Mobile services must be contextual. Screens are small. Interfaces are limited. Consumers are task-oriented. “I want to pay a bill” or “I need to make this shopping list before my son is finished with soccer practice." Total context – the sum of everything you know about a consumer, including what he/she is experiencing now – must be used to create the relevancy in the delivery of content and services.
Context can help shorten the number of steps on a phone to complete a task. We already see this with companies like Apple – the application switches to “store mode.” Starwood Hotels switches its app to 'travel mode' when a guest is within 48 hours of a stay. Services we only envisioned two years ago are real today.
Why don’t more companies use mobile context? Our research tells us it's lack of bandwidth; executing on the basics keeps us busy enough. It’s also hard to do – and most enterprises don’t have the right analytics or metrics in place to measure the impact.
Google rolled out a number of tools/features for developers today to make using context easier. It’s exactly what we need.
Here’s the list:
1) Geofencing within apps: This allows developers to set up 100 geofenced areas. It will be excellent for local services and smaller brands (plus media companies). Too few for large national brands with hundreds or thousands of locations.
2) Google Activity: It abstracts the context of walking, running, cycling, making it easier for developers to use motion context.
3) GCM – Google Cloud Messaging: This is used by 60% of apps today to send 17B messages per day. CRAZY! On one hand, it's impressive, but then there are 900M Android installs. That’s still a lot of messages per day per active user. What is new is the upstream messaging – allowing two-way communication.
4) Translation tools within the developer console: A paid service/list of vendors in the tool with pricing; claims that it takes a week.
5) Synched sign–in across devices.
For eBusiness professionals, it will make it easier to offer:
– Multiple modes based on location.
– Marketing/services based on location.
Context isn't just about location – but it's mostly so today.