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Smartphone camera to influence mobile marketing and commerce in 2013

By Julie Cunningham

As a mobile marketer, you have been in a front row seat of the smartphone and tablet market explosion. Analyst firm IDC predicts that globally 1.16 billion smartphones will be shipped annually by 2016.

The rapid growth in adoption of smartphones and tablets by every demographic provides a new opportunity for retailers, banks and insurance providers to take advantage of a feature that is unique to mobile devices and tablets: the camera.

In 2012, we saw rapid adoption of mobile applications that use the smartphone camera to enable consumers to do things more easily, instantly and on the go from their mobile device.

For example, mobile check deposit became must-have technology for banks. In 2012, more than $10 billion in deposits were made using mobile deposit technology, prepaid cards went mainstream with retail giants such as Walmart and banks including Chase powering the ability to enroll, fund and manage the card with mobile imaging technology.

Car insurance quotes became instantaneous with the world’s first mobile photo insurance quoting app.

And this is just the beginning. So what will 2013 bring?

Paying bills on the go. Customers will never forget to pay a bill again because they will be able to do it from anywhere, anytime on their smartphone or tablet.

In 2013, we anticipate rapid adoption of mobile photo bill pay – the ability for a bank customer to add a new payee and pay a bill by simply snapping a photo of her bill. No computer, no checkbook, no trip to the mailbox required.

Snap a photo of your mug to prove your identity. Verifying and validating a users’ identity when using a mobile device can be a challenge and irritating for users who want a quick and easy enrollment or sign-on process while on their device.

In 2013, mobile device cameras will become the key to easy, mobile identity verification.

For example, when opening a new account, or finalizing a transaction on a mobile device, what if your customers could snap a photo of their face and driver’s license with their smartphone or tablet camera and enroll, with no need to type – enrollment completed in seconds? Soon this will be a reality for smart businesses.

Prepaid card programs for all. Mobile services are making it easier than ever for consumers to load and manage prepaid card accounts.

What may have started as a way to court the unbanked and under-banked has become mainstream with offerings from some of leading banks and retailers looking to tap into the millions of U.S. consumers interested in alternatives to traditional financial services.

Use of prepaid cards is going to dramatically increase in the coming year. In fact, Mercator Advisory Group predicts that by 2013, consumers will load $117 billion onto prepaid cards, a 200 percent usage increase in just three years.

Customers will demand on-the-go mobile insurance quotes. Mobile imaging technology will radically change the auto insurance buyer’s experience.

Customers can shop for auto insurance, get accurate rate quotes and actually purchase coverage – all from a few snaps of the camera on their smartphone or tablet, turning the tedious process of looking for insurance into something that is quick, easy and fun.

As more customers join the mobile lifestyle, keying in information will become a thing of the past and more insurance companies will take advantage of the smartphone camera capabilities to provide on-the-go quoting.

Smartphone camera advancements open up “panoramic” new view of emerging capabilities. Rapid advancements in smartphone camera capabilities such as panorama and high-definition video open up new opportunities for new, never-before-seen use cases using mobile imaging technology.

THE TRENDS we are seeing show that mobile imaging technology will continue to power innovation and the future of mobile transactions.

As smartphone use continues to grow, the ability for people to conduct mobile transactions will be critical piece of every organization’s business model.

Julie Cunningham is vice president of investor relations and corporate communications at Mitek, San Diego. Reach her at [email protected].