With the relentless meeting schedules and latest announcements of Mobile World Congress behind us for another year, MEF CEO Rimma Perelmuter and Global Chair Andrew Bud reflect on this year’s Congress week and what it means for the mobile content & commerce community.
MWC 2014 was another incredibly busy and productive show for the MEF member community. Years of practice (and vitamins) mean we just about kept up the pace between elections, MEF Connects, member briefings and meetings, plus MEFTV at Gran Fira as part of the usual action packed week.
Day One kicked off with the AGM & MEF EMEA and Asia 2014 Chapter elections, the results of which once again reflected strong leadership in MEF and the changing dynamics of our industry, with the interests of mobile money more keenly represented than ever before on both boards.
Congratulations to Darren Foulds of Barclays and Colin Miles, Vice President of InternetQ on their election as Chairs for EMEA and Asia respectively as well as to newly elected chapter directors from Empays, Indosat, Mastercard, Mono Technology, Mobile Technology Tomorrow (MT2), Nokia, RealNetworks, SMART, Telenor, Viacom and WeChat who will serve alongside incumbent directors from Buongiorno, MassiveImpact, Maxis Communications, Nazara Technologies, One97 Communications ooredoo, MyOrder/Rabobank & Vodacom.
I am personally thrilled to welcome all of the newly elected directors and look forward to working with them to help MEF champion industry issues and help shape MEF in 2014.At the AGM Global Chair Andrew Bud discussed the emergence of Mobile 3.0 as the next phase in the evolution of mobile content and commerce – a theme first identified in our Global Consumer Survey at end of 2013. Mobile has become the primary tool for engagement and transaction in consumers’ digital lives, and Mobile 3.0 embodies converging ecosystems, a new breed of relationships with consumers, with different companies owning those relationships.
Mobile 3.0 also means an increased focus on transactions and mobile banking, demanding a keen understanding of how OTT services will increasingly dominate consumers’ mobile time and of where overall user growth is coming from. It’s a message MEF has advocated for a number of years – growth from growth markets. Nice to see Mr Zuckerberg now thinks that too!
When an industry evolves and pivots it can only be driven by innovation and Monday’s member-only session finished with a thought-provoking call to action from Orange Libon’s Giles Corbett whose keynote challenged basic cultural thinking about how companies must disrupt and adapt to survive in today’s ecosystem. He argued the importance of challenging existing business models to recreate cost structures that open the way for new possibilities and services. The message resonated loud and clear to the executives in attendance.
Giles was joined on stage by fellow members Barclays, Indosat, Naranya Labs and Red Bull Media House, where we continued the debate on the importance of disruption and pivoting company cultures and business models in driving innovation – a fascinating session despite the anticipation in the room awaiting election results and for the party to get started.
Finally, we made our way upstairs to the MACBA and to the 12th annual MEF Connects MWC, this year held in association with American Express – a glittering celebration of our members and the mobile industry. The guest list also embodied Mobile 3.0 with a VIP lounge from American Express, DJ-ing from Red Bull Mobile and acrobats from TIMWE.
Take a look at all the pictures here on the MEF Minute. We’ve had some fantastic feedback on what was a wonderful evening (who knew sunglasses could be so fun). Thanks again to all our members and guests who made it so memorable, and of course to our sponsors American Express, TIMWE, Mobitrans, Redbull Mobile, Bango, Movile, Naranya and Orange Libon.
With Monday’s engagements behind us, MEF’s week in Barcelona was just getting started and dedicated to member briefings and meetings with members from across all Chapters.
We hosted an open session on Mobile Money where we presented the findings of a feasibility study carried out in conjunction with mobile financial services consultants Mondato. Banking and payment provider members packed the room to discuss how to shape MEF’s initiative to accelerate adoption of m-payments and mobile banking.
There was a significant focus on regulation being the key barrier to growth and the need for this the nascent industry and our members drive the agenda to create clarity an d best practice as the words of telco and financial services intersect and learn to work with each other. A clear role for MEF as we look forward to formally launching a Mobile Money Working Group. Please contact MEF Africa GM Jo Crawshaw to learn more and get engaged.
Our other briefings centered on a popular theme at MWC – Growth Markets with sessions on Middle East Regulation and a meet-up of the MEF Africa members. In the Middle East session the collected members worked together with MEF LatAm to see how knowledge can be transferred from one market to another to develop a code of conduct for VAS Services in UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the Africa session, members prioritised continued support for rights management and mobile money alongside a deeper focus on Pan-Africa connections and supporting innovation across the continent. The agenda for a MEF Africa day on March 25th in Johannesburg was also set.
An absolute highlight of MWC 2014 for the team was the opportunity to spend time with members and to understand their priorities in working with us for 2014. Levels of engagement, despite the craziness of Congress week, clearly show commitment to work as an industry to create local market solutions and tap into new models for innovation. A clear mandate was also reinforced on the need for MEF to drive connectivity across markets and the ecosytem to accelerate the opportunities around mobile monetisation and consumer trust. I hope all of you who attended MWC 2014 had an enriching experience and look forward to working closely with you to drive forward our important agenda.