This blog is by Stefan Kindt at Nokia Networks.
I just came back from an iGaming/Gambling conference where I was invited to provide an out-of-industry view from a mobile broadband vendor’s perspective. A lot of people there were building up hype around the “year of mobile gambling” – once again. In fact the host kicked off our session with a statement of high expectations towards mobile, but added the caveat that they’ve announced the “year of mobile gambling” prematurely for the last several years now.
A market study of European gambling operators conducted by the organizer WBR showed that mobile is by far the industry’s biggest investment area in 2014/2015 with 88% of votes and ‘social media for marketing’ ranking a distant second with 38%. It seems to me that the iGaming industry is fired up by the potential and wants to jump on the mobile band wagon, but isn’t quite ready yet. With online gambling and gaming estimated to be worth more approximately €19 million billion worldwide by 2015, it’s no surprise. But difficult and heterogeneous regulatory environments in many countries as well as unclear mobile strategies have prevented them from really moving forward.
Consequently, many of the sessions focused on regulatory questions, marketing and commercial aspects. The out-of-industry- session was dedicated to mobile with speakers from leading industry players such as Deutsche Telekom representing the network operator view, eBay on ecommerce and Nokia for the mobile broadband vendor perspective. All speakers highlighted the importance of understanding the drivers of customer experience and the means to influence these.
One key issue raised was end-to-end latency, which is determined by the network as well as the application latency. Nokia has shown that network latency can be substantially reduced with the latest in radio technologies like LTE or new initiatives like Mobile Edge Computing (like Nokia’s Liquid Applications) which will lead to a much improved customer experience. Our eBay colleague then emphasized the relevance of latency in the ecommerce arena, where as little as a 0.1 second delay can already have a significant impact on the number of transactions. Likewise, Analytics was highlighted as a relevant technology to achieve this with discussion around: How can the gaming industry leverage data for customer-oriented decisions? Learning from other industries will certainly be key for iGaming.
The subsequent discussion and panel session drew attention to the fact that an industry, which has to focus on the regulatory environment, may not be able to focus on understanding customer experience and needs. And if customer satisfaction isn’t actively measured then it will be difficult to draw the right conclusions for a successful business model. More importantly, you may also not be able to build a successful mobile strategy.
Ironically, if we look back almost 15 years at the very early days of mobile data, gambling and betting were already then identified as potential “killer apps” for mobile data and major operator Hutchison Telecommunication had a head start when launching the “Orange Mobile Betting Service“. However, it seems that almost every other segment has benefitted more from the mobile data boom than iGaming thus far. Though I’m willing to wager that this is going to change, but when?
Would you like to make a bet?
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