Plum, an analyst company specialising in strategy, policy and regulation advice on telecoms, spectrum, online and audio-visual media issues, recently published a comprehensive report looking at the app industry. The report, ‘All About That App’ can be downloaded here.

Plum’s report looks into the app market, from a revenue and employment perspective, how apps are used, how they are transforming different industries, the benefits of apps and what needs to be done to unlock their full potential. It’s well worth a read. As Mubaloo is mentioned in the report, we thought we’d look at some of the highlights.

Plum reports that the app industry is still in its early stages, though many people may think that the app industry is relatively mature now, with some apps being acquired by major firms for millions, or even billions of dollars. In Europe, over 50% of European citizens own a smartphone. Whilst in some countries, like the UK, penetration is higher, others still lag behind. Belgium, Greece and Turkey are countries where smartphone penetration is still under 35% of the total market. Even Germany, a country famed for love of efficiency, is under 40%.

The report highlights how apps are transforming the economy by bringing previously offline activity, online. The potential of apps is to help bring information technology beyond the 5% share of GDP, to the other 95% of the economy.

The report highlights a number of ways in which mobile apps are helping to transform industries, from transportation, to healthcare, utilities, maintenance and more. In healthcare alone, Plum estimates that over £101 billion (€140 billion) can be saved per annum by implementing apps.

The report sets out what Plum’s believes need to be achieved in order to enable innovation to help transform industries. Much of this comes down to the way in which markets are structured and updating old rules and regulation that may otherwise hamper innovation in many industries.

The report shows how enterprise apps are gaining momentum, though generally fall into four classes:

  • Native apps on devices, including email, calendar and contacts
  • Productivity apps from apps stores, including note taking apps, PDF readers etc
  • Enterprise software packages with app interfaces, including Oracle and SAP, and newer market entrants such as Xero
  • Bespoke apps, B2B or consumer facing, developed in-house or by third parties

As a company, we play in the fourth class here. This is the area which will ultimately help to deliver the most amount of business value, when apps are created to offer a unique advantage that can’t be found by any of the other three classes. What’s interesting is how much a company can achieve just by going beyond apps that come pre-installed on devices. Productivity apps on app stores, such as PDF readers, Microsoft suite of apps, Google Drive and hundreds of others are able to help businesses be more efficient and enable employees to do more during 9-5.

The report showcases the maintenance app we created for Unite Students a few years ago, demonstrating how the company has been able to improve its operations through mobilisation. It also looks at what’s possible with beacon technology, to create smarter environments, that are able to gather much of the information employees or businesses may need.

For the workforce, Plum estimates that by 2020, €45 billion will be saved per annum by companies across Europe, due to the productivity gains that apps provide. This is based on 30% gains for the 10% of the workforce that stand to benefit most from mobility, such as field workers, healthcare workers and people who may be regularly out at meetings.

From a consumer perspective, the report estimates that time spent with mobile internet and apps use in Europe, has led to consumer benefit of €1.5 trillion based on the Brynjolfsson and Oh* estimate. Much of this comes from the benefits in terms of being able to do tasks on the move, freeing up time elsewhere, or enabling buying behaviour.

This merely touches on what the report investigates. We’d strongly recommend having a read of the report.

* Brynjolfsson and Oh. 2012. “The Attention Economy: Measuring the Value of Free Digital Services on the Internet.”

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