Tech Blog

The Official “It’s Too Late for a 2016 Mobile Predictions Article” Article

I know I am a few weeks late, but here is my official 2016 Mobile Predictions article. It took a bit longer than usual because I really wanted to wait to see what everyone else was blogging about :). I will keep it to the point, but the following are my predictions for 2016. Mobile Advertising Will Still be a Frustrating Topic for Everyone A few years ago brands were replicating web ads on mobile because no one knew how to advertise on devices. Everyone became really excited about impressive ad clickthrough rates, but then realized that it was because of “clumsy thumbs”.  Ads that are placed in bad locations (I am talking to you Textra!) can easily manipulate the true statistics of mobile impressions. In 2016, in-app ads are beginning to rule, but not enough brands are using them.  The benefits of in-app ads range from the advantage of location/geo-targeting all the way to format (like auto-playing videos in Facebook). The frustration will not come from the advances that are being made (ie TapJoy), but rather from the older ad platforms that are not promoting these new technologies to their progressive brands and clients. It Will Be Proven if Phablets are a Trend or the Real Deal It looks like Apple is benefitting from the release of its phablet in 2015 (any smartphone with a screen larger than 5 inches). “..the number of phablet activations didn’t just grow compared to 2014, it exploded. A full 27% of all mobile device activations over the holidays were phablets, more than twice that of 2014”  http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/14/phablets-are-no-joke-and-apple-inc-is-laughing-its.aspx We will have to wait and see if...

Abolishing the Password. Disruptive Convenience?

Last week I read that Yahoo was saying “buh-bye” to passwords. Instantly, I recalled all of the client meetings that I have sat in on the last 15 years and envisioned the response that each person would have had with the release of this technological announcement. Fear, anxiety or perhaps sheer joy? As someone who witnesses daily, the impact that mobile has on the world, I couldn’t agree with Yahoo more. After attending a Google event in October, it was made clear to me, that convenience is jumping far ahead of every other priority, for everyone. Convenience allows us to work faster, connect with love ones more easily, purchase things with ease and consume information in seconds. Why would we want a password process to hold us up? Passwords are the bane of many-an-online-users’ existence. Admittedly, we all take shortcuts with passwords. So much so, that technological empires have been constructed on our lack of ability to create good ones, or store all of the ones that we have because we can’t keep track. Enter the smartphone. Also, enter the exitway for passwords. Aside from Yahoo’s innovation, there are other players who are recognizing the pain that passwords cause the typical consumer, user or worker. Here are a few examples: 1) ActivPass This technology captures your usage behaviour on your device and turns that into security questions. Cool! “… operates in the background of your devices, collects information about your activity, and repurposes it as security questions. The questions can be multiple-choice or open-ended and can do with anything from the last song you listened to, to the name of a...

Google inspired me with mobile micro-moments at CMO Academy

On October 5 & 6, 2015,  I was extended an exclusive invitation to join 150 other marketing executives, from around the world, at the CMO Academy at Four Seasons in Toronto, Ontario. David Rogers from the Faculty of Executive Education, Columbia Business School, discussed the importance of Customer Experience. Now, this isn’t a new topic, but Rogers introduces a significant shift occurring in marketing right now that puts customer interaction at the forefront. No longer are brands dictatorships, but rather sponges and sprinklers, taking in the most valuable customer feedback and dispersing it throughout all of their marketing efforts. We have been developing mobile applications for almost 7 years. Our goal is always to make user experience simple and rewarding. Yet, even in our industry, brands still haven’t really grasped the notion of what a user values, throughout the day, on their mobile device. Micro-moments are key to mobile application and marketing success in the digital age. What are micro moments exactly? “Micro-moments are the “want-to moments”: the want-to-know, the want-to-go, the want-to-do and the want-to-buy moments.” Taken from: https://www.soulfx.com/the-new-battleground-for-brands-in-2015-the-mobile-micro-moment/ The most successful applications that we have designed and developed for our clients are software pieces that serve a purpose during a micro-moment. It could be defining an error message that a technician sees during an installation process, setting a daily inspirational quote to be delivered at a time of need, uploading an image of a damaged item to a product company for warranty purposes or searching for a particular store when the need arises. These are micro moments, times of intent, where your company could interject and provide a solution. Here...

SpeakFeel Corporation promotes Jeffrey Sambells to Director of Technical Projects

New role will focus on operational optimization October 8 (Guelph, ON) – SpeakFeel Corporation, a Guelph-based venture specializing in integrated mobile solutions for B2B, is pleased to announce the promotion of Jeffrey Sambells to Director of Technical Projects. Previously Senior Manager, Mobile Development, Sambells’ new role will focus on optimizing internal development processes and building the SpeakFeel team to meet continued demand for the company’s services. “Jeffrey has been an exceptional team member within SpeakFeel since day one. He has a natural sense of entrepreneurship and has always supported SpeakFeel through transition and growth,” said Kelly Brooks, SpeakFeel Founder and CEO. “As we evolve into small enterprise, I am confident in Jeffrey’s ability to co-pilot the organization with me. Our skillsets are complimentary and his operational strengths will allow me to continue to focus on strategic relationship building and business development.” Sambells’ has led the development team at SpeakFeel since 2011, demonstrating incredible dedication to the organization in the dynamic tech startup landscape. His vast knowledge of technology, experience with project lifecycles and product planning, as well as his strong leadership abilities are well suited for this directing position. “I’m very excited to move into this new role at SpeakFeel. With my background as an entrepreneur, designer and developer, I bring a lot of experience to the table,” said Sambells. “I’m particularly looking forward to the opportunity to improve our processes and work closely with our team so that we can continue to offer exceptional, high quality, mobile application services.” Earlier this year, SpeakFeel was awarded $50,000 in funding through the MaRS Embedded Executive Funding program, one of only 20...

Mobile App Strategy: Some Tips for Success

We have been doing “the mobile app thing” since 2009. It is a fast-paced industry with technological changes, user expectation shifts, analytical and reporting transitions and ever-increasing competition. We have been doing some very interesting projects lately and they have given us some great insight into how brands can leverage user insight and good practices. Below are some mobile app standards that we suggest for our clients.   1) Apps Should Be About Function vs Full Menus – This Ain’t New News When we strategize with our clients, we advise against putting “everything” into their applications. Even though the common mobile app has been around for almost 8 years now, many organizations still impose website structure on their applications. Sorry to say, but 9 times out of 10, your app user doesn’t care about your org chart or company history. If your mobile application is going to replicate your website, then there really isn’t a need to develop it. A mobile app should provide the end user with a specific tool that improves content consumption, increases their productivity, heightens their social engagement or makes them feel good about their body or mind. If your application doesn’t do any of this, then you should question investing in one.   2) If you Aren’t Going to Track User Behaviour, What’s the Point? Many organizations aren’t aware of the powerful insight that mobile analytics provide. It isn’t about spying on an individual user (that’s not allowed anyhow), but it is about reviewing patterns and responses. One of our clients is looking to expand into new target markets. They are developing new branding concepts...

Do Trudeau, Harper and Mulcair have their mobile content ready?

I was browsing candidate platforms yesterday because of the big 2015 “go to the polls” announcement by Stephen Harper. I really do care about Canadian politics and I depend on the candidate web content to be reliable and readable – a resource that I can use to learn about my options as a voting Canadian. As I accessed their platform websites from my smartphone, it became VERY clear to me that in 2015, some of our most important content is still not mobilized properly.

Gamification Deserves Some Serious Consideration

We recently submitted a proposal to one of our manufacturing prospects that included a gamification strategy. One might wonder how a traditionally conservative vertical might use badges and rewards to increase revenue? In many aftermarket scenarios, product sales are controlled by sales counters and distributors. A little incentive can go a long way when you are building brand loyalty. This isn’t vertically-specific. Any industry needs to develop branding strategy that brings their customers closer to their products and services. As well, some of the more traditional verticals are now experiencing an age shift, where younger employees are coming up the ranks and are comfortable with the concepts of social, mobile and web. They are a great test market for companies that want to engage with newer methods of customer loyalty programs. If you are working with a distributor network, you are probably already using various incentives to get your product into the hands of more clients. Perhaps you are giving discounts to the dealer that is stocking more of your product. Maybe you are offering training programs or giving rewards to those who are leading sales in certain categories. If you are already engaging with these incentives you have already taken a big step towards gamifying the process. 1. Reward those who sell more of your product Offer an app where the dealer can easily enter the number of products sold and tally numbers. The app can tell the dealer how close they are to reaching a target and incentivize them to go that one extra step to hit numbers. Prize lists can be displayed as well as personal messaging to remind them of how close...

The Push Notification Plan for 2016: Re-engage Your Users!

In recent strategy sessions with two of our top consumer-side clients, we have had extensive discussions on push notifications. Three years ago, push notifications were all the rage. If a brand could get their message in front of a mobile user, they were going to do it! At first, mobile users enjoyed the reminders that were delivered to them via device. Now, it is a different story.

We are hiring a Mobile Developer with Web Experience!

You are a Mobile Developer with Web experience who is passionate about creating applications across multiple device platforms. You have an interest in the full stack including cloud services, database, APIs, front-end presentation, back-end management, as well as mobile applications (both web and native). You also have the ability to integrate these elements together. You are someone who is well-organized, resourceful, flexible, has the ability to multitask, and has extraordinary attention to detail. You must have strong communication skills and the ability to develop strong working relationships with internal and external resources. A willingness to take ownership and work independently under tight deadlines is a must. Your ideal skill set includes: 3+ years experience building web sites or mobile applications with exposure to a service-based environment. Strong working knowledge of either iOS (iOS7+ SDK, Objective-C or Swift) or Android (SDK 4.1+, Java), preferably both. Experience with multi platform environments such as PhoneGap or Appcelerator. Strong working knowledge of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript (and some related tools such as jQuery, SASS, etc.). Strong working knowledge of some server side languages such as PHP, .NET, C# or similar language (and related frameworks). Comfortable working in a command line environment (Unix Shell). Intermediate knowledge of cloud based server management and setup using Amazon Web Service (either Windows Server or Linux) . Experience writing and maintaining automated tests. Strong understanding of fundamental object-oriented programming principles and design patterns. Experience with cross-platform and cross-browser website testing. Comfortable working with version control (specifically Git). A strong sense of design. Comfortable working on a Mac. Self-starter with excellent time-management skills and the ability to meet challenging...