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Remote Control to People’s Lives with Emotional Attachment: Global Study Provides New Insights into Smartphone Obsession

Kimberly Meyer

  ᅠ

A week without a smartphone? For many people this is so unimaginable that they would rather give up their family and friends than their mobile companions. Smartphones are interwoven with a large part of our everyday lives. Life events simply don’t happen without it. In our new global study, we interviewed more than 2,600 people in Brazil, Germany, India, Russia and the United States about their relationship to their smartphone – with remarkable results.

 

 

Working while travelling, measuring our pulse, opening the front door, paying in a restaurant and of course, using the mobile Internet: Never before have we integrated a technical device into our everyday lives as deeply as the smartphone. When Apple presented its first iPhone model almost exactly ten years ago, we could only guess what the huge potential of the mobile all-rounder would be. The smartphone, previously referred to as a pocked computer, only had a niche existence for a few nerds until then.

 

Smartphone Has Become the Remote Control of Our Lives

 

With millions of apps, the almost perfect merging together of software and hardware, as well as high-speed Internet connectivity, the smartphone has become what it is today, namely the remote control of our lives. It is only logical that people develop an emotional relationship with their mobile companion. Without their smartphone, many feel frustrated (27%), lost (26%), stressed (19%) or sad (16%). This was the result of our new study Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends 2017 published by B2X in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Anton Meyer and Prof. Dr. Thomas Hess from Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich.

 

But what is the origin of our deep relationship to a technical device like the smartphone? Michael Lynch approached this question in an exciting article for the Guardian. Due to its immediate availability and easy handling, the smartphone has developed into a natural extension of ourselves. According to Lynch, we can go even further: We ourselves actually are our smartphone because we continuously feed it with our personal ideas and deepest longings.

 

Global Smartphone Use Reveals Obsessive Traits

 

Our study shows what is really meant by this: A quarter of Millennials check their smartphones more than 100 times a day. About half check their phone at least 50 times a day. Added up, every fourth Millennial spends more than five hours on their smartphone, which corresponds to about a third of the time we are awake. Even 16% of the two generations older baby boomers, which had to become familiar with technical innovations such as the smartphone as digital immigrants, check their smartphone more than 50 times a day.

 

Remaining with the image of the smartphone as an extension of ourselves, we found that 85% always have their smartphone ready at hand and more than a quarter always have it on them, even at night. On the one hand, this result is surprising, however, it aligns seamlessly with another finding. 57% of smartphone users are less patient and expect an immediate response from their friends and family, or at least a response within a few minutes.

 

Smartphones More Important Than Family, Friends and Sex

 

According to IHS, 6 billion smartphones will be in use by 2020. Yet, our study did not confirm the widespread perception that the smartphone boom is continuing in emerging markets at a low price segment. The trend is going towards high-quality smartphones. Nearly 10% of consumers plan to spend more than $750 on their next smartphone. 26% plan to spend at least $500.

 

With increasing spending on smartphones, emotional attachment and perceived dependency growing. Fewer and fewer people are willing to separate from their mobile companions. They would rather give up families, friends and sex instead of having to say goodbye to their smartphone for a week. 74% would not even given up their smartphone for a month in exchange for a day with one of their favorite celebrities. 4% would even go to prison for a month instead of giving up their smartphone for a year. Smartphones and human beings are a sacred alliance that seemingly nothing can separate.

 

Summary: Since its reinvention ten years ago, the smartphone has become an integral part of our lives. Our global Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends 2017 study shows how obsessed people are with their device with many spending 5 hours or more on it every day. The Executive Summary of the study results, video interviews with B2X CEO Rainer Koppitz, Prof. Dr. Anton Meyer and Prof. Dr. Thomas Hess from Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, as well as Infographics with global and country-specific statistics for Germany, India and the US can be found on our new micro-page.

 

Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

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Steep Growth Curve and Unrivalled Market Leadership: How China’s Drone Manufacturers Have Become World Champions

Flecher Kong

  ᅠ

Drones have quietly developed into one of the most exciting growth markets in the consumer IoT market. For a long time, drones were a niche market and apart from for industrial usage, hardly anyone trusted the high-tech flying objects. However, China’s flagship brands DJI, Yuneec and Zerotech have consistently slimmed down the devices and made them more consumer-friendly. Now the drones industry is experiencing growth rates in the high double-digit range.

 

 

The share of Chinese manufacturers in the world market for consumer IoT devices could reach 95 percent in just a few years from now. In our last blog report we wrote about the impressive development of China’s IoT industry. What is still a forecast for the overall IoT market has long been implemented in the drone sub-segment. Manufacturers like DJI, Yuneec and Zerotech may not be as well known worldwide as China’s smartphone brands Xiaomi, OnePlus or Nubia, however its market leadership can hardly be shaken.

 

Increasing Growth Rate in Drones Market Thanks to Consumerization

 

According to Gartner, 14 billion electronic connected devices will be in use in 2020. With an annual sales volume in the single-digit million range, the drones segment is currently one of the smaller segments in the global market for consumer IoT devices. However, the prospects are promising: Growth rates in the high double-digit percent range are a safe bet and a further increase in growth rate is likely. This is mainly due to the impressive turnaround that Chinese drones have accomplished. High-tech flying objects were not just invented yesterday. For example, Zerotech can look back on 10 years of experience in the development of unmanned flying machines. However, until recently, the focus of the drones industry was on industrial use such as surveying, security applications, professional film recordings, the agricultural sector or scientific research. The starting prices were correspondingly high and only a small number of private customers bought one.

 

Funny enough, it was a European manufacturer who was convinced that the drone market had bigger potential than the niche market of industrial applications. With the presentation of the French supplier Parrot’s AR model at the Consumer Electrics Show in 2010 in Las Vegas, it became clear that unmanned flying objects have got what it takes to become a mass market. Inspired by the idea of developing drones for private use, China’s tech industry has buckled down and invested in flight control, mechanics and camera technology. While not even 200 patents a year were registered ten years ago, it is now around 2,000. Today, providers such as DJI, Yuneec and Zerotech are undisputedly dominating the global drones market.

 

Customer Care Becomes Key Differentiator for Drone Brands

 

However, competition within China’s drone elite is growing. Almost all products are technically sophisticated, features and functions of the different models are more and more similar and the pricing is also alike. Providers like Zerotech are trying to distinguish themselves from their competitors with new model variants like the latest drone model “Dobby” which fits in your pocket. All providers are also working to improve their software to control drones by an app. It is a development that we already recognize from smartphones: Once a new tech device has established itself in the market and the hardware is sophisticated, providers concentrate on the customer’s overall experience, which goes beyond the actual product.

 

In this context, the establishment of extensive customer care offers could easily be the next logical step. Drones are rather delicate and complex high-tech devices that are exposed to harsh conditions when used, whether it’s recording snowboarding in deep snow or a sailing trip on the Atlantic. Even if drones are robust, problems cannot be avoided in harsh conditions. Quick help is needed when users have software questions or need hardware repair. This is a huge challenge for many Chinese manufacturers that are just entering global markets and are rarely large or experienced enough to operate their own service network. This will create new partnerships to build global customer care ecosystems that will guarantee users quick and trouble-free access to service and support.

 

Summary: Drones are considered one of the best bets in the market for consumer IoT devices. Chinese suppliers such as DJI, Yuneec and Zerotech are capitalizing not only on their own home market, but also the North American and European markets. At B2X, we recently entered a new after sales partnership with Zerotech. We offer customer care services in the US during and after the warranty on behalf of the drone provider. For further information on this exciting project, please contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Flecher Kong is Senior Account Manager at B2X.

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Virtual Reality Made in China: How 200 Startups Are Preparing for the Explosively Growing Billion-Dollar VR and AR Market

Chen Liang

  ᅠ

Virtual reality and augmented reality are considered IoT market sectors with tremendous growth potential. However, mainstream products and applications are lacking so far. It’s precisely this gap between wish and reality that the Chinese tech industry wants to fill. More than 200 startups are preparing to conquer the global virtual reality market with cool innovations.

 

 

Merely 100 million virtual reality devices were distributed worldwide last year – not much compared to the 1.5 billion smartphones sold. Still, the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market is considered one of the hottest bets in the Consumer IoT market. The current range of hardware options is fairly straightforward: Facebook, HTC, Samsung and Sony divide the market for headsets among themselves. Smaller suppliers and startups hardly play a role.

 

The VR Market Is Predicted to Reach 120 Billion Dollars in Sales by 2020

 

But if things go according to plan for the Chinese tech industry, this is likely to change soon. The People’s Republic wants to play a part in the global VR and AR market and is positioning its economy accordingly. In our last blog post, we already touched on the momentum with which young startups and established brands are advancing tech innovations. By 2020, the VR market is expected to grow to a sales volume of 120 billion US dollars – a sector that’s simply too attractive to leave in the hands of American, Korean and Taiwanese competitors.

 

As with the smartphone sector, China is likely to benefit from the rapidly growing tech affinity of its own population. Customers virtually scramble to get ahold of the latest VR gadgets like in hardly any other country. The online giants Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are driving demand through better and more exciting VR applications. At the same time, the companies are investing in VR startups rather than directly competing with the domestic hardware industry. After all, Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi also have stakes in the VR market, and a direct exchange of blows could do the market more harm than good, so the reasoning of the Internet giants. 

 

200 Startups Are Working on VR Innovations Made in China

 

It’s a plan that could work. Bloomberg recently released some breathtaking figures: The Chinese VR market is expected to grow by a factor of 36 by 2020 and then reach a sales volume of 8.5 billion dollars. More than 200 startups are now working on VR innovations made in China. Even the Chinese government knows what’s at stake and has already identified practicable market sectors. According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, video and game applications are the first step towards a mainstream VR market. Corresponding state programs to promote innovation and growth are underway.

 

But not just China’s Internet giants and government are helping set Chinese suppliers up for success. The global venture capital fund 500 Startups, for example, has also recognized the potential of the Chinese tech industry and directly invested in several VR startups. The goal is to help Chinese suppliers enter the US market, says 500 Startups Partner Edith Yeung.

 

Innovation, Not Imitation, Is Dominating the Startup Agenda

 

Those who believe that established VR companies, such as Facebook with Oculus Rift or HTC with the Vive headset, are a benchmark for the Chinese startup community will quickly discover otherwise: China’s VR specialists go one step further and strive for genuine innovations that enable them to take on a pioneering role in the global VR market. Dlodlo is one such company. With Dlodlo V1, the startup is offering one of the world’s first VR products that resembles a normal pair of glasses and has little to do with the chunky headsets of the competition.

 

Another user-oriented approach is being pursued by Pico. While the appearance of the company’s VR headset is somewhat reminiscent of known products, Pico’s device has been slimmed down impressively. Redundant hardware components have been trimmed away, giving Pico the claim of offering one of the world’s lightest VR headsets. It remains to be seen how established competitors will respond to China’s latest VR innovations. What’s clear is that the days when Chinese companies imitated innovations are over. The rapidly growing IoT market is the new playing field on which China intends to make global tech history.

 

Summary: Within three years, more than 8 billion dollars in sales are expected in the Chinese VR market alone. Strong demand in its own country is benefitting China’s tech industry. Because customers are constantly looking for new features and designs, the pace of innovation is speeding up. This could turn the VR market into an important springboard for China’s tech suppliers to enter the global market for Consumer IoT devices. Which Chinese VR companies are among your favorites? Contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Chen Liang is Manager Global Accounts at B2X.

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Chinese Tech Industry Conquers the Global Market for Consumer IoT Devices – Market Share Could Rise to 95 Percent in the Long Run

Chun Zhang

  ᅠ

The rapidly growing IoT market could turn out to be the greatest opportunity yet for the Chinese tech industry. China wants to dispute Silicon Valley’s place as the global innovation hub. Hundreds of tech start-ups are working on developing new IoT devices, which will soon support people worldwide in everyday life.

 

 

The answer to the question of what is going on in Shenzhen is that there is a new high-rise building every day and a new boulevard every three days. The Chinese city, home to 15 million people, has become one of the most important business centers in the People’s Republic within the last few years. Shenzhen’s economic power is now greater than that of Portugal, Ireland or Vietnam – the trend continues to strongly increase. Like no other metropolitan region in China, Shenzhen stands for modern China – a China that does not follow technological developments, but rather plays a key role in shaping them.

 

China Claims Leadership Role in Consumer IoT Market Worth Trillions

 

Today, Shenzhen is home to some of the most important technology companies nationwide. In addition to established market leaders such as Huawei and ZTE, young innovative brands have been attracting attention for some time now. In one of our last blog posts, we reported about how emerging smartphone providers such as Nubia and OnePlus are capturing market share worldwide and becoming increasingly popular with a young target group.

 

Chinese tech companies are now discovering the market for consumer IoT devices. The market potential is too attractive: 14 billion connected devices will be in use in 3 years. Users will spend more than 1.5 trillion dollars in 2020 on drones, fitness trackers, smart home devices, smart watches, virtual reality glasses and other IoT devices. Not being part of this market is simply not an option, especially since the market for consumer IoT devices is still relatively undefined. Chinese providers can smell their opportunity to play a decisive role in shaping the global market through rapid experimentation in the form of a rapid trial and error approach.

 

Silicon Valley Is No Longer the Exclusive Hub of the Tech World

 

The widespread perception that 99 percent of disruptive tech innovations come from the Silicon Valley is a false one. In addition to the big Californian tech giants Apple, Google and Facebook, numerous start-ups are working on IoT innovations. However, Chinese start-ups don’t seem to be phased by their competition from the Silicon Valley. They carry out research themselves and develop the most diverse types of devices that can be connected to the Internet. The Asia Lab of the AXA insurance company has examined the Chinese IoT market more closely and expects that up to 95 percent of all IoT devices could soon come from China. 

 

In particular the widespread use of online services in China for most parts of everyday life has led to a sheer explosion of the IoT market. While PayPal has 190 million customers worldwide, Alipay has 900 million. The Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba records more transactions than the entire US online market. WeChat makes everything mobile, meaning that networking takes place in almost every area of everyday life. This is the calculation of the Chinese IoT industry: not all services will be used effectively via smartphones. New types of devices will emerge of which we have no idea today. China’s IoT elite wants to set the pace in this market instead of continuing to move in the shadow of the Silicon Valley.

 

No Longer Just a Production Center, But Also a Development Hub

 

In addition to countless start-ups, the now well-known Chinese tech providers are preparing for the IoT run. While Apple has to regularly take a scolding for its reluctance to introduce new IoT product categories, Xiaomi is launching a frontal attack. The company didn’t rest on its laurels for very long after its rise to the top 10 global smartphone brands, and now offers a drone, a virtual reality headset, various wearables and connected home appliances. The IoT boom is in full swing and standing still is simply not an option.

 

Not much in China is left to chance and the new Chinese government initiatives “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” are seamlessly integrated into the overall picture. China wants to get rid of the stereotype of being no more than a manufacturing nation and begin to decisively shape technology innovations with global impact.

 

Summary: We can look forward to the coming years, in which China will most likely play an even more decisive role than it is already playing in the smartphone market today. The IoT hype could turn out to be the perfect platform for which the Chinese tech industry has been waiting, in order to get an equal footing with the Silicon Valley. How do you see the development in the global IoT market? Contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Chun Zhang is Working Student at B2X’s Marketing Team.

 

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Insurtech Meets IoT – How 20 Billion Connected Devices Are Opening Up New Business Areas for the Insurance Industry

Robert Aderan

  ᅠ

The insurtech community has identified a massive business opportunity in the digital space. Whereas the focus so far has been on the digital transformation of existing insurance offers, completely new business opportunities now emerge with the explosive growth of the Internet of Things. From smart home to e-health, established players and innovative insurtech start-ups are entering the IoT market on a large scale.

 

 

We hinted at it in our last blog post: The number of digital companions guiding us in our daily lives is ever increasing. Connected electronic devices control our smart homes, drones document our sailing trips, fitness trackers transfer transaction data to our health insurance and smart glasses provide a second augmented layer over our surroundings. Up to 14 billion of these Consumer IoT devices should be in use in just three years from now, not to mention 6 billion smartphones as well. So we are talking about a total of 20 billion connected devices that accompany us around the clock and on which we are becoming increasingly dependent.

 

Using IoT Data to Manage and Limit Risks

 

This opens up unexpected business areas for the insurance sector. The insurtech scene is working urgently on how to manage and effectively limit risks with the help of IoT devices. Networking over an ever-increasing number of sensors leads to huge quantities of data from which important information and impulses can be derived. The question of to which extent insurance clients are willing to release their own data is controversial. Insurtech start-ups, however, are trying to circumvent this issue by making the newly designed offers so attractive that customers wouldn’t even think of refusing to exchange their data.

 

The Silicon Valley start-up Trov is such a provider that wants to better recognize and reduce risks by intensifying networking with its customers instead of just compensating them in the event of damage, which is common practice in the insurance industry. Trov provides on-demand insurance that allows customers to insure electronic devices such as cameras and computers in specific situations and for a limited time only. The whole thing is implemented via an app, on which Trov can activate or deactivate their insurance cover using finger swipe.

 

Tell Me What You’re Doing and I’ll Tell You What Your Insurance Costs

 

What on the one hand sounds like an extremely convenient offer requires, on the other hand, complete transparency through the exchange of data. The insurer can only calculate a plausible price for such on-demand insurance if all the important information about the customer and the product to be insured is available. The situation is similar for car insurance companies based on telemetric information. Sensors integrated into the car send a series of speed and acceleration data to the insurer to assess the risk level of the driving.

 

The driver also has access to these evaluations and can adapt his driving style. The assumption is that the actual risk of an accident is reduced by reciprocal transparency, which the insurer honors by reducing the insurance premium. However, insurers can further reduce the risk by combining the possibilities of the Internet of Things with artificial intelligence. If the telematics sensors register that a driver is often travelling in hazardous places, the insurer’s artificial intelligence can point out other routes to the driver by accessing the navigation system.

 

At the Interface of IoT, Data Exchange and Artificial Intelligence

 

While many questions remain unanswered, especially surrounding the topic of data protection, the trend towards connected insurance offers continues unabated. Accenture analyzed the criteria used by investors when investing in insurtech start-ups. In the past year, 70 percent of the total value was invested in companies, specialized in IoT, data exchange and artificial intelligence. Ideas and capital are sufficiently available. Now it is all about developing practical insurance offers as soon as possible that deliver tangible benefits to insurance customers.

 

B2X offers a turnkey customer care solution for the insurtech industry. With our network of 500 service partners in 140 countries, we support insurers in their rapid expansion into new markets and ensure the best possible service experience that convinces and satisfies customers.

 

Summary: In the past year, investors have invested in 500 insurtech start-ups worldwide. The focus was on innovative insurance approaches, which specialize in the use of the Internet of Things as well as artificial intelligence. As a result, the entire insurance industry hopes for completely new business models and an upturn in demand, especially among young insurance customers, for whom traditional offers are no longer appealing. How do you rate the development of the insurtech community? Contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Robert Aderan is the Head of InsurTech Practice at B2X.

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Hot on the Heels of Insurtech Startups: Established Insurance Companies Turbocharge Into the Future

Robert Aderan

  ᅠ

In our last blog post, we reported on the booming insurtech scene, which wants to redefine the traditional insurance business through digital transformation. But established providers aren’t just standing idly by. From Allianz to Zurich, nearly all industry giants have launched their own accelerator programs in order to join in on the fast-growing insurtech market. Below, we provide an overview of the most interesting developments.

 

 

Given the current hype, it’s easy to get the impression that the insurtech boom is primarily the business of young startups. But a closer look quickly reveals that this is by no means the case! Allianz CEO Oliver Bäte, for example, recently attended a capital markets conference where he confidently presented the group’s new strategy. Digitalization is at the heart of Allianz’s future development – and that more than ever before. While the groundwork for digital transformation is currently being laid, says Bäte, he expects to report tangible results as early as next year. The focus is on rapid development.

 

The Key to Insurtech Success Is Data, and Insurers Have Lots of It

 

So what’s the big rush? For about half a decade, the insurance sector has been virtually overrun by digitalization. The business model of the entire industry has remained more or less the same for decades, leading to a certain complacency among many insurers. When small startups dared to enter the market with new digital approaches, they were greeted with a mixture of arrogance and ignorance by many of the industry leaders until quite recently. But times have changed: Surprisingly, Allianz CEO Bäte announced in December that Allianz would invest 430 million euros in the insurtech market. Specifically, this will be done through a recently launched startup accelerator called Allianz X.

 

Bäte believes that a company the size of Allianz has an advantage otherwise held only by Silicon Valley giants: data. According to Bäte, this means that the company isn’t at a disadvantage compared to companies such as Google, Facebook & Co. The data just hasn’t been used until now. Allianz X is supposed to change this and pave the way to enter the digital age. While the reasons for this are complex, two obvious challenges can’t be overlooked.

 

People Who Don't Own a Car or House Don't Need Traditional Insurance

 

On the one hand, access to customers will radically change. It’s about a democratization of the market, which was long dominated by a handful of industry giants. Apart from the oil industry, there’s hardly an industry in the world whose market power is as concentrated as that of the insurance industry. Insurtech startups have successfully challenged the market position of large insurers – through data, digital services and dedicated customer focus. Now it’s time for the established players to respond and show that they’re also in the know about what insurance customers want. And this most likely doesn’t coincide with what the iconic insurance agent with his briefcase in hand has been selling for many decades.

 

Even more interesting, however, is the change in demand. While car and home insurance were classic staples of the baby boomer generation, a fundamental change in safety needs can be observed no later than the Millennial generation. The megatrend is called “usership instead of ownership” and already makes it clear today that, within a few years, only a small number of customers will need car insurance because self-driving cars will be owned by companies like Google or Uber rather than private individuals. So what can replace the traditional staples of the insurance world if cars, houses and similar goods fall by the wayside?

 

20 Billion Networked Devices – the Insurance Market of the Future?

 

Once again, the challenge and the answer both lie with digitalization. The growing dependency on electronic devices such as smartphones and wearables as well as the constant, partly unconscious use of digital services have altered the risk profile of the average insurance customer. Today and in the future, the primary objective is no longer to insure property against loss, but to insure against the risk of losing digital connectivity. If a smartphone fails or data is lost, customers face different problems than in the case of car theft. It’s about protecting customers’ digital identity and safeguarding their access to the digital world.

 

This in turn explains why simple insurance models such as smartphone accident protection have been experiencing consistent growth for years. A volume of nearly 50 billion dollars is expected to reach this market segment alone given a global smartphone population of 6 billion devices. If we add the 14 billion additional consumer IoT devices, we start to get an idea of what the future playing field of established insurance companies might look like.

 

Summary: With accelerator programs, Allianz and other large insurers are entering the insurtech market on a grand scale. At the same time, increasing connectivity and the exploding number of electronic devices such as smartphones and consumer IoT devices are changing the risk profile of insurance customers. B2X offers a turnkey solution for insurance providers who want to enter the market for consumer electronics protection. Contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Robert Aderan is the Head of InsurTech Practice at B2X.

 

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Insurtech Players Focus on a Perfect Customer Experience and Disrupt the Insurance Market

Robert Aderan

  ᅠ

The challenge to established insurers stands: The insurtech scene wants to turn the aging business model of the big insurers upside down and go back to giving customers the royal treatment. Innovative startups are driving digital transformation throughout the industry and have one goal in mind: gaining control over access to customers through a perfect customer experience. However, a few gaps in the process remain.

 

 

The insurtech market is booming. Within a single year, investments in insurtech startups have tripled. While the global fintech industry has recently suffered from reluctance among investors, developments for the insurtech community have been all the more positive. According to KPMG, more than $ 1 billion went into the insurtech market in the first half of 2016 alone – a new record that clearly indicates a growing trend!

 

A Frog Wants to Be Kissed: The Multi-Trillion Dollar Insurance Industry

 

For decades, hardly anything changed in the insurance world. Trillions of dollars in premiums changed hands every year, but significant customer experience innovations yet remain to be seen. Now digital transformation is making the insurance market more dynamic, and many innovative startups with a strong tech understanding and a 100 percent focus on customers are discovering this area for themselves. New insurtech players are bringing about structural change in the insurance industry while traditional companies are struggling to offer their services online. We took a closer look at some of the new players who are successfully taking advantage of the enormous potential for rationalization and innovation in the insurance sector.

 

Friendsurance– The startup was founded in 2010 and allows users with the same types of insurance to join together into groups. In case of minor damages, the group pays. Major damages are covered by the individual insurance companies. If no damage is reported within the group in the course of a year, everyone gets some money back in the form of a bonus.

 

Grover– The startup revolves around the megatrend “using instead of owning”. Customers simply rent the latest technology instead of buying it. Grover doesn’t offer insurance directly, but its business model is largely based on the idea of an insurance company: technology lovers can use their favorite device flexibly and return it at any time.

 

Simplesurance– This insurtech focuses on e-commerce and cooperates with online providers. More than 1,400 stores sell insurance that is integrated into the checkout process. The basis for success is an IT system that makes the integration of various insurance offers into an online shop extremely simple. Disclaimer: B2X support Simplesurance with customer care solutions :-)

 

To the benefit of many customers, insurtech companies will make a significant contribution towards making insurance much more customer-friendly with the help of digital innovations. However, some operational details still need to be worked out. Many startups don’t have mature operational processes when it comes to customer care and supply chain management – areas that are essential for providers of product insurance for electronic devices such as smartphones and consumer IoT devices. Building a company-own infrastructure with international coverage can take years – valuable time that new insurtech providers simply don’t have.

 

Turnkey Solutions for Insurtech Companies

 

At B2X, we prepared for this challenge early on and support insurtech providers in the fast expansion of their business through our global service partner network in 140 countries. Providers of product insurance for smartphones and consumer IoT devices can use our authorization for multiple manufacturers, giving them direct to repair services and spare parts.

 

At the same time, we support the professionalization of claims handling. Our SMARTCARE Technology platform seamlessly maps out the entire claims process. All involved service partners are connected to our platform via APIs, making the claims process 100% transparent. A nice side effect: Our close ties with various Asian brands often lead to new business opportunities for insurtech providers. These brands are looking for plug & play insurance solutions that they can integrate into the checkout process of their online shops, for example. Collaborating with B2X therefore results in win-win situations for all parties involved.

 

Summary: Hundreds of insurtech providers are pushing their way into the insurance market and focusing on a convincing formula for success: making insurance easy. Newcomers are facing the same challenges that have been giving established insurers a headache for years. Customer care processes in particular are complex and can’t be implemented internationally from one day to the next. B2X offers a turnkey solution for insurtech companies that doesn’t require any initial investments and has been thoroughly tried and tested. Contact us today and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Robert Aderan is the Head of InsurTech Practice at B2X.

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  • Putting the Customer First: Tips to Providing Ultimate Customer Care for SmartPhones

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4 Reasons Why the Stagnant Smartphone and Mobile Device Market May Rebound in 2017

Kimberly Meyer

  ᅠ

The global smartphone market reached a new shipment record in 2016 but the times of double-digit growth rates seem to be over. Around 1.5 billion smartphones were sold, led by Samsung, closely followed by Apple and behind by some distance were Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. This equals a modest global growth rate of just 3 percent. Compared to previous years you may ask what is going on? Looking into the future, we have identified four reasons why the smartphone market may pick up again this year.

 

 

1. Smartphone Innovations Are Boosting Demand

 

Many analysts were skeptical when Apple launched the current iPhone 7 during last autumn. The general criticism was that the Californian tech giant lacked new ideas. A new camera, longer battery life and wireless headphones are simply incremental improvements, not disruptive innovations. We expect Apple to raise the bar significantly for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this year. New features in the field of augmented and virtual reality are already seriously discussed in many forums and could stimulate new demand.

 

However, not only Apple, but also Samsung as the world’s second-largest smartphone brand is likely to introduce a new version of its flagship model soon. The S8 could be presented as soon as March. A completely new all-screen concept is anticipated whereby the screen almost covers the device’s entire surface. In addition, the new screen will serve to support virtual reality applications. None of these developments would reinvent the smartphone completely, yet the quality of innovations is increasing significantly after two sluggish years.

 

2. Cool Brands from China Enter the Global Smartphone Market

 

The times in which Chinese smartphone brands scored particularly with low prices are over. Numerous former contract manufacturers have made a name for themselves as promising vendors of innovative smartphones. Chinese brands such as Nubia, OnePlus and Xiaomi are considered innovative, cool and affordable – especially for young customers around the word.

 

This development was predicted, yet suppressed by many established brands. In this unfilled niche, the new stars are now pushing out of the land of the rising sun and reaching new target groups. Some facts and figures for the records: In 2012, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE represented the three Chinese manufacturers making it into the world’s top ten smartphone brands – now there are seven providers from China alone!

 

3. Consumer IoT Growth Gives Smartphone Market a Push

 

The global market for connected IoT devices is growing steadily. While last year around 4 billion consumer IoT devices were in use, Gartner predicts it should amount to nearly 14 billion by 2020. We often forget the fundamental importance of smartphones in connection with IoT.

 

As a universal control center, smartphones are the heart and brain of many consumer IoT applications. Smart home devices, fitness trackers and wearable gadgets are dependent on linking to a smartphone and are controlled by software platforms from Apple, Google or Amazon. These in turn require a solid computing power built into smartphones. Older models are not suitable which is why we are anticipating a wave of renewal as a result of IoT growth.

 

4. Emerging Markets Catching Up at Higher Pace

 

In a new study amongst 26,000 end-customers in 26 countries, Accenture found out that 54 percent would like to purchase a new smartphone this year. However, this figure is significantly higher in emerging markets. For example, three out of four customers in China want to buy a new phone.

 

The backlog in places like Brazil, China and especially India is huge. Even if smartphone sales continue to stagnate in saturated markets, the potential in emerging markets is sufficient to generate new growth. In India alone, there should be 1.4 billion mobile subscriptions by 2021 – and behind each subscription is a potential smartphone customer.

 

Summary: We are excited about the innovations that Apple, Samsung and young Chinese brands such as Nubia, OnePlus and Xiaomi will surprise us with this year. There are many valid reasons why the smartphone market will grow faster than the past 2 years and some of them can be seen at the Mobile World Congress 2017, which starts on 27th February in Barcelona.

 

Visit B2X in Hall 6 Stand 6I11 to see how we help some of the leading mobile and IoT brands deliver a superior after-sales service experience. Please get in touch with us!

 

Kimberly Meyer is the Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

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14 Billion Consumer IoT Devices by 2020: 4 Highlights You Shouldn’t Miss at the Mobile World Congress 2017

Kimberly Meyer

  ᅠ

We’re looking forward to the Mobile World Congress 2017, which begins on February 27th in Barcelona. As announced in our recent Sneak Preview, the range of innovative consumer IoT devices will be one of the highlights at this year’s get-together of the global tech industry. Today we’ll have a closer look at the IoT segment and present four highlights that you should definitely not miss.

 

 

Once again, for the records: According to Gartner, around 14 billion consumer IoT devices will be in use by 2020. The promise by many of the world’s leading mobile and IoT brands but also hundreds of young startups are tempting: Small networked devices will help us to better manage our everyday lives, become more efficient at work, have more fun during leisure time, and manage our health in a more controlled way. Customers are likely to spend more than $1.5 trillion on consumer IoT devices in 2020 alone – a huge market with massive growth potential! Let’s take a look at four highlights awaiting us at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

1. Alcatel Innovation Accelerator: Smart Home at Its Best

Known in France as a forerunner of its industry, MyFox has become established worldwide within a very short amount of time as a technologically leading supplier of solutions in the area of home security. The interconnected devices are now considered a benchmark for best-in-class security and automation in the home. The MyFox security camera has received many awards and more innovative products are in the pipeline. We’re excited to see how the French smart home innovator is going to keep up with its predominantly US-based competitors Apple, Google & Co. Take a peek at the booth of the Alcatel Innovation Accelerator, where you can discover many other interesting IoT startups in addition to MyFox.
Alcatel @ #MWC17: 4YFN, Hall 8, Stand 11


2. DyCare: Monitor, Analyze, Heal


The principle is simple: A small networked device monitors the body’s movements, such as after an accident and during the healing process. Since Fitbit & Co., we already know that wearable devices and fitness trackers can be helpful companions for the health system. DyCare even takes it one step further in developing and introducing a new monitoring device that keeps track and visualizes all of the body’s kinetic data. Questions about data security and privacy remain to be clarified. Still, extremely interesting and absolutely well worth seeing!
DyCare @ #MWC17: 4YFN, Hall 8, Stand J1.4


3. Samsung: Virtual Reality and Wearables

The mystic project name Samsung C-Lab unifies the innovation projects of the South Korean consumer electronics giant and deals with IoT devices. For example, it takes a look at virtual reality headsets and tries to repair the early failure of models such as Google Glass and takes it even one step further. Practical applications are at the heart of this year’s presence of Samsung, for instance in the sports field with innovations for skiing and cycling. The new version of Google’s Android Wear platform suggests that in the near future, Samsung will introduce a new version of its popular smart watch. Additionally, a competitor to Amazon’s Echo can also be expected.
Samsung @ #MWC17: 4YFN, Stand G1


4. Google: The Universal IoT Talent


We could name Amazon, Apple and Microsoft at this point, but it’s actually Google that permeates all areas of our daily lives more than any other tech company and is thus qualified as leading in the consumer IoT market in the long run. Following the acquisition of Nest, the Californians offer a sophisticated system of monitoring your own four walls. With version 2.0 of its Android Wear platform, Google brings momentum to the market for wearables. And with Android, the tech giant is generally well positioned in the mobile domain for the years to come. It could hardly go wrong and we are excited for what has yet to come from Google in terms of consumer IoT.
Google @ #MWC17: 4YFN, Hall 8


Summary: The consumer IoT market is becoming one of the most exciting areas of the global tech industry. We are looking forward to many new highlights at the Mobile World Congress 2017, starting on February 27.

Visit B2X in Hall 6 Stand 6I11 to see how the customer care for all these devices can be managed on a global scale. B2X SMARTCARE Technology and SMART
CARE Solutions support smartphones and consumer IoT devices as of now. Please get in touch with us!


Kimberly Meyer
is the Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

Topic Search

Top Posts

  • “Device Mesh” – How Multi-Device Usage Changes The Customer Experience
  • Managing Customer Care in Emerging Markets
  • Don’t delight me, just solve my problem
  • Who’s hardest on their smart phones? Tales and trends from the customer care trenches.
  • Putting the Customer First: Tips to Providing Ultimate Customer Care for SmartPhones

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