Commentary

Mobile Commerce, Germany & the World Over

The world of mobile commerce is just that.

At the Mobile Tech Conference 2013 in Berlin this week, I noticed quite a few names also familiar in the U.S. mobile marketplace.

After doing the opening keynote presentation, I spent the day speaking with attendees, presenters and event sponsors to get a flavor of the state of mobile in that market.

As might be expected, IBM had a large presence, promoting its mobile first approach.

BlackBerry also had a relatively large display, which was slightly overshadowed by the morning announcement here of the Microsoft buy of Nokia’s cellphone business.

Casio (as in watches) had an interesting two-part display. One part comprised a load of industrial-looking scanning devices, some of which looked like they’d require some serious training to use, which they likely do.

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But the second part related more to mobile phones and commerce. They showed a smartphone-looking device that looked like part Samsung Galaxy and part old BlackBerry, with both touch screen and keyboard.

The Casio team told me the device is targeted to salespeople at retail to let them aid consumers during the shopping process. By that point, it looked to me like a smartphone wannabe.

However, after pointing out that the device also is industrial strength, he suggested I drop the phone on the floor.

Sensing a potential liability trick in a foreign land, I politely demurred, at which point the Casio rep literally threw the phone to the floor.

He picked it up and it still was ticking, ah, working fine. (Note to self: get whatever they use as a casing for wife’s phone).

Of course, it's also waterproof, as one might expect from a company that makes watches.

I discussed with some of the marketers of publicly traded YOC Mobile Advertising the scope of advertising compared to commerce and they acknowledge mobile ads were still relatively small in Germany, and not just in size.

However, they did toss out some pretty significant click through rates they said some campaigns are achieving.

I also spent some time with the European team of Orlando-based Kony, an application platform provider, which basically simplifies the behind-the-scenes development so that mobile applications can runs across multiple devices.

The platform is used by banks, several airlines and at Hyatt hotels, one of which was where the event was held.

What struck me most is that while some of the market stats, percentages and developments were slightly different, they all are heading in the same direction as in other countries. Up.

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