[View Point] PCT On-The-Go

Columns - View Point

November 30, 2012
Brad Harbison

It’s an exciting time to be a reporter for PCT, especially when it comes to providing daily industry news coverage. Technology has completely revolutionized the way PCT reports news. The first significant change occurred in the 1990s with the advent of the Internet, which shifted PCT’s news reporting cycle from monthly to daily. The next wave of changes is ongoing and it is a result of the rise in popularity of mobile technology, which has changed not only the frequency in which PCT reports news (from daily to hourly) but the content (more audio and video) as well as the vehicles we utilize to deliver the news (e.g., the PCT app, weekly PCT E-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter).

Just how big is the “mobile web” becoming? In 2010, Morgan Stanley released an 87-page report analyzing online trends and predicting the future of the Internet. According to the report, “Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.”

PCT is working hard to meet mobile device user demands by introducing new technology of our own and providing content that is popular among these users. For example, in May 2010 we introduced the PCT app, which our readers can download from iTunes for their iPhone and/or iPad. The first version of this app allows users to view a digital version of current and past PCT issues (in the exact same format as PCT magazine) and it also provides real-time news updates from www.pctonline.com. We’ve received great feedback on this app. Our mobile device users love having PCT at their fingertips and having the ability to catch up on industry-related news and features at their convenience. We are excited to report that the newest version of the PCT app will be rolled out in early 2013. This version will include many new features and functions to provide users with a “richer, more immersive” experience, including: custom-built for iPads; offline readability; stories will be more interactive, and in some cases use animation; improved social networking sharing options; and easier access to links within articles.

How is PCT’s content adapting to meet mobile device user demand? According to that same Morgan Stanley report, “Video accounts for 69% of mobile data traffic.” It’s for this reason PCT has continued to add multimedia files including video, podcasts, webinars and photo slideshows. For example, PCT has been conducting video interviews with pest management professionals at industry events. Just last month we caught up with more than a dozen industry professionals at NPMA PestWorld in Boston for video interviews on a wide variety of business and technical topics. These videos appear on PCT Online, but they also have been formatted with specs that allow for ease-of-use for mobile device users.

Another important way PCT has adapted our news coverage is by better utilizing social media. PCT Associate Editor Bill Delaney is our point person on Facebook and Twitter and he’s done a great job of not only posting PCT-generated content, but of sharing interesting pest-related stories and even digging through the PCT magazine archives for fun “finds.”

PCT is certainly not alone in this industry in terms of adopting — and taking advantage of — new technology. We’ve enjoyed observing how other PCOs, manufacturers, distributors, members of academia, etc., are using social media, mobile technology and other tools. From pest identification apps to Groupon specials, in many ways the utilization of mobile technology is the next frontier for an industry that thrives on innovating and adapting to change.

The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT magazine and can be contacted at bharbison@giemedia.com.