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Celebrating 20 Years of Mobey Forum: The mobile milestones which have shaped the industry

1st of December 2020

Mobey Forum is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020. To commemorate this milestone, key members of the association are sharing their personal experiences and highlights from the past two decades. For the second blog in Mobey’s anniversary series, current chair and long-standing Board Member, Jordi Guaus, reflects on the innovations which have influenced the direction and evolution of the association over the past 20 years…


Mobey Forum was founded in 2000; a year surrounded by predictions. Many will recall the speculation around the ‘Millennium Bug’ which, according to some experts, had the potential to wreak havoc on computer systems worldwide. Of course, this moment came and passed without any significant trauma. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, the turn of the millennium is now recognised for marking the start of a rapid acceleration in innovation, particularly for mobile. It is a fitting backdrop for an organisation such as Mobey which is designed to enable the digital financial services community to stay ahead of emerging trends and solutions.

Mobile handsets: from humble beginnings

While Mobey has navigated numerous milestones in the last 20 years, the rapid evolution of the mobile handset remains the most significant for the industry. It set the wheels in motion for the digital banking and payments services that we know today and revolutionised the customer experience.

When Motorola created the first handheld mobile phone in 1973, it was impossible to conceptualise how mobile would completely transform consumer behaviour and expectations. Over the last two decades, chunky handheld mobile devices have evolved into sophisticated computers in our pocket, paving the way for new digital payment services through artificial intelligence, facial recognition, smart watches and smart rings. At every stage, the Mobey community has carefully monitored and anticipated these trends through Expert Groups, member meetings and ongoing collaboration to navigate transformation.

Redefining digital services and consumer expectations 

The launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 was a pivotal moment for the entire industry. It redefined the concept of a smartphone, and presented new opportunities for banks, financial service players and mobile operators to evolve their business models. Suddenly, consumers had access to a world of digital services and apps at the touch of a button and there was a new emphasis on the user experience (UX). It created appetite for the contactless payments, mobile wallets and comprehensive digital banking services that we are now accustomed to.

Over recent years, we have also seen the focus on UX shift towards a focus on customer experience (CX), which goes beyond offering a quality product. This approach prioritises emotions to ask how your banking app or service makes your customer feel. Many financial decisions are influenced by feelings or likely to trigger a type of emotional response. As a result, banks are exploring new ways to offer the next generation of digital experiences.

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in 2019 was a huge industry milestone for this; it created the potential for a stronger customer experience and cemented the era of the API economy. It has been a core focus for Mobey’s Open Banking Expert Group which has conducted research into consumer attitudes towards open banking. A report from 2019 revealed that trust is paramount – there is customer appetite for new digital offerings, but providers first need to demonstrate that they are trustworthy stewards of their data in order to drive consumer adoption.

Mobey’s role in supporting transformation

Over two decades, Mobey has supported the industry to not only adapt, but to stay ahead of the mobile curve. Even in the early days of 2002, our members were analysing mobile payments and emerging trends including payment architecture, Secure Elements (SEs), and mobile authentication. The Mobey community was trialling NFC payments before NFC-enabled handsets came to market!

In the first anniversary blog of this series, Mobey’s first Chair of the Board, Bo Harald, reflected on the original creation of the association in 2000 and I echo many of his views on what makes Mobey so unique. Our Chatham House rules give members the freedom to talk openly and honestly about real issues. We are underpinned by a diverse community of multi-disciplinary experts that are not only focused on the technology, but understand the business implications and can establish best practice for digital financial services. In fact, my own company, CaixaBank, successfully conducted a payments trial in 2010 leaning on insights gained within Mobey and this was crucial to lead mobile payments in Spain since then.

As we look ahead to the next 20 years of Mobey, I am confident that our dedicated community will continue to anticipate and respond to the evolution of the industry. Indeed, that is why Mobey Forum exists: to bring the industry together to share key learnings and establish the clarity that can help the industry stay ahead of these defining moments.

Coming up: Look out for the final blog in Mobey’s 20th anniversary series which will explore the technologies and trends that are expected to shape our industry in coming years.

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