The burgeoning use of mobile everything. That’s the trend. So evident is the mobile trend that you would have to be Rip Van Winkle to not notice.
Smart phone growth and usage is the biggest thing since, well, sliced bread. In fact, it’s engulfing entire economies. Samsung is producing double the volume of smartphones as compared to the incredible iPhone, and now represents 20% of the gross domestic product of South Korea. Can 50% be that far away?
The heaviest users of mobile services are young people, millennials, and most importantly, students. But what is driving this monstrous growth? App automation. Drudgery relief. The quest for cool. The desire for constant communication and instant gratification. Apparently, the human desire for these things is insatiable.
Before we speculate on how the power of this “trend” will contribute to the betterment of the collective college student experience, we need to take a look at where we’ve been, in terms of apps:
The Camera, Gallery, Email, Gmail, Maps, Navigation (amazing utilities); Pandora, Spotify (music); Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Words With Friends, Plants vs. Zombies (gaming); Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine (social); ESPN, Yahoo (sports); Kindle, Reader, Amazon (reading and shopping); Flipboard, Feedly, NYTimes (news); Starbucks, Yelp, Dominos (dining); Uber (limo rides); and Paypal, Wallet, ISIS, Dwolla, Coinbase (payments).
So, what exciting developments can we look forward to in our industry in 2014? Well to start off, don’t expect the plastic ID card in your wallet to disappear. Like Mark Twain’s remark about the rumors of his death, the early demise of the student ID card – and its replacement by the smart phone – is greatly exaggerated. The expansion of the traditional plastic card to include RFID and NFC will continue. Many are aware of Disney’s experimentation with wristbands for hotel keys, ride scheduling and dining payments. The rate of change here is gradual. In mobile realm, however, it may be explosive.
The biggest trend for 2014 in the mobile arena will no doubt involve payments, things “around” payments, and the multitude of smartphone payment methods. Vending will drive NFC although the clock is ticking and the jury is still out as to whether this technology will succeed as competing technologies emerge.
Remember Videotex? Of course, you don’t. It was supposed to deliver news, sports, entertainment, dining, etc. via a set-top box in the 1980’s. It just never went anywhere, and the broadband Internet and now smartphone apps satisfied this consumer desire. Let’s hope NFC is not the next Videotex. How about offline smartcards? They were the next big things in the ‘90’s. Today, not so much.
The simplest and most successful mobile payment app today is the one offered by Starbucks. Tap a few times, generate and scan a barcode, and voila, your latte is handed to you. The simple genius here is that the app works on virtually all phones at all stores. No swapping out merchant hardware or convincing consumers to change hardware; it’s ubiquitous and frictionless. Google Wallet, PayPal, ISIS and other apps are growing as well. These apps and the growing number of apps for pizza delivery, takeout and other dining establishments will drive mobile payments in 2014.
In our business, mobile payments and applications will accelerate where they make transactions faster and easier – where they add value. For example, checking your phone to avoid busy dining halls or laundry machines, or pre-ordering and pre-paying for lunch. How could student pre-ordering by phone for pick up between classes not expand enormously? This is just the tip of the iceberg. We predict that 2014 will be the year where applications like these really take off.
Another mobility-enabled trend will involve ticketless entry and privilege verification. Here again, the mobile phone is the key. Do we know you? Do you have a seat for this concert? Did you pay for your pool access? Today this problem is often solved with paper tickets, scanning personnel, and in many cases guard radio calls. Imagine how nice it will be to use your smart phone to book tickets AND verify identity and validate privileges. It can be an end-to-end solution; the student pays for a ticket or privilege from a phone app and the cashier or security staff verifies that privilege from a companion app on a phone or tablet. No paper, no waiting, no swiping.
The third trend that will likely grow legs in the New Year is geolocation technology. We see a world where low-energy Bluetooth devices will be deployed in arenas, stores, labs and dining halls to notify your registered smartphone with loyalty offers, sales, discounts and so forth. Reading, especially for ads and coupons, has been a dying activity, and geolocation notification may drive the dagger in the heart of sale searching. The sales will look for you! That’s real value added from mobile. Expect more of it in 2014 and beyond.
About the AVISIAN Publishing Expert Panel
At the close of each year, AVISIAN Publishing’s editorial team selects a group of key leaders from various sectors of the ID technology market to serve as Expert Panelists. Each individual is asked to share his or her unique insight into what lies ahead. During the month of January, these panelist’s predictions are published at CR80News and SecureIDNews.