13 of the best mobile innovations on the planet

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The world is mobile. Our lives are on our smartphones and tablets and will only get more so in the future. Mobile already accounts for 10% of traffic on the web. That’s hardly surprising considering that some of them give us an experience that’s as good, and sometimes better, than what we get from the PC.

None of this however would be possible without innovators. And because the industry’s so open to disruption, they could come from anywhere. That also means though that they can easily slip through the cracks without being recognised.

Awards like the Meffys attempt to redress that. Judged by an international panel of over 30 journalists, academics, analysts and VCs, the awards are a “global benchmark for measuring success and rewarding innovation in content and commerce”.

MEF, the Global Community for Mobile Content and Commerce, has announced the winners of its 9th annual Meffys Awards. Over 35 countries were represented in the 2012 Meffys and new categories included the Consumer Trust and Social Responsibility & Development Awards, reflecting key focus areas for MEF in 2012. Other new categories include Publisher on Mobile, Life Tools App and Brand on Mobile, highlighting the maturity of mobile content and commerce as a primary digital touch-point for consumers.

Innovations from emerging market countries were among the winners. The mobile iteration of South African board game Moraba from Afroes took home the Social Responsibility and Development Award. The game aims to educate South Africa’s township youth on gender-based violence, with multiple-choice questions. When a question is correctly answered, a player is allowed to make progress in the game.

The Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award 2012 meanwhile was given to Hannes van Rensburg, CEO Fundamo, for his pioneering work acknowledged as paving the way for mobile banking in developing countries. The Fundamo co-founder was recently made head of Visa’s Sub-Saharan Africa division. The financial giant bought out Fundamo in 2011. Shortly after Visa bought out Fundamo, the two companies launched an emerging markets MCommerce product that allows people to access prepaid accounts through their mobile phones.

According to Rimma Perelmuter, executive director of MEF:

The 2012 Meffys once again has marked an amazing year of mobile success and innovation from across the globe. The diversity and quality of this year’s entrants also reflect the changing nature of the mobile content and commerce ecosystem with banks, brands, developers, publishers and exciting new start-ups taking centre stage alongside established mobile players. This year the awards also enjoyed another milestone in recognising the industry’s commitment to building growth markets and consumer trust, reflecting MEF’s key focus areas for 2012.

1. Social & Entertainment App Award
Electronic Arts: The Sims Freeplay on iOS and Android

2. Life Tools App Award
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music: ABRSM Aural Trainer

3. m-commerce Award
Barclays Bank: Barclays Pingit

3. Discovery & Engagement Award
Yala Music: Yala

4. Content Service Award
PERFORM: Al Jazeera Sport Mobile Apps

6. Brand on Mobile Award
Crispin Porter & Bogusky: Just Dance 3 — Autodance

7. Publisher on Mobile Award
Financial Times: FT Web App

8. Consumer Trust Award
Lookout: Lookout Mobile Security

9. Social Responsibility and Development Award
Afroes: Moraba

10. Innovation Award for App
Citibank: Citibank Tablet App

11. Innovation Award for Technology
Calltrunk: Calltrunk

12. Innovation Award for Monetization
GetJar: GetJar Gold Virtual Currency

13. Innovation Award for Growth Markets
biNu: biNu Social Network and Content Platform

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