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By 2020, businesses will have to get used to the open economy: report

Mobile has made businesses more open and collaborative with each other, but those that resist this trend will be left behind in the coming years, according to a new report from Samsung.

Samsung predicts that by 2020, we will be leaving in what it calls an open economy, meaning that more and more services will collaborate and integrate with each other thanks to the proliferation of mobile. Smart retailers and businesses will embrace this trend, lest they end up locked out of potentially successful partnerships.

“Finding ways to safely empower new waves of future freelance workers is going to be the number one business challenge,” said Nick Dawson, global director of Knox Strategy. “Within three years, it’s expected that businesses will have to deal with over 7.3 billion connected devices, whilst a rapidly digitized and changing workforce will evolve to one that will transform businesses in how, where and when they operate.”

Open economy
As any mobile user can tell you, there seems to be more and more apps and services and mobile offerings cropping up every day.

The best among those often ask their users to link their accounts across services for a more convenient experience.

Spotify users can sign in with Facebook, for example, and many services can be connected with a Google account. Additionally, financial service applications such as Mint can be linked with bank accounts which can be linked with retail apps and loyalty programs.

These types of cross-platform integrations are creating an open economy, one in which the definite lines separating different companies and platforms are, not blurring exactly, but becoming diffuse.

Samsung predicts that by 2020 the economy will be so saturated with these integrations and become a truly open economy.

That means that businesses need to start opening up their internal platforms to outside connection in order to take advantage of this new reality.

“Relying on past certainties will not foster the creativity that business will need to compete in tomorrow’s global market place,” said Marcos Eguillor, founder of BinaryKnowledge and a professor at IE Business School. “Companies will need to adopt the technologies that allow them to be fast and flexible enough to spot and understand their next competitive advantages, and recognize when it’s time to disengage from the previous one.”

Collaborative effort
As the economy starts to open up, look at a few recent examples of how these sorts of integrations are already beginning to take shape.

Just earlier this week, PayPal acquired a company called TIO Networks and began folding its services into the PayPal platform. This move means that PayPal customers will soon be able to pay certain bills through PayPal, forming a bridge between the company and whatever other entities are being paid their due (see story).

Similarly, just announced that it will bring an updated version of its mobile app to Apple’s iMessage, letting consumers send listings to each other easily (see story).

Integrating the feature from one app – finding apartment listings – into the flow of another – the conversations in iMessage – is a prime example of how the open economy can serve as a win-win-win. gets more people using its service, iMessage becomes more robust in its offerings, and consumers get the convenience of being able to easily send listings to each other.

The open economy is on its way, and it is in the best interest of all retailers involved to embrace it as fully as possible.

“Cyber-security platforms that allow businesses to be both technologically open and safe are the key to unlocking the future of the Open Economy,” Mr. Dawson said.