Things used to be simpler for businesses, and not all that long ago. Much of the data that was shared was from business-to-business, and data and information exchange between businesses and their customers was either via e-mail or between secure website pages and customer’s PCs. Although massive amounts of data were being transmitted, the advent of mobile devices, which can do most things mainframes were once able to do, has changed the picture, and the amount of data shared has grown from massive to truly massive.
Today, our society creates as much data every 48 hours as was created from the time records were being kept on papyrus up through the year 2003. Even the thought of creating as much data in 2 days as was once created in a single year is mind-boggling, and gets one to wondering how much data will be created on a daily basis 10 years from now. The answer will be measured in zettabytes. A terabyte will seem rather small when compared to a zettabyte, which is 1021 or one sextillion bytes. The amount of data flowing over the Internet is so great today in fact that the NSA can only deal with about 1 percent of it.
It should come as no surprise that mobile data accounts for a large chunk of this in that there are as of 2014 something like 1.2 billion smart phones in existence, and that number will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.
While it may seem too much to ask businesses to be able to manage the amount of data that even the NSA seems unable to handle, the fact is, mobile data growth is expected to benefit businesses greatly in the years to come, especially since more and more shoppers can do their shopping from any place at any time. It isn’t just the vast amount of data that can be a challenge for businesses but the ever-growing demand for real-time processing on the part of their customers.
One of the hurdles businesses are faced with is where to channel their marketing efforts. Storefront banners will probably never completely disappear, but today’s marketing manager needs to choose among social media, CRM, the Web, and mobile, plus newspaper advertising and the store banner. It seems that most of those businesses who conduct much of their business online, and devote a significant amount of their marketing efforts towards online customers, are aware of the need for as strategy to deal with mobile, but only a minority of them appears to be doing anything about it.
A new term being bandied about is the Internet of Things, or IoT. The IoT comprises of all of the things that are being and will be connected by wireless devices in the future. For example, two out of every three consumers in the United States intends to purchased connected technology and smart devices for their homes over the next 5 years. The number of wireless devices currently in use globally is about 25 billion, and that number of devices is expected to double by 2020. A large segment of IoT devices are smart phones, tablets, and other devices consumers will be using to communicate their needs and wishes to businesses.
If consumers only wanted product descriptions and prices from those they contacted from their mobile devices, the data issues potentially facing businesses might not seem so daunting. Customers want more than basic product information and prices however. Customers often want additional information; they look for comparisons, often among products of the same product line, and they have a tendency to want answers to questions that are not to be found on a business’s/FAQ page. Most of these things could be accommodated relatively easily if it were not for the sheer amount of data involved.
Apps are big business, and will become an even bigger business in the future. From the consumer’s viewpoint, more apps often translate into greater benefits. For businesses, apps are just another place where marketing savvy is often put to the test. Just as the store banner a business hangs out needs to attract a certain share of customers to prove its effectiveness, an app needs to do the same; it needs to give the consumer a reason to stick with it and to stick with the company behind it.
Mobile data isn’t going away anytime soon. The technical world is full of surprises, but it is hard to envision what might eventually replace mobile data and make data management just a little less of a challenge, although the opposite could certainly be a result.