Oct 6

How the mobile and cloud dream team is reshaping sport and enterprise

The NBA has led the way in the use of mobile technology, powered by the cloud, the bring the sport into the 21st century.

Mobile makes computing look easy; not only easy but sexy too. From point-to-point directions to play-by-play sports action, our screens light up at just the right moment to keep us in the know. In reality, however, mobile devices are just an endpoint. They are powerful, but nowhere near powerful enough to perform the processing required for all but the most basic operations.

And just as professional athletes make their sport look easy, in reality these super stars actually have an entire team behind them that propels them to shine at just the right moment. For mobile, this powerful teammate is the cloud. It is precisely in sports where mobile, and its massive computing power teammate, the cloud, shine their brightest.

The cloud, with its distributed and scalable computing model is the brains and brawn behind the mobile mod. The cloud is a critical component for exciting mobile experiences. It is the cloud in conjunction with mobile that is able to meet the demand of that ever growing number of mobile devices which now exceeds the population of the planet.

Sports venues and teams are leveraging cloud and mobile to jump ahead of enterprises in their pursuit of pushing the frontier at the end-user mobile experience. Business can find a lot to learn from the success of the power couple of cloud and mobile in sports.

First, sports teams are leveraging the power of the cloud and mobile to extend existing services. The NBA is using the cloud to deliver statistics, from the most recent games all the way back to the first game played in 1946. This just wasn’t possible before mobile and the cloud when the computing power of the average user was isolated to the PC on her desk. But fans today can use their mobile device to answer in an instant questions like, who is the bigger basketball star, Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

Businesses too should first look for systems and processes that would benefit from the computing power of the cloud to improve existing capabilities. They should look for present processes that are slow or could be enhanced through a more dynamic distribution platform. This could mean improving the systems and services for customers as well as internal employees.

Sport teams are also using mobile and the cloud to expand their fan base and loyalty in novel ways. From fan analytics to better understanding their customer, to social and sentiment analysis, to precision and contextual marketing

For example, to call on the NBA again, they are testing a precision marketing service, from mobile carrier Verizon, to present promotions that associate a fan’s location, demographic data, and nearby businesses such as fast food establishments. These establishments have seen an average increase of 8.4% in sales following a promotional game. What used to only be actionable well after the fact is now actionable in real-time because of the compute power of the cloud delivered directly to fans mobile devices.

Businesses too should be looking for ways to expand their existing sales and partner networks by using the power of the cloud. They should look for ways to combine ancillary revenue opportunities to further bring value to their clients. Businesses should be asking where can we leverage our customer base, customer data, partner network, and combine that into a compelling proposition that can be computed in the cloud and delivered as a value added service to existing and potential clients.

The power of cloud and mobile isn’t just for improving client services and offerings. It is being used in sports for looking at internal operations as well. Teams are asking, what could make us a better, stronger team? These teams have come to rely on analytics powered by the cloud and mobile as much as they do a coach or star player.

Professional sports organization are betting big too. From recruiting, to scouting, to salary cap management, to player analytics, sport teams are voraciously consuming the cloud and mobile to find that edge against the competition. The NHL uses analytics to analyze in real time the effectiveness of a team’s style of play. The NFL uses analytics powered by the cloud to help select draft picks. Teams are turning to the cloud via mobile on almost a play-by-play basis for next step insight.

Many sports teams are making the analytics department one of the most crucial members of the team. They have come to see that the success of their season depends on it. Why then are many business, with just as much on the line, not taking advantage of the same capabilities?

Like sports, business should be turning the power of the cloud on themselves to find efficiencies, advantages, weakness, and room for improvement. They should break down their processes and actions into distinct pieces to find an advantage. Most importantly, they should use mobile to get this data into the hands of the right people at the right time to leverage it to the fullest.

Sport teams have demonstrated that the cloud and mobile can be a powerful ally. Those who wield it win, those who don’t stand there wondering why. Is your business positioned to win or wonder? Is actionable data in the hands of those who need it the most when they need it? The cloud and mobile are on your team – have you put them in the game?

Benjamin Robbins is a co-founder at Palador, a mobile consultancy located in Seattle, WA. He can be followed on Twitter @PaladorBenjamin.

This article was originally published on The Guardian on Sept 29, 2014


Sep 29

What can enterprises learn from the way the sporting world serves its fans?

Fans

If you haven’t been to a sporting match in the last couple of years you’ve surely missed the frustration of attempting to connect to a severely strained mobile carrier network. Driven by the demands of tech savvy and constantly connected users, sporting venues today are responding by building new (or retrofitting) massive WiFi infrastructures to meet the crushing demands of mobile bandwidth hungry fans. In doing so, fan engagement and expectations at sporting events are undergoing unprecedented change.

These high tech venues are providing a host of expanded and personalised experiences for fans. From the moment they enter the venue, fans can get services that direct them to their seats, allow them to upgrade those seats, or give them the ability to order food and beer without ever having to get up and miss the action. These highly connected venues can also deliver instant replays, providing multi camera angles straight to your mobile device. Fans are catered to at an individual level like never before.

Just as sports venues have woken up to the fact that they can, and must, dramatically change the on-premise experience by taking advantage of users’ excitement for mobile, businesses too have the same opportunity. Succeed and employees will not only have higher satisfaction at work, but they’re likely to put in more hours as well. Fail and you run the risk of your employees looking for a better run team. However, this will take financial and resource commitment by the business to invest in infrastructure, security, and services to see this come to fruition.

How should enterprises take the first step to create a contextually relevant connected culture? They can start by making sure they have the capacity for users to connect. They can perform an assessment of their WiFI capacity and increase access points if need be. The number of devices employees will be bringing into the workplace will only continue to go up and without the ability to connect to the network, and beyond, the opportunity of connectivity will be lost.

Organisations will also need to develop a strategy for mobile and the cloud that takes into consideration what it means to enable their end users. Mobility is only a gimmick if it doesn’t meet actual employee needs. Organisations need to think beyond IT and involve the business side of the operation to truly understand which apps and services it should be providing in order to deliver contextually relevant experiences.

There are many on-premise contextual services that enterprises could enable for employees. From a help-desk experience, to workflows, to analytics, to cloud storage, enterprises have a huge opportunity to make mobile experiences directly-relevant to the end user. These solutions can leverage the additional information mobile devices can provide to deliver the right information at the right time and right place.

Organisations need to look at how they will develop, deploy, and manage these services and security to end users for a smooth experience. This can usually be greatly accelerated through one of the many enterprise mobility management suites available on the market. They will give businesses a base platform for security, app management, and information control.

As much as sporting events have changed the in-venue experience for fans, they have also changed what it means to be an engaged fan outside of the venue. This might be in the comfort of your home, or out at a restaurant or a bar. The challenge venues faces is figuring out what can be done to further draw fans into the action of the game. How can they make those fan experiences as rich and relevant as the fans who are in-venue?

Sports leagues and venues have responded to this remote fan challenge by offering the opportunity to engage with players, fans, and coaching staff through social media. They’ve also created game and trivia questions to compete against other fans. Mobility too offers fans a second screen, contextual experience of related real-time information to the game and players as it happens.

Business should ask the same types of questions as to how to enable remote employees in new and personalised ways. Is your sales superstar about to show up at a key client? Why not have all her related information ready based on their calendar and current location. Need to bring a distributed team together to review product information? Leverage apps such as Fuze or Skype to connect everyone with the devices they already own rather than expensive legacy video conference equipment. The relevancy of these experiences is only limited by an organisations ability to streamline their process to the individual employee.

Mobile will only further blur the lines on what an engaged fan means. It will also continue to blur the boundaries of what “office” and network means. However, with this blurring of lines, enterprises, like sports venues, can take advantage of mobile devices to better deliver and gather information as it happens. Businesses need to provide contextual experiences to connect employees like fans, as an ongoing experience that meets relevant needs at the right time and right place for the win.

Benjamin Robbins is a co-founder at Palador, a mobile consultancy located in Seattle, WA. He can be followed on Twitter @PaladorBenjamin.

This article was originally published on The Guardian on Sept 26, 2014


Mar 27

ICYMI - Enterprise Mobility for Dummies - part II

In case you missed the live broadcast yesterday of Game Changers on the Voice America Business Channel, I had the honor of speaking on a distinguished mobile panel of experts that included Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research, Carolyn Coad of SAP, and Michael O’Farrel of the Mobile Institute, hosted by Bonnie Graham. It was a great (and entertaining) discussion on the current and future state of mobility - click below to listen!

http://cdn.voiceamerica.com/business/011054/graham032614.mp3


Mar 17

Live from London - The Internet of Things at the Guardian Changing Media Summit

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I am in London all this week and will be speaking on the IoT at the Guardian’s Changing Media Summit.  Follow the live blog tomorrow and Wednesday for the latest happenings and some impromptu interviews I’ll be doing. Tweet me if you have any questions you want me to ask any the distinguished speakers.


Oct 31

The app headache you can’t afford to ignore


Oct 25

SAP SMP 3.0 - A fresh approach to mobile development and open standards

I spoke with Carolyn Fitton, SAP mobile marketing, about how SMP 3.0 isn’t just about bringing together its various mobile platforms and assets, but how the platform is designed with developers and the latest open standards in mind.


Oct 24

What’s so special about app wrapping?

Got a chance to catch up with Milja Gillespie today at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas to discuss app wrapping and it’s advantages in the enterprise.


Sep 25

Photos from the Opening Keynote at Mastering Mobility in Melbourne

Just a few shots from the Mastering Mobility conference in Melbourne Australia. It was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to deliver the opening keynote on mobile strategy. Big thanks to the folks at the Eventful Group for putting on such a great event!

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Sep 24

25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else

I was honored to find that I was named as part of  the Forbes article 25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else. Check out the article and see if you agree!

Forbes_25Things


Sep 13

remotelyMOBILE named 2013 must read IT blog for 2nd year in a row!

BizTech must-read IT Blogs 2013

For the 2nd year in a row remotelyMOBILE has been named one of the 50 must read IT blogs by Biztech Magazine. I am honored to share the list with such other great blogs as:

Thanks to everyone who voted! Check out the full list here.


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