Get Connected to the Future of Research 

  • 19 Apr 2017 10:14 AM | Rick West

    Since 2010, mobile solutions firm Field Agent has been on a mission to “change the way the world collects business information and insights.”

    Today marks another milestone in revolutionizing how companies learn about their in-store products, operations, and competition.Jicco Search Engine: Instant Answers to Pressing Retail Questions


    Introducing Jicco, the first on-demand, retail search engine, designed to furnish business professionals with “instant answers to pressing retail questions.” As reported by Supermarket News, the search engine will change how retailers, brands, and agencies obtain real-time answers about store-level promotions, pricing, on-shelf availability, competitive activity, and shopper sentiment.


    Jicco Testimonial by Danni-Lynn Kilgallen, National Retail Account Manager, Energizer Holdings


    “Professionals across the retail and branded goods industry are strapped for time and under considerable pressure to have all the answers," said Rick West, CEO and co-founder of Field Agent. "We’ve merged our efficient mobile crowdsourcing system with a simple search engine interface to create the world’s fastest way to get real answers from the field.”  

    Dan O'Shea, contributing editor at Retail Diveagreed with West about the hurried nature of retail and the need for fast answers:

    "West is right about the challenges facing many retail professionals, and as these folks jump between projects and try to keep all of their plates spinning, having fingertip access to some relevant data certainly will help them. Why shouldn't retailers get a curated portion of the internet all their own, right?"

    Currently in beta testing with plans to roll out nationally in April, Jicco is already being used by hundreds of brands, retailers, and agencies to acquire on-demand answers from stores across the country.


     Jicco Testimonial by Brian Stormes, Field Vice President, Henkel Consumer Goods

    How Jicco Works

    Users will simply visit, type in a basic question about in-store conditions, and, within minutes, watch as photos, information, and shopper feedback begin streaming in from stores across the country. That easy.

    Jicco Search Engine: Instant Answers to Pressing Retail Questions

    Sample questions could include:

    • What’s the price of store-brand toothpaste at Kroger?
    • What does the special Tide detergent display look like at Walmart?
    • What signage stands out most in the baby products aisle at Target?    

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper tested the search engine and reported receiving an answer within 17 minutes: "That rapid response can be critical for companies, that are often in need of data quickly and may not be able to fan out fast enough to get it," the paper stated.

    According to West, Jicco harnesses Field Agent’s retail expertise, proven technology, and all-mobile “crowd” of more than one million shoppers to more quickly connect companies with their widespread products and operations.

    Jicco has been in the making for the last seven years,” he said. “In that time we’ve built an extensive mobile crowdsourcing system, which Jicco will now leverage to answer store-level questions with unprecedented speed and ease.”    

    Read the Official Press Release.

  • 05 Apr 2017 6:31 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    By Emma Garside, GKA

    April 5, 2017 

    As with many other areas in our lives, technology has had a seismic impact on both the quantity and quality of information we can now access via patient market research. Thanks to personal technology such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and video cameras, researchers now have more options for data collection than ever before. As opposed to traditional methods, today’s researchers can access targeted patients across the globe, instantly. And thanks to new and constantly improving software, all this data can be collected and analysed right away, empowering businesses to stay ahead of the competition and make informed decisions, fast.

    So, if you’ve not considered using personal tech in your patient market research before - or if you’re looking to expand how you use it – read on to discover five important ways technology can revolutionise the information you access.

    1.      Smart Watches

    Tech within smartwatches is becoming more advanced with every new release. So no matter what type or brand your patient has, smartwatches can open the door to unprecedented levels of insightful data. Not only are many of them able to monitor medical data such as heart rate, but they also give patients the option to record audio or video, take photos, communicate directly with researchers and reveal their GPS location. This in turn gives researchers the ability to collect information such as patients’ activities and feelings, remotely and in real time, which can then be used as a basis of a conversation later in the research project.

    2. Fitness trackers

    Fitness trackers were specifically created to give users direct and instant access to their own medical and fitness-related data - and consequently, they also offer the same opportunity for researchers to dive into the patient’s world. So whether you’re monitoring patients’ blood pressure, sleeping patterns or heart rates, fitness trackers enable researchers to easily track and collect medical data as well as related data such as anxiety levels or how strenuous certain activities are and what improvements could be made to help patients cope.

    3. Video cameras

    Ten years ago, an ethnography project would have been impossible without several large, expensive and intrusive cameras positioned within a patient’s home. But with the advances in wearable cameras such as Go Pros, participants themselves can become the researcher, providing just as much (if not more) information as a traditional ethnography project by wearing head or body-mounted units that record live video or audio streams for real time analysis. What’s more, because they’ll be delivering data in a way that doesn’t interrupt their daily routine, it’s likely make your mobile ethnography study even more insightful.

    4. Market research online community platforms

    Private platforms such as market research online communities offer researchers the next best thing to being by a patient’s side. Not only do research communities allow researchers to build relationships with potentially hard to reach patients without any kind of observer influence or bias, but they also act as a support system for the patients, giving them the chance to speak to people dealing with the same challenges as they are – resulting in a thriving, engaged community that delivers unbeatable insights. By asking patients to carry out specific tasks such as blogging about their life and how their condition affects them, recording video diaries explaining how they take their medication or explaining how treatment makes them feel and how their day-to-day lives could be improved, researchers can easily access rich and insightful information. What’s more, all the data is collected in real time, enabling researchers to quickly and simply analyse it to create heat maps and word clouds or export transcripts.

    5. Neuroscience

    Finally, although advances in neuroscience may be less accessible to participants in their day-to-day lives, they offer researchers huge advantages in the scope and accuracy of data they can obtain. By using advances in fields such as eye or heart rate tracking or facial coding, researchers can unlock how people respond to anything from advertising materials and patient information leaflets to products and packaging designs. What’s more, neuroscience can also look beyond any inaccurate or misleading answers given through fear or embarrassment of giving the ‘wrong’ answer, digging deeper to access the facts needed to develop truly insightful research.

    These five points are only just scratching the surface when it comes to technology and patient market research, so if you’d like to know more, download our guide to mobile qual.

  • 29 Mar 2017 6:40 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)
    From MediaPost by Ray Schultz , Columnist, March 29, 2017

    The headline for Thom Wheeler’s op-ed piece in The New York Times today says it bluntly: “The G.O.P. Just Sold Your Privacy.” Wheeler is referring to the House vote on Tuesday, blocking FCC privacy rules passed during the Obama administration.

    This rollback would allow cable firms and wireless providers to exploit your “browsing history, shopping habits, your location and other information gleaned from your online activity” any way they want, writes Wheeler, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

    We’re sure he’s right. But consumers won’t be the only victims of this foolish piece of deregulation: The real losers will be brands that market online. They have just lost control of their own data.

    Nobody has analyzed this yet, but here’s one possible scenario, based on historical precedent. There was a roaring controversy years ago about American Express using data from the transactions it processed to send catalogs and other product offerings to cardholders.

    The argument took place behind closed doors, and memory has faded on some points. But American Express was competing with its own clients -- direct marketing companies that accepted the AmEx card.

    If  L.L. Bean was selling jogging shorts, American Express could see that and offer jogging shorts (a hypothetical case). Obviously, it didn’t go over well: Catalogers argued that these consumers were their customers.

    The program went away. But fast-forward to the digital age. The ISPs and telecoms will now be in a position to do the same thing. They can take the behavior prompted by your seven- or eight-figure marketing budget and use it to peddle data.

    In short, they’ll be getting a free ride on your marketing spend — on SEO, email, mobile and display. It will end up in court, and there will be no easy political formula for judging it. And even if the broadband providers cut deals with you, it will be an attribution mess.

    What’s next? Will credit card processors also have the right to sell your sales data?

    The next problem is even bigger. The privacy theory in Europe (and much of the rest of the world) is based on affirmative opt-in, not a dubious opt-out. As Jess Nelson reported in MediaPost on Tuesday, Flybe and Honda and were hit with fines in the UK for sending “spam.” But if we’re reading it correctly, those emails would scarcely cause a ripple in the U.S.

    Martin Abrams, executive director of the Information Accountability Foundation, told MediaPost last fall that “you can think with data and draw insights in the U.S. That’s a competitive advantage because thinking with data is an unregulated activity. Outside the U.S., you have to have a justification even to process data.”

    Clearly, we’re going against the European rules. Is this U.S. marketer’s version of Brexit? 

    So just what rights will U.S. consumers have under this scheme? Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asserted on TV last night that people can opt out. (He didn’t seem too sure of it). But another article in today’s Times states that broadband providers “today let you 'opt out' of using their data, although figuring out how to do that can be difficult.”

    The article adds that the “digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation suggests you might pay to use a virtual private network, which funnels your internet traffic through a secure connection that your provider can't see into. But good VPNs aren't free, you have to figure out which ones you can trust,” he concluded.

    Meanwhile, you the consumer can forget about the line between anonymous digital data and personally identifiable data. As Abrams has said, “it’s inevitable that the shadow you and the real you will come together.”

    But let’s be fair. The Obama-era FCC rules had not yet taken effect, so Republicans are arguing that nothing has changed. They’re right — it’s a wash. What has been altered is the bipartisan accord that existed on the privacy issue. It wasn’t always good for marketers — even the pro-business GOP took a strong privacy stance. But it was consistent. Well, no more.

  • 07 Mar 2017 4:07 PM | Rick West

    Hey, Alexa.

    Hey, Siri.

    Hey, Google.

    “Intelligent personal assistants” are revolutionizing how we obtain information, manage our households, and entertain ourselves.

    But, will IPAs—and the devices they live in: Amazon Echo, Apple iPhone, Google Home—ever become a go-to method for shopping and transacting purchases?

    Do Echo Owners Make Purchases Through the “Smart Speaker”?


    This weekend, mobile solutions firm Field Agent surveyed 318 certified Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap owners. Our ultimate purpose was to determine whether Alexa-users are utilizing the IPA to shop for and make purchases, and the full results are now available in our free, downloadable report: “Shopping with Alexa.”

    Click to download Shopping with Alexa - Survey Reveals Purchase Behavior of Echo Owners


    See Also: Will Drone Delivery Fly with Shoppers? Download the report, “Buy & Fly Retail”!


    Participating agents were required to capture video and photos of their Echo—meaning every participant in the survey was a bona fide Alexa-user, carefully verified through Field Agent's quality control process. 

    Field Agent’s free, downloadable report, “Shopping with Alexa,” includes several additional insights:

    • Attitudes toward shopping with Alexa
    • Top Alexa-based purchases
    • Most popular brand names—Domino's? Uber? Campbell's?—among Alexa “skills”
    • Reasons why some say they're apprehensive to shop with Alexa

    The complete report is now available for free. Download it today!

    And be sure to subscribe to the Field Agent Blog, recently ranked in the top 10 of Feedspot’s best market research blogs on the planet.

    Download Free Shopping With Alexa Report

  • 04 Mar 2017 2:45 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    From SSI blog Feb 24, 2017

    Mobile phones offer researchers critical features: the ability to gather visual information through photos and video recordings. These features can help researchers develop a much more nuanced understanding of context and customer behavior. The practice of mobile visual ethnography—using pictures and videos to gather important context clues about consumer behavior—is growing. What is Ethnography and… Continue reading →

  • 03 Mar 2017 3:52 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Mark Michelson, Executive Director of MMRA gives his view on current mobile qualitative platforms and iPhone apps.

    Click here to view webinar recording

    Or copy and paste this URL in your browser:

  • 03 Mar 2017 12:55 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Check out the latest use of voice recognition with Mobile/IoT technology in this post. Are you ready for the future of MobileMR beyond the smart phone?

  • 03 Mar 2017 9:03 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    I recently watched this webinar presented by SSI and Greenbook on leveraging the power of mobile to understand the customer journey. 

    There are some terrific mobile benefits, study design tips and case studies featured in this webinar. Check it out by clicking the link below:

    Click here for the SSI Customer Journey Webinar

    Or copy and paste this URL in your browser:

  • 02 Mar 2017 8:51 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Link to Original Article - - Feb. 23rd 2017 4:03 am PT 

    More areas of the country are likely to see gigabit LTE, say carriers, as the FCC has approved the use of the 5GHz spectrum for mobile data.

    The 5GHz band is currently used for WiFi, and there had been concerns that there would be conflicts between the two, but the FCC accepted that equipment manufacturers had demonstrated that LTE and WiFi could co-exist in the same spectrum …

    “LTE-U and Wi-Fi stakeholders worked together under the auspices of the Wi-Fi Alliance to develop co-existence guidelines and an evaluation test plan that was released last fall,” pointed out FCc Chief Engineer Julius Knapp.

    Testing showed that mobile data networks can automatically reduce their usage of the 5GHz band in areas where there is heavy WiFi usage, and ramp it up in areas where the spectrum is under-used.

    LTE-U is so called because it refers to a spectrum that is currently unlicensed. The FCC’s approval of devices operating within this band does not amount to licensing it, but rather to an acceptance that use of the spectrum does not prohibit device approvals. Essentially, both WiFi and LTE industry players have said it’s ok, and the FCC is happy with that.

    Multichannel News reports that carriers are excited by the prospects LTE-U will bring. T-Mobile said that it will start using the spectrum in the spring to bring gigabit LTE to more areas, and Verizon says it will mean customers are able to use more data at faster speeds.

    There’s no telling when iPhones will support the LTE-U band. Historically, Apple tends to be a little slower than most to adopt new data standards, but it’s almost certain to do so at point.

    Ben Lovejoy @benlovejoy

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