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The blurred line: 2014 mobile trends

As the real and virtual worlds continue to cross over and mobile technology takes the step from just smartphones and tablets to connected vehicles and wearable items, JWT’s latest report entitled The Top 10 Mobile Trends for 2014 provides an interesting outlook for our ever-increasing virtual reality.

One of its key findings centred on the idea that as people’s real and virtual worlds continue to blend, and the line between the two blurs, marketers need to move towards thinking holistically about how mobile interacts with, and affects, all other aspects of consumers’  lives as opposed to focusing on the mobile platform itself.

Here’s a brief rundown of the report’s top ten mobile trends for 2014:

1) Holistic connectivity is on the horizon:

Integrated, holistic systems will start to link devices, goods and services in the home, and on the road, so each component works with the other.

‘Wearables’ are starting to gain popularity; items such as glasses and watches that are connected to the internet, and connected cars are also gaining traction. The general concept of ‘wearables’ has been, appropriately some may say, dubbed ‘The Internet of Things.’

2) Wearables break out

Dozens of product launches in this category are happening this year, and JWT expects to only see that rise in the future. Google has announced Android Wear (an operating system currently being used by Motorola’s Moto 360 Smartwatch and LG’s G watch) and is expected to officially launch Glass later this year. There’s also a host of other technology giants on the ball in this category including Samsung, Sony and Motorola.

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3) Mobile is the prime screen

Mobile has become the main screen, and is not only the preferred hub for digital activity, but also content consumption including news, video, and longer content.

4) Changing how we socialise

Social tools for mobile are developing far beyond what is available for desktop, and because mobile devices are with us all the time, these tools are much more continuous. Social communication on mobile can now be as complex, private, anonymous, multi-layered or fleeting as the users wishes. Video messaging apps and reaction recording apps are ever popular, as are new social platforms like Vine, for example, which attracted more downloads via the App Store last year than Facebook or Twitter’s apps.

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This is becoming the next generation of ‘social media’; first it was networking, now it is constantly connected, with expectations that people will start to flee the more public platforms and move to smaller, simpler platforms, with a smaller group of followers or connections, a ‘mobile tribe’.

5) Shifting to visual

Mobile devices are aiding the shift to a more visual type of communication, minimising the need for text. This can take the form of emojis, video messaging, reaction-recording apps or photos, to name a few. Searching is also getting more visual as a result of image recognition technology, and dating apps like Tinder allow for the emphasis of pictures over profiles. Image-sharing platforms have also surged in popularity, such as Instagram and Pinterest.

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6) Outsourcing to the machine

Mobile technology is allowing people to outsource ability, knowledge and effort, and as stye technology develops further, it will learn to anticipate needs also, staying one step ahead of the user. Already, we’re used to turning to our mobile devices to get directions, match a tune with a song title, translate foreign phrases, or polish our photography skills, and this is just the beginning…

7) Privacy changes the game

As people become more mobile-savvy, there is also increased awareness about the vulnerability of mobile devices to cyber-criminals, governmental or agency spying, corporate tracking, and other dangers, pushing players in this industry to focus on privacy and security.

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8) A love-hate relationship

The swift and all-encompassing introduction of  screens into people’s lives is inciting fear and resentment, and an element of concern about what has been lost with the embrace of digital devices. People’s love affairs with mobile devices is turning into a love-hate relationship.

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9) Mobile to the masses

As mobile providers search for more customers, bring prices down, lower data costs and expand internet availability, the global population is steadily becoming more connected.

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10) Change …

Mobile technology is changing everything; it is not just consumers whose behaviour is changing because of the possibilities mobile offers, it is enabling goods, services and processes that were never before possible.

The full report is available here.