Job to be Done: Storage in Mobile Video and Content Sharing

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Abstract: in this article I suggest that in the space of mobile -web-conferencing, the value for the customer is not in the storage per se but, rather on multimedia content retrieval and management. I do believe the future of mobile collaborative conferencing lies into media content management and interactive recommender.

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The Job to be Done, i an approach to product and service innovation initially developed by Harvard Professor Christensen and widely discussed in several forums: Christensen Institute

In this paper I want to discuss the applications of some of its tenants to the storage in the realm of mobile video and content sharing conferencing (Mobile Video Messaging, Limits of Current Web-conferencing systems, The New Frontier) . This is a particularly interesting topic as we see dozen of businesses trying to clone the business models of the Amazons, Dropbox, Boxes and like. I will address the question on whether attempting to clone those models make sense and what would propably be a better outcome for the users. Who are in need to get a job done.

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Job to Be Done Method

The predicament of the Christensen approach is that users/customers are all attempting to get some form of job done. Therefore it is important to identify this job, understand how the user defines the outcome and provide user with a solution that best suits the job. Such solution must also be priced right in line with  the importance that the user gives to the particular solution for the job to be done.

A formal framework  is listed in the following table (Jobs-To-Be-Done | Theory and Approach | Strategyn)

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Current Situation in Mobile and Web-conferencing storage

Traditionally application such as go to meeting or webex tend to be used on the spot and the need for recording meetings is not completely apparent. Companies in this sector have however tried to implement proprietary storage as an attempt to look customers in and create barriers to exist. therefore attempting to prevent churn to their cloud services.

Nevertheless the recent history of cloud storage shows that people tend to store files they hardly will use again. This is because they want to make sure that they can if they need always retrieve the data stored but, they most of the case will not look at documents again( you won’t look at an invoice very often but your accountant will). This is the primary emotional concern and motivator that people in the consumer markets have. In the Enterprise world there is a set of  additional uses for storing information, particularly :
1) Increasing productivity by reusing material created by others
2) Making sure that information is disseminated across the organization and learning processes can be facilitated.
Ultimately both of them result in a form of increased productivity for the organization.

The evolution of web-conferencing into the mobile arena sets a new milestone in user’s behavior. Consumers like actions such as take a picture, take a snapshot, share on a messenger have become everyone habit and it is hard to imagine that these habits will not spread into mobile video and content sharing conferencing. As a result new and more convoluted needs for storage arise. See below.

The challenge

We have instead witnessed at  companies trying to “store meetings and video ” on to their proprietary cloud store. LogMeIn may be an exception to this paradigm.   The question before us is :
Is a standard approach to storage as a service, the right one for a mobile web-conferencing system (in both Enterprise and pro-sumers markets)?

The  answer : Innovation should be in the retrieval systems

I postulate that the cloning strategies are not right for the web-conferencing context. In a web/mobile conferencing setting the user is trying to do a slightly different job than he does when stores piles of documentation on Dropbox or Box. The documents and media involved in a mobile conferencing have to do with communication, getting an idea across, clarify a concept, with collaboration and discussion of ideas. I make a set of assumptions ( which can be tested in various way s, see my next articles) .

The use of stored information in a mobile conferencing involves the meeting itself and the period after the meeting. I will focus on the post meeting in this paper. The job to be done is:

  1. Quickly have access to one of the multiple media type shared in the meeting to make use of it in another communication
  2. Quickly have access to one of the multiple media type  shared in the meeting to reinforce or understand better a crucial point
  3. Retrieve information from multiple patterns to facilitate the way human beings store and recall info in their brains. People may recall a visual, may recall a sentence said by someone, or may recall a sentence on a slide. People may even record just a sound.

If we assume (and we can test this in various ways)  this is the major job to be done than the storage system should be built around these jobs as opposed to following Dropbox successful receipt. Particularly, more than the storage, the value and the job to be done for the user is in  the information retrieval. If this postulation is true, we can than formulate the characteristic for the solution that helps users in their jobs:

  1. Recommending multiple type of media info when accessing the storage area
  2. Creating User Interfaces that offer easy multi dimensional retrieval patterns
  3. Remind the users of the time line of events and from there link to actionable media retrieval systems
  4. Offer the ability to re-activate communication around a specific piece of media with a specific meeting participant.

In conclusion in this article I suggest that in the space of mobile -web-conferencing, the value for the customer is not simply in the storage but rather on multimedia content retrieval and management. I do believe the future of mobile collaborative conferencing lies into media content management.

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