My blogger friends are already trolling RSS feeds and LinkedIn groups looking for the top mobile marketing and application trends for 2012 and predictions for what is coming in 2013. Their input so far has shown a proliferation in QR codes and location identification services, but an unexpected trend is emerging as well: video.
I thought that the digital generation, with their heads buried in their smartphones texting away, had won the day. Face-to-face interaction was dead, or at least had no place in our world of technology. So, how is video making a comeback? It is re-emerging over the mobile network.
From a technology perspective the timing is good. First, mobile networks are getting faster. 4G LTE deployment is in full swing and becoming the standard. Spectrum purchases by carriers now are looking toward future, even faster network possibilities. (Is it possible we were primarily a 2G network here in the United States just 5 years ago?) Faster speeds are enabling more possibilities for real-time video over smartphones.
Second, data prioritization and acceleration over the mobile network is a blossoming industry. Once relegated as a “science project,” this nascent industry is burgeoning with activity and growth through both start-up and merger-and-acquisition activity.
Businesses Are Leading the Mobile Video Charge
With faster networks and data acceleration, businesses are now ready to leverage the benefits of mobile video. Just how will businesses use video over the smartphone to grow profits and increase productivity? Here are some ideas brewing with our customers who are leading the discussion:
1. A mobile escort. Mobile escorts can walk a premium customer through an order or buying process by being another set of eyes for the customer. How about an engineer on call to answer a luxury car buyer’s technical questions on the lot? Or a broker who can walk a premium client through the keystrokes needed to make a trade online?
2. A virtual supervisor. These individuals can check in with employees at multiple, geographically-distant stores and oversee operations. They can also assist if there are customer complaints. This is a productivity booster that already is gaining traction with some storefront businesses.
3. An on-call medical or security expert. These experts triage problems at a store. What happens when someone gets sick at an amusement park? Or there is a disturbance at a restaurant or cafe? Do professionals need to be called in? What should be done immediately until more help can get there? On-call experts are better equipped to make these crucial decisions and protect the safety and security of the firm and customers. Video allows them to be on site when and where they are needed.
4. An advisor in the field. Truckers who encounter problems on the road or drivers who run into ’out of scope’ circumstances at a delivery location now have a companion to help them make decisions that are safe and consistent with company policy. Giving eyes to the team back in the office makes it that much easier to make the right decision, which often has grave impact on the health and safety of employees or customers. One thing that unifies all these trendy new video applications is the immediacy of setting up a video channel with needed resources. Having procedures in place to make sure the right people are being informed and the application is not being abused will probably be the next trend we will see in the crystal ball.