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I’m Going Mo-bile- Dear Ginny WTH

 dear ginny series

Dear Ginny WTH,

I heard you went to the Mobilize 09 mobile technology conference in San Francisco last week. What did you learn?
Somebody’s Watching

Dear Somebody,

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?

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Ginny is a 360 degree marketing specialist with over a decade of experience in real estate-related fields. She’s held senior level marketing positions at Alain Pinel Realtors and Prudential California, Nevada and Texas Realty. She left the corporate world in 2007 to start her own marketing communications company, Cain Communications. She markets to segments that matter using media that matters. Follow her on Twitter @ginnycain.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ian Greenleigh

    September 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    A whirlwind tour! Thanks for updating others on our industry. Mobile advertising is getting cheaper, and it’s not just for big brands anymore.

    Mobile tools have a few other great functions for the real estate industry that sometimes don’t even occur to people. Besides lead capture…

    – Simply showing your mobile ad capabilities during listing appointments can pay for whatever your doing many times over if it helps you snag that listing. I’ve heard from many agents that it has been a key determinant in their clients’ choice of representation.

    -The ability to respond to leads in real time and start conversations on the spot is key–if your prospects are mobile, you need to be. Oh, and they are indeed mobile; it was a rhetorical question.

  2. Anna Ruotolo

    September 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    G –
    My devices over the years have defnitely gotten smaller – maybe someone will make a cord so I can just plug my Blackberry into my screen

    And let Sanjay know women don’t put devices in their pockets – thanks for this fantastic information.

  3. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Nice rundown. Really can’t wait for mobile advertising to materialize, can you?

    We all need to be concerned with producing a decent mobile version of our IDX search engines though.

    As these devices all get faster, with larger screens and better browsing, I can see home buyers out there on the weekends with their mobile phones, sitting in front of listings…. looking at MY site!

    I don’t think it’s that difficult either, just not very common yet.

    Rob

  4. jf.sellsius.theclozing

    September 16, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Vlingo makes it easier to text and drive.

  5. Victor J. Asencio

    September 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Great information. Thanks again for sharing all these details.

  6. Lani Rosales

    September 17, 2009 at 10:17 am

    As to number 3, I think services would be more competitive (and reasonable) and customer service would improve if the two weren’t linked and frankly, I’m surprised the DoJ has just now *thought* about looking into cell monopolies.

    Great wrapup, I’m looking forward to more people using their phones as mobile apps because the youngest generation does and they’re the next to lead the charge of invention!

  7. Ginny Cain

    September 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

    To Atlanta Real Estate’s point, everyone should look at their web site on their mobile phone and see what it looks like…and their property web sites. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to view information on a mobile screen that’s all cut up and overlapping. g

  8. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    September 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    You learned so much! Smart Phones and mobile apps are indeed well on their way to market dominance. As it stands, only about 20% of U.S. wireless users have smart phones (therefore rendering current smart phone-only apps a sort of VIP commodity), but as you mentioned that should soon change as we head into 2010. That’s an interesting tidbit about the Cliq; too bad you can’t turn on its taser feature from a remote location and give the thief a little surprise. 🙂

    Ian has a good point about mobile tech and R.E.: an application or mobile service that doubles as a lead capture and a mobile MLS is the bee’s knees. I have heard the same word as he from alot of our agents about how having their listings available on a mobile device (and having an at-property, mobile-based lead capture system in place) has been a major selling point and alot of times one of the only things that sets them above their competition.

    Rob, you are on the right track! There are many mobile MLS apps in production today, but because there is no national MLS in place, they are forced to retrieve data from national third party aggregators who are often missing a majority of the listings in the U.S. Be wary of these apps and make sure before you lock yourself in that you are indeed able to access your entire database.

    Lani, not only are the youngest generation (18-24) the major proponents of the text message boom, but they are closely followed by first-time homebuyers (24-35) as the two age groups in the U.S. that send more text messages than dialed calls!

    Thanks again for the brain food Ginnny! Sorry for the long comment everybody; “mobile” is what gets our engines revving, and I can’t help but share the love…

  9. Doug Buenz

    September 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I’m trying to read this post on my Blackberry, but the text is too small and I almost ran off the road!

    I also hear that Vlingo is the bomb!

  10. Ken Brand

    September 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I love my iPhone. All the new tools, toys, apps, surprises and stuff we can’t even imagine….it’s all like magic. A freak’n miracle any of it works. Love it and thanks for the field report. Cheers.

  11. Paul

    September 17, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I think mobile marketing will work with smart phone and am not sure about others.

  12. Brandie Young

    September 17, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Miss G – fantastic info. It’s so important to look to other industries to see what impacts could be had on our own. Thanks for the glimpse into the “cloud”…

  13. Kent Simpson

    November 4, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Mobile is the wave that we American’s haven’t adopted as quickly as Asia & Europe – but watching them and applying our own inimitable innovations (say that 5 times fast) to the capabilities…its going to be a different world faster than you can say “what do you mean my site isn’t optimized for mobile protocols?” !!!

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