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MobileMobile: our future lives outside of the device
By Purlin

The Device is the Destination

Having a mobile app is now practically prerequisite to company legitimacy, if only by name.  There were over 194 billion mobile app downloads in 2018, which is nothing short of ludicrous given that Apple opened its app store only 10 years ago, in July, 2008, with 500 apps.   Ironically, the vast majority of mobile apps have nothing to do with where you are.  They are designed to keep users connected to data and to each other, or to keep them entertained (bubbles 1 and 2 in chart below).  As long as your device is with you, it’s as if you’ve never left.  Apps are considered mobile because they overcome remoteness – the anywhere you want to be promise of a common credit card.  In other words, with most mobile apps when or where (or if) you go is completely irrelevant to the mobile app experience.  The device has become the destination. 

The Device is for the Destination

If an app is truly mobile native, or mobile mobile, where you are is the focus of the app experience design and the salience of the technical innovation. The value proposition to the user is in the elevation the off-device experience.  A mobile mobile app bridges the device world to the real world in substantive, symbiotic ways.   Transport networking (Uber), community-based navigation (Waze), smart home (Echo, Nest), and mobile AR (Pokémon Go) show what’s possible but are only the beginning.   

What would a mobile mobile real estate app look like, one that made the online and off-device home-buying experiences one?  

Consider this scenario:  a homebuyer creates a profile starting with a short description of their needs and desires for their new home.  They upload pictures of homes, layouts, even furnishings that they like and link their account to boards that they have curated on Pinterest and Houzz.  The result is a highly personalized list of homes ranked by a Match Score based on multivariate analysis.  Their interaction with this list, through behaviors and dialogue with the AI, constantly refines their profile and match scores.

While driving through an unfamiliar but attractive neighborhood with the right vibe, the buyer asks the app if there are any good matches nearby.  Instantly the app scores nearby homes that are currently for sale, and finds 3 with a match scores above 80%.  It provides a map with the most efficient route to see all three.   While en route the buyer takes photos and notes to capture the attractive features and feel of the neighborhood.  These inputs become part of their profile and the logarithms of their Match Scores. 

While walking through one of the homes, the AI sends contextually relevant nudges about key features to look for and snap pictures of based on things that matter to them (“make sure you take photo of the fenestration,” “don’t forget to look at the master bedroom bath,” or “your current favorite has a large back yard”).  These notes and photos will be available for side-by-side comparison, and further refine their profile.  

A brand new listing that is a 93% match with updated profile comes onto the market.  The AI immediately alerts the buyer, noting that the listing is 9% under budget, pre-approved for a loan, and is available for showing during a future opening on the buyer’s calendar.  It asks if the buyer would like it to go ahead and make an appointment to see the home.  

A mobile mobile home-buying app would be even more than the ultimate case study of mobile device and real world convergence.  It could take AI to the next level.  AI that connects to real world and real time interactions and processes, while staying literally and figuratively in the hand of the user, who remains in control of their evolving profile.