Monday, March 25, 2013

Mobile Money Concentrated but Powerful

Mobile Money has not caught on everywhere, and it needs the right nurturing to work, but where it has taken off it has made a huge impact in the following countries:

Countries with high % of GDP in Mobile Money Systems
% of GDP in Mobile Money Systems
Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tonga, and Zimbabwe
2% to 5%
Source: GSMA

A recent GSMA report,  highlights this and shows how operators and third parties have been successful in developing mobile money systems.

To add more emphatic details as to the importance of mobile money, in Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda, the total number of registered mobile money accounts in June 2012 was higher than the number of commercial bank accounts estimated by the IMF in their 2011 Financial Access Survey.

MMU announces the results from the 2012 Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey 

The question has always been can this type of service work in developed countries and the mobile money success in developing countries offers some clues. 
  • The majority of mobile money players are carriers
  • It is a business which is:
    • Very Op-Ex oriented
    • Needs to be a separate business outside of main telecom business
    • Needs blessing and support of the CEO
    • Requires a large number of agents and to have strict control of this distribution network
    • Works best when focused on one or two service at introduction
    • Requires getting people from registration to activation quickly
    • A human capital intensive business
    • Not dependent on current market share or competition 
    • Not a sure bet, some do well and some do not 

  • Benefits to consumer can vary by region (Savings, Bill Payment, etc.) (It is important to key into the local market needs)
  • There has to be a clear need by the consumer for this service and laser focus by the company to satisfy this need.

 A couple of ideas for developed markets come to mind like:
  • Making electronic payments as accepted as cash but with the ability to transmit to anyone.
  • Storing all important financial information in one place as mobile wallets are trying to do today
  • Having a place that records all of your transaction and helps a person save money. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Google Needs Retail

Andy Rubinstein in a recent article with AllThingsDigital  was quoted as saying, “They don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore,” during a roundtable with reporters at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday.

Well sort of, for devices people already know, like phones, but there are plenty of other good reasons to have retail stores:

  1. Mind share competition with Apple:  Letting people know that Android brand is the engine for many popular devices.  Especially in the US where Apple is strongest.
  2. The tussle for Tablet mind share requires more outward reach:  With the many number of tablets like Amazon Kindle, iPad, and Microsoft Surface creating competition.  Tablets will be a key battleground for search and tablet’s success has been one of the reasons that Google has raised its mobile ad prices.  Stores will not be about smartphones it will be about tablets.
  3. An opportunity to interface with customer to improve Google products, and get problems fixed for people who are not that comfortable with technology.  This is a growing trend as older people use technology. 
  4. Promote their own home grown products: Google Glasses and Google TV.
  5. Provide a sales channel for its carrier services like Google Fiber.  And provide retail lessons learned as they expand their carrier presence.
  6. A way to showcase Google future products like the un- manned car. 

How technology is handed to you, and how a company helps people understand technology makes all the 


The one thing that Google is missing is the hand to hand touch. Apple has it and it increased its value, Google finally needs it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interactive Experience Via WiFi

iSIGN ( is a company that provides alerts to customers or fans that have a smartphone and are within WiFi range (300 ft) and/or Bluetooth range.  The alerts can be offers, greetings or messages with links that allows the user to interact with the store or venue.  The system also remembers the user’s phone and can send alerts when they return like “Welcome Back” or provide offers that are tied to user information.

The service in essence provides an interactive experience at a store or venue.  It has been used successfully at Mardi Gras World, the Host Committee Media Party for Super Bowl XLVII to provide offers to guests with interactive information about the event and 45 local restaurants. In addition, iSIGN also announced the installation of 500 Smart Antennas being installed into National Oil & Gas’ network of gas stations and convenience stores in Canada. The company also has installations in malls, stadiums and theaters in Canada.  

One of the sticky features of the service is that the offer will reside on the phones media or picture file so the user can act on the offer later.

A service like this has to be used judiciously because too many offers can be annoying and a pain to remove from the picture file, but people are not going to mind getting a greeting along with an offer for a desired item.  The offers can be used outside the store to bring people in or in the store to greet people.