Peter Hopper, Sr Dir, Integrated Client Services, Palio

Couldn’t sleep last night, so I ended up reading an article on my iPad that asked the question: mobile Web site or mobile app? I know. I had options, but it popped up in my RSS feed.

The article (published in RAIN, the Radio and Internet Newsletter) was a brief review of a column written by Jakob Nielsen, a Web usability expert, for AlertBox. Nielsen is predicting a strategic shift, based on his research on how end-users use their mobile devices. He claims that, hands down, the mobile app currently beats the mobile Web site from a user-performance perspective. But, in time, that will change.

The driving factor is the user-experience environment. It’s not news that the desktop and laptop real estate, computing power and user-interactivity (keystroking, mouse and track pad precision and functionality, etc) currently overwhelm the smart phone and tablet. And that is the point: the mobile device requires the smarter optimization gained by creating an app, while Web site optimization for the mobile device is currently limited. This smarter optimization makes the mobile app a better user experience. “An app can target the specific limitations and abilities of each individual device much better than a Web site can while running inside a browser,” states Nielsen.

But we are approaching a crossroads. The app benefit may indeed be short-lived. One factor: the expense of developing mobile apps will likely increase. Currently, the primary mobile app platforms are Android, iOS and Windows Phone. But these platforms are sub-dividing, iOS for iPhone and iPad, Android for smartphones and the Kindle Fire, for example: separate apps required for unique user experiences per mobile environment. Development technology, again, will likely step up to help alleviate some of this cost burden. But there are other factors, as well, including e-commerce and richer content that favor the mobile Web site, down the road.

What’s at risk? Letting your audience down.

Turning the corner, new Web technologies like HTML5 will drive better mobile site capabilities and user experiences. Add the benefit of a richer integration with the Web via a mobile site than within a mobile app.

When will this predicted strategic shift take place? Great question. No clear answer on the immediate horizon according to Nielsen. We know HTML5 and other Web technologies are advancing rapidly. However, the take-away from this discussion is recognizing the balance and the compromise when building your digital recommendations for your clients in the mobile environment, helping them understand that there is indeed a shift on the horizon, the unique implications of what and why you consider development options, and helping them evaluate the best road to take.

I hope this didn’t put you to sleep, but I did rest better last night after becoming a little more enlightened.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Tech Watch: Tuesday, April 12 – The Hot 5

From Marty Hardin, SVP, Director of Emerging Media and Technology, Palio

Hacking Kinect for Teleconferencing
– prototype

Categories: Social Media, Broadcast, Web Cam, Hacking, Twitter, Augmented Reality

What it is: A new way of conducting video conferences that shifts focus and tracks attendees

Why it matters: As we move further and further away from face-to-face interactions, this application helps create a sense of focus. It also allows participants to track who is in the room and where they are sitting.

Imagine: A doctor consults with a patient in a remote location. The doctor can maintain eye contact with the patient, while also having access to all of the patient’s medial information in real time. Imagine if vital statistics were also present. This could be a huge boon to rural areas where doctors are scarce, or in a crisis situation triggered by a natural disaster.

2. Store Data in Your Body – in the lab

Categories: Data Storage, Data Transfer, Fluid Interface, Perceptual Interface

What it is: It’s a way to transfer data that relies on our perception to make data transfer as simple as possible

Why it matters: As devices become further embedded in our daily lives, the human to machine interface will become less and less daunting. Instead of modifying our behavior around devices, the devices will be built to behave according to our expectations.

Imagine: A patient answering a patient questionnaire at home and simply going to the doctor’s office and transferring to his/her device. No printing, no emailing, no worries of HIPPA compliance issues.

3. Mouseless/Invisible Computer Mouse – prototype

Categories: Technology, User Experience, Fluid Interface

What it is: A hands-free application that allows users to interact with a computer while using standard mouse “gestures” (click, double-click, right-click, etc.).

Why it matters: With non-contact driven gestural interfaces coming into their own (Kinect), this is another example of how we are starting to make computers “fade into the background.”

Imagine: A physician comes to a tradeshow booth. A representative from the pharma company strikes up a conversation, and, without being dependent on a device, is able to launce into a sales presentation anywhere in the booth area. No computer to carry or walk to. The device is secondary to the one on one conversation between the rep and the doc.

4. GOAB – prototype

Categories: Web Television, Interactive Television

What it is: An interactive television experience that works via your television and a content-aware app on a mobile device. It also assists you in finding shows based on your mood or interest-not listings.

Why it matters: While most interactive television projects have tried to meld all of the interactions into one interface, this one allows two devices to work in tandem. So you can watch a movie or television show and respond to ads, browse stats during a game, or tweet with your friends during your favorite television show.

Imagine: Watching your favorite show, and an ad appears for a drug in a category that affects a friend of yours. You can call up the product’s information, share it and continue talking about the show you were watching. A seamless integration of entertainment, social media, and marketing.

5. Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK – pre-release

Categories: Technology, Mobile, Fluid Interface

What it is: An app lets you extend your computer workspace on to your mobile device. Not just an extra screen, but a shared interface.

Why it matters: Up until now, due to lower processing power, mobile devices have had “Lite” version of apps. This app allows the mobile device to take on lighter processing tasks and share those with the more robust desktop version. For all you Photoshop users, think mobile plug-ins.

Stories worth noting:

Mood Mapping Twitter
By using positive/negative words in English, a computer scientist maps the emotional state of the nation on Twitter.

Placebook: Visualizing your Friend‘s by Geolocation
Designed to give users a better idea of how their friends are distributed around the world.

Bot shows signs of conciousness
A SOFTWARE bot inspired by a popular theory of human consciousness takes the same time as humans to complete simple awareness tasks.



Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.

Angry Birds Attack Super Bowl

From Michael Villanella, Copywriting Intern, Palio

If you’re like me, you have no shiny iPad, no sleek new smart phone and, as a result, you’ve probably been deemed uncool by all of your friends. While I’ve been stuck in the technological stone age, the rest of the world has been bragging about BBMs, facetime, and downloadable apps. But it’s nothing to get bitter about. After all I still have SMS messaging. Show me an iPhone user who can send out grainy, pixelated photos!

Whether your device has limited capabilities or not, there’s no way you’ve missed the cultural phenomenon “Angry Birds.” If you haven’t gotten your hands on it, there’s a good chance your friends, kids, or parents have. You know, it’s that game where you slingshot screaming birds across the screen to make wooden structures crumble. Still lost?

Angry Birds’ appeal is much like that of a Super Mario Brothers game. It’s simple enough for the casual gamer to pick up and play yet it has enough depth to pull in the committed high score achiever. This universal attraction is responsible for over 50 million downloads from the Apple App Store.

Due to its massive success, Angry Birds has penetrated deep into pop culture and has been showing up everywhere. After being ported to almost every mobile device, the game has earned a segment on Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, had a line of stuffed animals, and will soon be a Mattel card game. The Angry Birds’ latest victim? Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds have partnered with 20th Century Fox and placed a secret code in the commercial for “Rio” – 20th Century Fox’s new family film. When entered into Angry Birds, the code unlocks a new level in the game.  However finding the code is somewhat of a game in itself.

Viewers are invited to watch the 30-second commercial frame by frame in order find the code. After unlocking and completing the new level, each player will be entered into a Rio contest. The grand prize winner will be flown to the Rio premier in Brazil on March 22 – which so happens to be the release date of “Angry Birds Rio.”

I didn’t catch the code in the live airing, but I didn’t get hung up over it. I had a feeling that Fox wasn’t expecting people to pause the most popular sporting event of the year. After the game ended, I jumped online and did some googling. As suspected, I wasn’t alone in missing the code. In fact, there was quite a buzz on forums about what the code was and how to enter it into the game.

Reluctant to take the easy way out, I found the commercial on YouTube and dug in. It must have taken me 2 or 3 views before finding the code. As a result the movie had been embedded into my brain. I can confidently say I’m a “Rio expert.” I can tell you a detailed description of the plot, which actors will be lending their voice to the roles, the release date, and just about anything else you need to know. It was a clever little trick that Rovio and 20th Century played on me. I’m not even an Angry Birds player and yet I found myself caught up in the allure of this secret code.

To take the synergy even further, 20th Century Fox has put Rio locations and characters in the new game. Imagine those 50 million+ owners of the original Angry Birds identifying with an entirely new cast of characters. Come March 22, it’s a safe bet that 20th Century Fox will be winning over some new Rio fans.

I didn’t mind taking part in their scavenger hunt and I’m not ashamed to say that I fell for it. At the end of the day it was fun. It’s refreshing to see new marketing approaches and exciting to see how they play out. This particular campaign blurred the lines between marketing and entertainment, and it was this straddling of the line that made me fall victim.  I doubt I’m going to the theatres on opening night, but I am now part of the hype. Now if I can just get my hands on an iPhone…

Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.

To App or Not to App? That is a Good Question.

From Nanette Foster, VP, Brand Planning Director

It’s staggering to think about the number of apps people can download today. The latest estimate I saw from Apple was that there are over 100,000 iPhone apps. I guess it’s safe to say there are a lot of apps when the new iPhone Arcade on FaceBook is needed to help us navigate the sea of app choices. The information that is now available right at our fingertips when using apps is mind-boggling, for sure, but it’s also so much fun! While there’s no disputing that apps are fun, as brand builders we need to pause and ask whether they are a viable medium that can help build brands.

When I started my little investigation, I really felt the value to be gained with branded apps was suspect. At first glance, to me, they seemed to be the latest “shiny new toy” for us marketing folk to get excited about, lacking any real brand-building value. However, I must admit I’ve changed my tune after my experience with a few branded apps that really know what they’re doing. Creating branded apps can be a great way to extend your brand experience to touch your consumers more frequently and in a 3-dimensional way.

As you consider to “app in” or “app out” for your brands, here are a few helpful things I learned from the new Kate Spade app to help guide effective branded app development:

  1. Practicality wins. What are you giving your consumers that will help them in their everyday lives? The Kate Spade app provides its followers with a calendar that provides real daily functionality.
  2. Provide a brand experience. The Kate Spade app provides its user the thrill of fashion in the city. Visually and verbally, this app pays off the designer’s vision and mission for her brand. It extends the brand message and entrenches the brand within the lives of its customers.
  3. Lead with a real consumer need. The user has access to a calendar that not only does the expected calendar stuff, but also feeds the user’s need to be “in the know” regarding all things fashion. The calendar flags fashion events, sample sales, and New York City scene activity, furthering the brand’s position as their resource for all things fashion.
© 2011