This sponsored post is produced by MEF. The Meffys 2014 Awards are open for entry, and ahead of the August 8 deadline, MEF COO Joanne Lacey looks at what’s driving innovation in today’s mobile market.

The mobile content and commerce market is in constant flux. Technology innovations and disruptive products and services are driving a rapid mobile evolution. And not just in Silicon Valley but across the globe in technology hubs worldwide.  Just look at the developments seen in mobile banking, mobile payments, mobile health, and mobile education.

The reasons are complex, but it’s helpful to conceptualize this growth as a series of step-wise changes in the mobile ecosystem, itself a fast and dynamic network for converting innovation into new and exciting services to consumers.

The original mobile ecosystem (1.0) was characterized by the dominance of mobile network operators controlling access and dominating the relationship with the consumer.  They worked in partnership with the handset manufacturers who powered so much of the earlier innovation.

The next-generation mobile ecosystem was — and remains — dominated by Silicon Valley giants.  Google, Apple, and Facebook, for example, brought products and services to market that radically shifted the dynamics in the value chain, not least for consumers.

And now, in the next phase in mobile content and commerce, the mobile device has become the primary tool for engagement and transaction in consumers’ digital lives. As a consequence, mobile is an integral part of every business model.  And the pioneers of this new ecosystem are much more diverse and also more global. African markets championing mobile banking is a case in point.

Stakeholders from outside the traditional mobile space, such as brands and financial institutions,  are driving this change and recognizing there is critical innovation coming from mobile-savvy startups worldwide —and that they need to be part of it.  Where once a corporate immune system was resistant to this kind of change, a complete inversion of that approach is now happening.

Retail giants, banks, and corporations are building their own mobile ecosystems, investing in mobile technology, adapting both their organizational culture and business models, and meeting their customers where they happen to be online: their mobile device.

A consistent characteristic of the latest generation of mobile is that the benefits are bi-directional.  A large company can hope to achieve lower or negligible mobile development costs; it can accelerate its own speed to market; and and it can deliver products that add value to an existing service, all while keeping them relevant in the fast-paced mobile space.

This is true symbiotic value creation. Where will it go next?

Mobile 3.0 champions and international innovators will be recognized at the 11th annual Meffys from MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce. There are 16 mobile content and commerce categories such as Life Tools, Mobile Services, and Consumer Trust, as well as Big Data, FinTech, mHealth, and Mobile Education — all new for 2014. Entry deadline is August 8, and finalists will come together at MEF Global Forum in San Francisco on November 18-19.

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