David Harkins

David Harkins

Dr. David L. Harkins is a social scientist researching the human experience in systems and culture. He is an experienced executive coach and consultant, passionate educator, and keynote speaker. Through his teachings, inspiration, and guidance, he helps individuals and organizations identify and connect with their potential to make a meaningful difference in their communities.

Information you need, exactly when you need it

The wireless age is upon us, but as many know, it’s plagued with challenges. Chief among those challenges are limitations in bandwidth and costs for developing applications and supporting infrastructure. One start-up, Roamable (www.roamable.com), is attempting to work around those challenges by leveraging the infrastructures most organizations already have. Roamable’s technology platform allows an organization to offer content to users in a format with which they are already familiar-e-mail. The content can be delivered on virtually any e-mail-compatible device-from, from a RIM (BlackBerry) Pager to a Web-enabled phone.

For marketers, this technology, like many others, can improve value to customers by providing such services as updates on order status, access to purchase history, and current sales promotions. However, what’s different and perhaps most intriguing about this technology is its ability for dynamic interaction. Unlike most wireless content pushed from a business server to a user, this technology allows content to be pulled based on a user’s request-enabling information to be provided on demand and with personal relevancy. Let us look at a couple of examples of how this might work.

I am going to the airport for a flight from New York to London. It is a particularly long flight, and I’m bushed, so I want to upgrade my coach seat to First Class or at least Business Class. I want to use my frequent flyer miles for this upgrade, but I’m uncertain how many miles I have available. Using my web-enabled phone, I press a predefined number to send a message request to my frequent flyer account. Within a few seconds, I get a response that provides my available miles and the length of the waitlist, if any. If I so desire, I can then acquire the upgrade or be placed on the wait list- all done efficiently and within a few seconds as I travel to the airport.

Another example might involve applications for a direct sales force, such as a dynamic lead presentation by a specific geography (“I’m on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and have a few hours to spare. What other prospects or customers are within walking distance of my current location?”). Another may be the ability of a salesperson to determine up-to-the-minute product inventory availability while closing a deal in a customer’s office.

Roamable’s technology platform provides an exciting opportunity for marketers to build applications and services designed to improve customer acquisition and retention in an increasingly mobile society. The question is, can we figure out how to leverage this technology while maintaining the privacy levels we all desire?

Here are a few thoughts to ponder:

What are some of your ideas on how marketers can use this technology? Are there potential opportunities for building revenue streams utilizing this technology?

I thank Tom Feegle, VP of Business Development at Roamable, for clarifying and validating the examples used here.


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