Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Events, events and more events

Admittedly I get involved in more events than the average mobile executive, but even so, it's clear that everything is ramping up in preparation for the GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

Just to bring you up to speed with some of the stuff I'm working on event-wise in the coming weeks...

Mobile Monday - 2nd February - it's our monthly event and this time we're covering off the Mobile Web - The changing landscape covering everything from widgets to the browser experience. The event is sponsored by Ikivo and OMTP Bondi. The event will be at the CBI at Centrepoint and I'm afraid the RSVP list is currently full. However, we do have a standby list  so it's worth adding your name to it as it's quite likely we'll get drop-outs in the next few days. More details here (registration required).

E-Consultancy - one-day training course on mobile marketing - 3rd February in London. I run only a few public training courses in mobile marketing and this is one of them. We usually have a small group so it means you get lots of opportunity to ask questions and discuss key topics pertinent to the group. The course offers an excellent opportunity for you to gain a better understanding of the opportunities mobile marketing can offer. You will learn a range of techniques to help you plan and execute an effective mobile marketing campaign, including best practice, historical context and insight into current trends and future directions. So if you'd like to come, please book your place. The cost for the day is £545 + VAT.

Amsterdam and the Dutch Cowgirls - this warrants a separate post but I'll be in Amsterdam on 5th and 6th of February.

IDM - Kings College Lecture 9th February. I do an annual evening lecture at Kings College for the Institute of Direct Marketing giving an overview of what's happening in the mobile world. I'm not sure how open it is to the general population, mobile or otherwise, so if you wanted to come to this, it's best to email me about it so that I can ask if I'm allowed to bring any guests.

Which brings us on to Barcelona and Mobile World Congress. I'll do a separate post on this too but suffice to say, there's a lot going on - I'm running a Swedish Beers event, a Women in Mobile Data lunch on the Tuesday and a lunch event for the UKTI/Mobile Monday London on the Wednesday. I'll also be around for Rudy's Mobile Sunday bash, the MoMo Global Peer Awards on Monday evening and Mike Butcher's Techcrunch afternoon on the Thursday. There's also Caroline's MobileJamSession on Thursday too - so somewhat torn. And there's a ton of stuff I want to do inside Congress this year too including some interesting Nokia stuff. Plus I need to try and fit in a visit to La Roca on the Friday. Sheesh.

The following week, I'll be enjoying London Fashion week for a couple of days before heading off to Denmark to hang with the Seismonauts and speak at one of their events in Arhus which I'm *really* looking forward to. (If anyone's in any doubt, I absolutely love Scandinavia!)

Then in March, I'm going on holiday. Hurrah! I'm going to need it by then. Two weeks in sunny Spain on the south coast. Can't wait.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, a pal of mine is on Channel 4's Come Dine with Me next week. Go Matt, go!

Linktastic on a Wednesday

I have too many browser tabs open so it's time to clear down a few by writing them up here. So forgive some of the randomness but I'm a bit short on time what with preparing for Barcelona Mobile World Congress and the like and I thought it better to get them down on the interwebz than forget about them.

First the bad news... it seems that in just two weeks, Informa has changes its mind over the state of the mobile nation and fears that the credit crunch is now hitting the mobile industry. The figures don't surprise me much as there's only so long you can keep up that kind of growth rate. What interests me more is how the credit crunch affects mobile marketing and media more specifically... time will tell I guess.

In other news...

Blyk discovers that young people want mobile data (no sh1t Sherlock?!). It always amazed me that Blyk didn't pioneer their service with mobile data from the outset. I understood the reason to be around the fact they couldn't get a decent wholesale data rate and it looks like that problem has been solved. Recent research I've been doing into the mobile audience shows the youth sector to be the fastest growing segment of mobile data users - I'm guessing primarily led by usage of sites like facebook, flirtomatic, peperonity et al on their mobiles.

The FT relaunches its mobile offering with a brand spanking new version with greater touchscreen elements. I don't have a touchscreen, so if you do, and you're trying on your mobile, let me know how it's doing. I've always been a fan of's mobile services so I have every hope that this latest iteration will be just as good.

Are you into location-based mobile services and location-based social networking for business or pleasure? Or just curious to know what's out there? Then this blogpost and useful list is well worth a look. I voted for Rummble and Dopplr, but then I am slightly biased since I'm a non-exec advisor to Rummble these days (amongst many hats I wear - good job I like hats ;))

In mobile marketing news, it appears that mobile marketing is burning hot in Japan and Rogier Bikker explains why. Meanwhile over at SMS is the New Black, Patrick shares with us a comprehensive case study of mobile marketing in use at Kraft Foods. Both posts are worth a gander.

I met with Ken Banks recently and a very nice chat we had too. His thing is about how to capitalise on mobile technology in Africa such as his Frontline SMS product (which is great by the way, how come more people don't know about it?). He also writes an interesting blog if you're keen to gen up on what's happening across the continent of Africa. I particularly liked this post on the social mobile long tail.

And last but not least, I recently discovered the Ladygeek blog and met with the lovely Belinda who's one of the ladies behind it. I'm a new fan! It really chimed with me as I've long been frustrated that women's technology needs are not well catered for, even in 2009.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I really should do this too

Very sensible advice and not just for the self-employed from That Canadian Girl, Vero.

Modern Life is Rubbish

Or at least that's what Blur claimed in the early 90s. And I think maybe they have a point. As is many folks' wont over the holiday period, I've been reflecting on life, love and the universe and I've stumbled across some other posts that resonate with me and are making me go 'hmm'. Maybe they'll make you go 'hmm' too.

1. Will McInnes's Imagine post is a poetic read and certainly makes me question my own consumption of *stuff*. I've cut down a lot in the last 10 years and I've been doing the recycling thing for a long time, nevertheless, there's always more we can do. And we can dream.

2. Stop the World is a short video from Tony Hall of a fairground ride. I actually found it a bit disturbing when I watched it and I think Tony had captured the moment perfectly. I shared my thoughts in the comments:

"The video pretty much sums up mine, and many others lives. The relentless pace, the constant noise, that sensation of feeling just a little bit sick with fear/anticipation/stress/excitement. The fine line between agony & ecstasy. I agree, change is the only constant. But I don't feel change, I just feel a race going on all around me for no other purpose except being in a race. Maybe the big changes in our society and culture that are happening right now will help us stop racing in circles for no good reason but find new purpose in our constant movement."

3. Benjamin Dangl wrote in The Guardian today that new technologies, such as the mobile phone, actually distance us from people rather than connect us. It seems to stop us living in the present and with the people and experiences that are actually there with you in real life and as a result, more stress ensues. The Technoslave essay gives further insight into this.

I realise I'm immersed in digital media myself and make full use of tools such as this blog, twitter, linkedin, facebook and more, as I explain here in The Guardian and they've all been incredibly useful and I'm not sure how I would have managed my life and my career without them. However, these tools don't always make me feel connected with those who mean something to me. Sometimes these tools can make you feel isolated too and just because you have loads of "friends" on facebook or you have a ton of people wanting to be your friend doesn't mean you can't be lonely too. It's the old adage of feeling most lonely in a crowd. Social media can be quite a crowd and can be a lonely, scary place.

4. What impact is our wireless life (wifi, mobile, whatever else) actually having on the birds and the bees (i.e. the stuff that really matters)? Ken Banks talks about the 'noise' that's created by all the radiowaves. Which makes me think back to my Stop the World thoughts. We are consumed by white noise. It's not just all around us, it's within us too, chattering away, albeit silently, but it's still there. And there are creatures out there, like the birds and the bees, who are much more sensitive to this stuff.

So, I wonder... in our post credit crunch apocalypse, will we find value in things other than money? Will we be driven as much by community than individualism and greed? Will successful business be more than just about the money or % ROI? Will shareholders be less demanding? Will we learn not to be slaves to the machine? Who knows? But I do know things will change as a result of the last few months of crisis and the last few years of excess. Or at least, I can imagine, and hope.

Interesting days indeed.

John Strand's Annual Round-up

Yes, we're still in the 'what happened last year' and 'what will happen this year' mode but John Strand of Strand Consult is always worth a look. An industry veteran, with a dry sense of humour and a sometimes cynical outlook, he believes that says 2009 will be the Moment of Truth for many players in the telecoms sector as we work our way through the credit crunch from 2008.

Read his full analysis over at 160 Characters.

Premium Rate Services have now been renamed to Phone Paid Services

phone pay plus logo

Phone Pay Plus (formerly known as ICSTIS) has just published a comprehensive report (77 pages no less) on the UK market for what was formerly known as Premium Rate Services and now known as phone-paid services.

There are some interesting facts that come out of it such as

  • 48% of UK customers had made use of phone-paid services at some point in the previous six months (so that's TV voting, chat, ringtone, horoscope, directory enquiries purchase by either mobile phone or fixed line etc)
  • It is estimated that the phone-paid market had contracted by 15% from an estimated GBP1080 million in 2007 to GBP920 million in 2008 (still a pretty healthy figure mind, all things considered)
  • The level of innovation is low (particularly in fixed line phone-paid), which limits the potential for developing more interesting services which is a factor in the decline in market size
  • Video could be ripe for growth in this market (video seems to be the poster child for all areas of digital at the moment)

Anyway, if phone-paid services are your thing, then this report is going to be worth a look. You can download the full PDF here. Other Phone Pay Plus research can be found here.

Via 160 Characters.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Carnival of the Mobilists #155

carnival mandala

Photo credit: Creative Commons from Carf via Flickr.

Happy New Year to everyone from technokitten in London Town. I hope all the hangovers are put to rest and you're all raring to go for a wonderful 2009. Yes, the holiday break is over and it's time to get the mobile ball rolling again with the first Carnival of the Mobilists roundup for 2009.

A look to the past and future

Inevitably with New Year there is always an element of looking back on the year just gone as well as a look to the future, and our mobile bloggers are no exception.

Looking back, we have Renegade Fanboy covering Nokia's most important news in 2008, James Pearce gives us a retrospective of the last two years at dotmobi and Digital Evangelist discusses his own mobile usage over the last year (he is arguably a Promobs) whereas Renaissance Chambara tells us what normobs really use (well, the normobs in his life anyway).

Looking forward we have some very interesting posts indeed: Chetan Sharma has completed his 2009 predictions with aplomb by compiling the thoughts of a wide variety of mobile industry folks (including me, in case you were wondering). Rudy De Waele has given us (well me at least) a lot of food for thought with his take on what 2009 will bring. I'm just hoping he knows as many start-ups as I think he does so that number 10 doesn't sound so terrifying. C Enrique Ortiz discusses the future for Mobile Applications in 2009 (including the ongoing debate between native and web apps) whilst Frederic Guarino tells us why 2009 is the year of the Mobile Web.

Mobile Marketing

Looking more at the mobile marketing side of things, Andrew Grill has done a comprehensive review of Social Media Marketing and shares some of his thoughts on its contents with its implication for mobile, and mjelly shares knowledge on mobile internet affiliate marketing schemes and newcomer Dave Levy of MLTDA talks to us about the growth of mobile email and its impact on campaigning (political, marketing or otherwise).

Mobile Development

In terms of mobile development, Tom Hume (rightly) questions mobile context and argues there is more than one mobile context and asks you which one/s you're going to choose. There are interesting things afoot with barcode ticketing for UK railway companies according to Masabi. Vision Mobile tells us about the Adobe Mobile Packager and what that means in terms of where the desktop and mobile environments are headed.

The Industry

Ajit Jaokar over at Open Gardens shares his theory about Net neutrality being like capitalism... covering global connectivity, the fact that human nature is to gravitate towards freedom and what impact that has on MNOs in the mobile broadband world and beyond whilst Steven Hoober of Little Springs questions where the device ends and the network operator starts and what that means for customer service.

Devices and software

Ever thought about how secure your iphone is? Well you can find out here from, and more importantly, what you can do about it whilst Tams Blackberry Blog tells us why the Blackberry Storm is failing and being returned.

Twitter is obviously the new black, in case you were wondering, and Wap Review has done a fantastic review of the best twitter mobile web clients on the market today so there's no excuse now to keep up with your twitter feed. Meanwhile, Igor Faletski takes new mobile browsers through the acid 2 test with some very interesting (and visual) results.

And last but not least, Judy Breck of Golden Swamp (and worthy guardian of the Carnival of the Mobilists) ponders the mobile as a knowledge tool and the part that plays in the Outliers (aka Story of Success).

Post(s) of the week

This is a hard one with such good quality posts and writers this week (as ever). For predictions, then you really must read both Chetan Sharma's and Rudy De Waele's posts. And personally, I'd like to see more discussion around Tom Hume's post on there being more than one mobile context. Perhaps some of you may indulge me?

Carnival of the Mobilists

The last Carnival of the Mobilists of 2008, #154, can be round here and next week's carnival 156 will be hosted by Wap Review. And if you're wondering what on earth the Carnival of the Mobilists is all about, then have a read of this and join us on the ride that is 2009.