CB: We do a little of both actually. We saw the convergence across the traditional “Web” and “Mobile” happening about two years ago. We see few and fewer lines to divide our consumer business as time goes on. This is due to the advent of the tablets, and technologies such as HTML 5. So, we have one “Consumer Team” that looks across everything, but we also have mobile product managers and developers who specialize on particular mobile products within the consumer mix.
APPO: What are the three biggest things that keep you up at night in terms of challenges and opportunities in mobile media?
CB: Well, sometimes my phone keeps me up at night because it is so fast and easy to browse while lying in bed! But other than that, I would say the following:
– How do we continue to innovate and listen to our customers as that audience becomes larger and larger? In some ways, it was easier when there were only a few million smartphones in the market as those were the “top end” of the market. Now everyone has one, and everyone wants something unique.
– Striking the right balance between features, simplicity and speed. We know that 80 percent of the users just want to get a forecast and know when the rain or storm is coming and that is all. But the other 20 percent want more and are the most vocal and loyal. We need to attract both and keep both happy.
– As the market overall continues to shift toward mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, etc – how do we insure we innovate and take advantage of the great features this products offer? It’s all about innovation. For example – the cameras on the tablets – how can we use those for the weather? The Motorola XOOM has a barometer built in – we put that data on the user’s home screen. There are some very cool things we can do, but we have to keep on our toes!
APPO: Where do you see the industry one year from now? Five years from now?
CB: One year from now I see Android as still the largest and greatest audience and opportunity. I see many more Android tablets in the market and hopefully that will be gaining momentum. I think there will be many more 4G devices and that will mean a large number of opportunities for faster and richer applications like ours.
Five years is a long time! In the seven-plus years I have been at WeatherBug, the mobile world has gone from the equivalent of the early middle ages to the renaissance now. I think another five years will be incredible and take us into a very modern era.
I envision tablets everywhere, I see many people ditching their home broadband and using their 4G and then 5G services from their mobile devices, in much the same way as people have dropped their landlines for mobile the past five years. There will be a lot of headaches for service providers, but huge opportunity.
I see weather continuing to be the number one content area across these devices – as it has been the past five years – and finding more cool and interesting ways to work this into the new devices that come to market. In the end, we want to provide fast, interesting and usable weather intelligence for everyone.