Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

What does Apple’s iPad mean for Richmond businesses?

February 1, 2010

You’ve heard plenty of hype about Apple’s iPad and dismissed its direct impact on your Richmond-based business. You shouldn’t., not if you want to stay competitive.

Many people are viewing this new “giant iTouch” or “bigger iPhone” as a consumer device they’ll leave on their coffee table. Business people are looking at the iPad and wondering “how would one of my employees actually benefit from it?” That’s one way of seeing the value and where this is going, but you’d be missing the Big Picture if you stopped there.

All the new phones, iPhone and Droid and Google phone, are important because they are always connected to the Internet and they run “apps”. Consumers and business people are adopting and embracing and relying on these new platforms as tiny little web browsers and pocket-sized devices that run very easy, tiny applications. The new iPad and the “slate” or “tablet” computer that Google releases in response are the second wave of these new “app” platforms and they can be critical to bringing in new business for you.

For very little money and nearly no time at all, you can create an “app” that runs on these platforms, is available in Apple’s iTunes or Google’s app store, and promoted on your website, YouTube and Facebook. If you make a fun, interesting or useful “app”, you can dramatically increase awareness of your business and bring more prospects to your website.

Here are a few examples of local Richmond businesses and what is possible with the iPad, iPhone and Google-powered Droid. Imagine how you would reach your audience with something similar.

Home Media makes home theater as beautiful as your home

Home theater, music and security

Home Media works with architects, interior designers and home owners to embed the latest music and home theater equipment seamlessly into the very walls of your house. Ray Lepper’s design team knows how to make the mass-produced 50-inch LED TV and 20 individual boxy speakers blend right into your walls and wall switches and become part of your environment rather than stick out from it.

A simple “app” Home Media could create would be one that lets home owners snap a digital photo of their living room with the iPad and then choose from Ray’s catalog of the latest giant flat-screen TVs to swap out over the fireplace until they found the right one. Then they could pick the rooms of the house where the all-home music system would pipe CDs, downloaded iTunes and MP3s, HD and satellite radio to. With an iPad, these pictures would be large enough to help home owners to add some visuals to their dreams, all with the help of Richmond’s Home Media.

For the architects who are designing new dreams and the interior designers who are fitting technology into those dreams, an app Home Media could provide would list the available solutions and specs. Armed with a picture of each style of in-ceiling projector and projection screen, an architect or interior designer could show their clients what was possible, flip instantly to a page of specs to help the architect, and know Ray Lepper’s install and programming team can make every one of those solutions integrate into the home and provide ease of use to the occupants.

Buckingham Greenery makes your workplace a better place with live green plants

Making your office building more Green

Connie Hom has been making commercial interiors and building more green and giving their employees and tenants a more healthy environment for decades. Her Buckingham Greenery provides beautiful live plants to apartment buildings, office buildings, and commercial campuses like malls and executive headquarters. Adding the right kind of plants in the right places not only improves employee morale and customer perception, it makes the air healthier and cleaner.

For the employees of a building smart enough to use Buckingham Greenery’s services, an app that would help employees and occupants understand the benefits could be as simple as a “how healthy can you make it” game. You’d download the Be Green game to your Droid, walk through each halls and office, and pick out which plants are where. The game would give you a score on how healthy the air has become from the plants as well as a score as to how happy the employees are based on the visual appeal and greenness. Doing better than the average for Richmond businesses gives you a high score and many smiling employee faces. A low score means your office isn’t doing as much as it should compared to other businesses and competitors in Tidewater, Charlottesville or Roanoke. The game would make suggestions and allow you to try out new combinations of plants, selected by what improvements they make, and then tell you the new score.

Beyond just making a fun app designed to increase awareness of the benefits of live plants in the office place, Buckingham Greenery could deliver real value to building managers and facilities managers with an app that created service requests right on their phone. Instead of taking a lot of precious time, writing down a the location of a problem with a plant, walking back to their office and placing a call or sending an email to an unresponsive vendor, a busy property manager could snap a photo with their phone and start up Connie Hom’s service request app. Submitting a picture of the problem, clicking on what kind of attention is needed, and sending that new service request instantly would be the purpose of this new iPhone app. Tell a facilities manager you can save them twenty minutes and know for certain the issue was logged in and tracked and a response was on it’s way and you’ll have one happy customer.

Keeping Richmond employees happy with good coffee and vending

How many times have you heard an employee joke “can’t work any more today, we’re out of coffee”? Or someone complaining forever about “the vending machine stole my money”? Customers who have vending machines stocked by Halloran’s Refreshment Services or coffee brewers and services by Scott Halloran’s local Richmond business don’t suffer from this problem because they deliver the best service. But think of how much more their business itself would be known if they employed simple apps on iPhones, Google Android phones or the Apple iPad?

Instead of complaining to the over-worked office manager or filling out a tiny post card with “the Coke machine is out of Diet again” or “the cheese crackers are stuck in the snack machine”, Halloran’s customers could just pull out their Droid cell phone, start up the Halloran’s quick response app, scan the vending machine’s front ID label, and select “out of product” or “snack slot stuck” and tap “submit”. Seconds later Halloran’s customer service department would know there was a problem, know what to do about it, schedule a visit, and notify both the employee and the office manager that action was being taken.

Keeping customers happy with excellent coffee and service is Halloran's goal

For those offices where they know premium coffee keeps employees happy and have asked Halloran’s to install a Keurig K-cup cup-at-a-time coffee brewer, the employees can look up each of the Green Mountain coffees and decide which appeals to them the most. Scott Halloran’s coffee service team sets up a rack of up to eight different flavors or blends of coffee so every employee can select their own favorite. The app would tell which blends are dark, which are light, how the tastes vary which beans are used in each. Armed with this extra information, the employee can sample and choose to meet their immediate desires. Or press the “we’ve run out of espresso roast… help!” button. Pressing the Comment button and telling Halloran’s why they picked the Newman’s Special Roast and why they liked it so much would post that “vote” directly on the Halloran’s fan page on Facebook, recognizing the employee and employer and entering them in Halloran’s monthly coffee contest.

Don’t ignore the iPad and its kin

The “platform” of the Internet-connected portable app-playing device is here already. Apple and Google will be competing mightily and we all will benefit from lower prices and greater functionality. Business owners who recognize this new direction, this new way of being seen and attracting attention, and take advantage of it early will gain much more than their slower moving counterparts.

Got a great idea? We want to hear it!

Got an idea how your business could use the iPad or deploy a tool for customers on the Droid? Let us know and we’ll include it in our next blog on the new Internet platform.

So, you should take some time to understand the platform a bit more, brainstorm with your marketing team on what kind of value you could deliver on an iPad or a Droid phone, and use these ideas during your next marketing strategy session. A could of “what ifs” might well give you an inexpensive, new way to be seen as the exciting, capable and “right” vendor for customers and new prospects. If you need help figuring out how to leverage technology like this and your website and Facebook and everything else, just send us an email or give AdLinea a call.