Content for the Daily Commute
Turning Commute Time into Productive
by MobileBriefs - a Provider of Personalized Audio Content)
Driving north on
Interstate 85 at 7:30 in the morning in Atlanta, GA is not so much a
commute to work, as it is a test of patience.
Not only are you “competing” with other business
professionals on their way to their jobs, but you are also competing
to decrease your own personal “downtime”.
The morning and after work period can easily be considered a
professional’s most wasted time—stuck in the car, or on another
machine of mass transportation. Many
of us will listen to the radio, or some tapes, or even CDs, but is
that really productive or just a means to avoid some kind of road
rage. The question then
becomes, "How do I make this time more productive for
There are only two
real answers to this burning question.
Either you can buy a helicopter and get to your job in 5
minutes or find a useful information service that will provide news,
content, or data that will be beneficial and thus make that commute
period more productive. Few
of us will be able to afford that helicopter, so let’s instead focus
on how we can get information as professionals.
Not all commuters are
solely using cars as their means of transportation to and from work.
Some will use mass transit, whether by bus, rail, or air.
Others will bike to work or even walk in some metropolitan
areas. This means that
any type of practical information service must be able to reach us
without traditional lines of communication.
Today’s business professional has become a “mobile
issue becomes, how do they get that information and how do you make it
specifically valuable for each and every individual?
Satisfying the Information Demand
carry a Personal Data Assistant, or PDA, such as a Palm Pilot,
Handspring Visor, Compaq iPAQ, etc.
And most people have a cell phone as well.
Clearly, there are several different platforms upon which these
mobile devices operate. Some,
such as the Palm Pilot, operate on the Palm OS.
Devices like the iPAQ utilize Microsoft’s Windows CE
operating system. And
catering to cell phones, web-enabled phones, and RIMs is yet a
different format, sometimes even dependant on what part of the country
or world you live.
consumer and business professional is different.
They have different interests, professions, industries, job
functions, likes and dislikes. In
this age of information, people expect companies to treat them as
individuals and that’s why you see web sites offering personalized
“My…” pages where the user has been able to choose things based
on their own personal preferences.
But this is only a starting point; personalization needs to go
even further to satisfy different users' varied personas.
Types of Providers
There are companies
in the marketplace right now that are catering to the new “MoPro”
(mobile professional) market. Companies
like MobileBriefs, Audible.com, i2Go, and BeVocal have made it their
mission to service the growing demand of information anywhere,
This is a new breed of service providers which tailor shows
specifically to you. MobileBriefs
(www.mobilebriefs.com) is the premier broadcaster of personalized
business content. Their
service allows a subscriber to go the web site, choose which areas of
business (i.e. marketing, finance, etc.) and/or which industries
he/she has interest. They
can even enter a commute time if desired.
Then, relevant content is fed to them every day based on the
subscriber’s preferences from MobileBriefs' vast database of
business articles, abstracts, and business book reviews.
The user has the option of reading the text on site,
downloading the text to any PDA, listening to the audio on site,
downloading the audio to any PDA, downloading the audio to any MP3
player, or even accessing their own personalized audio show by a
wireless PDA or cell phone. The
advantage in using MobileBriefs service is that you get rich business
content that is of direct interest to you, commercial-free, and you
place it on any mobile device wherever you go.
MobileBriefs will also be offering their service in several
different languages after launch in July.
Audio Download companies.
These types of companies typically have a large base of general
interest audio material for individual download to your desktop or
mobile device. The leader in this space is Audible.com (www.audible.com)
which makes it possible for you to listen to audiobooks, lectures,
public radio programs, newspapers and more, either at your desktop
computer or on the go with a portable device. The service allows you
to even listen to free samples before you are required to buy, giving
you the opportunity to see if it is right for you.
Just by downloading their AudibleManager® software to
your computer you are able to listen to audio files on portable
devices like any of the Windows-based PDAs or MP3 players.
Their subject offerings include fiction
and nonfiction, comedy, education, business information, speeches,
spirituality, public radio programs, newspapers, and magazines.
Audio Communication companies.
These companies usually specialize in creating internal
communication systems for corporations via mobile audio.
One leader in this space is i2Go (www.i2go.com) which has
created a mobile software platform that enables companies to provide
relevant, rich media content to their customers, employees, and
partners. The information
can be accessed on all types of mobile devices, anytime, anywhere.
Their customers also have the luxury of personalizing the audio
content they receive. They
have just recently created a Telematics division within the company in
order to reach the consumers through the ever-increasing number of
Internet-enabled cars that have begun to populate the automotive
Utility companies. Not as
adept as Personal Broadcast (PB) companies but able to reach more
users at the moment, these companies enable users to dial into a
cetral audio information repository and through menus choose their
content. One leader is
BeVocal (www.bevocal.com whose
objective is to extend the power of every phone by providing voice
infrastructure software, applications, and services to
telecommunications companies and businesses worldwide.
The consumer accesses the information over the phone and he/she
can personalize the content based on location.
Users can get information on traffic updates, driving
directions, weather, news, sports, stock quotes and flight
information, all through voice-activated commands over the phone.
The Future is Mobile and Wireless
By 2003, 118 million
US consumers will listen to personalized, on-demand audio content at
least once a week (Forrester Research, May 2000).
Analysts are forecasting over 1 billion wireless devices in
2003, with more than 50% of these devices being Internet enabled
(Forrester Research, November 2000).
These expectations, coupled with the mobile professional’s
longer commute time and desire for personalized information, will
dictate that companies, such as MobileBriefs, Audible.com, i2Go and
BeVocal, quench this emerging market’s thirst.
Goff is an independent writer on mobile information access and serves
as Director of Finance and Operations for MobileBriefs (firstname.lastname@example.org).