Apps World. I couldn't get into any of the workshops (not without paying anyway), but did register for the exhibition and visit it a couple of times. It was very lively! Loads of app developers demonstrating apps for everything. And most of them multiplatform. A good indication of rise of the mobile device, and our apparently insatiable appetite for delivery of services to them.
The last session I went to at the conference was delivered by Steve Wing, the Head of Mobile at The Guardian, and he gave an interesting overview of how their delivery strategy has changed over the years. He strongly believed that mobile had been overhyped in the sort term, but massively underhyped in the medium to long term, and the effect it would have on those of us who deliver services underestimated. The often quoted statement that mobile user of the internet would be greater than desktop users by 2014, which was unthinkable only a couple of years ago, was having a huge impact on publishers. As well as the growth in hardware and apps, consumers want to have access to content and services wherever they are - not just physically but virtually. So, The Guardian now has a presence in Facebook, YouTube and Google+. The other driver is user expectations - we want a good experience, and are not prepared to put up with badly designed interaces or poor features. I loved him describe the "oh shit" moment at the Guardian when they looked at the ratings for their mobile site, and realised how bad it was...
They now have a range of offerings, from their normal website , to a mobile site, to apps for smartphones, to their recently releases iPad app. They've done a lot of research, and it was fascinating to see different usage patterns,both in terms of what users do, and at what times of day. So they've tailored their services - for example the iPhone app is updated frequently but the iPad app is more like the newspaper and static during the day.
His view of the apps vs mobile web argument? Both have a place. They have different roles to play - its all about user experience.
So, this conference has really reinforced my view that we need to get ahead of the game for all aspects of mobility - infrastructure, delivery of services and support. Mobile is just too important and compelling to ignore.