An excellent example of an organization that has fully embraced mobile content and applications is NOS, the Dutch public broadcasting company. James Tjan, Project Manager New Media, showed the conference crowd at J. Boye’s recent web and intranet conference in Aarhus, Denmark the impressive work that NOS has done in this area over the past few years.
Clearly, for many of them mobile is no longer just a nice-to-have add-on. It is now part of the core business, and has become an essential delivery channel with its own characteristics and opportunities.
NOS leads the way in mobile delivery
As a public broadcaster, NOS has a clear mission towards its audience: to be the primary source of information, news, sports and events for Dutch citizens. Their focus is no longer just on ‘traditional’ radio and TV broadcasting, but increasingly on delivery through other platforms – web, smartphones and tablets.
James talked about the following examples:
- Generic mobile website m.nos.nl bringing news to any mobile phone
- Apps for major sports events, such as the Tour de France and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, with live updates of results and live video
- A teletext app, with – on purpose! – the same archaic look and feel as the teletext pages on TV, to ensure consistency between the various delivery platforms
- User-generated content, with possibility to upload pictures and video via NOS Eyewitness
- Gamification: news quiz and social apps, to be used on a second screen in parallel with the traditional TV broadcast.
The next level: Multi-screen strategies
The next step for NOS is to think about more innovative multi-screen strategies. It is no longer enough to design mobile applications, it is also important to think about how they are interconnected with other digital platforms and form factors. Customers are constantly switching between devices and expect user interface, content and overall experience to be seamless.
In his presentation, James referred to some great thought-provoking work done by German design consultancy Precious. They have come up with a categorization of “ecosystems” for TV, PC, tablet and smartphone screens, and identified 6 different usage patterns.
The future: build on the strengths of each platform
The way forward, in the eyes of James and shared by many others at the conference, is to overcome the roadblocks to mobile adoption and to build on the strengths of each platform (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV screen). Those roadblocks include:
- Data cost: In Europe, cross-border data roaming charges are still a major concern, despite action being undertaken by the European Commission
- Cost of development for multiple screen sizes and native smartphone OS’s. Many organizations are revisiting development of native apps in favour of HTML5-powered mobile sites and/or ‘responsive design’ technology
Ultimately there should be room for all platforms, because each has its own very specific advantages and shortcomings. For mobile devices, the advantages lie in the added capabilities of geo-location awareness and user-generated content, anytime, anywhere. NOS has very intelligently added “any screen” to the equation!
- Become a group member: Case studies about mobile projects are regularly presented and discussed at our many J. Boye groups across Europe and North America. Not yet a group member? Find out which one is right for you.
- Join us at a J. Boye conference in 2012: Our next conference will take place in Philadelphia from 8 to 10 May 2012. There will be a full-day conference track dedicated to ‘going mobile’. Want to share your mobile project? We welcome good speakers with a compelling story!