Friday, March 04, 2011

Mobile Technology Conference Recap

Posted by Amanda Walsh

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) hosted an insightful program this morning on Mobile Technology at the Hub in Center City, Philadelphia. Andy Zimmerman, Managing Director of Mobility at Accenture, gave an overview of mobile technology and outlined six trends that he identified while attending the Mobile World Congress Event earlier this year in Barcelona, Spain.

* Everything is getting connected. Zimmerman touched on new products like a WIFI piano that could have music downloaded and sent to it to play wirelessly. The iPill is in protype phase. It is a pill that can be tracked in the body to see where the medicine is going and if it's effective. Some out of the box thinking is pushing innovation.

* Products are transforming into services. Wireless devices are changing the customer relationship. The point of sale is just the beginning. Now, businesses can follow up, cross-sell, up-sell, provide downloads and upgrades.

* Traditional and alternative audiences are converging. Smartphone sales and usage are on the rise in the developing world. For example, many are using smartphones to make payments. Your phone can now provide businesses with the opportunity to see who you are and where you are.

* Location-based advertising is about to take off. If you are getting coffee, the business can detect you are there and offer a coupon for $1 off. Loyalty/points programs will gain popularity. For example, consumers can redeem points for other products.

* "Fabric of mobility" is starting to take shape. This is the idea of having digital spaces with WIFI and interactive capabilities - towns, cities, building, highway, stores, workplaces, etc. With wearable (GPS watches) and portable wireless devices (laptops,cameras), the ability to research and learn about a product is in the hands of the consumer. Studies have shown that many prefer to receive information about products via their smart devices rather than speak with an employee!

* Now is the time of the Chief Mobile Officer (CMO). The question that needs to be asked is how to enhance the consumer experience using mobile.

In addition to Zimmerman's overview, the keynote of the event was the Chief Information Officer for the United States, Vivek Kundra. Vivek shared some insights into how the government is moving to keep up with the emerging trends in mobile technology.

To wrap up the event, there was a knowledgeable panel of local representatives from Comcast, Anexinet, University of Pennsylvania and IDC to participate in an interactive discussion with the audience. They all hope to capitalize on opportunities right here in Philadelphia to harness city WIFI and wireless technology to improve daily life.

Mobile technology is evolving rapidly. There will be some exciting changes in upcoming months for businesseses to effectively reach target audiences where they can easily be found, even if it's in line at the local coffee shop!

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