Category Archives: Mobile 2.0

Zoompass Announcement Falls Short of ‘my’ expectations

I am not sure I get it at times.  I know that the technology is limited and that a lot of the talk that sometimes goes around is more dreaming than real possibilities.

Today’s Zoompass announcement however strikes me more as a step backwards than a forward one.  This is what happens when the initiative is carrier-lead instead of bank lead.  I realize that these comments are not popular among some of my readers (I know where you work) but as a consumer I am still on the side of banks dealing with my money.

There are two things that dampen my excitement about this announcement:

  1. The first thing is the following phrase: “payment is automatically drawn from the user’s Zoompass stored value account.”    This means that you and I have to manage yet another account.  However easy this may be for you… for me it is a hassle.  I want the money to come out of my bank account directly!  Otherwise for me it is just as easy to load my Starbucks card… or my Timothy’s card at the counter from my debit card.  Am I missing something here?
  2. The other thing is the little sticker… this could almost get me ranting a la Ewan on Foursquare.  But I will not.  A sticker to me seems like a step backwards.  Although they talk about its attractiveness with phrases like “sleek and appealing sticker” … to me it just isn’t.

Bottom line this does not spell convenience to me.

Managing yet another account and plastering a sticker to the back of my phone.

67% Of The World’s Population Are Mobile Subscribers – What are you doing about it?

A new report published yesterday by the UN indicates that 67% of the world’s population, or two-thirds total, are mobile subscribers- far outweighing Online access.

67% of the world’s population represents around 4.6B people, up from only 1B in 2002, indicating staggering continued growth.  In developing nations, however, the uptake is even more substantial with 57% of the total population in these nations being mobile subscribers, even though other technologies are scarce.

What’s your Mobile Strategy?

Regardless of what you do… you need to think through this. How does it affect your business? Your constituents? Your congregants? Your members?

You don’t have to be a business to have a strategy… you just need to understand that you have them right there. They all have mobile devices … what are you going to do about it?

What’s your call to action?

Posted via web from Mobile Strategy

Mobile Financial Services In Canada

My intent was always to provide a recap of last week’s inaugural Mobile Money Canada conference. I was going to review the event itself, the speakers and even the audience.  However much has gotten in the way of doing that for you – even though I feel a certain sense of obligation to provide you with an opinion.

But I am not going to review the event, the speakers or the audience. What I will tell you is that I did not leave the conference with a ‘good’ feeling for mobile financial services in Canada. What’s even worse is that I am not even sure why I have that feeling.

The most important question I wanted insight on was – what’s the holdup in Canada?  The real holdup? I was hungry to hear the experts.  I was there both as a consumer and as a mobile strategy practitioner.  My question was not answered but if I look at the thirteen lessons I walked away with it gives you a pretty good idea as to what the holdup is in Canada.  If you want the less cynical recap the link is provided at the end of this post.

Thirteen things I brought back from the conference:

  1. Be leary of experts… they are usually trying to sell you something.
  2. Everyone is an expert!
  3. Don’t trust most of the numbers thrown at you.  Be very careful when figures are used and read between the lines.  If adoption numbers are not freely offered there is a good chance that adoption is poor.
  4. Too much time is spent trying to build partnerships and alliances…
  5. Too little time is spent on understanding the customer!
  6. Too much time is spent patting ourselves on the back for a mature mobile infrastructure.
  7. Too little time is spent on understanding why the industry is where it is…
  8. The carriers claim (and actually appear offended) when it is insinuated they want to own the mobile financial consumer.  Why do you get so defensive anyways?  The dumb pipe complex perhaps?
  9. There is much disagreement on the maturity of mobile financial services in Canada.
  10. Some folks will tell you that mobile financial services in Canada are highly advanced (and they say this with a straight face).
  11. However, some financial services insiders tell me their clients are not even close to investing in mobility until they feel more comfortable with the market.
  12. It is hard to know who to believe (since everyone is an expert).
  13. And for lucky thirteen – don’t believe anyone.  If you are buying, do the research yourself.

I walked into the conference thinking that Canadian banks were simply slow or even negligent for not moving faster on mobile financial services.  But I walked out understanding that the Canadian ecosystem is complex, filled with misinformation and really much more immature than I thought. So although the banks are moving quite slowly – I can now see that the carriers and the vendors are not helping the situation. What Canadian Banks (BMO, TD, RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC…) need is a mobile strategy.  A road map to help them navigate through the fluff, the noise and the hoopla.

I realize that no one is going to make a decision on a vendor after seeing a couple of presentations and hearing a few panels at a conference … and that is a good thing.

A very good thing.

Now don’t get me wrong… Overall I am still very hopeful.  The vendors in the room were all very smart and knowledgeable.  They are capable of great things and if they ever actually do meaningful work in Canada I am sure it will be great…

But if you read between the lines of what is going on, you turn some rocks and you ask lots of questions – you will probably agree with me.

What am I missing?
Do you disagree with me? Please do…
Please share your thoughts below…

I do want to thank the organizers for allowing me to attend and for pushing the conversation forward.  Their summary of the event can be found here.  Hopefully they will still invite me next year and may even allow me to be a partner… it’s nice to have different opinions isn’t it?

Mobile Becomes A Social Media Lifeline

Beautiful Sunday morning here in Toronto (Mississauga to be precise).
As I catch up on reading and wait for the family to wake up before we head to church I thought I would share this post from Harvard Business. David Armano writes a Conversation Starter on the Six Social Media Trends for 2010… and these are:

  1. Social media begins to look less social
  2. Corporations look to scale
  3. Social business becomes serious play
  4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
  5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
  6. Sharing no longer means e-mail

Of special interest to some of you will be #5:

With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it’s likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into “social media breaks” as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn’t looking.

I certainly hope that most of you reading this realize that the value of mobility goes way beyond social media. In fact it is my opinion that social media as a business tool is not for every role/position. It can certainly be a waste of time. Believe me … been there and done that. Unless you see an ROI you truly need to have social media policies in place.

Head over there for the full post by clicking here.

Mobile Money Canada Conference – November 10, 2009

This is exciting for me.  I will be attending and hopefully writing, interviewing and even offering some mobile strategy advice and services to those seeking it.   The event organizers have stated the following three goals for the conference:

  1. Stimulate the growth of a nascent, but promising, Mobile Money industry in Canada
  2. Educate business and technology execs that need to know about Mobile Money
  3. Showcase the leading Canadian mobile money services and technology vendors serving this market

So what exactly is Mobile Money Canada?

… it is the first event focused exclusively on showcasing and building the Mobile Money industry in Canada. Mobile Money Canada will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 10, 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

The event will bring together mobile network operators, financial institutions, consultancies, and Mobile Money solution vendors, to discuss, debate, and develop strategies to accelerate the growth of Canadian Mobile Money.

Mobile Money Canada is intended for executives that need to rollout Mobile Financial Services and wish to learn best practices from industry veterans. The event is also for those wishing to meet the leading solution vendors that have proven offerings that can help to accelerate and de-risk Mobile Financial deployments.

Lots of exciting speakers and a packed agenda which I am really looking forward to.

From our series on Mobile Financial Services and Mobile Banking on this blog you know that we will find the topics below – to be covered at the conference – very interesting.

Mobile Banking

* What is the value proposition of Mobile Banking in Canada?
* Case Study: The business case and ROI of Mobile Banking in the developed world.
* How do financial institutions successfully build, deploy, and scale Mobile Banking solutions and services?
* Who are the solution leading vendors in the Mobile Banking sector and how do they help banks succeed?

Mobile Money Transfer & Payments

* Why will Mobile Money transfer matter to Canadians?
* What is the business case for Mobile Money Transfer & Payments in Canada?
* How do Banks and Mobile Network Operators profit from Mobile Money transfer services?
* How will lessons from the developing world drive the evolution and adoption of Mobile Money Transfers in Canada?
* What does the future have in store for remote and contactless payments in Canada?

Mobile Marketing & Advertising

* What are the leading ways to market and advertise through the mobile channel?
* How can mobile coupons drive increased revenues for Mobile Operators and Retailers?
* What are the platforms available to power Mobile Marketing campaigns?
* Buy versus Build? What to think about when deciding whether to build a custom mobile marketing solution or license an offering from a vendor?

If you are going to be there and want to meet up please drop me a line.

You can find the conference website here or you can register for Mobile Money Canada here.

Mobile Application Development And Consumers – Going From Workflows to Lifeflows

Much has been written on how innovative ideas are born, evolved and tested first on consumers before they make their way into the enterprise. We have seen it with Web 2.0 and social media and social networking.  This is absolutely true and the consumer market proves to be a wonderful and invaluable living lab for the enterprise.  In most cases the enterprise doesn’t have a choice since after the consumer market tests and likes something they take it to work!

Becoming A Better Mobile Application Developer for Consumers

Today I am going to propose something that will go the other way instead. It goes backwards (so to speak) from the enterprise to the common folk out there. If you learn this small and valuable lesson you will become a better developer of mobile consumer applications. You may not become a rock star in the App Store overnight but your hard work will pay off in the end way after the rock star’s have faded. Your applications will be more relevant, meaningful and useful to the end user.

I made the following point a few days ago:

…if we want to talk specifically about mobile workers the conversation cannot revolve around any one of the above points. Instead it needs to focus on one thing:

the mobile worker as part of a process that adds value to your organization

I was trying to drive the point that you you need to focus on the user and their process if you are going to build a mobile application that will add value to an organization.  Don’t mobilize for the sake of mobilizing!  Do so because it adds value.

From Workflow to Lifeflow

If you are developing in the enterprise you do (or you should) a careful process analysis of those roles you are going to mobilize.  You study the workflow – the steps involved to produce that product or deliver that service…

Crude and Simple Workflow

Crude and Simple Workflow

I have seen a lack of rigour and structure among far too many mobile application developers. The App Store has not helped matters since now everyone wants to develop for that shiny object in the room.  A shiny, distracting object!

If we look at the consumer the same way we look at a field worker, a sales person or any other type of mobile worker I believe we would have better, more user-friendly and truly relevant mobile consumer applications.  You can’t really study someone’s life to the extent that you study a process … but you can certainly take the context and given situations, study and analyze those.  I could almost bet that the best consumer applications out there were either done by studying lifeflows or by folks with a deep understanding and first hand experience of how those flows go (because they lived them).

Lifeflow - Messy, incomplete and mine!

Crude ... but definitely not simple Lifeflow!

Even though I can write for hours about this subject I am not going to… Today I will drop this on you and if there is some interest out there in helping me explore some use cases then maybe we will continue this topic.   If not I will just take my little flow and go home.

(What I would really like to do is start a repository of Lifeflows so others can use these for development purposes… I know it is a stretch… anyone?)

Media Convergence and Mobility

Over at The Economist Media Covergence site you will find this neat little video announcing their Media Convergence Forum later this month (October 20-21, 2009 in NYC).  The video which, provided for you below, is about the pace of change…

The surge of new technologies and social media innovations in today’s environment is significantly altering the future media landscape for marketers. Consumer behaviour is changing and the way marketers reach their audience must also change. Marketers are searching for new ways to not only reach their customers, but to understand them, to peer inside their minds. As the level of consumer understanding increases, so can the knowledge of how best to reach them. However the plethora of tools at a marketers disposal is not easy to navigate and real learning comes from a real understanding of the future of media convergence.

What is amazing about this convergence (and of interest to us) is that much of it will happen on your mobile devices – smartphones, cell phones, iPods or whatever is portable enough to be with you and has the ability to connect you.  By virtue of it always being with you, the mobile phone is the most personal (dare I say intimate?) of devices.  Let us look at a few questions:

  1. How many of you have personal pictures on your mobile? (It holds your precious treasures)
  2. How many of you keep your personal appointments or reminders on your mobile? (Like a personal assistant)
  3. Is your mobile phone your alarm? (You go to bed and wake up with it)
  4. Does your mobile phone serve as your GPS? (Gives you directions – helps you get to where you need to go)
  5. Oh, and lest we forget … it is also our phone.  Giving us quick and easy access to anyone.

There are many uses and most importantly many personal uses.

And because you are busy, always running around either for work or for home the mobile device has grown in importance to you and continues to do so.  Marketers know this (and so does everyone else in the world) .  They want to interact with you as close to that moment of want as possible.  That moment when you see something and you want it! Or even better for them … they want to have a hand in creating that moment for you. Marketers, merchandisers and everyone else wants to interact with you as much as possible and wherever you find yourself. The mobile phone allows the message (whatever that may be) to reach you wherever you find yourself. For many of you … where they find your mobile phone they will most likely find you! That’s why media convergence is taking place at the mobile phone. Not because of the phone. But because of you.

More and more (and this is nothing new I realize that) you will see your brands with you at all times and you will see the competition for a share of you increase.  A share of your time, a share of your mind … which ultimately leads to a share of your heart.  When your heart is in it – that speaks of brand loyalty.

I could go on but since I feel little cheese in those last words let’s jump to the video now.  We will pick this up later (maybe).

I found the video at the Social Mobilist, a place where you will find some of my writings from time to time.

Mobile Application Development: Native or Browser

The discussion rages on. I continue to enjoy the experience of native applications much more. But there seem to be a lot of people out there jumping on the ‘mobile browser application‘ bandwagon. Of course everyone has a reason for it but if we focus solely on the end user (how about that?) the native applications provide a richer and better experience (not to mention better integration with device functionality). Inside the enterprise (as we attempt to mobilize our workers) this argument hasn’t taken off just yet. This is mostly because it adds a layer of complexity (and costs) to the roll out and support of multiple devices and platforms.

For now, I leave you with two stories:

  • From GigaOm: The Browser as the Unifier
    A small post and a video from an interview…

    The biggest complaint coming from mobile developers is that there are just too many darn cell phone platforms and devices for which they need to create applications. Compared to the dozens of platforms in the cell phone world, developing applications for PCs is a breeze. But until the cell phone world gets a whole lot simpler, there’s an answer to all that confusion, says Jon von Tetzchner, co-Founder and CEO of Opera Software: the browser.

  • From Jason Grigsby of Cloud Four: The Five Most Common Arguments for Native iPhone Development
  • Jason presents and refutes the most common arguments for why iPhone applications need to be built using native code instead of web technology.

    Three of the arguments either don’t apply in all cases or are simply wrong.

    The five most common arguments for native app development are:
    1. Offline Mode — The ability to continue to use an application when you are not connected to the Internet.
    2. Findability — If you’re not in the App Store, people won’t be able to find your application.
    3. Performance — Javascript on mobile is too slow to use for application development.
    4. Device Attributes — The need to access things like the camera, gps and the accelerometer.
    5. Monetization — The ease with which people can and will buy your application.

    These five reasons are also provided to argue for native app development on other platforms like Android and Blackberry as well.

    Now It’s Your Turn
    Regardless of the number of visitors to the Mobile Strategy Blog we always have a tough time collecting opinions and commentary. Not sure if it has to do with our style or with our readers… But we do value your opinion and we would like to hear your thoughts on this topic (and all the others of course). So please drop us a line or leave a comment below:

    – What are your thoughts?
    – Are these arguments one-sided?
    – What are you developing for?

    App Store Market Data (from AppsFire)

    The mobile service AppsFire released some interesting numbers recently, which are provided for you down at the bottom.  Before the numbers first a brief explanation of what AppsFire is:

    AppsFire allows you to share with your friends your lists of favorite iPhone Apps. All you have to do is download and install AppsFire app on your Mac or PC, let is scan your Apps on iTunes. Then it will point you to your private AppsFire page where you can decide which app you will share and actually share them the way you decide (email, social networks or widget).

    In other words, it is a social service that enables you to share what apps you have installed as well as seeing what your friends have installed and what they think about these.   Take a look at their home page below.   It is a service similar (yet different) to Yappler.

    AppsFire Front Page

    AppsFire Front Page


    Okay, so what are the numbers?

    [AppsFire] used a sample of 1200 appsfire users (meaning that we know precisely what each user has) and took anonymously (we insist on the privacy respect), a picture of what’s exactly installed on each single iPhone. We then aggregated this data to produce a unique overview about what can be found “on average” in an iPhone.

    Now for the numbers… (remember it is based on 1200 users)

  • Over 15,000 unique apps installed
  • On average 65 apps installed per device
  • $80 spent per iPhone
  • $1.56 = Average price of paid app (including free apps)
  • $2.87 = Average price of paid app (excluding free apps)
  • $0.99 = Median price of paid app
  • 7% of users only have free apps (and typically less than 20 apps installed)
  • 65% of the apps installed are free (vs. 35% paid)
  • The biggest conclusion out of all this is that through data extrapolation the folks at AppsFire claim the total App Store market to be around $3.3 Billion.

    If we take the information at face value it is an incredible number that will continue to fuel the App Store phenomenon. However, I would caution at taking these figures as given mostly because I would consider AppsFire users to be iPhone and application powerusers (i.e. junkies). Many of the iPhone users I know do not install anywhere near to 65 apps on their device.

    Unfortunately, some will only focus on the dollar figures and continue to feed the craze. What folks don’t realize is that not every brand necessarily needs a mobile application; not every brand needs to be on my hip (or purse) with me. Folks need to recognize that a mobile strategy is more than just throwing an app together. Sometimes this might hurt the brand more than it helps. Lots to think about.

    Below is the original Slideshare presentation followed by a video.


    AppsFire Video

    Source: AppsFire Posterous
    This story also appeared on TechCrunch.

    HTML 5 and Mobile Development

    You may have seen the story making the rounds.   The original author is Jason Grigsby of CloudFour.  The post is of course related to Google’s argument that the Web will win over the Application store.

    Follow this link to the full article… below is Jason’s concluding remark:

    From a mobile perspective—and perhaps from the perspective of web applications generally—HTML5 cannot come quickly enough.

    As Vic Gundotra, Google Engineering vice president and developer evangelist, recently pointed out, not many companies are rich enough to develop native applications for all mobile platforms.

    The mobile web provides are the best hope for building a cross-device mobile ecosystem. HTML5 is a critical piece for the mobile web.