I suspect that in a few years time we will be marvelling at the fact that we used to carry cash and that we ever got lost. We will be asking ourselves, how did we manage without the “so and so” app?
There is a voracious appetite from consumers for mobile services, connected mobile devices are reaching critical mass, the underlying technology is in place, connectivity and speed continues to improve: the opportunities in 2012
and 2013 for innovators are enormous.
The likes of Google and Facebook have taught us that it is possible for brands to rise out of nowhere and dominate in just a handful of years. For decades, brands with big pockets and established market share found it easy to dominate over challenger brands. Today it is open season to innovate in the mobile connected world, and I believe we are going to see a changing of the brand guards in many sectors in the next two years because of it.
Take a look at the taxi business in London. Hailo, the smartphone hail a cab service, has taken it by storm and they have won because their technology is spot on and the consumer, the people who drive their business, do not have
to pay extra for the service. The technology makes the most of all the defining features of a smartphone and it has been built from the ground up with the new mobile digitally connected consumer in mind. Even the cabdrivers win
because it makes them more efficient. If I was Addison Lee or Radio Taxis I would be quaking in my boots.
A characteristic of the new mobile connected consumer is their impatience. If a proposition doesn’t work seamlessly the first time, it will be consigned to the digital bin forever and someone else will come along and do it better before
you have had time to sort out your bugs and wrap up the market.
Our potential to make the most of the opportunity to innovate in this space is being held back in the UK by a risk-averse attitude to early stage investment. It is not surprising given the economic turmoil of the past four years, but this could represent our biggest opportunity to get our economy back on track. Anyone trying to raise capital in the UK for a new venture will know how difficult it is. There is a short window of opportunity but the process of capital
raising in the UK is lengthy. There is plenty of willingness to invest once the concept has been proven, but in order to prove the concept the innovators need capital.
I expect the £20m the investors put into Hailo will pay them dividends and I applaud them for taking the risk. I also thank them as a London taxi customer for investing in it because they have made my life a easier. But can Great Britain plc lead the world in the smartphone revolution? We have the talent…where are the investors?
Liz has been in digital marketing since its inception. She is Chief Marketing Officer of Quercus and a director of Savvy Social and entertaining:tv, businesses that focus on social media, video and shopper marketing.