We’re Mobilizing

Posted: April 16, 2010 in Research, Retail, Social Media, Social Network, Television, Websites
Tags: , , , , , ,

“We are currently going through an infrastructural change in the mobile industry that will set up the next decade of innovation,” said Josh Levison, Practice Lead for Mobile and Gaming at IPG Emerging Media Lab. He was the speaker in our Intro class on Monday, April 12, 2010. I thought that mobile was going to be a big part of how we move forward in business, entertainment and information, but after hearing Josh’s fantastic presentation on Monday, I realize that I didn’t know the half of it!

Josh’s mission at the IPG Emerging Media Lab is to harness innovation to make better marketing. His company consults and educates marketers like me about the opportunities in emerging media, which includes mobile gaming, online, video, social media and digital out of home.  He said most people have a cell phone that is less than 12 months old, since there is a fast rate of change for cell phone technology. A ComScore study shows that 40% of iPhone users browse the web on their iPhone more than on their PC. Josh said this paints a strong picture for mobile use in the future, especially with phone companies moving to LTE technology.

Here is a detailed explanation of what LTE technology is. I pulled it directly from Verizon’s Website:

“Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a wireless technology and Verizon Wireless’ chosen evolutionary path from the current 3G wireless network technologies. The advantages of LTE are numerous – these include significantly higher uplink and downlink data rates, lower latency, better spectral efficiency, superior coverage, better in-building penetration, and simplified worldwide roaming just to name a few. The inherent technological advantages of LTE coupled with the superior Verizon Wireless network deployment will serve as the catalyst for the introduction of innovative data devices and services.”

The website also says that “LTE opens a whole new world of connectivity, extending beyond the traditional handset/PDA wireless communications to new and advanced products and solutions, innovative devices, and new worldwide capabilities. Verizon Wireless’ LTE promise is that of true untethered freedom for the marketplace.”

Josh said that all wireless companies will use an LTE network, which is 20 times faster than the average US broadband speed. Phones for this network will be available in 2011 and will be able to stream a Netflix movie by the end of 2011. Josh thinks that we’ll be able to put our smart phones in a dock in our homes and watch shows from them on our television sets. This means that on demand content will be the future.

Televisions will be able to connect directly to the Internet and will contain widgets from content distributors. For example, a Yahoo Widget can be accessed from certain television sets. This widget allows access to content, data and video from Yahoo.com. Distribution companies will have the opportunity to make content deals directly with television manufacturers.  If Sony Pictures Television has a widget installed in new television sets, they won’t need a broadcast network or cable company to distribute the programming. Based on this new business opportunity, I wouldn’t want to a cable company in the next three years as their entire business model will be useless.

The best news is that Josh thinks that Verizon will get an iPhone when it goes on their 4G network. He thinks this might be either this fall or in middle of 2011. I can’t wait!

We also discussed basic human needs and behaviors and how they impact technology. Developers should think about the basic human needs and determine what technology will work best, then shape this technology around those needs. It is also important to distinguish between perceived needs and actual needs. For example, people want an iPad, but probably don’t necessarily need one. But one thing people do want is to save time, and the apps that help people save time will be much more useful to users.

Many of these apps are built around location. Cell phone usage focused on two things: whom I’m talking to and what is the content. Now a third point of relevance has entered the cell phone scene: location – where you are. As smart phones get more connected to location services and apps, Josh says that users will start seeing more appropriate ads sent to their mobile device based on where they are. For example, if you’re in a movie theater, you might receive an ad for a home theater system. If you’re in an airport, you might receive an ad for high powered ear phones. So, the location strategy, Josh says, should be based on a philosophy standpoint rather than a technology standpoint.

The conversation turned to trust in advertising. We trust our friends to make recommendations to us about products, businesses or services. Josh thinks that advertisers and brands should let go of the tight control of the message so that people will gain more trust for their companies and brands. He said that Apple retail stores make more money per square foot than any other store. The reason is because the company caters to the frenzy around their products.

When the subject turned to social networking and Facebook, Josh told us that Facebook realizes that web sites are dead. The company cares more about the site as a platform, as more of a fertile place to grow things. For example, Josh told us that more people play Farmville on Facebook than own Wii consoles.

Obviously, we were all pretty impressed with Josh. He was very knowledgeable and pretty much rattled off all of the above right off the top of his head. Check out the IPG Emerging Media Lab to see the future of emerging media in the home and office.

Here is another indicator that mobile is growing and growing fast. Check out the number of mobile subscribers 13+ who access their social networks via mobile browser:

If more and more people are going mobile, then obviously advertising will follow. But it’s not there yet. Not many people are making purchases from their mobile phones right now as seen below from the Business Insider Chart of the Day on Friday, April 16, 2010:

But after hearing Josh’s take on all things going mobile, I think if websites, apps and companies realize the increase of mobile devise usage and learn how people are using them, they can develop advertising strategies that target the right audience with the right message at the right time. And, as with most social media strategies, it’s all trackable!

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