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Posts Tagged 'Mobile Apps'

Push Notifications: The Home Screen Advantage

The Wall Street Journal reported that start-up app company, Yo, recently received $1.5 million in venture funding valuing the company between $5 and $10 million – an amount simply for allowing people to push the message “YO” to the mobile device of their friends.

At first glance I thought, “Oh, no – is this the Internet Bubble Part II?” Maybe to the extent Yo is warranting a multi-million dollar valuation and probably doesn’t have any revenue.  However, in thinking more about it, I realized that given what Yo represents in the context of 21st Century technology, the answer was no.

As the Wall Street Journal said, the importance of Yo is the push notification – the alert that takes advantage of the native operating systems of iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices and suddenly appears on the home screen of these devices even when they are locked or in sleep mode.  Push notifications represent the ability to cut through the clutter of the hundreds of emails that we receive and that we have become accustomed to spending hours deleting on a daily basis.

As a consultant to the communications industry for more than 15 years, the push notification as a communications tool is game changing.  Up until now, we have had to rely on strategies like media relations to get others to make our point for us with the hope that our targets will read or view what is written; to attend conferences to present our story to a finite audience;  to create websites that we pray our audience(s) will proactively seek out; or to pay significant sums for advertising to ensure that our messages aren’t distorted.  Push notifications represent a new communications method via mobile technology and offers a new way to connect with our targeted audiences in a direct and personal way.  All we now need to figure out is how to get our audiences to download apps we or our clients create and then opt-in to receive the push notifications.

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HCI Employee Engagement Conference Recap

I am sitting on an Alaska Air flight from Seattle to San Francisco having just completed our first conference where we exhibited theEMPLOYEEapp. The event we attended was Human Capital Institute’s Employee Engagement Conference. I can’t help but reflect on the déjà vu experience we had.

It was a little more than two years ago that we launched our first mobile product, theIRapp, at the National Investor Relations Institute’s annual conference in . . . Seattle Washington. When we launched theIRapp in 2012, our take-away from the conference was that it was an “a-ha moment” for many investor relations professionals who stopped by our booth for a demonstration of our turn-key native app Platform as a Service walked away saying, “That’s cool. Oh-yeah! Mobile is a great way to connect with our investors . . .” Fast forward to today and more than 100 public companies worldwide have embraced our platform to push information to their investors; 60,000 individuals/investors from around the globe have downloaded our apps to their iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices.

The reaction this time around at HCI was the same as at NIRI. The internal and corporate communications as well as human resource professionals who stopped by to speak with us totally understood the value that mobile employee communications can play in communicating with a workforce that in many instances is traveling around the world and not tied to a desk. Through our discussions, we learned that up until now, many organizations had a very difficult time communicating simultaneously and instantaneously with their employees. However, they all recognized that one thing has changed in just a couple of years – and that is that almost everyone now has a mobile device. They realized that an opportunity exists to use 21st Century technology – smartphones and mobile apps – to help them solve a problem in their work that seemed impossible. The question was how.

As the communications professionals left our booth at the HCI conference, we heard a reaction similar to the investor relations professionals two years earlier: “Oh-yeah! All my employees have mobile devices. This is a solution that can allow me to communicate with all of them at the same time . . . a-ha.”

Seattle is a great city and I can’t wait to visit again . . . next time exhibiting a different communications mobile app product.

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IBM and Apple Usher in New Era for Mobile Adoption

Last week, two companies once known to be arch enemies – Apple and IBM – announced they were partnering to deliver business-to-business (B2B) apps called IBM MobileFirst for iOS. While there is a lot of speculation about what this means and the type of mobile applications they will actually develop together, there is one thing that is 100% clear. Enterprise mobile apps have arrived and they are being backed by two of the largest technology companies in the world.

From my perspective as the CEO of a company that provides B2B mobile apps for the communications industry, this means several important things:

1) First, it validates what I have been saying for the past few months – the PC is dying and the mobile device, particularly the tablet, will become the primary method of computing the future. To the extent individuals are increasingly using mobile for their work, developers will eventually have to create solutions that allow for an excellent user experience on the operating systems of the mobile device (which is different than the OS of the PC). This is why Apple and IBM will start to develop B2B apps for the mobile device.

2) Apple products are increasingly becoming a business tool, as opposed to just a consumer device for fun and games. For slightly more than a year now, Apple has been subtly putting stakes in the ground in the B2B space (i.e. its VPP Store for Business). Partnering with IBM will help ensure that iPhones and iPads become more engrained in the corporate world. Earlier this year, a Forrester Report indicated that, “Apple won about 8% of global business and government spending on computers and tablets in 2012.” At that time, it was looking like Apple would have 11% of the market in just a few years. The partnership with IBM will likely accelerate this.

3) BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” will continue to permeate the business landscape and IT professionals will soon have more resources at their disposal through the IBM and Apple partnership. “The cloud” will continue to change the dynamic of technology within organizations as it becomes more efficient and cost effective to host data off-premise and issues of security become less of a concern. Business units within companies will increasingly look to IT for ways to take advantage of the changing technological landscape. IBM and Apple are furthering the opportunity that is presenting itself whereby IT will be viewed in a more consultative and less tactical way.

It’s important to put the IBM/Apple partnership into context. For decades, Oracle has preached the virtues of the cloud and the fact that the PC was nothing more than a mechanism to deliver the Internet. Amazon is now focusing on the cloud (i.e. Amazon Web Services); Apple is about mobile; Google is about Mobile; Microsoft is now preaching mobile and the cloud (i.e. Office 365/Surface tablets). And all of this leads to a prediction. In less than 5 years, PCs will be like cassette tapes and CDs. You won’t see them very much. Everyone will have a tablet and when they go to work, they will place them into a docking station. IT rooms that used to store dozens of black box servers will become offices. The writing is on the wall and the technology behemoths are all suggesting the same thing – developing a mobile strategy is no longer an option for businesses, it is a necessity.

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