Dear Ginny WTH,
I heard you went to the Mobilize 09 mobile technology conference in San Francisco last week. What did you learn?
I’m not sure how you know what I was doing last week, but since you asked. Here are eight things I learned at Mobilize 09.
- Innovation in the industry – The mobile industry is burgeoning with innovation and entrepreneurship. You wouldn’t think entrepreneurship would be associated with big companies like Motorola or AT&T, but listening to major heads from many of the mobile phone operators and service providers, it’s clear they are getting creative and attempting to lead the direction of computing and web browsing…all through a mobile device.
- Mobile smart phones are the new PC – According to Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola, if it doesn’t fit in your pocket, it’s not a computing device for the future. Combining slide keyboard functionality with fuller screens might not mean you can turn in your PC for a mobile device right now but they are closing the gap. My friend Anna Ruotolo says, “Yeah right, I’m going to analyze profitability of over 100 mortgage offices on my mobile device.” Well it might not be too far off into the future before you do. Think about your mobile device now, and ponder the percentage of your time actually spent using the phone capability versus everything else. One has to arrest one’s doubt and not think about viewing a typical Excel spreadsheet as it is done today, but perhaps viewing it in an altered way on a mobile device that is just as or more effective.
- Pairing of service and device critical – You’ve noticed that specific service providers are partnering with specific smart phone device manufacturers, i.e. AT&T and the Apple iPhone. That will continue, but look carefully at the types of services you will receive and the price of the service. Service costs are likely to be de-coupled which equals higher cost for higher consumption.
- Network collaboration – The smartingtons talked about how they were going to have to collaborate so they could provide a better user experience, i.e. bandwidth. Consumption changes depending on what the user is doing on their smart phone. When a user goes from texting to watching videos, the bandwidth obviously changes but as of now, the network doesn’t and the experience goes from good to bad. They discussed sharing each other’s networks and in essence transferring the user to a broader network, deemed ultraband, transparently based on consumption.
- Mobile apps and widgets – The new Cliq phone announced by Motorola and T-Mobile is based on Google’s Android mobile operating system using Motorola Blur which Motorola says is the only service that can sync pictures, emails, texts and your social networks, with continuous updates and back ups. Using Android and widgets, there are no logins or apps to open. An application is something you have to download to your device and run independently; the widget basically combines all of your applications, exactly how you want them to appear on your home screen, and lets you access them in a one click. Not that apps are going away, but they are evolving. A very cool feature unique to the Cliq is that if your phone is lost or stolen, you can go onto Motorola’s web site, locate the phone through GPS then remotely erase all the information on the phone. You get a new phone, sync and – presto! – all the detail is restored to your phone.
- Say my name, say my name – And speaking of Android, watch out for more development on this platform. Android is the flexible software platform designed by the good folks at Google to deliver a personalized and customizable user experience on mobile devices. It is strongly suited to bring advanced web services, e-mail, social networking, and entertainment to consumers. The Apple iPhone has been the darling of the public and the developers, but developers and the public tend to get bored easily and go where the action is. The other interesting thing to note about Android is that is an open API platform which means it’s much easier for developers around the world to develop for a singular platform – similar to iPhone. The Android platform is poised for enormous growth starting now through the end of 2009 and into 2010.
- Mobile advertising – I watched a fascinating panel of people discussing mobile applications and mobile ad networks. They talked about the ways that mobil applications can be monetized through advertisements and how metrics can be easily measured, monitored and mined for new profits. These ads can be highly targeted and measured, which I love! Companies like AdMob and Flurry tap into real-time mobile data that can help mobile advertisers increase retention and grow business. Distimo offers a monthly report with in-depth analytics for companies interested in the “mobile application ecosystem” and a free analytics tool that lets you monitor your mobile applications as they sit in apps stores.
- Blend business and personal seamlessly – We’ve been talking about it ad nausea but if you aren’t learning how to blend your business with your personal life online through outlets like blogging and social networking, you’d better get on it, because these next generation mobile smart phones will integrate the two more than ever and offer additional ways for business (including real estate agents) to market themselves. The 360 degree marketing wheel just expanded a notch.
Mobile smart devices are an eco-system, baby…not a point product. Let’s all embrace shall we?