In the new converged landscape, mobile dealers are having to adapt to survive – Mobile News’s ‘Beyond Mobile’ conference provided expert advice on exploiting emerging trends to this end
About the conference
In recent years there has been a lot of talk within the industry about convergence and many stories have emerged of companies branching out from their traditional remit as mobile dealers.
But what exactly is ‘beyond mobile’ and how can your business take advantage of emerging trends in the mobile industry?
This is what attendees looked to learn at Mobile News’s first Beyond Mobile event earlier this month at London’s Institute of Physics, with experts giving a whistle-stop tour around ways of adding value to dealers’ offerings.
From incorporating secure Wi-Fi services to selling apps and other business services to customers, the 10 speakers focused on different aspects of convergence and provided delegates with plenty of food for thought on how to grow and protect their business in a constantly changing environment.
Mobile News highlights the top tips shared by speakers with the mobile dealers, distributors and company reps who attended the event.
‘Work with app developers to unlock potentially lucrative revenue streams’
There are huge revenue opportunities for dealers who want to work with application developers, according to Steadings Group CEO Keith Curran.
Curran explained dealers can add a whole range of extra services to existing deals, which could boost the value of a customer’s ARPU by 35 per cent.
App developers are all keen to share revenue with resellers who can bring them users, he said.
Curran heralded a future where security technology would make the smartphone a “life remote control”. On the back of this resellers could sell a host of utility apps such as location services, paper-free transactions resulting in micro-payments that would result in a significant revenue stream.
He said: “App makers are desperate for a route to market. If you can give them that, they will give you up to 50 per cent of the revenue. You would never go into, say, a PC World store and not expect to be sold a host of other software options.
“Smartphones are small computers. If you get your business pitch right, it’s an easy sell. For example, demonstrate what their website looks like on a mobile, then say you can improve that. Some developers will charge around £250 per month for a good mobile site. They might give you 25 per cent of the revenue. And all you would have to do would be the initial sale. Payment solutions, such as card sales terminals and barcode readers, also represent a potential revenue stream.
“In the future there could be hundreds of extra solutions and revenue streams driven by technologies such as NFC, mobile payments and cloud-based ID payment systems that could be embraced by retailers keen to increase the level of their online transactions.”
‘Respond to change or be eaten up by the networks’
Dealers must embrace change or risk their business being swept up by the networks, said Nimans head of network services Mark Curtis-Wood.
He said: “Although it can be daunting, hiding from change will not stop it happening. It just means that customers will go elsewhere. We technology veterans have seen change before – remember when fax machines and email first came on the scene and where early adopters made good gains? Start with small changes and build from there.
“The networks are after your business. What are you going to do that’s different to stop them? You need to create future-proof solutions. This could be through leasing hardware or collaborating with other businesses that can help you offer something else without effecting the ownership of your customers.”
Curtis-Wood added he believed the networks are soon likely to try to sweep up business from partners, and by selling ‘wholesale mobile’ rather than using commission-based models from dealers, they can distance customers from the networks.
Buying wholesale connections enables companies to offer the services under their firm’s own name and bundle mobile in with other services, which, according to Curtis-Wood, results in dealers ‘owning’ more of their customers.
“Wholesale gives you customer control, has reoccurring revenue value, future-proofs your business and protects your base,” he said. “It also makes it easier to deploy other solutions under the same banner such as machine-to-machine or BYOD.”
Full article in Mobile News issue 528 (December 3, 2012).
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