I went to DEMO Mobile April 17 in San Francisco and came away with five lessons on how mobile continues to drive business innovation. Here they are. BTW, if you are looking for some of the top DEMO product introductions, eWEEK's Chris Preimesberger has a top ten product slide show.
Lesson One: Connect the physical world to the digital world and then go social. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer is a simple concept with potentially a big impact. Your (or your kids') temperature is an early indicator of sickness. Use a simple thermometer running on your smartphone's power and processing, and find out if fever is breaking out in your area.
Add in a few simple symptom questions, and disease outbreaks can be identified and contained early. As the company states, "Our overall mission is to create a real-time map of human health using medically accurate, real-time, geo-located data." This is especially a big deal in areas underserved by medical organizations. Remember: It is not the product; it is the overall system that is important.
Lesson Two: Every idea doesn't have to be a big idea. FieldLens is a mobile and Web app aimed at the construction industry. Building construction is a like a symphony when all the pieces come together and like a horror show when "hurry up and wait" becomes the norm.
Identifying problems and delays when they occur rather than when you are writing a report is the key to getting projects on time, and mobile is the way to make that happen. Remember: Fixing existing problems can be a lot more profitable than finding new problems to solve.
Lesson Three: Some ideas are so big no one else will touch them. The concept of "apps in orbit" falls into the really big idea category. The company, NanoSatisfi , designs and puts low cost, compact satellites into space. Once in space the company intends to create an app storage that will allow developers to use open-source APIs to merge local and personal data from mobile phones with data available from a global satellite network. Remember: Big ideas backed by new technology capabilities can yield a big win.
Lesson Four: Control is the new communication. Smartphones are moving quickly from being communication devices to controllers. MakerSwarm is a collaborative app authoring tool aimed at using the smartphone to create "swarms" of connected products.
Manage a swarm of drones (not as threatening as it sounds), a swarm of intelligent devices or a swarm of sensors without having to rely on the big app marketplaces from Apple, Google or Microsoft. Remember: Creating systems that manage other products can be more successful than the products themselves.
Lesson Five: Have fun. Beer Hunt combines the advocacy of beer lovers with social gaming. As the founders like to remind us, beer remains the most popular beverage after water and tea worldwide. Beer games from brewers tend to be stilted and obviously favor their brand. Beer hunt is a social competition that will appeal to beer drinkers but also to beer advertisers. Remember: Business can be fun while profitable.
Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor in chief at eWEEK (previously PC Week) from 1996-2008, authors this blog for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.