Monday, August 22, 2011

Todays Reading Online August 22, 2011

Content Snackers Become Cord Cutters. Is change finally coming to our best friend - the TV set?

Skye - while being bought by Microsoft - keeps acquiring companies.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Intersting News from last Week

Here are some interesting posts from this past week.

How Will Discovery Drive Transactions? Is search really being replaced by discovery through social recommendations? If not, then I believe it is certainly being competed with and supplemented big time.

Mobile technology 2011 video. Interesting short video highlighting how folks are using mobile tech.

Hand mounted sonar replaces cane for visually impaired. We are going to see a tremendous amount of technology like this to help humans interact with the physical world.

The Real Difference between iPhone people and Android people. No, it's not this weeks made for TV movie from the SciFi channel. That is MegaShark vs. Crocosaurus.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Android State or iPhone State?

Jumptap had a really fun chart and report out today. See below...

Where do you live?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Top 3 Things that Make a Great Small Business Phone App

the world of smart phone apps is changing faster than anyone can keep up with it. Still, the basics of relationship building apply when deciding what makes a great phone app.

Here is my current list of the top three things that make a grat small business phone app"

Interaction: To be effective your agency phone app must be interactive. If not, the app experience will fall flat. A great Agency phone app allows your customers and prospects to interact with you and your business at multiple levels

Connection: A great phone app increases connection to your app users. It will increase both the number of connections and the quality of connections.

Relationship: The net result of interactive connections is establishing and building relationships. A great phone app helps you solidfy your relationship with your customers and prospects.

Features I Think You Should Have in Your App

1 - Personal connection page for each staff member with picture and contact info - phone, email, LinkedIn, etc - and a  short bio

2 - On-phone forms - short, easy forms to let your app users get you a quick message

3 - On-phone pages with contact numbers for problems and payments

4 - Interactive map for finding your office or offices

5 - Your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn feeds

6 - Opt-in Notifications so you can alert your users about specials, coupons, storms or other timely news

Our new product group - SehMobile  - builds exactly this type of great small business phone app. Check us out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Spent Using App Passes Time Spent Browsing Web

Flurry released a report today showing that people now spend more time using mobile apps than they do browsing the web from their personal computer.

Talk about a major change. Your web site is still your foundation, but your phone app just got a lot higher priority.

Friday, June 17, 2011

62% of Consumers Want Mobile Apps

Interesting coverage on ReadWriteWeb today about a study done by DemandWare.

Read more here.

They go on to compare what consumers say they want to a Forrester Study released today estimating growth of sales through mobile.

My conclusion is that businesses are failing to provide what consumers want and that is holding back sales.

Sounds like a great opportunity for new sales with light competition to me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Smart Phone Market Share May 2011

Neilsen's new number on the smart phone market share wars...

Trends for Next 4 Years

Robert Scoble has a thought provoking post at The Business Insider today where he talks about what Google will look like in 5 years.

But that is not what interested me. He made a list of the trends he sees as happening in force - or not with 3DTV - during this time.

Here they are. How are you preparing for them?

First, what will the trends be for the next four years?

1. Mobile will get bigger screens, more capabilities, and many more users will have more than 100 apps (today only the weirdos like me do, the industry even has a name for us, they call us “heavy app users”).

2. Home entertainment systems will increasingly go completely Internet connected and many people will unplug their cable systems.

3. All media will be streamed, very few users will have downloadable files anymore.

4. There will be “apps of apps.” In other words, there will be apps that join many apps together. Already that’s happening. When I take photos with Instagram I can send those photos over to Foodspotting, Trey Ratcliffe’s photo app, amongst others. Om Malik wrote about that trend yesterday.

5. Social networking will be far more nuanced than it is today. I saw one startup, coming soon, that figured out who people I worked with 10 years ago were. All by just looking at Facebook. How? Artificial Intelligence from a lab at Stanford University.

6. We’re going to know EVERYTHING about ourselves, if we put the data in. Just this past weekend there was a Quantified Self conference with hundreds of attendees (held just a couple of miles from Google’s headquarters).

7. Automobiles will have more interactivity and more “assisted driving technology” than today, but the fully automatic self-driven car will still be years away for the average person due to cost.

8. 3DTV will continue to struggle, due to lack of content and the continued requirement to wear glasses on most screens.

9. Our social graphs will bring us much richer experiences. Going to Sonoma? You’ll know exactly where your friends have visited in the past and you’ll be able to see where celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg or Ashton Kutcher have visited.

10. News has shifted very heavily toward socially-influenced real time displays like Zite, Flipboard, Feedly, etc, on tablets.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Generation Gap

The Kiplinger Letter had results of an interesting study at the end of 2010.

To me it highlights the basic reason small business has been so slow to understand not just the importance of the web, but the transcendent effect of mobile technology.

Simply put, the folks that own the small businesses do not yet use the technologies most of their prospects use.

Here is a snapshot of the results...

Here were some other results of Generation Y's technology usage...

•   90% use the Internet
•   75% use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
•   60% access the web wirelessly on-the-go
•   83% keep their cell phone nearby, even when asleep
•   40% don’t even have a landline

A good friend of mine from the Boomer generation bought his first smart phone - an Android -  two weeks ago today. After he had it for three days I saw him at a conference. He could not believe how it had already changed how he did everyday things.

I asked him if there could have possibility been anything I could have said to him before he bought his smart phone that could have made him understand what just a few days of having his own smart phone made him understand.

His unqualified answer was "no". Nothing I could have said could have made him understand.

I asked him if he thought he could explain it to someone who did not yet have a smart phone. Again, he said no.

This was a truely transformational event in his life. Yet he can not clearly explain it.

 It is no wonder the average small business owner doesn't understand. But if they want to work with those who do, they need to take the leap and get a smart phone - Android or iPhone, the Blackberry or Windowes phones don't count because they have no significant apps - today. Approach it with an open mind and learn what it is all about.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mobile Marketing Questions

Angela Bray has an interesting post over on the HubSpot Blog today.

Here are my highlights. Take a moment to read the rest at...

As more and more of us rely solely on smartphones and tablets for information, mobile marketing is the growing jackpot for businesses. Technology is most ultimately the simple and convenient way to blast information in mass form. While original branded content, advertising, expert content, and video dominate the mobile market, sales, specials, discounts and user reviews are reaching their place.

What are the three most important things a small business (under 10 employees) can do to kick-start their mobile marketing campaign?
Make sure your website, emails, landing pages, etc. all display well on a mobile device. Always test everything. When creating content to send out, think about your customers and what you can do to benefit them. If you’re a retail business, claim your profile on Foursquare, Yelp and other local platforms. Also, make sure you’re optimized for search results.
What’s the average cost of a mobile site?
It isn’t necessary to have a completely different mobile version of your site; it just needs to display well on mobile devices. So, avoid flash-based platforms, as it is not supported by iPhone and iPad.

Native App vs. Web App
A native app is created in the device’s language. For example, Mac and iPhone, iPad have its own, Android has its own, BlackBerry has its own. The specific language is self-contained; it takes advantage of the device’s capabilities.
A web app is a website that is enabled to look really good on a web browser; it’s universal.

If you are ready for an app, let me hear form you at SehMobile. We will be glad to build a free sample app for your business.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Typewriter Factory Just Closed

A sign of the times from today's The Business Insider.

"Godrej & Boyce's Milind Dukle tells the Business Standard:

"From the early 2000 onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year.
"We stopped production in 2009 and were the last company in the world to manufacture office typewriters. Currently, the company has only 500 machines left. The machines are of Godrej Prima, the last typewriter brand from our company, and will be sold at a maximum retail price of Rs 12,000."

The factory has been converted to a refrigerator manufacturing unit."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Smart Phones Now Growing 3 Times as Fast as Babies Being Born

Interesting stat from a post on Read Write Web.

"Did you know there are 3X as many smartphones being activated every minute around the world than there are babies being born? That's according to Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson."

I guess if we don't get started making babies faster those smart phones aren't going to have a place to go soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Android Will Trump iPhone 2 to 1

Post over in TechCrunch today.

"According to GetJar, almost 40 percent of respondents said they will switch to Android for their next phone, compared to the 18 percent who said they would like to switch to the iPhone."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mobile Apps versus Mobile Web Pages

Another good ReadWriteWeb post about deciding which to use - Mobile Apps or Mobile Web pages.

Here is the slide show...

Our approach with SehMobile is to take advantage of both. We create an App for you to take advantage of those strenghts, but we give you a great online content management dashboard to allow you to open web pages - preferably mobile pages - from your app.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to Convert a Facebook Profile to a Page

ReadWriteWeb has a very good post on how to convert a Facebook profile to a Page for your business.

This is something that we all hear we should do, but how to do it is never clear - and often changes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Android Becomes Market Leader in US Mobile Phone Users

comScore announced new market share numbers for the three months through Jan 2011.

The data showed that 65.8 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during period, which is up 8 percent from the preceding three month period. While Android passed iOS in terms of subscriber share in the previous period, this is the first time the Google-developed OS has unseated RIM from the number one spot.

234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices for the period.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Google Maps Mobile Usage

From an article in Tech Crunch - Google VP Marissa Mayer told her audience at the SXSW Conference that 40% of Google Maps usage is mobile. And Christmas and New Years day had mobile usage of Maps surpass the desktop — which is a first for Google products. Google Maps now has 150 million mobile users. To put that in context, Maps for mobile had 100 million users in August of last year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Android Passes iPhone for Total U.S. Subscribers

Another interesting tidbit from TechCrunch , in the fourth quarter of last year Android passed Apple's iPhone as the #2 smart phone platform in the U.S.

RIM - Blackberry - was still #1, but look at the growth numbers. RIM is going in the wrong direction.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Decline in E-mail Use

From TechCrunch, ComScore tells us something we could all have guessed - teens use email less and less.

More interesting info in the graphic below is that all age groups below 55 years old are showing a decline in email usage.

What about you?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smart Phones Out Sell PC's

Another sign of the times. According to IDC, in the 4th quarter of 2010 there were 100.9 million Smart Phones shipped from manufacturers versus 92.1 million PC units.

This is the first quarter ever where  Smart Phones have out shipped PC's.

But I doubt it will ever be reversed.

The truth is the Smart Phone is the Personal Computer for all of us who have a Smart Phone. That number is over 30% of all Americans today and will be over 50% by the end of this year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SehMobile and EZLynx

Here is a screen capture of one of the agencies using our SehMobile app with a link to EZLynx real time rating pages.

Here is the link on a screen..

Here is the EZLynx page it opens in the Vertical view...

Here is the EZLynx page it opens in the Landscape view...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why One Agent Bought SehMobile Phone App

This morning I talked to an agent who just purchased our SehMobile Phone App for his agency.

He told me why he bought it,

He learned about the app on Tuesday and mentioned it to his teenage daughter and wife. He says his daughter lives on her smart phone and loves her apps.

Apparently his wife and daughter mentioned it to their friends. On Wednesday he told me at least 20 of his customers called wanting to know about the app and how to get it.

They all wanted their kids who were driving to add it to their smart phones so if they had an accident they could get in touch with either the agent or the carrier immediately.

Having the app on their kids phones made the parents more comfortable.What a great thing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SehMobile is Live

What a great day!

SehMobile is officially launched and underway.

For months we have had a team of as many as 7 people working on our new service which lets you create and customize a phone app for your agency.

But the work never ends. Now we get to build out new features to grow this service so it is the most valuable tool your agency has for connecting with customers and prospects.

One thing I have learned in the process - mobile and apps are not just the future of software, computers and communications. Mobiles apps are the present.

If you thought the world wide web happened in a hurry, you haven't seen anything yet. Mobile will build out 5 times as fast.

The good news is, you now have a very affordable tool to get onto the mobile platforms with your customers.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ranked Insurance Phone Apps

Ever wonder what the top ranked mobile phone apps for insurance are? Maybe not, because maybe you didn't think mobile apps were used much.

According to Mobclix the top ranked paid app in the iPhone App store on Jan 4th, 2011 was Angry Birds. The top ranked free app was Pimple Popper Lite. No wonder you don't think of mobile apps as a place for your business.

But look what the reality is. Here are the top 6 ranked insurance apps in the iPhone App Store on Jan 4th, 2011:
  1. State Farm Pocket Agent ranks 75th
  2. GEICO GloveBox ranks 92nd
  3. iFarmers ranks 245th
  4. Progressive ranks 263rd
  5. Allstate Mobile ranks 421
  6. eSurance Mobile ranks 644

There are over 300,000 apps in the Apple App Store. Those rankings are pretty impressive to me. Obviously the customers of these companies think these apps are important enough to take the time to download them to their phones.

A few agencies have apps. They rank fairly well also.
  1. Drescher Insurance Agency ranks 6017th
  2. The Insurance Dude ranks 2247th
  3. TCP Insurance ranks 2896th
  4. Treutel Insurance ranks 5009th

In the next week or so our SehMobile service will be launching a very affordable way for you and your agency to have its very own mobile app.

I hope you will take a look at it and give it some serious consideration. Based on the rankings above I have to believe your customers would appreciate it.