorable moments.

For one, I saw business as usual: everything gets better, slicker and more performant – e.g. last year Samsung presented the S5, this year the S6. But then there were also new trends strongly visible this year like wearables promoting health as a topic, and the Internet of Things, which was best represented by the high number of real cars exhibited at many stands – the event did not fall short of the hype it creates each year.

So, what should enterprise professionals be focused on from MWC 2015? Here are the top three takeaways I think they need to know about.

Mobile money is flowing and bringing new opportunities

With a report from Oracle predicting enterprise mobile spending to grow by at least 50 per cent over the next two years, it is no coincidence that this year drew the largest attendance in conference history. Although mobile has been a steadfast option within the toolbox of most marketing and customer service professionals, this year’s show brought new, innovative concepts that will undoubtedly improve how all executives within the global business space are leveraging mobile.

The key here is not only that mobile is mobile in the sense of physical mobility. First and foremost, mobile is personal. So enterprises leveraging mobile means that they are connecting to their customers and employees in the most personalized way possible. After all, your mobile phone is always with you.

So with all the mobile engagement capabilities and tools presented at MWC, it is a wise move to shift budget allocations, away from old-fashioned channels and tactics such as TV advertising and physical mailings, to more mobile-focused activities, which today allow businesses to connect and interact with employees and customers like never before.

The intersection of mobile marketing and Big Data

Over the last several years, mobile advertising and marketing have continued to grow at a steady rate. The big jump however I believe is still to come. And this will be triggered by the buzzword, Big Data.

The amount of data collected by everyone is growing: be it centrally in the networks (or clouds, to use the jargon) or by the number of personal devices a single person is nowadays carrying on them (smartphone, smart watch, tablet, a new wearable). This year’s show reinforced that all of this data has huge potential to be used in a clever way to improve personalized communication between enterprises and customers or employees.

This is what Big Data is all about, trying to sift through the vast amounts of information these device provide, to, combine it intelligently and use it for personalized, marketing activities. Furthermore, if done correctly, consumers will not perceive these interactions as marketing tactics, just welcomed personal advice.

The rise of A2P SMS aggregators for customer engagement and much more

As an IDC report released just weeks ago stated – although disjointed, Application-to-Person SMS (A2P SMS) mobile messaging continues to be a driver of innovation and engagement across all departments of the enterprise.

Many media and analyst representatives at the show echoed that sentiment as well. Established operators, including big telecom groups, are actively embracing and working with global SMS providers in order to better monetize the A2P SMS traffic for enterprise businesses.

Operators are finding A2P SMS aggregators (or messaging providers) are becoming helpful partners. They are the best conduit to help facilitate and handle the business transactions with enterprises today, due to their pre-established relationships and the volume of mobile messaging traffic they can power.

Additionally, with more and more deployments of SMS firewalls by mobile operators to block unauthorized, non-compliant traffic, the A2P industry is evolving from least-cost routing to quality message routes, in order to go after clean, higher-margins of traffic. This will help global organizations use A2P SMS messaging to support more internal and external use cases – creating new engagement opportunities with customers and improving communication and operations within their departments company-wide.

With each passing year Mobile World Congress seems to get bigger. The sheer number of people asking how we can move the needle in mobile is encouraging, and there is no doubt that enterprises globally are looking to leverage mobile across their entire organization. If Mobile World Congress has the effect we believe it will, then this will be a good year for mobile.