7) Near Field Communication Services – Near field communication (NFC) allows data transfer between compatible devices by placing them close to each other, within ten centimeters. The technology can be used, for example, for retail purchases, transportation, personal identification and loyalty cards. NFC is ranked No. 7 in Gartner’s top ten because it can increase user loyalty for all service providers, and it will have a big impact on carriers’ business models. However, its biggest challenge is reaching business agreement between mobile carriers and service providers, such as banks and transportation companies. Gartner expects to see large-scale deployments starting from late 2010, when NFC phones are likely to ship in volume, with Asia leading deployments followed by Europe and North America.
8) Mobile Advertising – Mobile advertising in all regions is continuing to grow through the economic downturn, driven by interest from advertisers in this new opportunity and by the increased use of smart phones and the wireless Internet. Total spending on mobile advertising in 2008 was $530.2 million, which Gartner expects to will grow to $7.5 billion in 2012. Mobile advertising makes the top 10 list because it will be an important way to monetize content on the mobile Internet, offering free applications and services to end users. The mobile channel will be used as part of larger advertising campaigns in various media, including TV, radio, print and outdoors.
9) Mobile Instant Messaging – Price and usability problems have historically held back adoption of mobile instant messaging (IM), while commercial barriers and uncertain business models have precluded widespread carrier deployment and promotion. Mobile IM is on Gartner’s Top 10 list because of latent user demand and market conditions that are conducive to its future adoption. It has particular appeal to users in developing markets that may rely on mobile phones as their only means of connectivity. Mobile IM presents an opportunity for mobile advertising and social networking, which have been built into some of the more advanced mobile IM clients.
10) Mobile Music – Mobile music so far has been disappointing—except for ring tones and ring-back tones, which have turned into a multi-billion-dollar service. On the other hand, it is unfair to dismiss the value of mobile music, as consumers want music on their phones and to carry it around. We see efforts by various players in coming up with innovative models, such as device or service bundles, to address pricing and usability issues. iTunes makes people pay for music, which shows that a superior user experience does make a difference.
Additional information is available in the Gartner report Dataquest Insight: The Top Ten Consumer Mobile Applications for 2012. The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1205513.