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Survey Shows How Smartphones and Tablets Have Changed the Stone Industry

Survey Shows How Smartphones and Tablets Have Changed the Stone Industry

Earlier this year when the new Pope, Francis, made his first appearance in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, a major newspaper published two photographs under the headline “How Apple has Changed the World.” The first photo, showed the crowd dutifully applauding when Pope Benedict made his first appearance years before. The second, with Pope Francis standing on his balcony, depicted tens of thousands of folks using smart phones and tablets to take photos of the new Pontiff greeting the masses. Welcome to the new world of communications.

In the six years since legendary Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, introduced the iPhone and others copied the concept, there has been a revolution and the stone industry is a part of it.

To gauge the impact of the smart phone and its bigger cousin, the iPad or tablet, MIA recently conducted a member survey to find out just how prevalent these devices and how important are they to the companies and individuals that use them. We also sought to determine the extent to which members are utilizing social media in their operations. The survey drew the largest response in the association’s history of doing this type of survey. The findings were literally unbelievable.

  • 96 percent of the more than 150 companies responding to the survey said they were using smart phones, with 76 percent calling them very important. Another 20 percent said they were somewhat important.
  • 9 out of 10 respondents said smart phones were used regularly to photograph new job installations. These photos are used to show to potential clients what to expect.
  • More than half (54 percent) said they were using iPads or tablets in marketing efforts, with little more than half of the respondents utilizing them to show customers examples of their work.
  • The number of companies developing their own apps for tablets was, at 15 percent, marginal.
  • 18 percent indicated they were using MIA-developed apps such as iStone and Stones of North America. Of those using MIA-developed apps, 84 percent rated them somewhat to very effective.
  • Over a quarter of MIA members responding said they have taken advantage of YouTube to show examples of their work and facilities.

MIA members are also using social media sites in their marketing efforts. Fifty-seven percent said they were using Facebook and Twitter, while 30 percent indicated they were using QR codes for marketing.

Among those reporting developing proprietary apps for tablet use, the concepts ranged from room scene visualizers to slab inventories. Several said they were using APPS developed by machinery and stone vendors. One major fabrication firm uses an iPad to load architectural drawings for use onsite.

Several companies said they were utilizing YouTube to show corporate capabilities, company commercials, slab inventory and how equipment work. Some equipment vendors are putting their entire product offerings on YouTube.

Most respondents are continually updating their web sites...some, daily. “We spent $100,000 a few months ago,” said one responding company. “This is a constant thing for us.”
Of course, in addition to the ability to enhance marketing efforts, today’s smart phones and tablets offer an infinite variety of applications, not the least of which are updatable calendars, the ability to instantly receive and send e-mails, driving instructions and more.

Garen Distelhorst, MIA Communications Director, was wowed with the response to the survey, “The tremendous response coupled with the results reflect an industry that is constantly innovating and forward thinking, I hope that our members will continue to look at the MIA as thought leaders in mobile technology."