By Emmanuel Legros, Head of Marketing, IoT & Consumer Electronics, Gemalto
It feels strange that this year marked only the 10th anniversary of the iPhone.
In the decade since Steve Jobs first revealed his world-changing invention, connected objects and smartphones have become the most important and ubiquitous devices in our lives.
Now we stand on the cusp of another wave of innovation that promises to enable full home automation, driverless transport and connected health, to name just a few.
But to get it right, industry stakeholders need to understand what consumers truly desire from our connected future.
Over the past 18 months we’ve spoken to thousands of people about how they see their future mobile experience, and their expectations for consumer IoT.
Here’s an overview of what we found.
Trust in connected objects
Consumers have become accustomed to using their mobile device to control various connected objects, from smart hi-fi systems to connected thermostats.
Our research suggests consumers want this technological evolution to continue.
Sixty percent of smartphone users we spoke to want to be controlling their homes autonomously via mobile by 2025, while 43 percent expect to be managing all health issues via their phone and 42 percent expect to be using their mobile as a key to their home.
The potential of mobile devices to prove identity is also of great interest, with almost half (48 percent) wanting mobile to become their main form of ID, while 70 percent would use their mobile devices as a passport or national ID if security was guaranteed.
Of course, developments like this won’t happen overnight, and large-scale collaboration with national governments would be required to make it a workable proposition.
It’s also interesting to see who consumers view as the ultimate owner of their mobile experience.
In previous years, we would have expected traditional mobile operators to be king, but the dominance of players like Apple and Samsung means that the majority of consumers now expect manufacturers to be most responsible for their mobile experience by 2025.
Seamless customer experiences
Consumers always demand the best and want their connected experiences to be frictionless, which means that companies need to keep innovating in mobile services, and need to get security practices right.
As part of a seamless mobile experience, consumers expect biometric techniques like fingerprint and facial recognition to become widespread and want mobile security to be seamless (60 percent).
Finally, a widespread belief is that accessible mobile services will be available all over the world with just a single contract.
To illustrate this, one respondent we spoke to said: “I don’t want to have separate contracts for my smartphone AND my connected devices. I would like to have a single contract for all my connectivity.”
Forward thinking operators need to be wise to opportunities like this.
Personalisation, personalisation, personalisation
A seamless mobile experience can only truly be delivered with a greater degree of personalisation, and indeed, consumers are expecting a highly personalised service from mobile service providers.
This means everything from considering the user’s preferences in terms of how and when to be contacted, how they interact with a device to receiving personalised offers on their mobile devices based on factors such as their real-time location and personal preferences.
The use of biometric authentication can help to facilitate digital journeys and personalise the experience.
We’re already seeing technology such as voice recognition becoming mainstream through the adoption of Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The step for a more evolved service is not far off, using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to change how we interact with our device.
We’re all familiar with Siri but soon we could entirely interact via voice recognition; losing keyboards and control panels entirely.
In order to personalise the experience further, companies need to understand their customers, and here we see something of a disconnect between what consumers want and what they are prepared to do for it.
Many consumers (38 percent) still do not feel comfortable enough to share their personal data with third parties.
A reason for this could be the continuing high-profile hacks and data breaches we see every day.
So, trust is key in offering a truly personalised experience and the industry must do more to ensure data security to build consumer confidence and launch new personalised offers.
A connected future
Mobile and consumer IoT technology moves quickly and many of the aspirations outlined by consumers around the world are already available.
But all industry stakeholders have work to do to continue down this path of technological innovation.
Intuitive security, biometric technology and other “silent” authentication techniques all have a role in building trust in mobile and connected objects, and delivering the seamless experiences consumers expect.
As the frustrations of today – from roaming charges to limited interoperability – fade, all stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem need to be primed to seize the opportunities of the future, but they must take consumers’ real desires into account.
Otherwise they may get left behind.