I have a dear mentor named Yoshi. Yoshi is immersed in all things technology and has had a very great record for trainspotting early stage trends. He was the first person to introduce me to mobile couponing, cloud computing, Augmented Reality, in memory analytics, bit coin technology, and big data storage. We get together for lunch once or twice a year, and I await the next discovery. This year's subject was about the coming demise of the mobile application, in favor of the rise in chat platforms.
American adoption of mobile technology has always lagged behind Asia. Yoshi travels frequently to the Far East and has many keen observations of trends emerging in Singapore, China, Korea and Japan. The one that fascinates him the most is the rise of chat platforms in China, where the ecommerce is heavily tied to the chat stream. Simply said, your phone does not need to contain separate mobile applications. Rather, the chat stream has become the main channel, and the platform can directly link merchants into this dialogue. Imagine two users chatting about meeting up, exchanging an address to meet up, and while in chat, ordering a ride service to this location.
The nature of chat, and its cousin live video streaming, will be the next mobile wave. FaceBook launched their live streaming product this month, and Meerkat, Periscope and Streamago have also entered into the market. I think of these as competitive offerings, so the blue ocean will very quickly turn into a red ocean soon. Mobile application adoption is at a new low: recent surveys suggest the attrition of usage is in the low to mid 90s by percentage of non-use. People use them once and abandon them. The excitement for me is that most users are active text and chat users, so it only stands to reason that embedded ecommerce will be the next wave.