There are some things in life that we just expect. Perhaps it’s because of how things have happened in the past or maybe it’s because we make correlations with other things in our lives. Whatever the reason, we have certain expectations. With all of the hype around how mobile is going to change everything, making daily activities more delightful and efficient, a lot of us have come to expect mobile-driven innovations in all aspects of our lives. Everything should know us (Welcome back, Ryan!). Remember our preferences (Last time you ordered…). And make spot-on recommendations (à la Netflix).
While some industries have embraced mobile innovation, there is still a large gap between what we expect and what is available in many others. Here are the five industries where the gap is the widest:
· Dining and Nightlife: Every time a diner enters a restaurant, they have to reintroduce themselves to the server and rack their brains for what they ordered last time (Did the chicken meet my desire of spiciness?). Servers go to every table blindly; unaware of whether the person sitting in the section is a loyal customer, a social media influencer or a patron who follows a gluten-free diet. Diners should be able to seamlessly tap into their social networks for menu recommendations and pay the bill when they want via their mobile device.
· Real Estate: In some markets, well-priced, coveted houses go under contract in days, if not hours. Real-time communication in real estate is key. While Trulia found that more than half of weekend traffic comes from mobile devices, agent’s mobile apps today only allow homebuyers to scan properties for sale and (sometimes) take and save photos. Agents need to be able to push new listings to buyers and have them react immediately (I am interested in seeing this right away). Context-aware marketing would make the home buying experience more relevant and personalized. A homebuyer, for instance, who has favorited a property would be pushed an alert if they drive by the home or notified of a nearby open house. Lastly, beacons placed strategically in open houses could point out specific features tailored to each person based on their preferences allowing for a much more personalized experience.
· Retail: This one may seem surprising, but I am not talking about from a consumer standpoint, well directly anyway. Except for Apple’s retail stores and a few others, retailers have been slow to adopt mobile as a back-office and sales associate tool. Every floor employee needs to be armed with a device, allowing him or her to check stock in the back, custom order products for customers in real-time and facilitate payments. The use of strategically placed beacons could alert the manager if there is a high to low ratio of customers to employees in specific areas of the store, allowing them to message associates to better disperse or relieve long checkout lines.
· Airlines and Hospitality: The shift towards travel research, planning and booking on mobile has been incredibly swift, but only one in four airlines accept mobile payments. We will soon get to a point when all tickets will be paperless. When the associate behind counters will know who is approaching. When travelers will not have to pull out their credit cards to purchase ancillary items, like food during a flight or a toothbrush from the hotel store. Once the hospitality industry leverages marketing automation, prediction and emerging technologies like ibeacons, a traveler would be welcomed immediately as they arrive in the airport parking lot or hotel lobby, provided with all key information, and guided through their journey with personalized messages. Augmented reality will show personalized deals at airport terminal restaurants and shops, and travelers who wander off from the gate will get an alert when boarding starts.
· Higher Education: College students are arguably one of the most digital generations — a recent survey found that 78 percent of students have a smartphone compared to 56 percent of American adults. This group has grown up with devices all around them; yet higher education has been slow to innovate. Paper check-in sheets still circulate through classrooms when beacons should be explored for automatic check-ins. Students spend up to $1,200 a year on hardcover textbooks a year, when digital versions accessed via laptops and tablets can cost up to 90 percent off. At a time when only 60 percent of students who enter a bachelor’s program graduate in six years and the cost of earning a degree continuing to increase, colleges and universities need to leverage technology like predictive analytics to alert professors which students are at risk of falling behind or not graduating.
There are a growing number of sensors, screens and apps in our daily lives. As even the most mundane everyday activities like managing the thermostat are now exciting and mobile, we will start to increasingly except more mobile-driven innovation throughout all aspects of our lives, whether we are going to a restaurant, visiting an open house or checking into a hotel. Our phones will soon be our identity carriers, alerting servers, teachers, flight attendants and sales associates who we are so they can provide a highly personalized experience, unlike ever before.