I recently attended the PaypalX Conference in San Francisco and wanted to share the most interesting trends in mobile commerce:
Consumers are device-agnostic
Will smartphones replace laptops? Will laptops replace television? There's a lot of talk about whether certain devices will replace other devices, but consumers are actually device-agnostic. They want to be able to access all of their data on all their devices.
Consumers live in the cloud
There were many barriers in the past to living in the cloud--access to data, syncing across devices, and security risks. Now, many of those issues are solved and the only thing we need to overcome is constant connectivity. With WiFi technology getting much better in the US, the cloud is becoming ubiquitous. Most people realize that the cloud is not only more secure, but also a more convenient place to store data so it doesn't get lost.
Consumers are finally ready to embrace the virtual wallet, and the security is much tighter than the current credit card method. There are going to be multiple solutions for various carts, apps, devices, but they will all tap into one virtual wallet. Because consumers want just one wallet, businesses will have to conform. They will work harder to create apps that work on all devices, with all merchant carts, etc.
Minority Report: The future?
The conference also addressed the question on everyone's mind: Is Minority Report the future? Will companies know so much about us that they advertise to us in real-time based on our mobile activity? The general consensus was:
Can it happen? Yes. The technology is there today.
Will it happen? No one really knows. Just because the technology is there doesn't mean society will accept every usage of it.
I think the conversation around this missed the mark a bit. My question is: Even if companies DID use the data this way, would it be an effective way to advertise to consumers? I'm leaning towards no--not unless consumers give their permission to be marketed to that way. What do you think?