As the year comes to a close, I choose not to be retrospective but rather take a peek into the immediate future at trends that will shape the next twelve months locally, of course underpinned by smart use of technology. Not exhaustive by any means since many verticals are experiencing reinvention but these have population scale dynamics.
Safaricom by all indicators may be declared a dominant player in telecoms and payments and there has been no love lost between them and other players like banks, card issuers and fintechs spoiling for a larger piece of the money movement pie. The main strategy is to try side step the Mpesa engine by smarter routing and alternative domicilium of value and building additional services that can be provisioned faster and more affordably. It will be interesting to see what Safaricom have packaged in their new API scheduled for release in 2017 as I am sure they are aware of the tectonics.
We still have super low penetration of insurance coverage and I dare say that there are no pure breed insurance firms, with most falling on an investment crutch to support broken business models and ways of work. The movement we will see as disruptive innovation starts to take route either from consolidation of outfits or newcomers, is insurance being embedded in the everyday outside the overt hard sell that characterizes the industry. Onboarding, service pricing, policy management and payouts will be re-engineered.
The shift to mobile has happened and the statistics from the regulator even when taken down a notch to accommodate false positives, point to a promising future for advertising. Here I am not looking at the Google Display Network and the Facebook platform that already enjoy the patronage of many agencies with dedicated support teams locally, but at new players aggregating the eyes and ears of a fragmented consumer pool in ways that the large SME base guesstimated at between 1.3 – 1.5 million, can fluidly plug into.
The standard gauge railway project is targeted to go live with its commuter rail service and with it open up many more opportunities in the transit space. Mass transit will see an overhaul as systems and platforms go live to deal with the chaos that exists on both the demand and supply side. New business models and partnerships will be formed to meet the needs of what will be a rapidly morphing industry gaining sanity.