Monday, July 09, 2012

Carnival of the Mobilists #277

Carnival of Venice 2010 

Yes, it’s come around again and I’m this week’s curator of the Carnival of the Mobilists and what a week it has been. Plenty going on in the world of Nokia and RIM. Innovation is being supported with various awards and accelerator programs. And mobile is still most definitely big news. So here’s my round-up.

Awards and other Programs for Mobile Entrepreneurs


The Annual Effective Mobile Marketing Awards are open for entries until 10 August. There are 20 categories and they are free to enter and are global. Disclaimer, I’m a judge and I co-hosted the awards last year.

The 9th Annual Meffys are open for entries until 19 July. Just a few days to go so don’t delay. These are global awards with special categories and prices for start-ups. More details here. Disclaimer, I’m a judge.

Russell Buckley tells us about UK accelerator programme, Springboard, why he supports it (including investing in it) and what the opportunities are for mobile entrepreneurs this year with the very first mobile-focussed accelerator. Closing date to apply is 22 July so not long to go.

QPrize is now open for entries too. This is Qualcomm Ventures seed investment competition. I don’t know much about it yet (I’m doing a bit more research into it), but just highlighting it for reference.

Handset Wars

Marines engaged in a six-hour firefight

Goodness me, watching the demise of Nokia and now RIM is not a pleasant experience. The chatter about both is endless at the moment. How to you make head or tail of it? Are both dead in the water? Will we see them fight back? Will they be bought, die or rise from their ashes like a phoenix? …

Tomi Ahonen thinks Stephen Elop is the worst CEO of all time. With Nokia’s share price at an all time low of $1.92 at the time of writing, Elop and the Nokia board certainly have some serious questions to answer. This one isn’t so much as a blog post as an essay so don’t expect a quick read. Grab a cuppa and set aside some time to read this one and take in the comments too. I have friends at Nokia. I have friends who have been made redundant from Nokia. I have a drawer full of beloved Nokia phones. I like Windows Phone too. I don’t want to see Nokia die but there’s no denying they are in deep, deep trouble.

And then there’s RIM. Another one who has been in the wars lately. Delaying the BB10 launch is a bit of a nightmare. There were 5,000 enthusiastic developers who went home from BlackBerry World in Orlando and many hundreds, if not thousands returning home from various BB10Jam meet-ups globally with their prototype devices and told their friends and family they were excited about the upcoming launch of BB10 for Christmas. BlackBerry hasn’t just let down their developer community, they’ve let down their loyal customers who are desperate for an upgrade if they haven’t jumped ship already to Android or iOS. There are three articles of note I’d like to point you to on this one. First is’s post which takes a look at the numbers and thinks RIM needs to focus on saving the company, Terence Eden ponders how to solve a problem like BlackBerry and Michael Selvidge thinks RIM can be saved in three easy steps. What do you think?

Then there’s the story of Maemo from Randall Arnold. Do any of you remember that OS? I do. I had a Nokia 770 and if I remember rightly, Rovio of Angry Birds fame was developing games on that platform. Is there hope for Maemo to come out smiling out of the Nokia warzone?

Mobile Marketing, Advertising and Commerce

Allih Phone Accessories

For the first year at Cannes Lions, there was a section for mobile. Finally, advertising agencies are catching up with their clients and taking notice of mobile as an integral part of any marketing campaign. This is a major step forward. Hey, I may even be tempted to take a trip to Cannes next year to check it all out. In the meantime, Andy Favell from MobiThinking has done a very comprehensive round-up of the winning entries (including their videos and case studies) and also the stats behind the awards. Both make for a good read. Again, this is something worth setting aside some time for but if you’re in the mobile marketing game, this one is for you.

Global Mobile Commerce: Removing Payment Friction & Boosting Customer Engagement by Diarmuid Mallon is a guest post on Mobile Groove and is the first of a series of articles which will form part of the Mobile Commerce Guide 2012. Common sense tells us that by making it easier for customers to buy they will buy more. You wouldn’t have a front door to a shop that took five minutes to open so why would you make the payment options overly complicated? It’s very, very easy to click away from a purchase.

Mobile Apps and Games

stu dredge

Here are a couple of good articles that should get app developers thinking and help then on their way to making more money for them and their clients. First up is a piece from CodeNgo which looks at the opportunity of making sure your app is available in different languages. The stats make sense to me. Next is one from the mainstream Techcrunch, but it was a good one so I’ve included it: 8 Ways Mobile Developers can Make the Most Money on Apps. Sensible advice indeed.

Missed out on Google I/O? Never fear, Tom Hume was there and he’s got some thoughts about the new Google Nexus tablet and the role it will have. A game changer? Maybe… have a read.

Mobile Games has been a hot topic recently around Technokitten Towers, not least, because I was helping the Mobile Monday Shoreditch team get set up and their first event was the A to Z of Mobile Gaming. You can read a round-up of the evening here and it includes links to video vox pops from the night too. We also enjoyed some AR gaming on the night and playing games on BlackBerry Playbooks. Well, MobyAffiliate has gone the extra mile and taken a comprehensive look at the companies in the mobile and social gaming space and written it all up for you to create a guide to the sector ‘The World’s Top Mobile Social Games Developers, Publishers and Platforms’.

Further Food for Thought

PSU Food For Thought Gallery Thu April 12, 2012 81

A couple of podcasts you might be interested in having a listen to or watch are the Disruptive Social Care Podcast where I was a guest last week and talked about the role of mobile in healthcare and the importance of making websites and services accessible on mobile and accessible to those with disabilities or impairments amongst other things with Shirley Ayres and Stuart Arnott.  Then there’s this one from Hashbang TV where Elizabeth Varley tells the TechHub story. OK, the latter isn’t mobile specific, but it’s still relevant inasmuch as it’s the story of an entrepreneur focussed on supporting tech start-ups. And both podcasts are about disruption in some shape or form.

And finally, some food for thought from Antoine RJ Wright. Were Mobile Phones the Wrong Turn? Antoine ponders if we haven’t missed the point with mobile technology and that perhaps it needs a rethink as we’re asking devices (read battery life and bandwidth) to do more than it can really deal with.

Post of the Week

My post of the week has to go to Andy Favell for such a comprehensive round-up of the Cannes Mobile Lions. It’s in my sweet spot of mobile marketing and it’s great to see it entering the mainstream in this way and it’s great to get up close and personal to such a variety of case studies. What’s your post of the week?

Next week

Next week’s Carnival will be hosted by Martin Wilson of Indigo 102. And you can also support the Carnival of the Mobilists by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter or sharing this post.

All photos sourced from Flickr and used under Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Yet another child tracking app is released

There have been so many child-locating tracking mobile apps and services in the last 10 years that I’ve lost count. Being able to keep tabs on your offspring by mobile device seems to pop up every few months when another company rehashes the idea and launches. And it worries me. It preys on the fear of parents. Children today are monitored at every step of the way. Compared with my own childhood in the 70s and 80s, they have little to no freedom. They barely play outdoors anymore. They don’t just hangout with other kids in the same street. They can’t get on their bikes in the morning in the school holidays and come back at dusk when they’re hungry without their parents wanting to know every last detail of where they are at what time.

I’m not taking the situation lightly. If instances of child molestation and paedophilia was higher than back then, well, I’d say, fair enough. Maybe we need to be more careful. But as one speaker mentioned at the recent child safety conference I went to, there has been no increase in either. The threat is not any greater than it was 10 or 20 years ago. And the threat hasn’t gone away either with the advent of molly-coddling our children or having apps to follow them around.

What has happened is that our fear of the crime – maybe all crimes – has gone up tremendously. We’re very much more aware of it. The NSPCC has done the most fantastic job of raising awareness and putting programmes in place to deal with it. And Childline is the most fantastic service. But seriously, do we really need to be checking up on our children day and night. The evil creatures that force themselves on children won’t be perturbed by a mobile device that can be throw away in a river never to be seen again. Just what are these services for and who actually uses them?

I’m not a parent myself, but I do have two nieces who I have seen grow up into mature, responsible, charming and intelligent young women. And I ran a brownie pack for almost 10 years so childcare and responsibility for children is something I do know about.

So what has prompted these thoughts? I received a press release from DondeEsta a few days ago and it has been bugging me. Here it is…

DondeEsta™ presents new functionality “I'm at home”

"I'm at home" is the new functionality of DondeEsta™ mobile application, whereby parents automatically will receive an e-mail each time their children arrive or leave home. Useful, easy and free.

Unlike other applications, DondeEsta™ is a service designed for families, focused on family safety needs. Parents who are at work, for example, can know at which time have their children got home when they leave school, without having to make any calls or send messages.

"I'm at home" is another of the free features of DondeEsta™, which also allows the location of the mobile anytime, anywhere by SMS. Parents can locate their children by sending an SMS with three question marks. The son's mobile answers automatically with a message that includes his location on a map.

Privacy respect is very important at DondeEsta™: Only authorized contacts can be located.

The application should be installed in the mobile to locate (the son for example), this one should be a Smartphone. Parents could have any kind of device that can send and receive SMS's.

DondeEsta™ is a geolocation mobile service for family safety developed by Counterpoint a start-up based in Sitges (Barcelona), founded by Pol Gerbeau.


o Web page of DondeEsta™:

For what it’s worth, this is one of the smartest solutions I’ve seen so far for working out where someone is. It’s subtle and unobtrusive and it doesn’t rely on fancy apps. But it also doesn’t take away the need for parents and carers to have a good relationship with their children so that they are open and honest about where they’re going and who they’re with. Children need to learn about trust and responsibility too. And they need to be able to be released from the apron strings. Services like this don’t exactly help in those cases. Do we really want our 6 year-olds with a smartphone in their school bag every day to be nicked by the local school bully? That puts them at risk too. And what about the teenager who has two phones. One is where the teenager should be and the other is with the teenager doing what they shouldn’t. There will always be workarounds for those who don’t want to be tracked.

Where this *may* work better is when dealing with people who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimers. In the early stages at least, it’s likely they’ll have a phone on them and for them to work out where they are or to tell someone else where they are and to come and get them, could be a useful service. But even that is not without its difficulties… the subject needs to have their phone on them and it needs to be charged up with enough juice to work at all. Still not ideal.

Sadly I fear that services like these make everyone feel better in theory, but may make parents less vigilant about their relationships with their children, about teaching them responsibility and about good communication and equipping their children with the skills and tools they need to navigate the world – be that online or offline. It’s like the bike helmet issue. We never had bike helmets when I was growing up. I used to cycle a lot. And I was very careful. My parents made sure I knew how to ride a bike properly and understood the highway code. And I avoided roads with heavy traffic. If you wear a bike helmet, the tendency is to feel safer but pay less attention to the road. And have we seen a reduction in cycling accidents, I don’t think so. Drivers are more complacent and cyclists are more complacent as they’re ‘protected’. Neither of these scenarios is good. Just because we feel safer, doesn’t mean we actually are.

Anyone out there use one of these services and can defend its case? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Is this kind of app just waiting for its time to come and its time is now? I’m very interested to hear others views on this.

A round up of last week’s A to Z of Mobile Gaming event at Mobile Monday Shoreditch

momoshoreditch background_small

I was very pleased to help organise and attend the very first Mobile Monday Shoreditch event at LBi on Brick Lane and sponsored by BlackBerry, Marmalade and We Love Mobile. I’ve captured it in storify form for your delectation. It includes video clips, photos, tweets and comments – enough to give you more than a little flavour of what went on.

Please also check out Simon Judge’s super round-up of the evening. As ever, he’s managed to succinctly capture the event on his blog – it’s well worth a read.

Meffys 2012–Global Awards Open for Entries NOW–deadline 9 July 2012

**UPDATE 3 July 2012** The entry deadline has been extended by 10 days to Thursday 19 July so you have an additional 10 days to get your entry in. Not only that, but there is a special category, the Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award, and nominations are now open for it. This honours mobile pioneers and visionaries and celebrates a mobile hero whose seminal work has been fundamental to the growth of the mobile industry. You can nominate online now (it's a simple form to complete).

In cased you missed it over at Mobile Monday Shoreditch or Swedish Beers blogs, I thought I’d better remind you about the Meffys. It’s just a week to go to your entry in for the 9th Annual Meffys. The organisation behind them is MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce. MEF has been going for more than 10 years now as a trade association and has witnessed the worlds of mobile content and commerce grow and flourish in that time and these awards reflect that dynamic environment.
Judged by an independent and uniquely international panel of journalists, academics, analysts and VCs (and that includes me – I’ve been judging the awards for several years now), the Meffys are the global benchmark for measuring success and rewarding innovation in mobile content and commerce. Last year, more than 350 industry leaders from over 30 countries gathered in London to attend the Meffys, reflecting their stature as the premier global awards for the mobile content and commerce industry (aka, they’re awards worth entering).
So the nitty gritty -
Key dates:
From 29th May, companies are invited to submit entries in 13 categories until the deadline of July 9th (that’s next Monday people). The 2012 winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 12th September 2012 at the prestigious Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair. You can start the entry process here.
How much does it cost?
These awards are not free to enter but don’t let that put you off. The price per submission for non-members is £350 and for MEF members is £150. And start-ups, sit up and take notice of this one, for you, there’s a special price of just £75 to enter the four innovation awards categories if you’re a start-up*.
*A start-up is a company that is less than two years old and has received less than £1.5m in funding.
It doesn’t matter where your start-up is based. These are global awards after all. So get your thinking caps on and get those entries in sharpish for a chance to be a nominee and pitch to a group of influential CEOs and a chance to win one of the awards. More details here.
What are the categories?
The 2012 Meffys categories in full:
  1. Social & Entertainment App - NEW
  2. Life tools App - NEW
  3. Brand on Mobile
  4. Publisher on Mobile - NEW
  5. Content Service
  6. m-Commerce Service
  7. Consumer Trust - NEW
  8. Discovery & Engagement - NEW
  9. Social Responsibility & Development - NEW
Innovation Categories
  1. Innovation Award for Apps
  2. Innovation Award for Technology
  3. Innovation Award for Growth Markets
  4. Innovation Award for Monetization
All nominees in each of the four innovation categories will be given the opportunity to pitch to the C-level executives at the MEF CEO Summit to be held at City Hall, on the evening preceding the Meffys. The CEOs will then vote to determine the most innovative mobile product or service and the winner of this “CEO Summit Award for Innovation” will be honoured at the Meffys Gala Awards Dinner. And if you get a chance to attend the dinner, you should! It’s great fun and great networking. Ruby Wax was also totally brilliant last year as the host.
Best of luck! And I look forward to reviewing the entries.