At Embrace, we have made the bet that mobile is our present and future and that our behaviors, whether entertainment, commerce, or at work, would shift to mobile devices as our first and primary point of access. Last year when we raised the Series A for Embrace, a mobile-only company, the primary pushback was “How big is mobile anyway?”
In September, Unity extremely successfully IPO-ed. The primary driver of their success is mobile games. Yes, an IPO for a mobile-only company, and they dont predict the growth to slow down any time soon. Even better, their primary bet for the future: other use cases beyond games focused on more mobile from phones to tablets to AR/VR.
Here is my take on the IPO and their bets on the future to consistently hit their numbers:
- Contributors to Mobile Acceleration
Unity has shown an up and to the right exponential growth. Since their founding in 2004, no company has better capitalized on the wave of consumer behavior shifting to mobile.
It’s easy to simply point to “mobile” as the growth factor, given it is now the medium for us to consume, travel, work, unlock doors, monitor our babies, and more. But several key advancements are the true underlying reasons and are categorized in the prospectus succinctly as:
- Compute Power - advances in processing units, especially graphics, on lower cost devices like PCs and mobile phones
- Platforms and Devices - affordable and accessible interactive platforms and devices, like tablets, smartphones, set-top-boxes, and consoles — most of which run Android or iOS platforms; e.g. mobile.
- Distribution - pervasive streaming and cloud-based content delivery replacing the need to go to stores, movie theaters, watch on TV, etc.
- Connectivity - the proliferation of broadband wireless access and the ever-improving quality of speeds of that access
Users are expecting better and better experiences at exponentially higher rates. With the eventual expectation of near real-time experiences. The technologies are following suit to match those expectations — from better devices in our hands, improved connection speeds, and cloud and edge infrastructures.
The underlying implication is that processing power, which until recently lived exclusively on the cloud, is shifting to edge networks and our own increasingly powerful mobile devices. To run successful apps, no longer can developers safely expect for user experiences to be delivered to a browser via their backend cloud infrastructure. Instead, developers face the challenge of building increasingly complex user experiences while running their apps across two processing infrastructures — the cloud and distributed, mobile computing. New technologies, like Unity, will exist to support this paradigm shift in computing, including support technologies for the distributed, non-cloud device infrastructures.
2. The Mobile Market Will Expand Beyond Gaming
In 2020, Unity had 716 customers with over $100,000 in trailing 12-month revenue, which represented three-quarters of Unity’s total revenue. While gaming was a large portion of that customer-base, throughout the prospectus Unity predicted adoption beyond gaming.
In fact, G2000 companies like Skanska, BMW, and Volvo are customers — and not for games. The verticals mentioned by Unity most often were Architecture & Construction, Automotive, and Film & Animation. Unity touts a true business case that the time to render during creation will no longer take an exorbitant amount of time and eventually become near real-time. If true, the business impact is significant — minimizing re-shoots, making post-production easier, and generally reducing the time needed by the people involved.
The most disruptive, subtle change alluded to by Unity is one around 3D modeling and rendering. No longer will 3D modeling be separated from those experiences eventually rendered for eventual use in a movie, ad or game. Instead, the line between models and actual user experiences, like games, will dissipate. Creators will experience their models in “real-time” during creation, and similarly the potential for creators to push their worlds to consumers without delays will be the norm. Consumers already expect “live” experiences in games, and these experiences will only become more immersive, real-time, and expansive. These expectations will soon apply to movies, viewing real-estate, sitting in vehicles, etc., and the technologies required are not far from accommodating them.
Summing It All Up
The underlying theme, whether mobile acceleration trends or real-time experiences in the hands of consumers, is “mobile proliferation.” Many people think of “mobile” as a phone, but it’s much, much more. It’s any device that is disconnected from a hard line (like cable or internet) that processes and presents information and experiences without the guarantee of constant availability. Devices mentioned by Unity like AR/VR (disconnected from a console or laptop) are one form, but tablets, unimagined IoT devices, cars, and more will only become prevalent as consumer requirements for more real-time experiences rise. Ecobees and Rings will only become smarter and not remain relative dummy devices. Hotel locks will talk to both your phone and the hotel’s wifi to do far more than unlock doors, such as monitoring the behavior of those who pass by. Trucks will automate with zero fault tolerance. This is why Embrace exists — for the next generation of observability and monitoring — not for the server side, but for the magnitudes of remote devices with processing power that are actually providing our real-time experiences.
Embrace is an observability and developer analytics platform built for mobile teams. We are a one-stop shop for your mobile app’s needs, including error debugging and monitoring performance and feature releases.
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