With mobile device ownership ever on the rise, an increasing number of companies are now turning to the mobile sector to extend their brands or services through applications. Research2Guidance, a mobile apps research and consultancy company, has specialised in this growing and constantly-evolving market since 2009, and provides companies with guidance for their individual mobile strategy, based on extensive statistical research on the latest trends in the market.
Grace Gair, research coordinator; and Markus Pohl, co-founder, explain further.
What motivated the founding of Research2Guidance?
Markus: Research2Guidance was founded in 2009 when we decided to write a report about a topic that hadn’t previously been reported on: the market for mobile applications. From this report, we decided to found a company specialising in this kind of research, as we noticed how quickly mobile applications were catching on with consumers.
Mobile technology is being embraced by an increasing number of different companies in different sectors. However, is there a particular sector that is especially benefitting from the use of mobile technology?
Grace:. Mobile applications as we know them now first emerged in the consumer space. However, especially in the last 12-18 months, as more consumers bring their mobile devices into the workplace, we are seeing mobile technology being used across sectors and industries. Nowadays, we see all kinds of industries – healthcare, construction, even manufacturing – adopting mobile technology and using these kinds of devices for their employees and customers as extensions of their brands and services.
What are some of the most common challenges a firm would face when looking to enter the mobile market?
Grace: We focus primarily on observing and examining trends in the mobile market, and on reporting on that. Probably one of the biggest challenge we’ve noticed during research for our Mobile Enterprise Report is the inherent problem of fragmentation – all the different types of devices and operating systems raise the issue of compatibility of apps and platforms on these devices. A second challenge partially stemming from that fragmentation is security – for example, malware in apps, or data security in connecting to backend components – which have especially severe consequences for the enterprise market.
Based on what you’ve observed, what general advice would you give to a firm looking to expand into the mobile market?
We are primarily focusing on researching and understanding the trends in the mobile apps market from a classic market research approach. In addition to understanding trends in the general market we are also looking at niche areas such as the m-health (mobile health) market – essentially the market for healthcare-related apps, the enterprise market, or the e-commerce market, for example. We also offer consultative services where we work with clients interested in learning about the mobile market in order to better leverage it.
You’ve been based at betahaus for quite a while now. What do you think of this kind of working environment, and what do you especially like about it?
Markus: One of the co-founders of Research2Guidance had been working at betahaus for some time before I and some other team members eventually joined him here. What I like about betahaus is the flexibility of the space, and the strong community spirit among coworkers here. Of course, it also helps that the location is very central.
Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.