2013 Trends: Rob van den Dam, Global Telecommunications Industry Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

Innovative services offered via mobile in emerging markets will continue to flourish in 2013. Driven by the availability of less expensive mobile devices in emerging markets, mobiles are becoming an essential part of social developments.Mobile technology will be a cornerstone for – among others - agriculture and healthcare, and will make banking truly accessible for an increasing number of people. Mobile money will pave the way for many other simple data applications catering to specific local market needs. It will also stimulate m-Commerce as the mobile device will increasingly be accepted as dominant mode of payment for goods and services.

Cloud computing will have a transformational effect on societies and economies in emerging markets. In places where money isn’t plentiful, the ability for companies and governments to share resources offers the opportunity to bring massive computing power to bear in ways that were not possible before. One of the biggest opportunities will be in mobile services. Communications Service Providers will increasingly use clouds to develop innovative new services, launch them, and scale them up to handle millions of users–services such as banking and small-business listings.

Emerging countries will lead the world in the use of social tools, media and practices, both by consumers and businesses. In the consumer area growth will especially come from the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, where established brands such as Facebook and Twitter, and new ones like Sina Weibo and Renren in China, are increasingly seen as key communication channels. Businesses in emerging markets will increase their use of social media, one of the reasons being that emerging markets have a smaller budget for marketing and realize that social media is an effective low-cost tool to market their products and their brand.

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