Robert Spier of National Public Radio (NPR) speaking at the ThinkMobile conference in New York this week said that “We are pouring a lot of concrete that cannot be repurposed.” What really concerns me is how many people haven’t placed their order for concrete yet.
Jamie Lendino, a contributing editor for PC Magazine was among those attendees kind enough to tweet some of Spier’s comments, resulting in a lot of discussion on Twitter about the growing future of mobile business. What Spier was talking about is pouring effort into deciding whether to create mobile applications, or enhanced mobile web sites for smart phone users. What will the mobile economy demand? Today applications must be created for every major platform: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. Using emerging mobile web standards could allow less development work and one set of content through the browser.
Honestly, a lot of companies have gone with plain mobile web-enabled web sites.
Users of iPhone and Android apps are reported to give NPR some six times more page views than regular web users, and they equate that with more engagement and loyalty. “We are not a radio program. We are a multimedia publisher,” according to Spier. Bloomberg Media, also speaking at the conference, claims 300,000+ mobile subscribers generating $20,000 each month. They also get significantly more interaction from their mobile users.
Both NPR and Bloomberg essentially sell content, but really so does every business. Regardless of what your business does, people want relevant, easy-to-reach content. Period. Mystery over.
In fact, many non-profits and companies alike are finding their mobile users are indeed more committed.
Clearly, smart phone content is used differently than a conventional web site. The users have less time to get more information. They may be between tasks at work, at the breakfast table or on the train or bus. They want information that is relevant to them and fast. They research buying decisions, and even purchase online.
While touch screens are deemed by many analysts as the enabler to the new mobile revolution, you must indeed be a multimedia publisher.
Morgan-Stanley has an outstanding bit of research, including a look at past and new “wealth cycles.”
In the 1980’s Microsoft and Cisco were among the winners as the personal computing market grew. In the 1990’s Google and eBay were among the new winners as the Desktop Internet Computing cycle began. The next wealth cycle is Mobile Internet Computing and it’s too early to tell the winners.
Take this from slide 22 of the Morgan-Stanley “The Mobile Internet Report”and tack it to the wall:
“Mobile ramping faster than desktop Internet did and will be bigger than most think – 5 trends converging (3G + Social Networking + Video +VoIP + Impressive Mobile Devices).
Regarding pace of change, we believe more users will likely connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years.”
If you knew more users will likely connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktops, how would you position your business?
If you knew that someone could shop at Store A, scan a bar code and comparison shop and buy online from Store B, how would you move your business? This is not the future – most smartphones can do this right now. I do it at least twice a week.
One of the summary slides says it all:
“Rapid Ramp of Mobile Internet Usage Will be a Boon to Consumers and Some Companies Will Likely Win Big (Potentially Very Big) While Many Will Wonder What Just Happened.”
The question is when will you buy your concrete?