Thursday, July 31, 2008

Location Based Services - are they all missing the point?

I recently attended MoMo London's recent event on location based services. It was a great event, with speakers from Google Gears, Yahoo! Fireeagle, Skyhook Wireless (who were our generous sponsors and fantastic hosts), W3C, Locatrix, Rummble and Buddyping. We also had a fair number of MoMo folks in from chapters from other countries (USA, Spain, Sweden, Estonia, Germany and Australia) plus 200 or so of our London members so it was a very good crowd. And lots of people wrote nice things about the event too which is great as it means as organisers (I'm one of the London organisers), we're doing something right.

And all the companies are doing interesting and clever things with location on mobile. However, I can't help thinking that many of the LBS initiatives are missing the point, or at least the initiatives discussed on the night seemed to missing the point as they all seem to be focussed around mobile social networking and mapping allowing me to find my buddies or things to do close by, unless I missed something.

If I see another googlemaps mashup with virtual map pins on it, I think I'll scream! How many of these maps do we need to see? And why do we need to see a map most of the time anyway? It's pretty enough, but usually pretty unnecessary. And what has physical location got to do with it. Twitter has no location API, yet it's actually very effective for letting me connect with people who are local to me (and to organise meeting up via tweet-outs such as 'I'm in Soho this afternoon, anyone want to hook up for coffee) as well as helping me have relationships with friends and colleagues further away. There are no maps involved. No location look-ups.

Don't get me wrong, I love googlemaps - especially on my mobile. It's incredibly useful and means I don't have to carry a London AtoZ with me any more and it means I get less lost when travelling in cities I'm not familiar with. But the mapping element isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to location. In fact, it's barely even the start.

You see, it's all about context. And it's all about the customer being lazy (there's a limit to how many UGC sites I can contribute to and a limit to how many times I can add the same information/review/postcode/picture/whatever to multiple sites and I'm a pretty avid contributor to these things. And anyway, how is the location, per se, relevant. If I want to know where the nearest McDonald's is I can usually see it on whatever High Street I'm standing on anyway or I could ask somebody. And when I've tried using recommendation sites for finding out the best late night restaurant or club in London's West End, I've found them pretty useless on my mobile and have resorted, successfully, to using Texperts instead.

So what do I mean about context. Context is understanding that it's not that I'm on Oxford Street, London W1. But that it's Saturday afternoon, Oxford Street is a busy shopping street, I don't work near there so the chances are I'm probably out shopping. An advertiser of the latest thing in trainers is interested in targeting shoppers who are in the shopping frame of mind and in or near a shopping location, and maybe even that their propensity to buy trainers is medium to high, not the actual postcode. No amount of map pins is going to solve that problem. And being able to reach 1000 people on Oxford Street is no where near as attractive as targeting 1m UK shoppers while they're out shopping across the UK. If you're a big brand, and let's face it, it's the big brands who have the big advertising budgets, you want national coverage which can complement what you're doing on TV, radio and outdoor.

What I'm not seeing are intelligent ways of collating and managing this information to make it relevant, interesting or useful for the customer, or making it easy to buy the media and reach for the advertiser or media buying agency.

Unless there's someone out there already doing this... in which case, I'd love to know about it!

Blogger's revenge at the Future of Mobile

Well, maybe not quite revenge, but six mobile bloggers (including myself, James Whatley, Vero Pepperell, Andrew Grill, Jemima Kiss and Ewan MacLeod) will be getting six minutes each to rant give their point of view on a hot mobile topic of their choice at the Future of Mobile Conference in London on 17/18 November.

The schedule looks really interesting and I'm very pleased to be invited to participate. There's also a day of workshops which will be of particular interest to the developers amongst you I imagine.

Tickets are available now
with a very attractive early bird offer of £100 discount on conference and conference/workshop tickets. And student tickets are just £45 for bona fide full-time students.

Thursday thinking

Well, not so much me thinking as other folks are thinking about mobile stuff saving me having to think about it so much.

Tomi Ahonen writes about why the iphone isn't going to rule the world. It's a long post, but it's well worth a read. Web developers are obsessed with the iphone but this post clearly explains why that thinking is misguided. Meanwhile Screendigest believes that the iphone will revolutionise gambling. Hmm.

Russell Buckley questions Microsoft's current mobile strategy and believes they're in more trouble than they're letting on sales-wise. There's plenty of debate there so head on in and add your 2p. Whilst Alfie discusses the potential for Nokia to have the monopoly on computing (not just mobile) in the next 5 years. And it's raised a few heckles.

The TV: is it losing the battle for our attention? [I think it probably is as I sit here writing on my laptop, chatting on MSN with the tellybox on in the background]. And Blyk customer, Samantha, wonders if mobile marketing will ever work.

Quote of the day

Well, quote of the day yesterday actually,as when I first spotted it, but I had computer problems so couldn't post anything.
"Startups should “intelligently hedge their bets across multiple platforms,” advised Richard Wong of Accel Partners. His firm has invested in mobile games and application site GetJar, “the store for the other 3 billion phones that aren’t iPhones,” as Mr. Wong put it."
See what Tom Hume has to say about this and Mobhappy too.

I don't have an iphone. I can see that it has had an impact on to what's happening on the mobile web. But it's not the be all and end all. Nor is it some kind of saviour of mobile web. It's not the device that will be in the hands of the majority of folks globally.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Voice marketing is part of the mobile marketing mix too

When talking about mobile marketing these days, the assumption is that it's all about mobile data and that the format of that data is mobile internet and sms. Let's not forget that the mobile phone was primarily designed so that we could *talk* to each other wherever we are and whenever we want to. Voice communications are still important and voices do matter. So it's great to see companies taking this seriously and using voice effectively as part of their marketing efforts. And I've stumbled across a couple of examples just today to share with you.

First off, you can jump start your kid's morning routine with a Hannah Montana (TM) wake-up call! This is a new(ish) campaign from Walmart and Disney. The idea is quite a simple one... you subscribe to the service and you can organise a pre-recorded surprise telephone call from Hannah Montana to brighten up your sprog's day. It's good to see good, old-fashioned voice at work. I haven't tried it myself, and let's face it, I'm a tad old to be a Hannah Montana fan but even I know she's incredibly popular so I imagine this campaign should fly too. The FAQs are very clear that it's a free service and no email addresses will be used for marketing purposes. Very refreshing.

Nearer home in the UK, the teams at Spinvox and Moblog have joined forces to launch the 'We Love Your Accent' competition and voice blog. This is your chance to tell the world what accent you like and why and in doing so, you're in with a chance to win a fancy schmancy new Nokia phone, a year's free subscription to both Spinvox and Moblog and 250 shiny new personalised moo cards. So have your say and tell the world what your favourite accent is and why.

If you have other examples of marketing campaigns where voice is the key element, then please add a comment below and share what you know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TunA the Day's Big Benefit Night Out in August

Yup, it's true. The popular website, TunA the Day, the site dedicated to promoting unsigned and little-known artists is having an official launch party at 229TheVenue (at 229 Great Portland St, directly opposite Great Portland St tube station) on Sunday 24 August 2009 in London Town from 6.30pm.

So if you're not at a festival or out of town and find you fancy a Sunday night out (it's the Bank Holiday so no need to get up early the next day), hang out with some friendly folk, check out some new music and enjoy a beverage or two until the wee hours (the bar is licensed until 3am), then this is the night for you. And tickets are just £10 and all the profit is going to the Marine Conservation Society charity to help it save dwindling fishing stocks in and around the British Isles.

I must admit I don't know any of the artists on the night, but they all look pretty tempting to me judging by their myspace pages and the night will be ably compered by all-round nice guy comedian MacKenzie Taylor and the line-up includes:

Official Secrets Act – hotly tipped Indie popsters

Red Box Blue – top class pop/rock with a country twist

Lizzy Spit – acoustic folk from Steve Lemacq favourite

Murmur – driving guitar alt rock from Essex based 4-piece

Schwab – bonkers dance pop with serious grooves

DJ set by Millimetre – dance late into the night with top electro fusionist

So if you fancy doing your bit for marine conservation as well as having a really good night out while you're doing it, then come on down and hang with Big Ade and his TunA gang and we can be 100% Dolphin friendly together with the help of 2 bars, lots of bands, a great DJ and a 3am licence. Doors open at 6.30pm, music starts and 7pm and you can book tickets at

Are you starting out in mobile? Here are some useful resources for you.

Don't know where to start when it comes to getting yourself up to speed with what's going on in our industry?

I get asked this *a lot* so I thought I'd write a blog post about recommended useful resources and also get your contributions in as well to help newbies to our industry become fully-fledged mobilists.


Well, if you're here, you've made a good start already by checking out some mobile blogs. This, of course, isn't the only one and there's a rather good list over at WIPwiki. If you only read two blogs, then make it and

Free Reports

If you're specific interest is Mobile Marketing and Advertising, then the free Tanla Guide to Mobile Marketing and Advertising is worth downloading [disclaimer: I wrote most of it with a little help from my friends]. It's a comprehensive, hands-on look at the world of mobile marketing and includes essays from leading industry experts on different aspects of the mobile marketing and advertising sector.

If you're after a more generic take on the mobile industry, then The Netsize Guide is well worth a look too and includes market information for many countries around the globe. It's also a free download or paid-for print version.

If you're interested in the mobile consumer, then the Carphone Warehouse takes an annual look at this under the Mobile Life moniker. It contains data from both the UK and the US.

For a UK-centric view of the communications world, then OFCOM's annual review is a must-read. The report from August 2007 is available and so it will only be a couple of months before we have this year's edition.

Networking and events

The Mobile Mondays community is very active in many cities around the world. I help to run the London chapter and we have a membership of several thousand, an active discussion list and run events on the first or second Monday of the month for 10 months of the year. It's free to join the yahoo group (where you can participate in discussions and find out about upcoming events) and the facebook group for Mobile Monday London. Each city chapter runs in slightly different ways so I recommend you look for your nearest one and get involved. If nothing else, you should learn something and meet at least a handful of interesting people!

Swedish Beers is a long-standing, ad-hoc networking event I run with some pals in London, Barcelona and now Sydney for folks who have a passing interest in things mobile so we cover all areas of media, marketing, mobile network operators, content creators and more besides. London events happen 2 or 3 times a year (I'm currently looking for a sponsor for our next event if you or someone you know is interested). The Barcelona event happens every February to coincide with Mobile World Congress (again, I'm looking for sponsors for this to see if we can make it even better than this year's). There are no presentations, no sales pitches, just drinks, good company, a friendly atmosphere and lots of chat. Events are announced via the Swedish Beers blog and the facebook group.

For the women amongst you, there's the Women in Mobile Data Association and we have events coming up in September and December in London and February 2009 in Barcelona. Updates appear on the facebook group and our email list (contact me to join the email list - it's free).

And for the London mobile geeks amongst you, then there's Mobile Geeks of London which is happening next Thursday evening, headed up by the lovely James Whatley from Spinvox.

And if that's not enough, the wonderful Ewan at SMSTextNews also runs events from time to time all over the world. Keep an eye on his blog to find out when they're on.

So that's my initial suggestions for useful mobile resources. Please feel free to add any of your own as I realise this is a rather limited and networking-wise UK-centric list.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mobile Internet for Dummies

No, I'm not suggesting you're a dummy, dear reader. I'm just writing a short post about the new book in the 'Dummies' range from Wiley. And it's all about the mobile internet, a subject close to my heart.

Industry stalwarts and good pals, Daniel Appelquist and Russell Buckley, have contributed to the book alongside respected authors and industry experts to help normobs get their heads round and make the best use of the mobile internet.

Mobile Internet For Dummies explains how the Mobile Internet differs from the garden-variety Internet, and shows you how to:

  • Find your mobile phone browser
  • Use the Mobile Internet to surf, shop, blog, watch movies, and more — on the go
  • Send and receive e-mail from your mobile device
  • Locate other mobile applications
  • Watch TV on your mobile phone
  • Manage your kids’ access to the Mobile Internet
  • Secure and name a mobile Internet site and acquire mobile Web development tools
  • Build your own made-for-mobile Web site
  • Use your Mobile Internet site to promote your business and generate revenue

With the help of Mobile Internet For Dummies, you’ll be able to stay connected wherever you happen to be, and maybe even make it pay off with a bit of income.

Get it at Amazon now in the UK Mobile Internet for Dummies (For Dummies) or in the US you can get it at this link Mobile Internet For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mastering Social Media

If you're interested in social media but not sure where to start, then I can recommend starting at the Mastering Social Media seminar next week in London at One Alfred Place.

In this masterclass you’ll get to work with Lloyd Davis, who is one of London’s most popular and experienced social media experts (and also organises the rather fabulous Tuttle Club). He'll help you understand what social media’s about without reverting to geekspeak and how to build rich and productive online relationships using simple tools. You'll also gain some practical experience of creating some social media and get help with applying what you’ve learned to your personal business context.

The day is designed for marketing and communications professionals who want to understand better just how social media and online social networking can work for them. With no more than 9 participants, you’ll be assured of individual attention. Most participants will already have some experience of at least one aspect of social media, but will want to become more comfortable and confident with a wider range of tools. You should bring along an example of a business issue that may be solved by using social media.

It costs £495 + VAT to attend the day and you can book it online right now. Lloyd really knows his stuff so if you want to learn about this stuff too, then go hang out with Lloyd for the day and become your own expert on the topic.

Other stuff I've been up to lately

So apart from the uber-festival that is Glastonbury, I've actually been up to plenty other stuff too in the last month or so...

I chaired MoMo London in June on What Mobile means to Media and Marketing. James Cooper and Ben Matthews did great write-ups of the event too which saves me having to do it!

I spoke at a couple of conferences - namely Stuart Whitaker's EDM08: Search in the Mobile Era (where I shared a panel with Russell Buckley of Admob and Mobhappy fame talking about mobile marketing and advertising and also enjoyed Mike Short's wonderful opening keynote) and Being Digital which was fun. It was good to catch up with some friends old and new like Rummble's Andrew Scott, Singtone's Jeff Bloom, Taptu's Steve Ives, Three's Carl Taylor and Techcrunch UK's Mike Butcher, amongst others. What's more, both of these events were at BAFTA which is a top venue. After Being Digital, I spent the afternoon at the rather wonderful One Alfred Place with the equally wonderful Oli Barrett and then I hung out with a bunch of mobilists at Ewan MacLeod's lovely SMSTextNews Unlimited Drinks event.

And as if that wasn't enough, I participated in an in-depth panel discussion at Fleishman Hillard's Digital Influence Index launch at Interbrand's offices and talked about mobile, blogging, social media, digital marketing, customer trends and more besides with Fleming Madsen and James Whatley. The Digital Influence report is worth a read as are the accompanying slides.

Client stuff fills up most of the rest of my time but I do manage to squeeze in Interesting 2008 which was, indeed, very interesting. Lloyd's singing with ukelele was a welcome highlight and I absolutely adored Jim Le Fevre's zoetrope demo. Lloyd Davis also did a rather good write-up of the day, so again, I don't have to!

When I get back from Glastonbury, I return to find that I'm featured in Mobile Entertainment magazine's Top 50 Women in Mobile list and I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with this news and what they say about me:
"If there’s anyone in the world that knows mobile marketing as well as Keegan, we haven’t met them. Great networker too – she organises the very popular London-based Swedish Beers evenings and is a prominent force in the Mobile Mondays organisation too. She even finds time to blog prodigiously."
And to celebrate, I go hang out with my Women in Mobile Data Association pals at the Playphone sponsored meet-up event at the lovely MyHotel in Bloomsbury.

I missed Mobile 2.0 in Barcelona - it was just one event too far with having had such a busy few weeks and a sleepless Glastonbury, but I'm working my way through the resulting materials which make for a good read. But managed to hang out for a bit with the Tuttler's instead and also go for a mobilists dinner courtesy of Carsonified where we obviously put the mobile world to rights! It was good to spend some quality time with Carl Uminski, Andrew Grill, Mike Stead, Whatleydude, Dan Lane, Vic Keegan (no obvious relation!), Simon Rockman, magician Amardeep Dhanjal and the Carsonified crew - Dominic and Keir. A fun night indeed.

Orange Glastonav review

Yes, I admit it, I'm overly interested in mobile gizmos and when I heard about Orange's Glastonav mobile service, I thought I'd give it a try. The blurb says:

"GlastoNav, the must have mobile application for you and your friends at Glastonbury

  • view the complete line-up from The Guardian Guide
  • build your own schedule and share it with friends
  • find your way around with a detailed festival map
  • broadcast your location on the map and send alerts to find friends"

It was promoted heavily before the event via email (neither the URL nor the text in to the shortcod e worked - FAIL) to everyone who was on the Glastonbury ticket database. I finally managed to download it (why I was still trying to do this, I don't know!) and on taking a look, it showed all the bands and which stages they were on which was useful. There was also a map which was handy too I guess.

The option to add your location and the time you'd be there didn't work for me. It wasn't precise enough and there was no interactivity around it to confirm to your mate that you would meet them at that point at x time.

The gig finder was marginally useful, but what would have been more useful would be to set up reminder s so that your phone went off 30 minutes before you needed to be at whichever stage you wanted to be at - either linking in with the calendar/alarm system, or using SMS alerts (provided they could be timely). As it stood, it was confusing so I reverted to using the old skool paper guide. I also spotted typos on times and some bands which didn't exactly inspire me with confidence.

There was a news feature included in the app, but this was dependent on you having the app open at all times and checking it for news. As I only opened it from time to time (it was a real battery drainer), it meant I got the news that Hot Chip were dj'ing up at The Park 2 hours after they finished their set and that Franz Ferdinand were a replacement for Pete Doherty the day after they played. These alerts would have been much better done via SMS and actually, I probably would have paid a nominal amount to be included to get those alerts.

The service was promoted very heavily on site - it seemed to be on everything - the cups, posters and everywhere Orange was, they were promoting the application.

The biggest bugbear about it though was that it was a memory hog and a battery hog. As a memory hog, it meant I couldn't have anything else open at the same time on my T-Mobile Nokia N95. And battery life is critical at a festival the size of Glastonbury for your mobile phone. I took a spare battery with me *and* I got to charge my phone every day at a pal's market stall on site which meant I didn't have to wait around the orange tent for 2 hours every day to charge up. Most people won't bother to charge their phones up unless it's an emergency, and they're certainly not going to use up the battery on an iffy mobile application that drains your battery quickly to boot.

I hear along the grapevine that they got about 15 to 20k downloads which isn't bad going. I wonder how many of those were actually on site rather than armchair viewers? Let's say they did get 20k requests, of which, being generous, 65% successfully downloaded so we're down to 13,000 and of those 40% turned it on more than once which is now down to 5,200. And this is out of a total audience of around 178,000.

It seems we still have a long way to go with this kind of service. Firstly, don't rush a mobile service - do it right or don't bother. Secondly, make it easy and ubiquitous to charge your phone up on site. Thirdly, make data cheap/free so that there's no fear about downloading and using it.

10/10 for concept. 6/10 for implementation. Verdict: Could and should do better.

Technokitten's back from Glastonbury

And it was quite an experience. Arriving earlier was a good thing as it allowed time to settle in, but the lack of sleep really got to me by the end this year at which point I was exhausted. It was good to catch up with some pals from last year and to make some new ones too. And having less mud was a bonus on one level as it made for much easier movement around the place, but on the other hand, I think it made the crowd lazier and I missed the 'Dunkirk Spirit' or was it just that I didn't have an excuse to sip hot cider with a brand in it?!

Verdict on Shangri-La was that it's pretty good and bigger than Lost Vagueness. And The Diner is always guaranteed good fun late at night. Trash City was pretty spectacular. But neither area lived up to it's 'up all night' billing and when the plug was pulled on the power at The Diner at 5am on Monday morning it was a disappointment. Last year, the party went on until after 9am - maybe we got away with it because it was muddy last year or something? Anyway, once the plug was pulled that was it and was the end of the festival.

The music was brilliant and particular highlights for me were Crowded House, Duffy, Spiritualised, Neil Diamond and the awesome awesomeness of The Verve. Richard Ashcroft totally rocked my world that weekend and it was worth the ticket price to see The Verve alone.

On the downside, food and drink seemed more expensive this year (but maybe I just didn't notice the prices last year). Security was much more evident and noticeable and there seemed to be at least 2 security in every tent and they were enforcing the smoking ban pretty vehemently (no bother to me since I've never smoked but their presence was felt). I know they're there for our safety 'n all but not all of them were terribly friendly - although I did spot one girl in the Igloo tent swaying from side to side to the music whilst the rest of us were dancing which made me smile.

I was also unfortunately witness to several folks being stopped and searched for drugs before they got in and saw a couple of men being cuffed on Monday lunchtime. I also heard along the grapevine that there was a drugs bust at the Stone Circle on Friday night/Saturday morning. Maybe it was a rumour as I can't find anything online about it. I also saw a girl being carried off in an ambulance after falling unconscious in The Diner in the early hours of Monday morning. Tent crime was up significantly which was a great shame and maybe a reflection of the fact that it wasn't hard to get a ticket this year - in fact you could get a ticket right up until the event itself. And drugs arrests were up too apparently but that's no big surprise when police and security presence is so much greater.

Overall, there was good music, plenty to eat and drink, lots of folks having a good time and places to play after dark. Glastonbury, you did it again!