Disruptive mobiles and the like

To London’s Lansdowne club (former home of some fella called Selfridge ) for a seminar presentation on mobile technologies. Really should have read the invitation properly…. Turning up in jeans even with a jacket was clearly not the done thing. I felt forced to remove my cap and reveal my looming baldness. Not a pretty site.

Whilst I might have felt in unfamiliar surroundings and company it was a very interesting evening whose purpose was simple – to emphasize the importance of mobile technology over the next five to ten years.

The event was hosted by RE:SYSTEMS . I was the guest of Howard Monk of thelocal. The key speaker was Nick Gallon until recently head of mobile platforms for the BBC, now head of mobile for RE:SYSTEMS.

You can kind of see where this is going ( a sales pitch reception)!  But for what its worth I found it very useful and here’s what I took from the evening.


Mobile is disruptive – it requires you to think differently…. essentially how can I make this easy and accessible to those looking at what ever it is on a phone, a tablet or a phablet (I’m loving the fact that I’m writing this on a phablet – a Google nexus 7 to be exact – but even so predictive text refuses to acknowledge the word phablet!)

And why should I make it easy?

By 2015 80% of hand sets will be smart phones (the uk leads the market for mobile adoption and useage with current UK stats suggest UK penetration is 58% and tablets are at 19%). Increasingly people are buying through the mobile space. According to techcrunch in the UK alone consumers are spending 1k a year.  Apparently on black Friday (the day after thanksgiving) in 2010 6% of online transactions were from mobile sources. That had risen to 14% in 2011 and 25% in 2012.   Even as far back as Nov 2010 the Digital Audiences report found that 53% of its sample had used the internet to engage with the arts and cultural sector in the last 12 months.  It must be far higher now – no wonder Bristol Watershed have just ditched their paper brochure .

You can kind of see the point…. You’ve got me interested… And oh look here’s an easy way for me to find out more and buy via the technology which just happens to be in my pocket or bag.

The arts and culture sector aren’t great at this. Chris Unitt as part of a series of blogs called arts analytics found that out of a sample of 100 arts organisations only 19 had mobile friendly sites.  Not great on so many fronts – but as Chris points out – with so many of us now reading e mails on mobile devices not being able to click through almost defeats the point. (Another theme of the evening was the amount of data you are able to interrogate through a successful mobile presence – if this NESTA report Counting what Counts is correct is another thing as a sector we’re not very good at)

Here’s another interesting snippet from www.keepitusable.com . `consumers spend more time using tablets for media and entertainment whereas smart phones are predominantly being used for communication and task orientated activities’

Which linked  into another theme from the evening.  BYOD – almost bring your own bottle but not quite…. In this case were talking bring your own device. Now this one really caught my attention. Fair enough to say that as an employer its possible should you so wish to control the device your staff team use…. But when you’re talking about the general public you’re in a whole different ball game.

So with my theatre hat on that’s clearly about making sure people can buy easily on whatever mobile platform they happen to be using – and importantly being able to buy easily from a small (ish) device.  (Came across NFC for the first time – near field communication – and its potential for e commerce )

But there’s something here about audience interaction too.  As tablet penetration increases over time (and our familiarity with dual screening) – we can perhaps expect to find ourselves actively engaging with performances / events whilst in the audience through tablets.  The more commercially minded performer will encourage us to ‘buy more whilst we’re in the room’ – the more creative perhaps to engage / take part.  This of course requires developing cross platform tools or mobile sites which work across the platforms (Android currently has 68.4% of the market, Apple 19.4% and Others 12.2%)

Gallon’s final slide  was both simple and really helpful.  Start with your vision. Know what you are trying to achieve and why. Know your user. Actively seek your users feedback. Think bigger than the marketing department (the digital audiences report has a benefits triangle which includes access, learning, experience, sharing and creation) and finally understand what technology best serves your purpose.

Quite a bit to muse on.


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