Cutting Room: embrace change in order to flourish

Chris Donkin says Mobile News’s Beyond Mobile conference emphasised how important it is for dealers to stay ahead of the curve and add value in order to be successful 

It was great to see such an enthusiastic reception for our first Beyond Mobile event at London’s Institute of Physics last week.

While pessimists within the industry may say nothing’s happening and are complaining about falling revenues, it was very positive to hear what the innovators are doing and how they see the way forward for the industry.

Mobile has always been a fast-moving sector which rewards innovators and early adopters of new technology and, listening to the inspirational speakers at the event, there was plenty of food for thought on the way forward.

Of course, those who can anticipate future trends can make sure their business stands the test of time, and if they are looking for an exit strategy, they can make it look like a much more attractive proposition.

Although there were a variety of different options to take dealers ‘beyond mobile’, the one constant theme was the importance of staying ahead of the curve and adding value to your offering. As more than one speaker touched on, sticking your head in the sand will just make customers more vulnerable to the competition.

While most of the experts outlined conventional extra services – adding landline, IT services, Wi-Fi and cloud solutions – one of the undoubted highlights was Yes Telecom founder Keith Curran’s presentation outlining a variety of innovative value-added business ideas to offer customer bases.

The rewards can be high, with app developers and website designers willing to offer anything up to 50 per cent of the revenue from their products as a resale fee just for getting into your customer base, all with no extra work from your company after the initial sale.

Security is another area which seems perfect as a value-added service, with the growth of the BYOD market offering an opportunity to sell antivirus software to corporate clients who are worried about how secure their company data may be.

Out-of-the-box antivirus software should be an easy sell, and those who want to go deeper into this area can look at a variety of solutions including secure Wi-Fi systems, as outlined by Ian Kilpatrick from Wick Hill.

As the old adage goes elephants can’t run, and resellers with a strong local base can offer more agile solutions that are just not possible for the networks and the likes of BT, according to Gamma’s Rob Davis. It may seem obvious, but playing to your strengths is vital in any industry.

While traditional mobile spend might be declining, new revenue streams keep opening up. With more convergence in the market, now is the time to look at customer bases and see what their needs are not just today but also in the future.

Nobody knows what the future may hold. Maybe the networks will make everyone huge offers for their bases and try to take all customers in house. Maybe the IT firms or traditional landline sellers will make more of a move into mobile. Maybe

Curran’s idea of a world where a mobile is ‘life’s remote control’ will emerge and make it the key device for the future. Perhaps every call will be made through the internet, eliminating the need for cellular voice calls completely.

The key fact is, nobody knows; but whatever the next step in communications is the only way to be sure your business not only survives but flourishes is to not only see the change, but embrace it.

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