June 17, 2008

Tulsa-Based Bluefrog Interactive: A Venture into the World of Mobile Web Site Building

By Brian Brus

Jeff Beasley is trying to bring big business to tiny, portable screens.

Beasley's company, Tulsa-based Bluefrog Interactive, announced earlier this month the official launch of its subsidiary unit, mobiManage, a fully hosted mobile technology Web site builder, which allows anyone to design, launch and manage an Internet presence with just a few computer mouse clicks.

"The use of mobile devices among consumers is growing at a rapid rate," said Beasley, Bluefrog's founder and chief executive. "Having a mobile site is quickly going to become as ubiquitous as having a traditional Web site."

With mobile device sales consistently outpacing desktops and laptops combined, the need for effective mobile sites are becoming increasingly important, Beasley said. Industry experts estimate that more than 1.3 billion people worldwide can access the Internet on their mobile devices, but only a fraction of 1 percent of those online sites are adapted for cell phones, handheld organizers and similar gadgets.

"The advent of the iPhone and higher Internet speeds has really driven this development. The mobile Web has so many more applications than traditional portals," he said. "You can click on a phone number from a Web site and call it directly, for example. But we've still got to educate people on that new medium and what it can do for them."

Web site pages are designed primarily for full-size computer screens and browser programs. Portable technology requires thinking on a different scale and simpler interactive controls. MobiManage provides for an easy content translation for most users with a few clicks and design choices, a process that takes less than 10 minutes. More elaborate corporate needs can buy into a more expensive design package for assistance.

Beasley is also an associate member of the dotMobi Advisory Group, a nonprofit advisory forum with the goal of setting commerce standards for the use of ".mobi" Internet domain addresses. The group reviews technical style guides and best practices, domain policies and commercialization initiatives.

"We saw opportunity in the hundreds of different devices out there, each with their own systems and screen size and whatnot," he said. "Over the last several years as standards have developed, our involvement with the committee has provided a very good understanding and competitive advantage to helping bring about this service."

Beasley said he's been funding mobiManage primarily through custom development applications. The company also recently received a $100,000 matching-funds grant through i2e, the nonprofit technology industry development agency under the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

"We are also talking with several investors who are interested," he said. "Those investments are really going to help us take this to market in a big way."

Originally published by Brian Brus.

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