Heads Up: Google Just Invented The Mobile Browser

Self-driving cars? Hot-air balloon Internet-delivery? Alchemy-tech projects from Google X’s laboratory. Now, finally the Mountain View scientists launch a moonshot project that has immediate impact on our mobile economy: the invention of the mobile browser.

Google X’s ability to “stream” app functionality without requiring the user to download the heavy app chassis is a watershed technology. It is the first step in delivering the mobile browser content experience we, the diehard mobile consumers deserve.wheel

It also is the first salvo on the sanctity of the App Store, in the same way that streaming music services are forcing iTunes to reinvent its business model and Wi-Fi in the car is the death knell for satellite radio subscription services.

When you click the “stream” link on nine beta app partners, including the Weather Channel, Hotels Tonight and The New York Subway, the content will render in the cloud (as it does on Google’s Chromebook). The phone simply pulls down the resulting visual data from the Google virtual computing platform.

Of course, this does not mean that the app store is about to crumble and vanish. However, for anyone with an app strategy and that are contemplating how to leverage the app store, this may steer resources or, at the very least, have them thinking about the browser as a viable destination for further development.

Invention Of The Browser

“Invention of the mobile browser?” you ask. “We all have a super-app called a browser on our phone.” Well you are correct. There is a search portal on billions of phones globally that opens up mobile-friendly responsive media to a small-screen consumer.

Chrome, Firefox, Opera Mini and Safari lead the phone-top browser wars. However, for the iOS an “open” browser does not provide a market advantage. The open browser search portal has been outgunned by the marketing muscle of Apple. It knows all too well that content-sells-hardware, and the company that can show more apps exploding from its billboards wins.

I have always said the Apple SDK for its App Store is the best marketing investment the company ever made (outside of the legal dollars it spent on patent grandstanding).

The fact that Apple (and grudgingly Android and even more grudgingly Windows) has a segregated digital portal of mobile apps (many clunky, forever updating, getting lost in folders and soon forgotten after the impulse download) seems to be an accepted evil.

Many apps are built using web technology like PhoneGap or React Native, packaged as a native app (with considerable complexity) and being live-streamed back into web search (with considerable complexity). Unquestionably, Apple has an unnatural chokehold on content distribution.

Apple has fought back offering Bluetooth shopping beacons that tether the native app to bricks-and-mortar shopping. However, many CMOs are unaware that the mobile browser can be tied to the store Wi-Fi and used as a powerful beacon leveraging SMS to drive the proximal consumer into deals and other rich media.

It is clear that Apple doesn’t want to give up its content control to the universal browser. Losing its lock on the app store would be an attack on its big data strategy and market differentiation, ultimately loosening its walled-garden hold on the consumer.

Heavyweight To Featherweight Champion

Google’s ability to “stream” app functionality (without requiring the user to download the heavy app) is presently seen by the app developer community as a great “preview” opportunity. Audiences can find and taste test their apps via a simple search. However, ultimately this has to be Google’s first attack on the legitimacy or outright pragmatism of many heavy app downloads.

Initially Streaming Apps are limited to Wi-Fi connect devices due to the large amount of data transferred in a virtual rendering. However, it is a stepping stone to completely rethinking the traditional web application.

New technology frameworks, such as AngularJS, enable the retailer’s development team to build powerful and compelling user interfaces — this front-end spit shine is the hallmark of the native mobile app. As the mobile browser matures to allow a slick user interface on the phone top, the server development becomes simpler. Using App Engine Data store access and OAuth authentication, developers can focus on business logic instead of backend technology.

The first phase is tying native apps to browser-based search. Google has gone to great lengths to get its app community to “index” its content to be searchable and allow for deep links. Google now can search inside the app for retail deals and news.

Second, is the ability to view a rich app experience through the browser without the usual slimmed down, reductive UI of the browser. Initially the streaming data will not be optimized but as developers see this as an opportunity to become more searchable and more accessible without mandating the multi-megabyte initial download to the phone, they will design for cloud functionality.

While the service may appear to cannibalize the market for app developers, there is an inevitable shift in the way mobile consumer finds data. The streaming app maybe a half step as my developer friends tout: it is part of an evolution. The power of mobile CPUs, newer web technologies, local storage as well as fantastic performance debug tools in Google Chrome have enabled new web apps to closely match the potential of native for many applications.

Perhaps the native app is soon to be the vinyl of the phonetop.

6 mobile-oriented services to complement the live operator experience

By Gary Schwartz

Mobile Marketer:  http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/opinion/columns/20979.html

Until 2015, business process outsourcing (BPO) was based on a simple math formula: outsourcing non-core services including customer call centers to more cost-efficient partners and markets to reduce spend.

When technology was deployed, it was predominately committed to optimizing the BPO infrastructure and managing “bums in seats.” BPO suppliers focused on solutions that could mitigate operational costs and driving process efficiency.

However, as the end consumer becomes increasingly mobile, equipped with smarter devices and, most importantly, higher customer service expectations, Corporate America needs to address how best to service this new customer.

In 2015, BPO needs to move beyond managing call center bodies. This is particularly important to inbound call centers.

As the vast majority of consumers use their always-ready mobile phones to reach the call center services, providers need to revisit their call center architecture and develop mobile-centric efficiency throughout the lifecycle of the call.

BPO companies have traditionally differentiated their services by providing workers at a lower cost.

Historically, operations focus on large-scale transaction processing beating the clock on handling times: i.e. average hold time – AHT, or average speed of answer, ASA. These business models need to be revisited.

As in other verticals such as retail, health and finance, the consumer is now at the center of operational design, and customer satisfaction is the new and key performance index.

The challenge for many providers is executing on this vision.

Making the call

Designing mobile hooks, leveraging new APIs to enhance the existing call flow and creating omnichannel content delivery is outside the scope of most call center operations.

We see this shift in national and municipal services such as Next Generation 9-1-1 in the Canadian market and Next Generation 3-1-1 service in cities such as Chicago and New York where the incumbent call center now offers onmichannel interactions catering to the mobile user.

SMS-based call flows allow for instant information. Operator text chat via SMS and application layers allow for on-the-go convenience as well as operational efficiency and cost savings for the call center.

The goal is to move away from an intelligent Siri-type system to an anticipatory GoogleNow-type approach. Delight the customer by anticipating their preferred channels and their time-sensitive needs.

This is no easy task.

For more than 20 years, BPO call center performance was measured, in large part, on cost-per-call or by the number of seats in a call center. This simplistic math led to globalization of services with early adopters such as GE and American Express moving operations to India in the early 1990s.

The Philippines’ BPO sector is the fastest-growing industry in the country with 900,000 Filipinos employed full time in 2013, providing an estimated 1.3 million new jobs in the IT/BPO sector by 2016.

However, as we move into 2016, the consumer is demanding smarter services from legacy call center IVR and live operators.

Ideal operator

At its core, the call center will continue to focus on availability, information accuracy and consistency.

While voice communication will remain the call center’s pillar, here are a number of key next-generational services that can complement and enhance the live operator experience:

1. Mobile triggers (calls to action, or CTA) to reach the call center. This has become a standard creative ad unit in mobile advertising. Traditional media also has leveraged mobile # or * services. This quick mobile access needs to become ubiquitous.

2. On-hold omnichannel selection. When customer security authentication is not a concern, providers can use the hold time to offer options to mobile callers that mitigate high abandonment rates (AAR) and optimize their on-the-go mobile requirements. Jumping into a text-based chat is an example.

3. Disconnect mitigation strategies. If the call is dropped, push text-to-queue services to make sure the customer is reentered into the priority line or trigger a callback service with instant SMS notification.

4. End-of-call informational push. Send end-of-call informational summaries – virtual sticky notes – via SMS to mobile callers with time sensitive information.

5. Customer satisfaction surveys. Always move a live call into a mobile C-SAT survey that can be completed at the customer’s convenience. Text-based multiple choice questions result in much higher response rates than IVR surveys.

6. CRM push follow-up. Acquire an opt-in to future communication from the caller. This allows for timely follow-up engagement/closure using the request channels to delight the customer.

THE BUSINESS FLOW can be made asynchronous, allowing the mobile consumer to jump into her preferred communication channel before, during and after the call.

Increased use of cloud-based technologies allow call center operators to differentiate their services and ultimately become Big Data and analytics shops providing insights to drive their clients’ business objectives.

This move will enable providers to participate in the business goals of their clients –a far cry from simply answering the phone cost-effectively.

Mobile Marketer:  http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/opinion/columns/20979.html

Your Hotel & 50 Billion Things (60min keynote on the IOT)

HEDNA.org Brussels Conference, June 2014 Keynote by Gary Schwartz on the Internet of Things and how it impacts your hotels and the relationship you have with your guests.

hotel

While the phone will continue to connect people to people, it will increasingly connect machine to machine. The new phone will amplify, control and navigate the world around us. Many call this the Internet of Things (IOT).

The IOT is about how to talk to your washing machine as your friend. Maintain a relationship with your baby as if you were beside them in the crib. It is about finally having the basketball tell you how it thinks you have played and could improve your game. It is about having plants talk to you and shoes become your eyes. It is about clicking, signalling calling, texting, waving, approaching inanimate things and making them into digital, active, responsive stuff.

The digital app store is expanding to a new app store of objects for our home, work, and travel.

A New Wireless Registry for 50 Billion Things

When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, took the stage at CES in Vegas this year and announced that there was a difference between The Internet of Things (IOT) and the Internet of Everything (IOE), many cried “semantics”. But there is a difference and one that ripped across the US to the National Retailer Federation (NRF) Big Show at the Javits Centre in New York.

IOT, according to Chambers, is made up of billions of connected objects; however, IOE are the smart networks that are required to support all the data these objects generate and transmit.  What will help move the IOT into the IOE and drive what Chambers predicts to be a $19 trillion in new revenue by 2020?

IOE requires a universal solution to tie the billions of sensor data into an intelligent device and system agnostic solution.

To our detriment, we are so focused on the idea of a hardware (IOT) solving all our problems that we neglected that simple insight that all these hardware solutions require a method of managing the people and service behind them.

The industry needs a wireless domain (DNS) naming solution that can provide profile, tools and privacy controls to enterprise and the consumer.

When I was invited to sit on a panel at the launch of the new wireless registry (www.wirelessregistry.com) at the NRF show and I realized that this registry could be the silver-bullet platform.

50 Billion Things

When Cisco, Qualcomm, IBM and other set up shop at NRF to talk retail, the IOT verse IOE discussion continued.  Brand agencies such as Ogilvy were pitching a solution using Qualcomm’s wireless Gimbel platform to solve retail engagement in the store. Qualcomm’s Gimbel platform is essentially an IOE riding on Apple’s IOT’s iBeacons? Mobile Location Analytics (MLAs) companies that collect consumer behavioural analytics, are a big data IOE play riding on the IOT emitting from the phone and anchored to its MAC address

There are a proliferation of IOE solutions using different technology that require different CAPEX and resources.

Presently there are an estimated 10 billion sensors globally. This is predicted to grow to 50 billion sensors by 2020. Imagine the wireless noise we can anticipate as we move from city to city, street to street, aisle to aisle.

There are barriers everywhere:

  • On the consumer side we have option paralysis but more importantly simple human inertia.
  • On the retailer and brand side we have incumbent investments and IT budgets to navigate.
  • On top of all this stasis we have the DC beltway privacy folk crying “do-not-track”.

How will the consumer navigate this noise? How will the retailer, brand, entertainment provider select from the exploding list of vendors selling various solutions using LTE identification, WiFi MAC identification, Bluetooth MAC, IMEI, etc.

My Wireless Name

The phone in 2014 is becoming less of a Cracker Jack container that acts as a repository of millions of sundry apps, and more of an intelligent device that performs as a server that can manage our world through smart profiling and APIs.

Think about it. We have been hoodwinked by the OEMs to believe that an application store tethered to a phone can deliver any service, entertainment, widget. The app store was a marketplace to the world: clocks, measuring tapes, cash registers, coupon dispensers, shopping lists, ad infinitum.

Google’s acquisition of Nest is good example of the changing landscape where the app will live in the IOT and the device will simply be the profile and the auto-controller. The 94Fifty smart basketball, the Sensible Baby smart sensor monitor, the remote Vibeasy vibrator: all use the phone as the remote control manager.

A service such as The Wireless Registry can offer a naming protocol that can work agnostically with all the in-market sensor solutions and offer a central repository for a retailer, brand, and entertainment provider’s identity. Any existing wireless signal (SSID) that a coffee shop or a big-box retail transmits can now have a name (Starbucks, GAP, Walmart) with an accompanying sophisticated profile. A consumer that has a phone, tablet and PC can now attach a personal name and wireless profile to their MAC addresses.

When the retail and consumer wireless signals bump in the proximal world, the consumer profile can do a simple look up can see what offers, services, commerce is available to them based on their specific identity. The consumer can also block unwanted solicitation answering Jules Polonetsky and the Privacy Commission’s concerns around “do-not-track”.

Now the consumer is in full control of their identity and the phone becomes an intelligent server interacting with the world of wireless signals based on that consumer preferences.

While this solution can interface with existing apps on the phone, ultimately the profile and preferences can be baked into the OS as part of the devices DNA.

Until later. Yours truly from my MAC address aka “MOBILEGUY

Drones, Bras, Tattoos & Path to Purchase

There must be the equivalent of Moore’s Law for the speed of turning mobile intent-into-action and mobile path-into-purchase.  Technology and patents are rippling through the marketplace that drive measurable efficiencies for brands, retailers and their consumers.

This week Amazon predicted that small, unmanned drone aircraft could be delivering packages within a year. Many have viewed the fun look-see video showing a web purchase and immediate dispensing of a 2.3 kilograms box into the carriage of a buzzing drone and after a short flight, a smiling kid waiting for the package at the doorstep.

(And before we tackle any ensuing U.S. Federal Aviation Administration regulatory issues of landing a package in a backyard ball hockey game or logistical issues such as possible “drone chasers” who maybe on the hunt to pick up drop offs nationally, let’s talk bras. . . )

While Bezos was pitching Drones, Microsoft announced research on sensors built into female lingerie, which collects EKG activity near the heart that predicts a “cookie snack attack” and sends a notification to the smartphone.

The month before, Motorola joined other patent holders such as Nokia/Microsoft that are positioning epidermal haptic feedback tattoos to speed up the connection between wanting-to-connect to the phone and connecting.

Blink

All of the above future-facing ideas are attempting to do one thing: anticipate intent and eliminate barriers.

In short, these solutions optimize the process of turning mobile intent-into-action and mobile path-into-purchase.

From purchase to delivery, from munchies to mobile warning, from tattoo sensor activation to phone activation is ideally all one blink, no needless hesitation, no undue thought.

In The Impulse Economy book, I spent 300 pages discussing the value of impulse. All mobile action is predicated on a paving a smooth path. Any bump en route drives precipitous drop off and abandonment.

Intent to take action (such as buy, opt-in, download) is a fragile thing and on a mobile device this dance between the seller and the buyer is even more perilous.

A Better Mouse Trap

The entire purchase process is like designing a good mouse trap.  We see a call-to-action (trap well positioned at the mouse entrance); the good price or value proposition (cheese); quick ramp up to the product (platform) and a fast trigger mechanism to close the deal (hammer).

While our response may be based on previous advertising or experiential conditioning the sale is all based on how well the brand has built the process. Many brands focus on the pickup and well they should but sitting pretty on the physical or virtual shelf is not good enough. P&G labeled the sitting pretty moment: FMOT – the “First Moment Of Truth”.

(No not “Follow Me On Twitter”)

This is the moment when the customer sees the product and in a 5 x 5 (5 seconds by 5 foot) moment throws that product into the shopping basket. But we know that many shoppers will leave their shopping baskets and exit the store if the line is too long or the checkout is too cumbersome.

Moreover, shopping is not a linear process. We may research the product in what Google calls the ZMOT (zero moment of truth) and only rebuy the product if the product performs in the kitchen, livingroom or bathroom. (What the FMOT folk at P&G call the Second Moment of Truth)

Coining a new efficiency law

But for all this shopping science, the consumer is very grounded in decision and reward. To close a deal, buy a product, opt-in to affinity programs, the industry needs to find ways to speed up the purchase cycle.

We know the famous Moore’s Law shows that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. Martin Cooper coined the mobile spectrum equivalent of Moore’s Law that spectral efficiency has doubled every 30 months since Marconi patented the wireless telegraph in 1897.

There is a mobile path-to-purchase law to be coined.

Intent-to-action efficiency doubled every X months. As an industry, ideas that work are the innovative ideas that drive this efficiency, optimize process and speed up the loop from call-to-action to action.

What is X?