Monday, October 17, 2011

What’s on in mobile in the next month or two…

We’re definitely in the middle of events season and there are a whole bunch of events coming up in October and November 2011 in the mobile world that I’m attending or involved with in in some way that I thought you might want to know about…
likemindslogo19 to 21 October Like Minds in Exeter – ‘Innovation+Opportunity | How to build brands, businesses and communities for the future’ is the theme for this year’s event which is something close to my heart and close to the hearts of the clients I work with. Although this is not a mobile event per se, I think it will be of interest to mobile start-ups and SMEs. The three day event looks to be a good mix of keynote speakers, immersive sessions and chances to meet and network. And it’s rather refreshingly being held outside of London. You can find out more and book your tickets here: And before you ask, no I don’t have a cheeky discount code for you!
appfusion logo24 October – AppFusion ‘How to work with the Big Names’ takes a look at how to work with big name celebrities and brands as a mobile developer and entrepreneur. Organised by the lovely Jason Dunne, it’s free to attend (although you do need to RSVP as places are limited) and starts at 7pm at Club Bond on Kingly Street. More information and sign up here:
brandperfect logo27 October – the BrandPerfect Tour – Adventures in Mobile hits Berlin. This is organised by Julie Strawson and her team at Monotype Imaging, alongside event partners Fjord, Y&R Brands, University of Reading and RIT and is aimed at brands, agencies (digital, above the line, sales promotion, direct marketing et al), developers and designers to get their heads round what a mobile strategy looks like in the iPhone era. Speakers include Romy Kraus, Sergio Falletti, Aral Balkan and more. It’s not free to attend but I believe it’s good value for money because of the combination of conference style and learning workshop which means you should get more out of the day than your average conference. There are still some free tickets available for press and bloggers. Please get in touch with me if you’d like to be considered for one of those. Otherwise you can buy your ticket here.
ict ktn logo31 October – it’s the final of the ICT KTN / UKTI competition to win a free place to exhibit at Mobile World congress 2012. You’ll see pitches from the shortlisted candidates and they’ll get a grilling from the judges. Winners will be announced on the night. Free to attend but RSVP is required here.
emmas logo3 November – Effective Mobile Marketing Awards Dinner. I’m a big fan of Mobile Marketing Magazine and they’re behind the annual EMMAs awards and this is one of my highlights of the year. I’m lucky enough to be involved in this as a judge for the second year in a row and it was a tough task this year. There were so many good entries, it was a close call in some of the categories. I know it’s going to be a good night out – I’m privy to some of the plans. It’s being held at the rather wonderful Delfina on Bermondsey Street (I had lunch there today and it was smashing). But if you want to join the fun, you’ll have to get your ticket. There aren’t many left so best be quick if you want to participate.
techhub logo7 November – I’m headed for the Shoreditch Roundabout and the techhub lunchtime mobile meet-up. I’m not sure what I’ll be speaking about yet, but it should be a fun session and it’s free to attend (at least as far as I know). You’ll also find that BlueVia are doing their office hours that morning too so you can get a double-whammy of mobile goodness. If you’re not familiar with the techhub vibe, this is a good chance for you to see how it all works and to see what’s on offer for tech start-ups of all descriptions. I recommend you give it a look. Registration isn’t open at the time of writing, but when it is, you’ll find it here.
mobilesquared roadshow9 November – I’m moderating a panel at the Mobile Squared Roadshow. ‘What’s the Mobile Squared Roadshow when it’s at home?’ I hear you ask. Well it’s a whole day of mobile marketing conferencing and networking. You get to hear from a wide variety of speakers looking at everything from the mobile consumer to the potential of augmented reality. And what’s more, it’s free to attend. Yes, that’s right. It’s free to attend. For a whole day. So sign up, come on down and join the conversation.
powerof1 logo11 November – After something more developer and entrepreneur focussed and covering all things web and mobile? Then the Power of One event is for you. And what’s more, there’s one speaker’s slot available for a tech start-up to talk about what they’re up to. There’s no need for a business plan, there’s a short form to fill in. If you win, you’ll get 20 minutes of prime time to pitch your business to an audience of 300 including investors and key influencers. Not only that, everyone who submits an idea to pitch will get a discount code (and it’s a significant discount) for a ticket. Not that they’re expensive at £99 + VAT in the first place and I’ve spotted a cheeky discount code promoted on twitter – use the promo code BLUEVIA to get a 50% discount. More information and buy your tickets here.
And it doesn’t stop there…
brandperfect logo15 November, you’ll find me at the London edition of the BrandPerfect Tour. I’ll be speaking and moderating a panel looking at ‘to iphone or not to iphone, what is the strategy?’ (I paraphrase here, but you get the gist). Other toptastic speakers on the day include old friends Ilicco Elia – ex Reuters and now head of mobile at LBi, Stephen Pinches from the FT and the inimitable Romy Kraus. It’s being held at the rather lovely Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue. No free tickets or cheeky discount codes, but it’ll be a great day with that mix of workshop meets seminar meets conference with some networking and banter thrown in for good measure. Again, there are some free press and blogger tickets available. Please get in touch with me if you’d like to apply for one of these.
europasThe Europas hit London on 17 November. This will be a big bash to celebrate European tech start-ups and will probably end up being the start of the Christmas party season. It should be lots of fun and jam-packed with tech entrepreneurs, investors, pundits and various hangers on. I know last year’s party was a blast. Prices start at £90 + VAT for tech entrepreneurs and you can get them here.
The following week may well find me in Oslo and possibly Amsterdam speaking at a couple of conferences, but I’ll let you know about that once they’re confirmed. And then maybe I’ll go into hibernation for a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

HTML 5 and mobile advertising

I’ve been hearing more and more about HTML5 and I have seen a few HTML5 demos on smartphones showing some beautiful video-based content that rivals anything one might see on a full-fat PC using Adobe Flash. But what that means for marketers and advertisers is maybe not so clear. Guest contributor, Kate Manning, clarifies for us. Over to Kate…
There has been a lot of hype about HTML5, both for mobile advertising and advertising as a whole, but if you aren’t up on the technical side of advertising, this may not seem like such as a big deal. HTML5 has drastically improved video embedding, making it much easier for developers and for the mobile phone to use. Again, maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal yet, but many experts are saying that HTML5 will dominate the field of video advertising, a trophy formerly held by Flash. Since mobile phones all support HTML, and will soon support HTML5, this is set to change mobile advertising for the better.
Video advertising and mobile phones just seem to go together, but for the longest time there have been major availability issues. Flash has been a popular video advertisement format, but many mobile phones don’t support Flash. JavaScript can also be used, but you run into the same problem, only some phones support JavaScript. This means you can only advertise to a small percentage of mobile users, and that doesn’t spell good ROIs.
However, every mobile smartphone supports HTML, it’s how web applications are able to work. While HTML5 hasn’t gained universal support just yet, it is only a matter of time before every mobile phone upgrades to this new standard. Since every phone supports HTML, this means you can finally advertise to every user, instead of having to choose a specific format and hoping for the best. This also makes it easier for websites to show adverts, making Webmasters more willing to place videos on their mobile websites.
Not only is availability solved, but adding a video is also much easier. With previous HTML versions, you had to write a long piece of coding to embed the video into a website. Considering how popular videos are for mobile advertising, and just the Internet in general, you would expect HTML to make this easier. In HTML5, they finally did. Instead of using several lines of code to embed a video, you just use the <video> tag, and that’s it. Less coding means better rendering. The videos load better, the website loads faster and both advertisers and viewers are happy.
Mobile advertising is easy when people are browsing online, but what about offline browsing? Your videos will not load, meaning that advertisements can lose their effectiveness. HTML5 has implemented a way to save rich media in the device’s hard drive, so even if they are browsing offline, the video will play because it is already loaded.
Aside from making mobile advertising easier, it is also more intuitive. Along with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScripts are combined into the HTML standard coding library. Both of these are used to control the appearance of a website or advertisement, and to add scripts to a website. Combining them into the HTML5 standard means you can do more with your advertisements without having to worry about whether mobile devices can or cannot load the advertisement.
Operating costs also go down, because there is no need for expensive coding platforms. In the past, developers would have to purchase expensive programs to make mobile advertisements, which could ruin profits. However, HTML5 is an open program, meaning that it can be used for free, and the programs that help you create HTML5 advertisements will be much cheaper.
Tracking mobile advertisements has, until recently, been educated guesswork. Usually, these metrics are based on how often the mobile phone requests a banner of video from the server; however, if the mobile phone cannot or does not load the advertisement, it would still count as an impression. Not only does that mean that tracking metrics are overinflated, but you also have to pay for impressions that may never occur.
With HTML5, since it is integrated with JavaScript, the server tracks an impression only if the ad is displayed. Better metrics means accurate tracking, and accurate payments, for mobile advertising.
Many experts are saying that HTML5 is going to change the world of mobile advertising, while others are saying this is nothing by hype. With all the changes that HTML5 promises, one can be sure that there will be a large impact in the mobile advertising world.
You can see it in action here with this demo video.

So Kate’s told us what she thinks. What do you think? Is the future here already? Is it time for marketers to get savvy with HTML5 or are you going to wait and see? Comments welcome.
About the author: Kate Manning didn't expect to find herself at the intersection of business, marketing, and the Internet, but with sound writing and editing skills, she makes the most of it.

Further resources:
Wikipedia entry:
How HTML5 is changing the face of mobile
IABUK HTML5 Advertising FAQ (this one is a bit out of date, but they promise to update it when there’s new stuff to announce)
Brightcove’s HTML5 Whitepaper January 2011
Direct Marketing Association: What HTML5 means to mobile marketers
HTML5 capability of USA’s top mobile devices, March 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BlackBerry Outage makes the news

It was a sad day for BlackBerry users in EMEA yesterday suffering an all day outage of all data services except text messaging. But it was good news for yours truly as I got invited to comment on the situation live on Al Jazeera news. It was the first time I’d ever done a live news piece so wasn’t sure what to expect.
My main points about the outage were a criticism of the lack of customer communications about the outage – despairing but loyal BB customers just wanted to know what was going on, what was being done to fix it and when to expect normal service to be resumed – that’s not an unreasonable expectation. And since BlackBerry use social media to recruit new customers to the handset and, in particular, to BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) it seemed odd that they hadn’t used those same channels to reassure customers that they were doing all they could to fix the problem.
My two-minute piece isn’t available, but I am quoted in the video below which is very gratifying. And yes, I know my fringe is too long. I’m growing it in anticipation of a new hair cut!

Rather gratifyingly, I also get quoted by David Murphy at Mobile Marketing Magazine in his article about the outage.
It appears that most BlackBerry customers now have their service back to normal but I’m not sure it has been revealed yet what was at the root of it. And it will take a little time to see if formerly loyal customers remain loyal or if sales and brand sentiment will take a dive.

Update 1: It seems that two days on and BlackBerry is still suffering problems but they are at least being a little more communicative with customers.

Update 2: I'd forgotten about this lovely 'BlackBerry' sketch from Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield which some of you may enjoy. I know I did when I saw it again. Hat tip to Benjamin Ellis for tweeting it.

Update 3: BlackBerry users have been offered compensation in a smart move from RIM. They're getting $100 of free BlackBerry apps which means that those who take advantage of this will (hopefully) remain advocates of the platform. More over at The Guardian

Update 4 (Does this story never end?): Traffic accidents fell by 20% in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi during the recent BlackBerry blackout. Wow. More here