MWC 2013: More Global And More Disruptive Than Ever Before

It’s that time of the year: the pilgrimage to the Mobile Mecca, Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona. This is my 10th pilgrimage in a row and, needless to say, the event has changed tremendously over the past few years – from 3GSM in Cannes to the new venue in Barcelona this year. While CTIA is still very US-centric and CES is still a lot about TVs, MWC is really the only global mobile event with a strong presence of operators and handset manufacturers from all over the world. Every year the show becomes not only more global, but also more open to new categories of players — such as advertisers and developers — willing to make the most of mobile technologies, and more open to connected devices that go far beyond the traditional definition of a mobile phone. Markets are colliding and mobile innovation is at the center of these upheavals. MWC used to be a telecom show focusing mainly on mobile technologies, but the event is now bringing together people from every industry.

In the light of today’s first announcements, here is my take on how to put in perspective the announcements to be made at MWC 2013 in the coming days:

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The Data Digest: Understanding The Drivers For The Uptake Of Mobile Payments

Mobile payments saw continued innovation and competitive disruption throughout 2012, but consumer adoption lagged behind the industry hype. The Forrester Research Mobile Payments Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (US) shows that US consumers will adopt mobile payments at an accelerating rate over the next five years, reaching $90 billion by the end of 2017. Lower barriers to adoption, increased convenience, and early entrants striving for scale will be important drivers of growth.

Although the mobile wallet marketplace is still in its early stages today, players across the ecosystem are vying for consumer trust. Trust is often based on prior experiences: Forrester’s North American Technographics® Retail Online Benchmark Recontact Survey, Q3 2012 (US) shows that nearly half of current US PayPal users would trust PayPal as their mobile wallet provider. However, for those who don't use PayPal, the most trusted source is a bank or credit card issuer.

The recently published Forrester report “How PayPal Uses Exploratory Research To Drive A Culture Of Customer-Focused Innovation” shows how PayPal conducts exploratory research to understand the tradeoffs and emotions related to consumer payment behaviors to create better products and experiences. The insights gathered from the research helped the product development process.

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