Technology Trend #2: Mobile Devices Stage Fast Growth. The age of desktop computers is going the way of the dinosaurs. Just like in earth’s evolution millions of years ago, a similar Cambrian explosion has occurred with mobile technology. Most individuals think of smart phones when they hear mobile devices. The mobile device market is much larger than that. The first mobile mammals emerged as smart phones and they’ve already spawned a vast evolutionary tree that now includes iPads, Nooks and many other mobile devices. Just how big is this growth? IDC reported worldwide mobile phone market grew nearly 20% through the first quarter of 2011. Nokia still holds the dominant market position with 29% market share, Samsung is #2, LG is #3 and Apple holds the #4 spot with nearly 115% annual growth and a 5% market share. Additionally, IDC reports 173 million smart phones were sold in 2009 and 269 million in 2010. Half a billion smart phone sales in 2011 might not be unreasonable.
This trend will have two significant implications for brokers and agents:
- Mobile devices will foster significant innovation for how real estate services will be delivered, often in ways we currently can’t predict. Example: Apple sold 15 million iPads in 2010. These sales vastly exceeded Apple’s internal projections along with many industry analysts. Even “industry insiders” and those “in the know” did not accurately predict the iPad’s rapid growth. (1)
- Business models will rapidly evolve for mobile applications. Currently, many mobile applications are available for a nominal up-front charge with little-to-no technical support. ( Technical support for mobile applications today often means send an email and you hope to get a response back…) As more useful functionality is performed on mobile devices, pay-as-you-go business models will be introduced where customers will be charged a monthly fee to use the application. More robust technical support will also be available (i.e. telephone, chat, etc.). Customers will pay these charges because the value provided by these future applications will be far greater than currently available in many of today’s mobile applications.
Summary: MRIS expects this established trend to continue. Mobile devices will become a dominant computing platform in the real estate industry. While desktop computers will still provide essential services, savvy brokers and agents will need to adopt and provide services that operate on mobile devices to reflect the evolving demands of their customers. Please see our upcoming MRIS TV show for an in-depth discussion of this trend.
(1) Schonfeld E., TechCrunch, 1/19/2011.