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Corporations Using Mobile Platforms to Get Ahead

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Companies, both big and small, are now connecting with consumers like never before. By utilizing advancements in technology they have been able to develop more personal relationships which ultimately translate into cold hard cash. Just ask Dell, whose “DellOutlet” Twitter account has generated them an estimated 3+ million dollars. Many of these companies focus most of their technology budgets on the internet but many are starting to allocate funds to support research into using mobile platforms for their benefit.

It’s hard to imagine that anything that benefits a large corporation also benefits us, but this may be one of the exceptions.

Real World Uses

J.C. Penney, a retail giant and shopping mall staple, is among the latest to step into the mobile game and it’s difficult to say they are just hopping on a bandwagon. Their plans to utilize our cell phones will allow us to shop smarter and more efficiently. Over the next year and a half, Penney will be introducing programs that will allow us to take pictures of bar codes with our cameras to find deals and read reviews. They will also be able to send location-specific promotions to our mobile devices when we walk into the store.

The relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating earthquakes also made use of the mobile platform. Though there were several ways to help, none were more effective in terms of generating money than their SMS Haiti Relief campaign. All you had to do was simply send a text message to “90999” to donate $10. The charge showed up on the user’s cell phone bill.

“We’ve raised more than 10 million dollars from more than one million donors through the SMS Haiti relief campaign,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

“It has become the single largest mobile donation campaign ever,” said the chief US diplomat, who will travel to Haiti on Saturday.

Companies will often use similar tactics as a method of contact. The NBA let us text our All-Star team votes to 69622 (MYNBA) and Sprite lets us text codes under their caps to 777483 for rewards and prizes.

Mobile Applications

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The most intriguing and least limited way for companies to reach out to us through our cell phones is dedicated mobile application. We can thank Apple for opening up the idea of application stores to all of the major cell phone operating systems. Let’s examine a couple of dedicated mobile applications:

Progressive Car Insurance – Currently available in the Android Marketplace and the iPhone App Store is Progressive’s mobile application. This app let’s you get quotes and buy policies, make payments, report claims, get directions to local agents and much more – truly a necessity for those accident-prone drivers with Progressive Auto Insurance. Other insurance companies like State Farm have since released their own mobile applications.

Kentucky Derby Festival – In addition to their social media push, the Kentucky Derby Festival has launched an iPhone app to assist attendees with finding times, dates, and locations of festival events. This is a great example of an organization using the power of mobile applications to assist us rather than strictly try to sell anything.

The Future of Mobile

The use of mobile platforms for businesses is still a fledgling area that is somewhat “ahead of the curve.” The fortunate thing for us is that most times the use of mobile platforms only makes our lives easier. Innovative applications like PayPal’s new iPhone app will make splitting up the dinner bill easier than ever.

Some may call it a breach of privacy, but I wouldn’t mind having deals inside a certain store beamed to my phone while I’m browsing the aisles. The one thing that is certain is that mobile platforms are growing tremendously and are not going anywhere. We can expect many more businesses to join in on the fun.

Sources:  Wall Street Journal,

What do you think?

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Written by Ricky Brandano

Ricky Brandano is a web designer and Celtics fan from the Boston, MA area. Check out his work at

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