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What drives mobile success? Increasingly, the answer is changing, and fast.

Thousands of mobile-first startups and mobile-next enterprises have found that judicious investments in 10 key areas are enabling them to onboard new mobile users, engage with existing customers, and modernize how they communicate with their communities. Those areas have included analytics, user engagement tools, attribution tools, monitoring systems, development platforms, and geolocation capabilities.

Foundation of Mobile Funding

Combined, these categories have attracted almost $28 billion of funding since 2010, and currently represent $405 billion in investor value. With Spoke Intelligence, I recently updated the Mobile Success Galaxy, now called the Foundations of Mobile Landscape, with the latest investment data.

Monetization will remain important. Engaging users will remain important. Analytics will still be key. Attribution absolutely matters, as does geolocation.

But there are massive changes just beginning in mobile that will influence what it takes for your organization to be effective.

1. Conversational commerce (aka ‘bots’)

Airline KLM has been a leader in social commerce, turning 200 social-focused customer support reps from a cost of doing business to a profit center. Now the company is a pioneer in using messaging apps to connect with customers.

messaging“Business is moving away from company apps,” Gert Wim ter Haar, KLM’s social media manager, recently said. “We’re seeing a strong shift in customers preferring [chat] apps rather than sending that public tweet or message. It’s more personal.”

I’m not sure I agree with his entire conclusion, because mediated access to your customers is always dangerous — sooner or later, you will have to pay the mediator — but WeChat, Kik, and other platforms have been singing this song for a while. Facebook just recently joined in with Messenger. Others will follow.

Interestingly, on the day KLM launched a bot on Messenger, customer service inquiries jumped 40 percent, spiking at 13 new messages per minute. Like mobile itself, your customers are there before your company is ready to support them.

2. Web/app convergence

Google is embedding relevant apps into search results. Apple’s on-device universal search does the same. Both companies are indexing apps to unlock content inside them for users who might wish to download those apps, and Google is testing streaming apps so you don’t have to actually download them to begin using them.

convergence2And deeplinks, universal links, or whatever you’d like to call them are enabling marketers and others to link to resources inside an app — preinstall to post-install — or the web, or both, depending on whether those who receive the link actually have the app or the web. At the same time, companies like Button are making apps more web-like by enabling rich integration between them and breaking down the once-rigid silos they used to be.

This convergence is giving rise to a new set of companies and opportunities that Foundations of Mobile needs to identify and track.

3. Payments

In the current Foundations, we’ve covered Payments in the API area. But m-commerce and m-payments are important enough to warrant specific, focused attention. When Starbucks is taking in 21 percent of its earnings via mobile payments, you know something is happening.

And when Wal-Mart is looking at that example while determining its mobile app and loyalty club positioning, it’s clear that this is a space worth more visibility.

4. And more: smart matter, post-mobile, AI, VR, AR

code brainThere’s more to look at as well. Now that more and more apps and mobile functionality are enabling control and management of connected devices, we’re entering the era of smart matter. With AI, we’re increasing our capability to solve complex problems — including via personal virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana.

And with virtual and augmented reality, we’re changing not only the paradigm of computing, but also the long-standing user-engagement paradigms.

Where we are now

The reality, of course, is that with every technology revolution, there are leaders and there are laggards.

We’re still so early in the mobile revolution that we have yet to see anywhere close to complete utilization by marketers, brands, and retailers. The danger in focusing on what is new and shiny around the corner is that you fail to see the effort and time it will take to make the potential and promise actually manifest. There’s still a lot of growth left in the existing models.

The fact that mobile is evolving shouldn’t be any surprise. The fact that it is evolving quickly should be even less of one — mobile has initiated probably the quickest and most dynamic shift in culture and commerce in history. Being aware of it and getting ready for it is a great idea, but it should not lead anyone to believe that mobile 1.0 and/or 2.0 are complete, finished, and in the books.

There is plenty of meat left on that bone!

Your help would be … helpful

If you have thoughts on what we should be doing with out Foundations of Mobile Landscape, we’d love to hear them, both in terms of what categories we should add and what companies they should contain.

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