Spurring industry growth, Indiana jobs goal of Mobile Indiana

Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media

August 29, 2011

Ball State University's Institute for Mobile Media Research will bolster emerging media on a statewide basis by launching Mobile Indiana, an education and networking organization focused on the development and growth of the rapidly expanding mobile communications industry.

Mobile Indiana is an open community of mobile industry executives, developers, academics, marketers and influencers with the goal of enhancing and developing the mobile industry in Indiana. Through partnerships with Ball State's Institute for Mobile Media Research (IMMR) and its Digital Policy Institute (DPI), the organization will provide thought leadership and host networking and educational events featuring expert speakers, new product demonstrations and discussions  of new mobile trend.

Use of mobile use is exploding, and mobile marketing and advertising is the fastest growing segment of the ad industry, said IMMR director Michael Hanley, a Ball State advertising  professor.

The growth in mobile marketing is migrating to small and regional markets. In the Indianapolis area, an estimated 100-150 companies are involved with mobile technology, marketing and/or advertising, he noted.

"Mobile Indiana was formed to give companies in the mobile space a platform to share their knowledge and successes. It also provides companies looking to use mobile devices for commerce or marketing a place to learn about mobile communications and find mobile vendors," Hanley said. "The need has existed for a few years for a group like Mobile Indiana, but now the marketplace is mandating that businesses understand how mobile devices will impact and change how they do business and what the opportunities are with mobile."

Hanley said the new organization will play an important role for growth of Indiana's mobile industry by giving company leaders opportunities to network, learn, experiment and ultimately create new mobile technology jobs. Universities also will benefit as graduates with mobile knowledge and skills take the jobs created by the growth in the mobile industry in Indiana.

He added that work on Mobile Indiana  underscores the importance of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a more than $20 million investment focusing the university's historic strengths in the area and accelerating their benefits to the state of Indiana.

Mobile Indiana will host its inaugural Monetizing the Mobile Channel conference Sept. 16 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The event will bring together mobile industry leaders and innovators from across the region and features a keynote address by Shawn Schwegman, chief marketing officer of ChaCha, based in Carmel.  Schwegman will share insights on the state of the mobile industry based on lessons learned during his leadership role at ChaCha, one of the world's leading mobile publishers and what it all means for marketers.

"Fostering an interactive mobile technology focused community here in Indiana is critically important right now due to the explosive growth taking place in this industry across the globe," said ChaCha chief executive officer Scott A. Jones. "Mobile Indiana is taking a very important step that will shed light on the cutting-edge mobile developments happening right here in the Hoosier state. Shawn and I, as well as our entire team at ChaCha, are all pleased to support Mobile Indiana's vital initiatives and look forward to the collective knowledge we will gain as a result."

ChaCha was formed in 2006 by Jones, a noted Indiana-based technology inventor and entrepreneur, and has since grown to become a leader in real-time information. Through its unique "ask-a-smart-friend" platform, ChaCha has answered nearly 2 billion questions from more than 25 million unique monthly users via online (ChaCha.com), mobile text (242-242), iPhone app, Android app and voice (1-800-2-ChaCha).

To register to attend Monetizing the Mobile Channel, visit www.mobileindiana.com.

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