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Mobile the disruptor

Mobile isn’t replacing the Internet, it’s extending it. Mobile isn’t replacing physical retail stores, it’s providing customers with the ability to compare prices, look at reviews and even make purchases. Mobile isn’t replacing work processes, it’s improving them by displacing paper based processes.

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Mobile isn’t replacing the Internet, it’s extending it. Mobile isn’t replacing physical retail stores, it’s providing customers with the ability to compare prices, look at reviews and even make purchases. Mobile isn’t replacing work processes, it’s improving them by displacing paper based processes.

Mobile has disrupted the navigation industry by putting directional mapping software in your pocket. Mobile has disrupted the camera industry by being the camera you always have with you. Mobile has disrupted the taxi industry by making it possible to hail a cab with the click of a button. Mobile is disrupting the payment industry with NFC and other mobile payment technologies that act as substitutes for traditional payment methods. Mobile is disrupting the media industry by making it possible to read, listen or watch anything, at anytime, wherever you are.

There are thousands of examples of mobile as a disruptor. From Mubaloo’s very first app, Fuel Prices for The AA, we have been helping companies to disrupt their industries by putting tools and information exactly where it’s needed, in your hand.

The Interest in mobile apps exploded following the introduction of the App Store in 2008. Mobile software had existed for a long time before then, but issues with access, fragmentation and the way people interacted with it made it a relatively niche area. Businesses in the logistics industry had used mobile devices to automate certain processes for 15 years, but many times the user experience and price of entry restricted it to only the biggest companies.

Over the past seven years, since the App Store exploded into the World, we’ve seen startups raise millions in venture funding, crowdfunding and download or ad revenue. This has led to the rise of new economies, new ways of doing things, including new ways of getting information, new ways of communication and new forms of entertainment.

Over the past year alone, the number of unique visiting members of LinkedIn on mobile surpassed 50%, YouTube’s mobile revenue is up 100% year on year, mobile search generated $11.8 billion in booked revenue for Google last year and 81% of Twitter’s ad revenue came from mobile advertising. Mobile disruption is even happening with companies that started on the desktop.

In the US in 2009, the Nintendo DS accounted for 70% of portable gaming revenue. Just one year later, it had dropped to 57%, with iOS and Android revenues rising from 19% to 34%. Disruption is everywhere we turn.

Companies are well aware of the disruptive nature of mobile. They’re aware that employees are using apps for work purposes, even if the company hasn’t approved them. They’re aware that they need to build, or provide, the right tools for the right employees. This is a shift that we’ve noticed at Mubaloo, where companies come to us for help with an entire mobile app roadmap, as opposed to a single purpose app.

As mobile continues to evolve, we’ll continue to see more disruption. Wearables are gaining in popularity and awareness, so healthcare is primed to be the next industry for disruption. We’re already seeing large evidence of this, just look at Apple’s ResearchKit.

ResearchKit is Apple’s new open- source platform that utilises data collected via wearables, smartphones and in-app tests, that research groups and universities are using to carry out studies into a range of diseases. Last month, Apple announced that research from it’s Parkinson’s app, created with the Michael J Fox Foundation, revealed that some of the participants in the control group had Parkinson’s but didn’t know it.

Everywhere you look, it’s possible to find examples of the disruptive nature of mobile. Companies who fail to realise this, risk falling behind or being overtaken by the many thousands of startups who’ve entered the market. In the U.S., a study from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University estimates that 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies on the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 will no longer exist in 10 years.

If that’s not a wake up call, we’re not quite sure what is.

Some examples of disruptive uses of mobile

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