Mobile Payments and Banking Market Map

firstpartnerFirstPartner have a new 2015 version of their free Mobile Payments & Banking Market Map. It shows consumer segments, mobile financial services, types of payment, the payment value chain, payment processors and providers, technology and system vendors, regulators, industry association and standards bodies. There are also some useful statistics, for example, there are forecast to be 195 billion mobile and tablet transactions per year by 2019, a factor of three more than there were for 2014.

mobilepaymentsmarketmap

Counterpoint Smartphone Market Share

counterpointCounterpoint has a new infographic based on their Q1-2015 Market Monitor report that tracks more than 75 top vendor shipments across countries that contribute to more than 95% of the total global smartphone volumes.

globalmobilephoneshare

The infographic is particularly good if you need region specific data.

Design for Design’s Sake

wiredI have been reading an article in this month’s UK Wired magazine on ’41 Lessons from Uber’. One of the lessons is to “Keep it Simple”. Uber has only rolled out one major design change to its app. The lesson is:

“Don’t change your product unless you have to. Make it faster, better and more robust but don’t do design for design’s sake.”

I have seen many projects substantially re-design everything before the app is even released. This is usually relatively costly as it often involves iOS, Android and the server. It also causes the app to be late to market. So what causes a substantial change of design? I find it’s usually one or more of the following…

  • A new project UI designer, project manager or other staff trying to make their mark on the project
  • A sudden (arbitrary) change in company branding
  • A new UI paradigm provided by Apple or Google
  • A late realisation that the app doesn’t look right due to key people only becoming interested late on in the project lifecycle – this can happen even on Agile projects.

Pre-empting these scenarios might allow you to pre-empt unnecessary re-design. If you need to re-design prior to release, consider waiting for feedback from real users as you will most likely have to re-design at that point anyway.

Multiple App Publishers, One Company

trendmicroTrend Micro has an article on how companies should better ensure their (multiple) apps are published under the same account/name so that uses can better determine whether they are fake or not.

For example, how do users know all the Santander apps below are official?

santanderapps

Trend Micro previously published an alarmist article saying that “70% of top free apps have fake and mostly malicious versions in app stores” and that “80% of the top 50 free apps found in Google Play have bogus versions”. However, they later added the caveat that “Note that the fake apps samples we gathered are from third party sources and none was found in Google Play“.

So, if you only distribute via the Play Store (or App Store) should you care? I think so. If people download a bogus app from anywhere it can lead to loss of a user/customer, financial or information theft, fraud and loss of reputation/trust. You should direct end users to download from specific app stores, pre-declare your one publisher name and ask end-users to check this prior to downloading.

Pre-App Strategy

benedictevansBenedict Evans has two new excellent posts on Mobile First and App vs Web. However, what he writes about is very different to the usual mobile first and app vs web arguments.

In Mobile First, Benedict suggests that we think about the desktop as the more limited cut-down version of the Internet. The smartphone allows interaction with more things (e.g. iBeacons, notifications, Touch ID) and knows a lot more, via sensors and APIs, than the desktop ever did. He argues that while the screen might be smaller, the smartphone is more of the ‘whole internet’.

In Apps vs Web, Benedict asks the usual question whether publishers should do an app or a web site. However, instead of the discovery or functionality arguments he distils the answer down to:

“Do people want to put your icon on their home screen”.

He goes on to argue that even if you have an app, you should also have a web site that functions well on mobile. You should also shape your proposition so that it works for people who have chosen to interact only via mobile and might not even be mobile (e.g. using on WiFi at home).

In both these posts Benedict is thinking about the business decisions made pre-app. I believe this pre-phase of mobile strategy is one that publishers don’t spend long enough analysing. People often leave issues such as usage, discovery, the channel, PR, marketing and analytics until too late on when solutions are often more difficult and costly to retro-fit. You also need to think about feasibility, platforms, business models, OS and form factor variants and cost. See my Mobile Development Primer for more insights.

iOS vs Android: Which is more secure?

blueboxYesterday I posted about company app, platform and device preferences where Good Technology identified that iOS remains the most used device by enterprises (companies). One of the reasons for this is that iOS is perceived to be more secure than Android? But is this true?

About a year ago I posted how Marble labs found that iOS and Android were equally vulnerable to attacks. More recently, Adam Ely of Bluebox had a post on the Bluebox blog asking ‘iOS vs Android: Which is More Secure’. He explained that while iOS might be perceived to be more secure, it has had more vulnerabilities. He also talked about the Android and iOS sandboxes and correctly concluded that…

“With jailbroken devices, counterfeit devices and vulnerabilities, we have to assume in many cases, especially in BYOD environments, that the underlying operating system will be breached just as we assume with the operating systems on our laptops and servers”

The solution to the security problem doesn’t come from answering the question which platform is more secure. As I mentioned last month, you will never have complete app security. We can’t trust any end point and have to instead concentrate on protecting the sensitive data appropriately and as best we can.

Company App, Platform and Device Preferences

goodtechnologyYesterday I wrote about how mobile is paying off in the enterprise (companies). Today, I came across a new report on App, Platform and
Device Preferences (PDF) from Good Technology that digs deeper .

The report looks into apps and devices used by companies globally. Companies are mainly using office and communication apps such as contacts, calendar, email, IM, document access and the browser is actually the most used app for accessing additional business functionality. The insurance industry is an early leader in custom apps in that it represents over a third of all apps activated that access custom business processes.

goodtechnologyplatforms

As it happens, I have actually worked on one such (car) insurance app. I think the appeal for companies is that there’s a direct and quickly measurable impact for the (insurance) business. It allows access to new business and new channels in what’s a highly competitive industry. In other businesses, measuring the impact of custom apps can be less measurable and might even cannibalise existing access methods which might have some internal company inertia to ‘keep going’ even though they are out of date and inefficient. Less competitive industries than insurance have less incentive to care. However, with Google reporting upwards of 50% of us are now using mobile in preference to desktops/laptops, the laggards will have to eventually consider access via mobile, even if it is only from a web browser.

Enterprise Mobile is Paying Off

airwatchAirwatch has some new research on the use of mobile in the enterprise, in particular for mid-market companies. It splits the market into progressive and conservative adopters.

airwatchenterprise

An important insight is that 70% of the progressive adopters are saying the investment is paying off. A large proportion (75%) say mobile is now critical for business.

What does this mean for mobile developers? I continue to believe that ‘enterprise’ development is more important than the more trivial ‘apps for end consumers’ although there’s an overlap between the two. By ‘important’ I mean there are greater opportunities, have longer lasting appeal and tend to be more financially viable. All of the apps I have recently developed are more ‘enterprise’ than they are ‘end user’. Some are internal apps for employees, some are stand-alone hardware-based products while others cross over to end users to allow them to access the business as customers. These kinds of app are not marketing-type apps that are here today, gone tomorrow. They need to be supported and updated over time to support new business features and new devices.