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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Cool Mobile Infographic

Thanks to the Marketing Tech Blog for a reference to a cool “Future of Mobile” info graphic by Three. It’s UK focused but still a nice summary of mobile.  I especially like the internet use via mobile devices now and in 2025.  Click to get to the entire info graphic.













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Posted in Mobile

What’s The Difference Between Beacons and Geofencing

Thanks for John Spyers for pointing this out to me.  I’ve heard a lot lately about the “contextual” experience.  By that I mean, an up to the minute completely personalized experience based on more than just what a company knows about you.  Now you can take into account all of the usual items like how good a customer they are, do they have a shipment on the way, and did they just call customer service.  You can add to that things like, where are they and do they have a reservation.  Where are they depends on mobile technology usually.  iOS engineer Andrew Frederick answers the question on the difference between beacons and geofencing.


Here’s the really short version:

Geofencing – use of GPS to determine where you are. It’s useful and can pinpoint you pretty well but can be really tough on battery life

Beacons – use of low power bluetooth and a small “beacon” at a particular location. When you come within 50 feet of that beacon signal, your phone can react to it.


What’s coming in WebSphere Portal and WCM

Rob Will, Chief Architect at IBM, presented the future vision for Portal and WCM today.   He started out talking about how the concept of customer experience has been evolving over the past few years.  A core shift has been to enable non-technical users to do more and more with less reliance on IT.

What's Coming in WebSphere Portal and WCMA slight change with profound implications has been the change from a Web experience to a Digital experience, which implies support many more devices and output streams.   Portal and WCM has always been about web sites, not mobile applications.  Portal is now in the mobile web site business to enable multi-channel web site business.  Portal is still the integrating platform for content, applications, etc.  Everything done in Portal and WCM is now done with mobile in mind.

IBM Worklight is the hybrid application platform that integrates with Portal and WCM.   Worklight enables access to all the mobile device features through portlets.  Its easy to create a Worklight adapter to grab content from WCM to display in a native application.  WCM’s personalization engine can also be leveraged from Worklight so you see the same promotions on the web as you see in the mobile app.

Mobile Directions

  • Improving integration to support device classes
  • Fine tuning seamlessness of the theme integration
  • Co-deploy Worklight on Portal

Content and Rich Media

  • More and more convergence between portal and content management
  • Projects and Templates (in Portal 8) are heavily relied on in future releases
  • Content Template Catalog 4.1.2 came out last week – uses latest CKEditor for inline editing
  • Vanity URLs- in beta now.  You can completely control the URL.  URLs are stored in WCM to support Syndication.  This feature will deprecate URL Mappings in Portal.
  • WCM Content Security is more seamless with Portal.
  • Attribute based security means you can control access to content based on Attributes.
  • Project templates make it easier to set up projects, including predefined workflow
  • Now everyone is entitled to EditLive! Enterprise version
  • Customers on have entitlement to WebRadar which is content reporting and analytics
  • Cross Version syndication is supported to ease content migration.  You can syndicate from WCM CF26 or higher to WCM CF09 or higher
  • Syndication – improvements in error messaging, error handling, more retry capabilities.  Also in the Authoring UI, you can see a status of each object’s syndication.
  • Rich Media Edition seamlessly integrates with MediaBeacon.
  • Deliver and Stream HD Videos – this includes integration with BrightCove

Personalization and Targeting

  • In 8.0 IBM added in-context rules editing.  New minor enhancements are coming here.
  • Marketing Management is more of a focus for a richer experience, including Unica Marketing Center and IBM Interact.
  • New Portlet allows user to enter a few details about the spot and the portlets does all the work to bring in offers from Interact.  This reduces the rules that you have to write in portal.

WCM and Commerce

  • This is available now.
  • You can link content from WCM directly into a commerce site.  This also includes preview capability


  • Social rendering in takes content from connections and delivers them inside portal mixed with other content and applications. WCM presentation templates are used to make the social content look like other content on the page.
  • In the next version, IBM provides a bunch of enhancements.  Discussion threads hosted on IBM Connections, but linked to WCM content.   Here the visual experience of the discussion is controlled by WCM.
  • Now you can Like, create posts, comment, etc right in line.
  • Dynamic filters for social lists – these lists cooperate with other page components to filter content and drilling down in lists.
  • This is all available in mobile web too.

For a sample of how well Portal, WCM and Connections are integrated together, take a look at the Connect 2014 Site:

  • News and updates are blogs in Connections
  • Events are in WCM.
  • Session info is in WCM,
  • Speaker profile is in Connections.
  • Downloads are in Connections Files.
  • Session add is a DB2 application

Digital Data Connector (DDC) – this is a new concept and we’ll more information on this shortly.

  • Extends social rendering and WCM to any type of data source.
  • Can take most data source and bring into Portal through social rendering

I had to leave this session early, so I will follow up with another post on the rest of the new features coming in the future.

A beta version of Portal is now available if you want to try out some of these features.




Dreamforce: Building Custom Mobile Self-Service Apps

As you can see from the Salesforce keynote, Mobile is extremely important to them and to customers.

Why Mobile Self-Service

Mobile devices are ubiquitous.  Q4 was the inflection point where more phones and tablets exist than pc’s and laptops.

Study: Frost and Sullivan analysis show that users already use mobile devices for a wide ranges of activities.

Three examples of great mobile self-service apps:

  1. Geico
    1. Take picture of the accident
    2. take down license and insurance info
  2. Home Depot
    1. Natural language search
    2. store layout
    3. bar code search
  3. Fixya

Salesforce 1 lets you surface the data and interactions within the app. it’s not the only option though, you can build your own custom mobile apps or an ISV partner can build them.  The mobile app exchange also has a large number of purpose built mobile apps. In other words, you have lots of options.

Salesforce wants to give you a range of options:

  1. Native applications
  2. Hybrid apps
  3. html5 web apps


Hybrid Application

These apps run on a native container but then add functionality. It leverages the browser engine to render the html while accessing the native phone capabilities.

Two options for Hybrid include:

  1. Hybrid Remote: easy access to visual force, Possible to avoid API calls. Doesn’t support offline very easily
  2. Hybrid Local: Most of the html lives on the device, it’s a pure javascript deployment, can take offline easily, and makes fewer seder side calls for assets

Using Javascript, you can access native apps like the camera and contacts.

Salesforce Mobile SDK 2.1

Available for Android and iOS.  Support native, hybrid, and html5 apps.  Geared towards all levels of developers.


SmartSync and SmartStore are Key

Smartsync: lets you sync up your app when you come back online

SmartStore: Securely stored encrypted data on your phone

Key URL’s


Patient Portal

  • Starts with a dashboard
  • Shows health scores, gamifiation rewards activity, reminders, and trends
  • Built on communities and
  • Has a goal of increasing interaction with patient and physician
  • A lot of the data are individual data like exercise, sleep, and weight. (less Meaningful Use patient portal and more consumer oriented)
  • Shows the care team / My Doctors
  • includes appointment scheduling
  • Integrates financial information and even looks at claims coverage
  • Shows patient records like test results. (This is obviously a demo given the mockup of everything without thinking about the fact that all the doctor use different systems and hospitals)
  • Gamification uses Total Rewards system based on your exercise levels, weight, etc.
  • Integrates chatter for better interaction. (no mention of PHI at all)

Field Service Professional

  • This is a field service application developed on Native iOS
  • Includes Sync with SmartSync
  • Work orders sync and show in a list and a map
  • The app sorts by priority or time (for when you have SLA’s)
  • Can do smart routing and/or integrate with Google Maps
  • Drill down into the work order and see the data
    • All of this pulls data from the backend
  • It allows digital wet signatures and takes payment with PayPal (first payment gateway, others aren’t hard.)
  • You can also give the customer a survey
  • and finally commit the completed work order

I love the thought process and the thought put into creating something like this.  I think the patient portal especially show a little bit of naivety in thinking you can bring all that together without a lot of back end work.  That said, the use of SmartSync and SmartStore in the apps is a great showcase to say you can work within regulations and security needs.

PwC starts with native applications because of the better performance, etc.  User experience, and data persistence also come into play.  For example, if you want a completely branded app then maybe a custom native app makes sense.

What solutions exist that are more out of the box

The goal is to allow you to build and customize more declaratively.

PKB3: Public Knowledge Base 3 lets you stand up a knowledge base and configure from there. It’s delivered as a web app.  It’s an app exchange package available for free.

Mobile Self-Service: Enhance PKB3 with a much nicer interface. includes authentication, and forums.

Mobile self service just went live on the app exchange. It’s free. You can deploy as web app. You can also build a wrapper around a hybrid application.  In many ways, it’s just a bunch of templates or VisualForce pages to give you a start.  It’s also fairly configurable with logo, colors, contact phone, turn on and off key functionality.  Again, it’s a good start for similar apps you may want to build.

The Future

Will build self-service using  This will make it even easier to customize and will support responsive templates out of the box.  The  roadmap session today and Thursday will demo this.

Dreamforce: Marc Benioff Keynote and Salesforce 1

Marc Benioff’s keynote is the first session today at Dreamforce13.  Marc IMG_0140and Co-Founder Parker Harris spent time this morning highlighting features and applications that are going to be available on the Salesforce platform in the “future”.  Parker made a dramatic entrance dressed in a “Back to the Future” professor costume, so he showed a bunch of new mobile applications running on Salesforce, including a new mobile Administration interface.

Coming this spring, this new platform is nnown as Salesforce 1.  It brings these mobile applications and interfaces to end users, partners, admins, customers and even marketing.  Marc described this as a new customer platform, where all of the Salesforce custom applications, including Apex, VisualForce, etc on the Salesforce 1 platform.  This makes all these applications run native on all our mobile devices, including  iOS and Android.


An important aspect of Salesforce 1 is custom branding.  You can now distributed your Salesforce 1 application fully branded for your company.

This gives you instant access to a great mobile platform to access all your Salesforce applications, including communities, Heroku, and ExtactTarget Fuel.

This is an exciting announcement because it really extends the Salesforce ecosystem to mobile users without custom building everything from scratch.  As soon as partners enable their Salesforce based apps for Salesforce 1, you will have instant access to thousands of integrated modules on this platform.

How Not To Do a Print to Digital Marketing Campaign

Last week on the MARTA in Atlanta, Georgia I sat next to a poster advertising business courses at Herzing University.  Having never heard of it, I looked it up to find that it is a for-profit establishment, as opposed to a traditional research university, which may in-part explain the approach they took.

Print to Digital Poster

Read the rest of this post »

9: A Patient Portal Is Mobile

For all you keeping track of my previous posts, you can find a list here.

To anyone with a smart phone (over 50% and climbing) or a tablet, stating that a patient portal is mobile is like saying that the sky is blue.  Of course it’s mobile.  Why wouldn’t it be.  A very large portion of potential users will use that channel.  However, if you look at a wide range of vendors who provide “out of the box” patient portals, you see a large majority who claim mobile support by letting you view the site on your phone. (Warning: keen eyesite or a lot of pinching and zooming needed.)

surface mobileToday, most users will have a computer at home.  The day will come when a significant percentage of users have only a smartphone or a smartphone and tablet as their main computing devices though. Why would a plumber or carpenter or someone else whose main job does not warrant an expensive desktop or laptop want more than a smartphone or cheap tablet?

A true claim to mobile support implies that a web site recognizes the channel (smartphone or tablet) you use and restructures the content of the site in such a way that you can easily see and interact with the site.  Mobile support does not necessarily imply that every feature and function on your normal site be replicated in a mobile interface.  As a matter of fact, given that adding mobile support typically adds 30% to the cost of your project, you may be forced to be strategic in what you do.  So let me give you a few examples.

  1. Symptom checker: You are out and about and your son bangs his head at soccer practice.  This might come in handy to determine whether you want him to walk it off or take him to the nearest clinic or emergency room.
  2. Nurse Chat. You need a little more information and some professional help will determine your next course of action.
  3. Find a doctor, clinic, or hospital.   This is especially useful to hospital brands with multiple locations.
  4. Schedule an appointment.  Yes, this would be used most of the time from a desktop computer but most consumers are smart enough to know that a walk in clinic or an appointment in 2 hours costs them at least $200 less than heading to the emergency room now.
  5. Locations and maps. This might even be neatly integrated to your phone
  6. If you are one of those hospitals who also runs a health care plan, then consider putting the member id card out there first
  7. Notice that all of these examples focus on what a patient will do while not at home or at the office.

Now for the things that would be good but not as important:

  • View and pay my bill.  I almost put this in the more important list because mobile payments keep increasing in priority. But for now, this example has less importance than the others.  That said, the time is not far off where you will not only want to give them a nice mobile interface, you will also want to interact with the mobile payment features of a phone.  Warning: extra security may apply.
  • View my medical record.  While still important, I’m willing to bet this will occur less often when patients are mobile and more often when they have access to a larger screen.

What’s least important for a mobile user?  It’s the items related to non-critical information.  Every site has it.  About us, why we are great, the fact that one of our hospitals is in the top 10 in the nation in some category, etc.  All of this is great information.  As a matter of fact, all of that content can be relatively easily converted to a mobile interface.  So it has less to do with overall effort and more to do with the prioritization of your limited funds to support your users.

Here’s the bottom line: Sophisticated users have already reached the point where a non-mobile interface to a site is expected.  Within a year or two, the majority of users will reach that point.  Then most of your users will view your site with annoyance.  Annoyance will breed contempt.  Contempt will mean they don’t want to visit your site and consequently, may be less inclined to think of you when they have healthcare needs. Given the challenges hospitals already have in gaining mindshare over the many other hospitals and with the doctors who make recommendations on where to go, annoyance and contempt represent tipping points where you will not receive a visit.

Thank You IFTTT for Making Our Lives Easier

I am enamored with IFTTT (pronounced as IFT).  IFTTT is like that parent or spouse that does things for you.  If you are sitting on the couch, you can call out, “Can you turn the lights off?” and that person will do it for you.  You want a sandwich?  “Honey can you get me sandwich?” and whoosh there it is.  IFTTT is like that.

You haven’t heard of IFTTT? It is an internet service that you lets you connect systems together to do something for you using the simple logic of “If … then do …”.


As shown in the diagram here, IFTTT consists of recipes that take a trigger and then performs an action. As an example, say you create a blog post like I’m doing right now. Every time you create a new article you also send a tweet to your followers.  As a recipe that can be written as “If I post a new blog entry, then tweet it with a link.’  Here is how that looks in IFTTT:


When I create a new blog post, I have IFTTT automatically create a new entry in Yammer, Chatter, LinkedIn and Twitter to get the message out.  This is also really useful when I schedule an article to post on a particular day in the future.  I don’t have to remember to go Yammer and Chatter to post the new entry – IFTTT takes care of it at that time.  Too bad it can’t deliver me a sandwich – maybe the IFTTT can hook up with Jimmy John’s to deliver a sandwich when I tweet “I’m hungry”.

The power of IFTTT comes in the number of systems that can be a trigger and the number of systems that can be an action.  The more systems that can be connected together, the more powerful this tool becomes.  At the same time, the more these triggers and actions are open, the better.

In these two aspects IFTTT is diong a great job.  The list of systems that can be interconnected is already long and growing by the day.  While many of the systems are social based systems, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. there are quite a few other systems in the list, including email, SMS, RSS, a clock, etc.  A good example includes the Hue lightbulbs from Philips.  These lightbulbs connect to your wireless network and can be controlled remotely. There are recipes to turn on the lights at dusk, change the color when its raining (Purple Rain!) and more.  The one I liked blinks the light when you receive an email from a specific person.  Today I see there are 400 recipes dealing with Hue.

IFTTT has also made the recipes open, so you can create your own recipes, keep them personal or share them, and use recipes that other people have shared.  Recipes use standard notation to grab data from the underlying system.  For example, in my If WordPress Then Twitter recipe, I tell Twitter to use the title of my post and the url to my blog as part of the tweet.  At the same time, you can customize recipes based on your needs by adding your own text or including additional predefined tags.

Finally IFTTT has mobile versions that work with your iOS and Android devices.  You can use these mobile apps to IFTTT pictures you take, take actions on contacts and more.

Here are a few recipes that I think are pretty useful:

Want to save email attachments outside of email?  This one copies email attachments to Dropbox automatically.Email to Dropbox


iOS Contact to Linked In  When you create a new contact in iOS (iPhone, iPad), invite that person to connect through LinkedIn


Copy Dropbox files to SkyDrive for your intranet.Dopbox to SkyDrive



Let me know your favorite IFTTT recipes.

Adobe’s State of Mobile Benchmark

Adobe is making a name for itself in the area of digital marketing.  Marketers know that data is necessary to make key decisions and I’m glad to see Adobe providing leadership in this area. When it comes to data about mobile usage, Adobe has published their State of Mobile study on their website, available to anybody. marquee-di-mobile-benchmark-709x300

This study highlights some important data about mobile usage, including the following:

  • Tablets have overtaken phones in the amount of traffic they drive. Think about that. Modern tablets were introduced in 2010. In just 2+ years, they have taken over smartphone traffic.
  • In the Retail industry, tablets are preferred, while in Telecom phones are preferred by a wide margin.
  • Since February 2012, iOS has overtaken Android (again) for browsing
  • Video has grown by 300% on mobile devices, however, the desktop still accounts for almost 90% of video browsing.
  • For online shoppers, tablet users are 3 times more likely to buy versus smartphone users.

This is all good data for those people who are targeting mobile devices.  I’m looking forward to more of these types of studies from Adobe.

Multichannel Feature Pack 2 added to IBM Web Experience Factory

Multichannel delivery is a hot topic these days.  Just when you thought developing for multiple browsers was tedious, not we have to account for multiple device types, responsive sites, native mobile apps, etc, etc.

To help with this IBM has updated the Multichannel Feature Pack to their rapid development environment Web Experience Factory.  With Web Experience Factory (WEF), you can develop an application and run in on an application server or IBM WebSphere Portal.  This new version, Multichannel Feature Pack 2, lets you target the many different devices that access these servers.

Here are some enhancements that come in this version:

  • New wizards to implement various patterns for multi-part forms
  • Enhanced client-side support for Javascript, JSON and REST development
  • New Application Page Builder to quickly create common user interface patterns
  • Additional layouts in the Data Layout builder, which makes it easier to build data displays for the various devices and browsers
  • Worklight support for the Camera builder

You can find documentation for this feature pack on the IBM Web Experience Factory site