The six-word combination most heard by developers is “Is there an app for that?” And why not – there is an app for everything else. Many companies are desperate to come out with an “app” and boy, does it show. A major insurance company that has an “app” that will allow you to take a picture of your car and then, if you punch another button, type in your VIN? Yep that’s it…but it’s an app!
Another major insurance company just launched an app that allows you to “diagram your latest accident.” Wow.
Our view is that a mobile web site is better than, say, a native iPhone app, and that is the approach we take with AMG Alerts. With a native app, you need to occasionally update it if the publisher adds functionality (as they should) and you don’t want to have to do this in a time-sensitive situations. A mobile site never needs to be “updated” by the client. And you still get your icon on the phone.
Another trend that affects how solutions are deployed is the rise in popularity of tablets. There used to be two categories of Internet-enabled devices – the “smartphone” and the full-blown desktop or notebook computer. Now that landscape is changing rapidly and the more portable tablet is eating away at the full-blown computer share. Some experts expect the normal “computer” to go the way of the dinosaur in less than two years in favor of tablets. That seems far-fetched, especially to us IT-types, but there is no denying the explosion in tablet rollouts, and they are not toys anymore. We do see that in two years, most computer users will have a tablet as an adjunct to replacement for their normal PC/Mac. All of us already know people whose total computer needs can be, and are, satisfied with a tablet. This trend also falls in favor of a mobile web site solution.
A well-designed notification solution should be as device-independent as possible so it is accessible by all the new hardware coming out, and in this day and age, web access is ubiquitous and becoming only more so