Thursday, November 24, 2005

Air freshener for mobile phones

No really, you can get air freshener mobile charms from Pixen for your mobile phone including Hello Kitty (see picture on left) and Disney smells (I wonder what those smell like?!). The idea is that each time your phone rings or you receive a text message (or email in Japan's case), you get a faint smell of something lovely. It uses an electronically stimulated micro scent generator in the charm itself. In Japan they're called "Keitai-kun-kun" which translates as mobile sniff sniff.

I guess this goes on the back of mobile phone jewellery and mobile charms which are incredibly popular in Asia and growing in popularity over here now. And they don't come cheap either. Each charm pictured on the right, from Hannah Zakari, is £15. I don't know how much the air fresheners are but I can't imagine they'll be cheap either.

I wonder if it will catch on?

Starsight Project coverage in the Financial Times

I was very excited to see coverage in the FT for the award-winning Starsight Project. Mike Butcher interviewed Steve Flaherty a few weeks ago and this is the result: Lamp posts are leap from dark. I expect we'll be seeing more press coverage in the coming weeks and months as the pilot projects progress in Africa. And as Mike says, who knows, we might even see Starsight lamp posts in the Scottish Highlands!

Wanna know about students and how to market to them?

Well try Luke Mitchell's book "Targeting Students: A Marketing Guide". You'll find out all about it on his website and have a chance to sign up to his very interesting email newsletter (I'm guessing RSS is next on his 'to-do' list). And of course, if you'd like to add mobile to the student marketing mix, then talk to me as well!

As it happens, I'm off to the University of Westminster in two weeks to run a workshop on interactive marketing for the Masters students there and next week, I'm off to the University of Hertfordshire to do my annual undergraduate lecture on mobile marketing.

I always find it fascinating talking to students about mobile. What I usually find is that they're all pretty heavy users of their mobile phones but, even though they're marketing students in the main, they haven't quite made the connection between marketing and mobile. I expect I'll confuse them even more when I start talking about Sony PSPs and video ipods! But I guess it's my job to help them create the link.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Calling all Kate Bush fans

Don't know about you, but I can still remember seeing Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on Top of the Pops with my big sister and being wowed by it (guess I'm showing my age here). I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of the new album (just ordered it) but in the meantime, I stumbled across this lovely site of early Kate Bush demos 'n stuff. If you're a fan, you'll love it!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Why isn't MTV selling truetones?

I thought I'd take a look at MTV today as one of my clients is interested in advertising there next year. Of course, I couldn't resist but take a look at their mobile ringtone offering and was surprised to see that they're *not* selling truetones (with the exception of 'pimp my ride'). The Music Solution seems to do all their ringtones and I just wondered why they hadn't got round to doing the real music? Seems a bit backward to me - especially when they're already playing around with mobile content with Motorola and made-for- mobile video which is much more complex than ringtones. Anyone know the answer? Is it a DRM issue?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wahey - The Starsight Project wins MDA Award

I got a MMS message last night from Steve Flaherty announcing that The Kolam Partnership won the Best Short Range Data Application Award for its Starsight Project in the MDA Awards at Painters’ Hall in the City of London last night. I'm very proud of the team - they really did deserve to win this award as it's a fantastic proposition. Pictured is Steve with his award.

The Starsight Project has a multi service architecture delivering solar powered WiFi within solar powered street lighting units, and providing light and broadband internet access with the future potential for voice.

The WiFi implementation within StarSight is primarily used to provide control of solar powered street lights, enabling its users to control battery life, on/off mechanisms and maintenance. It also provides security monitoring. As excess WiFi bandwidth is rolled out into the local community, it allows different types of business, Government and the local community to access standard ICT capabilities.

StarSight has other niche applications in security with WiFi enabled CCTV and also as a tsunami early warning system, with solar powered WiFi and sirens connected to local seismology centres. It has been designed to enable emerging nations and those undergoing transitional change, to roll out street lighting and ICT infrastructure via one economically and environmentally sustainable unit.

Other winners include Spinvox (I'm a big fan of Spinvox - I find it *really* useful), O2 (for best network!?) and Fastap. Find out more at the Mobile Data Association website. And congratulations again to Steve and the team for their award.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Spooks go mobile at the BBC

The Observer reported on Sunday that the BBC is offering a mobile game to complement the popular TV programme, Spooks. It mentioned in the article that the game had cost £100,000 to produce and that it was £2 to download. Hmm, that doesn't smell right to me. So I went and checked it out.

OK, I can't check how much it really cost to develop the game, so I have to take that as read. But I did go to the BBC Spooks website and found that there are 4 games to play and it's compatible with pretty much all Java capable handsets - no mean feat. So probably the development costs are no way out. It also includes some neat location elements and mobile interactivity which all adds up in development terms.

So, next the question about cost to download. Well, actually, the BBC doesn't charge anything for this at all. So it's free. Great. Or is it?

The game is free to download/play except for your usual SMS and data costs. And due to the interactive element of the fourth game in the series, the BBC predicts that your GPRS costs will be up to £1.90 so it's down to those pesky network operators again and their high data charges. I wonder when they will bring those data charges down so that us mere mortals don't panic when we're doing more than sending or receiving a text message, especially on Pay as You Go phones which are still 70% of the market?

If you want to check it out yourself, just text 'SPOOKS' to 81010. I'm going to try it out myself and I'll let you know if it's any good.

Mobile marketing is evolving to include Sony PSP

Well we've had news stories about advertising on video ipods and now PSP is joining the fray. is launching a Sony PSP channel with a free content promotion (via Brand Republic). It will be launched at the end of the month and users will be offered 10 free content packs to view on their Sony PSP's. The content will be the usual FHM type of thing - images and videos of girls (in their underwear I expect), behind the scenes stuff, interviews with the girls and viral teasers of what's coming up in forthcoming issues of the offline and online magazine.

The channel will be used to promote and its related mobile phone offering which is currently via network operator portals (Vodafone Live and O2 Activel). And also plans to make use of PSP's wireless browsing capabilities to create a browsable version of their site in the near future.

So what do I think of this. Well, I think it's great that Emap has had the presence of mind to pursue the PSP channel - with anticipated sales of 1m PSPs by Christmas, of which I guess the majority will be in the hands of young men, this is a great thing to do. Spot on in terms of targeting, a good demonstration of the scope of the Sony PSP (and I saw one in action at the Electric Picnic in the summer, and it was a rather fabulous piece of kit).

It does beg the question of how to define mobile marketing though. When I first started out, it was easy as it was all text messaging based (ok, so that was over 5 years ago and you had to explain what a text message was), and then it moved to 'stuff you do on a phone like SMS, ringtones and pictures' and then more recently we moved on to include games, applications and wap and now it's 'stuff you do on a phone, a PDA, an ipod,a mp3 player, a Sony PSP and, and.' I wonder what's next. And what the impact of wi-fi might be too.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the technology, and the potential it will bring, but by fragmenting the means of access, and the means of delivery, it could make it confusing for the customer, more difficult for the developer (how many platforms do you support exactly - over 200 mobile phones already + psp + pda + ipod + Gizmondo?) and more to the point to the brand. How does the client decide which channel to invest their money in ? If you're not into technology, how on earth are you supposed to work it all out?! (Clue, you get me in to help you.) It took TV 50 years or more to become fragmented to the state we're in today with 100s of TV stations. The mobile media world has already become fragmented in less than 5 years with multiple devices and multiple technologies, and mobile media is barely off the ground! The technology seems to be making a lot of things more complicated not less so. But it's fascinating to watch.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Swedish Beers - advance warning - 29 November 2005

For all of you who have a passing interest in things mobile, enjoy a drink or two at a central London hostelry and enjoy good company, then Swedish Beers is back after a few months absence.

Our next event is on 29 November 2005 at The Nordic Bar, Newman Street, London W1. We'll be there from about 6pm and usually inhabit the area at the back of the bar.

If you haven't been before, it's usually a really good laugh and you get to meet all kinds of people from network operators to developers, marketers and consultants to mobile content producers, PR folks, brands and publishers and everything in between. We usually get a few drinks in courtesy of our sponsor (November's sponsor tbc) too which helps get the evening off to a good start. If you can't make it straight after work, don't worry, there are usually some of us hanging around well into the evening and then some! And if you've been before, you know all this already.

Hopefully see some of you there.


Perfect Path up for top business blogging award

Wow! The lovely Lloyd Davis is the man behind the Perfect Path blog and is up for the "Best Implementation of a Business Blog" award at this year's International Information Industry Awards The shortlist is:

Ask Jack/The Guardian
English Cut
Panlibus (the Talis blog for librarians)
Perfect Path
UK FOIA blog

The III 2005 Ceremony will be held on 30 November 2005 at The Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. I have everything crossed for you Lloyd! Good luck.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alternative guide to the Electric Picnic 2005

Just stumbled on this alternative guide to the wonderful Electric Picnic 2005 on t'internet from the folks at Eyebrowy. Very funny. Well, I thought so but I guess that has something to do with the fact that I was there. There are 4 clips. Enjoy!

Motofrwd college competition - US only

Shame this competition from Motorola is only open to US residents. They're challenging students to come up with concepts around "seamless mobility" and you can win some nice prizes too. So if you're a US student with a great idea for a mobile application and/or device then this competition might be for you. You don't have to come up with the mobile application or mobile device itself but you can story board it or write about it. Closing date is 15th November 2005 so best be quick.


Not sure how interesting this actually is but thought it worth posting about. It seems that protest ringtones are beginning to happen - first in the Philippines and now in the US too. These ringtones seem to be DIY jobs and there are a several bits of software and sites out there that can help you create, store and distribute your own tones including xingtone and ringranger as well as software you can pick up in the supermarket for a tenner. A new open source system similar to Xingtone, called Riot Tones, is in the works though; created by programmer and activist Evan Henshaw Plath, Riot Tones will help users create their own ringtones and share them via the web. As the technology to create and share these protest ring tones becomes more widely available, he expects them to become a popular choice for spreading messages among politically aware young people.

As you'll see from the various wiki pages, the site's not live yet. But as far as I can tell, the clever thing about this is that you create one ringtone file and the system sorts out the right format for all the different phones out there.

I wonder if it will achieve Evan's vision of ringtones as protest songs or if it will just help proliferate annoying tones like the Crazy Frog?

I want one of these please

Anyone care to sponsor me by sending me one of these lovely beauties? A Video Seven LTV20E 20" LCD TV in silver. It would go down a treat in my currently being sorted out bedroom. I've just put together my new big white bed (it's lovely and is very clever because you don't need to turn the mattress) and there's a space on top of the chest of drawers at the foot of the bed that will accommodate a dvd player + flatscreen LCD TV. If you'd like to buy me one of these, you can pick one up at Amazon for a bargain £249.99 including delivery.