Mobile Monday DC presents: Opportunities and Challenges in mHealth Applications: Sept. 23

Please join us for our next Mobile Monday DC event, this evening (Sept. 23) at 6 pm. We will be diving in to the very exciting and fast-changing world of mobile health applications, with a superb panel of experts in the field from business and government.

As always the event is free, but we require a simple registration beforehand.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Mobile Monday DC recap: Mobile Privacy

Finally getting around to the recap of our last Mobile Monday event, Mobile Privacy: Policy & Practice, which we held at the Venable LLP conference center in downtown Washington on Oct. 15. Our thanks go to Rick Joyce from Venable for moderating a superb panel discussion about privacy law and policy and its impact on mobile application and solution development.

Our panelists:

Here’s a short summary of a fascinating, wide-ranging discussion. If you were there, please add your comments and thoughts about the event

  • Privacy, or to be more specific, managing personal information and who has access to it, is hard.
    • It’s hard to be sure what should be private and what shouldn’t. Jules noted that what used to be considered intrusive is now common practice. Not only that, but we can be be easily influenced to change our privacy preferences based on peer pressure and other “non-objective” factors
    • It’s hard to know what others are doing with our information. Bryan noted that most mobile apps in app stores use questionable privacy techniques.
    • It’s hard to manage our own information. Bryan explained that we all have multiple personas on line, and need to understand where our boundaries are and how we want to manage the balance of usability and privacy
  • Protecting the privacy of children on line is even harder
    • Many services (iTunes, Facebook) have rules that prohibit young children from using those services, but parents help their kids use them anyway. As Mike noted, his kids sometimes want to see Dad’s iPad more than they want to see Dad. Parents download apps for their kids from iTunes, and create accounts for them on Facebook
    • As Jennifer noted, PBS prevents violations of privacy by not collecting analytics on its kids apps, but this then makes it very hard to learn what works in those apps so PBS can improve the educational and overall experience
  • Government regulation is already happening, but may not be ideal
    • As several panelists noted, law and regulation cannot keep up with the pace of technology, and most legislators don’t have the necessary technical expertise to understand the issues
    • Despite this, when legislators and regulators see problems, they want to fix them, and will create solutions if industry does not do so first
  • Industry has the right know-how to act, but that’s hard as well
    • Jennifer remarked that there are industry standards, but not everyone follows them. The mobile app space is still in many ways the wild West.
    • How you do something can be more important than what you do. Jules explained that good privacy systems require building the right kind of relationships with customers (and people in general). Those systems need to be built gradually, considering people’s responses along the way. His advice: Do things for people, not to them.

The tone of the discussion and the overall mood of the panelists was not nearly as negative as this summary may imply. The situation is improving, and business, government, and people are working out solutions to the challenges of privacy in the mobile world, as they have in other areas at the intersection of technology, policy, and law.

We will be back in 2013 with more interesting Mobile Monday DC events. Stay tuned!

Mobile Monday DC August event: “Women and Philanthropy: Mobile For Good Works”

We’re excited about our next Mobile Monday DC event on August 13, when we are joining with the local Women In Wireless group to learn about “Women and Philanthropy: Mobile For Good Works“. We have invited an all-star panel of accomplished women to discuss the role of mobile technology and mobile solutions in supporting government services, diplomacy, development, public health, and other positive activity. The panel includes:

  • Ann Mei Chang (@annmei), Senior Advisor for Women and Technology, US Department of State (and a former Google executive)
  • Gwynne Kostin (@gwynnek), Director, Mobile, Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies, in US General Services Administration (GSA)
  • Sandhya Rao (@sandhya_c_rao), Senior Advisor for Private Sector Partnerships, Bureau of Global Health, USAID
  • Candace Johnson, Founder and Co-Founder of SES, Loral Teleport Europe, Europe Online, VATM, GTWN, Success Europe

The panel will be moderated by Stephanie Joyce (@StephJoyceDC), a partner at Arent Fox, which is also hosting the event at their offices near Farragut North Metro, at 1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

The event starts at 6pm on Monday (of course!) the 13th with networking, followed by the panel at 7. There’s no charge for the event, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, Arent Fox LLP and Jump Market Strategies.

Follow this link to register for the event. Hope to see you there!

Mobile Monday DC April event: Mobile Commerce

Please join Mobile Monday DC and our sponsor Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on April 23 for a discussion of the latest developments in mobile commerce:

Location: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 1919 Pennsylvania Ave NW #800, Washington, DC near the Farragut West Metro Station

6pm – 7pm – Networking Cocktail Hour
7pm – 8pm – Panel Discussion: Mobile Commerce
8pm – 9pm – Additional Discussion & Networking

Please RSVP via EventBrite

Andrew Lorentz, Partner @ Davis Wright Tremaine

Panel of Experts:
Paul Grill, Partner, First Annapolis Consulting
Paul Moreton, Senior Director – Mobile Payments, Capital One
Susan Pandy, Senior Director – Internet & Commerce, NACHA
Lisa Peterson, Director – Mobile Partnerships & Marketing, Neustar
Todd Strickler, Commerce Leader, Isis Mobile Commerce
Chris Wuhrer, Merchant Services, Bank of America

Mobile Monday DC March event: Mobile in Education

Please join Mobile Monday DC on March 19th for our next event, this time focusing on mobile solutions for education. We’re meeting at the Microsoft offices in Friendship Heights (right next to the Metro) for a discussion of how the mobile channel engages lifelong learners. Our panelists will share their experiences and their predictions on how tools and technologies will evolve.

As a plus, the team from Profiles will be on hand before the panel to talk with you about opportunities in the local mobile job market.

The event is free and open to the public. Please register and tell your friends (space is limited)!

All eyes on Barcelona

It’s late February, which means only one thing in the mobile industry; the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It’s the place to be to learn about what’s new in the wide world of mobile devices, software and networks.

My former employer Nokia is there in force, along with most of the other big players in the global mobile industry. The one big exception is Apple, which never participates in mobile industry trade shows. This, of course, leads to what has now become a tradition, the stories about how Apple dominates the event even though it’s not there.

I’m not going to try to summarize the news from the FIRA in this blog; there are plenty of sites that do that already. Here are a few that I think are worth a read:

There will of course be thousands of tweets from Barcelona as well. If you want to get your updates 140 characters at a time, you can’t go wrong by starting with ace analyst Ben Wood and the team at VisionMobile.

I’ve already been some enticing announcements, like the latest devices from Sony and Nokia’s 41-megapixel (!) 808 PureView smartphone. What are you reading (or seeing) at MWC this year? Let me know what’s attracting your attention in the comments.


Mobile Monday DC: post-game wrapup

We had another informative Mobile Monday DC meeting on Feb. 6, this time a session titled “Touchscreens and Touchdowns,” covering the intersection of sports and mobile technology and marketing. Thanks to our sponsors, IMRE Sports and the Georgetown U department of Sports Industry Management, we were able to use a beautiful room at Georgetown, and welcomed a good-sized crowd of GU students studying sports business.

For me, the key insight of the night was the panel’s take on the convergence of mobile, PC, and TV. I’ve always thought of convergence primarily as the availability of the same services on any screen: TV on your phone, email on your TV, etc. As panel moderator Marty Conway from IMRE described it, however, the real meaning of convergence in practice is people using multiple devices at the same time. He quoted data showing that 70% of Americans watch TV and browse the Internet at the same time (I’m certainly in that group). In the sports context, IMRE calls this converged consumer a “spectweeter,”  a fan watching the game while sharing the experience on her phone or tablet.

Joe Dupriest from the Washington Capitals described how the “spectweeter” is coming to live sports events as well, as major teams roll out WiFi networks in their arena and deliver new apps and services to fans’ mobile devices when they’re at the game.

From a mobile strategy and mobile marketing perspective, I think this presents yet another challenge to developers and marketeers when designing mobile apps and services. Not only do you need to design for limited screen space, but also for limited attention spans. That suggests a need for simpler, faster interfaces, even on devices like tablets where screen size is less of an issue.

For advertisers and those who want to monetize through advertising, “spectweeters” seem to be a very challenging customer base, who may not want to take the time to click through your ad or other attraction to see your message.

Following on what we learned this week, this is yet another thing for Mr. Zuckerberg and his pals to think about as they figure out Facebook’s mobile revenue strategy.

[Note: I’m working on a more in-depth analysis of the impact of screen size and attention time on mobile solution design. Watch this space for more info.]

photo by Monica’s Dad from flickr