Mobile PhonesHere in Ireland, mobile phone usage is the largest in Europe per head of population.

We have over 120 per cent market penetration with five million subscribers in a population of 4.2 million. Vodafone and 02 account for about 85% of the market. "3", Tesco and Meteor make up the balance. Even mobiles, as we knew them 5 years ago, have changed completely.  I’m going to show you how changes in technology can be used to advantage in your business.

Let me start with some history. 

In 1973, the first hand-held mobile phone was demonstrated by Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola.  It was a handset weighing around 1kg.  In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first to be commercially available. In the twenty one years from 1990 to 2011, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew from 12.4 million to over 5.6 billion, a factor of 4500 or a factor of 21 times per annum. Or in plainer English, the market grew by 744,000 phones every day for 21 years.  Now that’s growth.

The mobile of then has now evolved into the smartphone.  A smartphone has more computing power than the computers that sent the first rocket to the moon in 1962.  Smartphones do lots of stuff, e.g. they make calls, text messaging, MMS, PDA, portable media players, video cameras, Dictaphones, GPS navigation, email, Internet access, short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), WiFi, business applications, gaming, calculators, photography, to mention just a few.  They have touch screens, web browsers, tethering facilities, skype, can use third part apps, can access the cloud, sync with your desktop and laptop, etc.  I remember in 1989, I got a Motorola mobile phone for one of my guys (I couldn’t afford one for myself, but I got one for him), it was the weight of a bag of sugar, was the size of a brick, was built like a hammer.  In fact, he used it a hammer some times.

A few years ago, there were basically only three smartphones, iPhone, Palm and Blackberry.  Palm is as good as gone (taken over by HP), Blackberry is trailing badly and iPhone is streaking ahead.  Many other manufacturers and OSs have moved in to fill the void and technology is leaping ahead at an unbelievably fast pace.  This shows what happens when you take you eye off the ball, like Kodak in last week’s article in

And what about tablets, why would you want one when you have a laptop?  Today we have a scenario where mobile devices have evolved faster than the web itself.  Mobility is no longer a luxury, it’s a requirement.  It fact, it’s a necessity.

Consider these American stats. I assume Irish are similar. 

43% of Americans between ages 24-35 earning less than $15k pa manage to pay for a smartphone. What does that say?  It means that Americans under 35 consider mobile a bare necessity.  As business people you have to seriously consider that. Content that delivers a more visual experience, loaded with video and images is now beating text-heavy content. E.g., look at what we here in DPNlive do every week in our music articles.  And the trend is only just getting revved up.

Here’s what most Irish marketers don’t realise: The shift has already taken place. We haven’t quite caught up to it yet. You don’t have to look far for proof either — just consider the following:

Some Irish marketers to the print and sign industry have started to create their own online youtube videos, e.g. Sign + Digital. They are going ahead of the masses, creating their own path and using the power of tomorrow’s technology. Younger people are there, are you?

I have a 21 year old nephew, Danny Grimes, who developed a website called a few years.  It’s a portal site that uses the power of videos and he developed it as a 16 year old. Today, he’s earning buckets of money every month from it and I wish him continued and increasing success.  Danny grew up with it all around him and because he’s a wizard on computers and software, saw it as a natural thing.

Being slightly older than Danny, we have to embrace the power of today’s fast changing technology.  Many of us will find it tough.