Will 2013 be the year that upstart mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones rain fire and brimstone on the consumer hardware industry?
Looking at an anticipated jump in worldwide mobile sales this year to 1.2 billion units from 821 million in 2012, industry experts are answering a resounding "Yes." And the repercussions will have a widespread impact well beyond the mobile industry, changing everything from retail and direct mail to medicine and manufacturing.
The one global change that will have an immediate effect of users of all devices is that, at last, one size will fit all when it comes to user experience, according to Mutual Mobile, which develops mobile solutions for businesses.
The responsive web will become the de-facto standard as companies acknowledge that the process of creating and maintaining separate and mobile Web experiences is costly, inconsistent and largely pointless. By the end of the year, every one of the 25 most-visited websites will be fully responsive, offering a scalable approach that creates an optimal experience on every front, Mutual Mobile said.
The consumer electronics industry itself will experience significant decline as a result of the assault of mobile devices, according to Mutual Mobile. As tablet functionality continues to ramp up, these devices will render huge hunks of consumer electronics obsolete. Point-and-shoot cameras, GPS systems and video recorders are just the start. New battle lines are being drawn and hardware manufacturers will either have to start thinking in terms of software or become irrelevant.
The U.S. Postal Service also will take a direct hit in the solar plexus, Mutual Mobile predicts. Email is not only cheaper but more efficient, and now that it can be accessed from mobile devices — anywhere, anytime — the end is near for direct mail and the infrastructure that supports it. The postal service may be older than the U.S., but it's likely to be a thing of the past by 2020, Mutual Mobile believes.
Helping to make sense of this multi-industry sea change, the chief mobile officer will win a seat at the management table, Mutual Mobile said. As companies increasingly embrace mobile as a strategic initiative, the role of chief mobile officer and the creation of centers of mobile excellence will become the key to organizational success, bridging the gap between sales, marketing, customer support and IT.
"Mobile has evolved from being a test project in the marketing department to become a driving force in a new system of engagement with customers, partners and employees," said John Arrow, CEO of Mutual Mobile. "In 2013 mobile will continue its meteoric rise, moving beyond the confines of a handheld device to impact everything in its path."