Thursday, August 31, 2006

Biggest QR code ever?

By Tim Rogers on Flickr

QR Codes on Wikipedia
Semacode on Wikipedia

My list of companies trying to commercialise this use case.

01/09 Update - the CEO of Kaywa pinged me to tell me that you can generate your own QR code for a URL, phone number or text or SMS by going here. I've just downloaded and tried out their reader for the N70 and it works brilliantly. This is an excellent way of making the non-mobile world mobile (posters, ads, biz cards, ingredients, instructions, menus).
(the Kaywa QR code for this blog)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chuck D @ Mobile Content World

Last year we had P Diddy headlining at CTIA, and I just noticed that this year Chuck D is presenting the opening speech at Mobile Content World 2006 in London - how cool is that! I remember meeting him when he was doing a guest appearance at a Public Domain promotional concert at the ICA - nice bloke!! ;-)

Futuretext: Mobile Web 2.0

Ajit Joakar & Tony Fish have teamed up again to write a new book that addresses how the web 2.0 extends to the ‘wider Internet’, describes the seven principles of Mobile Web 2.0 and other impacting factors e.g. rollout of IMS, WiMAX etc.

They claim the 7 priniciples of Mobile web 2.0 are:
  • Mobile content and the changing balance of power (The power of user generated content)
  • I am not a number, I am a tag (The impact on the telecoms industry's management of numbers)
  • Multilingual mobile access (Everyone, Everywhere with a phone running .. )
  • Mobile web 2.0 and Digital convergence (Mobile web 2.0 is a driver to digital convergence)
  • The disruptive power of Ajax and mobile widgets
  • Location based services and Mobile web 2.0 (LBS has never quite taken off. Will mobile web 2.0 help?)
  • Mobile search : Much more than Google on your mobile phone.

Both Ajit and Tony have been stong proponents and faciliators of innovation in the mobile industry and consequently they have a lot of valuable and challenging insight on this space.

P.S make sure you ask for a hard copy cos the last "book" I ordered from them was only ever given to me as a pdf and I'm still not quite ready for an entirely digital world ;-)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The future of Mobile Voice & Text?

I've written previously about numerous mobile messaging services that are all targeted at taking a piece of existing mobile operators voice and messaging revenues. In Europe alone, these revenues are in excess of €250bn, and consequently this category presents a lip-licking opportunity to VC's, entrepreneurs and existing industry players

The last couple of years have seen a number product launches from the likes of Hotxt , Text2me, and Pica who are all trying to move SMS volume away from the operators monetisation mechanism (the SMSC) by allowing P2P application based messaging over a data connection. All require users to have the same application installed which presents a barrier to uptake due to the fact that not every one in a communication circle will have the same type of device – i.e. that supports J2ME. In younger age segments where users are more likely to have the latest, coolest and funkiest devices, then the chances of the communication circle having compatible devices is higher and a common messaging experience achieved.
Other apps including Mig33, Vyke, Woize, Skype, Truphone (deserves its own post) and now Nimbuzz include the mobile voice use case, providing mostly Java apps that allow you to make a call over you data connection, again avoiding the operators billing mechanism (apart from data charges) and offering non-member connection via cheap international wholesale termination rates (similar to Skype-Out).
I expect we will see a load more applications like this over the coming months, all in the same product space but with a slightly different product approach and spin. The big open question is which ones will prevail? On the current radar, Skype has the best chance of succeeding, principally due to having the financial and marketing muscle of an industry leader and an established non-mobile user base in excess of 170m. Other players that can quickly impact this space are mobile and fixed operators, who both have an existing customer relationship and billing mechanism and in the case of the mobile operators, a forced distribution channel – the device.
Another interesting aspect of this space is that the application offerings are increasing acting as integrated user experiences for what were previously silo applications (e.g. email, IM, blogging, content). Examples such as Pica, combine communication (email, chat, IM, voice messaging and text) with a range of community features (moblogging, personal profiles, emoticons and voicecast) offering users a single device destination for interacting and communicating with circles of friends and like minded users. Pica has now over 3m users, predominantly in China but raised $10m from Bluerun back in Dec 05 which could easily support localization and business dev. efforts in US and Europe.

These examples provide evidence of an increasing trend which is likely to gain traction over the coming years and IMHO presents a credible threat to operators which should be monitored. Applications like Pica give us an idea of what the future of mobile comms may look like, and serve as a valuable reminder on how fragmented today’s mobile experience is.

Read also Nimbuzz featured in MobileCrunch
12/09 - see also HelloSoft
12/09 - see also NootMobile
15/09 - see also Fring
10/10 - see also Berggi
18/10 - see also Reporo
29/11 - see GigaOM

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Google acquires Nevenvision

Google announced on Tuesday that they had acquired Nevenvision, a small but well armoured visual search/recognition leader with significant IP and a smart team. Google had been rumoured to have been looking in to Riya but jumped on nevenvision instead. Google has mastered the interpretation, analysis and monetisation of text-based search requests, and Nevenvision takes it a step further in doing the same for images. Nevenvision had(has) an interesting product portfolio with a viable solution for mobile phone image search. With Infotrends predicting 228 billion images being taken on camera phones by 2010, exceeding the number of photos taken on digital still cameras and film cameras combined, this looks like a prudent and timely purchase.

William Slawski has a good overview of Googles other recent acquisitions

Previous related post: NeoMedia acquires Mobot (Aug 05)

Friday, August 11, 2006

THE big idea...

Your reading "abigidea", and today my employer announced a new competition in the UK to discover THE next big idea...

"Sky One and Vodafone today announced THE BIG IDEA - the UK’s largest-ever search to discover the next great British invention or business idea. Voted on by the viewers, budding entrepreneurs will compete for a £100,000 investment in launching their idea or venture. Supported by a major outreach programme undertaken by Vodafone, regional heats will be held in Manchester and London in September. Contestants can download an application form at Produced by Ricochet Productions in association with Vodafone THE BIG IDEA will be broadcast on Sky One in the autumn, with extended programming on Sky Three. The show will be executively produced for Sky One by Steve Jones. Richard Woolfe, Director of Programmes, Sky One, Two and Three said: “From John Logie Baird to Trevor Bayliss, Alexander Graham Bell to James Dyson, we are a nation of brilliant inventors and I’m delighted that Sky One and Vodafone are teaming up for The Big Idea. It’s the biggest ever UK search for inventions or business ideas and anyone with a flash of genius can participate.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mobipod - UK Mobile Podcasting Trial

MobiPod have recently started a UK trial of a new mobile podcasting service. You get the podcasts for free (although you do have to pay for data transfer) and the podcast selection includes comedy from Sowerby & Luff's Comedy 365, and a Mobipod pick of entertainment and music. The service has been put together by Linked Media (creators of Britcaster) in partnership with technology solution provider Bamboo MediaCasting.
"Full track, 30-40 minute podcast updates are delivered off-peak or overnight, and are waiting on the handset for one-click access at the user's convenience - such as during their daily commute to and from work. The Bamboo service platform supports Java, Symbian Windows Mobile, and BREW-based cellphones, and can efficiently distribute large files of any type, which means long-format podcasts and video clips can be part of the content mix".