Twispay is a FinTech company, which basically means that we operate as a technology company with a fully fledged banking license. We have participated with a booth and a custom, ecommerce-centric portfolio at Mobile World Congress 2018 and we enjoyed every bit of it.
In light of recent industry developments, this article is designed to address and frame the business-related and organizational implications of living in a mobile world. The following is what we've learned (or confirmed) this year at MWC.
The Mobile World Congress Hype
Mobile World Congress 2018 was exceptional. Not necessarily because of what it delivered, but primarily because of what it did not. First of all, the big names in mobile manufacturing have not managed to parade those brand-new ultra-specced phones that we are used to seeing at these annual events.
The Verge's own Vlad Savos covered this particular aspect pretty convincingly, so I will not get into it that much. However, apart from the Galaxy S9 launch, which had managed to steal the show weeks before it even started, the traditional plethora of new flagship smartphones just wasn't there. As far as "the average consumer" is concerned, MWC can be summed up in these six tiny bullets:
- Less of the usual spec hype
- Fewer headphone jacks :(
- More overreaching AI-functionality claims
- Slimmer bezels on most mobile devices
- More iPhone-inspired unapologetically-derivative designs
- Better security, specs, and designs on mid-range affordable devices
From the nostalgia-inducing revamp of Nokia's banana phone, to the gimmick-heavy feat achieved by Vivo's nearly bezel-less Apex concept phone, and from the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch to the "deliberately iPhone-derivative design" of the new Asus Zenfone 5, there was plenty of gadget-centric stuff to see at MWC 2018.
However, this article addresses aspects that did not make it to the front pages, yet are driving progress in this mobile world of ours. I want to cover some of the stuff that is on the mind of innovators and progressive start-up and enterprise leaders, and has proven to constitute the basis of many of our tech-enthusiastic, "off-screen" discussions at Mobile World Congress 2018.
How exactly is the wide-spread adoption and development of mobile technology affecting the way we do business today?
Beyond the MWC Hype
What used to be a few hip tech buzzwords – or even science fiction concepts – are now unwaveringly turning into reality. Cloud storage and cloud computing technologies have already reframed the way we think about everything, from data-driven decision making, to eagerly anticipated phenomena like telecommuting, and even to the way we approach business development.
Strictly from a business development point of view, continually aligning the organizational structure and culture with top technology trends and IT movements – e.g. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and cloud computing – has become a necessity, rather than a distant future endeavor. More and more, technology is proving its profound influence on the way we conduct business.
3 Tech-Enabled Business Trends for 2018
When considering all the trends shaping the present and future state of digital business, we cannot help but appreciate the logics of it. No other industry, domain or dimension of modern business is displaying comparably similar indications of progress, in such a scientifically coherent way. We are unable to shake off the idea that there is a vision, a master plan behind the evolution of e-business.
Let me (mostly) restrain our analysis to contemporary employees. Their smart devices have become an essential part of their lifestyle. The gadget loving men and women of the 21st century cannot leave their trusted electronic companions at home. We simply cannot.
“Bring Your Own Device” to Work
With some industries – e.g. Marketing, Education – there is a real possibility that company-owned devices will become history in the eyes of next-generation professionals, with over 80 percent of employees already using personal devices for some form of work-related task, like checking email and receiving text alerts.
There are various estimations out there, but, with very little reservation, we can shoulder the approximation that 10 billion personal mobile devices will be in use by 2020. Since in the next five years there won’t be more than eight billion people on the planet, BYOD is precisely the type of idea you need to be looking into. Many employees will surely have the possibility to use more than one device for work.
It still seems beyond belief that company owned devices will become extinct in the next decade. Although undoubtedly appealing, the idea has its drawbacks and, with data security at times turning from an issue into a full-fledged hazzard, and GDPR coming into effect in May 2018, companies will not fully adopt BYOD without first making sure that the infrastructure needed to support it is already in place, fully secured and operational.
No matter how controversial the idea, BYOD is driving IT and business professionals to contextualize their planning and build systems that are more flexible and secure than they ever needed to be. However, flexibility is not dictated by the natural occurrence of BYOD alone. Other somewhat related phenomena are already gaining support, forcing IT security to extend or at least nuance its reach.
Whatever your expression of choice – remote working, teleworking, telecommuting – working from outside the office sounds great for most people. You don’t need extensive statistics to prove this. After randomly asking a few of your colleagues, unsurprisingly, you will conclude that most of them share your feelings about city commuting.
Particularly through large cities, commuting is stressful, uncomfortable and even utterly irritating. By the time a person says Hello to everyone in the office and presses the power button on their work device, he or she has already lost some much needed enthusiasm. Factor in rush hours, unexpected occurrences like public transportation strikes and influenza outbreaks, which compel us to avoid public spaces altogether; also consider the fact that colleagues and the office itself are at times disruptive, and you discover a myriad of reasons to resent battling your way into office every single day.
“Why are so many of us continuing to trudge into work? Research by Stanford University has found that remote workers are 13% more productive, take fewer sick days and enjoy a quieter working environment than their commuting colleagues.
No wonder a survey of business owners by Virgin Media Business recently predicted that 60% of office-based employees will regularly work from home by 2022. A separate survey by Office Angels found a third of employees think commuting will be unheard of by 2036.”
In regard to data security, relatively recent breakthroughs have offered means of partially or completely bypassing most issues. Cloud computing and mobile biometric identification can make telecommuting and BYOD much more secure. If an employee’s device falls into the hands of a malicious individual, employers fear that their secrets will, too. With 46 percent of employees admitting they’ve let other people use their work device, it seems those fears are legitimate. Cloud computing can attenuate this concern by making sensitive data considerably more secure, including in personal and business electronic payment scenarios.
The Story of the Cloud | News that Refuses to Age
Cloud computing has evolved through multiple phases which include grid and utility computing, application service provision (ASP), and, more recently, Software as a Service (SaaS). But the general concept of delivering computing resources through a global network is rooted in much darker ages of computation history.
In the 1950s, when the first computers took the world by surprise, the information was kept on servers that were as big as the entire rooms they were stored in. Now we store data in the generic virtual space called cloud. Believe it or not, cloud technology concepts were invented in that same period, when colossal hardware infrastructures would occupy huge spaces.
In the 50s, universities and corporations that could afford to use computers for storing and processing data had to set up “server rooms”, which were areas where refrigerator-sized hard drives were assembled and never moved again, since they were literally weighing tons.
For these machines to be used by several users, they created so-called “false terminals”, whose only function was to facilitate access to the main servers. Because the technology was so expensive at the time and corporations could not afford one “real terminal” per user, several employees had access and could share only one such terminal, thus using resources to their maximum capacity, with minimum cost.
Cloud Computing Was Invented before the Internet
In 1961, John McCarthy, who first coined the expression “artificial intelligence”, was the first to suggest the idea of a system of exchange of information between computers, which represented the first step towards the invention of cloud computing. Almost twenty years later, in the late 70s, IBM launched an operating system called VM, allowing system administrators to incorporate several virtual systems on the same main system.
In the 90s, after computers became popular and were being used by more and more individuals, telecommunications companies have begun offering virtual private networks, which we now know as VPNs. That was when the cloud symbol was first used.
The first who shared the idea of cloud and even thought to develop it for the masses were Google, in 2006. But the online retail giant Amazon was the one who played a key role in the development of cloud computing by reorganizing its own data centers, which, like most computer networks, were used at only 10% of their capacity.
Realizing that new cloud architectures could lead to significant network improval, Amazon has developed a product that offers customers cloud services, launching it also in 2006: Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The Definitive Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Optimize operating costs. Cloud computing involves renting hardware and software resources needed and paying as you go (weekly, quarterly or yearly), based on your needs.
- Aim for elastic resource and economic scaling. Increase your company’s adaptability and reactivity to market changes. Implementing cloud computing gives you access to flexible hardware and software architecture and thus creates the context in which the organization and your teams can respond quickly to punctual needs regarding technical performance, storage or overload.
- Improve overall flexibility. You can change direction without serious people or financial issues at stake.
- Accelerate the implementation and assimilation of new users. New employee? Welcoming him or her becomes as easy as creating a new email account. With superior hardware performance cloud solutions are available immediately, without the need to buy new and advanced equipment.
- Less personnel training is needed. It takes fewer people to do more work on a cloud, with a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues.
- Monitor projects more effectively. Stay within budget and ahead of completion cycle times.
- Obtain performance and uniform technical standards for all users. Maintain easy access to your information and resources with minimal upfront spending.
- Security and Privacy are superior to classical working models. Centralized data and information in cloud computing has the advantage of superior security compared to data distributed on laptops and computers of different users in the organization.
- Increase volume output or productivity with fewer people. Your cost per unit, project or product drops. Streamline processes. Get more work done in less time, with less capital.
- Globalize your workforce. People worldwide can access the cloud, provided they have an internet connection. Improve accessibility. You have access anytime, anywhere.
- Minimize the need to license new software. Develop faster without the need to buy expensive software licenses or programs.
Cloud computing is shaping the present and future of business, no doubt about it. Keep in mind that there are more than 75 million servers in existence. We are well on our way to fully sharing the computation power of these servers, in order to optimize the use of resources, improve computing efficiency, overall productivity and, ultimately, maximize return on investment.
All Things Considered
Twispay is determined to provide e-businesses with much more than a set of payment services. We are not a bank. As mentioned in the first lines of this article, Twispay is a tech company with a banking license, and technology is our main focus.
Understanding where technological breakthroughs are most likely to lead us is paramount in developing e-businesses that are both scalable and future-proof. As we accelerate into the second decade of the 21st century, we are going to share with you the most valuable insights we uncover along the way. That is a promise.