Monday, October 31, 2005

Mobile news round up

I've been a bit quiet this last week due to having guests over the half-term holiday. But I thought I'd start the new week with a round-up of some interesting bits and pieces happening in mobile from my in-box in the last few days. So, in no particular order of importance...
  • 89 million SMS per day and rising in the UK which is a 25% increase on 2004. This is just peer to peer messaging and doesn't include any commercial text messaging.
  • The StarSight project has been nominated for “Best Short Range Data Application” in this year’s Mobile Data Awards. I'm particularly pleased about this as not only is this a brilliant idea, but I helped to put the team together and have done a bit of work on this project myself. Fingers crossed they win.
  • If you're interested in mobile internet best practice, then this is for you. W3C's MWI Best Practices Working Group has released the first public draft. It is not yet complete and the group will be working hard on this document before it will become an official recommendation. The group is willing to hear the opinions of the community of mobile developers to see what's the opinion. As you will see there are some chapters where it clearly states that the group would like to receive comments, but I would like to point out that I would be happy to hear comments on ANY part of the document so that we'll be able to discuss it and find a solution. You can download the document here.
  • Women have overtaken men in their interest in VAS (value-added services) with 53% of women interested compared to 47% of men - a reversal in the numbers from 2004. This is according to a recent round table discussion held by Buongiorno (via 160 characters).
  • Nokia has introduced the Nokia Local Content Channel Solution, CoolZone, that is a Bluetooth based end-to-end solution for distributing digital content to consumers' phones in retail locations (via 160 characters).

Monday, October 24, 2005

upgrading to 3G

I'm a few months overdue a phone upgrade with T-Mobile UK. I've grown to love my K700i but I feel it's time to upgrade to 3G now that T-Mobile's 3G service in the UK has gone live at long last.

I'm in a conundrum though - which phone do I choose? At the moment, I have a few to choose from -

1. Sony Ericsson K608i
2. Samsung ZM60 (although I'd have to be persuaded to change to a clamshell, I do like my candybar phones)
3. Nokia N70 (not keen on Nokia's menus and filing system as I've been using Sony Ericsson phones for the last 4 years.
There is a LG phone as well, but I had such a poor experience with my Three LG phone, that I've given up on them so I'm not even going to consider it.

What do you think? I must admit, I'm veering towards the N70 because of its smartphone functionality and memory card slot. But the Samsung has longer standby and talktime. And the Sony Ericsson is very familiar. The SE will be a free upgrade but I'll have to pay a bit for the N70 (probably £100 ish). Should I wait for another phone that's about to hit the market that isn't on this list yet?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Campaign Awards - What, no women? Update

I emailed Claire Beale, editor of Campaign magazine about the lack of female judges for the recent Campaign Awards in Digital and Outdoor. She replied to me very quickly as follows:

"At a rough count we asked the following women to judge the poster awards:
Stevie Spring, Julie France, Kate Stanners, Annie Rickard, Helen Alexander and Tiger Savage...all couldn't make it...our aim is to have high calibre judges so -- given the lower number of senior women in the business -- we are limited; far from ideal, but definitely not for want of trying (or worrying) about it."

Not sure what you can say about that really. How frustrating it is that the advertising industry is still so male-dominated in an increasingly female world (if the gurus like Tom Peters are to be believed, in the USA, women are responsible for 80%+ of buying decisions). No wonder the ad industry is in trouble. If women are doing all the buying and men doing all the selling there are going to be lots of mismatches in communication, due not least to the fact that men and women *are* different and often don't understand each other terribly well. A balance of both is needed. Time for change.

A few thank yous:
to Claire at Campaign for replying to me so quickly.
to all those who commented publicly or emailed me privately on this topic.
to all the Devas, Busygirls and Mobloggers who also debated this with me. It's been fun ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Women's blood is boiling - Neil French is a sexist

Ok, lots of folks already know that Neil French holds sexist views. But did he really have to go this far? Over on Brand Republic, they've just reported that he's offered his resignation after giving a speech in Toronto this month in which he was asked why women were under-represented among the top ranks of creative directors. He replied: "Because they're crap".

Nancy Vonk, co-chief creative officer at WPP's Ogilvy agency in Toronto, wrote an angry column denouncing his comments over at the website. She continues that he described that women will inevitably wimp out and 'go suckle something' after their short stint in advertising, and that in his honest opinion he was voicing the inner thoughts of legions of men in the senior ranks of our business. There's also a legion of comments that are also worth a read.

I posted the news to a couple of newsgroups I belong too, and there's been plenty of feedback I can tell you. If Neil French was a nobody, he and his comments could be laughed off as insignificant and stupid. However, this is a man who is WPP Group worldwide creative director and influences a staff of 72,000 as well as clients, peers, the media and so on. There are many in the advertising industry who hang on his every word.

Continuining on the sexism in advertising theme, I've emailed the editor of Campaign Magazine to see what she has to say about the lack of female judges at their recent poster and digital awards. I'm very interested to see what response (if any) I get.

Update 21.10.05: Link to Guardian article [subscription required]. Neil French talks back - WPP executive claims bloggers sealed his fate

MoMoLondon inaugural event 7th November

I've just been tipped off that the first London Mobile Monday (or, MomoLondon) will take place on the 7th November at Vodafone's offices on the Strand in central London from 6pm. The theme is tentatively set as "Connecting the physical and digital world" - with topics such as location-based services, optical code reading and some others to be agreed.

You can join the [yahoo] group here. And you can read about it at Blackbelt Jones' blog.

Sounds like it could be interesting and I expect will cover off aspects of mobile marketing too and not just the geeky bits. Not sure who's moderating the group or who's a member but I guess all will be revealed in time.

Hopefully see some of you on the 7th.

Geek Dinner 24th November 05 with Molly Holzschlag

The next geek dinner has been announced via Sarah Blow's blog. Molly Holzschlag will be speaking, and it seems she is THE web design guru and is also considered as one of the most influential women on the web. So this is a must go and meet opportunity if you're into that kinda thing.

WHEN: Thursday 24th November 2005.
WHERE: Hogs Head, 11 Dering Street, Westminster, London W1
TIME: 19:00 - 23:00
COST: £1 finger buffet payable on the door.

To sign up go to or just turn up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Teens and wireless technologies at FreqOUT

I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely ladies at Vital Regeneration (no website currently) to the FreqOUT launch night at the ICA last night. The idea behind it was to give young people access to various bits and pieces of wireless technology and use them for creativity and learning. They worked with artists and techies to realise and hone their ideas:

1. CCTV is watching me... - this was a film shot using a wireless digital CCTV camera by kids from the Churchill Gardens Estate in collaboration with artist Melissa Bliss and film maker Jake Nowak. This one's definitely worth a watch if you get chance to. If it gets posted to the internet ever, I'll put a link here.

2. Geo Graffiti - this was my favourite. Led by artists Jeremy Wood and programmer Hugh Pryor, kids went around with mobile GPS (global positioning systems) devices and traced their path on earth to create drawings. Back at base the 'drawings' were translated into a manageable size so that the likes of you and I can see them and make some sense of them. They started with creating simple shapes and then graduated to creating their signatures up to 400m wide at Battersea Park. Another project in this installation was to map the local area and mark the places most significant to them. In doing this, they created a map of the Churchill Gardens Estate including the best chip shop in the area. All good stuff.

3. Victoria Voices - young people from the Cardinal Hume Centre interviewd people they found in their local area from office workers, job seekers, armed policement, passers-by, market traders etc to record various attitudes to homelessness, race, and life on the streets in Westminster. A fascinating insight into the local area.

4. Shadow Transfer - Using infrared lights and a video mixer, this installation was about communication through body movement. Participants play, talk and argue with others by projecting their shadows to meet with shadows of others without the hindrance of the usual visual signs by which we usually judge fellow humans (such as skin colour, accent and clothing choice).

All in all, a really exciting range of projects and hopefully a sign of things to come. Watch this space as they say.

Oh, and if you're wondering why I didn't take any pictures, it was because it was too dark and my cameraphone doesn't have a decent flash.

Friday, October 14, 2005

What, no women?

I've just been raking through my magazine pile from the last week or two and came across Campaign from the last two weeks. With each issue, there's a supplement showcasing two awards they've recently held - Digital and Poster. "Ah, this looks interesting", I say to myself and take a look. I turn the page to see the panel of judges beaming at me from each supplement. In the Digital Awards judging panel, there are 15 judges and 1 woman (she's not pictured). In the Poster Awards judging panel, there are 16 judges and not a single woman.

Putting aside any gender discrimination issues or sexist practices, in the interests of fairness alone, wouldn't a woman's point of view be useful and/or necessary? Half of all poster viewings must be viewed by women (unless those posters are in men's urinals that is) mustn't they? Ditto digital campaigns?

What's going on here? Does Haymarket not believe in getting women involved in these things? Are women not interested in taking part (which I find hard to believe but it *may* be true)? Is our voice not relevant?

How would men in the industry feel about an all-female judging panel? I see that would be equally inappropriate. But maybe a panel that more or less represents the proportion of women in the industry. Or is the female workforce in poster and digital marketing only 3.23%? Or am I getting frustrated over nothing and that it's perfectly ok to have an all-male panel and assume that of course they'd be the best for the job?

I foolishly hoped that in the 21st Century things would be different. I'm not expecting a 50:50 ratio, but 2 or 3 women on each panel wouldn't be unreasonable, would it? There are many talented women in the marketing industry generally, let alone poster/outdoor and digital (well I met a few of them at the Geek Dinner this week). Why aren't they here? Do women just have better things to do?

Comments please! This debate is also in action over on moblog UK.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fashion Through a Digital Lens

Jemima Gibbons of Cass Creatives and NMK have teamed up to create another event on new media and fashion. Unfortunately I can't make it this time but I was on the panel for the first event, Looking for the New Black, a year or so ago and it was great so it comes highly recommended. The event is next Thursday 13th October at 01zero-one, Peter Street, London W1 6pm to 8pm and costs £20 (which includes drinks and nibbles). On the panel you'll find
  • Carie Bolsover, Interactive Commercial Manager, Channel 4
  • Ally Capellino, Designer
  • Eva Pascoe, Founder, Zoom (representing Top Shop & Orange)
  • Paul Toeman, Commercial Director, Panlogic (representing Ann Summers)
  • Amanda Zuydervelt, Editor, Style Bible
And they'll be discussing how fashion designers and SMEs can use digital media to promote their wares as well as reviewing the opportunities and threats posed by new media – what are the latest marketing and distribution technologies? What are the newest ways in which the High Street is being re-invented online? And how is increased personalisation changing the customer-retailer relationship?

To find out more and to book your ticket, click here.