Last week I had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion focused on the latest trends in mobile engagement. It was the final presentation of a great event from Aruba Networks Mobile Engagement Team at the Davenport Grand Hotel.

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Mobile engagement is an area most companies haven’t figured out yet, so I was excited to be part of the discussion, hear from industry leaders in the space and get my hands on their Meridian Mobile App Platform to go for a test-drive.

Companies miss the mark when it comes to mobile

Actually, it’s worse than missing the mark. It’s an afterthought. It’s not a priority. And that needs to change. Most of the people we first talk with have ecommerce conversion rates via mobile that are ½ to 1/3 of desktop traffic. For those that let us help them, we’re often able to help them achieve ecommerce performance that equals their desktop channel. But this technology takes that to the next level.

Street-level becomes feet-level

Google Maps has fundamentally changed the way people find information about local businesses. I still remember when I saw the first Universal search result in that included Google Maps information. My first impression was, “This is gonna be a big deal.” And it was. I have a similar feeling about the mobile engagement technology I saw from Aruba last week. It adds a much-needed layer that doesn’t currently exist. Here’s a look of how it was demonstrated at the Aruba event.

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An app was created that provided us with valuable information as event attendees. We were able login to the event app, see the agenda, find friends also at the event, navigate our way around the hotel and discover things to do in the immediate area. This greatly improved my experience, as I was able to easily view the agenda and connect with friends.

How to market and measure the last mile

Most businesses today are able to advertise, market and measure the effectiveness of their efforts via a variety of advertising and analytics platforms. But it’s primarily limited to the view, click, lead, or online purchase. There’s nothing to measure someone that sees an ad, driving downtown and walks through a store to make a purchase. We miss that last mile. We can’t see the realities of real-world purchase patterns. I wrote about some of these challenges in my blog post last week. This technology allows you to add feet-level data to the equation. This also has the ability of both helping marketers and improving user experience at the local level. Here’s a screenshot from one of the analytics dashboards of this event.

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What should you do with this new feet-level mobile engagement technology?

That’s the big question in my mind. But I have a lot of ideas. I view this technology as much more than just another tool for marketers.  In addition to the marketing and measurement power this provides, it has the potential to solve a lot of real-world usability problems as well. Here’s a short list of applications I think it could benefit.

Colleges – hospitals – concerts – airports – large stores – conferences – malls – downtowns – sporting events – restaurants – bars – hotels – casinos – museums – large government buildings – destination resorts – and many more possibilities

I look forward to seeing how this technology evolves over time. And like I said, the opportunity comes from both improving the real-world user experience and discovering insights from a new layer of analytics. If fact, I hope it’s ready for my next family trip to the Smithsonian so I can have know ahead of time where the T-Rex exhibit is, how to get from there to the Aeronautical Museum, and what options my family has for lunch.

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