Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Best Articles on Mobile Commerce Strategies 2015

In 2015, a master strategy for mobile commerce emerged.  Mobile apps need to be personalized, but that is not enough. Personalization without context, relevance, value to the customer and permission is just creepy and/or obnoxious.  We recognized a new kind of partnership is required between customers and trusted vendors.  One that requires a deeper level of earned trust, and one that provides mutual benefits through the sharing of data.  We call this relationship a MME Data Partnership.

Parts of MME Data Partnerships can be found within many existing loyalty and rewards programs.  Although the purpose is rarely understood.  These programs define how the collection and use of specific data will be used to provide mutual benefits.  It is an overt agreement by both parties to share and use data in return for defined rewards.  Within a MME Data Partnership we found three types of data, we call 3D-Me, are needed to optimize a mobile user experience:
  • Digital data - online and mobile activities and behaviors
  • Physical data - Sensor and IoT 
  • Personal data - MME Data Partnerships
For each of these categories purposeful strategies need to be developed and implemented to collect, analyze and utilize the data in order to provide the best experiences for customers.

Personalization, as we have learned, is not enough. Personalization needs to be combined with CROME Triggers (contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments), which are bits of data that when collected and analyzed in real-time, identify the need for specific and relevant personalized content.

All of these strategies and more are discussed in "The Best of Mobile Commerce 2015" articles listed below:
  1. Strategies for Personalizing Mobile Apps
  2. Special Report: Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of "Mobile Me"
  3. Mobile Strategies for Combining IoT, CROME, 3D-Me and Artificial Intelligence
  4. Mobile Commerce Strategies and CROME Triggers
  5. What Does the Age of Mobile Me - Mean for Retailers?
  6. Mobile Commerce Strategies and Tactics
  7. Retail Evolution, Mobile Experiences and MME Strategies
  8. Mobile Commerce, Speed and Operational Tempos, Part 1
  9. Mobile Commerce, Speed and Operational Tempos, Part 2
  10. Mobile Commerce, Speed and Operational Tempos, Part 3
  11. Latest Research on Mobile Commerce Trends and Strategies
  12. The New Mobile Consumer - Latest Research
  13. Mobile Consumer Behaviors - The Questions to Ask
  14. Video: Age of Mobile Me
Download the full report, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me" here: http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Instantly Personalizing Mobile Apps - Cutting Through Chaos

Unique Consumers and Unique Profiles
Smartphones, laptops, PCs and in-store visits have made path-to-purchase journeys very complex and confusing for online retailers to recognize and support.  Consumers can search and discover products and services using a smartphone on their way to work.  In the evening they can pull out a tablet and engage in immersive research while laying in bed.  They may decide to review some more on their desktop at work, then at lunch time stop at a brick and mortar store to look at the product in more detail.  That evening, they purchase the product online using a laptop.  How is a retailer or e-tailer going to cut through this chaos and recognize individual consumers and their needs along their path-to-purchase journey?

In our research at Cognizant's "Center for the Future of Work" we found online shoppers use different devices for different categories of products.  In fact, 56% of online shoppers use multiple devices on many online path-to-purchase journeys.  On the go search and discovery is often initiated on smartphones, immerse research on tablets, while completing transactions on laptops is a common pattern.

Some products consumers are comfortable purchasing on a smartphone, others not.  We found online shoppers of different ages exhibit markedly different shopping behaviors.  We found significantly different online shopping behaviors between those with different education levels, genders, ethnicity and technology preferences (laptop/desktop vs. mobile).

Our findings reveal these variables, all added up, equate to thousands, if not millions of different combinations of needs, preferences, unique activities and behaviors.  These unique set of variables we call Mobile Me Profiles (MME-Ps), require different personalized content, at different times and locations, for each consumer in order to provide an optimal experience.  In this age of "mobile me" where customers demand personalized and relevant user experiences, it is necessary to identify these differences, precisely and instantly.

If you are going to compete and win in mobile commerce today, you must target markets of one.  It is no longer an effective strategy to treat your customers as one homogeneous market of unknown consumers.  In today's world of mobile commerce, where devices are intimate extensions of unique individuals, knowing those individuals, as individuals is key.

Read more on how to deliver these strategies in my new report, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me."

Download the report here http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Mobile Technologies Revealed: Web and Native App Development Strategies

Our resident Cognizant mobile and digital technology guru, Peter Rogers, shares his insights into web and native app development strategies in this guest post:  Enjoy!
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Peter Rogers
I often meet customers who want to transition web developers into mobile application developers. Apple has clearly tried to address this market using Swift but that does not offer a cross platform solution. Developers who have come through this transition will traditionally wrap the latest and greatest web framework (like Angular 2 or React) using Adobe Cordova through initiatives like Ionic. However great the latest web frameworks are though they can never compete with pure native mobile user interfaces powered by dedicated hardware acceleration. It may be a simple solution but the net result is never going to be present the best possible user experience and there will always be problems with Apple App Store submission and changes to WebView technologies designed to gently nudge developers towards pure native Apps.

Appcelerator Titanium has long since offered an excellent solution in this space but the only downside is the lack of a combined desktop and mobile solution.

Recently three new exciting initiatives arrived to offer new Titanium-like solutions in this space:

1.       React Native (http://www.reactnative.com/)
2.       Angular 2 Native Apps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SbiiyRSIwo)
3.       NativeScript (https://www.nativescript.org/)

The benefit of the first two is that the technology can be shared across both mobile and desktop effectively. There is no learning a new framework. For the web developers who are trained in Angular 2 or React then this is a very attractive solution for transition to mobile development without having to go anywhere near Cordova. In fact in most cases all you have to do is to swap out the final Cordova Wrapping process for a dedicated Web Native Development phase, which means you don’t have to throw anything away.

How does this magic work? Well advanced web developers have already started to mix Angular and React: using the big framework quality of Angular and the high speed rendering of React. This architecture is made even simpler with Angular 2 in which there is platform-agnostic template parsing and platform-specific rendering. This makes it possible to plug in React Native or NativeScript as the underlying rendering engine. This offers a future in which Angular 2 can create cross-platform desktop or cross-platform mobile applications, allowing you to choose your programming language (ECMAScript 5.1, ECMAScript 2015, TypeScript, Dart or CoffeeScript) and choose your platform-specific rendering engine (React Native, NativeScript, Angular 1, Angular 2 or React). For those who wrote off Angular 2 due to radical design changes then suddenly that decision is looking incredible hasty, for it is nothing short of genius.

If you watch the Angular 2 Native App video then you will see the focus around NativeScript. The question is why not consider Titanium or React Native? Whilst that is perfectly possible using the plug and play nature of the new Angular 2 rendering engine there is a clear advantage offered by NativeScript. To understand this advantage we need to take a slight diversion into Hybrid App world. As you may recall there are three main models for Hybrid Apps: wrapped web; runtime interpreters; and cross-compilers. If we start with cross-compilers then we will find Xamarin ruling the roost but I would not call this a Rapid Application Development approach. You trade performance for a slightly longer development time and a more difficult programming language. The interesting thing with Xamarin is the 100% API coverage available within a few days. There are also a few HTML 5 canvas cross-compilers like those found in Intel XDK but these are specific to Canvas technology which works better for the specific use case of widgets and games. We all know the most popular wrapped web solution is Cordova, with another notable entry being IBM Worklight.

Runtime Interpreter solutions do not quite offer the performance of a cross-compiler but they do offer support for rapid application development through JavaScript. Appcelerator Titanium is the most popular Runtime Interpreter solution and has teased a cross-compiler solution called HyperLoop for a long time but it is offered in a restricted capacity. I am a huge fan of Titanium and have used it a lot for various customers. I was really looking forward to HyperLoop but looking at the software repository then it seems to have slowed down to a halt. The only downside of Titanium is the lack of 100% API coverage but this is a shared limitation with most other portable native solutions with Xamarin and NativeScript being the notable alternatives. Now in the case of Xamarin the API wiring has to be performed by hand however in NativeScript then it is automatic.

So what is the magic of the Runtime Interpreter solution powering Titanium, Kony, React Native and NativeScript? Well Telerik (who created NativeScript) provide the best explanation that I have quite possibly ever read before online (http://developer.telerik.com/featured/nativescript-works/). In a nutshell the two core JavaScript engines that power iOS (JavaScript Core) and Android (V8) both expose a very advanced set of APIs that power the JavaScript bridge (http://izs.me/v8-docs/namespacev8.html).

·         Inject new objects into the global namespace
·         JavaScript function callbacks
·         JNI to talk with the C layer on Android

NativeScript offers the following explanation of how it uses these APIs in order to build the JavaScript bridge:

1)      Metadata is injected into the global namespace at build-time
2)      The V8/JavaScript Core function callback runs.
3)      The NativeScript runtime uses its metadata to know that the JavaScript function calls means it needs to instantiate an Android/iOS native object
4)      The NativeScript runtime uses the JNI to instantiate an Android object and keeps a reference to it (iOS can talk directly to the C layer)
5)      The NativeScript runtime returns a JavaScript object that proxies the Android/iOS object.
6)      Control returns to JavaScript where the proxy object gets stored as a local variable.

This is probably quite similar for most of the other vendors but the additional step that NativeScript adds is the ability to dynamically build the API set at build time using Reflection (introspection). Because generating this data is non-trivial from a performance perspective, NativeScript does it ahead of time, and embeds the pre-generated metadata during the Android/iOS build step. This is why NativeScript can offer 100% API coverage immediately because it does not involve the manual step required in Xamarin. To be accurate it is unlikely that NativeScript can offer 100% API but instead it will offer all of the APIs that can be discovered through reflection – there is a subtle difference here as those who have use reflection programmatically will pick up on.

NativeScript offers two different modes of operation:

1)      Use the low level iOS and Android objects directly
2)      Use high level abstraction APIs

The high level abstraction APIs are provided as RequireJS modules and allow you to work at a higher level of abstraction. If you were wiring this into Angular 2 then you would probably have an Angular component which either calls a Browser Object or an NS Module, which itself talks to either an iOS proxy object or an Android proxy object through NativeScript. Of course there is nothing to stop you having an Angular component that calls out to React Native and that option is being explored as well.

This is not to say that NativeScript is better than React Native, Titanium or Xamarin. In fact I can see the main use case of NativeScript as being used inside of Angular 2 as its platform specific rendering solution. I can actually see more people using React Native as a standalone solution even though it is in a much earlier state. I can also see Titanium carrying on as one of the most popular mobile solutions on the market today. I can however see native mobile web applications becoming a hot new topic and a great place to transition web developers towards.

Download the latest mobile strategies research paper, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me," here http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf
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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Latest Research on Mobile Consumer Behaviors and Mobile App Requirements

I just finished a major research paper titled, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me."  Our findings reveal current mobile consumer behaviors, the challenges in creating mobile apps for them, and specific recommendations and business strategies for winning in an age of "Mobile Me."  Download the full report here http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/IqN6NbY_Q0A
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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Beacon Essentials You Must Quickly Learn

Our resident Cognizant digital/mobile expert, Peter Rogers, asked me to recommend a digital strategies topic to share, and I suggested Beacons for this week.  I confess to reading about them daily without knowing much about them, so I want to thank Peter for this article!  Enjoy!
********
Digital & Mobile Expert
Peter Rogers

Let's start with a Basic Beacons 101 class:

  1. Beacons do not push out notifications. They broadcast an advertisement of themselves (traditionally their UUID, major and minor values) and can be detected by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices.
  2. The proximity from a number of Beacons can be measured using typical triangulation techniques in order to get a (very) rough idea of (typically) indoor location.
  3. The Beacon UUID, major and minor version values are typically used for identification and used to map to either a message, service, media content, website, application or location inside the Native App.
  4. Beacons can have their UUID, major and minor versions (and indeed power level) modified statically before deployment or dynamically using WiFi connectivity. A Beacon Management App is often provided by a Beacon Platform Vendor to allow you to manage these values dynamically.
  5. Updating the Beacon major and minor values can be used to update the identity of the Beacons and subsequently change what they map to inside the Native App. This does mean there is a security risk of somebody remotely hacking your Beacons and changing their values to take down or corrupt your service.
  6. iBeacon is Apple’s proprietary BLE profile but their patents seem to cover more than just the profile aspect. There were Beacons before iBeacons. Apple did not invent the Beacon. What they did is an incredibly good job of integrating Beacon support into iOS. iBeacon is not a piece of hardware. It is a BLE profile that is loaded onto a piece of hardware. This profile makes the Beacon an iBeacon.
  7. There are many Beacon vendors who offer various capabilities such as: BlueCats; BlueSense; Gelo; Kontakt.io; Glimworm; Sensorberg; Sonic Notify; beaconstac; mibeacon (Mubaloo); estimote; Gimbal (Qualcomm); Apple; and Google, etc. 

Beacon vendors offer various difference offerings such as:

  • hardware
  • proprietary BLE Beacon profiles
  • support for popular profiles
  • remote Beacon management
  • analytics
  • associated content management
  • marketing campaigns
  • software version management
  • profile switching
  • client side SDKs
  • professional support services
Most do not offer the whole solution, and so it was interesting to see Apple and then Google throw their hat into the ring. Most people are still really excited about Apple’s iBeacons, but they look like they will become a closed eco-system which could possibly even include being able to be physically undetectable to non-Apple hardware.  Today Beacon vendors are just not allowed to provide library based support for iBeacons on Android hardware (http://beekn.net/2014/07/ibeacon-for-android/).

At the start of 2015 Google created a new form of Beacon called UriBeacon (http://uribeacon.io/) which was able to actually advertise a URL pointing to a website or a URL that could be processed locally. This was in stark contrast to all the previous forms of Beacon which could only advertise their identity (UUID, minor, major). UriBeacons also promised to be cheaper and easier to configure, which was largely down to their more limited use case of just being used to advertise a URL/URI. The killer concept, however, was that of The Physical Web. The Physical Web is an approach to unleash the core superpower of the web: interaction on demand. People should be able to walk up to any smart device and not have to download an app first. A small pre-installed App (like the Web Browser or something Operating System level) on the phone scans for URLs that are nearby. Google previously used the UriBeacon format to find nearby URLs without requiring any centralized registrar.

This was a major breakthrough because having to download an App for each Beacon vendor completely breaks the organic, intelligent, evolutionary Smart City model. Notice that I used the words ‘without having to download an App’. You still need an App to process the UriBeacons, however, this can be built into the Web Browser (Chrome offers this for iOS) or the Operating System (Android M offers this). The following vendors offer UriBeacons: Blesh; BKON; iBliO; KST; and twocanoes, etc.  

Recently Google updated their single-case UriBeacon specification to that of Eddystone. Eddystone is an open-source cross-platform beacon solution that supports broadcasting of UUID, URL, EIDs and Telemetry data. Previously Beacons had only supported UUID until UriBeacons offered the single option of URL advertisement. Eddystone offers an additional two frame types: Ephemeral ID is an ID which changes frequently and is only available to an authorised app; Telemetry is data about the beacon or attached sensors: e.g. battery life, temperature, humidity. Unlike iBeacons, which must be approved by Apple, anyone can make an Eddystone-compatible beacon. Current beacon manufacturers include: Estimote; Kontakt; and Radius Networks, etc.

The Eddystone-URL frame broadcasts a URL using a compressed encoding format in order to fit more within the limited advertisement packet. Once decoded, the URL can be used by any client with access to the internet. For example, if an Eddystone-URL beacon were to broadcast A URL then any client that received this packet and with an Internet connection could choose to visit that URL (probably over WiFi). You can use an App to manage that experience and either take you directly to the URL or process a URI internally to perform some other function without network connectivity. Better still The Physical Web initiative has moved away from UriBeacon to the open initiative of Eddystone.

Now one thing to realise is that Eddystone may support iOS but that obviously does not include integration with CoreLocation as per iBeacons. Eddystone beacons only interact with iOS devices via CoreBluetooth which means you have more work to do. Likewise, on Android M there are a whole bunch of new APIs and those will not be available on iOS.

  • The Nearby API makes it easy for apps to find and communicate with beacons to get specific information and context. Apparently it uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and inaudible sound.
  • Nearby provides a proximity API called Nearby Messages in which iOS devices, Android devices and Beacons can discover, communicate and share data/content with each other.
  • The Proximity Beacon API helps developers to manage data and content associated with Beacons. Once Beacons are registered with Google's Proximity Beacon API then we can map data and content that can be pulled from the Cloud using a REST interface. This makes Content Management Solutions much easier and gives us the ability to dynamically map content available to Beacons. This functionality will most probably be supported in the Physical Web through Web Browsers clients that support this API through JavaScript.  
  • Place Picker is an extension of Places API that can show Beacons in your immediate vicinity. The Places API is also able to read and write Beacon positioning information (GPS coordinates, indoor floor level, etc.) from/to the Google Places database using a unique Place ID based around the Beacon UUID and then have the Beacons navigable though Google Maps. This would provide a much better retail solution where customers could literally Google “Hair Shampoo” inside a Boots store and be taken directly to the product using indoor positioning.

I am sure you have many questions such as, can a Beacon run iBeacon and Eddystone simultaneously. At the moment the Beacon vendors offer the ability to support both profiles but not simultaneously. This is apparently due to battery usage. Most vendors do seem to support simultaneous broadcast of UUID, URL and Telemetrics within Eddystone though. For any other questions then here is a fantastic Q&A on Eddystone from Kontakt.io (http://kontakt.io/blog/eddystone-faq/).

The Physical Web has now moved away from UriBeacon and onto Eddystone-URL frames. A few months ago, Chrome for iOS added a Today widget. The new Chrome for iOS integrates the Physical Web into the Chrome Today widget, enabling users to access an on-demand list of web content that is relevant to their surroundings. The Physical Web displays content that is broadcasted using Eddystone-URL format. You can add your content to the Physical Web by simply configuring a beacon that supports Eddystone-URL to transmit your URL of choice. When users who have enabled the Physical Web open the Today view, the Chrome widget scans for broadcasted URLs and displays these results, using estimated proximity of the beacons to rank the content.

The Physical Web also support finding URLs through Wifi using mDNS (and uPnP). The multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) resolves host names to IP addresses within small networks that do not include a local name server. It is a zero-configuration service, using essentially the same programming interfaces, packet formats and operating semantics as DNS. While designed by Stuart Cheshire to be stand-alone capable, it can work in concert with DNS servers. The mDNS protocol is implemented by the Apple Bonjour and by Linux nss-mdns services. In other words rather than waiting for your client to discover a Beacon advertising a UUID or URL then you could actually start searching for local services hosted on Beacons using a multicast form of DNS. Beacons are actually more powerful than most people realise and can often run micro-services on them. In fact if we think about it then Beacon based services are the ultimate form of a micro-service architecture. Brillo is an upcoming Android-based operating system for IoT devices and this lightweight OS could theoretically run on a Beacon which would enable a portable way of deploying a Beacon based micro-service architecture.

When you woke up this morning did you honestly think that Beacons were that powerful?

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The 18 Laws for Winning with Data, Speed and Mobility

I have given nine presentations in the past 10 days on mobile and data strategies.  I have met with companies in the energy, media, insurance and banking industries.  I have brainstormed and discussed these laws for winning with data, speed and mobility, and they have held up.  In the age of mobile me, where information is the prize, a new set of laws and strategies are required to win.  In my new report, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me," I discuss many of these laws and how they are applied in mobile apps and mobile commerce.
  1. Data is the modern commercial battlefield.
  2. Information dominance is the strategic goal.
  3. Real-time operations and tempos are the targets.
  4. Advantages in speed, analytics, business operational tempos determine the winners.
  5. Real-time business speed is enabled by advances in mobile information, sensors and wireless communications.
  6. Competition is now focused on optimizing information logistics systems (the systems involved in maximizing information advantages).
  7. Businesses that can “understand and act with speed” dominate those which are slower. 
  8. In order to win or gain superiority over competitors in the age of information, you must operate  information logistics systems at a faster tempo, and get inside your competitor's decision curves. (Adapted from John Boyd)
  9. Situational awareness enables insights, innovations and operations to be conducted faster and at lower cost .
  10. Principle of Acceleration & Mobility – As demand for mobile apps increases, an even greater demand for changes will occur across business processes, operations and IT.
  11. The more data that is collected and analyzed, the greater the economic value and innovation opportunity it has in aggregate.
  12. Data has a shelf-life, and the economic value of data diminishes quickly over time.
  13. The economic value of information multiplies when combined with context and right time delivery.
  14. Mobile apps provide only as much value as the systems behind them.
  15. Full Spectrum Information: Winners will dominate by collecting, transmitting, analyzing, reporting and automating decision making faster and better.
  16. The size of opponents and their systems and platforms are less representative of power today, than the quality of their sensor systems, mobile communication links and their ability to use information to their advantage.
  17. Information is a new asset class, in that it has measurable economic value.  There are significant strategic, operational and financial reasons for investing in it, and optimizing it. (Douglas Laney, Gartner)
  18. If I can develop and pursue my plan to defeat you faster than you can execute your plan to defeat me, then your plan in unimportant. ~ Robert Leonard
These laws need to be known, and their relevance intimately understood and applied to every aspect of business and IT today.

Download the new report "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me" - http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Data Collection and the Modern Battlefields of Business

Dr. John Snow's Map
In 1854 Cholera broke out in the Soho neighborhood of London.  Hundreds of people were struck down and died within days.  No one, at the time understood where the disease came from, how to treat it or how it was transmitted.

A local physician, Dr. John Snow spent every possible moment of his day studying the victims and data in an attempt to understand the disease.  His biggest challenge was a lack of data.  He had only the list of the dead and a blank map of the neighborhood.  What he needed was more data.  This was solved when he met the local priest, Henry Whitehouse.  Whitehouse had recorded the time of death, and the location where all the families lived and died.  When these sources of data where combined, and then overlaid on a map, visual patterns emerged which ultimately led the two to see the common denominator for all the victims was drinking contaminated water from the Broad Street water pump.

The pump handle was removed, people stopped drinking its water, and the disease burned out.  Dr. John Snow is now recognized as one of the fathers of modern epidemiology.  The data that led to his discoveries were:
  • Victims
  • Relationships
  • Locations
  • Time of illness
  • Time of death
  • Behaviors and patterns of life
Adding all of these data sources to a map, for visual reference and clarity, enabled the insight that ultimately revealed the source and means of transmission of the disease.  Minus key data sources, the disease would have remained a mystery and many more people would have died.

In business, many challenges and obstacles today can also be solved with better data collection strategies and enhanced analytics.  We have all heard the phrase, "knowledge is power."  Knowledge comes from data, so data is power.

I sincerely believe that the battlefields of business today are around data.  The winners of today and tomorrow will be those better able to collect, analyze, understand and apply data to the customization and personalization of digital interactions.  My colleagues Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring wrote the book "Code Halos" last year to dive deep into these ideas.

Last week I published a new thought leadership whitepaper on the application of real-time data strategies and analytics to mobile commerce and consumer facing mobile applications.  The paper is titled, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me."  You can download the whitepaper here http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me - New Report

Supporting real-time enterprise mobility that is personalized and contextually relevant takes a lot of work. In fact, it takes digital transformation. We have all grown accustomed to using personal consumer apps that know and understand us (think airline apps and Netflix), our preferences and provide contextually relevant content. Today, we expect the same from all of our apps both consumer and enterprise.

Download the full report here "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me".

Ninety percent of mobile users highly value personalized mobile experiences. In order to deliver these experiences one must have real-time data collection, analytics, personalization engines and mobile applications capable of supporting real-time personalization. One must also have an operational tempo within their IT systems and business processes capable of supporting real-time. These capabilities make possible innovative new business processes that provide significant competitive advantages for businesses that embrace them.

Delivering a personalized experience, however, requires data and lots of it. We have identified three key information rich sources of this data we call 3D-Me data sources:

  1. Digital – online activities, preferences, sentiment and profiles
  2. Physical – data collected from IoT sensors (on vehicles, buildings, equipment, wearables, smartphones, etc.)
  3. Personal – user preferences, roles, jobs, skills, locations, etc.
3D-Me data sources enable enterprises to collect the right data to gain an understanding of real-time activities, and insights into the needs of their users. One of the key ingredients of a 3D-Me data source strategy is users must agree to share personal data in exchange for value. This requires a new kind of enterprise/user relationships we call MME Data Partnerships.
Personalized experiences are not the whole story. End users want contextually relevant personalization. Personalization becomes relevant when you add time, context and location to it. Sending me an SMS alert that my local coffee shop is offering my favorite hot drink at a 50% discount for the next 45 minutes is not relevant if I am on the other side of the country. Relevant personalization requires the use of data triggers that identify contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments (CROME). CROME triggers are bits of data that provide context, which can be used to provide relevant personalization at a specific time and place. Think geo-fencing jobsites.

These CROME triggers provided the data that when analyzed, understood and integrated with relevant personalization engines, can optimize the user's experience and productivity on the job.

CROME triggers can automatically deliver the right content at the right time. They can be connected to tasks, jobs, timesheets, etc. There are at least six tasks/challenges when implementing a CROME strategies:
  • Identify the required CROME triggers
  • Understand the meaning of each CROME trigger
  • Understand where and how CROME triggers can be placed, collected and transmitted
  • Monitor and analyze CROME triggers in real-time
  • Connect specific CROME triggers to specific personalization options and business value
  • Provide CROME powered personalization in mobile experiences
CROME triggers inform that something different and perhaps significant is happening. Finding the meaning, and then relating it to a particular personalization task or action follows.

The implementation of 3D-ME enabled data and personalization strategies and CROME triggers, all supported by IT systems and business processes running at real-time operational tempos will help companies deliver to the highest expectations of mobile users today and tomorrow.

Download the full report here http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Cutting-Through-Chaos-in-the-Age-of-Mobile-Me-codex1579.pdf.
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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mobile Expert Interviews: Dan Bricklin, Co-Developer of the First "Killer App"

I am excited to share an interview I conducted yesterday in Boston with a member of software programming royalty, Dan Bricklin.  Dan was the co-developer of the world's first software "killer app", Visicalc.  Visicalc, a spreadsheet app for the Apple II series of personal computers, was so popular in the 1980s, that companies spent thousands of dollars on computers just to run the $100 software program.  Dan worked closely with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates many others in the early years of personal computers.  His life is outlined here on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Bricklin.

Dan still programs and designs productivity apps.  He is the CTO of Alpha Software, the developers of sophisticated digital forms for mobile devices.

Dan has received many honors for his contributions to the computer industry from the ACM, IEEE, MIT, PC Magazine, the Western Society of Engineers, and others. In 1981, he was given a Grace Murray Hopper Award for VisiCalc.  In 1996, Bricklin was awarded by the IEEE Computer Society with the Computer Entrepreneur Award for pioneering the development and commercialization of the spreadsheet and the profound changes it fostered in business and industry.  In 2003, Bricklin was given the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for being a technology change leader. He was recognized for having used information technology in an industry-transforming way. He has received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Newbury College.  In 2004, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for advancing the utility of personal computers by developing the VisiCalc electronic spreadsheet." Bricklin has appeared in the 1996 documentary Triumph of the Nerds, as well as the 2005 documentary Aardvark'd: 12 Weeks with Geeks, in both cases discussing the development of VisiCalc. His book, Bricklin on Technology, was published by Wiley in May 2009.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/ucDlFmrHfpk
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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Strategies for Combining IoT, Mobility, AI, CROME and 3D-Me

None of us like slow mobile applications or those that ask us stupid questions. Our time has value. Google reports 82% of smartphone owners research and compare prices in stores, and we don’t want to be standing in the aisle answering questions the mobile app and vendor should already know. We want our apps to recognize us, the context, and to understand our needs. We want real-time mobile applications connected to mobile commerce vendors running at real-time operational tempos.

In addition to speed, 90% of 18-34 years olds strongly value personalization in their mobile applications. Personalization comes in at least two forms, latent and real-time. Latent personalization means it lays dormant waiting for an application to be launched and then applies a stored personalized content profile. Real-time personalization, however, means dynamic real-time data, consisting of digital, physical and personal (3D-Me data) data, is being always collected and combined with CROME triggers (real-time contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments) to instantly provide a personalized experience that is relevant now! For example, a security gate automatically opens because it is integrated with a mobile application that geo-fences the security gate. When you are 100 meters away it notifies the security system to open your front security gate, raise the garage door, turn on the inside and outside lights, deactivate the home security system and notifies your family members that you are home.  An AI algorithm understands the real-time meaning and context of the data it is receiving.

Real-time data collected via GPS on your smartphone automatically triggered a real-time, relevant event using real-time artificial intelligence algorithms. Combining real-time 3D-Me data, CROME triggers and artificial intelligence with smart devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) means more and more of your daily activities and behaviors can be understood and digital conveniences developed.

The scenario above requires an intimate understanding of the customer, their security systems, smart devices, passwords, locations and behaviors.  I predict that soon consumer scenarios will justify extending enterprise mobile security systems out to consumers.  This means enterprise mobile security vendors may soon expand beyond the enterprise into the integrated consumer mobility/IoT/AI markets as the entire integrated system needs to be secured.

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Kevin Benedict
Mobile Technology and Business Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
View my profile on LinkedIn
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mobile Expert Interviews: VMware's Sanjay Poonen, PT 2

In Part 2 (watch Part 1 here) of my interview with VMware's Sanjay Poonen, we discuss VMware's strategies toward the enterprise mobility market, recent announcements and plans going forward.  In addition, Sanjay announces the new AirWatch led Mobile Security Alliance with 10 initial members. This alliance supports customers seeking to mitigate the growing mobile threat landscape by providing advanced security solutions. Charter AirWatch Mobile Security Alliance members include Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, FireEye, Appthority, Lookout, Pradeo, Proofpoint, Skycure, Veracode and Zimperium.

Also, SAP and VMware plan to integrate the ACE (App Configuration for the Enterprise) approach to enable secure, instant deployment and login of SAP's SuccessFactors and Concur mobile applications on iOS and Android devices. Enjoy!

Video Link: https://youtu.be/JPptgrVmGTY

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mobile Expert Interviews: VMware's Sanjay Poonen, PT 1

I had the honor of sitting down with and interviewing VMware's EVP and GM of End User Computing, Sanjay Poonen last week on VMware's beautiful 500 acre campus in Palo Alto, CA.  In this interview we cover the past, present and future state of enterprise mobility, SAP's recent mobile developments and partnership with AirWatch, mobile security, application management and much more.  You cannot get a more insider view of mobility today!  Enjoy!  Watch Part 2 here.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/bGTH9ZSwzdk

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Africa, Mobile Phones and Refugees

Boise's Congolese/Rwandan
Refugee Community
This week a friend texted to ask advice on an appropriate welcome gift to present newly arriving Syrian refugees in Boise, Idaho. Without hesitation I said a cheap mobile phone with prepaid minutes. Why?  We are active in the refugee community and over the past three years have lost new refugees in the city. We have had kids waiting for moms that we can't find.  We have missed numerous doctor appointments because of language barriers and a lack of communications.  We have learned the value of even the simplest and cheapest of mobile phones.

We have learned, working with the mostly Congolese/Rwandan refugee community, that when people have phones, coordination is far easier and more efficient.  When refugees first arrive, they are scheduled with non-stop appointments with different agencies, healthcare services and schools.  They are in a new culture, with a new language, in a new city/state/country, with many new systems all involving reams of paperwork.  Phones and conference calls with translators help them navigate through each challenge and obstacle.

My wife just returned from Rwanda, Africa.  While there, I was able to be in real-time communications with her in the remotest corners of the country.  She had purchased an international data and phone plan from AT&T, and she could text and send photos and videos all along the way.  She blogged daily (read it here http://words-on-the-way.blogspot.com/), and yes, there is an app for that.  In addition to communicating, she used her iPhone to take hundreds of photos and many videos.  She had an entire global audience of friends, family and social media followers digitally experiencing her travels and experiences.

In days past, reporters would struggle to document news, read what they had written over the phone, mail their unprocessed film to distant offices, or use satellite phones to send them.  Today with ubiquitous wireless connectivity and smartphones, we can experience the world LIVE!

Tate (grandma)
Our friends in the refugee community here in Boise have many friends and family members remaining in Rwanda.  Mobile phones, the internet and mobile applications enable them to stay connected.  In fact, while my wife, Shawna, was traveling to visit Tate (Kinyarwandan for grandma) in a remote part of the country without a street address, they were able to use mobile phones in the USA to inform family members of the visit, and then coordinate with them to have a person meet the car along a road to guide them to the right village, house and grandma.

When refugees arrive in Europe or North America, they connect with and share their experiences with those back home.  They can be the support system for those that arrive later.  Today, refugees meet refugees at the airport.  Friends and family connected by mobile devices have a ready made support system to quickly educate and teach new arrivals on how things work.

Also, in Africa, where large segments of the population are unbanked (without bank accounts), digital banks and payment services like M-Pesa have stepped in.  From Wikipedia, M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania.  M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with a mobile device.  M-Pesa brings payment services and infrastructure to the remotest corners of Africa.  These mobile phone services provide security and safety for money transfers and make it harder for theft and bribes to intercept them.

In my professional life I research, write and teach about mobile technologies and their utility and value.  In my personal and professional life, I experience it.  In the refugee community, it is an essential tool for adapting to a new world.  It is a connection with family and friends still in refugee camps and in remote mountain villages.  It is their communication with the past, essential tool, digital wallet and social network of today, and link to a better tomorrow.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Mobile and Digital Expert Interviews: Ashutosh Didwania

Last week I was honored to speak at the Maritz Innovates event in St. Louis, MO. The topic was my new report titled, Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me.  It will be out in two weeks.  This report is big!  We worked with RIS to survey 5,000 consumers on their mobile shopping habits - stay tuned.  While at this event, I met digital transformation and mobility expert Ashutosh Didwania with Digital Works at Cognizant.  In this interview we discuss the role of mobility in digital transformation.  Enjoy!

Video Link: https://youtu.be/volb9SH9n-U


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mobile Insights - Feeling the Force (Force Touch) with iOS 9

My friend and Cognizant's mobile and digital technical guru, Peter Rogers, has been playing again. In this "must read" article he shares how iOS9 handles touch and sensing.   Enjoy!
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Every time there is a new games console release (especially when Nintendo is involved) rumours are always floating abound of a technological support for textures that you can actually feel on your touch screen. Basically the ability to sense different materials through the screen. It is a lovely idea and the closest we have come yet is probably haptics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptic_technology) and electric shock feedback (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRQAijNKSEs).

Well, we are not there quite yet but Apple certainly came close with the iPhone 6S announcement of 3D Touch (http://www.apple.com/iphone-6s/3d-touch/). After revolutionising the touch screen world with multi-touch, it then made perfect sense to add a force element to the touches in order to offer different types of touch depending on the applied pressure. In fact, there was something called Force Touch which was already available on the Apple Watch however it had less capability to measure your touches and doesn’t react as quickly to your input. This is because the new 3D touch can instantly measure microscopic changes and feed them back from the hardware to the software in real-time. 3D Touch is highly sensitive and reacts immediately, it also allowing different types (or level) of press depending on the pressure applied. Apple have included this feature in iOS 9 but the hardware is only released in the 6S devices.

“When you press the display, capacitive sensors instantly measure microscopic changes in the distance between the cover glass and the backlight. iOS uses these measurements to provide fast, accurate, and continuous response to finger pressure, which could only happen with deep integration between software and hardware. iPhone 6s also provides you with responsive feedback in the form of subtle taps, letting you know that it’s sensing the pressure you’re applying.” [Apple]

I have already fallen in love with 3D Touch but we have to remember that it is only available on 3D Touch devices and the feature may also be turned off by the user. Currently the only devices supporting this are the 6S and 6S Plus, which is surprising given that the new iPad Pro would be perfect for pressure sensitive art packages. The Apple Human Interface Guidelines state that “When 3D Touch is available, take advantage of its capabilities. When it is not available, provide alternatives such as by employing touch and hold. To ensure that all your users can access your app’s features, branch your code depending on whether 3D Touch is available.” This gives a glimpse of a future whereby most Apps are using 3D Touch even if it is faked on non-3D Touch devices.

As well as being built into some preinstalled applications.  You can also use it within third party applications. The 3D Touch enables three new types of capability:
  1. Pressure sensitive applications, such as art packages
  2. Peek and pop, to preview content without opening it
  3. Quick actions, to offer a short cut to different services offered by the same App
Mobile & Gaming Expert
Cognizant's Peter Rogers
The first is realised by two new properties in the UITouch class: ‘force’ and ‘maximumPossibleForce’. These properties allow ‘UIEvent’ events to convey touch pressure information to the App. A typical example is an art package whereby you press harder to get a thicker line.

The second is true genius in my opinion. The UIViewController class can respond to three phases of applied pressure to offer ‘Peek and Pop’ functionality. When you first apply a little bit of pressure then a visual indication appears  (the rest of the content blurs) to show if a content preview is available. If it is then a little bit more pressure then you will be shown a preview of the content called a ‘Peek’. If you release your finger at this stage then the content preview is hidden and you return back to the original user interface without having wasted your time loading content that was needlessly time consuming. The email client is a perfect use case as you can imagine. If however you swipe upwards on the Peek then you are shown the ‘Peek Quick Actions’ which allow you to perform quick actions associated with it – this will be explained in the Quick Actions section later on. If you apply the final level of pressure then the you can optionally navigate to the preview content and this is referred to as a ‘Pop’. The analogy here is of a stack of visual elements that allows you to peek at an element before popping it off the stack.

This is where Apple have been really clever in iOS 9 and their rollout of information, as we had previously seen the capability to switch between Apps transparently, but it becomes very clear why this is so useful when we see ‘Peek and Pop’. For example the new Safari View Controller actually uses Safari to do the new rendering without launching it. Likewise the new hot-linking between Web Browser and Apps is seamless without any App loading or closing. This enables the Peak Preview to show you the a preview of a Web URL or Apple Map contained in an email, without having to clumsily swap between applications. This is built into a few of the native applications: email; web links in email; locations in email; and the camera.

The third is probably the most contentious. By clicking on an App icon within a 3D Touch device then you will be presented with a menu of options called Quick Actions. These actions allow you to use the App to quickly perform a given service – for example “Take a Selfie” is supported in the pre-installed Camera App. If you can anticipate between three and five common tasks that your App performs (typically the items within a menu shown in the first screen are good candidates) then you can offer these as Quick Actions either statically (in your app’s Info.plist file) or dynamically (using UIApplicationShortcutItem). A Quick Action can return a small amount of text and an optional icon.

The only downside to all of this wonderfulness is how Xcode 7 supports 3D Touch development. Sadly the Simulator in Xcode 7 does not support 3D Touch and neither does Interface Builder. That pretty much means you need to develop on the device for testing 3D Touch. It also adds a whole layer of entropy for automated testing using systems like Calabash.

As wonderful as iOS 9 is, and I truly believe it is wonderful now, the bottom line is that developers are going to face three issues:
  1. They will need to be doing a lot more on-device testing for 3D Touch and Multi-Tasking
  2. They will be increasingly going in different directions for iOS and Android development
  3. They will be increasingly waiting for cutting edge features to be supported in cross-platform solutions 
iOS 9 may go down in history as the operating system that finally broke cross platform development and actually differentiated between native Apps and HTML 5.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Digital Transformation Imperative

Rahul Tyagi
It is my belief that mobile technologies drive the train of digital transformation.  It is the effort of supporting a real-time mobile user that is forcing enterprises to rethink business processes, IT environments, budget priorities and business strategies.

In this article my colleague and digital transformation strategies expert Rahul Tyagi, shares his insights on digital transformation.  He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and IIT, Roorkee, India.  Enjoy!
*****

The dictionary meaning of digital is anything that has digits [not helpful]. The software industry has been dealing with digital for the past five decades via mainframe software, PC software, client-server software etc. So why we are talking about digital now? I recently conducted a Google search to find what the world is saying about digital. I looked at the Federal Government Digital Strategy, I skimmed thru Cisco’s Digital Point-of-View, reviewed MIT Sloan's digital perspective and many more. I found no satisfactory insights.

I will share my point of view now.  Let's look at the key drivers of Digital.

DIGITAL DRIVER – INNOVATION AND ITS PROLIFERATION

We looked at innovation happening in organizations, and how it proliferates across industries over last 100+ years. Here are few examples
  1. Ford perfected assembly line concept (circa 1910) that helped produce economical cars for broader demographics. Over next 5 + decades the assembly line concept was gradually adopted by other manufacturing industries e.g. steel mills, food and beverages and cloth manufacturers etc.
  2. Motorola invented concept of Six Sigma (circa 1970) to produce high quality electronic components. Over next 3+ decades Six Sigma is adopted by thousands of organization across many industries e.g. telecom, software, manufacturing etc.
  3. IBM created Eclipse in year 1998 and later open sourced it. Over last 1+ decade Eclipse is adopted by software developers across industries.
  4. Google invented Map Reduce concept (circa 2001) to process large size data sets. Over last decade Map Reduce is widely adopted by IT departments across many industries.
We observed innovation typically follows a path from inside organizations to industry (or industries). Proliferation of innovation takes time e.g. the use of assembly line concepts took a few decades to proliferate, Six Sigma took 1+ decade to proliferate.

Today we observe a huge amount of innovation happening around personalized user engagements in various form factors, the micro measurement of user behaviors, advanced analytics and social aspects, cloud etc. We believe today that user centric innovation is ripe for adoption across industries to provide more meaningful user engagements.

DIGITAL DRIVER – SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING USER EXPERIENCE

Today we can use many engaging tools which are available for free in the public domain e.g. Facebook, Google search, email and calendar etc. On Sunday nights we use engaging tools available in the public domain for free to get work done, e.g. Google search to get answers, Facebook to catch up with friends, public emails and apps to communicate, mobile apps etc. On Monday mornings, however, we start working with tools provided by our employer to get work done, e.g. information portal with inferior search capability, Timesheet applications that may have poor usability, archaic support systems etc. On Mondays if we reach out to our personal or business service providers, e.g. home utility service provider, cable provider, IRS etc., we are mostly dissatisfied with the quality of the customer engagement. Here are some examples:
  1. The user engagement (e.g. information relevance, information organization, communication etc.) with my service providers seems archaic
  2. Why doesn't the IRS provide easy access to my past tax returns on a portal?  
  3. Why do I have to struggle to get answers to my questions from my employer, when Google has all the answers outside of work?
The tools we use for free in our personal life on Sunday night have raised user expectations higher. There is huge gap between available user engagement experience from service providers and users expectations. The service providers (as well as employers) need to catch up to be relevant and to meet or exceed consumers’ expectations.

DIGITAL DRIVER – CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENTS ARE GETTING MORE AND MORE VIRTUAL

More customers are purchasing online.  In fact online retail sales grew 6 times faster than all other retail sales in US in year 2014. Increasingly, customers are engaging with service providers via e-channels e.g. mobile, social, online portals etc. At physical retail locations, consumers are finding basket assortments themselves and doing self checkouts. This indicates customer engagement is becoming increasingly virtual, where fewer customers are interacting in person with humans. In person engagement, although costly, gives service providers opportunities to identify customer issues and solve them.

In an era of virtual customer engagement, service providers should look for opportunities to identify customer issues digitally and proactively resolve them to minimize churn and attract more customers. Savings should be routed to measure, analyze and act on customer engagement statistics.

DIGITAL DRIVER – THE AGE OF THE CUSTOMER

Jim Blasingame the author of “The AGE of the CUSTOMER” says, ”An epochal marketplace shift is causing the 10,000-year-old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.”  In the Age of Seller - competitiveness can take a holiday.  In the Age of the Customer, your brand does not have that luxury. Your brand is under microscope 24/7/365, on Main Street or Cyber Street”.
Today's customers are empowered by information. Your site (eCommerce or physical) is probably the last place a customer goes in a path to purchase journey. Customers are making product purchase decision outside of your visibility and influence.

Per US census demographics, 41%+ of US population is under age 35 (Gen Y). Gen Y is natural adopters for new digital processes, newer tools and technologies. Gen Y uses extensively tools available in public domain. Gen Y has higher expectations for better user engagement. Organizations should adopt to meet and exceed expectations of their key constituents (Gen Y).

WHAT IS DIGITAL?

In our current context, digital means "providing always meaningful engagement to your key constituents," e.g. customers, partners and employees. To provide always meaningful engagement we will need to make changes to People, Processes and Tools.

Always meaningful engagement also encompasses continuously innovating products and services to meet and exceed customer’s current and near future needs. For example customer engagement in personal banking industry has evolved with online bill pay, email/text based payment, check submission over mobile etc.

Here are some quotes about Digital:
  • President Obama wrote following statement to set Digital Government vision “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
  • Robert McDonald P&G CEO talks about use of digital to build customer relationship “P&G’s purpose is to touch and improve lives…Digital technologies enable us to build indispensable relationship with our customers.”
  • Stefan Olander Nike’s VP Digital Sports Division talks about use of digital to improve products “[using digital,] How can we understand more about you…your motivation…[to make] better products.”
All of above quotes are about using digital technologies to provide value to customers.

WHY NOW?

If you are reading this section (Thank You!), by now you should have some idea about Why Digital and Why Digital Now.  Businesses will face a number of imminent challenges if they don't implement digital transformation.
  • They will have less relevant customer engagements, which will cause a poor customer experience and most likely reduce Net Promoters Scores.  
  • They will also see a higher customer churn rate, which impacts both top line and bottom line.
  • They will not know their customers' current and near future needs. It will be harder to launch creative products and services for customers. 
The cost of not digitally transforming is huge. Your business will become irrelevant. You will become the Blackberry of your industry. Now is the time to digitally transform.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mobile Expert Interviews: Apperian's CEO Brian Day

The enterprise mobility marketplace is changing rapidly as companies consolidate and transform.  While some enterprise mobility vendors disappear and leave the market, Apperian continues to grow and take on additional investment.  This week they announced a C level round of investment for $12 million.  I wanted to learn more about their strategies and why VCs continue to bet on them.  Enjoy!

Video link: https://youtu.be/0CBf-qwnbVc


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Mobile Commerce Strategies and CROME Triggers

In my research on mobile commerce and mobile consumers' behaviors this year, the need to personalize a user's mobile/digital experiences always comes up as a top priority.  Everyone wants an experience that is relevant. However, as I pondered these studies, it occurred to me that personalization is only a part of the solution. If you received an SMS message on your smartphone about a shoe sales (your favorite brand and style), that ended yesterday, at a location hundreds of miles away, the personalization would be without value.  Yes, it is your preferred brand and style, but not in your location or at a relevant time.  So there is something missing.

We, at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, have identified through our research the need for CROME (contextually relevant, opportunities, moments and environments) triggers.  CROME triggers are bits of data that provide context, which can be used to provide relevant personalization at a specific time and place. For example, you buy concert tickets on a mobile app.  When the event ends, the app automatically shows you (based on CROME triggers) available car services and public transportation close to your location with an option to order a pick-up with one click.  The CROME triggers in this example are:
  • The purchase of concert tickets
  • Known date and time of concert
  • Known location and venue
  • Recognized distance from your home address
  • Your movement which predicts the concert has ended
  • Your physical location
  • Weather conditions
  • Visibility into the locations of available cars
These CROME triggers provided the data that when analyzed, understood and integrated with relevant personalization engines, can optimize the user's experience.

There are at least six challenges when implementing a CROME strategies:
  1. Identify the required CROME triggers
  2. Understand what specific CROME triggers mean
  3. Understand where and how CROME triggers can be placed, collected and transmitted
  4. Monitor and analyze CROME triggers in real-time
  5. Connect specific CROME triggers to specific personalization options
  6. Provide CROME powered personalization in mobile experiences
CROME triggers inform you something different and perhaps significant is happening.  Finding the meaning, and then relating it to a need for personalization is the topic of my next article.

Stay tuned for my new report, Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of "Mobile Me".

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.