Mobile Connections: the age of connected devices

We're at the beginning of magical times as the mobile phone becomes the heart of countless mobile devices, says SinnerSchrader's Laurent Burdin

The watch on your wrist has long stopped ticking. Instead, you can talk to it, read the news on it, or pay for a coffee with it. It’s likely, in the coming year, that every early adopter will wear one, and so get to expe- rience all the wonder of mobile connectivity: new technologies, new applications and new customers. With the smartwatch and other innovations, the Age of Connected Devices is dawning. So what will the world be like, when everything is connected with everything else? And what consequences will that bring for the mobile sector?

A torrent sweeping through the sector

Experts are predicting that the number of connected devices will increase one hundred fold within the next five years. The mobile sector will become the mobile connectivity sector. Everyone will be affected – developers, start-ups, agencies, providers of mobile products, marketers and big brands. A look at Berlin, where the mobile sector in Germany is particularly well- represented, reveals the magnitude of the upheaval that is currently taking place.

The technological revolution

Behind this trend are three technological drivers: the devices, the connectivity and the cloud. Every few months the device manufacturers introduce new features such as mobile payment or smart objects – more memory, more performance, more screen. The connectivity options are also becoming greater:

  • mobile communications
  • Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth low Energy
  • proprietary in-car connectivity such as CarPlay or Android Auto.

Behind them lie the cloud services, which gather and analyse all the data. Working wonders with everyday stuff!

Coffee lovers, for example, can connect via an app with the Espresso machine in the coffee shop, which then brews the desired coffee. Payment for the cappuccino then takes place automatically with the smartphone. This is already a reality at TopBrewer in Copenhagen. It’s child’s play for the customer and extremely time-saving for the coffee shop.

Powering the market

Consumers are ready. And so are electrical retailers: mediamarkt recently created a large department for digital wristbands and smartwatches and wants to expand it further. Remember the headphone market? Small and unexciting only three years ago, it now features lots of interesting products and retailers offer a large range of them. It will be the same with Connected Devices.

Personalised stimuli

Opportunities to reach customers and prospective customers at just the right moment have increased enormously. Personalised stimuli allow for a completely new form of Customer Relationship management, which in retail can make all the difference. A new shopping centre in Marseilles, fitted out with 240 beacons, illustrates just how it works: if the customer has the relevant app, he or she receives location-based promotions from the stores, and the shopping centre can analyse in detail the resulting customer traffic.



1. Dedicate far greater resources to managing mobile assets (app and web).
2. Raise activity levels to achieve greater frequency and higher numbers of app downloads.
3. Improve those neglected mobile web portals.


4. Create a user case related to a device (e.g. smartwatch).
5. Connect web applications with the physical world (e.g. in stores).
6. Develop your own proprietary connected device.

The end of isolation

An app here, an app there, maybe a mobile website, a customer app, then a banner and a mobile landing page … the mobile sector has long offered only additions to isolated applications. Now stand-alone solutions are being connected with the physical world: with a smartwatch, with a beacon in a shop, stadium or museum, with a check- out, a door, a piece of packaging or a car – and all of it based on technologies and code languages from the mobile sector.

Pressing ahead with no standards

The biggest mistake here is to do nothing. Despite the absence of technical stand- ards, all the big players are already active in the game. Google is positioning itself with Nest in the area of home automation for house and office. Behind the iBeacon lies an Apple protocol. And all players are developing in-car platforms.

The area of mobile connectivity holds huge opportunities, but considerable risks at the same time. The biggest risk is to do nothing.

We can see that currently in the retail industry, where we are talking about the likes of Amazon and other giants such as Alibaba, with a market capitalisation of over $200 billion. many of those involved are banking seriously on innovative mobile solutions: Tesco, for example, with connected price signage, the rolling out of a beacon network and push notifications in store. Or Amazon with its own ‘Dash’ device, a barcode reader with a microphone, which helps to draw up household shopping lists and connects automatically with the app, thus enabling One-Click-Shopping.

Imagine if every brand were to bring its own device onto the market to connect with its customers in its own charming way. That would be the stuff of dreams in my book.

LAURENT BURDIN is Managing Director of SinnerSchrader Mobile in Berlin, right in the heart of Germany’s mobile ecosystem.