After the confidence I had emerging from the Social Media Marketing module of my digital marketing course, I felt I could ride that wave of confidence into the next module about Mobile Marketing. From what I could tell, I wasn’t wrong to be confident. After all, I’ve been writing about m-learning and mobile topics on this blog since the beginning, so I figured that I would have a good handle on this topic. I did, but I was quickly reminded at how fast mobile technology has been growing even in three short years, and how I still need to do much more to keep up, if not catch up.
The module was taught by Christina “CK” Kerley, who is a very animated speaker on mobile marketing topics. She provided some great real life examples that I could easily related to. What struck me the most was how subtle mobile marketing can be and how it can be used in ways that we already take for granted, and the technology out there through mobile devices that are probably under-utilized by some, not only in marketing, but also in other mobile applications. One thing that I agreed with her about in regards to mobile is that at one point, everyone thought they needed an app for their service or product, and that’s not necessarily the case. I agree that websites need to be optimized for mobile–something that I need to do with my own e-portfolio when I get some free time in the next year. But an app has to have a purpose, and it doesn’t mean that it’s solely a glorified version of your website in tiny form.
The technologies that fascinated me the most had to do with geofencing, NFC, and RFID technologies. An example of this would be something like this: you had the Starbucks app on your phone, and as you passed by a Starbucks, your phone would send you a notification for a coupon off a drink–but only if you were in the vicinity of the Starbucks. My brain started to spin with the possibilities of how to use this, at least in m-learning. She also talked about how the proliferation of QR codes and augmented reality were coming about, and how wearables were going to be playing more of a part in mobile marketing. I knew all about these from Marta Rauch and her talks about Google Glass, and such, but I think there were some additional features that I hadn’t really thought about before this way.
All in all, it got me excited about mobile technology. Not that my interest in mobile had ever gone away–just sidetracked. We really do take our mobile tech for granted–I know I take mine for granted! I think that whatever my next stage is, I surely need to figure out how to get mobile technology into the mix, whether it’s writing or designing for mobile, or whatever. My passion for mobile has simmered over the years. I think the dark side of content strategy lured me over for the past year or two (not that it’s a bad thing), and I lost sight of where I wanted to go. If I end up starting my own business, then I need to think about incorporating those mobile skills again. Seriously, three years ago I talked about mobile in terms of m-learning mostly, but I knew it was the next big thing because mobile use was growing. My thinking was correct back then, and deep down, I know it’s only going to grow and get more complex in time. I feel like I’ve already fallen behind! So, I need to try to get up to speed on this technology again, and try to push forward, whether it’s in content marketing or something else. I appreciate CK lighting the fire under me again!
Moving on from there, the next module will be about content marketing. OK, folks, here’s the crux of it all, and I’m fearful of it. This is the topic that drove me to take this course because it’s all that I hear about in the content strategy world. We’ll see if I come out unscathed from this topic next week.
As disappointed as I was that I’d have to return my Google Glass because it really wasn’t in the budget, I knew there was a 30-day trial to use Glass, so my husband suggested that perhaps I should give the trial a whirl, and if I still liked it, I could purchase it again later when the price goes down. I wasn’t keen on the idea because I was afraid that if I liked the product enough, I’d be reluctant to return it. Despite his encouragement to try Glass first, my husband didn’t help the cause, as he’d constantly be emailing me negative articles about Glass.
Nonetheless, I decided that I’d forge ahead and give Glass a try. I didn’t even last one morning.
Upon receipt of my Google Glass, the Glass didn’t have enough charge to even set up my account on the device out of the box, so I had to charge it overnight. Even with an overnight charge, it was only at 88%. Something’s not right with that. You’d think that with such a small device that a) there would be just enough charge in it to set it up, at least, and b) that charging it overnight would put it at 100%. So, not a good start, but by the next morning, 88% was enough power to be able to set the device up.
Now, I hate to compare apples to oranges, but I couldn’t help but make mental notes of how much the experience was nothing like dealing with an Apple mobile device. Yes, I know that Glass is not a smartphone, but it does connect to one’s smartphone, after all. I’ve done the set-up of my son’s Android smartphone (and I will admit, I’m no Android expert) and set-up 4 iPhones and 2 iPads over the years, so I think I have a good idea of what a good out-of-the box experience should be. I’m also fairly adept at figuring out new technology, and have been the “tech person” in my family for decades, even before digital technology was mainstream. Add to those credentials that I am a technical communicator, so figuring out how to set a digital wearable device should be par for the course.
When I used an iPhone for the first time, I could figure out everything instantly. Apple walks you through set-up directly on the device, and nothing extra has to be done on another device paired up to it. Google Glass had some directions in the viewing screen (for lack of a better term), but it took me a while to set the device up so that it could connect to my phone and read the QR code that the app had to read to connect and activate the account. I had also read the Google Glass online help files on my laptop as I was doing this. It’s not a good sign, to me, if I have to read the website simultaneously while setting the device up. Even then, the directions weren’t that great. It assumed that everything would go smoothly, so set-up would be a snap. However, mine was not, and I couldn’t find any answers to problems I had.
Eventually, I did figure out how to get Glass set-up. I was connected to my Google account, and ready to go. It was early in the morning, and I decided to try it out, let me son see how it worked, and my husband was curious to see how it worked, too, even if he was the naysayer against it. Because I didn’t want to accumulate too much personal content on the device, I tried to be careful about not taking video or photos, as I needed to learn how to download apps and manuever the device first. My son liked what he saw, and I had him do the instruction, “OK, Glass, Google Minecraft,” and it did. He liked it. But, being that he is a rambunctious 12 year old boy, I didn’t want him wearing this expensive device for long. It was then my husband’s turn.
Before I could try to instruct him on how to manuever the device, my husband decided that he already knew how to use it based on viewing the Saturday Night Live skit from a while back. I scolded him for just trying to do things randomly, and I wanted him to give them back to me if he wasn’t going to give me a chance to explain how to use them properly–based on my limited knowledge at that point. The next thing I know, he proclaims, “OK, Glass, take a picture.” In full glory, in my rumpled NJIT pajamas, angry face, and Polish chicken hair because I had not gotten ready for the day, he had a photo of me. I was not happy about that. He then asked, “If I wanted to send this, what would I do?” At this point in the story, he and I differ on the account, but since it’s my blog, I’m telling it my way. He started to say, “Would you say, ‘OK, Glass, send an email…’?” and when he realized that he’d actually be sending an email, it opened up to THAT PHOTO. “Oops!” he claimed, and tried to back out of it. He did say, “Cancel,” a few times, but nothing happened. But somehow, the photo did get sent, and it was sent to the first person listed on my Google + list, whom I don’t know personally! How embarrassing! I had to get on my laptop later, and send a note to her in Google+ explaining the situation, that I wasn’t sending a photo of a crazy, angry bag lady on purpose, etc. By that time the Glass was confiscated, that was enough to get me on the wrong foot with the device even further.
After everyone had left for school and gone off to the office, I had a little time to myself to try to figure more about this. One of the biggest flaws I saw with this device is that it’s not intuitive. As I mentioned, the set-up was not smooth at all. I found that I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to delete the photo or the Google search from the Glass unless I reset the device back to factory settings. That can’t be right. Additionally, I couldn’t figure out how to get to a screen to add apps. Again, that doesn’t make sense. So, I went back to the Google Glass Help online to try to figure that out. I couldn’t find any instructions on how to add apps. Additionally, I saw that there were less than two dozen apps available at all! Geez, that doesn’t seem like a lot. I know that this is a product that’s still in development, but you’d think that after a year, Google would have more apps than what I saw.
So, when I took into account how the product wasn’t intuitive, had very few apps, had no ability to delete things (I was able to delete the photo in my Google account via my laptop, but shouldn’t be), plus the exorbitant price, I succumbed to what my husband had been telling me all along. It wasn’t right for me. So, I called Google to ask for the return labels so I could send it back and get my full refund.
Believe me, I was really frustrated with this product. Although my family thought it was cool, they also felt that it wasn’t so easy to figure out how to use it seamlessly, and we’re all fairly technical–even my son. But for something that was the price of two new iPad Air devices or laptops that had much more functionality, I had one funny pair of electronic eyeglasses that didn’t do a whole lot. The experience was disappointing, and I didn’t want to pursue it further–that’s how frustrating it was in one morning. To quote my husband, “If Apple had come out with these instead of Google, it would be cheaper and it would be a completely different experience.” This is coming from a guy who’s very reluctant to use Apple products in the first place, and he even came to this conclusion. The sad thing is, he’s right. When watching that SNL skit again after this experience, my experience wasn’t too different, except the character in the skit got apps on his Glass, at least. The scary thing is, that skit was done a year ago, and nothing has changed since that time!
Despite this less than stellar experience with emerging technology, I think if the price came down significantly, the intuitiveness of the product was better–including understanding how to delete content and add apps, and there were more apps to use, then I’d definitely reconsider getting Glass again in the future. The product isn’t ready for primetime, in my opinion. Even the iPhone had more features on it when it first came out in the first year than this has. I initially got interested in Glass after seeing my friend, Marta Rauch of Oracle, using them, and seeing her presentations about the product’s many capabilities. I wouldn’t have rushed to purchase the product and have a chance to use them if I didn’t believe that there was a true potential in the product. I think Marta has more of a chance to play with them and see the potential because she uses them professionally as well as personally. Part of her job is seeing how Glass can be integrated in projects and products that she’s working on at Oracle. I don’t have any such projects or products I’m trying to develop. And as I said, I do think there is potential for a wearable smart device.
I don’t think Google Glass in its current state, however, is the product for me right now. Once some of these issues are fixed, I’ll see about giving it another try. Believe me, I’m really disappointed, but at least I can get my money back, and Google is being fairly cool about me returning it. And yes, I’ve given them this feedback–twice.
Do you think I didn’t give it a chance? Do you think I was crazy to even try it in the first place? What do you think about such devices? You can put your response in the comments section below.
I, along with the iOS faithful, waited with bated breath yesterday to hear all about the new iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. Considering that the last time I upgraded my phone was for the 4S, I was looking forward to seeing what my upgrade options (that were not Windows or Android-based) were.
I was excited for both models, as I could see these as upgrades. Part of the big upgrade for both will be iOS7, as it is promising to be a more streamlined user experience. While we’ve known about this new upgrade to the OS for a few months, now that it’s close to its release, the excitement can really build up. There will be more accessibility to the Cloud, more multi-tasking features, easier ability to share data, and a better camera functionality, among other updates. Siri searches are even improved, as it draws more data from Wikipedia and social media now. Maps are improved. Just the OS update alone will make things better for mobile sharing of information. The iWork suite is going to be free, available on the Cloud as well. This is a big boost to creating and editing content, whether it be text, graphics, spreadsheets or video. My first reaction to this was, “Gee, I spent some good money on getting all those apps a while ago. Do I get a refund now?” I’m sure I don’t, but thinking about this from an educational perspective, this is a big boost. I did use the cloud-based iWork to work on some items while it was available via beta, and I found it to be a great solution for me to work on various documents on both my iDevices and my laptop–and my laptop is Windows-based! I could access it via my iCloud account on my browser, and then work on it later on my iPad or iPhone. It’s a great boost, and I’m sure it’ll help some classroom situations save some money.
But these new tools–because that’s what these new phones are, new tools–look awesome. The iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S do open up some new doors to not only use this new OS to the maximum, but they offer new opportunities for mobile learning.
While the iPhone 5C has all the pretty colors now available, the new structure of using a polycarbonate plastic foundation is going to make a big difference. First of all, I’m sure some people are thinking, “Oh my gosh, that thing will crack so easily because it’s plastic, even if it has that silicone case around it.” If you don’t know much about polycarbonate plastics, then you’d need to learn, because you would be wrong. Polycarbonate plastics are often used for children’s eyeglasses because of their strength and rigidity. The same plastic is used for sports goggles and sports eyewear for the same reason. (Being a mom who has a child with glasses, and I own a pair of prescription swimming goggles, I know this.) This plastic is safe enough to protect one’s eyes, even in extreme conditions, as they don’t break easily nor do they scratch easily. So if it’s safe for your kids’ eyes, it’s probably going to be safe for your phone. It’s reinforced with the steel frame that doubles as an antenna, so I think one shouldn’t have any worries if the device is properly cared for, in general.
The 5C will take advantage of all the new functionality of iOS7, which is good, but I think the biggest part of all of it will be its price point. The 16 GB model–it’s “smallest” storage model–will be US$99. For a brand new phone with this kind of functionality, that’s pretty cheap! And because of that price point, people who were buying Android and Windows phones as alternatives because of the price points of those other brands might now be able to afford an iPhone now. iPhone is known for its customer services, its ease of use, and its ability to have access to more apps than imaginable, so this accessibility will allow it to become a more dominant player in the mobile phone game. I can imagine schools being more apt to buy some of these smartphones or encouraging or subsidizing these phones around the world, because the price point is half of what the “fancy” model is worth, but it still packs a punch.
The 5S device, however, has more bells and whistles. While it does have new colors to its line-up, it’s more about how powerful the device is. It’s really a true microcomputer in the palm of your hand. The 5S is the first smartphone to have a 64-bit processor. How long ago was it that we had 64-bit desktops and laptops? That’s amazing! The CPU performance is now twice as fast as the iPhone 5, including super faster graphics. There is also a second processor in the 5S known as the M7, which is a motion co-processor. It works more accurately with the compass, accelerometer and gyroscope, so it’s going to spawn more use for health and fitness apps. Who ever thought you might use your iPhone for gym class? All this data can help assess the user’s surroundings more. Imagine using those features for a science class or history class? The 5S also has an upgraded camera called the iSight camera with a dual-LCD flash with better sensors. In combination with the iOS7 software, it will allow for more accurate photography. There is also a slow-motion video feature and a burst mode on the camera (taking 10 frames per second on the shutter). The camera alone is pretty cool!
The other big feature is the TouchID, which is a fingerprint scanner on the home button. It’s done for security purposes, but I could see this taken to a higher level, in time, for personalization for access. You know how one can use separate user names and passwords to access a shared device? The TouchID uses a fingerprint to identify a person, and multiple fingerprints can be approved and saved. What if that was used for personalized learning? So, one student would swipe his/her fingerprint, and only certain apps or information would appear. Another student would do the same, and different apps or information would appear. This could work beyond security, and again, I see this as something that could be a money saver for schools. A device could be numbered, and Bobby and Susie could share Device #8 of 10 in a classroom during different periods, and yet have access to different information. The software might not be quite there yet, but that might be the next step, and it’s a feature that could be on future iPads as well.
I think these are great innovations moving forward with both phones.
However, I did see commentary on some social media outlets by some that they were disappointed by the new phones, stating that the new phones were not “innovative” enough. RJ Jacquez was definitely very vocal on his Facebook page, stating, “Absolutely NOTHING innovative from Apple at today’s event. Disappointing! Google is now clearly in control of the Mobile Revolution!”
But I think there were two comments to his Facebook posting in response that caught my eye that I think summarizes these upgrades well. (Yes, I asked their permission first before posting.)
Stefan Gentz, who is a well-known technical communications speaker, responded to a naysayer by replying,
Hey, they just introduced the first 64 bit smartphone in the world! It has a fingerprint sensor that opens up a whole new level of online shopping convenience and security, a new global LTE chip with a whopping 13 LTE bands (which is especially great for continent hoppers) and a superb camera with an aperture of ƒ/2.2 which is even dramatically better than my professional Sony digicam (3.5), even better than most professional DSLR and it can still take 10 pics/sec. And the new motion chip M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Not to mention the new iOS7. And this all in a 7.6 mm, 112 g sexy, high-precision case.”
Stefan followed up by stating that all these features don’t add up to nothing!
Paulo Castro, another technical communicator, followed up on Stefan’s comment with the following:
Innovation is not the only thing that matters in a new product. Sometimes you just have to take what you have and make it better, stronger, faster, more reliable, etc. Stefan (above comment) makes a good point in terms of new features.As long as nobody else comes up with something significantly better in terms of new hardware, software, or OS, then Apple may still have a good standing in this competitive market.
I, too, wish we could see an eye-opening product everytime Apple announces something, but the truth I would prefer to have an extremely efficient device at a good price, with high reliability, security, and functionality, rather than a new gizmo with stuff I don’t even need.
I have to agree with both gentlemen. There’s a lot going on with the upgrade of the device itself, as Stefan said. Even Lance Ulanoff of Mashable said of the 5S, “Its new look combined with this more powerful phone and some of the landmark features –- iSight camera, Touch ID –- should make the iPhone 5S feel less like an upgrade and more like a reboot.” But I think Paulo makes a great point as well, which is that in the end, I, too, would prefer to have an extremely reliable and efficient device. The 5S that I plan to buy will be the third iPhone that I’ve chosen to purchase. I could’ve easily upgraded to a Windows or Android-based phone a while ago, but I chose not to do so. I would be a rich woman if I had a dollar for every time my son or my husband had to forego using their Android phones, and we relied on my iPhone for something. I’ve never had my phone crash, and I can only think of once when I had to reset the phone and start all over again. Once in about five years, and it was probably five years ago when I was getting adjusted to it? That’s pretty good.
When it comes to mobile devices, there’s no question that I favor iDevices. The new iPhones have a lot to offer, and I can’t wait to order mine!
PS – In case anybody cares to know, I would love to have Lance Ulanoff’s job, or something a lot like it. Doing social media coverage and blogging about events like this and the tech scene would be a dream come true! 😉
Anyone who knows me and has been with this blog for the long haul knows that I really like what m-learning is all about. Even though I haven’t been able to steer my career in that direction as much as I’d like (or at least, not yet), I’ve always been a big advocate for m-learning and what it can accomplish. For a while now, I’ve been a great follower of RJ Jacquez, and while he and I don’t talk as much as we used to online anymore, I still consider him my number one mentor on m-learning. He’s always been a very early supporter of the TechCommGeekMom cause!
RJ recently gave a keynote speech for the 2013 ASTD Houston Conference. While I would have loved to have attended this event, especially for RJ’s keynote address, I wasn’t able to go. (I do have to work, and I went to the 2013 STC Summit, after all!) For that reason, I’m so glad that RJ shared his SlideShare file for the keynote address online.
His talk was called, “The Time to Mobilize Learning is Now!” Here is his SlideShare slideshow:
RJ has been a prominent leader in promoting mobile, not just m-learning, for a while now, and even without his accompanying talk to go along with the slides, you can get a fairly clear idea of where he’s going with this. Mobile is change, and in so many ways, we have already started to embrace the changes. We need to adapt in order to move forward. His demonstration of the evolution of how we have come to the point of using mobile as prolifically as we do now, and of all the many benefits of using mobile seem fairly clear from this slideshow.
I’m still a big believer in mobile, and this slideshow reminded me of this. It helped to reinforce again my belief that mobile is an important part of our integrated technology going forward. If we don’t adapt, we fall behind, not just with m-learning–which seems to be leading the way, but also with mobile content itself.