philly Phorum '14 keynoteOn April 10, digital strategists gathered at the World Café Live in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to explore the next wave of customer engagement using emerging digital technologies.

Fiberlink, an IBM company, was honored to host the first panel, “Mobility as an Engagement Enabler.” During this hour-long discussion, digital strategists from four diverse industry sectors shared their current mobile strategies and plans for future prosperity with mobile personalization driven by big data.

Moderator Joseph N. DiStefano, Business Reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, kicked off the panel by discussing his years watching mobility evolve from a second to first-screen experience. Joe then introduced

  • Scott Snyder Ph.D. – President and Chief Strategy Officer, Mobiquity
  • Michael Kinzly – Director of Business Solutions, WaWa
  • Joe Portale – Chief Technologist, Mobility Solutions, Lockheed Martin
  • Roy Rosin – Chief Innovation Officer, Penn Medicine

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come (or stay long)

The panel started with a serious and sobering fact: 70% of apps are deleted after sixty days. The chief culprits of this massive “app”bandonment are lack of clear long-term benefit to the consumer and failure to embrace emerging technologies. One new software update to a mobile OS can turn today’s darling into tomorrow’s frustrating and glitchy mess.

Snyder of Mobiquity delivered another revelation—the building of an actual app is only 20-30% of the work. Meaning, most organizations are still only at the beginning of their mobility journey. The next leg of this adventure will involve true personalization of apps powered by disparate systems feeding in a multitude of data sources.

The Convergence of BIG Data on Mobile

So, just how are these digital pioneers tethering BIG data and mobile?

WaWa: This all-in-one convenience store for everything from gas to grilled chicken salads has aggregated mountains of data from its customer purchases over the years, but only in the aggregate sense. Since the company prides itself on the consumer coming first, they have respected buyer privacy by never tracking purchases at the individual level. In the age of personalization though, there comes a time when consumers must share some information about themselves for a finely tailored shopping experience. To that end, WaWa is currently developing an app that will let customers choose whether the want to share their favorite items back with the organization.

Lockheed Martin: A company known on first blush for aeronautics, Lockheed actually serves a multitude of markets with mobility on their minds. Portale shared a scenario of battlefield logistics, where data and devices can become the Patton of the new millennium providing real-time field positions of troops and enemy combatants.

Penn MedicineThe focus of apps and mobility in medicine is being forged on two fronts. On one side, healthcare providers like Penn are using apps as community builders amongst patients to share their thoughts on treatment practices, connect with other patients, and offer a direct conduit to caregivers. Moving into the bleeding edge and integrating big data, technologies from companies like Proteus Data Health are enabling smart pills that give off signals to smarter devices so dosages and frequency are all meticulously monitored.

Protecting Privacy and Securing Endpoints

The conversation concluded with some words of caution regarding privacy and protecting data leaks.

Privacy has been an online concern since the first cookie was placed during a browsing session. Unfortunately, though the volumes of data being collected have increased over the years, privacy practices have remained fairly static. According to Snyder, privacy policies will need to be more fluid in our mobile future. A trust relationship will have to be built over time with users willing to relinquish more information as providers show true value to end users for the use of this precious information.

The security of mobile data is another crucial concern. For years the conversation around protecting mobility has been relegated to IT control of devices. As wearable and even consumable data collection points become the norm, we will need to think beyond device protection and even app safeguarding. The answer is a complete enterprise mobility management strategy that considers device end points, apps and data as one ecosystem that can all be monitored, managed and secured.