Festivus 2015: Applying the airing of grievances to this year’s mobile expectations

By Jonathan Crowl

| Retail

Since Festivus was featured in a classic episode of “Seinfeld” years ago, it has become a pseudo-serious holiday among some Americans. One of its most celebrated traditions is the Airing of Grievances, which calls for participants to look back and examine the expectations of the past year. During Festivus 2015, it seems all too appropriate to use the Airing of Grievances to analyze the mobile landscape. Now that 2016 is quickly approaching, it’s easy to see which predictions came true and which fell short of the mark.

Mobile payment adoption still hasn’t hit critical mass

Mobile payments have been advertised for years now, and a number of companies have entered that marketplace hoping to bring it to the mainstream. Despite those efforts, none have really succeeded in turning mobile payments into an essential technology. US consumers seem as happy as ever to continue using their credit cards, particularly now that new chip technology is promising an even better transaction experience.

Whether due to lingering security concerns or a reluctance to change, consumers have been content to stick with traditional payment methods. Mobile payment providers have their work cut out for them in bringing this technology to the mainstream. There’s hope for the future, but this year didn’t see those predictions come to fruition.

Smartwatches didn’t catch fire

A healthy core of experts believed that smartwatches would create an unprecedented bridge between the physical and virtual lives of consumers in 2015. The industry expected that marketers would use wearable tech to gain access to new forms of consumer data and improve the delivery of various marketing messages, capitalizing on a new world of mobile technology.

While smartwatches do offer these types of opportunities, they do not do so on the scale that many had envisioned. As Bonfire Marketing points out, watches — unlike phones — are not a standard piece of personal equipment. Because consumers often see smartwatches as non-essential items, this technology hasn’t adopted the integral role many had expected.

There is still plenty of value in planning for the rise of smartwatches, and that goes for both app developers and marketers targeting those consumers. In fact, its value is expected to go up over time as these devices become more affordable and commonplace. But until consumers see the smartwatch as an essential piece of equipment, it won’t carry nearly as much influence and value as the smartphone.

Mobile security didn’t take center stage

Security experts haven’t been quiet about the risk mobile applications pose to organizations. Yet the bulk of attention was still spent on web applications, even though their usage is on the downswing. A May report from SANS noted that public-facing web applications were far and away the top focus of security defenders, with less than 11 percent citing mobile applications as their top priority.

As mobile device usage continues to host more consumer activity, its security threats will need to be addressed. In 2015, organizations fell even farther behind the curve and therefore left their digital properties vulnerable to attacks. In 2016, those companies can’t afford to ignore the problem any longer.

iBeacons didn’t hit the mainstream

Have no fear: Beaconing technology in retail locations is on the way. But as much as brands are eager to forecast its arrival, the task of rolling out this technology in countless retail stores across the country has been more difficult than some had originally predicted. While many marketers have been sold on the value of using beacons to respond to consumers at the ideal moment, the challenge is in convincing executives and decision-makers that the time is right for this mobile technology. Eventually, beaconing technology will find its way into stores across the country, though beacon proponents may have to wait over a year for this shift to take place.

Sometimes predictions are simply slower to develop than experts might expect. Other times, the industry takes a sharp left turn and forecasted evolutions never take place. The one constant is change, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows what that change will look like. That’s why Festivus is a great time to recognize and honor those predictions that never came true. Happy Festivus 2015!