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Posted on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

As mobile technology grows, now's the time for businesses to seize opportunity

By Dianne Marsh

The business and technical communities seem to agree on one thing at least: This is the year of the mobile device.

A proliferation of phones and tablets alike are becoming available. The Motorola Xoom, which runs Android, hit the market recently. Apple just released its iPad 2 this week.

I attended a software conference in Crested Butte, Colo., last week, and there was a lot of discussion around mobile devices, mobile applications, and the mobile future.

The consensus was that these devices not only offer mobility and convenient size, but also the ability to interact in new ways. Communication with mobile devices using speech simplifies our user experience with navigation software, for instance.

Discussions have also centered on how innovations in technology have made it possible to provide a rich experience on mobile and web, as well as on the traditional desktop while storing data in the cloud. Conference attendees were experimenting with solutions on a variety of platforms.

Mobile excitement is building in our local technical community as well. On Feb. 20, Compuware hosted 300 software developers for MobiDevDay, a one-day conference in Detroit devoted to mobile development. Presentations ranged from entry-level Google Android talks to advanced talks about Apple iOS.

Mobile-centric software user groups in our area are prolific as well.

Ann Arbor and Detroit now have Mobile Monday (, and CocoaHeads groups (

Mobile Mondays in Detroit typically attract about 80 people, mostly marketing professionals and developers. CocoaHeads is a group targeted at iOS (iPhone, iPad) developers and designers. Ypsilanti currently has Android Development Thursdays focusing on Google’s development platform.

These groups are growing in popularity, in spite of being around only for the past year or so. Other groups, such as the Michigan Flex User Group and Michigan Silverlight Designer and Developer Group have hosted talks on mobile development as well.

SRT Solutions recently hosted a three-day training session on the Flex development tools, and on the last afternoon, the attendees demonstrated what they had built. Most solutions had a mobile component to them.

If you think that your product might benefit from a mobile strategy, it’s time to start planning what that might be. Ann Arbor has the technical talent to help you design a strategy and take advantage of today's rich mobile platform as it evolves.

Dianne Marsh is co-founder of SRT Solutions, an Ann Arbor custom software development firm that specializes in using newer technologies to build effective software.



Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

Thanks for the info on the local groups.