Tablet sales exceed smartphones and PC sales are dropping off. Mobile traffic is doubling year on year because of i) adoption of devices and ii) improvement of mobile networks. The rise of the fourth screen is here. A quarter of devices in workplace are now tablets or mobile devices.
Ware mentioned some interesting industry developments and useful articles including:
- Forrester’s George Colony Forbes' article: Hello, App Internet, Goobye, Web
- The Lancet have their own custom app
- Gray’s Anatomy - books and reference works converting to apps that blur with an ebook
- SciVerse Science Direct
- First Consult - diagnostic tool on an app
- Wolters Kluwer have become powerful advocate of the app with tablets
- Elsevier have launched an iPad subscription - content plan - from as little as 75 euros per month
- The Oncologist's production values are getting closer to TV on video
- Interested to watch the BMJ - average reading time for a page report is 15 minutes.
Case study: Epocrates is their point-of-care drug information and identification of pills app. It has built up >1million users with half of all US doctors as users. They have a 'freemium' version supported by advertising. Most users use it for 30 seconds at a time on average five times a day.
Mobile can be used for discovery and as a sales channel. There is renewed interest in individual purchasers. But should we consider a cynic's view of mobile apps? Are they the CD-Roms of mobile? And what about app versus app? The FT removed the iOS app as they didn’t want to lose a third of revenue and the marketing controlled by Apple.
He summarised the evolution of apps as:
- looking up
- keeping up
- long-form reading (tablet)
- self-study, CME, educational
- swivel apps (sharing information, e.g. doctors share information with patient to help them influence their own outcomes)
- interacting (with research information) still in infancy for annotation, tag, add abstractions, but only if synched through the cloud
- and true workflow integration for STM, which is still to come.
The key challenges for STM publishers include re-imaging content for use case versus repackaging products in digital facsimiles and supporting widespread adoption in institution and hospitals. Business models to consider are: adding value to subscriptions; improving customer experience; advertising and sponsorship; 'freemium' model; individual tablet subscriptions; paid for apps and ebooks. He closed with a list of essential actions for STM publishers:
- mobile development is a core competence
- adopt multi-channel content systems
- mobile optimisation is critical
- experiment with business models
- manage the costs.