Monday, November 30, 2009

Mobile Applications that Blend Data and Services from Multiple Sources

Research In Motion's co-CEOs Mike Lasaridis and Jim Balsillie recently stated that software depth, breadth and integration will drive future device sales, noting the potential that lies in applications blending data and services from multiple sources.

This is important. I have been writing for some time about convergent devices, however, it is most often in the context of mobile devices and hardware accessories like GPS, bar code readers, digital cameras, voice memos, WiFi and other Bluetooth devices. The blending of data and services from multiple sources combined with convergent hardware is even much bigger.

Let's think about a simple scenario -
  1. Field service technician (X) orders a part for a furnace online from his smartphone. He will complete the job when it arrives.
  2. The part is shipped and an alert email notifies field service technician X which day it will arrive.
  3. Field service technician X notifies the customer via email about the status and notes this information in the mobile CRM application.
  4. When the part arrives, the dispatcher gives it to a field service technician Y as Y is is going to work at a location close to where field service technician X is working.
  5. Field service technician X is wirelessly sent a service ticket to finish the job, and notified that the part is with field service technician Y at the following GPS coordinates.
  6. Field service technician X and Y meet up and the job is completed.

In this example, the field service technicians have smartphones with mobile Internet, wireless work order dispatch, GPS integration, mobile email, online parts tracking and mobile CRM. They have blended data from multiple sources and services.

The more business processes that are mobilized, the more mobile data services will be used by the mobile workforce. This will require faster and more powerful smartphones. Mobile enterprise application platforms will need to be able to manage and integrate data from multiple sources and integrate them into one mobile application. This requires some interesting software development.

I believe that the integration of multiple sources of data and services begs for mobile analytics. Business analytics will interpret the data and recommend action steps based upon this analysis. I invite software developers who have expertise in these areas to comment.


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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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My Dream Come True - A Mobile Projector for the Smartphone

I don't think I am the only person that has craved a smartphone with a mobile projector in it. Obviously LG and AT&T believe there is a market. I have carried a laptop bag and a separate mobile projector bag many times. I have often dreamed of having a smartphone that could project my power point presentation so I could leave the heavy laptop and projector bags at home.

Several months ago, Omin Consulting Group reported that smartphones have now advanced to the point where business travellers can rely on them for roughly 80% of what they need for work. With a mobile projector, about 98% of a road warriors work can be done with their smartphone.

Read below:


AT&T AND LG MOBILE PHONES ANNOUNCE THE FIRST 1GHZ SMARTPHONE IN THE UNITED STATES, THE LG EXPO

7.2 HSPA-capable Smartphone from AT&T and LG Mobile Phones Packs a Powerful Punch, Features Optional Mobile Projector

DALLAS, November 30, 2009 -

AT&T* and LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., today announced the LG eXpo will be available online beginning December 7. Featuring the first 1 GHz processor in the United States, the LG eXpo allows business professionals to meet their demanding data sharing needs while on the go. Available exclusively for AT&T customers, the handset will be compatible with AT&T's High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology, which provides a considerable speed boost to the nation's fastest 3G network. The LG eXpo is the first device in North America to support an optional integrated pico projector. The LG Mobile Projector snaps onto the back of the device and allows users to share presentations, slideshows and even online videos straight from their mobile phone. Weighing only 1.8 ounces and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, the LG mobile projector provides users with powerful new technology in a compact design, featuring a projection distance as far as eight feet "LG eXpo adds to our growing portfolio of smartphones that operate on the latest upgrade to our 3G network and offer customers a great choice," said Michael Woodward, vice president, Mobile Phone Portfolio, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "As we move to HSPA 7.2 technology, it is crucial to provide our customers innovative and future-proof smartphones." With the upgrade to HSPA 7.2 technology, AT&T continues its investments to deliver the nation's fastest 3G network.


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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mobile Applications for Tracking Diseases and Saving Newspapers

I came across a very interesting new iPhone application from HealthMap.org today called Outbreaks Near Me. It was developed by John Brownstein, as assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School along with colleagues at MIT's Media Lab.

This application combines GPS coordinates with LBS (location base services) that report on disease outbreaks near your location. You are able to set up the application to alert you whenever a disease outbreak occurs near you.

HealthMap brings together many different sources of data to provide you with a unified view of outbreaks of infectious diseases. The iPhone application even lets you submit your own reports including digital photographs of disease outbreaks. Don't ask me what digital images you would submit. This is very interesting to me as I am currently writing a report on telemedicine and mobile health monitoring. In fact, the research firm Gartner reports that by 2012 mobile health monitoring will be a Top 10 mobile application.

I find this application and concept very intriguing. It is a way of having people quickly share information and news, from the street or hospital bed, about specific health related events that are quickly displayed on a map for all to see.

This concept may also relate to newspapers. I have been pondering the fate of newspapers for some time. I am a big fan of the Sunday Edition of the New York Times with my hot drink on a Sunday morning. I suffer the thought of newspapers struggling to survive. I wonder if people reporting events from their neighborhoods and locations around the world on iPhones to a central web server which produces a form of Wiki-Newspaper is the next evolutionary step in news.

I can see it now. Your iPhone's GPS coordinates automatically configures your local edition of the Wiki-Newspaper and the news is collected and aggregated from people and news sources from all around your location.

What are your thoughts?


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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mobile Applications and Mobile Data Services

I am currently researching and writing a report on mobile enterprise applications and their impact on mobile data services for an analyst firm. I wanted to share some insights that I have gained through this exercise.
  1. LBS (location based services) the concept and technology have been around for 10 years, but it is getting ready to explode. I rarely use the search function on my iPhone any longer when looking for a local business, I simply open my map application and search on it. The iPhone application recognizes my location and shows me all the Thai food restaurants around me.
  2. Mobile marketing is going to be big. I want to know about lunch specials in my area at 11:45 AM. I want to know about sales on tires when I need new tires. I want it to be location relevant.
  3. Telemedicine is going to be big. Mobile Health Monitoring is going to be a top 10 mobile application by 2012 according to Gartner. I worked on a very cool mobile Telemedicine application for children with hemophilia several years ago. Each patient was provided with a smartphone that was integrated with their clinic and medical provider. Kids could report any bleed events, status, medicine used and remaining inventory. Integrated SMS enabled the medical staff to text the kids to check on their status, etc. Most patients with chronic illnesses or diseases could benefit from closer contact and communications with their medical service providers via smartphones.
  4. M2M (machine to machine) mobile communications. Rather than pay a person to drive around all day monitoring equipment, enable the equipment to monitor and report their own condition and status wirelessly. Machines and equipment of all kinds can use M2M efficiently.

If you would like to discuss any of the above topics in more detail please email me.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Mobile Applications that Move Things - Video

Here is a video of an iPhone application that can drive a car. It was developed by some university engineering students. I wrote another article on mobile applications that can move things here.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Mobile Field Services, Cross-Selling and Enterprise 2.0

Selling more service contracts, warranties and appliances were three reasons Sears gave for mobilizing their field service technicians in this recent article. Cross-selling is also a key to successful field services organizations according to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management ( May 2009). Isn't it interesting how important onsite sales are for organizations that provide services?

It seems that in these days of internet e-commerce, people still like to look into the eyes and talk to a real person. If that person just happened to fix your satellite TV hours before your football game, you are very happy with them. You are willing to listen to them as they make recommendations and referrals.

If you are a software developer of mobile applications for Field Services Automation (FSA) you are going to have to take the notion of "sales" seriously in your application. Gartner states that leading FSA companies will need to include CRM components in their field services applications. This may include integrations with mobile sales force automation tools or SaaS providers, product catalogs, inventory levels, shipment tracking, etc.

Location based services may also have a role here as discussed in this article on mobile sales applications and LBS.

Let's continue this thought process and integrate cross-selling, Enterprise 2.0 and mobile applications. In this article on Enterprise 2.0 and Mobile Software Applications, the idea of a Facebook like application for businesses is explored. The ability to have an enterprise collaboration and communication tool that utilizes many of the concepts of social networking. If a key contributor to the success of a field services company is selling products and services while onsite with a customer, then what would happen if the service technician expanded his product line with those of key collaborating business partners?

Let's think through a scenario:
  1. Plumber Edward fixes a leak for Mrs. Jones
  2. Plumber Edward sees the tile floor on the bathroom needs repaired
  3. Plumber Edward is connected to a tile installer via an online Enterprise 2.0 website
  4. Plumber Edward refers the tile installer and uses the Enterprise 2.0 website or the iPhone version of it to notify the tile installer
  5. The tile installer receives the referral via the Enterprise 2.0 service on his Blackberry and wins the business.
  6. The tile installer notices that the floor needs repaired and refers a carpenter via the Enterprise 2.0 website.

You get the picture. A group of linked and collaborating businesses cross-sell each other's products and services via a mobile Enterprise 2.0 service. Each of these collaborating businesses have eyes, ears and faces in the marketplace seeking to find business for the other members. This is business collaboration with big benefits!

I can image a time when there is a monetary value placed on each level of referral. Direct referrals are worth more than a 2nd level referral. Members could participate in different collaboration groups depending on the market dynamics.

Sears said that the onsite service technician, standing face-to-face with the customer, had the best opportunity to sell products and services. They invested in equipping their mobile service technician with more wireless mobile software applications to assist in closing more sales. They reported it was successful.

I would like to hear your thoughts and comments.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/ /
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Asset Tracking, Asset Management and Mobile Handheld Applications

In this article Trimble's joint venture with CREEC is discussed. CREEC is the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. Ltd. This joint venture is to help deliver solutions to effectively manage the construction and maintenance of rail roads and their assets.

How many of you have ever lost your keys around the house, or misplaced tools in your garage or shop? Image having billions of dollars worth of assets that you must locate, manage and maintain over thousands of miles and hundreds of properties. You can easily see how important it is to effectively track these assets, maintain and manage them in a powerful database system designed for asset management.

Geotagging (geotagging is discussed in more detail here) the assets enable you to know where they are located. Inspecting and completing regularly scheduled "conditional assessment" reports using mobile handheld computers that are synchronized with the asset management system in the office, enables you to know their condition and to schedule maintenance on them. Since most of these assets are located outside of the office, they need to be inspected remotely. This is the role for mobile handheld computers and mobile software applications. Work orders, or scheduled maintenance services can be dispatched from the office to the mobile handheld computer used by the service technicians. All of this information is sent back to the office wirelessly so the records can be maintained and the assets effectively managed.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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FedEx, GPS Fleet Tracking, Mobile Applications and Complaints

In this article on the blog called Trimble Fleet Tracking and GPS, FedEx's inability to estimate their time of delivery to a time window of less than 6 hours is discussed. It is interesting to ponder what technology and business process challenges FedEx must have to not be able to improve upon this.

I wonder how much lost productivity there is as a result of not knowing when a delivery will arrive, and being required to wait most of a day for it. With LBS (location based services) available, it seems that FedEx could alert the recipient when they were 1 hour from delivery, or within a 3 mile radius.

I wonder if it would work for FedEx to announce they would be parked at a certain central location for 15 minutes and you could drive there to pick-up your package early in the morning, rather than wait all day for it. Just wondering....

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Efficiency in Healthcare Services through Mobile Applications and Telemedicine

Recently my wife had minor surgery on her arm that was accompanied by an allergic reaction on her skin. She called her doctor who asked for a description. She provided, as best she could, a lay person's description. The doctor listened to the description over the phone and provided some simple recommendations. This was relatively efficient telemedicine for a non-serious situation. There was no visit required, just a couple of minutes of the Doctor's time and everything worked out fine.

It occurred to me later that we could easily have taken a quick well lighted digital photo with my iPhone and emailed the digital photo to our Doctor for review, reference and inclusion in our electronic healthcare records as well. Why not? It would likely have provided better and more accurate information. I wonder how many simple health related issues could be resolved using telemedicine and integrated digital photos sent by the patient?

We are at a transition point in the evolution of mobile technologies. The mobile technology is available and relatively inexpensive, but not yet integrated into even basic services in many cases. We need industry healthcare experts to start implementing these basic technology steps that improve efficiencies and reduce costs for both the provider and the patient.

I am reminded of a call I made to a plumber a few years back. I called and said I need a plumber to do a task. I said, I will send over a series of digital photos that show exactly what I need with measurements. The plumber said, I don't know how to receive and view digital photos. As a result, he drove out, looked at the scene I could have emailed him, left for another hour to purchase the parts and returned. He turned a quick 30 minute job into a 3 hour job with the added fuel and travel costs.

Healthcare providers need not be like the plumber. Telemedicine, digital images, and remote wireless health monitoring devices that send data to the Doctor's office at regular intervals could provide incredible efficiencies.

I would like your thoughts and comments on telemedicine and using mobile and wireless devices for providing healthcare services.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mobile Inventories, Field Services and Changing a Light Bulb

Today I walked by a van in the grocery store parking lot and saw the doors on the van open. A man had a shopping cart next to the van and was slowly and methodically taking out boxes of light bulbs, entering their product codes onto a paper work order form and then placing them in the shopping cart.

Presumably the young man was not a detailed oriented thief, but rather was preparing to take the light bulbs into the store and replace those that were burnt out. I watched as he looked for the product codes and wrote each one down. Someone is going to do something with that paper form. The likely scenario is that someone in administration will type the information on the paper form into the work order management software in the office when they can find nothing more fun to do.

I wonder how accurate the product codes are after the service technician writes them on the paper form, and the data entry person interprets the handwriting and then types them into the system?

There are numerous issues with this scenario:
  1. Inefficient use of a service technician's time - although it may not take a lot of skills to change a light bulb.
  2. Inaccuracies in the documentation of product codes and work order details caused by poor handwriting and inaccurate data entry.
  3. The lack of timely work order and inventory reporting, as the details are available only on paper until the data entry person gets to them.

Now this particular light bulb changing company may have been small, but think about the ones in big cities or Las Vegas even. Inefficiencies can add up to massive problems as they scale up.

With powerful, ruggedized handheld computers with integrated GPS, wireless connectivity and bar code scanners, inventories can be quickly scanned into the van (mobile inventory) and the mobile work order software can associate the parts and products with work order numbers and synchronized directly into the work order management system in the office for quick invoicing.

We finally have the answer to the age old question, "How many people (name your ethnic, geographical, religious or cultural stereotype) does it take to change a light bulb?" The answer is LESS THAN IT DID BEFORE, if you mobilize your work order processes with handheld computers and use data collection technologies like bar code scanners to document your inventory usage.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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GPS Fleet Tracking for Added Sales

I passed a blue Sears Appliance Repair van with a white satellite dish on the roof yesterday and it reminded me of their business strategy. The white dish serves as both a satellite uplink and GPRS link to the Internet. The vans are basically mobile WiFi centers. They are able to be tracked via GPS and they are able to provide some significant benefits for the service technicians that drive the vans.

The vans have both satellite uplinks and GPRS connectivity so when there is poor wireless connectivity, the van's communications can automatically switch over to the satellite uplink technology and continue communicating. This is a relatively expensive option, but Sears reports that it is worth it. What is the value proposition?

Sears reports that providing each of their service technicians with live access to CRMs (customer relationship management) systems, customer records, warranty information and product catalogs helps them sell more products and services at the point of work - the customer's home. They have measured these sales and report solid ROI.

The ROI is not what might have been expected. The relatively expensive communication system that each van has is equally used for GPS fleet tracking and to increase sales and improve onsite customer service.

It is important that GPS fleet tracking vendors and users think about the whole business process and the customer interaction when contemplating ROIs. Sometimes the ROI comes from a broader set of business drivers that initially assumed.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Dynamic and Mobile Inventories and Location Based Services

On the blog, Mobile Applications Australia, the author discusses the concept of dynamic and mobile inventories and location based services. The idea is some products may not have enough demand from one store location to sell out. They may have ordered too much inventory and even with discounts the product does not have enough demand at one store to sell out, but the demand across 10 stores may be sufficient to sell all of the inventory.

The excess inventory can be loaded into delivery vans and as the inventory nears each store location LBS alerts can be sent out to each subscriber's Smart phone or other mobile device announcing the availability of discounted inventory for a limited time.

It seems to me that LBSs may be able to revolutionize a lot of retail processes over the next 5 years.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Managing Cases and Children's Care with Mobile Applications

A technology writer that I enjoy reading is Philippe Winthrop. He recently wrote about a mobile software application that he learned about that helps case workers take better care of kids in this article.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

More on Dynamic Ride Sharing - Avego

I was once told by a mentor that once you come up with an idea, it is released to the world for everyone to ponder. Last week I was pondering the concept of dynamic ride sharing and wrote an article about it (read here). Will that idea was already released to the world through a company called Avego. It appears they are executing on the idea, which of course is what makes them different from me. I just pondered the idea over a cup of coffee and they were building a company.

Avego claims that the average driver has $3,000 per year in extra passenger capacity in their vehicle. If they could simply advertise the extra capacity via their iPhone's mobile software application, then many more people could car pool. I love the idea and will be watching Avego closely.

Could that same concept be used for cargo, tools, equipment? I have a pick-up truck and you need to move some boxes. I need a chain saw and you have a chain saw. Of course there are plenty of challenges to these models, but it is interesting to ponder.

Best of luck Avego!

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Dynamic Ride Sharing Mobile Applications

I am fascinated by the concept of dynamic ride sharing services and the challenging issues surrounding it.

Mobile handheld devices with integrated GPS technologies open doors to all kinds of services never before possible.

Think about this concept - a driver opens an application on her iPhone and notifies the DRS (dynamic ride sharing) service that she will be driving from point A to point B at 4 PM. The DRS system computes the distance and posts the ride details to subscribers with a ride value of $8.55.

Interested subcribers (riders) register for the ride. The driver reviews each potential riders' referrals and online record and accepts up to 3 riders. The acceptance process then sends the Driver's details to the riders for review and acceptance.

At the designated pick up location, each rider confirms they are in the vehicle via email, iPhone application or text message. Upon the trip completion, the driver and each rider completes a brief trip report that is sent to the DRS service and shows up on each of their online records.

No money changes hands in the vehicle. All financial transactions are completed online between the accounts of the driver and riders. The DRS service collects a fee on each transaction.

What are your thoughts? What an interesting way to better utilize cars, make your trip greener and share costs.

There is a mountain of challenges to this concept, but I would like your thoughts.

Read Part 2 of this article.

- Kevin Benedict,
Mobile Strategies Consultant, SAP EDI Expert and Technology Writer

Time Sensitive LBS Use Cases

There are a lot of new and interesting services that could be offered businesses that get creative with the LBS (location based services) concept.

Could restaurants sell extra or left over food, rather than throw it out if they could immediately notify subscribers of a discount on it for the next 45 minutes?

Could grocery stores inform customers of discounts on produce that is nearing end of shelf life.

Think about the notion of "time sensitivity" and LBSs. Could the local tire shop offer immediate 30 minute discounts on tires and services during slow parts of the day? Could the corner donut shop announce a 15 minute sale on the 18 remaining chocolate donuts? Can the busy hair salon announce a discount at 3:30 PM to fill an available slot?

Adding time sensitivity to LBSs is an intriguing concept. Any organization that sells units of time or services could benefit from filling empty slots.

I would like to hear your ideas and comments.


- Kevin Benedict,
Mobile Strategies Consultant, SAP EDI Expert and Technology Writer

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mobile Software Companies and Their Online Marketing Strategies?

For many years I have developed and managed marketing campaigns for mobile software companies. I ran seminars, Pay Per Click campaigns, white paper distributions, email blasts, webinars, Web 2.0 strategies etc. As a result, I am very interested in seeing which mobile software companies advertise online. It costs money to place an ad on websites, blogs and on search pages. Many companies simply don't have the money to advertise these days.

You can learn a lot about a company by seeing where they advertise. The economy has been tough. Many mobile software companies are struggling, but some continue aggressive online advertising campaigns and you see them placing their advertisements online. This reflects on their financial condition, funding, Web 2.0 marketing skills and ability to execute on a strategic plan.

Many mobile software companies pick certain topics where they want their online advertisements to appear. It is interesting to look at articles about different mobile technologies and see who is advertising. Field services topics are likely to show different advertisements for mobile software companies than the words mobile sales force automation or mobile inspection software. This can also tell you a lot about a mobile software company. Where is their marketing budget going? Usually, companies will back their priorities with budget.

If you are considering purchasing software from a mobile software company, then it might be worthwhile learning where they are spending their marketing budget.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Mobile Convergent Devices and Applications

I can't let this experience go undocumented. I am sitting in Starbucks drinking a Mocha, writing a blog article, chatting with an international client on skype, checking and responding to emails, taking phone calls, recording voice memos, accessing spreadsheets on Google Docs, scheduling meetings and listening to music all on my iPhone.

Yes, sometimes I must ask everyone in Starbucks to stop talking while I am on important calls, but other than that I have complete mobile office. My iPhone has effectively converged most applications and required office equipment into one small mobile device that is now an essential tool for mobile workers.

As I noted last week iPhones can also photograph and identify bar codes, use its integrated GPS to show your current location and nearby business and much more. Convergence is real.

- Kevin Benedict,
Mobile Technology Writer and Consultant

Mobile Smart Phones for Work & Play

I am consulting now days and my iPhone is used for both personal and professional purposes. Several weeks ago I complained in an article about having to use my personal phone number and voice mail for business.

A kind reader suggested that I try the new Google Voice service. I did and am still learning it but it has some interesting feature that I find handy for mobile workers.

Google let me pick a phone number from any location in the USA. I thought about getting a New York City number to be clever, but being clever generally gets me in trouble so chose a Boise prefix and number.

Once I had a Google phone number, I was asked to forward it to my mobile, home or work phone. So now one number can follow me to any location, phone or mobile device. My iPhone now has 2 phone numbers, one that came with the iPhone and now the Google number. I also have 2 different voice mails. One that came with my iPhone service and Google voice mail.

It gets better, Google transcribes any voice mails and sends it to my email address. I could be in New Zealand but read my voice mails through any Internet connection.

I know there is a lot more to learn about Google Voice, but I need to find a different issue to complain about now.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 and Mobile Software Applications


The term Enterprise 2.0 is receiving a lot of press these days (see definition of Enterprise 2.0). In this article we are going to discuss possible use cases for Enterprise 2.0 in the context of enterprise mobile applications.


Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen defined Enterprise 2.0 in this way, "a system of web based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration (kudos for buzz words), information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise." The bottom line, unstructured information sharing tools for use by the enterprise.

Many of the online references to Enterprise 2.0 are referring to intranet or internal company communications. Since mobility is more interesting, let's focus on how Enterprise 2.0 could be used external to the company in a B2B (business to business) context.

OK, an EnterpriseBook instead of a FaceBook. What information would one company like to share with another? Hummm...location of job sites, upcoming projects, RFPs, press releases, announcements, product catalogs etc. The problem is that when money is on the line companies go silent. They want to control the communication of information and protect the business. They don't want to share information that could fall into the hands of a competitor. So where is the value for enterprise mobile applications?

I see the value when multiple partners win business together. Let's say 6 companies are working together to complete a building project. These companies need to share and collaborate information on various parts of the project. The framers need to know when the foundation is completed, the plumbers need to know when the walls are up, the roofers need to know when the plywood is in place, etc. All of these mobile contractors need to know the status of the project. It would be good to see project photos. It would be good to know about any issues in advance. It would be nice to know what is going to be done today, an online project journal in the status section of EnterpriseBook.

Many of the contractors mentioned above work in mobile environments. They would benefit from having a mobile version of Enterprise 2.0 on a Smart phone or other ruggedized mobile handheld computer.

I could also see trusted business partners sharing sales leads. They could quickly identify the GPS coordinates of a potential lead and share with one of their partners.
How about sharing the price of medical insurance among business partners, or sharing the price of different medical procedures (ICD9 codes) in different medical practices so you can reward the medical practices with the most reasonable rates with your business?

Perhaps form your own buyers' co-op online through EnterpriseBook. You and your company's partners could combine your buying power for shared products and services. The discounted products and services could be listed in mobile applications integrated with GPS features so the various locations of the discounted products could show up on your map. Silly? Perhaps, but many new innovations start this way.
For a related article on Enterprise 2.0 from SD Times click here.
OK, it is now your turn! Where is the value for Enterprise 2.0 in the context of enterprise mobility? Please comment or send me an email.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Barcode Scans and Prices on Mobile Handheld Computers and Smart Phones

Last week I wrote an article pondering the benefits of using my iPhone to capture the bar code on grocery store products, using the integrated digital camera, and then have my iPhone use its GPS coordinates to look at the prices of this product in other grocery store locations that are close to mine.

In the comments part of that article, I received some good feedback from industry veterans identifying some of the challenges to accomplishing that dream. For example grocery stores don't want you shopping around for other products so don't publish their prices, and grocery stores don't want the food manufacturers promoting their products at other locations.

I did receive some links to software companies that are taking steps in that direction. Here is one link from Pic2Shop for your reference.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Monday, November 02, 2009

Mobile Field Services Score Cards

Mobile score cards for field service technicians. That is an interesting notion that is written about in this article. You combine mobile work order management applications, with mobile business intelligence dashboards and perhaps even mobile customer surveys. The results are a score that is shared company wide to all field service technicians.

In this scenario, everyone can see the total number of work orders a technician has completed each week, plus the results of customer satisfaction surveys and the totals of any products or services each technician has sold. This score is presented on a mobile dashboard on each of the technician's mobile handheld computers or Smart phones.

The idea is that a competitive spirit and peer pressure will encourage and motivate field service technicians to do the things that most benefit the company.

The customer service survey, each service technician must have the customer fill out on the screen of the mobile device, helps keep the service technician focused on the customer's satisfaction level.

Have you seen this kind of mobile software application before? Please share your thoughts.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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