Why We Built Urban Airship Connect
Published on 29 Sep 2015
By Michael Richardson, co-founder & Senior Director of Product
We just announced Urban Airship Connect, and, if you haven’t yet, check it out. It’s an entirely new product for Urban Airship, and a vivid example of a very important approach for the entire marketing technology industry. Our hope is that we’ll see more vendors doing projects just like it. Together, we can make everything better.
Urban Airship Connect comes from a very simple premise: customer data and context should move along with the customer as they hop between devices, channels and experiences. Data silos of customer information are a relic of the bad old days. It’s terrible for customers, who have disjointed and frustrating experiences as they traverse your channels. It’s not just customers who feel this pain, either. These silos make it very difficult for businesses to operate efficiently and for people to do their jobs properly. This situation needs to get better.
Customers expect to be served with relevancy and immediacy at their exact moment of need. Mobile, always at-the-ready, is accelerating this trend, but customers don’t think about channels. They peruse your emails. Maybe they click on your Facebook ad. They research products, jumping from their mobile device to the desktop and back again, only to come into your store and pull out their devices again. All of these actions are signals of their intent, and businesses need to catch these clues to serve up experiences that are relevant, compelling and satisfying.
Two paths are diverging in the marketing technology landscape to answer these needs: closed all-in-one solutions that hopefully provide good-enough capabilities, and specialized solutions that set the pace of innovation in their disciplines. The path you choose has everything to do with the types of experiences you want to provide to customers; and fundamentally, that’s all about user-centric data and how easily it can be put to use however and wherever customers choose to interact with your business.
A monolithic solution and its bigger data silo isn’t the answer for most of us. We’ve invested too much in existing systems. We’ve gone beyond good enough to integrate, customize and operationalize technology within our business workflows. And technology continues to advance, demanding rapid iteration to seize new opportunities.
A world in which all systems, optimized for their own use cases, can work and operate together in real-time, driving action within customer’s’ interactions cycles, is what we call an open omnichannel approach. Urban Airship Connect, and the more than 10 launch partners with connections to more than 50 business systems, is our vision of how the future should be.
At its heart, Urban Airship Connect is a real-time streaming API. As users interact with their favorite mobile apps, their user-level data comes into our system. We decorate that data with meaningful information like device identifiers and IDs from our partners, and deliver all of it in real-time through Connect’s streaming interface. This is a critical step to avoid the “data plumbing” issues that have plagued system integration efforts in the past—getting all the systems to speak the same language. This is all powered by our high-performance infrastructure proven to handle the scale of mobile activity that Forrester pegs as five to ten times greater than the Web.
It’s our responsibility to give our customers both the capability to build incredible custom use cases, and the ability to make common things as simple and easy as possible, all with a high ROI. That’s why Urban Airship Connect covers the full spectrum of capabilities, from direct API access to feature-rich pre-built connectors to create ready-to-go integrations. No code required. Our aim is to both remove the barriers of accessing this data and the complexities of being able to take real-time action on it. Great customer experiences demand it.
We’ve already heard a lot of amazing use cases from our early access customers. These use cases run the gamut from optimizing media spend and personalizing cross-channel communications, to re-engineering how a business operates by helping employees receive up-to-the-minute information and replace legacy confirmation and verification steps with things like interactive notification button taps. All of the ways Urban Airship Connect is being put to use require a reliable, secure, and powerful infrastructure. This is something that Urban Airship is uniquely suited to provide. It’s the same infrastructure that powers our mobile engagement solution for the largest events, biggest brands and most real-time organizations on the planet.
The future depends on real-time connections between all of your business systems. We don’t have to settle for data silos and a channel-centric vs. customer-centric mentality. Businesses should never have to ask vendors, “how do I get this information from you”. It should always be the vendor saying, “Where can we put this information to work for you?”
Join us for a webinar on October 6th to learn more, or visit our website: https://www.urbanairship.com/products/connect.
Early webinar at 11am EDT
Later webinar at 1pm EDT