The Silicon Valley Innovation Summit 2012 showcased some exciting mobile startups. Some of them are listed below:
Moxie: Tom Kelley, President and CEO introduced his company as a communication/collaboration space that helps companies connect with their customers through Moxie's channels such as email, chat, phone, etc. It is growing at 40% and what differentiates Moxie from other communication spaces is the management of internal and external communication to build a repository of business intelligence.
BAMMTV: Chris Hansen, CEO introduced BAMM TV as a music startup that is creating, distributing and monetizing music of HD quality content for 3 yrs. It is different form other music startups as it does not need major label licensing as the artists are not famous and upload their own music. Profit is shared 50-50 between BAMM TV and the artists. BAMM TV also has global distribution rights.
Infinigraph: Chase McMichael, CEO compared Infinigraph to comScore and Nielsen – it identifies which customers are most relevant and helps in content marketing intelligence and how much content to create. Some of its customers as seen in the examples below have used Infinigraph to identify what content engages their customers and when (time of day/day of week) is it most engaging.
My Life: Jeff Tinsley, CEO introduced My Life as an online identity management tool to manage all personal and professional connections. It also finds new connections. My Life has basic free services and advanced subscription services.
There were many other interesting companies to watch out for - here is a list of the top 250.
On July 23rd, I attended the Silicon Valley Innovation Summit, 2012 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. It was on mobile trends and touched areas such as cloud computing, mergers and acquisitions, SaaS services and upcoming mobile startups.
One of the panels was on mobile trends, how existing companies can reinvent themselves for the mobile space and what mobile models are likely to emerge. The panel consisted of the following mobile leaders:
Host: Aaron McDaniel, Sr. Director Business Development, AT&T Sanjay Poonen, Head of Mobile Division, SAP AG, SAP Martin Frid-Nielsen, CEO, Soonr Laura Yecies, CEO, SugarSync Kathleen McMahon, VP, Sales & Marketing, SoundHound Ty Allen, President, MokiMobility
Question: Where are we in mobile industry life cycle?
Sanjay: Of 200,000 SAP customers we have a fraction in mobility so early stage Martin: at the beginning where we emphasize on ROI and mobile productivity Laura: slightly ahead in terms of penetration but not in full usage/diverse usage potential
Question: Where are the most exciting areas of growth?
Ty: evolution in different purpose filled devices – non traditional form factors – example: device to control a tractor Kathleen – auto industry as it’s the largest mobile network and quicker iteration cycles Laura – prefers purpose filled devices but wants to stick to standard devices that act differently for various purposes – efficient and less costly Martin – word mobility means lots of things (people here have 3 devices – tablet, phone, laptop) so cut down on extras; opportunity most on tablets Sanjay – managing mobile security and diverse complexity; apps reduce paperwork will increase but include better fun filled easy to use interfaces; example: pilots suitcases have lots of paperwork that can be replaced with an iPad
Question: How do cloud and mobile influence each other?
Laura- mobile driving cloud...thank you Steve Jobs for not putting a USB on the iPad Kathleen – cross platform connectivity is attractive in cloud Martin- share across devices is critical and cloud does that; cloud ties all devices together Ty- MokiMobility has found a niche between mobile and cloud but there are tons more that are not explored Sanjay – build a cloud infrastructure first instead of later
Question: How do existing companies reinvent themselves?
Kathleen – songs were heard first then recorded then we had Shazam and now we have Soundhound Martin – definition of work is changing – people now work on the train and from home so existing companies should leverage that; cultures influence mobile behaviors like Japanese either work or drink so mobile TV and karaoke apps do well there
Question: Should we think of global first or local first?
Martin – 2 models - build vertical and solve a needor try different use cases and pivot Laura- Europe was a little behind 10 yrs ago when I worked at Netscape but now it's not like that. If you decide to wait someone else will move into those markets Kathleen – global mindset is a no brainer but what features and strategies to grow is local Sanjay – correlation between mobility and population growth – China, India & Brazil – fastest growth will be through phone not tablet in highly populated countries
Question: How do you see AT&T act as a bottleneck?
Sanjay – AT&T should build a network in developing countries Martin – look for shortcuts to market, build awareness Laura – cost, battery life, security Kathleen- bottlenecks are actually in consumer brain bandwidth – consumers concentrate only on 7 apps so to stand out we need to really differentiate, deepen utility one app instead of 7 Sanjay – telepresence experience maps on iPad
Question: What mobile models will emerge?
Sanjay – willing to listen to new models – freemium or free. We should throw traditional models out– models based on traction, engagement on Facebook and Twitter that are adapted to mobile Martin – consumer vs. business – willingness to pay for things so that data doesn’t walk out with employees, models flexible to include how data plans evolve, mobile operators have tremendous opportunity, hardware people struggling so many models to include them. Laura- interest and business should be aligned. Example: monetizing through ads not in consumer interests so not the best model Kathleen- top line revenue and diversification is key- people will pay for a free version in the future if that is achieved
Question: What is your advice for mobile entrepreneurs?
Ty – look for opportunities that customers are always asking for Kathy – be design driven Laura – look for life trends – people spending more time with family, etc. and then design Martin – use a simple strong use case Sanjay – watch how young use (20s) and how kids use mobile apps/devices and learn
At some point a tech company decides it needs a user experience team to champion the voice of the customer. The smart ones start this journey early as it is more challenging to institutionalize user experience in companies with a few hundred employees. The following 7Ps will help you institutionalize UX in your company:
Posters : Use posters to communicate the critical components of the UX message - UX principles, customer segments, etc. For example, Walmart.com had posters of its customer segments on the walls around the office to always remind its employees who they were designing for.
Process: Define the UX Engagement process. Usability.gov has a well defined design process. This may vary based on how departments are structured in your company, resources available and team dynamics but a process is a start to including all the critical elements of the user experience.
Procedure: Create standard UX templates to define the procedure to conduct a specific aspect of the UX. Usability.gov has many templates. For example, a moderator guide or guidelines to conduct and write a heuristic report will establish a set of standards and improve the consistency and quality of work.
Protocol: Create a UX repository on the company intranet to educate everyone in your company about the UX team and their work, how to engage with them, what to expect, timelines, schedules, etc.
Publish: Get noticed in the greater UX community by publishing research and presenting at conferences. This brings visibility and credibility to the UX group.
Proof of productivity: User Experience improves the customer's experience in many ways. For example, it could reduce time, reduce help desk calls, increase enjoyment and trust, improve safety, etc. It is critical to measure this improvement in productivity to translate the value of the UX activity and to communicate it to employees and management.
Partner: This is the most important step in institutionalizing UX in a company. Unless you have a partner in upper management to rally around the UX cause this would be a very difficult struggle. It is critical to get support to ensure the message does not get lost and more importantly give UX the attention it deserves. After all, some of the top tech companies have made it their mantra. Google says "Focus on the user and all else follows" while Apple uses UX to drive its innovation engine.
Attention and interest on the web are critical metrics and are an essential component that should guide any online strategy. LinkedIn has done an excellent job in this area of indicating interest quantitatively. Let us look at a few examples:
Indicating interest in you/your profile by showing how many looked at your profile. Indicating interest in a job by showing how many people clicked on the Apply button. Indicating interest in your connections by showing how many changed jobs in a year.
There are some other examples in the online retail industry. For example, Rue La La indicates interest in their products (clothing, accessories, home goods, etc.) by letting us know how many Ralph Lauren sweaters are left to buy thus indicating how quickly a product is getting sold. We also measure interest (though not shown quantitatively) by grouping stuff under most popular, most commented and most shared on various blogs and news sites.
The theme of the third largest social network, Pinterest (Facebook and Twitter are the top two) is centered around interest. Interest is indicated quantitatively through likes, repins and comments. We need to have a measure of interest by consolidating our online behavior (sharing, commenting, viewing, etc.). Let me know if you have any ideas on how to measure interest.
Over the past few months I've been trying to find ways to use my iPad more like a regular laptop so that I can just use one device instead of two and the fact that it's so convenient. I still use my laptop but along the way I've found software and hardware for the iPad that's really amazing. Let's me show you this cool stuff with a few videos.
1. Keyboard: If you do a lot of typing a tactile keyboard definitely helps. There are a few on the market - Zaggmate is popular and expensive ($100) and Kensington is great value at $65. As seen in the video the keyboard comes in a case and is removable if you just want an iPad case. There are slots for the camera and to charge the iPad. You can also tilt it from 20-70 degrees for a better viewing angle. Volume and home controls are available on the keypad and setup is very easy.
2. Microsoft Office:OnLive, a company based in Palo Alto, has created OnLive Desktop a cloud based service for creating Microsoft Office (MS Word, MS Excel, Ms PowerPoint, etc.) files on the iPad. Files created on the iPad are accessible on any other device through the OnLive Files Website. They can be mailed and shared on a laptop but not on the iPad. To share the files that you created on the iPad you have to open the file on a laptop.
I'm waiting for the next version of the iPad when they (hopefully) have a USB or some form of external drive to help save files or at least have a file sharing option that is not limited to the Apple network.