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The best camera you have is the one you have on you. The oft-quoted statement among photographers rings true for many of us. As cool as it is to have a high end DSLR camera capable of professional level shots, it’s of no use to you when it’s at home. When the moment strikes and a camera is needed, the one you have on your smartphone is, in fact, “the best”, since it’s the one that actually gets the shot.

This sentiment actually has applicability across multiple industries. Within the general tech sector, increasing evidence suggests a similar pattern for data. The best device to use to view and make use of your data is the one that’s with you. Here, your data involves access to information. As connected users, our data is typically available to us at all times. In the financial services space, users have come to expect 24/7-access to their financial data. Traditionally, users accessed that data while sitting at a desk, on a desktop machine, or through a web browser. While many of us have witnessed the shift in that behavior towards mobile, the reality is even more striking. Take a look at the following data from a recent Internet Trends report, from 2014.

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Source: Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2014

According to this study, of the 7.4 hours a day spent looking at “screens”, the largest portion of that time, 34%, is spent looking at smartphones. TV follows closely behind, with browser/desktop/laptop usage and tablet usage rounding out the list. Would you have thought that people spend more time looking at their smartphone than any other screen in their daily lives? The following graphic helps explain the data even better.

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Source: Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2014

While users shift through different phases of their day, the smartphone stays with them, and is used, through ALL phases.

What these stats seem to be suggesting, among many other points, is that the mobility and utility of the smartphone allows users access to pertinent data, and that the data seems to be required by those users all throughout their day. Obviously those same users have access to relevant data at their desktops/laptops, and through their TVs, but the mobile devices are providing enough contextual information that users appear to be turning to them all throughout their day.

What is even more interesting about these numbers is that some are pointing to these numbers as indicators of a resurgence in brick and mortar establishments, such as bookstores, who are seeing increased traffic. The correlation seems to be that, unlike the concern from the past about web sites replacing traditional shopping, the rise of mobile is actually getting people out and about more, and armed with a mobile version of the shopping data they used to only get through the desktop. Consider the point made below from Ben Thompson, at stratechery.com:

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The ubiquity of mobile devices is giving way to a ubiquity of relevant user data. What users expect is always-on technology with real-time access to their data. How they retrieve that data seems to be less relevant, but is obviously constrained by physical limitations, such as desktops being at home, in a study, versus out on the road, or at a bookstore.

I am fascinated by this topic and user preferences especially in the banking space where Malauzai operates. Next time I will share my thoughts around the importance of delivering the best user experience. In the meantime, you can catch up on Robb’s blog Divergent Convergence.

All of this is good news for financial institutions that are looking at mobile as a differentiator. I also happen to be a fan of bookstores, so I couldn’t be more thrilled to see that they aren’t going away, at least anytime soon thanks to seemingly enough the smartphone.

Danny Piangerelli, Chief Technology Officer Malauzai Software danny.piangerelli@malauzai.com