If you’re a tech investor, you already know the impact of mobile technology on almost everything it touches. But some investors may not see how mobile is impacting everything from retail sales to the auto industry. If you’re an investor of almost any kind, mobile will — or already has — changed the way companies run their business.
Much more than apps and mobile sites
Talking about mobile and investing conjures up trendy devices with apple silhouettes glowing on the back of them (and with good reason), but mobile technology touches on almost all industries. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how mobile is impacting retail, the automotive industry, and manufacturing.
Mobile has transformed the way retailers approach advertising, and how they interact with their customers. During the 2012 Black Friday weekend, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) posted 50 million mobile Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads over a 72-hour period. The ads were displayed on tens of millions of Facebook news feeds. During that time, the Arkansas-based company received over 100,000 comments (some negative, obviously) from the mobile postings and gained 164,000 additional new likes on its Facebook page.
But those numbers aren’t the most impressive thing from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s mobile push over the holiday. During that 72-hour period, Wal-Mart shifted its Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads to focus on products that weren’t selling that well. Because of the flexibility of Facebook’s mobile ads, Wal-Mart sold out of many products that would otherwise have remained on store shelves. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) directly benefited from the real-time mobile ad flexibility by increasing ads for a product when they noticed it wasn’t selling as well as they anticipated. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s focus on mobile ad spending may have helped Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as well. The tech company, which has previously had a hard time with mobile, saw mobile ads account for 23% of its total ad revenue this past quarter, compared to 14% in the previous quarter. Though retail advertising may be an expected way to integrate mobile into a business, there are plenty of companies thinking outside of the box.
The automotive industry has caught the mobile bug and has been working its tail off for the past few years to incorporate mobile technology into its vehicles. Just a few days ago, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) announced it would roll out 4G LTE connectivity to many of its 2015 models for its Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands. High-speed wireless Internet connections in vehicles allow car manufacturers like GM to offer new infotainment offerings like rear-passenger video streaming, Wi-Fi hotspots, and future updates for vehicle software.
Wi-Fi-enabled cars have been around for a few years, but the level of wireless connectivity future vehicles will have is monumental. The real future for mobile in vehicles won’t come from entertainment offerings, though, it will come from vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V. This type of mobile communication between cars will allow them to share vehicle data like speed and location in order to calculate how likely a collision is if the factors within the scenario aren’t changed. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration released a report back in 2010 stating that V2V communication could address about 4.5 million police-reported accidents.