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Mobility Redefining the Financial Marketplace
Venkat Rangan
Monday, August 1, 2011
We are in the midst of a technological revolution – mobile phones are taking over the world and redefining technology, business in the process. Having surpassed the adoption of laptops and desktops already, mobile phones are poised to break five billion subscription mark over the last year. Today, mobility is no longer a novel idea, and not just a tactical move. It’s a fundamental requirement for virtually every business. With fixed-mobile convergence on the horizon, now is the time to plan for comprehensive way to ensure mobility. It delivers maximum value as a strategic tool for the enterprise In countless ways, mobility is boosting business productivity, speed and responsiveness. Tools like notebook computers, PDAs, cell phones, Wi-Fi networks and virtual private networks (VPNs) have turned business on the move into business as usual. But many organizations have implemented mobility in a tactical and piecemeal manner, not realizing the gains possible from adopting a true strategic approach to mobility.

Mobility is evolving as the ability to conduct numerous financial transactions in real time. This drives the key to achieve strategic growth in the financial services sector, to establish significant new levels of customer loyalty, and opening new channels of direct, immediate, hands-on, smartphone-driven transactional capabilities. These capabilities manifest themselves in many ways – from real-time streaming quotes, to fully managing accounts in real time, to conducting real-time stock execution deals (including real time research, price alerts/quotes and actual buy/sell execution), to making retail purchases directly through a mobile device — the list of capabilities is as long as one’s imagination allows.

Each generation of mobile networks has introduced enhanced capabilities and has reached ever widening drape of consumers. In the 30 odd years since then 2G, 3G and just recently 4G networks have been launched. Mobility is redefining the way trading is conducted to meet the insatiable financial needs. The rapid penetration of smart phone devices and adoption of mobile application is acting as the catalyst. It’s been only a few months when exchange boards gave its nod to mobile trading. But the trend has caught up rather rapidly and it is only going to be fascinating from here on.

With mobile penetration reaching around 700 million users, against 100 million people using the internet, it makes sense, a mobile application that will help trading for a wider set of public. Mobility in stock trading market enables users to access, trade, and manage investments securely and reliably. With the line between a Smartphone and feature phone fast diminishing, it is playing a very important role in providing access to maximum number of people. Demographically, across the age group of 25 yrs to 55 yrs people are accessing mobile trading. The advent of non-entertainment applications in India has only just begun, and we see immense potential in financial applications in our country.

In the present day mobile age, the penetration of mobile phones and the experimenting nature of consumers have made the use of mobile for financial transactions extremely appealing. The phenomenal growth of mobile telephony across the globe suggests that the consumers are rapidly adapting to mobility and are willing to do more and more with mobile phones. The biggest shift in the common mobile user’s mindset would be consumer being empowered at all times with real time financial information and his ability to act or react that eventually assists the consumer in this wealth creation or investment process. The power of anytime – anywhere is hugely compelling, especially, when time critical information and action is provided on the go. The biggest challenge and of course the opportunity is to create cross platform applications and real time data on mobile applications available on the go. The mobile OS environment is only getting more and more fragmented and in a way complicated. For us it is an opportunity. Some of the features of an application for financial service such as mobile trading include rich visual interface, quick navigation, technical charting, cross network market data streaming, advanced security, push message delivery and complex options or forex orders placement workflow.

Industry trends clearly indicate that financial enterprises need to implement comprehensive mobile and online communications capabilities to facilitate customers in placing trades from their choice of wireless devices. The penetration of Mobile based delivery channel, while very popular has its own share of issues and challenges that are affecting its growth. These issues primarily address the security paradigm, customer experience and data sanity of the financial transactions. Mobility is a fairly new entrant into the financial services space, and is well on its way to becoming the new financial marketplace. The consumer of the future will want to be able to securely move money, check account balances, make payments, buy and sell stocks –anywhere, anytime and without being chained to laptop or desktops. Emerging Rural Mobile Market in India, the mobile market in rural India has significant potential with number of subscribers anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 32 percent during 2011 to 2012. Also the fact that the mobile infrastructure is already in place to leverage any financial inclusion plans. So mobile banking, mobile trading, lends immense scope for financial inclusion, at a much faster pace.

Mobile users consider their mobile a connectivity-enabling extension of themselves and increasingly a do-it- all device. None can ignore this growing market and making available to their customers the choice of their own wireless device, run the risk of becoming uncompetitive and falling behind. It is becoming obvious that market players are taking the next step of including additional services that are currently being catered to by traditional or virtual means. The nature of the financial businesses is totally different from that of any other payment business, for the very fact that it is the first step towards the convergence dream. The challenge is to transact in real world using mediums that were once limited to the virtual world. Most importantly the adoption will be driven by the compelling nature, simplicity and innovative value adds the application provides.

Mobility in this growing industry will have all the players in the ecosystem in a common platform that is open and independent to all. Technology is radically changing the ways people work and reshaping the workplace itself. Equipped with powerful new mobility tools, employees today can work productively from virtually anywhere. Its growing potential to strengthen organizational performance has moved mobility from the sidelines to the mainstream of information technology. Organizations intent on maximizing corporate performance must incorporate mobility as a fundamental component of their strategic plans. However, the current innovation with the industry is driven more by the advancement in technology than by customers need. As further advances in mobile telephony are made, there will be natural demand for financial transactions via mobile devices.

The author is Co- founder, CEO, MarketSimplified

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