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Mating Calls, Bird Watchers, Enterprise Mobility and Mobile Apps

The mating dance of a forest bird attracts the seductive sounds of an invisible mate.

Is there no end to what mobile apps can do?  Last week, several of us sat quietly on a weathered dock extended out and over a forested pond in the foothills of SW Washington.  We watched the birds and other wildlife enjoying the spring sunshine.  Suddenly we spotted an unidentified bird dancing about the branches of a distant tree.
Google Glass for Bird Watchers

Our good friend, Candy, came equipped with a professional grade camera with a 20 pound telephoto lens, but even with that, the bird was too distant to properly identify and photograph.  My wife, however, came up with a brilliant idea and reached for her iPhone. On her iPhone was a bird watching app called ibird.  Don't stop reading yet!  It gets better and I will bring it around to enterprise mobility before we are through.

This app comes with the following SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) features:
  • Popular field guides for birds
  • Topographical maps
  • 38 Search Attributes
    The Yellow-rumped Warbler
    Credit Candy Anderson
  • Zoom-able HD Images
  • Ability to import photos and assign them to any species account
  • Social forums - App connects directly to the www.whatbird.com forum where experts are standing by to help you ID a bird you can’t find with the search engine
  • Directly links to iBird Journal app from any species page
  • 5 hours of bird songs (5,000 unique sounds) and calls from the gold standard of recordings; the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Spectrographic Audio. The display brings insight to the structure of bird songs by allowing you to view the sound’s frequency components
  • GPS integration with date and time stamp
  • Google Glass support
Now back to my story.  Using the ibird app my wife quickly narrowed her identification to a couple of candidates.  She then listened to the bird song from the tree branches above the pond, and played the songs (audio files) of the candidates.  BINGO!  We had our bird!  It was a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

A challenge remained, however, as we could not get close enough to get a good photo.  My wife again solved the problem.  She turned up the volume and held up her iPhone.  The beautiful notes skipped across the pond and the Yellow-rumped Warbler immediately cocked its head to one side and flew through the tree branches and landed right in front of us.  SNAP! Or in Candy's case, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP!

I felt sorry for the poor male Yellow-rumped Warbler.  For the next 30 minutes it searched, danced and sang for the female behind the cheerful notes emanating from the iPhone, but alas, he found no satisfaction.

What does this have to do with enterprise mobility?  This mobile app highlights digital transformation.  It takes a paper-based process of using field guides to complete a task (identify birds) and digitizes the experience using sensors, multimedia files, a unique UX, and social and cloud-based platforms to rethink the entire process.  It incorporates the use of SMAC features all in one app.  This model, and the unique data collection, querying, visualization and identification tools turns a simple library and list app into a library of multimedia content and files connected to social and cloud platforms (bird watchers worldwide eager to help you solve your bird watching problems).  There is a great deal to learn from this app, and it would be worthwhile for enterprises to study it and the problems it solves.

Watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4upoPkmvDUE


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.