APPNATION III conference – highlights and key take-aways

Last Wednesday and Thursday Scandit was present at the APPnation 3 conference in the San Francisco Design Center concourse. It was an exhilarating get-together of some of the leading developers, ad companies, and investors in the mobile industry. This blog post summarizes our key take-aways and provides some pictures (see link below).

The first highlight was Gibu Thomas – SVP of mobile and digital for Walmart. He chatted about the rise of mobile commerce as seen by Walmart and how it differs from other visions of mobile shopping. On the forefront of Walmart’s ideas for m-commerce is that apps should be a mobilization of your in-store experience. Thomas suggested retailers don’t want apps to replace the customer’s foot traffic to the store. Rather, they should enhance the customer’s desire to visit the store and result in a simpler and more rewarding shopping experience. Functionalities such as list making, mobile couponing, price checking, in-store navigation, or mobile payment can all help achieve this. The friendly sales people are there for a reason, and the app is there to complement them.

Thomas also hit on mobile barcode scanning, acknowledging it as a growing trend in mobile commerce. He noted that that in some applications there is missing satisfaction for users of this technology. This can be due to the lack of reliable product data or a poor user experience in terms of scanning performance. Fortunately, Scandit was in attendance on the expo floor to present its blazing fast and reliable barcode scanning technology and to prove that a good user experience is well feasible – also on non-autofocus devices such as the iPad2 or the iPod Touch 4.

The ending keynote, an opinionated discussion by leaders of companies such as Flury, AKQA, Morgenthaler Ventures also focused on mobile commerce. In this context, the panelists considered “Geofencing”. Geofencing allows discounts and promotions to be offered to smartphone users based on location rather than check-ins, as a particularly hot topic. There was agreement that retailers need to take heed of this growing technology in the mobile space and harness it. Failing to do so would allow third party apps with this technology to disrupt the retailers operations. Users of these apps would receive an improved in-store experience and more relevant offers. Tina Unterlaender, director of mobile at AKQA, raised concerns about penetration of geofencing being built into large retailer backed apps, stating that “to truly have long term partnerships with third party developers will be challenging”.

There were other impressive attractions throughout the two days and nights in San Francisco. Similar to his Mobilize 2011 presentation, Jonathan Carson, CEO of Telecom for Nielsen provided great insights into some of the trends in mobile tracked by Nielsen. As so often, the after party was a fun time for people to unwind after the long day and network in a more relaxed setting. It was exciting to see and meet some of the leaders in the mobile industry, and it was an all around great event put on by Drew Ianni and his crew at APPnation. We at Scandit are looking forward to APPnation IV in the summer of 2012!

For some visual impressions of the conference, head over to our Facebook and Google+ pages.

PS: If you fancy our technology and services or if you’ve just met a likable member of our team, get some extra karma now and nominate Scandit as the Best Bootstrapped Startup on the 2011 Crunchie Awards!