First Live Poll for 2009 at Mobile Monday Sydney part 2

5 02 2009

The second half of the live poll used a “multiple answer” format to ask the group what their predictions and plans for 2009 were.

The answers to the first question showed that this audience is obviously very bullish about the overall mobile market – hard not to be really! The most popular prediction was that “Clients will increase their spending on mobile campaigns” followed closely by “iPhone will grow rapidly to 2% global market share” then “‘Unlimited’ data plans will emerge in Australia”. I think these three points together show clearly what people in the mobile industry have thought for a long time. Mobile has come of age and the growth of rich devices like the iPhone and removal of the users “fear of data costs” will only drive the mobile revolution further.

The antithesis of this is that hardly anyone predicted that the “Telcos will embrace off-deck & supply services like billing”. The term “kicking and screaming” comes to mind.

Group predictions for 2009

The answers to the second question gave us some insights into this group’s predictions about their own personal mobile behaviour in 2009. The clear winner here was “I will do more googling from my phone”. I think this shows the power of search for the Mobile Web.

The second most popular prediction was “I will track facebook/linkedin from my mobile” showing how important social media and networks are for the Mobile Web.

The other 3 I found interesting were people’s predictions about their communication behaviour – “I will send more email than SMS from my phone” was highest followed by “I will twitter from my mobile”. This has interesting implications for SMS revenue for the Telcos. And “I will still call more than SMS/email” shows the immediacy and power of voice is still alive…just.

Interestingly mobile share trading/banking and ticker purchases rated higher than moblogging (if you exclude microblogging using twitter).

Personal mobile usage predictions for 2009

The third set of answers shows us what people’s business plans for 2009 are. By far the majority was “Create an iPhone app” which fits perfectly with the first set of answers covered in this post and the AppStore stats from Tim’s presentation.

Interestingly for us “Run a mobile poll” was quite a close second. We first launched this innovation at <a href=””Web Directions in 2007 and now a US company and an Australian company have even attempted to copy our innovations. We’re really excited about how we’ve seen people’s devices and usage patterns adapt to this over all the polls we’ve run and there’s a wide range of new features and innovations we have planned for 2009.

We also have been able to identify some really interesting patterns in the underlying data around which devices have worked for which Telcos and how that has clearly changed their customers usage behaviour. While this data is not statistically significant it does provide some clear clues that can inform your mobile strategy and product development plans. We’ll be putting out a presentation based on this detailed analysis soon and also running some further research to validate these insights.

It was also good to see that a reasonable number of people plan to “Sponsor mobile monday”. We really encourage you all to do this as it’s a great event that benefits the whole industry.

Business plans for 2009


Low brow iPhone users and Divergence

28 01 2009

On the topic of detecting capabilities of specific devices – here’s a new site we’ve released that targets the growing segment of “low brow” iPhone users (which includes me).

It’s a simple prank tool along the lines of iFart – however it let’s you turn your iPhone into a remote control for your friend’s and family’s computers. You just load a webpage on their PC when they’re not looking and then you can use your iPhone to make it sound like they’re burping, farting or even watching porn. And you don’t have to leave your precious and expensive iPhone lying around on someone else’s desk to play this prank!

We’ll be upgrading the site to support other mobile devices soon…however we decided to quickly release the first version just for iPhone users as it’s so much easier to deliver a better user experience. We’ve also developed it as an iPhone application that will be released as soon as the AppStore team approve it.

But underlying this “low brow” toy is the deeper “high brow” concept of Divergence. I think a lot of people find this concept a little academic, however is a fun way of showing exactly what it means and feels like.

We use this same framework to connect all sorts of devices and applications across the network. We can make your phone or PC chirp whenever someone visits your site or just play a “cha ching” when it processes a sale. The same framework can even let call centre staff shift their focus from “filling in forms” and “reading out disclaimers” to a much friendlier and more brand-building “co-browsing” with your customers, helping guide them through your site to find the best matched product or solution for them.

Once you detach user interfaces from specific devices or applications and really start to absorb what Divergence means I think you’ll agree it opens up a whole new range of business models and opportunities.

Not-Device Detection

16 10 2008

Over the last 2 years we’ve been refining a simpler and more powerful approach to device detection than everyone else seems to be focusing on.

While WURFL, Device Atlas, etc. are all great resources for very specific capability profiling…we’ve found that turning the problem upside down made much more sense and delivered faster, better results.

The key thing that most developers seem to be trying to do is to identify if a user IS using a specific Mobile Device.

The problem with this is that the User Agent strings on Mobile Devices are inconsistent at best…and completely useless or even non-existent at worst.

Once you accept this the inverse answer becomes clear.

PC browsers are much more reliable and consistent in identifying the Operating System they belong to. Also, there is only a small handful off Operating Systems you need to detect. So this is how our solution works.

We call this !device-detection (“Not Device” Detection).

If your User Agent isn’t one of the following Operating Systems:

- Windows
- Macintosh/Mac OSX
- Linux
- FreeBSD
- Solaris
- (Add niche OSes here)

And your User Agent doesn’t contain one of the following strings:

- bot
- slurp
- spider
- crawl

Then you are almost guaranteed to be on a Mobile Device.

Within this group you can then also clearly identify the important groups that are consistent:

- iPhone/iPod Touch
- Windows Mobile

We have implemented this method for two major Telco’s a major Insurance company, our leading edge Mobile Payment service and our own web projects. This is a strategy that has proven to be very effective and only requires a simple set of regular expressions in the form of Apache mod_rewrite directives that can work in either Apache or IIS.

We also couple this with a simple design pattern that provides a link from the Mobile site back to the PC site just in case we accidentally mis-classify a user. After all they should be able to ask for the full PC version if they really want it.

We’ve also recently put together a case-study that looks at some well known large corporations in Australia to see how they are or are NOT handling automatic device detection. The results are very surprising.

A full copy of the presentation is online on slideshare

Now we thought it’s time we shared this strategy in order to broaden the on-going device detection discussion.