The future reality of mobile

18/04/2017
Blog posted by Catherine Cribbin
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Catherine Cribbin, Senior Industry Initiatives Executive at IAB UK explores the future of mobile after the IAB’s mobile conference at the beginning of April.

We recently held our annual ‘Mobile Conference’, and my mind is still a-wonder with all of the exciting sessions attempting to answer the question on everybody’s lips: what is next in the world of mobile?

It is a great question; is it custom 360 video at scale I hear you ask? Or perhaps creating a farming community who crowdsource and share information via SMS across the developing world, or maybe it is beer brewed by artificial intelligence (AI)? Other sessions from the conference’s stellar line-up discussed the future of the connected home, affordable and accessible healthcare through AI and even augmented reality (AR) glasses which show you local coffee deals linked up with your favourite map apps.  

The almost crazy thing is, so much of this sounds like it is straight out of a sci-fi film, but most of it exists in the world today, it is our reality. The conference celebrated the breadth of possibilities available in mobile alongside the opportunities these present for advertisers in a whole new way, in some instances beyond the realm of the screen that we are so used to. With so many exciting innovations flying around, I thought I would summarise some of my key take-outs from our mobile conference…

Using mobile for good

There were some pretty cool start-ups who utilise the unique features of mobile to help people. 

First up was Playmob – connecting millennials, the notoriously hard-to-reach audience in a gaming environment with a key brand purpose, CSR-focused messages from specially selected advertisers - their core belief is that ‘doing good makes you a winner’. 

The next start-up session was from Babylon whose app offers affordable and accessible healthcare through artificial intelligence, connecting the world’s best scientists, clinicians, mathematicians, and engineers to create a ‘comprehensive, immediate and personalised health service and make it universally available’. This service tackles one of the UK’s biggest challenges: our health care service, and more specifically the ability to access health information and appointments. Definitely worth a try!

Keeping it simples

If working in the digital advertising industry for the last few years has taught me anything, it’s that the best ideas are always the simple ones. This next start-up is, of course, a perfect example of using mobile for good, but what struck me the most about this innovative start-up is that it is such a simple idea, rolled out at scale - without its users needing internet access. We heard from WeFarm’s Kenny Ewan. WeFarm have pioneered a life-changing service for the world’s 500 million small-scale farmers with no internet access. Their simple, but extremely effective crowdsourcing model means that farmers across the developing world can access vital information without spending any money or having to use the internet.

Getting personal, at scale

Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons, AOL, Story Lab, Fallon and Mediamonks tackled one of the biggest challenges in 360 video and VR; how to get scale! The next challenge after scale is tackling how to personalise the experience. The solution was to build a website that allowed parents to customise their own virtual memory lane with images of their own family to celebrate the shared moments of joy. Check it out for yourself:

(Cadbury: Memory Lane from MediaMonks on Vimeo)

My main takeaway from the conference was that there are so many avenues for brands to take mobile - from offering unique experiences to helping communities across the world. I still don’t have an answer to the question of what is next for the world of mobile, as to me it seems the possibilities are endless.

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