There are complications surrounding creation and delivery of mobile services. You name them:
- Different phone model, some with a large screen, others with small;
- Different communication capabilities: SMS, Mobile Web (WAP), USSD;
- Different service development costs: custom vs. ready-made.
We offer a solution to simplify your way to launching mobile services. In short, it is a WordPress blog where posts are content and categories are the structure (well, as it is in a real blog).
The difference is that content organized this way can be efficiently published to mobile devices.
Publishing can take different forms: SMS, USSD, Web for mobile (WAP), Phone Application (Java, iPhone). These forms can be mixed to create different interaction scenarios.
Say you want to create a mobile version of Amsterdam's craigslist. Well, a short-short version of it.
Let's assume your content is structured in the following way:
…..You will be alerted when new items arrive
Once you enter this content in WordPress, by creating 3 posts and 4 Categories, you can choose how to deliver this content. An optimal delivery scenario may look like this:
- A Call2Service number is advertised and people enter the service by calling this number. Advantage of using Call2Service is that you receive person's phone number, which, by agreement with him/her, can be used for later communication.
- In response to the call to Call2Service number, a USSD menu is delivered, listing 2 options:
Depending on the person's choice, you deliver either this menu:
1>Bikes 2>Cell phones
or SMS with the following text: "You will be alerted when new items arrive". Depending on the choice of the sale group (bikes or cell phones), an SMS with a link to craigslist is sent so that a person who can read on the Web. Alternatively, you can sent an abridged version of the sale items list by SMS or USSD.
You can integrate craigslist with SADS and have a fully automated system which dispatches alerts about new items, etc.
Developers of mobile services benefit from using Eyeline Mobilizer which adapts their content to SMS, USSD, Java, WAP, Mobile Web, and (soon) iPhone.
Eyeline Mobilizer also simplifies service creation through its integration with WordPress. For creation of more complicated services which connect to external systems, developers can use a special Eyeline Mobilizer XML language. Delivery scenarios are created using user profiles.
How To Mobilize Content
At the moment, there are several ways to mobilize content and create mobile services. Let's overview them – it will help you to appreciate the benefits offered by SADS – which creates content in all of the listed formats automatically. With SADS you don't have to go through the hurdles of creating your service for each format.
The most common way to mobilize content is to prepare and place it on the Web. Web as a delivery channel has the advantage of being independent from mobile operators (well, operators sometimes block access to certain sites or you need to explicitly ask for a data plan). Web is also very flexible in terms of integration with external systems. As to negatives, there are many.
There are only about 30 percent of all users who can use mobile Internet and about half of them use it more or less regularly. For your mobile Web service expect mostly advanced users, i.e. at most 15% of all users. No good for a mass service.
Problems for users start with mobile Internet phone settings, and end with speed and coverage.
Then there are usability issues. You need to adapt your content to different screen sizes. You cannot use complicated scenarios as on the regular Web pages. Best of all if you use simple text-based menus and as little text as possible.
Another obstacle is the absence of reliable metrics for mobile web: it is hard to know whetherthis particular user came from your advertising campaign.
The major obstacle is that mobile Web can be very expensive for a regular user, especially in roaming.
There are several ways to get your content published on the mobile Web.
There are companies starting with Google which offer mobilization options for your site. Most known initiatives in this sphere are dotMobi and moFuse. Basically, you just point your Internet site to a mobilizer which instantly creates a mobile version of the site for you. You need to have your Internet site ready. All complex graphics and scenarios are lost in the conversion. Many of the sites that you get as output are not pretty or usable. You can use a free service or choose a paid one.
2. Mobile site constructor
Companies like movylo offer easy mobile site constructors which will have your site ready in seconds. It is very handy but as with any constructor you are at the mercy of pre-defined blocks. Anything outside the scope is, well, expensive.
3. WordPress plugin
Plugins for WordPress are like mobilizers but only simpler. You just, well, plug in and anyone visiting your blog has a mobile version of it.
4. Custom developmen
May be the best and, as it often happens, the most expensive option. A good overview of approaches to creating the mobile web is given here.
To create an interactive global SMS service you would usually need multiple connections to operators around the world. Such connections are usually organized through aggregators. There are SMS providers who can take care of SMS service creation and launching for you, but they usually do not cover the entire world.
Aggregator services are rather pricey as are SMS (around 9 cents). Apart from the price, coverage is another issue (not all operators may be covered), as is time-to-launch, which sometimes is long due to required approvals of your SMS service by different operators.
SMS can also be sent through SMS gateways but then no delivery receipts are given or they are prohibitively delayed. In this case, you can hope for one-way communication only, as a rule.
SMS is quite separate from the mobile Web and usually cannot be integrated into the Web service. However, you can send an SMS with a link to a Web site.
SMS have the best penetration statistics: more than 70% of people younger than 35 years old and more than 50% of people older than 35 years old use SMS.
There are no options to creating a global USSD service except for Eyeline Global USSD Technolodgy.
It becomes a hot issue with the development of iPhone applications market. Phone applications are promising because they can combine all of the above deliveries, plus do some processing right on the phone.
Applications can communicate via Internet, SMS, and USSD. The major issue is that you need to get the user install the application that usually requires access to the Web. Downloading on the phone can be very problematic for an average user, only one in ten can do this successfully.
Another issue is that you have to hire a developer to make an application for you. If you are targeting mutliple markets you will need an iPhone application, a Java application, an Android application, a Symbian application, a Windows Mobile application… and different built-in capabilities for different screen sizes. Some companies offer some sort of adapters to all platforms.
Note that the most common platform despite a rapid rise of smartphones is Java.