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Planning products brand FranklinCovey organizes mobile strategy

Created by SCO Group’s Me Inc. unit, the FCmobilelife apps for the iPhone will add to the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile versions already for sale. Like the other platform versions, the iPhone FCmobilelife is designed to help consumers set their personal goals, organize tasks, create appointments and share these details through their smartphones.

“The iPhone is huge,” said Shaun Cutler, director of product management and marketing at Me Inc., Orem, UT. “They have a huge market share and growing rapidly.

“The other thing that is very important with the iPhone and Apple relationships is the application distribution,” he said. “It’s very easy for an iPhone user to get a software application on their phone.”

FranklinCovey Products is a retailer and licensee of Franklin Covey Co. Its products include the FranklinCovey Planning System, PlanPlus Planning Software, PlanPlus Online, binders, business cases and totes.

FCmobilelife focuses on five areas of productivity that address work/life balance: schedule for calendaring with a team; voice, text or photo messages to assign tasks to colleagues, friends and family; FYI posts and reminders in voice, text and photo; setting, tracking and managing progress on goals; and team contacts.

FC Tasks is currently available on the iPhone App Store. The app will let iPhone users organize and manage tasks on their mobile device. The standalone app will sell for $5.99.

Multimedia appeal
Clearly, a key appeal of the FC Tasks app that resides on the iPhone is multimedia.

FranklinCovey can tap into the onboard camera and audio recording capabilities of the mobile device. This enables the addition of photos and audio to tasks.

An example of this is creating a voice task. Say the consumer is driving and does not have time to enter text but wants to create a task that she won’t forget.

So the consumer launches the FC Tasks app on the iPhone, selects the task and pushes the audio record button. She can record the task and push the “Done” icon. That task in the day’s list is labeled as a voice task. She can click on it to hear the audio played back.

FranklinCovey intends to debut all FCmobilelife apps for the iPhone by June.

“Mobile’s key to everything that we’re doing going forward,” Mr. Cutler said.

“More and more people are carrying around these smart devices and they want to use those to employ the same methods that they’ve been using from FranklinCovey for years, things like paper planners,” he said.

Launched last fall, FCmobilelife for Web, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices was upgraded to include Outlook integration, recurring meetings and offline mode for mobile clients.

FCmobilelife is positioned as an alternative to voice calls, voicemail, email and text messaging. It costs $29.99 for an annual two-user subscription or $49.99 for five users and $99.99 for 20 users. A free 30-day trial is available.

“The overarching strategy is connectivity from whatever device you have,” Mr. Cutler said.

“We build clients for the most popular devices and platforms, but the real magic happens in that the hosted application allows the user to interact with other people,” he said.

Appian way
What is interesting to note is that FranklinCovey has opted for the app route instead of a mobile Web site, at least for now. It brings back the issue of on-device client versus a browser-based app.

“Obviously there are tradeoffs, but we feel like there is a lot of value in having a client that resides on the devices,” Mr. Cutler said. “We have an offline mode, so if you have a Web connection and say you’re on a plane, then you can still use the application.

“Also, with the FC Tasks application on the iPhone we take advantage of lots of features of the iPhone that allow for a rich user experience,” he said.

So, say if a user takes a task that has a certain priority and then drags it to a different area on the screen. The app will automatically reprioritize that task and other tasks on the list.

“It’s all built on the FranklinCovey methodology, so the user doesn’t have to think about how to do something – it automatically does it,” Mr. Cutler said.