Monday, March 21, 2011

HANDHELD LIBRARIAN I: Next Trends in Mobile Technology

Next Mobile trends HHLIB
Click above to view slides. Archived version of webinar is here (requires latest version of Flash).

The presenter, Joe Murphy, says keeping current with mobile trends helps libraries stay relevant. According to this article, smart phones are now outselling PCs. There were 10 billion downloads in Apple's app store, and the iPad is now the most successful mobile device of all time.

He discussed four major trends:

  1. Mobile Photos (Instagram, Hipstamatic, Photoshop Express)
  2. Location Services (Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, Mytown, Loopt)
  3. Entertainment Check-in (Miso, Getglue, Philo)
  4. Social Recommendation Services (Google Hotpot, Bizzy, Foodspotting)

Mobile photos involve taking pictures on your mobile devices, editing them on the same device, then sharing them with others. Libraries could use these services to publicize themselves by showing photos of events. Instagram has 2 millions users, but has only been around for 2 months. These services also make it really easy to share to other social media such as Facebook, Flickr or Twitter.

Location services are a form of mobile social gaming--users check in and gain in-world & real-world benefits such as a free coffee. At root, they are a marketing tool--the more users follow, the more they gain rewards. They can also be used to meet friends or even find a lost wallet. Foursquare is the largest, at 7 million users.

Check-in services are similar, except they are about what you are doing rather than where you are going, combining digital and real-world engagement. Getglue lets you "check in" to movies, video games, thinking about a topic, chatting, and reading a book. You can share easily to Facebook and Twitter. The thinking about a topic could apply to the library. Getglue is definitely one to keep our eye on, according to Murphy. Miso and Philo are similar, but only cover television.

Social recommendation services such as Google Hotpot and Bizzy have you rate local business and they will recommend others to you based on your preferences. Foodspotting is specific to restaurants and you can post photos of meals.

Murphy also mentioned an attachment to the iPhone that lets you swipe credit cards and make payments. While not a trend yet, it could become one in the future.

These trends change patrons' expectations, so flexibility is key. For example, don't be too strict with patrons taking photos if it becomes an important discovery tool that can promote the library.

--Andrea @Central

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