Leaders from the mobile ecosystem met in San Francisco for the Open Mobile Summit on Nov. 9 and 10, 2015. More than 90 product and marketing experts shared insights on the challenges and opportunities of moving to a mobile-first world and how the full potential of mobile apps could be unleashed through advanced machine learning.
In opening comments, Altimeter Group Principal Analyst Brian Solis described the mobile-only customer experience as a series of micro moments, where each must be useful in order for customers to take the next step. Unlike other channels, in the mobile "egosystem" we are the center of our universe, and the "have it now" expectations of mobile consumers must be addressed in mobile-forward company strategies, he said.
Google Ventures General Partner Rich Miner discussed financially focused investment in early-stage American and European startups. "When you're looking at the formation of tech ecosystems to invest in, you want to see availability of capital," he said. "You want to see seasoned entrepreneurs from great universities and repeat entrepreneurs to be coaches and mentors."
Miner noted that London, Stockholm and Berlin are innovation hotbeds and that today's tech innovators are more grounded than those involved in the tech bubble early in this century. He added that the speed of innovation coming from mobile startups could outpace that from entrenched mobile behemoths. He believes new capabilities, the cloud and machine intelligence together will transform smart devices.
Adam Marchick, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of mobile automation software provider Kahuna, emphasized that apps can act as omnichannel catalysts. As merchants integrate new channels, they will opt for consistency at every touch point, digital and in-person.
Panelist Joe Megibow, Chief Digital Officer at American Eagle Outfitters described his experience in launching mobile chat back when few retailers offered it. "On day one, we were getting about 40 percent of our chats through mobile, and the chats were every bit as long as online," he said. "They were talking to people like they talked to human beings in stores."
Mixpanel co-founder Tim Trefren, whose firm specializes in advanced analytics, stressed the importance of data in validating company vision. He said rapid iterations by those who adopt a data-driven approach can accelerate sales by as much as 30 to 50 percent, and gave as an example highly targeted push notifications to consumer groups.
Cheetah Mobile Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales Djamel Agaoua said the right message delivered at the right moment can increase mobile customer engagement by a factor of three to five. MoEngage Inc., a company that helps mobile apps figure out how to personalize push notifications, revealed how personalized smart triggers can increase customer engagement and online sales.
Other panelists with mobile app experience noted the importance of testing specific scenarios before full-scale launch of new apps. Several panelists described how contextual differences on small-screen mobile devices lead to their containing less content than PC screens. Wearable devices, for example, use of scrollable infographics and bite-sized content effectively.
Afternoon sessions focused on standout mobile products and mobile marketing to close the physical-to-digital gap. Panelists covered mobile-first versus mobile only, omnichannel readiness, building apps at scale, evolving apps, context aware customer engagement and more.
On the summit's second day, Kevin Weil, Senior Vice President at Twitter Inc. noted that changing the social network's star, indicating a "favorite," to a heart, indicating a "like," increased overall user engagement by 6 percent. He also described other features in development that will add value and build brand awareness. Facebook Inc. Head of Commerce Product Marketing Kelly Graziadel said the company is adding tools that optimize commerce-driven experiences.
Mark Rolston, founder and Chief Creative of Argodesign, explored how "invisible and super-smart computing" will reshape our personal and professional lives. He later joined executives from Google Inc., Kayak and Kony Inc. in a panel discussion on machine-learning algorithms.
Skyhook Wireless Inc. Vice President of Product David Bairstow offered a game plan for retaining mobile app users in a world where over 50 million apps are downloaded daily, yet one in four are abandoned within 24 hours.
Many summit exhibitors said they saw great potential in context-as-a-service capabilities and automated platforms that will enable rich targeting a
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