Posts filed under ‘Mobile Marketing’
Just when I thought I had the big picture on mobile bar codes it got bigger. This morning, watching my favorite morning news show on ABC, the network interviewed a surgeon come author about his use of a 2D code on surgical sponges. With a swipe from the reader, no sponge is left behind. Clever. 2D bar codes and their readers allow information and decisions to be immediate–the world is getting faster. But it also leaves more time for living. No pun.
1. Ballhype.com: It’s a social, collaborative site for sports fans. They can comment on their favorite teams local to national and rate the comments Digg style. This site is totally dedicated to sports fans with no other aim.
2. EMI launches DRM-free music! That means no anti-copying software. Steve Jobs is putting his and Apple’s name and reputation behind the move. The music in question is said to be of higher quality and now available on iTunes.
3. YuMe Networks launches first advertising within downloaded videos on BitTorrent entertainment network! On any device! Add to your lexicon, air-time “pre-roll”, “mid-roll”, “post-roll”, watermark and more on-line.
4. DoubleClick announced today that it is launching an ad exchange. It’s like a cross between Sabre (airline booking software) and eBay. Any advertiser will be able to bid for ad space on this interface.
5. Google Desktop for Mac. It’s a Universal application which indexes the contents of your hard drive. The image on the right is the new side bar. Reviews are not half bad.
6. The Coop: Mozilla adds social networking into Firefox.
8. MailChannels launches a new spam filtering program that slows email by an additional 8 seconds rather than the former 2 seconds. This cuts down on impatient spammers. It can retrofits into any email infrastructure saving corporations a great deal.
Keep posted daily for more hot launches to this month’s awesome beginning!
British mountain climber Rob Bader will make the call this May courtesy of Motorola, the sponsor. It’s a little pretentious since there is a tower in China with a clear view; but really, there are still many dead zones event if you can check in from Everest! Fun promotional idea though.
Ballmer defends Motorola Q and Zune and says about iPhone “doesn’t have a keyboard…doesn’t make it very good for email “, “$500!…fully subsidized!” Here is CNET’s review of Q - they rated Q 7 out of 10.
Jobs says Microsoft have “no taste”, “they make really third rate products”. Ouch!
Who’s giving the KO punch?
Before I get into this let’s do a little backtracking. Traditional 1D bar codes hold limited data; however, it is expected they will continue to co-exist alongside the new data-hefty 2D barcode. The first 2D bar code was invented in 1988; but since then, it has been re-designed many times. In fact, the 2D has egressed from the “stacked ” design to the more familiar matrix design (above). The Aztec code invented by Andy Longacre of Welch Allyn in 1995 has entered our cultural lexicon; it is seen on t-shirts and construction clap-boards among others. You will see it more.
There are over 20 2D symbologies available today. What’s nifty about them is that they can carry so much information that they do not have to be checked against databases–all the data necessary is on the bar code.
OK now for a look at the players. Motorola has recently acquired Symbol Technologies, reknown for their bar code readers; this will give Motorola a clear advantage. One of the most active spaces for bar code software is its application in the mobile phone sector. Among the major players are Scanbuy (which signed a global partnership with Nokia in 2004), Mediaseek, Mediastick (Japanese player), Nokia (who seems to be going direct according to their end user agreement) and Neomedia (USA). Have I missed some?
Camera cell phones are the common rudiment enabling this technology. So now consumers can point, scan and get coupons on the spot. That’s better than Googling a brand on your phone browser and waiting for information that probably won’t be relevant. It’s just not practical.
In the meantime, companies have joined together in Europe(HP Labs, Gavitec (owned by Neomedia) , Publicis (an ad agency?) and Neomedia), to develop a Mobile Codes Standard standard, MC2 (that MC two D). Who knows if in this dog-eats-dog world the group will grow.
So if I seem to be making a case for bar code phones, it’s because I am. Guess what else a souped up camera-phone with bar code software can do? Gavitec has gone a step further to inspire marketers in the mobile market. (Don’t miss Gavitec’s excellent on-site videos if you want to “get it” fast). It features Neomedia’s capabilities with ticketing, couponing, payment, loyalty, transport ticketing wherever you are– the possibilities astound. Here are some projects already in play with Gavitec:
- McDonald’s Portugal
- Bus tickets in Spain
- H&M promotional campaign in Germany
- Movie premiere tickets in Turkey
- Payment in Switzerland
- See the video below to get a broader perspective!
Gavitec has made great headway as the leader in mobile ticketing.This provides Neomedia a marketing engine for its patented software. Imagine, no more waiting at ticket booths or purchasing locations. More time to live.
Look for omniscience of the matrix bar code in our society–on everything from ads, through outdoors posters to products. Unlike RFID (which is being met with much criticism for privacy matters) it is not conceived to follow you but rather to enable you with information, access and opportunity. However! these bar codes’ data effectively travel in the SMS network; perhaps scrutiny as to the security of the information is due. After all we are talking about cell phones where conversations can be heard by other parties. Remember what Prince Charles said to Camilla in the privacy of their SMS network?
The big question that remains unanswered is how will retailers repond to this soon to be ubiquitous application? Will they fear encroachment on their house brands or slotting revenue tactics? Retailers are control freaks.
Anyway this is my take so far. I am engaged. This is truly a fantastic space to watch.
Footnote: I can only hope Neomedia will be smart enough to demo at Plexus 2007 : The Marketing Conference & Demo this fall in Toronto, an international event for business and marketers. If they can go to Spain and Turkey, they come here too. US needs to pay more attention to its good neighbor.
Problem is technocrats are too self-consious about the device and its circuitry. Many devices other than iphone have commoditized themselves as either cellphones, smart phones or PDAs by their “corporate brand”. What’s also tragic is that none of them are just phones any more. They text message, walkie-talk, surf, take photos, play music and the most robust play videos. Some can even read bar codes! Iphone isn’t a great name by the mere fact that it is pretty generic (they rest on the powerful brand meaning behind Apple, Steve Jobs and iPod cult).
The tragedy is that these hand-held brands have little outstanding meaning–how can you if you don’t have a name? This is a critical aspect missing from this busy segment. Rim have the Blackberry and Pearl, LG has Chocolate and Motorola offer KRZR; these brands have a life of their own in consumers’ minds–regardless of carrier deals.
It’s a chicken or egg thing.
Some of the carriers have begun naming their house brands (putting their names on devices). I keep saying that manufacturers must build their brands–build deep meaning around them–not just names. But a corporate brand name that stands for many things, stands for nothing. Their devices are not restricted to their circuitry–they have user context and can have deep psychological meaning to their users.
As for the innovators that add functionality to these devices, getting the users to demand your tools and services by brand name is invaluable. (This is still referred to as “pull” in marketing.)
Set a marketing budget that allows you to do this. You cannot achieve anything on a threadbare investment here. You don’t need network TV. The internet and experiential tactics like events can achieve this. But first probe the minds of customers for naming and representational meaning. Then you can unveil a brand (not necessarily named after a fruit!) with meaning that transcends its physical attributes, ones that resonate in the powerful emotional brain of customers.
If you dare think you can get away without this, think about the fact that the N.A. market is beginning to plateau (number of handsets) and settle into the smartphone segment rather than cellphones or PDAs. The cost of finding new customers globally is greater. It’s Darwin time!
Hey you can always sell your technology to carriers who will be more than happy to pocket the premium for that meaning. You’ll be known as a feature or Plan 1 or Plan 2. That’s sounds a bit like Brand X or Brand Y.
Or be eaten by another player. They say when markets are at maturity the “circle of life” begins.
A number of developments in web 2.0 and gadgetry keep the market hopping. HOT NEW LAUNCHES will be published each month featuring innovations from start-ups and behemoths. It is a live list that will grow through the month so you can have a quick picture of what’s fresh in the marketplace.
1. Google launching a mobile phone – a Blackberry like device with a C++ core. Google did start a partnership with Samsung in January; so there is collaboration here. Lots of chatter here and chattering teeth from the competition. Idea rating: 3 1/2 stars
2. My.Netscape - the next generation of Netscape’s personalized home page in beta (there’s nothing at this link today-keep checking). The chatter in the market is hopeful on this one. Idea rating: 2 1/2 stars
3. Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 – due out March 27. Idea rating: TBA
4. Geni on-line family tree building already into its second round of financing with Charles River Ventures value at $100 mm. I simply love this hosted app. I am in! Idea rating: 3 1/2 stars
5- Skype Prime Beta a Skype to Skype 1-900 style i.e. paid by the caller to experts at the posted fee per minute. This is about a brand so visionary that it sees beyond its appliance. Linked in has a similar service but I do not believe for mobile and for larger fees. Idea rating: 4 stars
6- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1 Sonys’ first wireless digicam which will send images over wi-fi networks. Standard resolution 480 X 640 at 30 frames per sec. Memory card able to hold 8 GB. No touch screen on this one. Idea rating: 3 1/2
The following innovators from the stalwart behemoths to the bootstraped entrepreneurs are worthy of praise–they are changing our future. I am confident I’ve forgotten a few. Sadly, I am not omniscient. It is a live list that I will expand in the same updated post daily, weekly. Your suggestions are welcome. These ideas are actionable, useful and often border on genius. All are worthy of praise whether they make it to the finish line or not. So they are NOT PRIORITIZED. It is a democratic list. Their innovations are recent 2006 and 2007–some are so fundamental yet “new” that I ignored their birth date.
Listed as: Brand Name, Corporation, (description)
- iphone by Apple (the most robust phone device yet)
- Qode by Neomedia (Mobile Phone Bar Code Scanner)
- Zink by same (portable inkless printer for digital devices)
- Eyejot by same (video sharing thourgh email)
- PayPerPost by same (Paid consumer blog network for advertisers)
- Joost formerly Venice Project (richer alternative to YouTube)
- Lotus Connections byIBM (Collaboration software)
- LinkedIn by same (Answers/Experts Low cost procurement of soft expertise)
- Yah00! 100 brands by Yahoo! (Media Channels for advertisers)
- ejamming by same (voip for musicians)
- Apollo by Adobe (web apps to the desktop)
- Mobio Networks by same (mobile mashup platform)
- Scram by Ceelox (embeds encrypted messages behind images)
- Sentinel by Iwerx (catches blog content pirates)
- D’Fusion by Total Immersion (inserts 3D into live video images)
- Advanced Photonics (No name yet) by Alps Electric / CAPE (holographic image from mobile devices)
- BitTorrent by same (bandwidth enabling video distribution like no other)
- Orb Networks by same (allows users to view and create videos on their mobile devices)
- Sundance Global Short Film Project /Robert Redford (creating short content for mobile devices)
- Sitemaps by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (new search protocol by stie maps)
- Wibree by Nokia (radio technology dual core chip uses so little energy for smallest devices like a watch)
- Tagworld by same (social network with all-in-one capabilities)
- RDF and OWL – Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee (application-free framework and language that allows data interchange)
- Videoegg by same (simplifies video capture)
- iUpload by same (blogging platform that requires no programmer)
- Xensource by same (moves mutliple virtual servers without friction)
- Scrybe by same (robust and elegant productivity tool driven by a calendar-perhaps the best)
- Geni by same (great hosted genealogy app )
The Zink made a splash at the Demo 2007. It was one the darlings of the event–an innovation not unlike the grandeur of the wii. The Zink (the brand name stands for zero ink) is a pocket-sized printer.
Innovation in technology is not all about user generation–it’s about the user. It was refreshing to see this gadget heading a parade of (albethey awesome) web 2.0 apps.
A true innovation in the printing realm because it prints without ink. The paper is reminiscent of Polaroid (it is offspring) and lasts without yellowing. Simply, the paper is embedded with dye crystals. Zink says, “if your world is mobile, why shouldn’t your printer be?” They also state that the printer is affordable and comes in many sizes, including rolls.
What’s interesting is that Zink can be incorporated into consumer electronic devices turning each into printers. Xbox printer? TV printer? Not sure here. But mystifying.
If you have a camera phone or digital camera, you can put an end to delayed gratification, unshackling yourself from clunky appliances. And save room on these devices for other images.
Zink estimates that the total amount of photos captured by mobile phones will reach 228 billion by 2010. And that the number of camera phones shipped will exceed the number of digital cameras next year.
Don’t run out the door yet, it’s due to be out later this year but you can see a demo.
I have reviewed all the new apps, most from start-ups, many from big players like Adobe and Seagate, and all were impressive. Kudos to all the inventors–they are defining our future. The Web 2.0 meme is alive indeed! Here is a list of what I see as the top dozen favorites in the buzz network (not prioritized):
- Zink (inkless printer that fits in your pocket!)
- Eyejot (the best of email video)
- eJamming (voip for musicians)
- Apollo (Adobe) (web apps to the desktop-not hosted!)
- Mobio Networks (mobile 2.0 mashups paltform)
- Jamman (high-def feature films from all over the world)
- Scram (Ceelox) (embeds info behind images for security)
- Sentinel (blogwerx) (tracking blog plagiarisers, sploggers)
- Zoho’s Notebook (multiple sources of content into one)
- D’Fusion (Total Immersion) ”augmented reality”
- Shipwire (affordable browser based warehousing & shipping-could launch a new legion of home-preneurs!)
- Me.dium (follows people’s web surfing)
Frankly, it’s unfair to leave any out; but, we all suffer from a collective attention-deficiency. Merit should be given to Teleflip, Vringo, DesignIn, Seagate’s Crickett, Boorah, Blinkx, Aggregate Knowledge, SplashCast and Boston-Power’s Sonata. Everyone has favorites. I tried to blend those of the pundits.
An interesting point is that few are monetized via advertising-it’s all pay-as-you-go or straight-forward buys.
Apparently, the Demo 2007 was crawling with VCs. Plexus 2007: The Web Marketing Conference & Demo will be populated with real buyers from the marketing and ad world. VCs are welcome.
The very successful “demo” event model applies to every innovation even if from Yahoo, IBM or Adobe. It moves quickly. It’s dynamic, invigorating. And you get the big picture, the value, quickly. Reportedly, attendees just love it! Chris Shipley, head of Demo 2007, has been inundated with praise for her excellent execution of this demo-styled event.
There are so many services coming down the pike that the wallet cannot sustain all. And frankly I don’t like to see the lot of you geniuses surrending your brand power to the service providers like Verizon. Yes, they can bundle to meet needs–but it will cost you. I can see mergers. Perhaps, you should partner with each other. Video email with ring tones for example.
It is a miasma of options right now–and trying to lock-in customers long-term can backfire if something better comes out and they’re stuck in a contract. It may be good for your cash flow but… You always want to seek customer happiness. No matter what. Consumers don’t forget and will punish you with no renewal and bad blogging.
And just today Adobe launched their Flash based video email! This is a new market for them; but, the rest of you must move strategically….fast.
I’m just sayin’.
Video sharing in a blink! is Eyejot’s trademark mantra. This online video sharing platform requires no downloading of an application to use. Users can create and receive, no ifs, ands or buts. You can start using Eyejot immediately, with any browser and in any platform. And it integrates with mobile devices and iTunes too.
Imagine now instead of keying in a message to your Valentine, you can belt out a dirge on your knees and send it via email. You don’t have to get hosted at YouTube for this! This is an emoticon killer!
I love it. Love it. Love it. Get this on Oprah’s favorite things.
Is Microsoft picking the lint out of its navel?
What’s most fantastic about Apple is not its brilliant innovations. Or its aesthetic breakthroughs. Or even because it brought back Steve Jobs. Apple is brilliant because it keeps it eye off the competition in terms of defining itself and it products.
In the corporate world, Apple is the rugged individualist (although sleeker). The world is increasingly held captive wondering, “what will they do next?” Apple never disappoints. Ultimately, Apple competes with itself. How will they top the iPhone in 2008? I am setting my brain’s Tivo to a January launch of something not thought of yet. Apple makes it harder on themselves to be great. Now that all competing eyes are on them, Apple has the leading advantage: they know what they are up against.
I was touched by how many reknown bloggers including the team at Cnet and Robert Scoble among many, posted and commented throughout the blogosphere in an effort to find James Kim and his family lost in Oregon. This happened long before the networks gotta hold of the story. It is terribly sad that James is deceased but indeed remarkable how many friends he had made in the tech community. As was exclaimed at the conculsion of ”It’s a wonderful life”, “[James was] the richest man in town”. As grief sets in in this community, the natural process, “shoulda coulda”, will also rear its head. We should use this sad event to improve technology so that someone in Grant’s Pass or in Borneo can use technology effectively for rescue. With our prowess in technology this is surely preventable. There should be no dead zones. But one thing is clear, the blogosphere’s heart can be beautiful.
The prototype was built and presented in early 06. Now your laptop or your mobile device can project onto any surface thanks to Jamieson Christmas, Cambridge U, inventor and patent holder. Cambridge has granted exclusive license to Alps Electric (H.O. in Japan but also here is USA). Professor Crossland known as father of LCOS (liquid crystal over silicon) is also on the inventor team, namely CAPE. I won’t get technical but it has to do with lights that bounce around within the devices; hence, a noisy over-heated clunky projector is no longer required. Web 2.0 kills another industry. Now will you all stop murmuring about the bubble; it’s as poppable as a titanium balloon. I blogged earlier on about Microsoft’s holographic computing (see September Tom Cruise apps…) called Touchlight but I believe Alps is taking it one step further removing a traditional appliance and bringing into mobile devices. Imagine what you can now also do with one small device. You can project those YouTube videos on the bathroom cubicle when you are skipping class. Or you can show the whole family photos of the Christmas (no pun) window displays at Macy’s at dessert tonight. Or project your PowerPoint on the office wall. That’s what I call convergence. Public release not known yet but I’ll keep on top of it. It boggles! Now let’s see how much is Alps trading at?
Orb Networks are launching their new software this week (is that today?). It enables users to view, search and create videos and direct it onto their cell phones from video services like YouTube. Mind you a fancy phone like Motorola Q or Nokia N80 is required–not your garden variety cell. This small company of 35 employees founded by Joe Costello is now effectively a leader in mobile entertainment. Orb is not new to the game; it already had 400,000 users of its previous digital media software. This is a company to watch.
The idea that we can be ubiquitously empowered, untethered, is tantalizing. The hairs in the back of my neck barely ever have a chance to recoil! Everyone is getting into the game. Even Robert Redford is producing original shorts just for your PDAs and cellphones (granted there is a cost obstacle for users but they will come). There are phones that read bar codes. Image search tools where you point at an object (like a stranger’s hat), click and get info about that hat. Tools that tell you where your friends are within inches. You can shoot photos and videos and publish them on the heels of their recording. Wireless wikis keep your office team at peak productivity almost rendering emails useless. It’s all about Web 2.0–with that everything is possible. The Mobiplex (where mobile and wireless are concentrated in the Demoplex) at the Plexus 2007, (perhaps the world’s largest web 2.0 event) will hog much real estate. Mark my words, “your hair will raise”.
Wibree, Nokia’s radio technology consumes so little energy that it makes it affordable to build and market small wired devices. Think wireless watches, jewelry and toys. It’s not a competitor to Bluetooth because in fact they can be a dual core chip. But it is a stand alone technology for the smallest of devices. For inventors this will produce a boon of new devices. Nokia states, “it is an open industry initiative extending local connectivity to small devices”.
It has my imagination going, wireless sunglasses, wireless earrings…. hmmmm. Very James Bond. It’s getting more del.icio.us every day.
Web content services are now starting to negotiate user rates lest they be sued by studios (sound or screen) or authors for sharing their content. A lawsuit was launched by a journalist against YouTube in July for copyright infringment. Now the head of Universal Music is blasting YouTube and threatening to take action with the same cause. The value web services like YouTube bring to these studios is shadowed by the windfall the studios can obtain in US courts notorious for generous judgments. But this is incredibly short-sighted. Other media corporations see the future value and are cooperating with YouTube and similar services. The studios and media were asleep at the wheel while folks at Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo! (to name few) and YouTube where busily developing the technology to enable massive entertainment distribution. YouTube reports 100 million viewers per day–that nears superbowl status! Gives me goosebumps. YouTube may be the poster child for opportunistic studios who were slow to act in a whole new paradigm. Surely the Belgium claim against Google will serve as fodder in a YouTube settlement or ruling. Brace yourself for more action; ambulance chasers are actively sniffing every opportunity (it’s more lucrative than a “slip and fall” practice).
What’s sad for start-ups like YouTube is that they are barely monetized with mostly VC money keeping them afloat. The pressure is on to tack ads on videos, web pages and perhaps even start charging a fee to users–so they can compensate the content producers whoever they may be. While studios were slow, the devices were even slower at keeping up the pace. The masses don’t want to watch TV or movies on their computers; however mobile devices have great appeal. Apple will be the first to offer the Apple iTV module early in 2007 making TV viewing possible. Yet analog TV still reigns. Digital TV is in progress. Broadband isn’t here yet–not for internet TV.
Perhaps there should be a fee levied by content producers (counterpoint) but value must also be placed on distribution. And valuators must assess the value of distribution and audiences delivered by YouTube–it is high and not to be undervalued. (We need the equivalent of Nielsen ratings for the web.) YouTube should be on the offensive and recognize their immense power and value in building these entertainment brands and their many licenisng initiatives. For Hollywood it is free advertising. It is a two-way street. And this is not about replicating the old model where all is downloaded to the audience–after all YouTube cannot sell buckets of popcorn at 100 times the cost; this revenue stream is just not there. Can surfers tolerate streamed 30 second spots in the TV model? This intrusiveness is what endeared users to the web. So many questions.
The studios need the YouTubes; hence, visionary media players are now collaborating. I do not believe YouTube will go the way of Napster. We are at a “medium tail” point. Change always meets with resistance. People kept burning oil lamps when bulbs were in use. I for one am offering my dirge herein at no fee but I always expect credit. Aye! there’s the rub.