I was inspired by discussions with my colleagues today around the subject of “mobile enablement.”
It occurs to me that our mobile device is quickly becoming our most important “Relationship Enabler.”
Mobile devices began as very expensive devices that enabled a rarefied few to interact and form relationships with other people in the most fundamental of ways – talking.
1989 seems so long ago in the world of mobile, when Motorola introduced the MicroTAC, an innovative new flip design where the mouthpiece folded over the keypad. Weighing in at nearly one-pound, the model sold for between US$2,495 and US $3,495, plus $1.50+ per minute of talk time (in 1989 dollars, when gasoline sold for $1.19/gallon, I might add).
Now, fewer than 10% of households in the U.S. are “land-line” only.
Lower costs and exponential growth in capabilities is enabling our mobile devices to conduct an increasingly complex host of human activities and relationships. We’re enabled to connect and bond through the sharing of intimate moments and images with distant friends and family with Facebook and Twitter on our phones and tablets. We can pay our bills and manage our banking relationships with simple-to-use apps our bankers have created.
We can create a relationship with weather-casters across the globe and get the forecast, and more often a peek at the radar, for virtually anywhere on the planet in a click.
A cup of coffee is as easy as swiping our phone at Starbucks, who now claims 25% of their sales are paid by customers using their mobile devices instead of cash or cards.
Carrying around a pocket full of credit cards, even a drivers’ license, will soon be as obsolete as an 8-track player. Google Wallet will make carrying plastic cards and leather in a man’s back pocket obsolete.
You will interact with your favorite merchants using your mobile device as a storage device and enabler for payment choice, loyalty rewards, offers tailored expressly for you.
For sales people, mobile will become the ultimate tool in building human connections and relationships. Forget exchanging business cards at that networking event. Instead you’ll bump phones and share contact info seamlessly through apps like LinkedIn. You can ditch your Rolodex and all those old-school paper business cards you’ve collected over the years at trade show by scanning them into your contacts directory using apps like CardMunch.
I maintain my relationships with my real estate broker through an app. And, my Insurance broker. And my investment broker.
All this talk is making me hungry and longing for a quick escape into the movies with friends and family. Not a problem with my mobile, because I can make dinner reservations, send out invitations to my posse, pre-order our meals , and buy everyone tickets to the show – right down to picking our seats using my phone.