Saturday, December 23, 2006

Off to Worcester for some R 'n R

I'll be puterless and broadbandless for the best part of a week so I won't be blogging over the next few days whilst I get fed and watered in return for doing a bit of washing up.

Just wanted to wish all my friends, readers and fellow bloggers and mobilists a wonderful Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rok's been busy launching Ansanow

Not only are they doing off-portal mobile telly but they've also just launched Ansanow which is an interesting departure for them I have to say. It's kinda like 82ask or AQA but costs half the price at 50p. You text in your question to 83773 and their system will check if it has been answered before and if not, it will call on a pool of experts to answer the question for you. If you're one of the experts, you get 10p when your answer is used and it's added to the pool of answers. Then each time that answer is used, you get 5p so if you hit on a popular question, then you're [potentially] quids in.

There's been some debate about the relevance of these services with the advent of google and the mobile internet. I suppose the big difference is that 82ask (where you text your question to 82275), at least, has access to a load of paid-for information services that you just don't get access to on google or ansanow for that matter (AFAIK) so you can ask business questions about market share, financial results and so on. It also has a permanent team on the case who do this day in day out and now have solid experience in how to answer a difficult question in a text message. And anyway, if you're in the pub, and desperately need to know something, do you really want to be googling on your phone when you can just do it by text and carry on with your beer and your conversation?

Webby's go mobile

I was lucky enough to head over to the Webby's launch party at the ICA last week with the best of London's digerati and had a great time. I had been wondering, however, why I and a few other mobile types had been invited to the bash.

And then it all became clear when they announced there are 3 mobile categories this year for best mobile site that sell products and services: listings and updates, news and entertainment and the mobile marketplace. These are all sponsored by dotmobi.

You'd best be quick though if you want to enter - the deadline is this Friday 15th December and you can enter online and it costs USD 245 to enter a mobile site (with discounts for certain kinds of entrants) and looks like a fairly straightforward process.

Good luck!

Ever wondered about how to use myspace for promoting stuff?

Then wonder no more as James has set it all out for you in 10 easy 'how to's'. Not sure these steps are all entirely legal (graffiti for instance) or what Mr and Mrs Grumpy in Grimsby might have to say about it. Nevertheless, it's worth a read and following on from that thread to read about Jame's Shoreditch MySpace experiment (- my computer's being a bit slow tonight otherwise I'd give you the link for that too..) which is a fascinating glimpse into myspace world.

What will mobile TV advertising look like?

Well, according to Ovum, NRK (The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) and Ericsson in are running a trial to answer that very question. They already have a track record in successful collaborations so this bodes well.

They plan to experiment with all formats - video, banners, links, ticker texts, branded content as well as targeting according to age, gender, personal interests and location. So I wonder if they'll manage to work out that it's context not just location that matters when it comes to location based services - i.e. if I'm in Soho on a Tuesday morning, the chances are, I'm on my way to a meeting. If I'm there on a Friday evening, the chances are I'm having drinks or dinner with friends.

Definitely one to watch to see what results we see and what impact that has on the rest of the industry.

FT attracts youth with text campaign

Another one from Brand Republic... the Financial Times is running a campaign offering free copies of the paper via mobile phone vouchers in newsagent chain Martin McColl (in SE England). The vouchers are being promoted in-store and also text message (does this mean they've used bought in lists I wonder?). The FT is particularly keen to attract a younger readership.

If you accept the voucher, available via text message, you can get a free copy of the paper for two weeks. The voucher is validated through mobile phone top-up terminals and via e-pay.

This sounds great. Unfortunately, I don't have a Martin McColl newsagent anywhere nearby. So if any reader does pop by one of these newsagents, would they mind trying out the campaign and letting me know how it works please?

Neomedia sells off its subsidiaries

Neomedia's tackling its financial problems by selling off all its subsidiaries and focussing on its core product, Qode. They've already sold Sponge back to its founders and now they've sold off Mobot too and will be selling the micro paint repair company.

Coca Cola ventures into branding on mobile

According to Brand Republic, Coca Cola is using mobile for the first time in a branding campaign as opposed to sales promotion. It's tying in with a seasonal Christmas theme and is being promoted on UK network operator 3 and also on the Coke Christmas microsite. I wonder if they're also going to try Admob? It's not actually live yet, so it remains to be seen*exactly* what the mechanic is, but it looks to me like they're going to offer you the chance to send your loved ones Coke branded messages to their mobile via the massive screens in Piccadilly Circus in London. Should be good. Goes live on Wednesday 13th.

Mobile news feeds from the BBC

Just wading through my email and spotted this from our friends at BBC Backstage (who hosted a great party on Saturday night). They're offering, literally, hundreds of very specific news and sports feeds for mobile and explain in relatively plain English how you use them via a mobile RSS reader. So if you want to get the news from the BBC on your mobile, then check it out.

They also want to hear from people who have created sites or services using the BBC's mobile feeds. So if you've seen, heard or created anything interesting, then get in touch with Lucie McLean.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's Christmas and turkeys have gone mobile!

In case you hadn't noticed, it's the festive season and as part of the festivities, the UK National Farmer's Union has put a website together to help you choose and cook your Christmas turkey at their site UK Turkeys. And if that's not enough, they've also got some freebies on offer including not one, but two free Christmas turkey gobbling ringtones with a little help from their friends at mobiq. Go gobble yourself a ringtone today!

Qipit and Shozu team up

I'm just catching up on my email from the last couple of weeks and spotted this nugget from the folks at Shozu. They've teamed up with Qipit which seems like a fantastic service (caveat, I haven't tried it yet myself but it *looks* great).

It's dead simple. You take a picture of your document with a digital camera or a cameraphone, you upload it to Qipit (with one click from your phone now that Shozu is integrated) and it turns the jpg into a user friendly pdf file which is emailed to you and you can share, print, store, whatever.

Sounds like a good way to back up documents electronically to me that didn't come in an electronic format in the first place (insurance, finance, contracts) and also to keep hold of meeting notes from whiteboards and the like. And what's more, the basic service is free.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's been a week for mobile awards...

It's mobile awards central at the moment with both the Mobile Marketing Awards and the Forum Nokia Awards announced on the same day.

Entry to the awards was open to the 400 members of the Forum Nokia PRO developer community, which range from start-up companies to established players.

The 2006 award winners were in six application categories - Games, Music, Imaging, Productivity, Enterprise and Branded Content - as well as 'Developer of the Year' and 'Innovator of the Year'.

The full list of winners of the 2006 Awards runs as follows:

Best Game Application: The Silhouette Game - Telcogames (UK)
Best Enterprise Application: ColorCAM(TM) - ColorZip (Singapore)
Best Imaging Application: WOWPix - Reallusion (US)
Best Music Application: MobiRadio - Idetic (US)
Best Productivity Application: SNAPin Self Service - SNAPin Software (US)
Best Branded Content Application: ShoZu - Cognima (UK)
Developer of the Year: Refresh Mobile - Mobizines
Innovator of the Year: SNAPin Software - SNAPin Self Service

As for the Mobile Marketing Awards, I was lucky enough to go along and join the proceedings at Congress House in London's West End. There were a *lot* of awards...

Best use of mobile in customer acquisition: Peugeot 207 campaign by Marvellous
Best use of mobile in CRM: O2's 'yes please' campaign by Archibald Ingall Stretton
Best use of mobile in brand building: Robinson's 'Winbledon' campaign by Enpocket
Best example of mobile in customer service: TFL's 'Safer Travel at Night' service by Incentivated (a most worthy winner IMHO for the tangible results it has achieved)
Best new offering from a mobile services provider: Get Close to the Sugababes by Endemol
Most innovative use of mobile in marketing: Sony PS24 by 20/20 London
Mobile as a b2b tool: adidas Taylor Made by Sponge (there were no other shortlisted entrants for this category - nevertheless, it's a good campaign and deserved to win)
Best use of mobile and branded content: Vodafone Live Music by Enpocket (now forgive my cynicism, but isn't this just a rehash of T-Mobile's successful Streetgigs from 2005/6?)
Best use of mobile as part of an integrated campaign - NSPCC 'Speechless' by Angel
Best first-time advertiser on mobile: Canon's sponsorship of 3's WorldCup video by 4th Screen
Best insight and research into mobile: NSPCC 'Speechless' by Angel
Best use of mobile in events: O2 Wireless festival by MIG and O2
The MMA Outstanding Merit Award: Enpocket
The Grand Prix Award: Peugeot 207 by Marvellous

Interested in emerging trends in mobile?

Then you could do a lot worse than check out the new FREE monthly information service, et, from the lovely folks at W2forum. You get a monthly powerpoint briefing of the latest technology and trends in the mobile industry - this month's can be downloaded here.

In this first issue of et, you can find out about QR codes, see how a new technology recognises the end credits of a TV show and directs you to its mobile site, watch a commercial for RFID credit card phones in Japan and discover a new service that's a cross between Google Maps and Shozu.

To subscribe to receive future infopack by email every month, just send a blank email to etsubscribe [at] worldforumgroup [dot] com (remove the bits there that you don't need). They won't pass on your email to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time. It's well worth a read.

TextAid with Tom Baker

BT is supporting homeless charity Shelter in its 40th anniversary year with a campaign called 'Text Aid'. As part of the campaign, they've brought back the legendary and hugely popular former Dr Who, Tom Baker to voice their text to landline service. Customers who send a text to a landline will have their message read out by Tom Baker and BT will also donate 2p from every message sent to Shelter. You can also customise your messages with 'Jinglez' or include an exclusive Tom Baker audio file from a selection here. So what better way to send a Christmas greeting than have Dr Who say it for you.

Not only that, but BT has created a whole new beat combo by bringing together Tom Baker and 1960s pop icons, The Kinks and recorded a new version of the band's number 1 'You Really Got Me' and it's all for charity. You can hear a preview and preorder the track at TextAid. The tune will be on sale officially on 7Digital, itunes and emusic from 18 December. The plan is to raise at least £100k for Shelter over the Christmas period.

I should add that the service doesn't work if you sent to a landline in Eire or if you send a text from a T-Mobile phone (why on earth not when they were one of the first, if not *the* first network to offer it??). You can still text from a T-Mobile phone but you get the standard voice service which is frankly pretty weird and don't get to play with Tom Baker's voice which is a real pity. Come on T-Mobile - sort it out!