What started off as small talk last year is now being heard loud and clear in social media and technology circles. Mobile technologies are not only taking over your average joe’s life, they’re taking over the business industry too. Things started to heat up in 2009 with Brightkite. Now we’re watching the explosion of location-based mobile services, wireless mobile internet devices, and app stores and more spill over into businesses.
The mobile business trends and products I’m going to tell you about are technologies that are popping up like popcorn and everyone’s hungry for them. Just look at how Facebook and Twitter have become standards on nearly every mobile platform. From smartphones to cars made by Ford, mobile technology is changing lives in ways that affect your business. They are becoming a must have tool and product for businesses to adopt in their day-to-day social media strategy. Here’s a look at the mobile business trends and products that you don’t want to be out of the loop about:
Location-based Mobile Services
Are you checking in? If you’re not, you’re doing a horrible disservice to your friends and the places you love to visit. How many times have you called someone while you’re out only to find out that you just missed one another? Location-based mobile services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Gowalla, and even Waze are helping businesses make connections. Take Foursquare for example. Foursquare is changing the world and reinventing how a customer loyalty program really works. Their services can help improve almost any business’ customer service ratings.
So why would you want folks checking into your business on these services? You separate the newcomers from your those you love your services. If your business is smart you’re keeping track of these folks. They’re not just a regular of your business. According to Foursquare, they’re the mayor of your business! Would you turn down the chance to talk to the actual Mayor of your city if she came into your store? Didn’t think so. The same should apply to the mayor of your business on Foursquare. Just ask Intel, Bay Area Transit, Metro Newspaper, or Guidewire Group’s VP of Community Strategy & Engagement, Carla Thompson.
Always Wireless Internet
The Verizon MiFi (amazon affiliate link) was my favorite device at CES this past January. It’s a wireless hotspot running on the fast Verizon Wireless network. The MiFi is the size of a credit card and connects up to 5 devices (my iPhone and iPod Touch never worked). I was on the internet everywhere:
- at my neighbor’s house
- in a hotel
- at a restaurant where wifi wasn’t free
What was I doing? Just about everything I can think of. I really pushed it to it’s limits with downloads, video streaming, and more. Yes, I know about the data caps Verizon has, but this is a great tool to have if you’re workshifting as Chris Brogran calls it. Mobile usage dominated 2009 and will continue to grow in leaps. The MiFi is only the beginning and Verizon is leading the push for excellent wireless coverage everywhere. Clear is another wireless internet provider expanding the limits of wireless internet.
Application Stores & Marketplaces: There Are A Lot Of Apps For That
You cannot deny the convenience of applications stores on your mobile devices. That convenience is about to move past mobile devices and into mobile PCs. Application stores are quickly become an industry trend. We have:
- Intel’s AppUp Center for netbooks
- Acer’s app store for Windows, Android, and Chrome OS.
I”m excited about these stores and look forward to digging into them in the future. I can see people quickly catching on to new apps and trends on the web if companies can keep their app stores up to date.
Mobile Web Optimization
You can blame streaming for the mobile broadband surge. If your site isn’t mobile web friendly version, then you need help. Your site needs to compatible with popular mobile devices. Here are the facts:
- Facebook’s mobile web usage tripled in 2009.
- The mobile internet market will be twice the size of the desktop internet in the near future.
- Have you read about the 34% spike of mobile web usage fueled by women, teens, and seniors alone?
You’re wasting a great opportunity if you’re not on this train. There are plenty of free and easy ways to accomplish mobile web optimization. Take a look at SheGeeks.net on your iPhone or maybe Chris Brogan’s iPhone app for better examples.
Today’s rapidly adapting offerings of smartphones are empowering these mobile movements by making GPS a near standard these days. Ford is doing the opposite as I noted earlier. App markets are patiently waiting for companies to finally “get it” and for developers to make a switch. But there’s still some issues to work out here. These tools are meeting the growing needs of everyone. It feels like we’re learning them, but really, they’re learning us. As we use them we find just how convenient they are to providing better service. You can’t lose. You just have to keep up, which is easy if you’re subscribing to SheGeeks and following me on Twitter.