Study: It’s a Mobile World, Companies Need to Get Savvy

As the number of consumers with smartphones edges closer to the one billion mark, a new study by Forrester Research challenges companies to think seriously about what they need to do to be successful in a mobile world, GigaOM reports.

The study, which examines mobile communications trends and their impact on businesses, predicts that by 2015 businesses will double their spending on mobile projects. Forrester also forecasts the following by 2016:

  • One billion consumers worldwide will own smartphones and one out of every three dollars spent in the tech economy will be mobile.
  • The U.S. will have 257 million smartphones users and 126 million consumers will own tablets; 350 million employees will use smartphones, with 200 million of them bringing their own.
  • Mobile spending will account for 35 percent of the technology economy, or $1.3 trillion, with the app market generating $56 billion by 2015.
  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will control 91 percent of the U.S. smartphone market and 98 percent of the U.S. tablet market.

The study stresses that mobile is a not just about the device, but requires a whole new outlook that values the power and immediacy of smartphones and tablets, GigaOM said.

According to the study, companies need to fully appreciate the importance of mobile apps in engagement systems and reconsider how to deploy apps for customers, because mobile apps are becoming more sensitive to context due to input from the cloud, sensors, history and social data.

Forrester also said companies will have to consider whether their servers and middleware are up to dealing with the growth in mobile, and they will need to look at how consumers interact on mobile and work on creating a specific mobile experience, instead of just transferring data, said the report. The hiring of a chief mobility officer is offered as a way to plan and manage the various mobile apps and initiatives embarked on by a business.

According to Forrester, companies are already seeing their investments in mobile pay off. The study said 25 percent of Walgreens’ (NYSE:WAG) transactions come from its mobile app and insurance company Aflac (NYSE:AFL) reported that its mobile app has handled the equivalent of 25 million customer calls by agents sitting in their client’s office, GigaOM reported.

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