Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm off to the Electric Picnic today

It's going to be quite an adventure... train to Birkenhead, overnight ferry to Dublin, pick up the hire car and drive to Stradbally, set up tent and enjoy the fun for 3 days and nights. Then back up to Dublin on Monday, overnight ferry and train back to London.

The good news about the ferry is that we (me, Sarah, Sophie and Deirdre) have a cabin which includes an evening meal and breakfast so at least we'll start the break with a good meal and a proper rest.

It does mean of course that there will be no blogging for a few days. Rest assured, I'll catch up on my return with tales of bands and late nights and shonky tents and beer and craic, oh and a bit of mobile marketing thrown in.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Did you know there was a Ringtone Society

"No?", me neither until today. The Ringtone Society is "an international platform that aims to liberate the world of musically banal ringtones" It invites composers and musicians from around the world to join them in creating ringtones and inviting the general public to acquire and use as many as we like. They also place 'audio tags' in the public environment thus putting avant garde culture back in the public domain.

The society started in Holland but is heading down under and teaming up with the Melbourne International Arts Festival to launch the society on to a global stage. As part of the festival, composers, artists and musicians have been asked to enter their ringtones (not limited to music, can be sound effects or spoken word), which will then become part of the global ringtone library. In addition, festival-goers can attend a series of ringtone concerts and experience live recordings of original ringtones by Australian and Festival guest composers.

There is a small fee Aus$1.50 or Euro 0.90 to download the ringtones to your mobile phone if you have an Australian or Dutch phone of which a percentage goes to the original artist. Payments provided by Mobile Money, which coincidentally, has 2 offices - one in Holland and one in Australia ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Words of Wisdom from Dr Seuss

Quote of the day from my google home page:

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Dr Seuss, illustrator and author 1904 to 1991

Coca Cola embraces mobile marketing in Japan

I saw this web page (it's in Japanese) and I figured it was showing how to pay for soft drinks with your mobile phone. So to double check, I asked my friend, Jan from W2forum, to translate it for me to make sure I'd got it right. I've got some screenshots here too.

It seems I did. There are two ways to pay - either oyster-card stylee with a 'wallet phone' which is pre-installed. Or if you have a less fancy phone, then you need to download an application you can charge up with credit and then you buy a drinks coupon. This displays as a QR code on your phone's screen. You then hold it up to the reader on the machine and you buy your drink.

Jan then adds that it has a rather interesting loyalty point scheme which he was just writing about in a report which I can share here.

"Coca Cola uses the mobile phone as a loyalty point system for their Cmode mobile-enabled drinks vending machines in Japan. consumers can use NFC (near field communication) or a QR code generated by an application installed on their phone to purchase drinks at Cmode vending machines. For each purchase, consumers earn loyalty points which are stored on their mobile phone. As the number of loyalty points increases, the consumer's loyalty ranking 'levels up' and the number of loyalty points earned per drink purchased also increases. Consumers can redeem loyalty points as free drinks at a vending machine, or on digital content such as screensavers and wallpapers at the Coca Cola mobile site. To use the loyalty scheme, consumers must first register to become a member of "Club Cmode". Club Cmode provides Coca Cola with the opportunity to interact with their consumers as well as promote new products and sell mobile content."

Gapingvoid hits the right note

Go see more of Hugh's stuff at gapingvoid.com.
The picture above is one of Hugh's designs for Stormhoek wine labels.

Play the Guitar? Got a mobile phone?

then you need the Yamaha Musician's Companion as written about here. It's an essential tool which includes a chord reference with over 1100 chord fingerings and even plays each note. There's also a metronome to keep the beat whether your instrument is the recorder or the double bass. There's a beat finder enabling users to determine the tempo of a song and a pitch pipe to allow you to tune your instrument to reference a standard pitch.

You can read more about the software here and also buy it at http://www.yamaha-wireless.com. The site is viewable from your PC or your mobile phone.

All this for USD 9.99. Sounds like a bargain to me.

Carling goes mobile

with a nicely rounded mobile campaign as spotted here.

Just text BEER to 83400 and you'll get a wap push back to your phone which takes you to the Carling mobile site which has been built by Marvellous Mobile (or at least that's what the URL would suggest).

Once on the site, if you register, you have the chance to download a free mobile game called Canit (122kb file - good job I'm on an all you can eat package from T-Mobile), plus there's a bar finder and you can download free videos and wallpapers plus get ringtones for 50p, and have a chance to win a year's supply of beer.

The Bar Finder gives you the option to click to find a bar near you in London that sells Carling (well, that'll be most pubs won't it?). It uses LBS (Location Based Services) to check where you are (except Three and Virgin). However, when I tried it, it couldn't find my location. There is also an option to enter your postcode instead. And when I tried that, it worked fine and located 3 pubs within 1 km from my house.

The Canit game looked like fun, it identified that I had a compatible phone, and was able to download the 2nd time I tried. The game encourages you to collect Carling cans by pressing 0 on your phone and to bash the non-Carling cans by pressing the appropriate number on your keypad that corresponds to where that can is. There is a leader board where you can upload your scores and get extra chances to win the year's supply of beer.

The music section of the wap site is pretty comprehensive, including a music quiz, music news, venues, festival guide and news and also Top Ringtones. The ringtone selection this month includes polyphonic and truetones from Orson, Razorlight, The Coral, The Feeling, The Flaming Lips, The Zutons etc, all at a bargain 50p. There's nothing in the video section yet but the wallpapers were a bit poxy being photos of Carling - seen here.

Navigation on the site was pretty good and the pages loaded quickly enough.

Will it make me change my beer preference to Carling? Probably not. I like Becks. In bottles. Because a friend told me it was least likely to give me a hangover as it's a very 'pure' beer. And I believe him and I like the taste. But I still like the campaign and the thought and effort that has gone into it. What I'm interested in is how the site is going to be promoted and what kind of traction it gets with its target audience. If anyone knows, then please do comment here.

Mobile Search is big news

There's been some research into mobile search over in the US and you can find the lowdown here. Worth a look. I suspect the stats in the UK will be pretty similar. If you know of similar UK research, please let me know.

Off hours mobile usage

ok, I admit, I'm one of those folks, who at the end of a hard day, can be found playing sudoku in bed on my mobile phone in the wee hours that Tom has written about. It's usually because I've done all the other puzzles I can get my hands on via the newspapers I read and I need something to send me to sleep. And eventually it does and is less onerous somehow than reading a book.

It's not doing much for my eyesight though as I now need glasses.
:(

Wastage on mobile

Just spotted this over at Tom's blog. It's a really interesting post discussing wastage when folks are requesting and downloading applications on mobile. For off-portal activity, it seems that wastage is roughly 50% but decreasing year on year (I guess that's down to customers getting to know their phones better and phone settings improving). For on-portal activity, it's best to bill via SMS and allow the customer to just download direct from the wap page (which actually makes more sense to me anyway from a customer experience point of view - less dissonance, more immediate gratification etc).

Anyway, well worth a read and worth commenting on to share your experiences.

The next Women in Mobile Data event is on 30/8

Hot on the heels of our last event covering research into the mobile market, our next Women in Mobile Data event will take place on Wednesday 30th August at 7pm at the Vodafone Offices at 80 The Strand, London WC2R 0RJ. The topic will be mobile advertising and Jessica Sandin from Fathom Partners will be talking us through some of their findings in this area.

If you'd like to join us, please RSVP to RSVP [at] beepmarketing [dot] com and I'll forward those RSVPs to Julie at Vodafone who's kindly organising this one. You don't need to be female to join the event, but you do need to have an interest in underserved markets in mobile (which happens to be mainly women it seems). And you need to like women I guess, as there'll be a lot of us there!

See you there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ghost busting mobile phones

It seems the latest trend in Japanese phone jewellery is a ghost busting strap which promises to monitor abnormal energy sources and keep all the nasty spirits away (via Tom, via Devi).

Of course, what you *really* want on your phone is the ghost detector which can be found at The Horror Channel.

Peer to peer text messaging up again in the UK

Yes folks, it seems our love affair with SMS is still alive and kicking with 3.5 billion SMS sent during July 2006 (i.e. 113m per day). This is a 30% increase on July 2005 and an increase of 1m per day on June this year. Of course the World Cup has helped with 14om messages being sent the day England played Portugal as has youngsters organising their summer holidays.

Points to note are that these figures do not include ANY commercial text messaging - they just count person to person text messaging. Also very young children, very old people, technophobes and folks with big thumbs don't text so those that do, do a lot of it.

Source MDA. Press release list can be viewed here at Text.It.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Want to know whether the Nokia 770 is any good?

Then go check out Al4ie's blog. He's done an incredibly thorough review of the ins and outs of Nokia's internet tablet and is fascinating reading, especially if you're into mobile gadgetty type things. Well worth a read.

Swedish Beers - Advance Warning

It's Swedish Beers 5th birthday in October so our next bash is the birthday one and we hope a good one. It'll be on Tuesday 17th October at our usual venue, the Nordic Bar and we'll be announcing sponsor details soon. Just wanted to let you know so that you can put the date in the diary.

Skål

Japanese research into mobile marketing

A friend of mine, Jan from W2forum, has just pointed out some research into mobile marketing from Japan. 299 companies were surveyed by Nikkei and DC Communications. He rather handily speaks fluent Japanese and has translated the key stats for me:

What are the benefits of mobile marketing?
(base is 28 companies who used mobile marketing in 2005)

1. You can immediately see results - 46.4%
2. It can easily be adapted to suit objectives - 42.9%
= It can help narrow consumers down into target profiles - 42.9%
4. Cost to create mobile marketing is low - 39.3%
5. Cost to distribute mobile marketing is low - 28.6%
= Return on investment is high - 28.6%
7. There aren't many restrictions, so it is possible to experiment with new ideas - 21.4%
8. It is effective at driving sales - 17.9%
9. It is effective at raising product awareness - 10.7%

Will you use mobile marketing in the future?

Yes - 32.6% of companies who didn't use mobile marketing in 2005
Yes - 89.3% of companies who did use mobile marketing in 2005.

So despite the Japanese not taking to SMS, it seems they are taking on this whole mobile marketing game although there is some way to go before it becomes ubiquitous. I'm guessing that this is a mix of mobile email, i-mode/wap sites and QR codes (barcodes your phone camera can read) as a call to action.

I also found a good link to some Japanese case studies and mobile usage here which I'm sure you'll find interesting and it's also written in English.

Picture found on flickr

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fluid Lives Research

I haven't read it yet, but I'm going to... there looks to be an interesting research report from Isobar and Yahoo! around digital lives (including the impact of mobile phones). It's a global report and is available from the Fluid Lives website. You'll need to give your email address, but then you can download it for free.

If you read it before I do, let me know what you think.

via Tom Hume

Friday, August 18, 2006

Iron Mobilist

My friend and fellow mobilist, Seth, is nobly attempting the Iron Man this weekend in Sherborne. And he's raising lots of lovely lolly for charity. If you want to help him through it, then please give generously via justgiving/donttri.

The charities who will benefit are:
The Children's Hospice Association which helps children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions
Life Education Centres providing drug prevention education to children
Medecins Sans Frontieres providing vital help where tragedies unfold around the world
The Air Ambulance Service

I've no idea how he's gonna get through the 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride followed by a full marathon, especially with the amount of training I know he hasn't been doing. And no ipods allowed (what's that all about?!). But hey, it's his body not mine. Let's hope he doesn't do a Jade anyway (Jade's the one on the left!). Seth, you do know how far you've got to go don't you?

Anyway, please give generously. If nothing else, please give him some cash because he's prepared to embarrass himself on the internet with a very fetching picture. To see it, you'll have to go to his donation page and erm preferably donate some cash. I'm sure he and the charities will be very appreciative.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

12.3m in the UK used the mobile internet in June

According to the Mobile Data Association (MDA), a total of 12.3 million people used their mobile phone to access theinternet in the UK during June 2006. This figure shows that close to 20% of mobile phone users are now regularly using the WAP capability ontheir phones to download ringtones, games, wallpapers or to simply browsethe internet whilst on the move.

The MDA plans to issue mobile internet user figures on a monthly basis -having previously issued figures relating to the number of WAP page impressions viewed. The method for counting has been revised to give a clearer picture of how many people are accessing the service each month, rather than how many pages a certain number may have viewed. For further mobile internet information, please visit: http://www.text.it/mobileweb/tips.cfm

Monday, August 14, 2006

War and mobile phones

I just spotted this over at Mobile Pizza. It's a picture of an Israeli informer being murdered in Palestine. The murder itself is horrific. But what is also distressing is the number of people capturing the event on their mobile phones. Happy Slapping at the gallows. So much for modern civilisation. Seems there are still folks who enjoy a public execution.

The BeepMarketing website is down temporarily

Thanks to everyone who's let me know. Easily has changed over its webservers and they've forgotten that I have mysql as part of the deal. It's gonna be fixed but might take some time. And in the meantime I've been advised to do nothing about redirects or whatever. So I'm doing nothing until their engineers have taken a look. And in the bigger scheme of things, this is only the 2nd hiccup I've had in 4.5 years. Fingers crossed it'll all be fixed in the next day or two.

In the meantime, enjoy the blog ;)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Gapingvoid sums up my week

Mentally and emotionally, this is how I feel at the end of another busy, interesting, emotional, exhausting, frustrating week. TLC required please ;) Roll on Electric Picnic...

Image from the wonderful Hugh of Gapingvoid fame.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Grumbletext rocks

I found out a few days ago via Ewan's blog about a new service on www.sms-txt.co.uk which offers *free* text messaging. What it doesn't make clear is that your recipient will either have to spend 50p via paypal to view the message online or pay £5 to view the message on their phone. I haven't tried it myself (nor am I going to) but there's more about it here and here.

So I also grumbled about it over at Grumbletext (where you can moan about junk text messages and find out how to deal with them - I co-founded the mobile bit of Grumbletext with Adrian a few years ago). Next thing I know, I get an email from John at Vodafone to say that he'd spotted my posting and stopped the dodgy service altogether. Let's hope the other networks have followed suit.

Hurrah for blogs, forums and the magic of the interweb :)

Media habits are changing..

Ofcom has just released its latest round of facts and figures in its 2006 annual communications market report. Key points from the report tell us that the sector is being transformed by greater competition, falling prices and the erosion of traditional revenues and audiences. A new generation of consumers is emerging for whom online is the lead medium and convergence is instinctive.

Consumers have taken advantage of market competition and falling prices to increase their usage of broadband internet, digital TV and radio services, and mobile phones.

The number of households with broadband connections increased by 63% between 2004 and 2005, to a total of 9m, and the number of households with digital TV also increased by 18% in the year to March 2006 to a total of 18.3m.

The internet is the favoured medium for young adults aged 16-24, who spend 21 minutes a week more time online than the general population, but seven hours less watching TV and an hour and a half less listening to radio. [I wonder how much of that online access is instant messaging and downloading music and video?]

Social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace have soared in popularity with this age group, with 70% having used one and more than half using them at least weekly.

[I have no doubt this is true, but my experience of watching young adults and social networking sites is that they're fashion properties and that youngsters migrate en masse from one to another as fashion dictates. First MSN spaces, then flickr, then bebo, then myspace etc. And it all depends where their real-life friends are actually hanging out. Sure, they'll keep their profiles there but usage decreases over time.]

These young adults also use their mobile phone more than the general population, making seven more calls and sending 42 more texts per week. That's good news for the network operators.

I also spotted today that Sneak magazine from Emap is discontinuing its print edition and sticking to the online edition only as its readers have moved online. More confirmation that media habits have changed and it's not just about the early adopters any more.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I think the wap glass is a quarter full

and not three quarters empty. What do you think?

The Saatchi Gallery goes all web 2.0

I've just been going through some of my emails from the last few weeks and came across one from The Saatchi Gallery (no idea where they got my details from, but that's by the by). Anyway, they've gone all web 2.0 on us by creating a meeting space online. They've taken the myspace model and created their version for artists and folks who enjoy art.

So, if you're an art lover, you can set up your profile, with some photos if you like, and 'meet' others who also like art via live chat, blogs and online debates. You can also include your email address if you want others to connect to you via email.

If you're an artist, you can register and upload your artwork, including video, for everyone to see. The artist profiles are randomised so you see different artists each time you visit.

I think the execution could be better (the huge Saatchi/Your Gallery branding at the top detracts from seeing the actual profiles for example, but maybe that's a firefox issue?) but I'm impressed that the gallery had the vision to create something like this at all.

Let's go Mento

lloyd + stormhoek shiraz + mentos = Let's go Mento

More about the Pimlico Institute for Stormhoek Studies (or PISS for short) at Perfect Path.

Enjoy. I did!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Counting down to the picnic...

Not long to go now until the fabulous Electric Picnic. And hot off the press tonight, Grandmaster Melle Mel with the other remaining members of the Furious Five - Kid Creole, Scorpio and Raheim - will be beckoning us all to put our hands in the air like we just don't care and groove to the godfathers of hip hop.

Also on my 'must got and see them too' list are Massive Attack, News Order, Pet Shop Boys, PJ Harvey, Gnarls Barkley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Frames, Super Furrys, Belle & Sebastian, Bloc Party, Graham Coxon, Gary Numan, The Dublin Gospel Choir (they were brill last year), Sparks (this town ain't big enough for the both of us) and Elbow and I'm sure there'll be lots of others too. And then of course there's Lost Vagueness, the comedy tent, the dance tent, the body and soul area, catching up with friends, eating, drinking, chatting... When am I gonna fit it all in?!