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Posts Tagged 'IR Apps'

HTML5 vs. Native Apps: The Debate Continues

As I predicted a few months ago, the debate over the features of Native and HTML5 apps continues to wage on. A recent Business Insider article attempted to outline the difference between the two and, for obvious reasons, caught my attention.

It is no secret that mobile apps are becoming the new phenomenon among businesses worldwide. Not only do they offer convenience, but they also provide content optimization, something company websites cannot offer on the mobile device. If you have read my past articles and blogs on this subject, I am a strong proponent of native apps over HTML5 or responsive design websites. To be completely transparent, I founded an IR app technology business called theIRapp (www.theIRapp.com) that may taint my objectivity a bit. However, there are specific reasons why we at theIRapp chose to create a native app versus HTML5 or a hybrid approach. I want to use this opportunity to explain some of the clear differences between the two.

In the BI article, a claim is made that it is “more likely” HTML5 will take the cake over native apps. A chart in the article shows native apps only getting credit for “rich user experience and performance” and “monetization” purposes. What the article fails to explain are those crucial factors that should be considered when choosing between native and HTML5. HTML5 is listed as a “winner” when it comes to the ability to immediately update and distribute content. But is this really the case? The article also suggests a benefit of not being controlled by Google, Apple, Amazon or Samsung. But is being part of the Apple and Google world really a bad thing? A very important thing to know – HTML5/responsive design websites are not apps. They do not exist in the App Store or Google Play with the millions of others who have chosen native over responsive design.

Native apps offer push notifications, which allow for instantaneous alerts – HTML5 does not. Native apps provide offline viewing and listening capabilities – HTML5 does not. Native apps, as a result of the ability to allow for offline downloading do not always require Internet connectivity – HTML5 websites do.

The BI article also suggests that native apps are necessarily costly. I guess they can be, but so can everything. There are turn-key app solutions on the market that allow organizations to have all of the benefits of a native app but at a fraction of the cost of hiring an independent developer – theIRapp is a case in point.

Looking into the future, native apps will allow for conversations to take place between businesses and their targeted audiences – so much will be able to take place within the native app ecosystem as I refer to it. HTML5 optimized websites will always be what they are – a website where a company talks at its targeted audience.

Despite my reaction, the Business Insider article was important in that it demonstrates that there are different solutions available for companies to consider when looking to incorporate mobile into their businesses. It is important for businesses to understand the full landscape of what exists in the mobile world before investing.

A final thought: Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed in a Tech Crunch article this past February that Facebook made a mistake “betting too much on HTML.” LinkedIn just launched its latest mobile app and made a significant switch from being web-based to fully native. I am a gambling man, but would not bet against Apple, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The choice is yours.

 

 

 

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Institutional Investors – Dependent on Mobile

The mobile industry is not only exploding – it’s rapidly eclipsing the long-lived monolith that was the desktop computer.  This trend rings true for the investor relations industry too. To gauge IR professionals’ thoughts and tendencies with regards to mobile as an integral part of their work, theIRapp™ conducted a survey of more than 200 institutional investment professionals in the first quarter of this year.

As this infographic shows, investors overwhelmingly rely on their mobile device for their work over their desktop computer. These results show the significance of mobile devices to today’s institutional investment professionals. The numbers also bring the importance of having a mobile IR strategy into the spotlight. Mobile devices – and as an extension, the mobile IR app – are becoming the new investment communication standard.

The survey demonstrated that when it comes to their work, 83% rely on their mobile devices rather than the desktop.  The survey also revealed the following:

  • 47% of investors said that the device type most conducive to obtaining information is an Apple device (iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini)
  • 21% said the Blackberry was sufficient
  •  7% rely on Android devices

With regard to devices provided to investors by their employers, 92% of those surveyed said they were provided with a mobile device by their employer.  Of those:

  • 40% are Blackberry devices
  • 22% are Apple devices (iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini)
  • 2% are Android

Depending on the type of device provided by their employer, 68% also purchased additional devices to leverage the power of iOS and Android devices to do their work.  Of the respondents, 41% carry and use 2 devices (including the one provided by the employer) and 26% carry and use 3 devices (including the one provided by the employer).

 

 

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Mobile is Global – A wake up call for the IR industry

As Thomas Friedman said, the world is flat.  And it is getting flatter thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and “apps” as a means to communicate and conduct commerce.  Apple’s App Store and Google Play are available globally and this may explain why each now has close to or more than a million native apps available for download.

Vertically speaking, investor relations, too, is global.  It no longer should be considered regional especially for those companies on shoestring IR budgets.  Because of mobile technology, investors are able to consume information anywhere, at any time and on anything.  Similarly, mobile devices allow companies to connect with investors from parts of the world that they never before would consider connecting with.  Recognizing what is happening in technology and how people are communicating with each other, investor relations professionals should start considering, if they haven’t already, how to factor the platform of the mobile device into their IR plan for the years to come.

As all IR professionals will agree, the goal for public companies is to provide transparent and easy access to critical company and financial information.  This should apply to companies regardless of which global exchange they trade on or what language they speak.  Leveraging cross-cultural communications are companies including PR Newswire and CNW Group, the premier newswire services in the U.S. and Canada.  Both have recently incorporated into their service offerings the investor relations app platform of theIRapp™.   As many Canadians speak French, theIRapp™ and CNW offer companies the ability to have an IR app both in English and in French. Tim Griffin, VP of Product at CNW, said that being able to reach shareholders where and how they want to be reached is a key component of any company’s shareholder communications strategy, and providing shareholders with an app in their native language is the most streamlined, easy-to-launch solution to do just that.  IR apps are also now available in Spanish and Portuguese.  A Hebrew version is soon to be released by theIRapp™ for companies that trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange as well as the many issuers that have done primary and dual listings on U.S. exchanges.

To facilitate the transmission of public company information to investors throughout the world, mobile strategies are beginning to replace online/desktop strategies. Developing nations throughout Africa, for example, are leapfrogging the costly infrastructure required of hard wired Internet that powers many desktop computers in developed nations. Rather, they are relying upon mobile to advance their citizens’ ability to conduct commerce and integrate into the 21st Century.  Michael Saylor in his book, The Mobile Wave, suggests that mobile technology is and will continue to allow for individuals and companies who previously were cut off from modern society, to engage and compete.  What an exciting time we are living in.

According to the World Bank, the number of mobile subscriptions in use worldwide has grown from fewer than 1 billion in 2000 to over 6 billion now.  Of these, nearly 5 billion are from developing countries.  According to African Information Solutions (“African Is Cool”), the Zimbabwe and Zambia markets have compelling and interesting reasons to require mobile solutions.  Recently, Africa is Cool partnered with theIRapp™ on a smartphone application that allows African stock exchange traded companies to have their IR content available via mobile. Graham Young of Africa is Cool said that having an IR app enables listed company clients to have a closer relationship with top investors throughout the world who previously wouldn’t even have known these companies in Africa existed.

Apps are an integral part of the information revolution currently underway.  More than 30 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2011.  It is therefore no wonder that IR professionals are now considering native IR apps as part of their communications strategies.  Companies such as Colgate PalmoliveWalmart , Marathon Oil and Nestlé, to name a few, have IR apps available in the App Store and Google Play.  IR apps are a simple way for investors to engage with critical company and stock information. Apps deliver easy sharing of important qualitative content (e.g. audio conference calls, presentations, videos) that is company generated but up until now could only be accessed by going to a company’s website through desktop computing.

The world is quickly changing.  Opportunities abound.  And, this is in large part due to the advent of new technology, particularly mobile technologies.  Not only is mobile easy and cost effective, it is also fun and engaging.  From one IR professional to another, our industry should quickly get on board and take part in this exciting adventure.

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