RIP RIM … or not? 2012 predictions revisited

RIP RIM … or not? 2012 predictions revisited

Now that we’re counting down to the end of the year, seems like a good time to review what happened in the mobile events world in 2012.

Lacking the balls (crystal or otherwise) to get into the prediction business, The Showmanator didn’t actually stick his neck out and come up with a Mobile Trends for 2012 or a Top 10 cataclysmic changes coming down the wire. Quite apart from the fact that taking a random moment in time like a New Year as a reason for predicting the next 12 months seemed about as sensible as casting runes, or divining the future at the bottom of a tea-cup, January disappeared in a puff of events and the moment for such cleverness passed.

In any case, humble pie in my experience doesn’t taste too good when one has to eat it after the predictions turn out to be a couple of spots of dirt on the surface of crystal ball!  Much better to become a critic and consider (with the extreme advantage of 2020 vision) other people’s top 10s for 2012 and how well they stood up. The methodology involved in this research was taking a random sample of five predictions and then choosing the ones that were common to all— doesn’t get much more scientific than that!

1.     The smartphone revolutionaries will continue demolish the barricades of the feature phone die-hards.   No argument there! In some places, smartphone penetration is as high as 65% and still rising.  In fact so accurate is this that in the countries where there are most smartphone users such as UK, US and Australia, MacDonald’s staff see people off with warming cries of “Have an ‘Appy Day!” in recognition with people’s extraordinary attachment to their mobiles and app addiction is a genuine concern.

2.     Android will become the market leader over iOS — well this maybe happening in the wider apposphere, but in our little events microcosm, iOS still rules the event app world. Blackberry’s hanging in there too and Windows phones have again failed to inspire.

3.     Tablets will continue to grow in popularity … that would be another tick although it seems like a statement of the bleeding obvious, rather than a prescient insight, especially thanks to Apple’s now handbag-sized offer…

4.     Apple maps will transform the word as we know it — Apple certainly did release its much vaunted mapping replacement for Google on iOS — but it’s a total dog! Australian police actually see it as life threatening. Apparently over the last month, at least six Australians have been left stranded in the desert after following its directions! However, this has to be a case of watch this space …  http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/12/11/australian-police-says-apple-maps-can-be-life-threatening/#ixzz2EmXspYid

5.     People will get wise to the fact that the mobile is an entity in its own right. As one commentator put it, “mobile is not merely a small-screen extension of the PC web, but a parallel universe that increasingly operates as an alternative to the “fixed internet” for many people.” Yup, go to the top of the class everyone who threw their hats into the ring on this one.

6.     Apps & HTML5 (web apps) both have their place in the scheme of things. Another tick web apps open up the world of apps to all mobile users, but native apps continue to flourish and we’re seeing many more people who understand the difference between the two and also that consumers expect specialised mobile experiences which are hard to achieve without going down the native track.

7.     RIP RIM! Many were saying at the beginning of the year that RIM (Research in Motion, the creator of BlackBerry) wouldn’t see the year out. The BlackBerry 10, seen as the do or die product, didn’t happen in 2012 — currently ETA January … or March 2013, depending on who you believe — and, as Jonny Evans put it in a Computerworld blog post (http://blogs.computerworld.com/smartphones/21099/blackberry-10-why-rim-needs-fight-apple-survive) in October, “Research and Motion (RIM) has been pronounced dead so often it’s only got two ways to go: die, or fight back.” Will it be enough or will Amazon appear at the twelfth hour like the proverbial US cavalry in an old Western? Anyway, going into 2013, the jury’s still out!

8.     2012 will be the year when mobile advertising takes root. Well yes … er … em … no actually. In our world particularly, mobile advertising is a very mixed blessing. For sure, some free event apps include the dreaded third party advertising, but who wants their events diminished like that?  However, with smartphone going stratospheric in some geographies, it’s likely to be coming ready or not. But in our industry, it’s more a question of do we want it?

9.     It will also be the year the industry ‘gets’ near field communications —Although this has to happen soon, by the end of the year very few handsets were being shipped with NFC capability, notably the Apple 5, as a standard feature. Until they are, mobile payments really fire and QR codes will reign supreme.

10.  Augmented reality becomes more than an appealing novelty — well, if that’s the case we’re not seeing too many compelling case studies coming through and the commercial model remains murky.

 

Can’t wait to see what they’re all seeing in their crystal balls for 2013!

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Another first for the Royal International Convention Centre – Brisbane Australia!

Another first for the Royal International Convention Centre – Brisbane Australia!

In keeping with a range of other innovations, the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC) will be the first venue in Australia to offer a branded mobile event application to event organisers using the new venue, which opens in March.

RICC has entered a partnership with New Zealand-based SmartShow Limited, the creator of market-leading event app Showgizmo. The objective of the partnership is for RICC to include its own venue event app as part of its standard offer to event organisers.

“With the mobile revolution in full swing and ‘app culture’ changing how people everywhere connect and transact, we wanted to make sure we encompass the full range of services that will enable our clients to stage events that resonate in this digital era,” says Sue Hocking, General Manager Venue Sales and Marketing.

“Event attendees want to communicate and transact in ways they are progressively taking for granted via their phones and tablet devices. For busy organisers this can be problematic. They know they need to offer contemporary tools to their delegates and exhibitors but each year the event technology landscape becomes more cluttered and many are having bad experiences with unsuitable or plain bad technology solutions,” says Hocking. “Being able to use a reliable product that has been pre-screened and test-driven by the venue team will save time and money.”

How it works is that event organisers set up an event via a secure admin panel within the RICC content management system. They then invite their clients, delegates and exhibitors to download an app to upload information and access all event information via their phone. In addition to a digital event guide, the app enables attendees to navigate around the event, see the list of attendees and exhibitors, view exhibitor and sponsor profiles, request meetings with exhibitors, rate and review programme sessions, collect brochures and receive live alerts and notifications about what’s going on … and much more.

The idea is to allow our clients, exhibitors and attendees to get more out of their investment in events. QR codes enable exchanges of information for exhibitors and organisers to capture more of those all-important leads. Performance reports mean that the organisers can access statistics and analytical data they wouldn’t otherwise collect to provide additional insights into what people have found valuable and highly rated— in real time.

“In the first instance, we will be sponsoring the cost of providing the app and its use by our clients as part of our commitment to making RICC the preferred venue for event organisers and their delegates. This offers a ‘value add’ worth up to $5K depending on the size of the event,” says Hocking.

As featured here on SpiceNews.com.au

Hi! My Name’s the Showmanator and I’m an appoholic…

Hi! My Name’s the Showmanator and I’m an appoholic…

It’s true! I am. I’m one of the growing number of hopeless addicts who can’t put their phones down!

Ok, so addiction is as old as the hills, but this one is in an entirely different league. The first thing I and many of my friends do on waking is check my phone and post/tweet/txts/email, maybe play a game or two … or three … or ten … until I realise I’m going to be late and I force myself (with extreme difficulty) to ‘step away from the phone’. But my angst is palpable. What will I miss while I’m showering? Will the world manage not to implode long enough for me to get dressed?

And I’m not alone — this modern affliction is now less of a minority thing than a global pandemic sweeping all before it and it’s changing how we think, behave and generally function. Unlike other addictions, they don’t actively harm us (other than the potential for radiation sickness, or if you consider spending your life spot-welded to a handheld device which becomes more like ‘the precious’ by the day to be harmful). No, the benefits of smartphone technology are mind-boggling. And we’ve only had them for a few short years!

All joking apart, people’s habits are changing and smartphone adoption (addiction if you prefer) is moving rapidly along the Rogers’ Bell Cycle of technology adoption. This moves on a continuum from early adopters — the approximately 3% who are prepared to pay a large amount of money for innovative products and to all intents and purposes underwrite their R&D — to the 16% of Laggards who will only buy once the product has become a commodity adopted by the mass market and priced accordingly. The different ‘states’ between these two points are Early Majority and Late Majority representing about 34% each.

So what does all this mean other than the rise of a different type of counselors and another 12-step programme in the offing? For one thing, as events industry commentator Corbin Ball said at ABEE (the Australian Business Events Expo) in Sydney recently, if you don’t have a mobile app by the end of the year, your attendees will be asking why. I guess he should know, having been voted the most influential person in the meetings industry for 2012.

Smartphone penetration in most of the countries we’re selling into is sitting anywhere between 40% and 60% and rising fast. In these markets, the adoption level is already passed the Early Majority and blasting through the Late Majority with the force of a meteor crashing to earth. It won’t be long before smartphones and therefore apps are a commodity and will need to be priced and framed accordingly. The concept of building a different app for each event may not be sustainable in the long term.

So the moral to today’s story dear readers? Even if some of your audiences are still in the antediluvian realm where only the early adopters are in play annoying everyone by not turning their phone buzzers off during conference sessions, it won’t last! Plan for the mass market, commodity moment that is coming … ready or not! Systems like ShowGizmo’s multi-event platform which are instantly available, reusable and sensibly priced are going to be where it’s at.