So you are in the airport, grocery store, coffee shop (insert the place where you imagine yourself using the mobile application you just can’t do without) and you pull out your mobile phone in order to show your electronic boarding pass, coffee card, etc…
Option 1-> I open the email I received from Airline X which I must first find among the 300 other email in my inbox and the click the link and wait for the Airline X mobile service to send me the bar-code….during which time the security agent is looking at me with intense disapproval. After making it through security, I head to the airport lounge where I repeat the process (more stares) and then off to the boarding gate where I repeat process again (last and final stare with the occasional huff and puff)…all of the time thinking why didn't I just print the boarding ticket….why, because I love mobile and the potential upside for the trees, landfill, time savings, etc…all of that touchy feely stuff.
Option 2-> I open an application on my mobile device that in the background has downloaded my current flight and has created an offline version of this bar-code that negates the need to ever make a call over the network to generate this bar-code in my time of need. As I approach the security agent, I open the application which has cached my credentials and I’m presented with a list of the most frequently used options, one of which is “show bar-code”…I click, it appears. Simple, simple, simple. One click to start the application and one click to display the bar-code…two clicks MAXIMUM, fast, easy, USEFUL and no evil stares.
The mobilization of the most basic check-in process has changed the way I deal with the airport. It has physically changed how I navigate the airport as I no longer visit the agents behind the desk, I no longer approach the machine to print a boarding pass, I no longer waste the paper associated with the paper ticket and I no longer need to stand in line at the self-serve kiosk. This is the essence of a value added mobile application. The process needs to show incremental improvement as it relates to cost, savings, user experience, environmental impact, etc…it cannot be mobile for the sake of mobile.
Just one other question…would you consider both of the options above “mobile”? What defines mobile? Is an application by virtue of the fact it runs on mobile device considered “mobile” or is it the nature of the process being implemented on the device.
Let’s deal with that in an upcoming blog
SAP Canada’s Mobile Guy