The market trends for enterprise cloud platforms for mobile show promising growth, with new players entering the scene and established companies constantly innovating to stay ahead. One of the key trends in the market is the increasing demand for mobile accessibility. As more businesses adopt a mobile-first approach, they require cloud platforms that can seamlessly integrate with their existing mobile applications.
In this interview with TechBullion, Phunware COO, Randall Crowder will be sharing with us, the company’s vision, where seamless, personalized mobile experiences empower businesses to thrive and users to effortlessly navigate their digital lives, and other opportunities available at Phunware.
Please tell us a little more about yourself.
My name is Randall Crowder, and I am passionate about new venture creation and the innovative spirit that fuels entrepreneurs and advances technology. As an active investor and entrepreneur, I understand what it takes to successfully launch and grow new businesses. I regularly publish articles and speak on entrepreneurship, venture capital, healthcare and the rise of blockchain.
I am currently the chief operating officer of Phunware (NASDAQ: PHUN), a technology company in Austin, Texas that provides brands with a fully integrated cloud platform for mobile that is known for its location software.
Prior to Phunware, I led over 40 angel investments and deployed over $60 million across 14 companies as a venture capitalist. I am a co-founder and managing partner at TEXO Ventures, where I focused on tech-enabled health services, and I am the sole founder and managing partner at Novē Ventures, where I focus on companies leveraging blockchain technology. Prior to venture capital, I led the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), helping build it up into one of the most active angel networks in the country. I also founded and launched Texas Venture Labs (TVL) at the University of Texas in order to give the next generation of investors unique experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Before getting involved in venture capital and entrepreneurship, I was a captain in the United States Army, and I am both Airborne and Ranger-qualified. I served over six years on active duty and was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where I was awarded two Bronze Stars for my actions during combat operations.
I hold a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business. I am also a Kauffman Fellow and co-founder of The Crypto Watch and Watchers Eye, both organizations that are dedicated to helping educate others on not only blockchain but also personal and professional development.
What is Phunware and what inspired this solution?
Since the dawn of commerce, brands have been trying to reach consumers. While platforms have evolved over time, the intent has always been the same: to drive awareness in the hope that increased awareness can be monetized.
But consumers have been conditioned to ignore things like banner ads, pop-ups and billboards. We DVR shows to fast-forward through commercials, and we subscribe to streaming services to avoid them altogether. We have limited attention spans, and we are living in an on-demand world where we want what we want, but only when and how we want it.
Yet, we are still living analog lives. For most of us, the most technologically savvy thing we experience at a grocery store is crossing an RF signal to open the door … or tapping a credit card to pay as we leave. We remain disconnected from a very digital world. Phunware is on a mission to change that.
We envision a world where seamless, personalized mobile experiences empower businesses to thrive and users to effortlessly navigate their digital lives.
Can you explain how Phunware has transformed consumer engagement for brands in a mobile-first era by ensuring every interaction is contextual, personal, and relevant?
Have you ever been to the Bahamas? You must go to Atlantis! They first came to us to solve a very clear problem – wayfinding. Across this stunning 140-acre property, they literally had staff members on stools deployed across the island in case people got lost or had a question. Cue, “There has to be a better way!”
We deployed our advanced mapping and navigation capabilities across the island, but we didn’t stop there. Atlantis is using Phunware’s Smart Hospitality Solution as a mobile concierge, giving guests self-service access to all the amazing things Atlantis has to offer. In fact, Atlantis generated over a million dollars in less than a year through their app, but over half of that was booked before people even arrived, as they used our immersive design to experience Atlantis from the comfort of home.
What specific services does Phunware offer within the fields of applications, media, data, cloud computing, enterprise cloud solutions, mobile cloud technologies, and cloud platforms?
Every brand must ask itself how it is leveraging mobile to drive digital transformation because we live in a mobile-first world that is quickly becoming mobile-only. We believe tech-enabled, contextual engagement via mobile devices is the future of digital transformation.
That’s why Phunware’s enterprise cloud platform enables brands to source, curate and take action on information from the virtual world in order to inform and enhance real world experiences.
So how does Phunware work?
First, our mobile platform as a service allows us to standardize the disparate backend cloud infrastructure for any enterprise. From electronic health records to property management systems, we ensure that organizational data and content can be efficiently accessed, leveraged and updated.
Next, our interoperability layer provides integration-platform-as-a-service capabilities to unify the third-party solutions our customers are already using, such as analytics, environmental systems, access control and communication platforms, just to name a few. In fact, we have integrated over 150 third-party vendors.
But all of these capabilities would do no one any good if they weren’t utilized, so we leverage over a decade of experience working with some of the world’s most-recognized brands to deliver best-in-class mobile applications optimized by industry. And since we are deploying from our mobile cloud, enterprises are able to license mobile software the same way they might license a CRM or ERP.
We also offer data-enriched media services to help enterprises not only better engage users within their own mobile ecosystem, but also find and acquire new users.
Our dedicated team of pioneers deploy cutting-edge technology to help any brand in any industry better engage, manage and monetize their stakeholders in a mobile-first world.
We tech-enable contextual engagement by leveraging data and unifying disparate third-party solutions to deliver the right content in the right place to the right person at the right time. By automating engagement, we help our customers not only make more money, save more money, and get more out of their money, but also delight their stakeholders by enhancing real-world experiences.
How long has Phunware been operating in the industry? Can you provide some key milestones or achievements since its establishment?
Phunware was actually founded in 2009, when less than 3% of internet content was consumed on mobile devices, and many brands were just figuring out what to make of the web. Fast-forward to today, and over 60% of content is consumed on mobile devices, with the majority being delivered through native apps. Last year, people spent a third of their waking hours on their phones, according to App Annie. That’s almost five hours per day! Let that sink in for a moment.
Over the years, we have built mobile applications for some of the most-recognizable brands on the planet, like the NFL, NASCAR and Fox. We’ve also deployed mobile solutions in support of the Olympics, a presidential election, hospitals, hotels, stadiums, airports, and even a smart workplace during the pandemic!
Check out these demo videos:
Who are the primary target audiences or customers that benefit from using Phunware’s offerings in applications, media, and data?
We excel in industries that struggle with complex customer journeys. Today, our primary focus is on healthcare and hospitality, but we are seeing a lot of interest from politics due to our exceptional work during the 2020 election. In addition to politics, we are also seeing a lot of activity from sports and entertainment as venues evolve into mini-resorts boasting unique activities, restaurants, and of course, buying opportunities. These industries typically lack large internal teams focused on digital strategy and need a solution that works out of the box.
In fact, mobile applications are so important in healthcare that they don’t even call them mobile applications, but rather, “digital front doors.” Patients can easily access their medical records, schedule appointments, pay bills and seamlessly navigate complex medical facilities — all from the palm of their hand. Meanwhile, clinicians can use our platform for asset tracking, compliance and improving operational efficiencies.
We’ve worked with everyone from Kaiser Permanente to Cedar Sinai, Mayo, and, more recently, Parkview Health and VHC Health, because nowhere is it more important to demystify a real-world experience than in a hospital. We are tech-enabling the entire continuum of care to ensure that not only do patients have a hospitality-like experience, but clinicians also have access to everything they need to deliver world-class care. There is no shortage of reasons why healthcare organizations are looking to adopt mobile-first strategies, since keeping patients satisfied and clinicians optimized have such a profound impact on profitability.
Hospitality is one of our fastest-growing industries because, let’s face it, we want what we want, and we want it how we want it now more than ever, especially when we’re on vacation. Even before COVID, guests despised waiting in line or dealing with a cumbersome check-in process. With our Smart Hospitality Solution, we can turn a mobile device into a mobile concierge. We can even help you order that drink by the pool from the comfort of your chair without having to wait for staff members who are overworked and underpaid.
Could you share any success stories where Phunware’s solutions have significantly improved a company’s strategy or decision-making process within the Fortune 500 realm?
The industry most affected by the pandemic has been the typical workplace, but Fortune 500 companies are increasingly interested in mobile workplace solutions.
In fact, we deployed a next-generation Smart Workplace Solution to tech-enable the employee experience for over 3,000 people at Norfolk Southern’s brand-new headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. From parking to digital badges, work orders, and even the elevators, employees can coordinate everything they may need right from the palm of their hand. You see, Phunware isn’t one mobile application to replace them all, but rather, one mobile application to rule them all. At Norfolk Southern, we’ve integrated over 25 different third-party vendors and solutions so that employees can access disparate resources from one app with one single sign-on.
We believe this will become table stakes going forward as enterprises look to better manage and engage large workforces while getting the most out of their time and eliminating unproductive workflows.
What sets Phunware apart from competitors in terms of providing effective solutions for businesses seeking to engage consumers on mobile devices effectively?
Just like we helped usher in the era of mobile, we are now ushering in the era of digital transformation in a mobile-first world, so it’s important to understand where we are compared to the competition. Although Phunware began as a custom mobile development company, we now offer so much more and are not limited by the need to constantly write custom code.
While some may point to larger players like SAP and Google, they require too many internal resources to be effectively deployed by the customers in our target market. We do, however, occasionally run into industry-specific competitors, although they often lack the full suite of functionality that we have — and our experience and reliability.
Honestly, if I had to pick one major competitor, it would be the large consulting firms and system integrators. While most don’t have comprehensive software solutions to offer directly, they will seek to cobble together various point solutions to approximate what Phunware does.
But no one really does what we do. We offer a robust enterprise platform right out of the box so that companies can standardize on our mobile cloud infrastructure and finally realize the true promise of digital transformation.
Are there any upcoming developments or future plans that we can expect from Phunware regarding innovative approaches to application development or utilizing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or machine learning?
Yes, in fact we are constantly updating our patent portfolio with new IP. Since we are a public company, much of this can’t be disclosed in a forum like this, but we did recently announce the integration of AI into our mobile engagement solution to personalize branded campaigns based on who you are, where you are, and what’s most important to you.
Do you have any available opportunities for career, investors and partnerships at Phunware, any more tips for our readers today?
Of course! As a public company trading on Nasdaq, investors can learn more at investors.phunware.com and actually invest directly on most trading platforms by searching for the ticker symbol “PHUN.”
Phunware’s mission is to create a world where personalized mobile experiences help businesses thrive, and users navigate their digital lives effortlessly. The company achieves this by transforming consumer engagement, making every interaction contextual, personal, and relevant. Phunware’s services span various fields, including applications, media, data, cloud computing, and enterprise cloud solutions. The company provides an enterprise cloud platform that standardizes backend infrastructure, offers integration capabilities, and delivers industry-optimized mobile applications. They also provide data-enriched media services to engage users and acquire new ones. The company is continually innovating, with recent developments including the integration of AI into their mobile engagement solution to personalize branded campaigns.
For partnerships or if you have a potential customer in mind, interested parties can reach out directly to email@example.com to discuss the best next steps.
For career opportunities, please monitor https://www.phunware.com/company/careers/.
For additional tips and exciting interviews, please visit https://www.phunware.com/news/.