As I wrote in The Art of Mobile Persuasion, while most of the world is going wireless, we’re taking different paths to get there.
I experienced that in 2012 in South Africa when I was surprised – ok, shocked – to see that BlackBerrys were broadly used. Of course, in the United States, our interest in those devices had long waned. By then, we even were looking unfavorably at those in America who still used them.
So it was with eyes open that I traveled to rural Wisconsin over the recently-concluded July 4th weekend for a family reunion that included some of my wife’s relatives from Norway.
Some came to renew old acquaintances or for first-time meetings. Others looked forward to the lefse (it’s not my thing, but much more palatable than lutefisk). I came with my mobile curiosity.
Here’s what I found:
The traditional camera still lives in Norwegian hands. While most every American in the room who was about 4 years old or older was snapping pictures with smartphones, Gudmund Brekko (pictured above with my wife, Kathryn) used a Nikon camera to capture the moments
The preferred mobile device for Gudmund, his wife, and about 14-year-old son is the Xperia, a phone that I had heard of but had never seen and knew little about. Research on my iPhone told me that it is made by Sony. There were no sightings during the evening
Gudmund told me that he does have photos on his phone. He said that he uploads the Nikon shots to the Picasa online storage site, then brings them down on to his Xperia
It turns out that mobile is a large part of Norwegian life. According to Statista http://www.statista.com/statistics/284234/norway-mobile-phone-internet-user-penetration/, mobile penetration has grown from 51% in 2012 to 57% in 2013 to 64% last year. Estimates are for the number to reach 72% by the end of 2015, thanks in some part to the arrival of 4G networks.
For perspective, wireless penetration exceeded 100% in the U.S. by 2012 http://www.ctia.org/your-wireless-life/how-wireless-works/annual-wireless-industry-survey, per CTIA. That means that there are more mobile devices in America than there are people.
With more than 160 years of experience, Telenor is the largest mobile operator in Norway. The company does business elsewhere, including in Pakistan where it has augmented the present low birth registration rate with the help of cellular technology. Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF launched a project http://www.telenor.com/sustainability/initiatives-worldwide/leveraging-mobile-technology-to-improve-birth-registration-rates-in-pakistan/ to improve citizen interactions through process optimization, better planning and management of data for the government, and improved health awareness through uptake of mobile-health (m-health) services. An easy to access SMS-based solution is now used to report birth counts.
The lesson from it all? While mobile is making a dramatic impact across the globe, the particulars vary from region to region. This is all fascinating to watch and important for marketers to understand.
(article first appeared here - http://artofmobilepersuasion.com/the-blog/)