When we started working on the mobile site version of our employee benefits platform four years ago, I remember that the iPhone 4 hadn't even launched. The iPhone 3 had launched a few years earlier but still remained a phone for the well-paid or gadget-savvy; only a handful of people in the office owned one.
I remember too that, when we first started focusing on developing mobile phone access for our clients' employees, we only had to worry about people with "feature phones". These were phones that added just a single additional feature on top of making a phone call, such as the ability to send a picture. People with these devices would not be able to use the site we were creating, so we had to put a lot of extra effort in to support them in the right way.
Yet in just four years, the world has dramatically moved on.
The iPhone has become the ubiquitous symbol of the smartphone, and one that has helped define the current technological revolution.
And in this timespan a new class of device also emerged - the tablet; neither phone nor laptop. While Microsoft continued to make early forays into this space throughout the nineties and noughties, it was again Apple (and partly Google) who really defined the market with the iPad. Again, the growth of this segment is incredible with 6% of the world's population said to own a tablet.
All this competition has only driven the price down, meaning that more of our clients' employees than ever now have access to this technology. No longer are these devices purely the accessory of the white-collar worker - they have appeared everywhere, they are everywhere, and they let people access our employee engagement hub from (almost) anywhere.
The smartphone has changed the way people access and interact with the online world, with over 17% of global web traffic coming from mobile or tablet. Accessing the internet on the go has had a huge impact on shopping habits, allowing members of the public to conduct price comparisons and search for bargains while actually out shopping.
And with this new technology in the hands of the masses, it looks like the trend to shop and save on the move is here to stay.
At Reward Gateway we continue to evolve our product and we've been paying particular attention. Watch this space for details on our journey.
Will Tracz is the Chief Technology Officer at Reward Gateway. He was the second engineer we ever hired and has played a big part in creating the world-class technology we offer our clients. His favorite book is "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."