According to Forrester research, the global penetration of mobile Internet users will exceed that of PC-based Internet users in 2016.
This situation is already the norm in many African countries, where the low penetration of landline phone connections has led to the exponential increase in the adoption of mobile phones, and where subsequently many consumers who had not been able to go online are using these devices to access the Internet.
“Emerging markets are driving the adoption levels of not only mobile telephony, but also Internet access through these mobile devices,” says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting.
“Access to the Internet through a mobile handset is predominantly incremental in emerging markets, whereas it is supplementary in developed markets. For companies looking to reach global customers, the mobile Internet is just an additional channel in mature markets but is the chief point of entry in many emerging markets.”
This understanding has formed the basis of the company’s approach in its African territories, particularly in Nigeria, one of the continent’s biggest growth markets. Working with its partner company, Interlogikal West Africa, Logikal Consulting is using its expertise in mobile application development to help Nigerian businesses access this rapidly expanding market.
Chairman of Interlogikal, Etim Amana, explains that mobile apps and content are becoming the primary way people do their work. “This represents a fundamental computing shift that is as significant as the transition from mainframes to PCs. With the proliferation of smartphones in Nigeria, we have effectively leapfrogged laptops and PCs. The new channel for businesses to reach their target markets is mobile.”
Mobile application development has therefore become an integral part of Interlogikal’s offering to its customers in Nigeria, but Amana points out that the increasing need for mobile apps in Nigeria has led to a proliferation of apps with very little strategic focus behind them. “A proper mobile application strategy is essential in order to achieve the right results and to ensure that the focus of the applications is achieving the business goals,” he says.
“The most important consideration is who the users of the app are, and to ensure it is tailored to their needs. The first step is to look at the underlying solution architecture for the service to ensure it will support the volume, speed, etc. necessary to perform the task appropriately. Security and analytics become the next considerations. Our enterprise customers that offer mobile platforms to users that are able to manage user analytics effectively are having much greater success with their outcomes.”
In addition, scalability is essential. In the BlackBerry era, a small percentage of employees carried smartphones, and they each used one application: wireless email. In the post-BlackBerry era, employees are carrying a multitude of mobile devices, and collectively use hundreds of apps to do their work. The task of provisioning hundreds of apps to thousands of people has become overwhelming, so Amana says that companies must manage the growth of mobile applications in, and for, their businesses.
“The standard interface controls and interaction techniques are very different between different mobile devices, and specialist development is essential to avoid the trap of trying to shape the user experience based on a ‘website view of the world’.
As companies consider their mobile app development strategy, one critical decision is what type of app they need to deploy, while a second critical decision is how they will deploy those apps. They must link the development strategy with mobile device management. Companies that can achieve this will effectively leverage the explosive growth of apps to help drive marketing, sales, and customer service,” Amana concludes.