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Last week I ran a seminar based on the idea of “Right Time Experiences” (not to be confused with “Real Time Experiences”). Right time experiences are experiences that are specific, relevant, and based on context – and they are core to the mobile apps of the future. During the event a series of experts and a room full of eager customers explored how mobile and big data are coming together to drive a new set of norms for mobile apps.

I was pleased to have Sanjay Poonen address the audience that gathered in Palo Alto, California and share examples of what right time experiences are all about. If you’ve heard Sanjay speak recently, he may have talked about the Internet of Things or Machine to Machine (M2M) technologies and what the future of mobile looks like. The idea that in the not too distant future all of the “things” we have in our homes and in the world at large will be connected to the internet. Things like refrigerators, ice cream freezers, home stereos and even alarm clocks.

Imagine this scenario: Have you ever had a conference call scheduled for some obscene hour (say 5am)? You set your bedside alarm clock for 4:30am – just enough time to brew a cup of coffee, boot up your laptop and launch your presentation. Once you’re all caffeinated and your ready to go, you quickly check your email for the dial in details only to find that the meet was cancelled. How frustrating!  Well, now you’re awake and you can’t possibly get back to sleep… and you’re downright grumpy.

Now imagine this same scenario in a new world - a connected world. Your calendar knows that your meeting has been cancelled. But now it is connected to your alarm clock. Your calendar automatically triggers a change to your wake up time, resetting the alarm for 7:00am instead of 4:30am.  It’s a pretty simple concept, and a brilliant example of a right time experience. At long last, intelligent systems will be connected to deliver relevant experiences. It’s kind of like a magic fairy living inside your smartphone. In this case the fairy delivers a few more hours of much needed sleep, and a more productive day.

Now take this scenario into the business world. During the seminar about Right Time Experiences, analyst Maribel Lopez (who defined the term) walked through dozens of examples of taking valuable data, contextual information and the power of mobile to change the way we do business. A few great examples were shared and will open your mind to the possibilities:

  • A grocery store chain in Korea has virtual shelves at the local train stations. Passengers can use their smartphone to scan QR codes on shiny walls painted to look like stocked store shelves. They can pre-order groceries and schedule delivery without ever entering a store.
  • Retailers are customizing promotions by analyzing vast amounts of data about historical purchases. They know a customer purchases consistently every month, always on a Saturday morning, and always women’s size 8 shoes. With added insight into a “check in” at a local coffee shop, they can trigger a targeted promotion while a customer is in the area and likely to make a purchase.</li>
  • Restaurants in San Francisco can take advantage of the vast amounts of data collected by a company called StreetLine that analyzes the use of parking spaces in the city. They can tap into this valuable data, and their own reservation system to advise customers where parking spaces are at the moment they are pulling in to the restaurant’s vicinity.

These three are only a sampling of the type of situations that we can imagine in any industry. Think of the vast amount of “big data” that you are already collecting. Are you diving in to how you can leverage that data to truly deliver value to your customers? The future of mobile depends on it.

If you want to learn more about your company can do business in the "Right Time", there are a few upcoming events where we’ll be exploring this topic in depth. You can register for the October 4th Webinar presented by the experts who delivered the seminar last week, you can join a seminar at CTIA MobileCON in San Diego on October 10th, or you can visit with Maribel and SAP’s Vishy Gopalakrishnan at the SAP Insider conference in Las Vegas in late October. Any one of these events will be an eye opening experience that will help you define the future of your mobile apps.