Mobile apps and targeting the mobile space are driving the efforts of Surf Live Saving Australia and Google to be competitive and position themselves at the head of the market.
As CeBIT 2011 in Sydney drew to a close, a WebForward Conference panel discussion highlighted some steps that businesses can take to remain competitive while keeping up with the latest techniques and trends was held at CeBit 2011 in Sydney.
IT industry veterans such as Surf Life Saving Australia national IT manager, Gary Daly, Earth Hour co-founder and executive director, Andy Ridley, and Google Australia and New Zealand head of technology, Tony Keusgen, gave their opinions on the topic, as well as advice on how to successfully implement IT strategies in businesses.
Keusgen spoke about how Google Maps started off as a private Australian venture run by four people before it was acquired by Google and expanded beyond its original scope and reach.
As an example of how dedicated Google is in connecting the entire world, a Maori language edition of its services has been rolled out in New Zealand.
Google specialises in different areas of expertise and is always open to new opportunities, such as its acquisition of the Orkut social network a few years ago on the back of its popularity in South America.
Keusgen said the main emerging market for Google is the mobile space, and Google is constantly thinking of how its services are accessible through mobile devices.
Using the story of how Google’s Gmail April fool’s joke for 2011 was turned into a reality by an Oregon company, Keusgen’s advice was to not to limit yourself by thinking “this can’t be done”.
According to Daly, the challenge for Surf Life Saving Australia is that people aren’t aware that it is a charity.
The goal for the organisation is to make use of communication technologies to get the message out that it is a charity as well as a safety service and beach community.
This includes going beyond traditional promotional media such as print and television and onto online platforms.
Surf Life Saving Australia created a mobile app to give people access to the schedule and results of its events, and it proved to be popular for a niche product.
In the future, Daly hopes to integrate location based services into their services so that the public can be aware of which beaches are patrolled and what areas have been flagged off.
The advice Daly gives to businesses is not to create apps and social networking pages just for the sake of it, but to properly think out the strategy before implementing it.
An organisation such as Earth Hour does not have so much money to spend on IT initiatives, so it has to be careful in how it invests in development.
By adopting Facebook as a promotional tool, Ridley believes that a business can ensure that their online community can grow well even with a small investment.
When a business has limited funds, he said that it is important that a business gets its basics right and makes sure that the applications it develops do the things they want them to do.
Ridley warned that if an organisation is not careful, it could easily overspend.