MobileDay solves a very specific problem. From the outset, it sounds trivial but ask any executive or manager: conference calls tend to suck the life and soul out of an otherwise productive workday. A big part of that struggle is understanding conference details and getting into one. This is especially true when there are several meetings occurring throughout the day.
Mobileday simplifies the conference call mayhem into a single touch mechanism.
Out of 250 entrants, Mobileday was one of the top 5 finalists in Mobilebeat’s App Contest. I got a chance to sit down with CEO Jim Haid and VP of Business Development Brad Dupee to talk about Mobileday’s goals, challenges and other details.
What makes Mobileday different from other conference call management systems?
Brad Dupee (BD): It’s a one click solution to jumping into any conference call irregardless of the platform. So we don’t force you to go from something like AT&T or some other provider. I’ve been in the conferencing business for a long time and one of the biggest issues is simply trying to manage your time in getting to a conference call.
It almost sounds trivial if you’re just one person getting into one conference call but this is not aimed for that person. I assume you’re after the managers and execs that have a boatload of meetings.
BD: Yes. What we want to do is simplify the process. Every platform is different but there are some similarities that we work across. Sprint, AT&T, GoToMeeting, etc. Basically anything that you dial into, it should know. And if it’s not there, you can bet that we’ll supporting it soon.
So are you covering everyone?
BD: As many as we can, we’re providing more and more support for a variety of providers as we continue to receive feedback from the people who use the app.
I really haven’t gotten a chance to play with this thing so let’s see what this thing can do
Dupee then shows me the app and its interface. The app as as simplified as you can get when it comes to managing your work day. Dupee then shows off the typical scenario of jumping in one conference call.
BD: Jumping into a conference call is really easy. We’ve also included common responses to the app that include telling the rest of the team to go ahead with the meeting or telling them to wait if you’re one of those key stakeholders. There’s also the ability to send in a custom message in case you’re providing more specific instructions.
Interesting. So does this tie in to your calendar and the contacts who are involved with the meeting and all that stuff?
BD: Yes. You can respond through SMS or email in a single touch to all parties involved.
So when the conference call is about to start it will know numbers to dial? How does it know?
BD: Yes. There’s definitely some magic behind that. Part of it is understanding the current systems that are out there and telling the app to do all the messy stuff for you.
For things like the meeting info and location, are you guys parsing emails or something?
Jim Haid (JH): Actually, yes, we are. That is how we’re pulling all the locations, participants and details of the event.
Are there times where the app misses?
JH: So far no. We literally parse through thousands of emails and we cover a large range of emails that contain all types of formats and we’re getting the pattern down to a science. Most of our users have been very satisfied with the accuracy of the meeting setup and if we ever come across anything that’s just weird, we usually can detect it and parse it accordingly.
How about when it comes to the conference call systems? Does MobileDay have limitations to certain dial-ins?
JH: If you’re talking about actually getting into the conference call itself, you’ll be fine. The only part we feel is minor is the security code that some systems have after engaging in the meeting through the conference ID. Of course, since we’re pulling all the meeting details which typically includes the security code. The user can then enter it in and it’s business as usual after that. We’re working to get security codes in but most of the time, they’re not included.
And what about the person hosting the meeting, is it seamless from their end?
JH: On their end, everything is the same. When someone joins in on the call, the meeting commences as usual.
And what if the call gets screwed up somehow like Dial-In number issues ? How do you address that?
JH: If there is an issue with the dial-in, the user can submit the call (or event) directly to us through the app and we can fix it quickly. We haven’t encountered much issues with the dialer but we do our best anticipate these issues as more and more conference call platforms are used. Even with our heaviest users, we haven’t seen much issues.
Sounds good. It looks like you guys have things into place. But let’s change gears a bit. Let’s talk about the marketing side. At MobileBeat, Pandora’s CTO Tom Conrad talked about how important it is for the product to have talking points that are easy to understand. When people hear MobileDay and the words ‘conference call’, do you find it difficult for potential customers to conceptualize in their mind?
JH: Yes and no. ‘Yes’ because we’d like more people to download our app but it can be a challenge to get everyone to know what the app does without using those keywords you mentioned. The ‘no’ part is when we do come across people who do understand what Mobileday does, and when they finally experience using the app, it works perfectly for them. If you talk to any of our investors in the company, they all use it. They all get it.
When people hear the words ‘conference call’ already an image of your app is being built in their minds. In a way, you want as many people to get on it without the need to add more feature sets. Getting the talking point down can be challenge. How do you overcome this?
BD: By telling your readers about us. You did tell us earlier, you’re a business guy.
Haha. Not a problem. That I can do. So what’s Mobileday’s ultimate goal? Acquisition? Bigger company?
JH: We’re not sure as we’re still growing but the more feedback the better. We’re obviously aiming at a certain audience.
BD: Yes. And that audience run across a variety of industries.
What about Windows Phone, will there be support for it?
BD: What do you think? Should we do it?
I say ‘yes’. Not only because I’m a Microsoft guy but because you’re likely to encounter more enterprise level guys who are likely using Microsoft in the backend for IT support and database. Then again, more people are taking the BYOD route (bring your own device) with iPhones.
JH: Interesting. We’ll definitely think about it. Of course, the more hands on our app, the better. For now, we’ll be concentrating on making the service as seamless as possible. Until then, we’ll be staying in touch.
Let’s end on that note. Thanks guys.