Amazon’s First Foray into the Smartphone Market and What it Means for Business
The recent release of Amazon’s highly anticipated Fire Phone marked the company’s debut in the smartphone market. The Fire boasts an impressive array of features, including 3-D screen effects, free unlimited photo storage and a free year of Amazon Prime membership. If the phone is a hit with consumers, Amazon should reach their goal of becoming a formidable competitor in the original equipment manufacturers market (OEM). Currently, Apple and Samsung lead all OEMS, with Apple raking in 41 percent of the market share and Samsung claiming 28. The next largest competitors—LG, Motorola and HTC—all have between five and seven percent of the market share.
Although the Fire is indeed Amazon’s first smartphone, the company has experience in the mobile hardware market, having introduced its Kindle Fire tablet back in 2011. Amazon is currently the market leader in mobile shopping and buying. The company clearly sees the opportunity to use the Fire to help accelerate growth in mobile commerce, which could be fruitful for businesses worldwide.
Bank of America has predicted that $67.1 billion in purchases will be made from mobile devices by shoppers in Europe and the United States in 2015. Amazon has taken measures to ensure that some of those shoppers head their way. By giving Fire users a free year of Amazon Prime membership - which offers free two-day shipping and discounts on thousands of products - the company hopes to hook members and turn them into more frequent Amazon shoppers. The Fire comes with several pre-installed apps that facilitate mobile commerce for physical products and digital content, including Kindle Books, Amazon Music, Audiobooks and Amazon Appstore.
The Fire also has a unique feature called Firefly, which enables the operator to use the phone’s camera to recognize real-world objects, television shows, movies, and music and subsequently purchase the item or content from Amazon’s online store. This is bound to take business away from brick-and-mortar retailers, many of whom are already struggling due to the influx of online shopping platforms. Obviously, Firefly will only be lucrative if Amazon’s prices are truly competitive, and Firefly’s success may in turn cause retailers to lower theirs accordingly.
The Impacts of Mobile Technology
For some businesses, mobile technology plays an integral role. Sage North America recently conducted its second annual mobile device survey, in which the supplier of business management software and services polled 1,090 small and midsized businesses in the United States. The survey found that 54 percent supply their employees with mobile devices, down from 69 percent the previous year. This could be due to the fact that as of January of 2014, 90 percent of American adults have a mobile phone and 58 percent of them own a smartphone. It is likely that the majority of people would want to use one phone for business and pleasure rather than two separate devices.
When asked about the effect that mobile technology has had on their businesses, 70 percent of respondents said the most post positive effect has been on customer service. 32 percent of business owners found that mobile devices have been helpful in conducting business in the event of inclement weather. 21 percent responded that mobile devices have helped to bring work to the company, and 20 percent said that they enable the business to conduct meetings remotely.
Joe Langner, executive vice president and general manager of mid-market solutions for Sage North America, commented on the survey’s finding by saying “The Sage Mobile Device Survey shows that mobile technology makes doing business easier, empowers superior customer service and increases productivity. With important business functions like customer contact being conducted primarily on mobile devices, business owners are finding ways to take advantage of technology and are seeing mobility make a true impact on their business.”
Two notable features of the phone could potentially make conducting business more efficient. The Carousel is an exclusive app viewer on the Fire’s home screen that places alerts and recently used apps front and center, delivering real-time updates so you can work directly off of the home screen. For example, the Carousel allows you to read your most recent email messages from the home screen without even opening the email app. You can also manage your appointments and access news without having to scroll elsewhere.
Additionally, the Fire automatically backs up the user’s notes, contacts, settings, apps and messages, eliminating the need to manually configure settings or link the phone to a computer. Data is automatically backed up to the cloud every time that the phone sits idle.
This could be very helpful to business users who rely on their phones for data storage, and the effortlessness of the backup system will leave them free to return to business as usual.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.