Kinvey presentation shows the use of mobile during Sandy, one story at a time

November 9, 2012

Last week, the east cost of the United States experienced the worst storm in its recorded history. As Superstorm Sandy made landfall in one of the world’s most populated areas, a new kind of communication took place. In a slidedeck (embedded below) and accompanying blog post, the team at Kinvey paint a picture of what Kinvey VP of Marketing Joe Chernov calls “the first disaster of the mobile era.”

When the mobile infrastructure didn’t go down, Superstorm Sandy became the first major storm to have a mobile platform for communication. Joe, along with researcher Lauren Pedigo and designer Jake McKibben wanted to find out the role that mobile technology played during the storm. They pulled together their findings into a slide presentation.

The classic question: Where to begin?
An event as huge and destructive as Sandy was sure to contain hundreds if not thousands of stories and scenarios. Where should they start?

Joe recalls, “We had a perspective going in, and we were open to changing that perspective as we researched. We consciously decided to not do a deck about “wow” stats. So we eliminated the stories that weren’t about people. Even ATT and Mobile coming together was about people coming together. So Jake designed the cell towers to look like they’re dancing.“

As the team researched and compiled information, they needed to be organized while at the same time staying open to the unexpected perspectives that surfaced.

Joe explains, “We decided on categories or else it wouldn’t make it any sense. Then this theme continued to come up: battery life. Some of the most emotional stories were the ones around how people came together to charge their phones. We stayed flexible about the stories that surfaced - that’s how we saw the battery life as a recurring theme.”

Joe goes on to say that the world would never know these more intimate stories if people weren’t “moment sharing” with mobile phones throughout the storm.

The presentation comes together
Jake is an in-house designer at Kinvey, and was given a wide berth for designing the presentation with information and images. His direction was to shed a light on what made the storm an event in time, while visually telling the stories in a way that would stay interesting to the audience.

References to the news media appear as citations. It wasn’t a conscious decision to leave out news media in the slide deck. As the story became more about people’s use of handheld phones, the view became a look from the inside, not from outside observers. In the end the team wanted the deck to be an impressionistic view of the storm.

Joe summarizes, “We want viewers to feel like they’re watching a timeline – to view the whole deck and realize it’s a story about people. Going in like it’s about technology, but at the end find out it’s about people.”

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