Mobile Websites and Schedules: 6 Ways a Mobile Website Enhances Your Event

Mobile websites for your conference or event provide an accessible, innovative, and cost-effective way to reach virtually every attendee and put relevant information at their fingertips.

As Neil Jones from eMobilescan pointed out in a recent guest post for us about the benefits of having a mobile website, the market is rapidly growing alongside the increased smart phone market, they increase brand visibility, and being the first to have a quality mobile site is a sign of industry leadership. Most importantly for the event and conference space, a mobile website brings the brand within the grasp of the customer.

When you’re hosting an event or a conference, your brand is on display and under scrutiny- putting its best face in the “grasp” of your attendees is crucial. At the same time, the cost of developing a mobile website comes in below an app, and if your goals are like most businesses, a mobile website may be more appropriate than an app as a solution. With that in mind, here are…

6 Ways a Mobile Website Enhances Your Event

1. Customization: Creating a “personalized schedule” feature for smart phone devices means that your conference or event attendees will be intimately familiar with what’s happening at your event. Making a personalization feature accessible on the iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry means staying ahead of the conference curve.

2. Twitter Feeds: With your mobile website, you can feature the Twitter feed from whatever #hashtag you choose. Featuring a Twitter feed in real-time increases the participation, importance and use of a key social media engagement tool.

3. Mobile Forms: Want feedback on a specific set of questions, or information from your attendees? Hosting a form asking for simple information or feedback that is important to your organization on a mobile website during an event is a great way to convert relevant traffic to relevant information.

4. Key Links: Keeping all of the key links that attendees at your event or conference will need during the event in one place is a great way to define what is important for your attendees. Before they have a chance to think about where they should look for more information, you can point them where you want them to go.

5. Contests and Polls: Want feedback and information about your event during your event? By creating a mobile website specific to your event, you can use the concentrated flow of mobile traffic to gather the opinions or host the contest that will help to define the undercurrent of your event.

6. Sponsorhips: Your banners and other site space are prime real estate. If you’re going to be promoting a mobile website, you can put that real estate up for sponsorship, meaning another source of revenue for your event.

To see an example of a recent mobile website on your phone, visit www.acrl.mobi from your mobile phone, iPad or other tablet.

If you like what you see and hear, contact us to talk about how to make it work for you.

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Eight Mobile Apps for Nursing Students

Mobile technologies have been in the healthcare industry for awhile now, but with the mobile phone more popular than ever, it makes sense that those in school can use technology to their advantages. This guest post about mobile apps for nursing students is from Jessica Bosari who writes for Allied Health World.

Eight Mobile Apps for Nursing Students

Nursing students have dozens of iPhone and iPad apps from which to choose. These apps provide quick information on everything from medical terms to medication guides.

Epocrates

The Epocrates apps come in three different levels. You can purchase the Essentials Deluxe app for $199 per year, Essentials for $159 per year, or RX Pro for $99 per year. If you’re a student on a budget, they also offer free apps like RX Free and Mobile Resource Centers Free. All of the apps provide up to date information about caring for patients.

Davis Drug Guide

This $39.95 app provides the latest information about medications on the market today. The more than 5,000 listed medications are easily cross-referenced. You can customize the app with bookmarks, and the app provides access to the latest drug information from the FDA.

NCLEX Lite

For .99 cents you can have a portable quiz card system on your iPad or iPhone to help you prepare for the NCLEX. The app will provide randomized questions and answers so that you can practice with fresh material each time you take a new quiz.

Eponyms

Eponyms is a free app that contains hundreds of definitions and descriptions of medical eponyms. You can search the index alphabetically, or look or specific terms individually. Searching for a general term will bring up results that include that term in the description or in the title of the eponym. This is an excellent tool for a nursing student who needs to look up eponyms quickly.

Nursing Essentials

This $5.99 app is an overview of many of the topics a nursing student would need to access for almost any part of the program. It includes photos, diagrams, lists, and descriptions divided into different classification. There is a respiratory section, cardiac section, neurological section, and a section for medical emergencies. The overall assessment section provides standard information that is useful in the classroom or at the bedside.

Micromedix Drug Information

This free app helps with drug names and classifications. Nurses can search through hundreds of drugs that are currently in use and click on a toggle button to see under what class each medication falls. The only problem with this app is that it takes you back to the home screen when you close it and open it again rather than remembering where you were. Otherwise, it is a handy, easy-to-use drug reference tool.

Nursing Central

This $159.99 nursing app is like having a complete nursing school manual in your iPhone or iPad. It contains information about diseases, drugs, and testing that would be important for any nursing student. It also includes 60,000 medical terms and access to a comprehensive online database.

Five Minute Clinical Consult

For $99.95, this app provides simple guidance for handling hundreds of different kinds of medical conditions. It also includes diagnostic tools and sections devoted entirely to pediatrics. The app does not need an internet connection to enjoy full access to all of its features.

 

Jessica Bosari writes about technology for nursing students at AlliedHealthWorld.com The site helps students find the medical career information such as the average medical billing and coding salary.

 

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging in Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services (Arik Levy, Laundry Locker)

Arik Levy, Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Laundry Locker.
Having a professional job and working many hours, the inability to get my dry cleaning and wash & fold done used to drive me crazy.  With a background in operations and technology I knew there had to be a better way.  In 2005 I came up with an ultra-convenient locker based service model that would allow people to drop off and pickup their dry cleaning on their schedule, at their convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This service is called Laundry Locker® and we are changing the way the world does laundry!  We have quickly become the largest cleaner in San Francisco with service in over 150 apartment buildings, numerous parking lots and office buildings, as well as 6 always open, self-service retail stores.

* You implemented technology in a pretty cool way at Laundry Locker. Tell us about it and how it helps customers.
Technology is fundamental to Laundry Locker®’s success.  As a self-service business, it is imperative that we build trust with our customers.  Our custom built, industry leading technology, gives us the ability to track every garment from the second an order is picked up to the time it is delivered.  This ensures consistent, reliable service and we open up much of our data to our customers to give them the visibility into what we see.  We provide full transparency including pictures of every single item and the ability for customers to mark up the pictures to let us know about issues with their garments.  This is an industry where customers are craving technology; they just don’t know it because it doesn’t exist.  Not only does the technology that we use improve the customer experience but also improves our bottom line.

* How do you see text messaging benefiting your industry?
Text messaging gives our customers the flexibility to transact with us in the most convenient way possible.  Our customers can place orders via SMS, receive alerts when their order is ready and we have more functions coming soon.  Customer service is key to our industry and the stronger relationship you can form with customers, the more successful you will be.  The mobile phone has put a computer in everyone’s pocket and we plan on leveraging that to its fullest. Technologies like mobile payments and NFC embedded in phones is super exciting.  We see some huge opportunities here.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?
I think I found out about text messaging in a bar. Expecting to find a missed call on my cell phone telling me where my buddies were, I instead found a text message; “We’re at the back bar.”  Brilliant!   Text messaging has made voicemail a thing of the past.  Got a message for me, just text it over.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

One of the most exciting things about mobile phones is that now the customer is always connected.  Their response times are quicker and they expect the same from their service providers.  Companies that can react in real-time and provide customers with the information they want, when they want it, will have a huge competitive advantage.

* What advice would you give any business owner implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?
The more channels of communication you open with your customers, the more difficult it becomes to manage the customer experience. For us, before we implemented mobile technologies, it was imperative that all our mobile interactions were seamlessly integrated into our existing customer experience system.  Our inbound text messages come in just like an order over the web and outbound text messages have the same traceability as our emails.  Without this level of integration, you will have a disparate view of your customer and you will be unable to react when they communicate using a different channel.

* Any other thoughts about mobile?
Apps and the mobile web are changing the game in every industry, even dry cleaning.  I think the new Motorola phone with a docking station is super exciting.  The smartphone  is the new laptop.  I can’t imagine the world without my smartphone, and 10 years from now we won’t believe that a basic iPhone was a sufficient device.  I recently heard about a billboard in NYC that was just a simple QR code.  The first day it was up, the QR code was scanned over 50,000 times!  Mobile technology is advancing every day and successful companies will be the ones that embrace it best.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?
I have an unlocked iPhone running on T-Mobile.  While I compromise on internet speed, not dropping calls anymore is worth the trade off.  My favorite app is CardMunch.  I just emptied my drawers of 1000+ business cards, scanned them in a matter of minutes and they were hand transcribed, digitized and loaded into my Google contacts, for free!

To learn more about Arik Levy or Laundry Locker, you can visit the Laundry Locker website or on linkedin.

Text 2 Screen | 5 Reasons Why Text Messaging for Polls and Audience Response Works

Text 2 screen polls and audience response are two of the easiest ways to get the people in the crowd involved in what’s going on with your event. Using text messaging, available on 99% of all mobile phones, makes that kind of participation available to everyone in the audience.

A business colleague of mine came back from a conference the other day, raving about how innovative it was that he and other attendees could “tweet” messages with a conference #hashtag to get their tweet to show up on a screen. I couldn’t argue with his excitement- it’s fun to see something you write end up in front of people, and it’s rewarding to feel like your opinion matters at an event where there are hundreds of people from your industry. I’ve been at conferences where you can do just that, and it is a rush to see my message appear before the crowd. I’ve even had moderators offer to ask questions that people tweeted the same hashtag.

But if the goal is truly to get more people involved, I wonder why event organizers don’t use Text 2 Screen, empowering anyone with a text plan to participate (over 95% of mobile phone owners), rather than the much smaller sliver with smartphones (just 28% of mobile phone owners).

Text 2 Screen is a way to get the attendees involved at your next event or conference. By inviting virtually everyone at the event or conference to be part of the voice of the event, you create more ways to engage the entire audience.

Here are 5 Reasons Why Text 2 Screen Text Messaging Polls and Audience Response Works…

1. Text 2 Screen Polls:
These polls encourage audience participation during speaker sessions or workshops. We’ve all looked up from our own laptops during a session to see half the room… on their laptop. Taking polls to keep audience members thinking and responding is a great way to hold attention.

2. Text 2 Screen Questions:
Empowering attendees to text questions to displays during speaker sessions or around your event gives a voice to people who may not bring them up otherwise- and every question starts a conversation that your attendees will go home thinking and talking about.

3. Text 2 Screen Photos:
What do people love more than taking pictures? Showing their pictures to other people. Designating a number and a screen where conference attendees can display their photos encourages participation, and it also means more people will be taking photos. That means they’ll share more, not just at the conference, but when they leave and head home. That means more exposure for your event.

4. Text 2 Screen Audience Response:
Whether you’re asking the question to gauge audience sentiment, or counting feedback for attendees choice awards voting, soliciting audience response adds an important interactive dimension.

5. Text 2 Screen Moderation:
As the event organizer, you can set up your text 2 screen system so that answers to polls or streams of audience feedback can be moderated before they appear on the public feed, allowing you recourse in case anything doesn’t go smoothly.

Image credit: marketing.org

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Expert Q&A: Text Messaging for Teen and Young Adult Health Services (Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon, Scarleteen)

According to a new report by Nielsen Company, US teenagers have been cited as the fastest growing audience enamored of mobile content. While that might not seem like a huge surprise to many reading this, a popular reason we get calls from helplines and hotlines about integrating text messaging into their services is decreasing phone call volume. Scarleteen is one of the most popular teen and young adult services online, so we asked Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon to answer a few questions for us regarding mobile technology and text messaging as it relates to teen and young adult health services.

* Hi Stephanie and Alice, thanks so much for your time. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do.

Scarleteen is an online comprehensive sexuality education resource for teens and young adults. Like many of the others that work with Scarleteen, we are volunteers at the site. Between the two of us, we work the text-in service, answer questions at the boards, answer questions in the Sexpert Advice column, and have written articles. Alice also works outreach at a local teen shelter.

* How do you see text messaging helping teens and young adults learn about health and sex education?

Text messaging can be especially helpful for teens and young adults because it reaches them at their level. This generation is more mobile than in the past, reaching them individually on their cells is a good way to keep their attention and also keep them in proximity to important info. It also means a way of finding answers to questions quickly, and knowing it’s from a source they trust rather than just trusting what they might have heard somewhere.

In general, other places embracing text as a way of outreach can be helpful in its own, as it allows us to reach generations in ways that they feel more comfortable communicating.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?

Alice: What got me started in text personally…. I was finding that with a busy life I didn’t have a lot of time for answering in depth questions on the boards, so when we started doing text I saw it as an opportunity to scatter my Scarleteen work into small portions throughout the day and night.

Stephanie: Actually, I was a little reluctant, as I didn’t do much texting myself. But I had some time free when they were offering the webinar, so I figured I might as well get trained in case text was ever short handed. But I also found it fit better into my always hectic schedule – so now I love working that area.

* How have mobile phones and texting changed how your organization offers support?

Text messaging can offer real-time support where a teen or young adult may otherwise not have a way to get that. It’s especially handy for a teen or young adult who is out in the world, away from their computer, and needs advice or guidance regarding purchasing a pregnancy test, obtaining emergency contraception, reporting or getting services regarding a rape, etc.
* Advice you’d give to organizations considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?

Offering a text service can be really helpful, and it’s really pretty simple. As you go along, you’ll see what questions tend to come often, and what responses you give more than others. Setting up template answers saves a lot of time, and having an idea of what boundaries you’ll expect from users ahead of time helps things run smoothly.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?

Alice: I have a Blackberry Curve, and my favorite two applications are Pandora Radio and Yelp.

Stephanie: I have a Sony Ericsson MP3 phone, so no apps but love the music.

* About the Experts:

Alice: I am a hard working single mom of a wonderful 4 year old boy named Nolan. I reside in the Seattle area where I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker of many assorted jobs. I have an intense passion for sexual health, domestic violence prevention and supporting pregnant and parenting teens. I also love reading, writing for fun, baking, blowing bubbles and hanging out with close friends.

Stephanie: I’ve spent most of my time for years working with children and adults with special needs. After 4 1/2 years of hard work and studying, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Now I teach for an alternative education school. It’s a wonderful challenge. I continue my work with Scarleteen and sexual education, as I remember what my sex ed classes were like and hope for much better for the students going through those courses today. When not in my classroom I’m usually found with friends and family, continuing writing, reading, exploring and traveling.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

Donate to Scarleteen: help more teens and young adults

The Costs for Developing a Mobile App: “How long is a piece of string?” Best. Analogy. Ever.

How much does it cost to develop my app idea?

A thread was sent to me recently from the Silicon Valley iOS Developer’s Meetup, called “How much does it cost to develop my app idea?” and it’s definitely worth sharing again. While we love mobile apps at Mosio, the apps vs mobile web debate is pretty one-sided over here: the mobile web wins for most business uses. With Shoes.com stating 85% of their m-commerce sales coming from the mobile web, not mobile apps, it goes to show that it all really comes down to your company’s goals weighed against your resources. I’ve never truly heard of an organization with unlimited resources, so it makes sense people are trying to quickly ballpark the cost of building a mobile app. If you truly look at the needs of your company, odds are that you probably don’t need a mobile app right now. Even though this statement goes against the goals of iOS developers, I’m betting quite a few of them might agree.

Here’s how the thread starts:

“I have an idea for a simple app, how much would it cost to have that developed?”  Someone else replied “that’s a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?'”

“How long is a piece of string?” is given as a humorous answer, but it’s actually a pretty good analogy.  Imagine you walk into a store where they sell string.  You might have this sort of conversation: (see full mobile app development analogy here)

Benefits of having a Mobile Website

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Neil Jones, head of marketing at eMobileScan.

Mobile websites are the latest craze, since they can be accessed through smart phones which have become a vital part of our lives. Smart phones and tablet computers are the hottest selling items today, and website owners need to have their websites noticed through these devices. This is possible by having a scaled down version of a website, called a mobile site-the scaling down helping to make the details legible in as appealing a layout as the regular website on a laptop or desktop screen. With devices like the Blackberry, iPhone and various other Android mobiles, the laptop is not even necessary since these devices conduct all the activities with the same precision despite their small form factor.

Mobile websites, though essentially a miniature version of the website, do incur an expense, and this will mean cutting other expenses out of the shoes string website budget. The question is to see whether the mobile site expense justifies the cut in online marketing expenses or reducing the SEO consultancy costs. This is easy to find out, after knowing what benefits mobile websites bring with them.

Benefits

  • A rapidly growing market available-The number of mobile users is increasing fast, and an increasing number of internet capable smart phones and mobile devices are being launched. With all these available at affordable prices, the number of mobile users is bound to increase, and when the mobile device can conduct all the functions of a desktop and laptop computer, a mobile site makes sense. Doing so now, will give a head start over others and the site can be tried and tested well before competition heats up.
  • Will increase brand visibility- When huge amounts are spent on online marketing tactics like a pay-per-click campaign or SEO consultancy, a bit of additional effort can help to plug the gaps left by them, since some users slip through the paid efforts when they use other search engines and in many other ways. The effort in the form of a mobile website will help mobile users find the brand more easily and make all the information about it more accessible.
  • Bringing the brand within the grasp of the customer- Google’s Adwords campaign claims that pay per click helps to get in touch with prospective customers as soon as they search for the website’s products and services. This had seemed difficult a year or two ago when it was important to be in front of a desktop or laptop computer. But with mobile connectivity through smart phones and other devices, this is actually possible. Wi-Fi is available on domestic flights, shopping malls, and many public places, which makes checking of mobile sites even easier. In fact mobile sites would score over traditional websites which would not be very clear, and the potential customers would actually hit upon your mobile website just as they look for it.
  • Mobile sites can lead – Having a mobile website before others in the field can be a big plus. Besides being accessible through mobile devices, it can prove to be a way to score over others since it can be a winning point in online marketing strategies. It shows your website to be farsighted and geared for the future.

The mobile internet is here to stay and is only set to see exponential growth over the coming years; if you do not have plans to get in front of this ever increasing audience then you are making a decision that could be to the detriment of the future success of your sites and your business.

 

This is a Guest post by Neil Jones, who Specializes in launching ecommerce sites, he is currently plying his trade as head of marketing for eMobileScan. With 18 websites based all around Europe they are on course to be one of Europe’s largest online retailers of Industrial handheld computers and label printers like the Motorola MC3190 or Symbol MC9090. Neil has been an online marketer for the past 6 years and in that time he has owned and run a range of sites all built around the ecommerce platform.

 

 

10 Reasons You Should Be Texting with Students, On or Off Campus

We are contacted regularly by administrators, librarians and educators interested in text messaging with students for a variety of reasons. We’re not talking about campus emergency SMS blasting. While it is a valuable security tool for alerting students and faculty of danger in real-time, we specializing in conversational, two way text messaging. Essentially it is the same way students are accustomed to texting with each other.

Here are 10 things we hear from our prospects and existing customers regarding implementing text messaging to communicate with students. We recently did a Q&A session with Curtis Marsh from KU Info (University of Kansas) about using text messaging for student services that is worth a read. KU Info is one of the more popular services at the University of Kansas, set up originally in the 1970s to dispel rumors and now used as a general information line.

1. “They don’t respond to email.”

2. “They have so many different types of phones and text messaging reaches them all.”

3. “Your service lets me document my text conversations in a single place.”

4. “Texting lets them share information easily with each other.”

5. “I don’t have to text from MY phone, I type on your website.”

6. “We need to communicate with a lot of students at the same time.”

7. “We have been using instant messaging, but it doesn’t reach [students] away from their computers.”

8. “I like that I’m able to get back to them later after I find what they’re looking for, sending a single text message follow up.”

9. “Sending a single message update to a handful of our students and then letting them respond directly to us is so cool!”

10. “Answering questions was easy. I just sat down and clicked on the big red Answer button.”

You might have your own reasons for reading this list. If you have any more you’d like us to add, let us know and we’ll add them. Bottom line, text messaging is the best way to communicate with students, on or off of campus.

160 Characters: You can fit a lot of info in a text message.

We get asked by customers all the time just how much information can be shared via text message. Not surprisingly, many don’t think it is much, even when you consider that people manage to get a lot communicated with their friends, family and co-workers using text messaging. 

Back in 1984 when SMS was invented, Friedhelm Hillebrand decided on 160 characters because it was the average amount of characters that fit on a typical postcard. The above postcard (written by Rush drummer Neil Peart in 1984) has 254 characters including his sign off and name, but if you’ve never seen one of Neil Peart’s drum solos, trust me when I say that they are incredible, but also a little longer than your average rock drum solo.

98.15 Characters (61.4%)

That is the average number of characters in an outbound response from our clients to their customers, members, students and employees. The important thing to remember is that ultimately, users understand the medium they’re using. Text messaging is conversational and short, but plenty of information can be shared in a single text message.

So what does 160 characters look like?

Here’s my personal favorite quote (it’s from Charles Kingsley), I try to live by it every day. 159 characters including the quotation marks:
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

For those Mosio customers who are less like Charles Kingsley and more like Neil Peart in their responses, our system enables you to send longer responses, breaking it up over several text messages when needed.

Should your business have a location services mobile strategy? 83% of your customers won’t care.

You may want to think twice about how much time and energy you spend on your location based services efforts in mobile…for the time being.

In day to day living, for better or worse, it’s easy to forget that “everywhere isn’t like here” (which always makes for a great excuse to travel). San Francisco is a hub to many technology start ups, I love it for that. But in many ways it gives one a foggy view of the way the rest of the world works. If you walk around the city it seems everyone has a smart phone (and specifically an iPhone) and in tangled twist of irony, being in the wireless industry creates even more of a disconnect to what most of the world does on and with their mobile phones.

Nielsen released some new research recently showing that U.S. smart phone app users are concerned with privacy when it comes to location. And why shouldn’t we be? With all of the recent news about cell phones tracking our every movement (whether we know it or not), it’s sort of a scary thought.

Mashable had a post the other day, “Why Mobile Users Aren’t Checking In [INFOGRAPHIC]” got a mixed response here at Mosio HQ. Some of us were surprised to find out only 17% of mobile users “check in” to Foursquare and Facebook Places, the rest of us weren’t surprised at all. Should your business design and implement a mobile technology strategy that doesn’t appeal or apply to 83% of your customers? I suppose it depends on your customers and more specifically on your resources.

Your business should definitely have a mobile presence. Our advice: make sure your efforts are spent on providing access to the most customers possible.

In the end it’s entirely up to you, but this report on the “reality behind the hype” as the infographic suggests is definitely eye opening for any business trying to decide what discounts or promotions they should offer to the 1 out of 5 customers trying to be their “mayor.” Your employees know who your regular customers are, do they need to be shown a digital badge to prove it? I’m certainly not suggesting one way or the other, but the research definitely warrants more consideration when thinking about implementing these types of technologies. If you have the resources and you think it’ll work, it doesn’t hurt to try. If not, there are plenty of other ways to go mobile.

Expert Q&A: Using Text Messaging for Student Services (Curtis Marsh, KU Info)

Curtis Marsh, Program Director, KU Info

* Tell us about yourself and what you do at the University of Kansas.

I work at the University of Kansas for a program called KU Info.  It’s a collaboration between KU Student Services and the KU Libraries.  The program provides the extended KU community a place to go for their questions about KU life and beyond.

* How do you see text messaging helping students on campus?

With some highly visible violence on campuses the last few years, KU joined the growing number of schools that have an emergency communication systems using  text messaging.  Our Libraries offer an ask-a-librarian service with email, instant messaging and text messaging. KU Info uses a text message system through Mosio.  These are all positive uses of texting services for students, but I feel KU and other universities need to put more focus on such services to increase awareness and usage.  The emergency systems are perfect uses for texting students as long as they have strict parameters for what messages are sent. You want the user to be highly alert when a text comes from the emergency system, so resist the temptation to use it for any other purpose.

* When did you start personally sending and receiving text messages?

I started texting to communicate quickly with my student employees (Why r u late 4 ur shift?!).  Now I reach out via text to friends, family, neighbors, etc.  Like email, it is a good way to send your message when its most convenient for you, and give your recipient time to respond when its most convenient for them.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

The biggest change mobile phones have created in my industry is the expectation for instant information.  Before mobile phones (and the internet), KU Info would frequently ask for the user’s contact info so they could get back with them once the answer was obtained.  We rarely do that anymore because of the expectation that the information is immediately available. Thankfully, with well-maintained online resources, that information is indeed immediately available.

* What tips would you give to anyone considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies for student services?

We almost never push messages to our users.  We would much rather them pull messages from us.  It is tough to give away that much control, but it is a much better way to strengthen the relationship.  I feel that every time our user perceives a message from us as unsolicited, we lose a small piece of their trust. We ask their permission to send messages, then ask them what kind they wish to receive. Again, not easy to offer truly customized messaging, but even an attempt in that direction increases the user’s perception of a one-on-one relationship.

* Any other thoughts about mobile technologies?

It seems right to communicate with our students the way they communicate with each other.  But it is so important to keep from intruding.  We don’t want users to feel the way they did the first time their parents looked at their Facebook page. We want them to view it as a convenience that they can communicate with us via text, not a nuisance that we are trying to use their social medium to do business with them.  A few well-placed messages will keep the user interested without the risk of them ignoring you or worse, blocking your number!

* What kind of mobile phone do you have and any thoughts about apps?

Just got an LG smart phone with Android. Still learning about all the cool apps, but certainly enjoying the voice recognition ones that allow me to speak everything from text messages to full dictation.  Advanced Task Killer is one I think will help me a lot with the to-do list.

* More about Curtis:

Curtis Marsh is on his 16th year at the University of Kansas, having spent five years in technology transfer, six years as Associate Director of Marketing for Continuing Education, and now Program Director of KU Info.  In the late 90’s, he left KU for a few years to work for the Kauffman Foundation and get an MBA from University of Missouri, Kansas City. The common thread between all these positions has been marketing and outreach for the university. In 2010, he added the function of Program Director for the Learning Studio.  The ultimate partnership between libraries and student services, the Learning Studio combines a major campus library with several primary student services offices to create an interactive study environment in the center of campus.

Free Text Messaging Character Counter from Mosio

Free Text Messaging Character Counter

Our software has a built-in character counter for setting up text message alerts and reminders as well as when our clients are responding to their customers, but we often have people asking about the best way to figure out how much information can be sent in a text, so we built and have hosted this text messaging character counter and you’re free to use it as well. Feel free to bookmark it or save it somewhere in case you need it in the future.

Internally we have an 800+ term “textspeak” translator that has an SMS acronym dictionary of nearly every possible short phrase texters have come up with. We’re currently speaking with the development team about hosting that outside of our service. If you’re interested in it, contact us, let us know and we’ll pass it along that more folks are looking for it.

Happy texting,

Noel

6 Reasons to Rethink Creating a Mobile App for Your Conference, Event or Expo

1. Only 28% of mobile users in the U.S. have smart phones.
What if 72% of your attendees couldn’t access your website or marketing materials. Would creating them be an acceptable use of time and money at your organization?

2. With literally hundreds of thousands of apps in the app stores, mobile app discovery is growing more difficult daily.
Even with developer confidence declining because of the fragmentation of mobile operating systems, there are about 2,000 apps submitted to the Android and iPhone app stores every day. This problem isn’t going to go away any time soon because the percentage of smart phone users will creep up over the next 5 years.  As the number of smart phone users increases so will the number of apps, creating even more noise.

3. Nearly 3/4 of downloaded mobile apps are used less than 10 times and 1/4 of mobile apps are used only once.
Quick Experiment:
If you are a smart phone user, take a quick look at your phone. How many apps do you see on there that you were excited to download and then haven’t used again? Maybe it’s no surprise to know free apps are used less than paid ones, but worth noting.

4. To justify the cost, mobile app features for conferences tend to be way more than anyone needs or uses.
Attendees using smart phones are already using many different apps to manage their travel, find local places to eat and figure out what’s causing buzz at the show via Twitter and Foursquare. Do attendees really need GPS-enabled map directions to exhibitor booths? Is there really a need to pay for development and then promote another service for them to do this on?

5. Developing mobile apps is more expensive than you think.
We recently wrote a blog post about the expense of creating an iPhone app, so I won’t go into it here, but people tend to think developing mobile apps for 3-5 different mobile operating systems is fairly inexpensive and doesn’t take a lot of time, even on providers claiming to use pre-packaged platforms. It’s really not.

6. Notifications for alerts, announcements and changes on mobile apps are not an automatic function.
How much can you ask of your attendees? After you ask them to download the app, then you have to ask them to push information or have to ask them to follow their location. When you update or change information on the app, attendees have to perform what’s basically a re-download to see the new info. What else might you have to ask of them?

So what is one supposed to do?
Use text messaging and the mobile web. Or just use text messaging. It’s available on 99% of all mobile phones and 95% of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S. have it as part of their monthly plans. If you love mobile apps or someone you work with insists in them, we completely understand. We love them too and everyone here is a smart phone user. But we’re realistic about the fact that most mobile users are not. If you’re interested in hearing success stories our clients have had using cost-effective and engaging text messaging applications or mobile web solutions, contact us, or check out our mobile solutions for conferences, events and meetings, we can help.

Thanks for reading and happy texting,

Noel Chandler
Mosio, Inc.
Interactive. Mobile. Engagement.

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8 Great Text Messaging Uses for Communicating with Field Technicians

Working out in the field can be stressful and time consuming. For businesses who depend on the efficiency of technicians to increase revenues, every minute counts. Text messaging offers significant advantages over phone calls when it comes to communicating in the field, including time-shifting (enabling each party to reply when it’s convenient for them), avoiding “voicemail tag” and quick sharing of information with anyone needing to repeat it or write it down.

The most important thing for companies to consider when using text messaging is to use a system that makes it efficient for them to receive and respond to text messages from field technicians. There’s no point in your managers/dispatchers to be sitting in the office texting when they can type on a keyboard as well.

8 great uses of text messaging for communicating with field technicians.

1. Status Updates
Enabling technicians to report quickly from the field provides managers/dispatch with real-time information about how things are going without hounding or spending any time on the phone.

2. Upsell Opportunities
There is no greater opportunity to offer a client new products or services than when you are at their location in front of them. Text messaging lets companies provide their technicians with opportunities to offer specific additional services to customers based on their purchase history or needs.

3. Where’s my next job?
It seems simple, but so much time can be saved using text messages to answer this question. If your company uses text messaging to give status updates, dispatch can proactively send this information so technicians can begin thinking of the next service call as soon as possible.

4. Heads up info about the next service call.
No one wants to go into a client situation unprepared. Whether it is letting technicians know about animals, their point of contact or history about the last service call, sending a quick SMS with information about the next job gives them the information they need to succeed.

5. Purchase orders, job orders and cost sharing.
Every company does things differently, so there’s no reason to go into specifics, but being able to send/receive information without having to hear it, then write it down is always going to be more efficient and avoid mistakes.

6. Directions, maps and location based information.
Sometimes you get lost. It happens. GPS can help, but what about finding a store close to where you are to help you get what you need faster? Along the same lines as #5, anything sent and received by texting is more efficient than writing it down.

7. Efficiently receive and respond to support questions.
Anytime technicians are away from headquarters they are at a disadvantage. They don’t have all of the information, don’t have face-to-face access to project managers or sales people who sold the job. Being able to text in a quick question, continue working, then get an answer saves the company time and gives the technician the support they need to get the job done quickly and correctly.

8. Order parts quickly.
In a perfect world everything technicians needed for a job would be in a warehouse on wheels. Until that happens, the faster they can communicate parts needed, the quicker those parts can be ordered and sent.

If you have any other uses you’re seeing out in the field, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Noel Chandler
Mosio’s FieldForce