Flip the Media is always looking for local tech disruptors to feature, so when a MCDM student approached us with a contact at RootMetrics, we couldn’t resist. RootMetrics is a Seattle based business that crowdsources data in order to offer a free, independent source of cellular carrier performance ratings. We threw a couple of our best questions at Julie Dey, the VP of Marketing for RootMetrics and found out it’s even better than we originally thought! If you’re in the market for a new network, we think you’ll agree, skipping the carrier’s marketing funnel and going straight to RootMetrics’ Carrier Coverage Map will save some big headaches.
Here’s the full Q&A:
Q: What’s the story behind Rootmetrics? How did it get started?
A: RootMetrics began in 2008 and was founded by a team of folks with strong ties to and many years of experience in the mobile community. The goal of the company was to break the historical convention of mobile performance residing in a black box, where it was completely unavailable to the public or to mobile suppliers. RootMetrics continues to promote transparency by putting the consumer first. We measure mobile performance from a consumer’s point of view and ensure that everyone has access to the data. Put simply, by downloading and using our app, you are creating the most up-to-date, publicly available map of mobile service and carrier coverage.
Q: How do you help people find the best cellular carrier for their needs?
A: Through our smartphone apps and the maps that you can find on our website and at CNET, we arm consumers with the true picture of mobile performance based on millions of data points. Using these tools, anyone can review signal strength, data speeds and overall mobile performance at a broad regional level, or down to your own street level. Each view of our maps compares carrier data side-by-side, so that you can see how carriers stack up against each other at that location.
Q: What has the demand for your service been like and what do you for-see the demand will be in the future?
A: We’ve seen great demand for our service and have received numerous positive press reviews. As smartphone adoption and mobile technologies continue their steep trajectory of growth, we foresee increased need for our application. We know that consumers are increasingly frustrated with mobile performance and are confused by the conflicting carrier messages in the marketplace. Because we source our data directly from the consumer rather than the carrier, we can provide mobile performance clarity and deliver data that is objective and accurate.
Q: We noticed that you seem to have a lot of data for major US cities, but how do you plan to gather more data in rural areas?
A: Every day, consumers from all across the country send us new data points that add to our mapping of rural areas. The more that people across the country send us samples, the more representative our maps and reports become of the true consumer experience at any location. We will continue measuring mobile performance in major U.S. markets and also look forward to seeing the hyper-localized areas of the maps fill in as word of our application spreads.
Q: Are there any other services with similar functionality?
A: There are a few other services that offer some elements of our functionality, but we are the only app available for iPhone and Android that offers views of both signal strength and data performance and allows consumers to test their networks to add samples to our maps.
Q: Has tracking and publishing this data pressured companies to expand coverage in poorly served areas? Do you think it will in the future?
A: We are just beginning to see how carriers are responding to this data. Infrastructure changes and coverage expansions are often time consuming and expensive propositions, so we don’t expect changes to happen overnight. However, carriers are very interested in the data that we are reporting and are using it to identify challenges in the ways that consumers experience their networks so that they can make changes and improvements.
Q: Are we moving toward a future of “best” mobile coverage on all networks everywhere? When will we get there?
A: At this point, it’s hard to say. Some of the regulations in the US in the mobile industry make it a bit more difficult to do this quickly; however, with our data, everyone will be equipped to make the best choice of carrier no matter their location.
Q: Are you currently working on a WP7 or Blackberry app or have you decided to stick with Android and iPhone only? If no WP7 or Blackberry, why?
A: We are focused on the Android and iOS systems right now as they are the platforms showing the most significant growth and the strongest consumer adoption. However, should BlackBerry and Windows gain deeper consumer adoption in the near future, we will look into apps to support those platforms.
More about RootMetrics:
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