Apple launched the smartphone era in 2008. Since then a whole new world of mobile services have transformed modern life. These applications have already radically changed the way we communicate, work, play, travel, and create and consume services. And the revolution has just begun — and it promises to give us a truly mobile, connected world for all of its citizens. And it will happen sooner than we imagine: the velocity and scale of this new “mobile services economy” is unprecedented in human history.
For example, Facebook was founded in 2004 and took just five years to grow to 100 million users (out of a billion total internet users). Now, twelve years later, its average monthly active users (MAU) just reached 1.7 billion; nearly 57 percent of all internet users. Facebook also was the first company to reach $20 billion in revenue just three years after its IPO (when revenue was $1 billion). Much of the company’s growth, and sixty five percent of its revenues are now derived from mobile users.
Uber was started in 2009, and by all accounts has already become the world’s largest “online transportation network services” company. It currently has operations in 66 countries, 507 cities and a more recent market valuation estimated at $65 billion.
Snapchat, founded in 2011, is on a similar path, enabled by the even more mobile-oriented Gen Z generation. Founded just four years ago, this company’s app already delivers more average minutes of viewing per month per user than any other app (other than Facebook) in current use, including Instagram, Whatsapp, Vine, Pinterest and Twitter.
According to market researcher Statista, smartphone makers Apple, Samsung and others shipped 1.4 billion units in 2015 and will generate more $425 billion in revenues in 2016. That means that the two billion total smartphone users in the world, now armed with supercomputers in their pockets, are now funding a new generation of highly-valued services for consumers, and creating some very highly valued brands along the way.
These trends suggest we next will see the business world transformed by the emergence of an even bigger, multi-trillion dollar industry, this time using the most common features and functions of smartphones to create, capture, share and work together in ways that were not possible before. Helping empower this new industry will be Machine Learning, a new generation of Artificial Intelligence, and the integration of voice recognition/synthesis. Together, they will set the stage for a new wave of game-changing companies that, like today’s Snapchat and Uber, will become the defining brand names of their era.