Staying on top of the latest mobile trends
Thursday, January 19, 2012
With mobile application use still in its infancy (consider that we’re about 3 years into a trend that’s here to stay), it’s natural that the medium is still being questioned from an ROI perspective. But there are a couple of ways of looking at this:
1. What’s the ROI of phones in an office? Exactly.
2. Why not plan for an app properly instead of making gimmicky apps that users quickly get bored of?
A mobile version of your site is great if you’re the local hair salon. But a native app can be huge if planned for correctly. It’s a multilayer tool that only begins at user engagement. The real promise is in the smartphone specific technology that enables it to really push the boundaries of connectedness. This includes developing apps with GPS tagging, mobile payments, image recognition -including barcode scanning, social media integration, video or voice recording, biometrics, and lots of other tools that make a feature phone look about 93 years old.
Just imagine the useful version of a Coca-Cola app a couple of years from now. By 2014, conceivably, every Coke machine could carry an NFC tag. Likewise, you will also find a giant market of users with NFC equipped smartphones like the new Nexus S or any upcoming Blackberry and iPhone. To that potent mix, add some geolocation that keeps track of every vending machine and push notifications that remind users when there is a machine nearby. Now imagine that the Coca-Cola app can integrate with a mobile payment platform (like our upcoming Zimbrew), and that a social dashboard automatically tweets or posts to facebook with a linked account, “Drinking a refreshing Coca-Cola @ (location)”. The user can locate the machine, pay for the drink, and share with friends all from within the app. Not to mention the measurable ROI and location based analytics. This scenario, by the way, is technically possible even today.
Indeed, one has to be forward thinking and in touch with upcoming trends in technology to leverage the true power of mobile, but that’s why we’re here. Self promotion aside though, it’s extremely short-sighted to create apps for the sake of “having an app”. A plan must be in place to ensure that the app has a clearly defined purpose in a company’s vision. If it does, the cost of development will pay off, as does having a website…and phones.