Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Social Proof Is The New Marketing | TechCrunch

Social Proof Is The New Marketing | TechCrunch:

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Monday, November 28, 2011

I Have a Dream: Mobile Wishes for 2012

I have a dream where I wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh brewed coffee, cause my telephone alarm triggered the coffee machine to start at the pre-set time; where my personal mobile assistant counts out loud the time left before I miss the train/bus/ my meeting and reminds me about the most important things to do that day while auto tuning to my favourite radio station.

I have a dream where while on my way to work, I can listen to a selection of news gathered from all around the world and fed to my mobile based upon my preferences; let in on the latest upcoming events in the area; told where I can get a quick breakfast to go within a radius of 10-30m from my location or that is on my route to work and has spare parking places/ or alternatively how long is the drive line at the nearest McDonalds.

I have a dream where I am notified about what`s for lunch at my favourite restaurant close to noon and when RSVPed, I am offered a discount; where I can be told of other available and relevant deals from my grocery shop before I arrive home, exhausted after work, and check my post box full with redundant paper flyers and adds.

I have a dream where I can have my public transport pass on my screen and notified about its expiry date way before I miss it; reported about transport problems before I get there ; told about any birthdays that I so often miss or any relevant scholarships, residence programs, contests and awards in my field of interest.

 I have a dream where I don`t have to move to Japan or South Korea to experience most of this. What is your dream when it comes to the mobile?

Monday, November 21, 2011

EGNOS updates GPS

EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Europe`s first attempt into satellite navigation, is making public its Software Development Kit "that implements all EGNOS corrections and provides integrity", according to the EGNOS portal. This means that all those who want to use the accuracy of the EGNOS satellite-based augmentation system to build location based apps, can freely do so. The SDK is usable on iPhone, Android and Blackberry handsets. 

EGNOS is jointly governed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC) and Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation and its main function is to bring more accuracy to the GPS system such as when navigating ships through narrow channels. 

Another interesting fact about EGNOS is that its accuracy and reliability can be a good base for other applications such as our beloved Location Based Services for which EGNOS brings a precision to within three meters in comparison with GPS`s 17 meters, whether in cars, personal navigation devices or mobile phones. 

A couple of things transpire as a result: at an institutional level, Europe is beginning to open up to the idea of ... open source and open gardens in response the current trends in the marketplace. Second, by opening up such precise technology, and encouraging developers to add value and make it more user friendly, it increases the pace of innovation of mobile services and offerings. The future looks bright, we just have to get there first.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

7 Lessons Japan Can Teach Us About Mobile Marketing

Reaching a high level of complexity and adoption of mobile marketing like Japan’s in the short run is wishful thinking but the West should definitely investigate what it can learn from the East.  While not all success ingredients fit together, surely some strategies can prove themselves quite transferable.

So let’s take a look at what made Japan the poster child at mobile marketing. As much as I would want to understand Japanese to see for myself, I can’t, but fortunately others do. Christopher Billich from Infinita, a market intelligence and research company that acts as a liaison between Japan and the world on mobile marketing know-how, has shared his insights on the topic with mobithinking.

Out of his experience of the Japanese market, a couple of lessons emerge for us, the laggard West:

1.    Infrastructure upgrades
In Japan the 3G network penetration is impressively high.  This is a question of getting the fundamentals right. Even before talking about value added services, telecoms should get down to the basics. Factoring in collaboration with other carriers and government support can prove to be a killer formula.

2.    Flat-rate data plans that rule
The rapid adoption of mobile internet usage is, in Christopher’s opinion, due to Japan’s mobile operators’ flat-rate data plans. The idea is simple and not a new one: we all know how hard it is to resist temptation to over eat at an open buffet for example once you paid the flat price. Same goes for data usage.

3.    Homogeneous handset base
In Japan the carriers have a special relationship with the manufacturers in that they control what kind of devices appear on the market. Marketers are then faced with little fragmentation. This point is a bit more difficult to argue when it comes to the geographically fragmented Europe. Nevertheless, this strategy can go well within countries that are quick at implementing change and are hungry for gaining a national competitive edge.

4.    Mobile email over SMS or MMS
A consequence of a 3G wide coverage is the fact that considerably more data can be transmitted, allowing for the advent of the mobile mail that, in Japan, offers up to 10 000 characters, emoticons and attachment options. 

5.    Off-deck mobile sites
Right from the start of the micro browsing, Japanese mobile carriers have allowed for off-deck mobile sites that encouraged creation and sharing of non-proprietary sites and content, otherwise known for as an ‘’open garden’’ approach. Open source and crowd sourcing are the other two sister trends that telecoms should think of embracing. Keeping absolute control over their value chain means stagnation and the way to innovate implies giving up some of that control in favour for collaborations, scale and diversity of mobile services and revenue sharing agreements for instance. 

6.    Attractive content revenue sharing
What better way to encourage usability of devices and popularity of new software and services than rewarding the content providers generously. In Japan, operators will only retain 10 % of the revenue in stark comparison with up to 50% in some cases in the West. An attractive revenue sharing scheme will quickly translate into economies of scale involving mobile services as products which in itself can propel the telecoms` subscriber base and popularity considerably. 

7.    Telecom + private sector partnerships
Avoiding a dumb pipe fate has put telecoms on the burner as internet and the ubiquity of connected devices increasingly shape new directions for today`s economy.  Telecoms could fight back  by looking for new business models. One example is particularly encouraging: DoCoMo’s joint venture with McDonald’s over a loyalty program that primarily involved redeeming coupons at the fast food chain while ensuring a swift and adequate user experience. ‘’Kazasu Coupon’’ program has since become the darling of those who eat at McD`s. You can also check out an interesting article on the idea of telecoms becoming somewhat like media companies here

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shaping up the next big player in digital payments

Some time ago I blogged about Verifone, maker of the point of sale terminals, enlarging its retail mobile strategy by acquiring Global Bay Mobile, "which provides a suite of mobile software for smartphones, tablets and other devices that enable salespeople to engage customers away from the point of sale terminal." 

TechCrunch is reporting today that VeriFone is aiming big as it buys European payments processing company Point for over 1bn. Point is "Northern Europe largest provider of gateway and payment services for retailers and merchants, handling over 10 million transactions per day." 

Other players getting their positions strengthened in this market are Google, Isis, PayPal, Groupon, Visa, Master Card and American Express. It is interesting to note that companies that have risen recently, such as Groupon, are quickly catching up with the older players (such as AmEx for example) while running way ahead on innovation and time to markets.

Spot on VeriFone :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

4 different ways you can learn about wireless networks on the web

If you have a mobile phone or a computer chances are you heard about  wireless networks. If not, then this post will help you learn more about it. Here are a couple of resources on the web that I found useful.

  • wikipedia
Start with open source encyclopaedia, a succinct summary of wireless networks, citing cambrige.org and the GSM Association amongst other sources, that gives you an idea of types of wireless connections, their uses and some environmental concerns. 
  • International Telecommunications Union
ITU shortly, is dedicated to connecting all the world`s people; they allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits which is pretty cool.  Their glossary is written in an accessible technical jargon. On networks, I found the Cellular Radio entry which defines the technology that has made wide scale mobile telephony possible. The Cellular Radio family includes the first generation FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) systems, the basis for the first generation cellular radio systems, TDMA and CDMA, the current generation digital technologies that support high bit rate voice and limited data communications and 3G systems,  that support voice and high bit rate data allowing mobile multimedia applications. 

The glossary must have been written some while ago as in the 3G entry it says:"It will be the basis for a wireless information society where access to information and information services such as electronic commerce is available anytime, anyplace and anywhere to anybody." Some of us are already living in this information society while a good chunk is slowly getting there.
  • wisegeek
WISEGEEK has some useful tips on 2 and 3G networks, how they work and how to find out whether your carrier is offering a 3G network or not (the UMTS standard for example ). They say that globally, 3G systems have been operational since 2005, for a whole picture, jump here
  • slideshare
For those who like graphics, slideshare has a bunch of presentation done on this topic, you can start with Wireless and Mobile Networks that gives a good outline and lots of illustrative material to help you sort out the technicalities, although I have to admit, it assumes some prior telecommunications knowledge.

While also surfing slideshare, I found a presentation on UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) by Guoyuo He at the Helsinki University of Technology, that, was quite tough worded  for my level, but from which I subtracted 2 slides for this post to show what is it that the 3G and the future 4G networks are bringing to the table:

...and if you know other sources that are accessible for the non-technical pleb, share your link below.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Contributing to open source-an idea worth spreading

Hey you open source fanatics, watch this revealing and instructional video about a farmer who built his own tractor in 6 days while also setting a solid brick on the foundation of open source hardware.

PS: future belongs to open source, and here is a non-Android example that proves it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Until Women Are As Ambitious As Men, They’re Not Going To Achieve As Much’ | TechCrunch

Check out Sheryl Sandberg talking about gender gap at the top. There are a couple of good points mentioned. My favourite was actually voiced in the comments section by Seth Eheart about women needing to show much more interest in a field such as technology, that is increasingly taking share of economy. Totally agree. Read more at:

Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Until Women Are As Ambitious As Men, They’re Not Going To Achieve As Much’ | TechCrunch:

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Monday, November 7, 2011

The IPO season

With this post I am taking a small break from my trials and errors with sorting through mobile related technicalities (in my learning process of mobile marketing), as I happened to stumble upon a very interesting article on IPO stipulations in the start-up, tech and online sector, Groupon Vs. Zynga: Which Company Will Be More Valuable Post-IPO?, appearing on TechCrunch. It just happened that today, while savouring business icon, Alan Sugar`s biographical book "Alan Sugar: What you see is what you get. My aoutobiography", I happened to turn the page on the chapter about how his company, Amstrad, went public. What a coincidence and what an interesting perspective over the IPO process now and some 30 years ago!

Anyway, I think this article should be bookmarked as my personal view is that we might be experiencing the second dotcom bubble in its making. In case I am wrong, than virtual is really worth investing in and it will become the business model of the future decades to come. I guess we are talking about a trial and error approach here as well haha. 

An excerpt from the article published by TechCrunch: "This is the season of the IPO. So far, 2011 has seen companies like LinkedIn, Pandora, Yandex, Zillow, and RenRen come to market. As you’ve heard, Groupon and Zynga are next up in the IPO pipeline, with both companies arriving on public markets within weeks of each other. Groupon, barring some catastrophic event, will begin trading publicly on NASDAQ November 4th, with shares set at $20 a pop at a valuation of $12.7 billion."( Amstrad was valued at £8m in 1980) 

Read more at Groupon Vs. Zynga: Which Company Will Be More Valuable Post-IPO? | TechCrunch

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The BREW stew

Mobile industry specialist Tomi T. Ahonen has done a good job with his books on the state of mobile and its great potential to the extent that I seriously thought of focusing on mobile marketing in my career path. This blog was as well started as a result of my interest and enthusiasm in the aforementioned field.

So, after doing some search, I end up on the website of the Mobile Marketing Association, thinking to myself what a nice place to start learning how to use the mobile device in your marketing techniques.  I dig through their white papers and resources and quickly make up my mind on starting off with terminology or glossary to then move to best practices down to spicier stuff like mobile sweepstakes and so on. Surfing through, I took notice of their certification program as well, so in my mind I had already fixed a date in the future to take it and proceed on my way to a wonderful career in such a cool sector. All pumped up, I was already imagining myself as the mobile marketing expert.

Ha ha ha, it is so easy to imagine it in your head. If it had been as easy in real life, the world would indeed have been a better place.
So, down to the glossary: I download the pdf, sit down with a cup of coffee, cosying myself in my chair ready to do some mental work. I start with the beginning ... "alert tone", sounds pretty self explanatory, "alerts", "alternative method of entry", so far so good...until I stumble into hard tech nomenclature like binary runtime environment for wireless that sounds as interesting as reading a gadget manual: it sounds logical and important but you have no idea where to start from and the info is just not sticking. Zero associations, really, try  and figure it out.

First thought: Ok, Rodica, this is not for you. But then common, how hard should it be. Am I totally mutually exclusive with technicalities? I got so excited at the beginning, so overenthusiastic with learning about this new marketing field, I want to keep it up.

Always be closer: I guess the question is this - how do you stay enthusiastic and motivated once you hit tough times or ...binary runtime environments for wireless for that matter?

The acronym sounds a bit more fun: BREW

My brain is BREWing
While all my thoughts`re stewing 

On the other hand, I am faced with a some glossary, imagine managers having to keep up the morale of their teams up when the business is not running that well.  How is that for fun?

Lesson numero 2: I will go back to my initial source of inspiration...and keep the end in my mind.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reconsidering Moboline's strategy, part 2

How can one write  an entertaining, useful and interesting blog about mobile and the new digital age if one has almost none experience to it except the usual, online social chat? More than that, how can one sound like an expert on mobile strategies, when, although eager and evangelistic about it, one doesn't even have a decent mobile phone ha ha. 
Coming clean: I am very enthusiastic about all the mobilization going on around and I want to be a part of it, and for the past few weeks I have been considering and reconsidering how to use this blog to which I happened to find such a cute name, to bring me closer to all the digital and mobile hype in the industry. 
Any suggestions?
Then I thought to myself that I should just embrace my status quo, accept and make friends with it, and just share my learning experience with much more experienced readers in hope of advice and consideration; let them be the experts, and who knows, maybe one day, some other uninitiated apprentice (young, ambitious female to give it a profile ha ha)  will stumble upon this blog and find it a useful learning resource.

...so Lesson Nr1: If it doesn't work, don't push it ... go around it. 

Mobile retail app that increased revenues by 55%? WOW,Retailers, GET it!

Read the full text at gigaom:

The latest BUS model selling hot

Businesses seem to have embraced the idea of mobile, mobility and social connectedness;past lessons learned, turning a profit in the cloud is quickly becoming the new normal yet again ; but if the ''why’’ has already been answered by piles of statistical data, many unknowns seem to hover over the ‘’how’’ in this equation. 

With Foursquare being valued at 600m dollars and growing, location based services are earning more and more ground against traditional models, but  have yet to proof their financial potential in a scope and scale scenario.

Having already gathered a crowd of 10 million users worldwide (more than 3 times the population of my native country haha), Foursquare is one of the leaders of the constantly enlarging flock of on-line start-ups, each aiming to re-write traditional rules of doing business with every post, `Like` or check-in.

Adopting an in-store give-away model, another player, PunchTab, wants to shows how the local grandpa shop cannot and should not escape the digital wave if it wants to stay in the game.The social loyalty platform company offers a free mobile application, PunchBowl, that allows consumers to participate in local business give-aways by being socially active.The idea is to reward customers who are involved with the businesses by ‘’Like’’ing their page on Facebook or helping promote a discount or campaign. The rewards are then translated into free meals, etc. The app is free for both parties, and it looks like that by giving away one or two croissants a day, the local merchant may earn higher foot traffic or word of mouth, provided it sells to a technology oriented crowd eager to engage.

While location based model keeps the local neighbourhood in check, it is the daily deal discount formula that sells big. Financial Times`April Dembosky reports how big US brands are tapping into the online discount sector, striking deals with Groupon (with more than 140m subscribers) and LivingSocial. He writes that the established online deals sites ``are increasingly being recognized [...] as a marketing channel and customer tracking system that warrant exploration``. 

He also tracks a change of dynamics occurring within the discount sector. Usually, daily deal companies were incurring the expenses in exchange for customer acquisition but now things are changing towards marketers eager to pay for the eyeballs amassed by the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial. 

Of course, one should ask how those traditional daily deal players will adjust to these trends.

Moboline says: While venture capital keeps flowing in, it is the profit margin that counts at the end of the day. Stay tuned to new updates on the latest success business formulas in today's digital age. You can check my previous post on a very innovative BUS model in the telecommunications industry.