Sunday, December 09, 2007

that was the week that was

Well I arrived safely back from New York last weekend having met up with the wonderful Sophie Stuart from Hearst Magazines (who, incidentally, is doing a terrific job of their mobile strategy and implementation) and done a shedload of Christmas shopping.

Happy Birthday SMS
I'm just about getting back into GMT and the swing of all things British again, kicking off with a very busy day on Tuesday. It was the 15th birthday of SMS and I was invited to Airwide's sumptuous birthday bash at the ICA with birthday cake 'n all. I was ably accompanied by good pal Gillian and we had a good natter with the mobile great and the good...Paul Skeldon, Jonathan and Robert from Incentivated, Jay and team from Airwide, Mike Grenville from 160 Characters, Mike Short from O2 and the MDA (Mobile Data Association), Bea from Spinvox, Anuj Khanna from Tanla Mobile and a fair few others. The event was captured by Lloyd Davis who was doing his social media thang and any links will be added shortly as and when I get them. The highlight of the event was learning about the very first SMS - the story is retold here.


Juno Screening
Straight after the birthday party, it was a mad dash for Lloyd, Gillian and I to get to Soho Square for a preview screening of Juno, the new film by Jason Reitman (Thank you for smoking) and co-produced by John Malkovich, which I have to say was rather good and will be well worth seeing when it hits our screens in early February.

Other news this week

* Trutap hits the headlines at Sky News with a nice bit of coverage in words and video.

A new social networking service, trutap, has been launched. In this exclusive video, Carl Uminski of trutap explains why the service is so new, while top band The Enemy, who have already been using it, give us the lowdown on why they like it.

* Good pal and fellow mobilist, Russell Buckley, MD, Europe, Admob and blogger at Mobhappy, has been unanimously appointed Vice Chairman of the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) for EMEA. Congratulations Russell.

Buckley will be taking an active role in fulfilling the MMA EMEA’s charter to build a sustainable ecosystem for the mobile marketing industry in the EMEA region, while protecting the consumer experience.

* A podcast I did about mobile marketing a few weeks ago for Airwide is now up and available from the Mobile Messaging 2 blog. It has been edited down so you won't be subjected to the hour and a half's conversation on the topic!

* Busting for a pee in Central London? Then the SatLav service is for you!

In a bold move to stop anybody ever being caught short again, Wesminster council, with Incentivated's help, is harnessing the power of mobile phone technology similar to GPS systems to locate the nearest toilets to wherever they text from. If nature calls just text “toilet” to 80097 and you will be texted back the details of your nearest loo within a matter of seconds.

Student Gail Knight came up with the idea for an innovation competition run by Westminster City Council while she was writing her Masters dissertation called 'Public Toilets: a Woman’s Place'. Gail, 26, who lives in Clapham Junction, said, "In London people spend so much time away from their home working, commuting or shopping. When I am out with friends we are always ducking in McDonalds or department stores to use their loos but we feel a bit bad about it. I started remembering where Westminster’s services were and always found them perfectly adequate but lots of people were wary of them or didn’t know about them. I thought a text service would be really useful for people on the move."

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm in New York City

I arrived safely last night and now happily settled in at my pals' apartment in West Village. I'm here until Sunday, mostly for pleasure, but with a bit of business thrown in for good measure. However, if there are any local New York mobilists who fancy meeting up over a coffee or a cocktail sometime to chew the fat about mobile marketing and media, or whatever, then get in touch and let's see what we can organise.

I plan to go to the Likemind event on Thursday Friday morning from 8am at sNice (not least because it's just a few minutes walk from where I'm staying) so you could always come and say hello to me there too. And I've been tipped off by Sam at Chinwag that this place has the best doughnuts in the world so if anyone fancies treating me to a doughnut whilst I'm here...

Right, off to have breakfast in the City :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Service is not yet back to normal

There's a lot going on right now in my life and finding time and mindspace to blog is low-ish on the list of priorities I'm afraid. Yes, I'm still here and I will get back to blogging more regularly at some point in the future but not right now. You might find the odd post here and there when the mood takes me but for now, I'm still on a break.

So to keep you going for now, here are some links:

Print Media needs a proper mobile strategy (or so say the panel, me included) at World Telemedia in Prague.

Moblogtech launches CityClickers, a standalone moblogging site.

Shop Scan Save launches mobile couponing to the masses in the UK. This is one that I'm watching. In a world that is going down the road of uber targeting (e.g. Blyk), SSS takes the opposite approach and does no targeting at all. Thoughts?

Women love their phones and can't live without them but only use them for talking and texting. Research at Blyk would concur that 16 to 24s use their phones for talking, texting and the alarm clock, in that order.

Mobile technology organisation kiwanja.net has launched nGOmobile, a free to enter competition to help grassroots NGOs take advantage of text messaging.

UK Media consumption report is worth a read and is reviewed over at NMK.

And finally, the lovely folks over at SMStextnews interviewed me and you can find it here.

ttfn

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's been a while

I've been gallavanting in Ireland at the rather marvellous Electric Picnic, and then had a bout of laryngitis and now I'm kinda back with a few links for you on a Monday. Of course, there's a ton of stuff I still need to catch up on but there's the day job to think about too. So you'll have to do with a few links until I magically find some time to blog more.

Stephanie from Atlantic Records dropped me a line to tell me about the mobile marketing she's doing for Yung Joc, a top-selling US hip-hop artist (no, I hadn't heard of him either, but then I guess I'm the wrong side of 22, much to my chagrin). Stephanie tells me, "to be a hustler, you gotta know how to trade like one. With the rise of the digital age, trading cards are shedding their physical skin and moving to the mobile world, Yung Joc style. Collect, trade, and redeem Yung Joc wallpaper for your cell phone and you could win a grand, or a call from Joc himself. Sign up for Yung Joc trading cards at cards.yungjoc.com or Text JOC to 87233 (TRADE). Get 3 cards straight to your cell for only a $1 a week. Collect all 42 and you just earned yourself street cred and an A in Hustlenomics. Competition is for US residents only.

And while we're talking about gaming and gambling, did you know there's new legislation covering this area in the UK. And as legislation is such a minefield, the nice folks at Million 2-1 (the lottery and games company), have created a lovely free guide to the new regulatory framework covered under the directives and legislation laid out in the new Gambling Act (effective September 1, 2007). Well worth a read if you're looking to do anything using premium rate SMS and telephony.

Got a Nokia N-Series phone? Like Audi? Then you might like this. Nokia users will be able to download one-minute clips from longer Audi Channel programmes such as Anatomy of Fear , which provides a scientific look at the emotion as we take celebrities Lady Isabella Hervey and Oliver Skeete to Dubai for a series of psychological tests to push their limits, and R10 v Harrier, which features the Le Mans winning Audi R10 going headto-head in a sprint race with an RAF harrier jet at RAF Wittering. The service is fully on-demand, so users can download the clips whenever they want using the N-series Plus service (which I've never heard of until now, and I've had a N-Series phone for over 18 months). The Audi Channel - a 24-hour non-subscription service on Sky Digital channel 884 and at www.audi.co.uk - will now also be available free to users of peer-to-peer network Joost, and Nokia N-series mobile phones.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Normal service will resume shortly

Yes, I know I haven't blogged very much over the last couple of weeks, but life is just a bit hectic at the moment with a big project to finish off and about to take on a big project too (all being well). And trying to do all the other stuff that one has to do day to day.

Anyway, please bear with me a little longer. I'm off gallavanting in Ireland this weekend at the Electric Picnic music festival where I shall be getting lots of fresh air and exercise and will come back knackered refreshed and ready for work next week. Should be a good 'un, especially if the last two I went to in 2005 and 2006 are anything to go by. The forecast is for drizzle and sunshine so pretty much like London right now then. Still debating as to whether or not wellies will be required (I have a fetching pair of pink croc wellies so maybe I *will* need them...)

So I'm off to pack my rucksack now and then it's an early night as it's a hideously early start in the morning. And then the fun begins at around tea-time once the tent is up and the main festival site opens for business. Yes, it's a schlep of a journey to get there with camping equipment in tow, but it will be worth it I'm sure.

See ya'll when I get back from the land of my forefathers.

Swedish Beers Mobile Networking, Weds 12 Sept 07

We're back to the Nordic Bar, our usual haunt, on Wednesday 12th September for Swedish Beers. We'll be in the back bar from 6ish for all the usual chat, mingling and talk of mobiles, marketing, media and life in general. And if the last few events are anything to go by, we'll probably overtake the whole bar pretty quickly. You'll find the Nordic Bar on Newman Street which is the North side of Oxford Street, nearest tube Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that our sponsor has had to postpone their sponsorship of Swedish Beers as they're not quite ready to shout out about the wonderful things they're up to. So it would be *really* marvellous if another generous sponsor could help us out with the bar. And I'm working on that right now. Otherwise, it's buy your own drinks night. And if it's the latter, it will be your challenge to find someone who has a works expense account to buy drinks for you all evening ;)

But seriously folks, the Swedish Beers night goes on and do get in touch with me if you're up for sponsoring the bar. Probably best to call my mobile, +44 794 053 8802, if you're interested as I'm away from the internet until Tuesday afternoon and time is quite short as Swedish Beers night is only two weeks away.

So, the night is definitely on, we're just waiting to see if someone will generously sponsor the bar to help the evening go with a swing and at the same time meet loads of folks who will think lovely things about them *and* benefit from lots of lovely publicity and immense good mobile karma for their efforts.

So see y'all there on the 12th September, from 6pm in the Back Bar at The Nordic Bar.

Skål

p.s. If you plan to use Oxford Circus on the night, please note that the Victoria Line is undergoing maintenance right now and is closed from about 10pm every night. Don't worry, all the other lines are fine and the buses still work, it just might take you a little longer than usual to get home that's all, as you find an alternative route. More info on the TFL website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More linkage

I guess it's one of those days - so much to write about, so little time, so a few more links are just going to have to do you...
  • The Mobile Goldmine event looks an interesting one where you can explore how to make money with mobile content. It's on October 17th in the evening and limited to just 50 places. And the price? Absolutely FREE (but you do need to book in advance).
  • New research out from Netimperative in conjunction with Q Research about 'Young Minds'. They interviewed 3,000 eleven to twenty-five year olds for the four reports including two on mobile - Mobile Music and Mobile Advertising. A synopsis of what's covered can be found over at the Netimperative website. Reports are usually £1,000 each, but you can get all four for £2,500. I don't s'pose the nice folks at NetImperative would like to give me a copy of the mobile reports for review here maybe...?
  • Barcamp Mobile London is happening on Saturday 29th September in Soho. Aimed at designers/ developers/ entrepreneurs/ artists working on mobile applications, devices, and experiences. From FlashLite and mobile Processing to openMoko, Green Phone and the iPhone. "The idea is to create a camp where hackers and designers can come and play together. If you do stuff with small screens, voice, or something in between, come and share. mobileCampLondon is about big idea evangelism, and nitty-gritty details. We’ll look at what matters most: well crafted code, and a solid understanding of how people use their phones."

So if this is your thing, then Mobile Bar Camp London is well worth a look. Find out more about the whole Bar Camp movement over at wikipedia to get a flavour of what to expect.

  • Mobstar joins up with this weekend's V Festival to offer a virtual mobile flame amongst other things. I would tell you what they are, but they're exclusive to Virgin Mobile customers. You know what, you've missed a trick here guys 'n gals... A chance to make extra revenue (charge non-Virgin customers more), ask someone if they want to know more about the advantage of being on Virgin vs whatever network the customer has come in on (for they know the operator in 9 cases out of 10 so could personalise it), a chance for data capture, a call to action to check out a Virgin shop or the Virgin Mobile stand at the festival. Come on peeps, it's not good enough to simply say 'This is only for Virgin Mobile customers' and alienate the 10s of 1000s of customers of other networks who've paid good money to attend the V Festival. Mr Branson would *not* be proud methinks. Grrr.

82Ask relaunches as Texperts

I got a lovely email from Sarah McVittie, CEO of Texperts (formerly 82Ask) explaining what was what with the new name, branding and shortcode. I've been a fan of 82Ask for some time and use it regularly with both work and personal stuff. I've even used it successfully when I've been abroad. I really like their style and at a £1 or less a pop, it's a bargain time and stress-saver.

And having seen how their back end works, it's a really impressive combination of good technology plus great human brain power plus the ability for the system to learn and store answers for future use so the more people use it, the better it gets and with several years knowledge in the database already, they're going great guns. The Texperts are "licensed to find" but I'll let Sarah continue with the story so far...

Sarah says, "We just wanted to let our close 82ASK friends know that today we officially re-launched the service we all know and love as Texperts. In addition, we have a great new shortcode, 66000 and a couple of fantastic new websites that really bring to life the Texperts experience.

We have been studying our service and growth for a while and have identified a change in the composition of the types of questions that we receive. While we are always on hand to to provide you with great factual answers to your specific queries, we have found that more and more people are using us as a service that helps them with their daily lives through the provision of useful and generally time-sensitive information.

Answers to these types of questions needs intelligent human input and we found that you really value knowing that there is a bright person at the end of your question, not just a complex set of algorithms.


Therefore, at the point of significant marketing investment for the first time in our short history, we have decided to re-christen the service after those that make it human and great - the Texperts themselves.
We have also managed to get hold of an fantastic new shortcode, 66000. Tests have proven this to be a really memorable number, far superior to 82275.

Although all this change is happening now, and happening fast, be reassured that the team here at Texperts Towers remains the same and indeed the service is just as amazing as it always has been. I think this is reflected in our new website (
www.texperts.com) and online Krypton-Factor-for-the-brain game (www.tex-factor.com).

However, for the foreseeable future, you will still be able to access our service on 82275 even though you will notice that your answers are returned on 66000.


This is a very exciting time for us. We truly believe that our offering of a 'mobile find' service is significantly superior to you having to search for the information you need on your mobile phone. So much so, we feel that the time for searching is over.


You might want to check out their blog to find out what they were up to in London in the middle of the night last night accompanied by fellow mobilist Ewan MacLeod. Looks like they were having some fun.

Best of luck to the Texperts with the revamped service - keep up the good work!

Recycle your rabbit

OK, so this is nothing to do with mobile directly, but it *is* a really smart idea so I wanted to share it. Via NetImperative:
"Adult online retailer LoveHoney.co.uk is giving consumers new way to dispose of their redundant Rabbit sex toys with the launch of Rabbit Amnesty. After taking the Rabbit Amnesty Pledge, rabbit owners can send their outdated or overused vibrators to LoveHoney.co.uk and in return receive a half price Rabbit vibrator from the LoveHoney range.

The second-hand toys will then be delivered to a Designated Collection Facility (DCF) where they will be recycled and treated in an ecologically sound manner.

For each rabbit returned through the Rabbit Amnesty Scheme, LoveHoney will also donate £1 to The World Land Trust (WLT) in support of the charity’s tropical forest land purchase and protection projects."
Now why can't more electrical, gadget, electronics retailers do this kind of thing? I've been waiting more than 6 months to find a way to recycle my old computer bits and pieces and despite new legislation around the responsibilities of retailers and manufacturers to aid recycling of these items, I'm still waiting for a response to find out how I should throw away my broken keyboard, mouse and hard drive. And this is just as relevant for mobile folks - old headsets, old batteries, old handsets that aren't good enough for a charity recycling scheme, redundant cables - it's all stuff that shouldn't be going into landfill.

A very smart move from lovehoney - environmentally friendly orgasms!

Wednesday linkage

Some of these links are a little out of date as I've been away from my puter but I thought it was worth capturing them anyway just for the record. They're in no particular order...
  • Mobile music price scandal (well billshock based on data charges) is a hot topic. Flat rate, easy to understand data plans are the answer IMHO and although we're moving towards that, we're not fully there yet.

"The survey, carried out by research company GfK NOP, found that 64 per cent of users admitted to being annoyed by marketing offers received from mobile service providers. The survey also found that 70 per cent of phone users found the offers irrelevant to them.

The strategy of texting or phoning users with unsolicited offers appears to be failing with only 11 per cent of the 752 respondents surveyed buying products as a result of receiving an offer from their operator."

Of course, what they're missing here, is that an eleven per cent response rate is very high compared with other marketing methods. And in fact, if a network operator is sending a message to their own customer it isn't *legally* spam although it may be perceived as spam by the recipient if it's unwanted.

  • World of Warcraft is working on a full mobile solution for their WoW gameplayers and has set the ball rolling with an interim solution for keeping up to date with what your character is up to. I wonder how long it will take for the experience of WoW, Second Life et al to become fully mobile?
  • Buy a domain, reboot your server, add emails, pay your bill, get support and more - on the go - from the world's first iPhone enabled web hosting control panel. Simple, intuitive and 100% iPhone compliant, with more to come from MediaTemple. Is this innovation or fad?

Bloomin' Marvellous Bloom Festival

As if Glastonbury and the Electric Picnic wasn't enough this year, I've managed to fit in another wee festival in the interim and toddled along to the Bloom Festival with festipal Lisa. Lisa's done a marvellous write-up of the festival with pictures to boot. So I won't go into as much detail here but will give you a little run down of some of the highlights for me.
  • Glorious sunshine - all weekend (well, ok, a little bit of rain overnight a couple of times, but that was refreshing after the heat)
  • No mud - after Glastonbury mud, this was totally ay-may-zing
  • The Whip
  • Crazy P (this was my musical highlight - she was great)
  • Soul II Soul Soundsystem
  • Coldcut Soundsystem
  • Aim
  • Dancing to reggae on Sunday lunchtime to the Trojan Soundsystem
  • Beardyman - the human beatbox
  • Dancing at The Funk Bar - every night - great music, great vibe.
  • Meeting loads of people especially Emily, Hannah and pals, Kate, Carla and the rest of the crew, Circus girl Lou in the White Hat, the man with the blow up hula hoop (that was hilarious fun), the man with the weird kaleidoscope thingummy (v cool), Chris - the man in the nightie, the 3 graduates from Nottingham University, Ella from Chai Wallahs, Crazy P, Nick and Jim (our tent neighbours), Simon and Alan and their useful spanner, and loads more folks whose names I just can't remember! Big up yo'selves.
  • Fancy Dress night dancing at Beats Bubble alongside the dancing zimmer frame and various other creations
  • The Lounge
  • The Burrito Bus and the Choc Star chocolate brownie place
  • And the very friendly security guards who got the tone just right for looking after us all
For a small festival, it punches above its weight and is great value for money and it'll be on my list for next year.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Challenges faced by the Operators and Mobile Developer Community by Umar Akram

I was approached this week by Danish entrepreneur Umar Akram (see pic) from Mobile Weaver ApS to publish his article which is a discussion about the challenges faced by mobile operators and mobile developers with a call for a unifying standards body for mobile development to ease those challenges.

It seemed like an interesting enough topic to publish, and as I'm not a developer myself, I'd really welcome your thoughts and comments on what Umar has to say and whether or not you agree. Do we need a unifying body? Do any of the industry associations cover any of this off? Where do the W3C standards fit in to this? I'll let Umar take it from here.

"The revenue generated from voice is clearly diminishing with every passing day, forcing the operators to explore new areas of growth through continuous innovation in technologies and services. Recently I had an opportunity to attend a Vodafone D2C strategy briefing which brought out Vodafone initiative for the next three years. During this briefing Vodafone significantly highlighted the fact that despite the anticipated consolidation by European operators, the operators should focus on services other than the traditional voice based services so that they can generate greater revenue for themselves.

In the fast moving competitive market of Europe, operators are not only facing the challenge of competing with low cost MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) but are also continuously struggling to retain their existing subscribers. Besides few exceptions, many operators in Asia and other developing countries have still not been able to implement long term data services strategy, with the result their mobile play is still primarily focused on voice.

As the ARPU (average revenue per user) on voice continues to decrease, data has become the most dominant factor for operators in retaining and attracting the customers. The key factors which have complemented the growth of data services in developed countries are the increasing capabilities of mobile phones, faster networks like 3G and mobile applications that bring a rich user experience by changing the way people live, work and play.

With the changing trends, operators are now expecting their revenues to grow, as the subscriber’s appetite for content has increased. They are always on a look out for a “killer application” that can easily become popular among the subscribers and thus create brand loyalty for them. But from the mobile content developer’s perspective it’s not a simple task to come up with such an application.

The major challenge highlighted at the Google’s Open Source discussion event was the absence of standards for the developers in the industry. Optimizing these applications for different OS and broad range of mobile devices with varying screen sizes and versions remains the biggest problem for the mobile content developers. Even if the portability issues are resolved, distribution still remains a big challenge for the developers. It is the dream of every mobile content developer to get their content distributed through an operator. But the unending list of pre requisites on various issues of portability, certification and in some cases localization can turn this dream into a complete night mare.

The explosive growth in mobile content has transformed it into the buzzword of every article, publication and news around us. A new report issued by market intelligence firm iSuppli forecasts that the market for premium mobile content will exceed $44 billion by 2011, more than doubling the $20 million anticipated for 2007. The major driving force for the mobile content developer is to get an easy access to the information and APIs (application programming interface) which are held confidential by the OEMs and OS providers of mobile devices.

There should be one organization that can set guidelines and standards for content development by consulting all the stake holders in the value chain. This will facilitate the developers to focus only on the core issue, which is to develop applications for the consumers that can add value in their lives. This thing is not as simple as it seems.

Due to various political, economical and competitive landscape constraints, it’s very hard to unite all the stakeholders in one place and develop standards for content developers globally. Otherwise we can rightly say that lack of standards will remain the biggest hurdle for the content developer community."

This article is written by Umar Akram, a Danish entrepreneur who focuses on mobile and internet services. Umar is the founder and Vice President of Mobile Weaver ApS and is currently serving as the member of the board. Youpark, a flagship product of Mobile Weaver, is an online storefront that provides mobile users with over 12,000 best selling mobile software and games suitable for wide range of popular devices.

20 hot trends in mobile gaming

Ooh, how I like a good list, and this is a really good one from the lovely folks at Mobile Entertainment magazine summarising the key points from the Develop Mobile conference in Brighton recently. Michael French has summarised Stuart Dredge's key points from the closing keynote and I've interpreted them below. See the full article for the original comments.

The 20 hot trends in mobile gaming are:

1. Loadsamoney
Folks are making money in this sector.

2. Local Brands
Doesn't need to be a big brand, but you need a brand (same with anything product or service you're selling IMHO)

3. Developers for Sale
Mergers and acquisitions happening.

4. Unified release dates
Same release date for all formats of a game. (Makes sense to me).

5. Herd Mentality
Companies are copying other companies' successful game formats, and doing well out of it.

6. Lack of Innovation
Speaks for itself.

7. D2C opportunities
Games companies are looking beyond operator portals and exploring ways to connect with consumers direct.

8. Ad-funded Portals
Still to be proven. Early days yet.

9. The Gong Shows
Awards ceremonies 'n stuff help raise developer profiles which increases chances of deals.

10. Casual Crossover
Using game formats in other media is helping move folks on to their mobile variants.

11. New Hardware
More devices, improved accessibility.

12. 3D Improving
Is 3D all that on mobile? Go read Stuart Dredge's comments in the full article to make your own mind up.

13. Going Native
A challenge as to who does what and who will win the development war.

14. Play Together
We're still not playing nicely together in the playground which is odd since online social media is huge. Seems this bit still hasn't been worked out yet properly on mobile.

15. User generated content
Some firms are letting their players upload content to personalise the game. I like this idea. The PC game Trackmania, which BeepMarketing did some marketing for a few years back, used exactly this concept. The idea was that you created your own racing track and then connected with other gamers over the internet to share and connect your tracks and enjoy racing on them. I don't like racing games particularly, but I really liked this one.

16. Social networking
Can the "stars" of social networks help promote and sell mobile games?

17. The Whizzy Stuff
Will the new stuff help sell mobile games, like wii style gaming on your phone?

18. Micropayments
Seems more payment models are coming in because of the ability to manage micropayments.

19. Word of mouth
Dredge has some interesting comments on this topic.

20. We love journalists
Can and should editorial sell games direct since they're so important in promoting mobile games.

Tuesday linkage 31 July 2007

I'm having a clearout of all the tabs I have open on firefox so here are a few links for you

Keep stuff secure with your eyes (and your mobile)
Oki Japan has developed software that brings iris recognition security to existing mobile phones. Of course the focus described is security and that's *great*. Can you imagine, no more pin number or password traumas. But I wonder if it could also be used for iridology, either now, or at some point in the future when the resolution improves?

Mobile and fashion
Or perhaps we're better off with a mobile 'colour me beautiful' type service, courtesy of the folks over at HP. It's still in prototype mode but I can see it taking off and is a nice takeaway if you've gone through the whole Colour Me Beautiful (or similar) process. Maybe this is what the fashion industry needs to help get them more mobile. I can't help thinking though that lighting is going to play an important factor as to whether or not this will be successful. In certain lights, it's very difficult to tell what colours clothes are exactly and I'm wondering if the camera can get round this or not.

Get the message right
ICSTIS is investigating anonymous text message services as they seem to be used for bullying and rather insidious messages which is not what they were designed for. There's a public consultation under way, so get in there quick to add your point of view. You can download the pdf http://www.icstis.org.uk/pdfs_consult/anonymous_sms.pdf here and the deadline is 7th September.

Meanwhile, Darla Mack, wishes SMS a happy birthday this week. It's 15 years old. Can you believe it?! I only started texting in 2000 so as much as I like to think I'm an early adopter for some things, maybe I wasn't an early adopter when it came to SMS!

Social media continues apace
Online social networking isn't going away. Via Twitter, I'm finding friends are unhappy about being facebook-less today (it's undergoing maintenance right now - but only affecting *some* accounts, including mine). But never fear, there's always somewhere else to go play and connect with folks like you. So if you're a teenager (I'm not) and you're into anime, avatars and the like, then join 8.5m other teens like you at Gaia. Ok, it's not mobile, but it's big and we need to be keeping an eye on this social media type stuff.

A musical interlude

A few musical bits and pieces have struck a chord with me in the last 24 hours.

First off, coming home from the lovely Oli Barrett's 'Quality Connector' do last night, I ended up sitting next to a guy who, as he read The London Paper, turned to his friends and said, 'I'm gonna be a pop star'. To which I replied, 'good choice'. Anyway, we got talking and it turns out the man who wants to be a pop star is actually Herbie Treehead, a Glastonbury regular (I was in the right field at the right time apparently, but missed them too busy doing something else!), who has an album out and is the man behind the chirpy 'Happy Song'. It put a smile on my face anyway when I heard it.

Secondly, I'm browsing through some blog feeds taking a cursory glance at some of the blogs I don't get round to reading very often and stumbled across this post from popbytes about a British artist Bat for Lashes and their song horse and i. Natasha Khan, the brains behind the outfit, is also a visual artist and was also at Glastonbury, although I didn't see her either, but never fear, she's playing the Electric Picnic in a month's time. Wahey! Anyway, I'm suitably impressed with her quirky but very appealing style and there's a video clip of her performance at Glastonbury on theblog as well as a free download of horse and i. You'll need to be quick to get the download though as it will only stay up on the site for a few days to promote the new album, Fur and Gold. You might want to check out her myspace page too.

And finally, if you haven't signed up yet, then sign up to Ade's TunAtheday.com. It's free and 5 days a week, you'll get something new to listen to to get your day to a good start. There's also a discussion forum where you can talk about what you've just heard, make suggestions about tracks for upcoming tunas and generally put the world to rights. Oh, and in true web 2.0 stylee, you'll also find Ade and his tunatheday on myspace and facebook. Go on, sign up, you know you want to!

Tune in for mobile, marketing and media stuff shortly!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lots to catch up on

but can't write it up now as I have to dash out, but posts coming soon on...
  • Mobiles and emerging nations
  • Interesting meetings with mobilists Jeff Bloom from Singtones and Sander Munsterman of xs2theworld.com
  • A review of O2's new Cocoon phone (yes, I have one!)
  • A few pictures of mobilists at play
Gotta go - laters!

Are you free on Wednesday morning in London?

Got an interest in mobile, media, things webwise or marketing? Then come along and have brunch with blogger and journalist, Mike Butcher at his inaugural BrunchBites. I'll be there and a few others from the mobile, web, media and marketing worlds and we'll be setting the world to rights and exchanging ideas 'n stuff over a latte (or cuppa) and a piece of toast at Soho's Breakfast Club. So if you have time, and you fancy a coffee morning, 2.0 stylee, then come and join us between 10.30am and midday.

Monday morning linkage

Morning world. A few links for a Monday morning now the sun is finally shining!

First the bad news, a Polish bus driver loses job over text lottery addiction. Oh dear oh dear, where *did* he get the time and how on earth did he think he'd get away with it?

In need of a laugh? Seen Headzup? Anyone used it? For those who don't know, Headzup is 'catch and release comedy' for mobile phones and video ipods. The daily Headzup editorial cartoons and parody clips, many with a political slant, are designed for downloading and sharing as picture messages (MMS) which is why they're so short. With the US election campaigning well under way, the latest headzups do have a political slant and I'm really interested to see what effect this kind of campaigning has in the US.

Got a fancy new Nokia smartphone? No idea how it works or what to do with it? Then you could do worse than head over to check out Smartphonin' where you'll find tips and hints on how to use your phone. Also worth a look is Darla Mack's blog all about mobile phones, including lots of interesting stuff about Nokia phones like this post on a DJ mixer mobile application for your N-series Nokia.

The link between music and mobile gets stronger with Sony Ericsson, Orange and Channel 4 teaming up for a new music talent show. The TV show is called MobileAct and viewers will be able to download tracks from competing bands and vote for the one they want to progress through to the competition. The competition will shortlist 25 bands, who will all record their own video auditions with a further 25 being picked by a music industry panel.

Francois Mahieu, Orange UK's director of devices, said:
"We want there to be a direct link between what they can see on TV and listen to on their mobile. When the TV programme begins, Orange will kick off a number of initiatives so that customers feel they are part of the choice, including getting the music free."
And finally, the first book written on a mobile phone has been published by lulu.com, the self-publishing platform people. The author, Robert Bernocco took advantage of his idle time while commuting to and from work by train, writing his 384-page science fiction novel, Compagni di Viaggo (Fellow Travelers is the English translation), on his Nokia 6630 phone, using the phone's T9 typing system.

By dividing his manuscript into short paragraphs, Mr. Bernocco wrote his novel in perfect Italian, not your typical text-message shorthand, and saved the paragraphs on his mobile phone. Mr. Bernocco then downloaded them onto his home computer for proofreading and editing. The book took him 17 weeks to write.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mobile Marketing Best Practice guide is out

Highlights to the July 2007 Guidelines include:

  • Marketing to Children: define the guidelines for marketing to children under the age of 13.
  • IVR: provide guidance on opt-in and opt-out via IVR (interactive voice response).
  • Mobile Web: ensure opt-ins are also adhered to with each mobile web experience. The Guidelines specify the use of a PIN or phone MO message to confirm the authorized subscriber.
  • Dispute Resolution: defines that dispute resolution is at the discretion of each carrier for their respective customers.
The mobile marketing best practice guidelines are available in pdf format from the MMA global website. You'll find other useful reports and papers available to download from the site too, and they're all free.

Meanwhile in the UK, ICSTIS is having its say on mobile marketing too.

"ICSTIS's proposals on third marketing lists have been received with cautious encouragement by industry members attending a meeting last week.

ICSTIS is proposing that:

1) In the subject/title of WAP Pushes, to have within it details of the short code in question. This is no different to existing requirements for promotional SMS messages.

2) In the subject/title of WAP Pushes, to have within it details of the fact that it's a "FreeMsg". This again is no different to existing requirements for promotional SMS messages.

Some networks already have a rule for the time after which you cannot send users promotional messages - which is set to 6 months, so as to ensure that if a SIM is recycled, the new owner doesn't get the previous owner's promotional messages."

Either way, common sense applies. And the old adage, "Do as you would be done by" certainly holds true with mobile marketing regardless of any legal requirements.

Bluetooth messaging from the boys in blue

West Yorkshire Emergency Services has started 999TV featuring short video clips about the emergency services in the area as well as some tips and hints on keeping yourself and your possessions safe and well. Some of the videos are also posted up on youtube under username 999TV.

The video that I was alerted to from Mike Butcher at mbites, was the one about the local police using bluetooth to assist with crime prevention. The campaign is called 'Sneak-in' and is specifically aimed at reducing burglary in hotspot areas. There isn't a direct link unfortunately, but if you go to the website, it's easy enough to find.
David Harrison, Crime Prevention Officer says: "We are using cutting edge technology, which is utilising the mobile phone. The idea is to use PCSOs to go into the hot spot areas and send out messages in the form of the video clip through the mobile phone, which detects other devices such as mobile phones, Sat-Navs and computers.

Once the device has been detected, the officer will then send the message, and it is up to the owner of the mobile phone as to whether they accept this message from West Yorkshire Police. If they do, it gives a clear message of the sneak-in campaign - a hand reaching through an unlocked door."
At first sight, this might seem like the local bobbies are engaging in bluespam, but if you have a look at the video clip, you'll see that it's peer to peer messaging rather than a broadcast system and is genuinely aimed at the greater good as you'll see from my comments on mbites blog.

I'd be very interested to know how the Sneak-in campaign worked so if anyone knows anything about it, please comment on this post.

The Internet in Britain research report launched

And what a chunky report 'The Internet in Britain' is and well worth a read. I realise it doesn't talk about mobile habits, but it does describe general consumer behaviour and some correlations can be made whatever sector you're in. I wonder how soon they'll be doing similar research into mobile usage - data or otherwise? Let's hope it's soon.
The Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) are core to the research of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) – a leading world centre for the multidisciplinary study of the Internet and society. The OII is a department within the Social Sciences Division of the University of Oxford, focusing on Internet-related research and teaching, and on informing policy and practice.

The Internet in Britain, launched by the Oxford Internet Institute in 2003, OxIS has become an authoritative source of information about Internet access, use and attitudes – and the difference this makes for everyday life – in Britain. Areas covered include: digital and social inclusion and exclusion; regulation and governance of the Internet; privacy, trust and risk concerns; and uses of the Internet, including social networking, entertainment and online education.
I haven't read the whole report yet, but there are some interesting tidbits I've spotted from the executive summary:
  • Two thirds of Britons use the Internet and access it at home in 2007.
  • The digital divide continues to exist in 2007. Men, students, higher educated and higher income individuals are all more likely to use the Internet than women, retired, disabled, lower educated and lower income individuals.
  • The great majority of those with home access use a broadband connection.
  • The percentage of ex-users (people who used the Internet before but stopped using it) has remained the same at 5%.
  • The number of non-users (people who have never used the Internet) has decreased to a quarter of the population in 2007.
  • Internet users tend to consider themselves more extroverted and social than do non-users.
  • While Internet use in certain lifestage groups, such as students and people in employment, has gone up, in the retired group it has remained the same over the years at around a third of retired people.
  • The Internet is the first port of call for the great majority of Internet users when trying to learn about something new – more important than family members, colleagues or libraries.
  • Users have changed their information search patterns. In 2007, almost two thirds of users depended primarily on search engines to find information: up from one fifth in 2005.
  • According to a quarter of Internet users, the time they spend watching TV is reduced due to their use of the Internet.
  • Emailing remains the most popular Internet activity.
  • Instant messaging is another popular communication activity.
  • Less than one fifth of users maintain a social networking profile or presence on the Internet.
  • Gender differences persist, although they are not large. Men use the Internet more than women, especially for entertainment and content production. Women tend to look for health information online more than men do, and are more likely to use the Internet to help their children.
  • Lifestage is associated with Internet use. Students are the most active users of online entertainment and social networking sites. Employed users are frequent users of financial services and information seeking sites. Retired users are less active in all areas, with the exception of civic participation and financial services sites.

Youth and digital life - what's really going on?

MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft have jointly prepared an in-depth study of 18,000 or so young people globally to find out how they're spending their digital lives. And there are some interesting findings, including:

Mobile usage:
Indian youth are most likely to see mobile phones as a status symbol and globally, under the age of 14, kids generally use the phone as a toy. After 14, the mobile phone quickly becomes a means of self-expression and communication.

68% of 8-14 respondents said they felt safer having their mobile phones with them outside the home, rising to 81% in the UK, and 71% said their parents use the phone to find out where they are.

Digital life:
Globally, the average young person connected to digital technology has 94 phone numbers in his or her mobile phone, 78 people on a messenger buddy list and 86 people in his or her social networking community.

Yet despite their technological immersion, digi-kids are not geeks
  • 59% of 8-14 year-old kids still prefer their TV to their PCs
  • Just 20% of 14-24 year-old young people globally admitted to being "interested" in technology.
They are, (as anyone who's ever watched a teenager at work), expert multi-taskers and able to filter different channels of information.

Kids and young people don't love the technology itself
  • they just love how it enables them to communicate all the time, express themselves and be entertained.
  • Digital communications such as IM, email, social networking sites and mobile/sms are complementary to, not competitive with, TV. TV is part of young peoples' digital conversation.
  • Despite the remarkable advances in communication technology, kid and youth culture looks surprisingly familiar, with almost all young people using technology to enhance rather than replace face-to-face interaction.
What's happening in China?
China has lower mobile usage amongst young people, a less-evolved print media market and a family life of no siblings with parents and multiple grandparents. As a result, the internet provides a rare opportunity for only (and lonely) children to reach out and communicate using social networks, blogs and instant messaging. In stark contrast to their Japanese peers, 93% of Chinese respondents aged 8-14 have more than one friend online they have never met face to face.
"Chinese kids inhabit a world very different from their parents, and because of that they would rather find advice and support through their friends than through family," said Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President of Research for MTV Networks. Amongst 8-14s globally, only in China was TV not the No. 1 choice. "This is encouraging 8-14-year-olds in China to select online over TV, a trend not witnessed in any other market," she said.
Typical activities haven't changed much
For kids (8 to 14 year olds), they may be immersed in tech from the day they were born, but the things they enjoy doing most are:
  • 85% watching TV
  • 70% listening to music
  • 68% hanging out with friends
  • 67% playing video games
  • 51% spending time online
As they grow into teens so the ranking of their favorite pastimes change. At the top of the list of 14- 24s favorite pastimes is
  • 70% listening to music
  • 65% watching TV
  • 65% hanging out with friends
  • 60% watching DVDs
  • 60% relaxing
  • 59% going to cinema
  • 56% spending time online
  • 55% spending time with girl or boyfriend
  • 53% eating
  • 49% hanging out at home
"There is a powerful link between TV and the Internet, especially for 14- 24s. TV is watched to relieve stress. Sixty percent said they watched most of their TV lying down. But the Internet is cognitive and active, especially if young people are using it for studying or social situations," said Fahey Rush.

As with any research commissioned by large corporates, there's bound to be some bias towards the commissioning company, not least, because of the asking of the right questions 'Ask the right questions and you'll get the right answers'. MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft, clearly want to demonstrate the link between TV and online (and clearly there is a link as I write this with the TV on at the same time) but it's worth a look nevertheless. I'd love to see the whole report but I can't find any links to it. So if anyone else has found the link to the full shebang, please let me know by commenting here or dropping me an email.

You might also want to take a look at the official Viacom press release here and the MTV one here.

Tips and hints on marketing via email to blackberry users

Yes, it's true. Blackberry is addictive. Some say that it's as addictive as hard drugs. In fact, once you have email on your phone (I use gmail for mobile) then it really is addictive, but it's a very different experience from the pc or laptop based version. Personally, I use gmail on my phone to take a cursory glance at my inbox to see if there's anything really important in there. If there is, the chances are I will call the sender back as it's easier to talk something through than tap it out on the keypad. Or if I do reply on my phone, I use text speak (and all the associated abbreviations and emoticons) which might look a bit odd to the recipient.

Marketing Sherpa has recently completed a report on how key decision making folks are reading their emails and it seems that 64% of them are reading them on blackberries or other mobile devices. This is important news to email marketers.

Marketing Sherpa gives some interesting pointers as to how to make your marketing email mobile and blackberry friendly including using the full URL i.e. http://www.technokitten.com in the message rather than a hyperlink. The chances are the full URL will be 'read' by the email reader as a website and create the hyperlink for the reader. Whereas the link will just give you the link words and will not be a hyperlink.

They also have some information (with a US bias?) about who's using email on their mobile and why, including:
  • 38% are ages 18-44 vs 12% for ages 45-64 (so does that mean 60% of survey participants don't use mobile email?)
  • 80% access their mobile email at home (yup, guilty as charged)
  • 39% admit to checking email while driving their cars (I don't drive, so this doesn't apply to me, I do check it on the bus though).
  • 87% access the same email accounts from both their mobile device and through a computer at home or work (yup, that's me - in fact, that's one of the reasons I route all my work email via gmail so I can do precisely this)
  • Mobile email users scan their email for important one-to-one messages, leaving the rest for perusal on their PC later (absolutely)
  • Sales reps and road warriors are the main mobile email users, but this is going to change in the next six months as the software and pricing becomes more accessible to consumer users.
If you also have a look at GigaOM's roundup of AOL's latest mobile email research (of US customers) there are even more tidbits of info of email usage:

Mobile email:
  • 59% of people check email in bed (yup, guilty of this one too!)
  • 53% in the bathroom (only while I'm waiting for the bath to fill up)
  • 37% are checking email while they drive (don't drive, see above)
  • and 12% admit to checking email in church (absolutely not! The phone goes to silent and is put away as soon as I enter a House of God of any denomination).

Who's addicted to email generally:
  • Women (16%) are more likely to describe themselves as addicted to email than men (13%), and are actually spending 15 minutes more per day on email than men.
  • Forty-three percent of email users check their email first thing in the morning, and 40% have checked their email in the middle of the night. Twenty-six percent admit to checking email on a laptop in bed while in their pajamas.
  • Sixty percent of people who email admit to checking their personal email at work an average of three times a day. While only 15% of those who do so have been busted by their bosses, 28% say they feel guilty about it.
Read more of the special report for technical guidelines and further hints and tips for marketing via email to mobile devices and you can request a free whitepaper on the topic from the folks at Exact Target.

And it seems that emozes is giving RIM (the folks behind Blackberry) a run for their money.

How e are you ?



According to the guys over at How e are you?, I'm an e-expert* and in fact, come 385th out of 10814 respondents to date. Enhance Media is the team behind it and they're interested in finding out about how online savvy we are in the UK.

In addition, they have teamed up with children’s internet charity Childnet International to help support and promote the valuable work the organisation is doing to help make the internet a great place for children.

As 'how e are you?' develops, they want users to be aware of Childnet’s vital work in educating children and young people on how to be safe online and ensure that they are e-safe. So they're donating 5p for every completed questionnaire and encourage participants to take a look at teh Know IT All website which gives up to date information on arange of safety and information security issues for children and grown-ups alike.

*e-expert:
"e-experts are well above average in their understanding, exploration, and use, of the digital universe. An active online consumer, you really appreciate the benefits of digital devices to your life, which includes work, leisure, keeping in touch, shopping, travel, and entertainment. You are keen to share your enthusiasm, and are already thinking about your next e-nlivening e-xperience!"

Are you a Paparazzi in training?

Got a cameraphone? Do you spend your time celebrity-spotting in training to be a fully-fledged paparazzi? Then if so, Mr Paparazzi might be for you. You can send in your pictures and Big Picture will attempt to sell them for you if they're hot. In addition, they have a celebrity tracker text message service with each message costing you 50p and you'll get no more than 10 messages a week tipping you off where the latest celebs are hanging out... thus keeping you up to date like their own paparazzi. Hmm, £5 seems a bit steep to me for a week's worth of messages, but if this is your kinda thing, then I guess it's a small price to pay if you get to sell your picture for £1,000. It's all backed by Big Pictures, which is arguably the world's biggest picture agency in the world.

Scoopt set up something similar a couple of years back and is still going strong now it's backed by Getty Images. Scoopt accepts pictures of all kinds and has even teamed up with the fab Shozu so you can upload your pictures in one click. This means they get a better quality picture than the ones Mr Paparazzi will get via MMS, and it's not restricted to celebrity pictures. And it doesn't cost you anything to send your picture in (save for your standard network data charges).

Mobile Rules! Business Plan competition


Mobile Rules! is the world's leading annual competition for business plans and applications
in the mobile environment and is backed by Nokia.

They are searching for innovations that will bring the mobile business to a completely new level. So if you're looking to see your business plan come to life or get your mobile application in the
hands of millions of Nokia device users, here's your chance. The competition gathers together the most promising designers, leading vendors, funders and media in the world.

There are two tracks - 1 for mobile applications and one for business plans and the prizes are pretty good with the chance to get your project live, or if that doesn't pan out, a cash alternative instead for the winners in each track. The application deadlines are November for the mobile applications track and January for the business plan track but time moves fast so don't leave it to the last minute if you're interested. There's a pdf here that you can check out outlining the basics.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday thoughts

Well for thoughts, read links!

Over at SMStxtnews, Ewan tells us about Voxpops which has just launchedwith their library of research video voxpops and a very neat idea it is too. Worth a look.

The mobile internet made easy from Mime. Find and share links and create your own mobile site with those links in to make it easy to navigate and retrieve the stuff you like on your phone. I've just tried it from my PC at www.usemime.com and there are a selection of popular sites to choose from and the option to add your own and then you can sort out the order (although I'd have liked to categorise and not just put them in order) and then get a link sent to your phone via SMS or wap push (although I don't know anyone outside the industry who would know the difference). Works really fast and it's useful, but of course there' a rather large Mime logo at the top followed by a large banner ad which detracts from where your links are but apart from that, it works for me. But will I remember to use it? Time will tell.

Under the Radar is looking for mobile startups to join the party in the US. The application deadline is looming even though the event isn't until November across the pond in the US. Via SMStext news.

Do you charge UK customers for stuff from their mobile phones? If so, are you payforit compliant? Well, it's worth checking with those nice folks at Bango who have produced a guide to help you through the process. And what's more, the guide is free!

Thought for the Day

I love this one, as stumbled upon over at Tom Hume's blog:

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction" - Albert Einstein.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

8 Random things about me blogtag

Like Xen, I've been tagged before for the 5 things blog tag and now she's tagged me for the 8 random things blog tag so as it's a rainy afternoon in South London, I thought I'd do the honours. However, I believe my original 5 things are much more interesting but in the interests of the game, I'll dig up some new, very random, stuff about me for you.

So, here are the rules of the new 8 Random Things tag game:

  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
So, let's see.

1. I love a good festival - namely Glastonbury and the forthcoming Electric Picnic this year. There's something very appealing about hanging out in a muddy field full of music and random folks enjoying themselves, very often wearing wellies. I reckon I dance better in wellies than high heels anyway!

2. I like hats and at the weekend went to deepest Deptford with pal Lisa Devaney for a Cat in the Hat photoshoot courtesy of photographer, Rebecca Portsmouth, and much fun was had by all.

3. I have size 5 feet. I'm not sure why you'd want to know that, but it's random so there you go.

4. I've just started getting weekly deliveries of organic veg to my home so I've been experimenting more with cooking. And I'm very pleased with Farmaround's service, including their lovely driver who delivers to me every Friday morning.

5. I'm an ENTP - well at least I am according to a couple of tests I took on t'internet this week. I don't think many of my friends will be the least bit surprised by the results.

6. I own 2 tents. One is green and supposedly a 3 to 4 person tent but actually accommodates 2 girls and their kit (just) and is extremely comfortable for one girl and her kit, and the other is blue and a cosy 2-person tent so it's really only big enough for one. See point 1.

7. I don't like marmite, goats cheese, mayonnaise or savoury egg dishes. However, I do like my Mum's homemade vegetarian soups *a lot*. She also somehow manages to cook potatoes much better than I do and I've never worked that one out.

8. I was bridesmaid to a stripper in 1996 at Hedonism II in Jamaica during a body art convention. I met Sarah, the bride, when she was my next-door neighbour when I lived in Wood Green. At the time, she was a wig maker and then switched profession to be an "exotic dancer" at a clip joint in Soho as it was seriously better money and a better work environment than making wigs in Covent Garden for the theatre. Anyway, the marriage didn't last, and the now ex-husband, Simon, was featured on a documentary series, Pleasure Island, all about Hedonism II on the tellybox a few years ago.

So, who do I tag.. I reckon random stuff from Lloyd, Deirdre, Sheila, Tom, Sergio, Whatleydude, Lisa and Rachel will be worth a read.

Want to work as senior designer doing mobile things?

Well, then maybe this is the job for you based in sunny Brighton in lovely offices (I know, because I've been there) with lovely folks (I know because they're friends of mine) doing great work (their work speaks for itself) at Future Platforms. Here's the blurb about the job opening:

Senior designer

We're looking for someone who's got a strong track record of mobile design, with an in-depth understanding of the technical constraints of mobile. Excellent skills originating and implementing visuals is essential, backed up with solid interaction design thinking. If you've gone so far as building WAP or XHTML sites, that'd be a bonus.

You'll be contributing to a multidisciplinary team working for a broad client base; over the last 6 months we've carried out projects for Nokia, the BBC, Hotxt, Discovery US, BAA and Robbie Williams. As well as hands-on design work we'll expect you to get involved with pitches and contribute to proposals, help us hone our approach and processes, and develop our design capability.

This position is full-time and permanent. Please send CVs and a covering note to hello@futureplatforms.com

Strictly no agencies please.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Carnival Catch up

If you're interested in things mobile, then the weekly Carnival of the Mobilists is a must-read every week. Each week there's a different host and that week's host does a round-up of the best of the blogs on mobile. I've been catching up on my carnival reading and links to the last few are here:

No 83 is over at the hostess with the mostest, Judy Breck at Golden Swamp
No 82 is over at C Enrique Ortiz's About Mobile blog (love the carnival picture btw).
No 81 has an Egyptian theme over at the relatively new Symbiano-Tek blog.

Tuesday Tasters

In no particular order:

India's primary web connection is via mobile not PC

Vodafone is linking up with DatingDirect to offer mobile dating. I thought they must have already been doing mobile dating, but clearly not. And by the sounds of it DatingDirect is having troubles of its own if you read the comments on the link above so I wonder if Vodafone has chosen the right partner. Hmm. Elsewhere, Mobestar has teamed up with Bone Fish to offer mobile dating using its mDate service.

Mig33 is doing exceptionally well with 400 million customers in 200 countries for its mobile messaging service. "Simply download the application onto your mobile phone, and you’ll be connected to everyone around the world through the most popular online services. So you can IM, visit chat rooms, send email, share photos, SMS and, of course, make cheap calls—all from your mobile phone." More info at Mig33's website. Of course, they also have 10m dollars in the bank, so that's going to help get the service out there.

Meanwhile, MVNO Amp'd is shutting up shop leaving thousands of customers network-less. Customer services stopped yesterday and the service will shut down completely at the end of the month.

Incentivated is ramping up its recruitment.

Skandia Cowes Week is using SMS for research purposes. A series of short questions relating to that day's sailing will be sent via text message to each of the competitors. Questions will be asked on numerous topics, including the quality or difficulty of the course, the accuracy of the weather forecasts and the standard of stewarding.

And finally, young Britons prefer meeting face to face than using digital methods. Get away! You mean young people prefer going out socialising, going to gigs, dancing the night away, chillin' at a festival and hanging with their mates than spending time in front of a computer screen. Well I'm not sure I actually needed a research paper to tell me that. But there are some other findings that you might find interesting in there.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday musings

  • Bill Thompson discusses security risks in the new i-phone and the wider implications of a networked customer base and how the corporates need to adapt to our needs and not the other way round. I think he has a point but it's a challenge.
  • Any phone can be a credit card as the clever folks at Masabi has come up with a new way to manage secure transactions using your mobile phone using just 3kb of handset memory.
  • Desperate for the loo? Don't know where your nearest one is? Then help is at hand with Mizpee. Trouble is it only works in the US and I find it hard to believe they have every single loo in the US on their database. But hey, maybe they have. Anyone tried it?
  • User generated content, social media and how to make money from it. Well these were the topics tackled by the w2forum last week. Unfortunately, no-one had any definitive answers as it's still too early to know how best to monetise this area.
"Roy Vella, Head of Mobile Payments at PayPal, summed up the feeling in the room when he pointed out that none of the best-known social networking sites on the web, such as MySpace and FaceBook, were initially about monetisation, and that “the monetisation stuff” is only happening because there are so many eyeballs.
“You want to know how do big companies make money out of all those eyeballs” said Vella. “The answer is, I don’t think we know yet.”

Vella also warned brands that they would need to exercise caution if they were going to try to establish a presence on social networking sites, mobile or otherwise. “If you threw a party and a corporation showed up, how would you feel about it?” he asked. “It’s a new space, and we all have to tread carefully. The way to succeed is the way it has always been – to delight customers.”