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Social and mobile a priority for businesses, but so are traditional outlets: Optus

There is a lot of industry chatter about using digital means in engaging with customers, but Optus has found that bricks and mortar and call centres are still prevalent in Australia.

Optus Business managing director, John Paitaridis, made the observation during the company's recent Optus Vision event in Sydney, where he spoke about the different means business are using to engage consumers.

Optus News, Competencies and Contact Details

"As a company, we wanted to understand where organisations are investing money and what are driving these key investments," he said.

For one, there is significant investment in the emerging channels of online, mobile and social.

"Over 60 per cent of companies are investing in a social strategy, while mobile is just under 50 per cent," Paitaridis said.

In the next three to five years, Optus expects digital channels to continue their exponential growth, with mobile forecasted to double.

At the same time, Paitaridis said organisations are telling Optus that they will continue to, and in some cases increasingly, invest in traditional channels.

"All channels play a key role today and will continue to do so in the future," he said.

"It is about the mix of channels and the way organisations ultimately go to market."

The social network

Paitaridis highlighted that there are more phones in Australia than the population, and this milestone was achieved in 2008.

This makes Australia the second most penetrated mobile market of the world, beaten only by Singapore.

Australia's population may have recently crossed the 23 million mark, but Paitaridis said the country is running 29 million phone devices and is close to hitting 30 million.

"What we have seen in the past couple of years, there has been a dramatic shift to the smartphone," he said.

"Now more than half the population of Australia carries a smartphone."

Since smartphones provide intelligence via its location, Paitaridis said this development is significant and challenges the way things have been so far.

Then there is the local fascination with social media, with approximately 12 million Australians, over half the population, on Facebook in less than eight years.

"What a phenomenon and seismic shift this is," Paitaridis said.

In the last year alone, Optus has seen banking with smartphones grow exponentially at over 80 per cent.

"What we are witnessing is an industry transformation," Paitaridis said.

"Banks and financial services are reshaping their business models to adapt to both opportunities and threats this presents."

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.


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