The Three Building Blocks of Mobile Business

For companies just beginning to establish their mobile strategy, the process is an onerous one.   Each step must be carefully thought out to ensure the product’s full potential.  Here are three components that create the infrastructure of mobile business.

Platform

There are two main platforms for mobile: native and web.  Generally, native apps are more full-featured experiences, while mobile websites serve as lightened versions of the app to encourage users to download it.  Take for example Facebook.  Their mobile website has the standard Facebook experience.  However, for iOS and Android, the Facebook app lets users call each other and upload photos directly from the camera.

Native apps have more functionality since they have direct access to the device’s capabilities, allowing them to send notifications and access hardware such as the camera.  It is best to release an app for each of the Android and iOS operating systems, which make up 81.0 and 12.9 percent of market share, respectively.  You will likely wonder wait, what’s the point of investing in iOS then?  Because market share does not equal revenue share.  Although Android is responsible for 75 percent of all app downloads and iOS only 18, each earns 50 percent of all app revenue.  This reveals that iOS are willing to spend more on apps, and value quality or quantity.  Nevertheless, it is essential to deploy for both Android and iOS to ensure coverage of the whole consumer base.

Security

Every aspect, from sending to storage, must be implemented carefully to protect user and company data.  SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the main protocol for sending data.  It provides encryption for all communication sent over networks.  Most websites have a SSL certificate that can be purchased from hosting or security companies.  Security implementations are a bit different on native apps, but fortunately iOS and Android have official guides.

Coincidentally, earlier this month the technology industry was put into an uproar by the discovery of Heartbleed, the name given to security bug.  Heartbleed caused vulnerabilities in OpenSSL, an open source version of SSL that is wildly used.  It enabled hackers to steal transmitted data from any website that uses OpenSSL, including Yahoo!, Tumblr, and Wikipedia.  Though OpenSSL is now patched, it goes to show that companies need to pay close attention to the industry at all times.

Heartbleed may have been addressed too quickly for hackers to take advantage of, but a recent victim unrelated to Heartbleed was photo messaging app Snapchat, with 4 million active users.  It was hacked on December 31st, 2013 and 4.6 million Snapchat users had their phone numbers were leaked online.  Users and industry professionals reacted negatively, forcing Snapchat to give a public response and seek legal help.

Promotion

In the end, a 5-star application will have no users if no one knows about it.  The first step is to focus on the mobile website.  It should be search engine optimized and have responsive designs to adapt to various screen sizes.  By using hints from visitors’ internet browsers, the website can detect if they are on mobile devices.  If so, the website can display messages about the existence of a native version and a direct link to the download.  The web and native components should complement each other.

Social networking is an increasingly popular and affordable method of advertising.  Since consumers are spending more time on internet and less on cable and print, marketing will be more effective on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  There are no fees for posting messages, and using contests to encourage users to share is an easy method of viral marketing.

Conclusion

An application is never completely developed.  Even if all desired features are implemented, there are always optimizations and updates to be made.  These three elements will lay out a strong foundation for your mobile project.

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