Creating a Wireless StrategyJanette Toral
With the advent of wireless technologies, a question I receive nowadays is “do I need a wireless strategy for my company?” The country currently has around 33 million cellphone users. Note that this is a significant jump from only 7 million in 2001.
The advantage of using mobile phones and wireless technologies to market is that the return is highly quantifiable. For customer service purposes, it can also be personalized.
Websites that sell or facilitate exchange of products and goods online can use one. I often would receive text messages from people who visited my website asking about our books, training, among others. Without the use of mobile phone and instant messaging technologies, there are several opportunities I would have definitely missed.
Nowadays, the mobile phone can be used in updating product pricing online, tracking shipping status, and even the status of your loans. All of this being done and explored in the sake of higher productivity.
If field workforce or entrepreneurs can use their phones as an extension of updating or retrieving reports, that can be helpful as well. In the pharmaceutical industry, companies now extend the medical representative’s call reporting system through the use of personal digital assistants (PDA). A medical representative simply has to fill up the call report form through his PDA and transmit it electronically via the Internet. Instead of the usual paper form that takes two weeks to a month before a report can be generated, PDA-based call reporting system allows territory managers to monitor their field personnel performance on a daily basis.
Companies should maximize the opportunities that wireless devices can bring to them. Analyze your target market and see if this is the best way to reach out to generate the targets you intend to meet either for sales, promotion, or customer service purposes. Its advantage of being measurable enabled companies to use it in conjunction with traditional media and tools. As a result, outcomes can be looked at directly and be able to track down to the source.
One of my favorite mobile phone use case study is of B2BPriceNow.com. They use the mobile phone to allow farmers and cooperatives to update their prices via text messaging (SMS). They just login via SMS and update the prices accordingly. The same can also be used to inquire about product prices of agricultural products per region.
An application that the Philippines can be truly proud of is that of Chikka. Internet users can use this tool to exchange instant messages via the Internet and through mobile phone. This application is also patented by Chikka, perhaps the first wireless application patented by a Filipino.
Another interesting tool is InfoTxt, the award-winning product of GiveMeUnlimited.com. This software allows any company to launch their own mobile phone campaigns and customer support system independently.
From a device perspective, there are some things we just can’t control. It is a big challenge to come up with a wireless application that will run in PDAs, mobile phones (yes, the wide brand array), intelligent pagers, among others. In web site design, the issue on browsers, operating system, screen resolution may not be as tough compared to wireless devices.
When it comes to PDAs, the Palm was the first to become popular and used for business applications. But with the entry of friendly Windows CE devices, what was first a possibility, in dominating the market segment, eventually became a reality.
Wireless application developers are increasing in this country. Let’s take a look at some of these folks wanting to conquer this wireless world.
I’m very happy to see how this company has grown and expanded its market to countries such as South Africa. The company has its own development and application deployment platform called Griffin. It has developed the first SMS-based food delivery service in the country, McDonalds and other mobile marketing promotions for other companies. In South Africa, it developed the first mobile-technology based television loyalty campaign, 3Bee.
Chikka is the creator behind the famous, Chikka Txt Messenger and StarTxt celebrity SMS applications. From an initial investment of $2 million, the company has created mobile applications that partner carriers offer to their subscribers and corporate customers. Its application range from mobile auctions, matchmaking, chat, interactive TV, airtime transfer, mobile payments, among others. It now offers mobile messaging overseas through partners in China (China Unicom), Hong Kong (SmarTone), Indonesia (Bubu Kreasi Perdana), Japan (all mobile phone service operators), Singapore (SingTel), Thailand (TextMe Limited) and the USA (Cingular Wireless and AT&T).
- Cerulean Software
Cerulean is a software house that also specializes in mobile phone applications. This includes chat, group messaging, broadcasting, counseling, and educational applications such as math, science, and English.
GiveMe Unlimited is a software development company specializing in wireless technologies. Its prime product is InfoTxt that allows companies to operate an SMS gateway and SMS marketing campaigns. In addition, the company is behind Load.com.ph that allows its members buy prepaid phone, ISP, and game cards.
Wireless LAN, bluetooth, personal area networks are becoming much more available than ever to us before. Whether we use it or not, we will all be connected via wireless in all aspect of our lives. It’s a brave new world and technology will become part of our lives, more than ever. But this time, the grassroots are empowered with it themselves.