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NIRI Annual 2015 Recap

Having just returned from Chicago after our fourth year exhibiting at the National Investor Relations Institute’s annual conference, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding the adoption of mobile technology in the investor relations industry:

  • Overall, we had great conversations with IROs from companies of all sizes and industries. There was particular interest in theCONFERENCEapp product that allows companies to have a native app for their analyst days and to be able to aggregate all of their presentations and other company information neatly on the mobile device. The ability to save paper and also make 11th hour changes to presentations was especially interesting to them.
  • IROs recognize that the buy- and sell-side are increasingly becoming dependent on their mobile devices in their work. It’s hard to ignore the fact that nearly everyone has a mobile device with them when they attend analyst days, investor conferences and one-on-one meetings. One IRO we spoke with mentioned that given the ability to take notes on .PDF files contained in their IR app, it wouldn’t surprise him if investors slowly but surely stop using traditional spiral notebooks.
  • Almost everyone we spoke with realizes that the future of technology and communications is mobile. And, it was great to see some of theIRapp customers (Edwards Lifesciences, Phillip Morris and Tyson Foods, among others) who, over the past few years, have pioneered the use of mobile technology in their IR work. However, there still are companies who view mobile as supplemental to current communications methodologies and not necessary. My take on this – times are a-changing.

Looking forward to NIRI 2016 in San Diego!

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Mobile World Congress: Connected Living

Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest mobile shows in the world, took place last week in Barcelona. As always, the conference attracted the mobile industries top players including Samsung, Android, Sony, LG, and HTC. This year, a major underlying theme across the 1,800+ exhibitors on the floor was connected living. Technology is quickly moving beyond phones and tablets and toward watches and other wearable devices. Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled a smartwatch that became one of the most talked about products of the event, with a design based more on a traditional watch than the flat wristbands that we have become used to seeing.

The conference was home to other innovative product announcements, including iris recognition smartphone technology, virtual reality devices, and—demonstrating just how much technology is intersecting with our everyday lives—Ikea even unveiled furniture that can charge your phone.

Fitness bands used to track your health and exercise activity also dominated the conference, including one created by HTC and Under Armour. Volvo, Renault-Nissan and other manufacturers premiered connected cars that are far more connected than ever before and include gesture controls, remote locks controlled via smartphones, video conferencing and real-time road safety analysis and communication.

Personalized technology is in our immediate future and based on what we saw at Mobile World Congress, we will have many choices about who provides us with it. Mobile technology will be the connector between health and fitness, entertainment, finance, transportation and of course communications in our daily lives. We are quickly nearing the point where technology will be part of everything we do!

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Looking to make an impact with global audiences? It might be time to think mobile first.

2014 marked a milestone for mobile. Giving credence to Mary Meeker’s somewhat shocking 2008 prediction (“mobile to overtake fixed internet access by 2014”), Americans used smartphones and tablets for more than half of their internet usage, surpassing PCs for the first time. A majority of that usage was app-based. And this trend is not limited to the United States, or even to developed economies.

Consider this: In India, there are 120 million smartphone users. That number is double what it was less than two years ago. In South Africa, which has an unbanked population estimated as high as 67%87% of individuals own mobile phones—36% of those being smart phones.

The proof points for devoting time and resources toward a mobile friendly, if not mobile first, strategy are stacking up. Organizations looking to reach, engage and compete at the global level need to take note.

According to Forrester Research Inc., merely owning or having access to technology, such as a mobile device or tablet, will inherently change behavior patterns and preferences. As more and more people are exposed to mobile devices and tablets, whether through personal choice, work use, gifting or lack of other options, the less they rely on traditional devices like laptops, desktops, digital cameras, print media and television.

For companies looking to grow, it’s time to move beyond the “think global and act local” theme of a decade ago. Today, organizations need to not only think mobile, but actively be mobile.

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