May 15, 2013
Enola Labs

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By: Mervin Medina


On Tuesday May 14th, Gene Fojtik gave a presentation during RISE Week Austin entitled “Mobile Boot Camp” that touched on several topics including mobile strategy and app discovery framework.

RISE or Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs, is a nonprofit program that hosts an annual series dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through a free, crowdsourced, decentralized conference in which entrepreneurs connect and exchange ideas that inspire the entrepreneurial spirit.

Mobile Boot Camp

The mobile industry is an ever growing industry which is changing everyday. Currently there are twice as many mobile devices are being sold as PC’s. Fojtik cites smartphones becoming more complex devices that are capable of many of the same functions as PCs, while providing an added convenience and portability to the user as the driving force behind skyrocketing adoption rates.

Mobile devices are already having a huge impact across all major industries. Some key facts Fojtik highlighted were that by the end of 2013, 54% of mobile phones will be smartphones. Even more eye opening is the expectation that by the end of the year, there will be more active mobile devices than people on earth.

The mobile industry already comprise 15% of global traffic and 20% of e-commerce traffic. The use of smartphones and other mobile devices are also emerging in other countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC Countries.) This rise in smartphone usage provides enormous opportunities in these countries to expand and enhance global reach.

Advertising and Mobile Apps

Gene tweet

With the rising usage of mobile devices, mobile advertisements are emerging as a growing market. Mobile advertisements are evolving into beneficial tools that provide an extra arm or channel to advertisers to reach their desired audience. However, when compared to digital ad spend as a whole, mobile advertisements are still a relatively small market - currently they are confined to web searches and display ads.

You cannot give a presentation about mobile devices without speaking about mobile apps. Fojtik explained that there are currently close to 1 million different apps available for download. Users are currently spending more time within mobile apps than mobile web and total app downloads are expected to hit 55 billion by the end of 2013.

Mobile Focused Companies

More and more, companies are taking notice of mobile growth and adapting their methods to be more mobile-centric. Companies that Fojtik touched on as examples in his presentation were Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Yahoo. Fojtik went on to explain that mobile apps are helping these companies connect to consumers, retailers, distribution chains, and sales teams. Starbucks recently announced that they currently have 10 million customers using their mobile apps to do a variety of things including mobile payments and digital tips across 9,000 store locations.

Another prime example to follow is the new mobile strategy Yahoo is currently implementing. Yahoo is making a lot of noise as they move to improve their mobile offerings. By streamlining current applications, acquiring smaller mobile focused firms, and building new apps, they are laying the foundation for their future as a major player in the mobile market. The first application in their new and improved arsenal is their weather app which they released back in April of this year.

Good apps vs. Bad apps

Fojtik concluded his presentation by providing helpful tips on what makes for a successful app as well as aspects that can lead to the creation of a bad app. As an example he used the Pulse app, which is an application that displays multiple RSS feeds in a sleek and easy to use interface. To be successful, an app needs to be useful and provide a benefit to the end user. The goal is to give users a reason to come back. Finally you need to provide a visually stimulating experience. The color scheme, organizational flow, and placement of key information and controls are all factors that add visual value to your app. Just like the Pulse app, you need to create a visually pleasing and simple design for your end users that provides that extra incentive to come back.

The Future of Mobile

The mobile industry is growing at a rapid pace and is being lead by the emergence of smartphones. From these mobile devices, multiple opportunities stem in the form of mobile advertisements and apps. Companies are becoming aware of this and are adapting to become more mobile focused with the use of applications.

Creating an app is not simple and there are multiple factors that you have to take into consideration. Great ideas do not always make great apps. Having a deep understanding of your market is key to creating an app. Once you have an understanding of your market you must provide a relevant and beneficial product that can deliver a solution to a problem. Contrary to the popular saying, there should not always “Be an app for that.”