Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Google Launches Google News Mobile

From Search Engine journal Google launches Google News Mobile

Google has announced the addition of Google News to their mobile offerings, bringing the informational goodness of Google News to cell phones, train stations, and waiting rooms all over the country.

Unlike the desktop browser based version of Google News, Google News Mobile does not list all of the sites in the Google News index.

1. Go to google.com on your mobile phone's browser and click the link to "News"
2. Browse top headlines, or news in categories
3. Search for the news you want

Motorola Invests In Netomat For Mobile Content Delivery

From EETimes Motorola invests in Netomat, a mobile PC convergence firm

Motorola Inc. has announced that its strategic venture capital arm Motorola Ventures has made a strategic investment in Netomat , a supplier of mobile PC convergence services.

The company recently launched netomat hub, the first group picture, text and RSS sharing service for mobile phones and PCs.

View the demo

The service seamlessly integrates multiple essential services for real-time group communication, including picture and text messaging with presence, RSS syndication, trusted social networking, digital photo storage and update alerts

Interactive Advertising Using A Barcode

From Adotas The Emerging Landscape of Barcode Branding

Soon the technology of the barcode will break free of its mundane role in the grocery store to become the next powerful tool in interactive advertising.

Colorzip , a company based in Japan, is in the final stages of developing its Colorcodes, which are colorful barcodes placed on posters, television screens, and even t-shirts that deliver songs, videos, or website links instantly through the snap of your cell phone camera.

The widely differing patterns and colors are contained in boxes that can be as small as traditional UPC barcodes, and work in much the same way.

As soon as you take a picture of a Colorcode, the image is sent to a server and uniquely identified within a master index. The server then sends content back to your phone for you to enjoy.

The implications for such a technology are endless, and it won’t be long before advertisers begin to seek the full potential of barcode branding.

Sony Ericsson And Google Team Up For Mobile Search

From Kashar Blogger and Google Search into Sony Ericsson handsets

Sony Ericsson and Google today announced that they have worked closely together to integrate Google's Blogger and Web Search features on Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

The two companies are the first in the industry to provide a pre-loaded blog application with a tight integration to the mobile camera.

This comes as Sony is offering CyberShot for Sony Ericsson's camera phones.

Additionally, commencing today Google will become the standard search engine for all new Sony Ericsson Internet-capable phones.

For instance, users can directly activate a Google Web Search option from whichever page they are viewing without the need to launch a new web page to complete a search. With one click, users will be able to quickly and easily access the information they need

Monday, February 27, 2006

ScanBuy Introduces ScanZoom Platform For Physical World Connection

ScanBuy is doing a terrific job of educating the masses through the media on what the physical world connection will soon offer.

From Channel 7 News in Boston ScanBuy Offers ScanZoom for Mobile phones

Are you a bargain hunter? Well a new technology may be perfect for you. The best part, you may already be holding it in the palm of your hands. 7's Frances Rivera explains....

2 for $10 Save 500 dollars! Shopping for savings can be exhausting, but bargain hunting may be getting a little easier - - thanks to your cell phone

Olivier Attia - Scanzoom.com
"it's a whole new way of using your phone"

This regular looking camera phone is loaded up with software called scan zoom. It turns your phone into a personal shopping assistant

Heres how it works - - just point your camera phone at any bar code and scan zoom delivers product information, reviews and the lowest prices right to your phones screen

Want to be a beta tester for ScanBuy? SCANBUY®'s Optical Intelligence™ is a full software solution turning camera phone into personal barcode scanners.

ScanLife is ScanBuy's content delivery platform. Get your own eZcode today and see what the physical world connection is all about.

SiRF Introduces Location Based Services Platform

From ComputerWorld GPS firm sees more location-based services in phones

SiRF Technology Holdings Inc. plans to release a software platform for phone operators later this year that it hopes will accelerate the use of location-based services in mobile phones, the company's president and CEO Michael Canning said.

SiRF sells chips and software for use in consumer Global Positioning System (GPS) products. It thinks 60% of mobile phones will include GPS capabilities in the next three years or so, but a key challenge is getting operators to offer location-based services to their subscribers.

To help drive the market, SiRF is creating a platform on which third-party developers can write applications for operators.

This is a great idea. Let creative minds determine what useful products/applications can be generated from this. Case is point Google Maps. If you have a valuable platform, let visionaries determine what the market will find useful with it.

The platform will not be dependent on a particular cellular technology and will work with Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and other standards, Canning said

CBS Offers Video News Alerts Via Mobile

I see this competing directly with the mobile TV services from the providers. Would you rather pay $15 for the TV subscription service or subscribe to 10-15 news alert feeds?

What if Google introduced this same service that allowed you to get targeted news alerts with video feeds? Are CBS newsfeeds timely enough for your mobile? CNN has a Breaking News email service that is so delayed I wouldn't dream of paying for it.

From NY Times CBS to ring in with breaking news

The CBS Corporation is expected to announce today the first subscription services that send news and entertainment alerts that include video clips to mobile phones. They are part of a broad new strategy to sell wireless media products directly to consumers.

A CBS News to Go service will be sold for 99 cents a month, while a service called E.T. to Go, focusing on entertainment news built off the show "Entertainment Tonight," will initially be offered for $3.99 a month. Entertainment Tonight is produced by Paramount Television, another division of CBS.

An alert service tied to CBS Sports is also in the works. In the weeks ahead, CBS is planning to introduce several other mobile ventures. Some, including a soap opera in three- to five-minute episodes meant only for mobile phones.

People magazine has a celebrity alert service that sends a text message everytime there's breaking news involving a celebrity. It's just text, but it's free.

Click To Call Hyperlink

This article focuses on click to call using a PC, but the advantages for mobile will be easier to see. You are clicking on an icon which is a hyperlink. Instead being directed to a website, you're directed to a phone number. The mouse is dialer.

From NY Times Pick up the phone, your search term is calling

GOOGLE is going 20th century.

The company, whose empire is based on its ability to connect people and businesses through computers, is now connecting them the old-fashioned way — over the phone.

Just as in pay-per-click advertising, pay-per-call marketers bid for the right to have their ads appear near the top results of search queries, and pay only when someone actually uses them. Consumers either choose the click-to-call option or simply dial the number in the ad.

In either case, the number is a dedicated line that middleman companies like Ingenio or eStara, a company based in Reston, Va., have procured for each advertiser. Those companies connect and log the call, charge the advertisers and share the money with the site on which the ad appeared.

There's the problem, the middleman. There is a way to eliminate the middleman and get a direct connection.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sprint Sees Many Applications With A Camera Phone

I can remember talking to the business development people at Sprint a couple years ago about the many uses the camera would have on a mobile phone. At the time it seemed so foreign and impractical to them.

From BusinessWire Sprint maintains lead as camera phone innovator

Sprint PCS Picture Mail groups, launching in the spring, will be the first picture groups service designed with the mobile phone user in mind, making the sharing of pictures and video clips from a mobile phone to an online community a smooth, hassle-free process.

"As camera phones have become mainstream, wireless phone users are looking for new, creative ways to communicate with pictures," said Pierre Barbeau, general manager of visual communications for Sprint.

"At first, camera phones were primarily looked at as a fun way to instantly send spontaneous pictures. While camera phones are still widely used this way, people are also using them when they plan to take pictures to stay connected with friends and family and for practical applications such as to comparison shop, for scrap booking, to keep a picture diary and to improve business productivity"

Sprint might just see the value a camera has a mobile marketing tool.

Sprint is a data services company in the content and media distribution business committed to delivering a seamless experience that gives customers the power to connect, share and access information instantly on a mobile phone.

Sprint customers can realize the power of the "third screen".

M-Qube Powers GQ Mobile

From Business Week GQ Magazine sends a text message

GQ is about to push its men's magazine franchise into the quickly growing world of wireless media. On Feb. 27, the Condé Nast title will announce the launch of a new service called GQ Mobile, providing text messages to readers via their cell phones.

The service, BusinessWeek Online has learned, will be operated in conjunction with m-Qube , a Watertown (Mass.)-based company that has created an infrastructure for distributing music and other media to cell phones.

Starting in the March issue, GQ readers will be invited to sign up by using their cell phones to send a text message with "GQ" to GQMAG (or 47624).

That number is the "short code" administered for GQ by m-Qube. A short code is like a Web address for cell phones. It's able to receive messages, even though it's shorter than a regular 10-digit phone number.

Once enrolled, GQ Mobile users will start to receive original content developed for the digital mobile service. It may include information about events, private sales, shopping nights, and giveaways.

Revenue from mobile content generated nearly $17 billion last year, and the market is expected to reach $78 billion by 2007, according to researcher Ovum.

Symbol Has A Really "Smart" Phone

Did anyone think Symbol could be a competitor in the smartphone space? Symbol, the barcode pioneer, offers barcode scanning in a smartphone. I know the ScanBuys and others are trying to get their barcode scanning application embedded on the mobile phone, did any of the physical world connection players think of asking Symbol?

From BusinessWeek Symbol's stylish handheld

Think about those handheld computers you see the local FedEx delivery driver using. They're an invaluable tool for the busy professional on the go. But let's face it: They're clunky, unattractive things that lack the handsome styling of the toys you see carried by the corporate elite.

Like all Pocket PCs, the MC50 uses Microsoft's (MSFT ) Windows Mobile operating system to deliver many of the same applications you'd get on another handheld.

The MC50 includes a 3.5-inch QVGA color touchscreen, your choice of a model with a keyboard or a unit optimized for making phone calls, built-in 801.11b wireless fidelity, and the ability to make voice over IP (VoIP) calls. There are options for push-to-talk, a 1.1-megapixel digital camera, and a bar-code reader.

Physical world hyperlinks that it can scan:
1D Symbology: UPC/EAN, Code 128, UCC.EAN128, RSS, Code 39, Code 93, I 2 of 5, Discrete 2 of 5, Codabar, MSI 2D Symbology: MaxiCode, PDF417, DataMatrix, QRCode Postal Codes: U.S. Postnet, U.S Planet, UK Postal, Australian Postal, Japan Postal. (they cover them all)

Wonder how soon before they introduce a phone that can read an RFID tag? There's a reason Microsoft teamed up with Symbol last Summer. Could they be developing an RFID Browser?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Says Porn Is Killer App For Mobile

What was the first industry that was able to generate revenues for content on the Internet?

From RealTech News Google admits porn turning out to be the killer app for cell phones

This is why many cell phone providers doubted that cell phone porn would catch on. After all, who wants to sit in an airport and get caught watching grainy adut movies or racy stills?

Turns out - a lot of people do. The cell phone is becoming the preferred platform for adult Web searches for a number of reasons. The biggest one is privacy

Nowadays the cellphone is the device of choice for those seeking out porn on the web, according to research by Google. Computer scientists Maryan Kamvar and Shumeet Baluja analysed 1 million searches made using the firm’s mobile search software.

They found that “adult” material constituted 20 per cent of the searches on cellphones, but only 5 per cent on PDAs. Just 8.5 per cent of searches on desktop computers are for adult material. The Google team say that people regard their phones as intensely personal devices and so “may feel more comfortable querying adult terms” on them, perceiving a smaller chance of others discovering their activities.

I have posted my thoughts on porn and the mobile industry here , here and here.

This is one of the reasons why LeapScan has such great potential for physical world connection and delivering content for porn.

Google Pages Part 2

Last Fall I posted a story Google Pages and explained how and why Google could dominate the local search space by offering free websites (and the ability to create them).

Don't have a website and don't know how to get one? Let Google do it.

One thing about Google, you don't have to wait long for them to implement a good idea.

From C/Net Google unveils Web page creator

Google launched on Thursday a service that lets people create their own Web pages hosted by the Internet giant.

Google Page Creator, which is in beta, has sample layouts and lets people type in content, upload images and publish their pages, without knowing HTML. People can create multiple linked pages and are allowed 100MB of storage on the service.

In my opinion this is a real threat to the Yellow Pages. With Blogger, Google has made blogging easy enough that a guy like me can figure it out.

Can you see how this opens up local search and the advertising spigot for small businesses?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Will Satellite Radio Offer Advertising Utopia?

What a great idea, although the commercial free music was part of it's initial sales pitch though.

This eliminates the search process altogether with a simple "buy button". You won't need to remember a shortcode or a website, simply push a button.

Satellite radio will soon offer the ability to interact directly with an advertiser by a push of a button.

From AdAge Buy it from radio ads at the push of a button

Push the button, buy the product direct from the ad. That’s always been the holy grail for TV advertising and now it’s coming -- to radio.

It’s not a stretch to see the same push-and-purchase function made available for advertisers. While neither XM nor Sirius are anxious to disclose their plans for forthcoming hardware and technology, there are hints that interactivity will be a major component -- and one that benefits both consumers and advertisers.

“Our next generation of products coming out in the next two weeks will be an XM-enabled MP3 player with, in the simplest terms, that ‘buy’ button,” D. Scott Karnedy, senior VP-ad sales for XM Satellite Radio, said at a radio panel last week.

“The next generation [after that] will be that if you want to hit that button for more information about that product you just heard described.”

I will be curious to see what the revenue models are for the sat radio guys when this gets implemented.

Could A Barcode Resolve The Digital Rights Managment (DRM) Problem?

Chris Matthieu at ESBN (Electronic Standard Book Number) has come up with a really great application that could lead to a DRM resolution.

You give DRM a Bad Name

ESBN.ORG has developed a 19 digit unique identifier called an ESBN (Electronic Standard Book Number). This next generation ISBN-like unique identifier allows authors, publishers, and artists to generate a unique identifier for their digital asset - not just per title but per distributed copy of their digital asset.

The ESBN is assigned to a person or company for fair use. This license can be tracked by the ESBN ID and even reassigned to someone else at a later time.

Imagine being able to legally sell or trade digital assets (such as music, e-books, or art) that you have purchased! You can do this with books, DVDs or CDs in the offline world. Why shouldn’t you be able to do the same in the online world?

ESBN.ORG’s online numbering system may be the simple answer to this complicated problem. Good companies can restore DRM’s reputation

Mobile Price Check For Amazon

Think of this as a private label mobile browser to the largest ecommerce site.

From NetImperative Mobile users get Amazon shopping browser

Mobile software firm Moonlight Mobile has partnered with Amazon to develop a new application that gives users access to the online retail store from their handset.

The service, called ‘Price Check for Amazon’ lets mobile users browse the site, as well as check prices, availability, postage and buyer product ratings.

The firm said there will be a one-off fee to download Price Check For Amazon. The application will be available across more than 130 java-enabled handsets.

More mobile offerings for Amazon

End Of The Road For Skype And Vonage?

When eBay announced they were purchasing Skype, the VOIP provider, I really thought it was a mistake. Time will tell, but Andrew Orlowski at The Register gives us his vision with a story called Skype and Vonage: Thank you and goodnight.

It's small, it's boring and won't turn any heads - but it probably spells the end of the road for Skype, Vonage and any other hopeful independent VoIP companies. It's Nokia's 6136 phone, which allows you to make calls over your home or office Wi-Fi network, as well as on a regular cellular network.

UMA, or unlicensed mobile access, is the mobile operators' answer to the threat of VoIP - and now it's reality.

John Barry, a product developer at Nokia had this to say.

So what would Kolderup advise Skype and Vonage to do next?

"If you'd asked me a year ago I'd have advised Vonage to go public - which they have - and Skype to get bought - which they have too."

So long then VoIP, and thanks for the free calls

Concert Tickets Via SMS

This is an example of a physical world item being replaced and accessed digitally.

From This Is London Cncrt tkts by txt msg planned

Mobile phone tickets are to be used for the first time at a major music festival, O2 said today.

The electronic barcodes will be sent to ticket buyers as text messages. At the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park in June, customers will simply hold their phone to a scanner to enter.
Customers who lose their ticket will also be able to request a duplicate barcode to be sent to their phone

BlueCasting Will Have Guidelines

One of the last things the mobile marketing community wants right now is the consumer to get ticked off with unwanted advertising on the mobile. It's good to see that bluetooth enabled ads (bluecasting or bluespamming) will have guidelines too.

Just because a consumer is near a bluetooth enabled ad, doesn't give the advertiser the right to broadcast it.

Mobile Marketing Magazine has a good story on the "other" form of mobile marketing, BlueCasting.

Last month, Viacom Outdoor launched a network of Bluetooth-enabled poster sites across the London Underground. Yet, these sites might breach the Privacy Directive, because people walking within 8 metres of the posters will receive messages without the option of blocking them.

Critics believe that a consumer having Bluetooth enabled on their phone does not equate to them giving their permission to receive marketing messages, even if the first message seeks their permission to be sent subsequent messages.

Next month the Direct Marketing Association will publish guidelines on marketing via Bluetooth and will raise the issue of initial opt-in with its new Mobile Marketing Council.

Bluecasting could be the equivalent of email spam if it's not done properly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Third Screen Media's MADX Gets More Financing

From Boston Biz Journal Third Screen Media receives $5m in Series B round

The round was led by TD Capital Ventures in Boston.

The Boston-based company will use the money to bolster its sales-and-marketing efforts for its MADX mobile ad delivery platform. The company plans to target publishers, carriers, brands and advertising agencies for use of this software.

MADX Publisher provides support for GIF/JPG, image with text, J2ME, BREW and Flash Lite applications, video, SMS and MMS alerts and interstitials. MADX Publisher also supports ad standards across all carriers, phones and browsers; and allows for ad targeting by frequency, location, day-part, keyword, device, browser and carrier

Last week Heidi Lehmann, 3rd Screen's VP of content acquisition was elected to the Mobile Marketing Association's Board of Directors.

go2 Announces Record Mobile Traffic

During 2005, go2's mobile websites, which include Yellow Page, local search and other local information, delivered more than 210 million page views of local information, up 37 percent from over 150 million in 2004.

Launched in 1999 as the world's first mobile Yellow Page Directory, go2 is now one of the most widely used mobile, local search directories in the United States.

With eleven different, category-specific directories available today, including go2 Business, go2 Dining, go2 Movies and go2 Shopping, the go2 network of local search directories has one-of-a kind, multi-category placement on the wireless Web menus of most major wireless carriers.

Click-through rates for mobile advertising on go2 are significantly higher than click-through rates for online advertising, in part based on go2's ability to target advertising by both location and directory search category.

SMS Coupons And Vouchers

Ping Mobile LLC. announced today the commercial launch of the company’s flagship PingRewards™ Service, which sends registered users mobile coupons and vouchers from their favorite retail stores directly to their mobile phones in the form of SMS’s, or “text messages.

The PingRewards™ coupons and vouchers are then redeemed and cashed-in at participating store locations.

Ping Mobile provides store owners who choose this option with a PingRewards™ in-store advertising poster, which contains the stores’ personalized keyword and the short code number PING2 ( 74642 ).

The customer simply types in that keyword and sends it as a text message to Ping Mobile. They are instantly registered to the PingRewards™ service with that retail vendor automatically listed in their “Favorites”, and they receive their first redeemable coupon for that store location within 60 seconds.

Retail vendors sign on as advertising partners via a “pay per coupon” mechanism that allows them access to a brand new, performance-based, and revenue generating channel of communication with customers who they would otherwise not be able to reach.

Brands Shifting To Mobile Marketing

From NetImperative Major brands shifting marketing budgets to mobile-research

Nearly nine in ten major UK brands are planning to shift more of their marketing resources to mobile platform over the next two years, according to new research.

An independent survey of 50 brand name companies commissioned by mobile technology firm Airwide Solutions, found that by 2008 89% of brands will use text and multimedia messaging to reach their audience.

The top three things that would make mobile marketing more attractive to brands are the ability to reach a specific target audience, information about how the user responded to a marketing message and proof that a message has been received by the user's handset, the research revealed.

Those three things make mobile marketing the most direct way to interact with the consumer.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Your Personal Billboard

Paul Saffo, who works for the Institute for the Future, gave an interesting interview .

The more useful and targeted a new technology is, the more privacy we have to give up.

Most people don't realize that our Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission have all mandated that cell phones need to have position recording built in.

They want to be able to pinpoint your location with a global positioning chip in your phone or some other way of identifying your location. This costs the telephone companies money, so the bargain they made with the Feds is that we'll implement it, but then we
get the right to use this for commercial purposes.

You will get location-based marketing. People don't realize but their cell phone will become their personal billboard.

I have lots of interesting ideas on what I would do with a GPS application.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Barcode Creates A Consumer Report Wikipedia

This is a great idea. Instead of using the physical world connection for a one dimension application like price comparison, a barcode can be linked to a product review search engine.

Is this a Consumer report Wikipedia?
From HeraldWet Toshiba service could be a boon from consumers

Checking out the Internet buzz about a DVD, book or candy while on the go is soon to become as easy as taking a snapshot of the bar code on the product.

Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics company that makes DVD players, laptops and nuclear power plants, has developed mobile-phone technology that searches for product reviews on up to 100 Web journals, or blogs, in 10 seconds.

In my opinion, blogs will be the new Consumer Reports. Information can be delivered faster and from numerous sources.

Just use the phone's digital camera to snap a photo of the bar code of a product you're thinking about buying.

The technology can tell if the blog chatter is positive or negative and tallies the count to show if a product is getting rave reviews or being trashed by consumers. That's useful if you're in a store about to buy an item.

The bar-code information is sent wirelessly to a Toshiba server, which gathers data on blogs from the Internet and analyzes them, and then sends a reply back to the cell phone.

Just a guess, but the server probably resolves the barcode and determines the product info. The server then does a search on blogs for that specific product with a value added rating.

Monday, February 13, 2006

House4Cell Offers Click-To-Call For Realtors

Cellit, LLC, the premier provider of self-service mobile marketing solutions, announced today the release of several new features for its real estate text messaging service, House4Cell.

House4Cell can now deliver photos to the phones of inquiring home buyers, along with additional information via email or FAX. Buyers can even click a button to directly connect to the listing agent via its "click-to-call" functionality

Real estate agents hang House4Cell riders from the signs of their listings, informing homebuyers of the availability of instant information. Prospective home buyers see these signs and simply text message a short, custom code to a special House4Cell phone number.

Within seconds, all of the essential property information -- including price, square footage and amenities -- are immediately sent back to the buyer's phone, along with photos.

What would be nice is the ability to click on a For Sale sign and get an interior video of the home too. Soon.

LocaModa Powers "The Web Outside"

"The Web Outside". That description might make it easier for people to understand what this technology will enable.

LocaModa(tm), Inc., a technology company powering "The Web Outside", was chosen as a "Disruptor" for its location-based interactive marketing and social networking platforms that were announced at the Demo 06 conference.

LocaModa CEO Stephen Randal (former EVP and founder of Symbian) refers to this paradigm shift as "The Web Outside", I refer to it as the Physical World Connection. I say whatever gets the technology adopted.

StreetSurfer, LocaModa's location-based interactive marketing platform revolutionizes the way brands and consumers interact by turning any mobile phone into a remote control for out-of-home digital signage.

As an example:

StreetSurfer enables consumers to use a standard mobile phone like a remote control to browse internet-connected TV screens in real estate brokerage front windows. Consumers can interact directly with real estate listings and brokers can provide a 24/7 dynamically responsive service to attract potential customers.

See the demo

Their Wiffiti (Wireless+Graffiti) is the first application that has been purpose built for StreetMessenger and allows users to send text messages from their mobile phones to large flat TV displays in locations where people socialize such as cafes, bars and clubs and on the web.

Wiffiti is currently being offered Massachusetts and Arizona, with sites in LA and Chicago soon. screen shot

I envision a mobile marketing campaign for teens that uses this platform. Imagine a screen in Times Square that offered this? This offers lots of creative possibilities.

LocaModa's technology works with any phone, any network, and does not require any downloadable software

These services bridge networks to allow consumers to access and manipulate information displays from the convenience of their mobile phones. These services will have interesting implications and drive innovative applications for closed-loop brand marketing."

Microsoft Buys Mobile Search Company MotionBridge

Mobile search space heating up.

Microsoft buys MotionBridge, which provides search services for mobile phones

MotionBridge is the only search engine truly designed for mobile Internet and mobile carrier's needs

MotionBridge CLASSIC offers only one, unified input zone, allowing to type a brand name, a common noun, a URL, to go inside or outside the portal.

MotionBridge's keywords are fast and easy to enter. Optional "numeric input" mode allows to type only once on each key, and is available for Western and Asian languages.

MotionBridge's Sponsored Links (also known as paid listing) program enables content providers to easily bid for keywords, define advertisement details and target specific mobile devices in order to increase exposure and consumption of their content.

MotionBridge is the most popular mobile search engine in Europe, handling several million queries per month and powering the portals of clients such as O2, T-Mobile and Orange.

MotionBridge has been adopted by major portals totalling more than 90 millions subscribers.

Submit your mobile website

Nextcode Launches Barcode Scanning Application

From Chron.com Nextcode launches ConnexTo Enterprise

Nextcode, a leader in optical barcode solutions for camera phones, announced the launch of ConnexTo(tm) Enterprise. ConnexTo lets businesses easily deploy robust mobile barcode-scanning applications that use standard camera phones to optically read bar codes.

"With ConnexTo Enterprise, we help companies turn camera phones into powerful tools to capture data, connect to information, and solve business problems."

ConnexTo requires no special optics, image resolution, or additional hardware. It can be loaded and run on camera phones right out of the box. (Could this solve one of the physical world connection obstacles?)

Beyond supporting traditional barcode formats, ConnexTo uses Nextcode's patent-pending mCode(tm) technology, specifically designed for camera phone applications.

mCode and the ConnexTo.com services are already used to create and read 2D barcodes that provide rapid access to WAP addresses, SMS messages, contact information and auto-dial phone numbers.

Nextcode supports the following formats:

Code 128
QR Code

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Carnival Of The Mobilists 15

This week Xen Dolev at Xellular Identity hosts Carnival of the Mobilists.

Xen, is a relative newcomer to the mobile blog world, but has already posted some interesting ideas.

Take a look at some of the new additions to the Mobilists gang.

Friday, February 10, 2006

MobileTag Links The Physical World

It seems like the physical world connection (PWC) space is heating up. Another PWC company MobileTag will be showing this application at the 3GSM Conference next week.

From CompanyNewsGroup MobileTag and Netsize offer direct mobile content

MobileTag is an embedded application that enables camera-phones to read and decipher data matrix prints, known as 'Tags', which appear as a small square symbol that can be inserted into any text on a paper document, on television, or any kind of advertisement.

By using this technology, MobileTag can provide mobile users with instant access to dynamic and personalized SMS services and mobile internet sites, managed by Netsize.

"Mobile Bar-coding presents enormous opportunities for retailers and brands to offer redemption of content, products and services via mobile phones," says Pascal Verveur, Vice-President Marketing Products & Services at Netsize.

The biggest opportunity is for advertisers, marketing agencies and print media who can make their advertisements interactive by adding barcodes readable by mobile phones."

The MobileTag application has been integrated with the Netsize mSuites solution allowing mobile content management and billing through SMS, MMS, IVR and mobile internet channels.

To use the service, users simply have to launch the MobileTag application from their mobile phone, centre the Tag within the screen, and then snap the image with their camera phone.

The user will then be automatically directed to a specific online service, such as a Wap or Web portal. The Tags can also be used to send messages to advertisers with just one-click, by using the phone's built-in SMS, MMS or e-mail capabilities.

Click here to read about some of the interesting applications.

FOX's Reality Offers Mobile Service

My cable provider doesn't offer the FOX Reality channel (I wish they did). Until IPTV (Internet protocol TV) is available, could this be a way to subscribe to a specific TV channel without having to wait for your cable company to include it?

With Sprint Power Vision I can subscribe to FOX NEWS and get a streaming feed of the channel on my cell phone. I know there are still cities that don't carry this channel.

So here's what I wonder. Can a TV channel introduce a mobile service that allows a feed into your cell phone. You could either watch the channel on your phone or transmit to your TV. Is this doable?

From itvt NewsBlog FOX Reality taps 2waytraffic for mobile service

The $4.99-per-month service, which will launch this spring, and which Fox Reality will promote on the air, will allow customers of all the US's major wireless carriers to access daily recaps of their favorite shows on the channel, participate in sweepstakes, and even receive casting call information so that they themselves can appear in future reality TV programs.

2waytraffic will provide all the service's wireless applications and backend service, and has also co-produced the commercial creative that Fox Reality will use to promote it.

To subscribe to the service, viewers will simply have to text "REALITY" to the premium number, 76666, and the service's monthly charge will then appear on their mobile bill

Google Goes After Print Ads

The fact that Google is going after print ads isn't surprising. I always try to see the mobile marketing angle with Google's moves, and the specific magazines they are choosing, makes me ponder.

From Guardian Google sets sights on old media

After revolutionising the internet advertising market, Google now has its eye on an altogether more traditional channel: print ads.

High-profile titles including Ellegirl and Martha Stewart Living are being included in the scheme, and winning bidders can expect to see their advertisements appear later this year.

It is interesting that Google is mainly targeting the female audience.

What is also interesting is they recognize that Ellegirl magazine "gets it" when it comes to new marketing applications.

ABC's Should Include D2C

ClickZ has a nice summary of what mobile marketing allows called the ABC's of mobile marketing. They failed to include the most powerful term in my opinion.

Mobile allows brands to track campaign success, so-called brand interactivity. By including a mobile call to action in a given campaign (broadcast, print, outdoor, etc.), marketers can more accurately track response rates for specific campaigns or channels.

Mobile allows a brand or content provider to target subscribers with anytime, anywhere marketing. Brands can now access consumers when they're at home, at work, in the car, traveling, and so on.

The key terms:

SMS (short message service): This is often referred to as "text" or "text messaging
PSMS (premium SMS): Premium means the service user will be charged an incremental fee instead of the basic text charge
WAP (wireless application protocol): WAP is simply the wireless Web
MMS (multimedia messaging service): Ever taken pictures with your phone and sent them to friends

You've heard of B2B (business to business) and P2P (peer to peer).

What is the one they missed? (that's OK, it's not available to the masses, yet)

D2C (direct to content): This is ability to connect directly with a brand or their content thru a one-click application. This isn't sending a text and waiting for response. This isn't going to a company's mobile website.

This requires a PWH (physical world hyperlink). Think this will get recognized as a term? Or PWC (physical world connection)?

This is clicking on a barcode, or 2d code and getting a coupon, information, tech support, video etc. When that is introduced, then brands will not only be able to target subscribers, they will form a close relationship with them as well.

They won't need to buy keywords from a search engine, or put lengthy website names in advertisments. They won't have to worry about click fraud. ALL of the key data (your location, type of phone, age, time of day,billing), will be delivered with one click.They will just say "from more information, click on our barcode".

That IS the holy grail for mobile marketing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

NeoMedia Merges With Visual Search Pioneer Mobot

From Business Wire NeoMedia signs merger agreement with Mobot

NeoMedia Technologies, Inc., an innovator in wireless services and patented technologies that provide automatic links to Mobile Internet-based information, announced today that it has signed a merger agreement with Mobot®, Inc., of Lexington, Mass., a pioneer in mobile visual recognition technology.

NeoMedia expects the transaction to close this month

Mobot's visual search technology connects mobile consumers with international brands, including L'Oreal®, Samsung® and Saturn®, major media companies, including ELLEgirl®, VIBE® and JANE® magazines and leading music labels, including WEA (Warner Music Group's U.S. sales and retail marketing company).

Mobot campaigns require no changes to existing visual media and work seamlessly with all wireless carriers.

Mobot's best-in-class solution requires no download and supports all camera phones in the market, using picture messaging on the handsets to connect with Mobot's visual recognition platform and deliver back SMS, MMS and WAP push interactivity.

Future comments forthcoming.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

4INFO Compares Prices With Shopping.com

Until camera phones come with barcode scanning capabilities, this will work just fine.

4INFO forms partnership with Shopping.com to offer more functionality with their SMS service.

This partnership gives us a true price compare service from the company that pioneered online comparison shopping. Just enter a barcode or product keyword with "price" and send to 44636 to see your results.

Their numerous products, merchants and Epinions combined with our ability to check prices from a mobile phone, Shopping.com and 4INFO empower consumers to make informed choices when on the go.

Simply use the "price" indicator via SMS, WAP, or Website.
Try it here

"price" + item price xbox 360
"price" + UPC price 805529892835
"price" + keyword price laptop

When Will The Physical World Connection Get Adopted?

I have been asked a number of times when will the physical world connection (PWC) take place and what is taking so long for adoption.

The PWC is when a mobile phone (or other computing device) is able to scan/read a machine readable identifier and link the object to the Internet. The most visible application is scanning a barcode with a camera phone and comparing prices.

I don’t think many realize what a monumental task this really is.

However, it is said the longer it takes an emerging technology to get adopted, the bigger impact it usually has. I think connecting the physical world with the Internet will create endless and enormous opportunities, and not just using a cell phone.

There are 3 basic obstacles this technology faces. (the camera lens, handset capablility, and service provider)

The first issue, and probably the biggest, is the lens on the camera phone. Have you ever tried to take a picture with your camera, close up? Zooming in doesn’t make any difference either. This issue should be resolved soon.

Let’s assume the lens isn’t an issue.

The second obstacle the PWC faces is the handset. A PWC application has to be designed/programmed to work on the endless number of handsets. If you look at some of the PWC company websites , pay attention to what and how many phones, the application is available for. The handset availability is pretty limited. This isn’t a simple program that every phone can download, it has to be programmed to meet EACH handset specifications.

Remember, the handset guys (Nokia, Samsung etc) don’t have a vested interest in adopting this application. There is no incentive for them, yet.

Ok we have a handset that has the PWC and our lens can read a machine-readable identifier, are we ready now? No.

The final obstacle is the network itself. The wireless/mobile Internet isn’t like the PC Web. Every PC with a modem can surf the Web. With the mobile Web, each provider (Sprint, Verizon etc) has their own restrictions. (that’s something that can be resolved easily).

Getting the PWC launched, would be the equivalent of designing a program for every different type of PC, and configuring it to meet every Internet service provider specifications. Oh, and then having people download it to their PC.

The good news? If you resolve JUST ONE of these obstacles, the other two get resolved too. Resolving the “ONE”, will require some creativity and vision. Do you know which one?

There are 2 ways the PWC will get adopted.

First, there will be an application that is in such great demand that users will either download it themselves, or put enough pressure on the wireless carriers to implement. I have some ideas on how to do this.

The other way is to show the service providers how they stand to benefit (increased ARPU) from this exciting technology.

There are basically 2 types of physical world hyperlinks (PWH) available today.

The first and the easiest to use is the 2d code. Look at any Fedex package or a bank statement you will see one. They look like box with a bunch of dots and bars. They are usually used in a closed network and provide info only to the company issuing the code. A Fedex guy can’t use his scanner to scan a UPS box and get the desired info. It’s a valuable tool, but only to the users in the network.

The Fedex guy was probably the first physical world connector on a massive scale.

The most common PWH is probably the barcode. There are 3 billion unique barcodes out there. A Coke Classic 12 oz can has just one, but how many of those cans are out there? See how many potential hyperlinks can be used?

Ok we resolved all of those issues, now what?


What will be delivered when you click on a PWH? Did you ever think about that? Everyone assumes it will be used for price comparison, because it is the only application that gets the press. I can think of dozens of applications that could offered just by clicking on a Jimmy Buffet CD. What would you like to see?

There are two mindsets to consider when delivering content. Do you know who they are?

There are a couple ways to get a service provider to adopt the PWC and there are thousands of applications that can be used with a PWH, …… all it takes is some Visionary Innovation .

UpSNAP For Cash?

This reminds me of IWon and how they tried to get users to use their portal/search engine. If your service is good, people will find it and they will tell their friends.

From PR Newswire UpSNAP offers $10,000 sweepstakes

People can enter to win the grand prize drawing once per day by signing up
for free online at Sweepstakes entry.

Sweepstakes entrants can also receive a free horoscope sent to their mobile phone and explore all of UpSNAP's free and premium SMS services. When participants sign up with UpSNAP, each day they use UpSNAP's services they automatically get an additional entry submitted.

Do this, go the sweepstakes page.

There are 2 things I see that make me question who does their marketing..

1. What is the short code for their service? They don't even put it on the page. Look at 4INFO, Qtags you will see their code on ALL of their publications. I have said a number of times that it will come down to ease of use for a SMS info application to gain traction. Ease of use involves remebering the short code.

2. "Come back and register everyday to increase your chances of winning!" Huh? This is a mobile application and I need to reregister each day on my PC? Where do you want me to use this service, on my mobile or my PC. If you saved the first text message UpSNAP sent you, just have the user send a certain keyword to register again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Personalized SMS Services

Here are some creative features that can be added to a text-messaging SMS service.

From Business Wire Comverse introduces Personalized SMS Services

Comverse , a unit of Comverse Technology, Inc., today announced the availability of SMS Personal, a package of services that increases personalization of SMS text messaging, maintains high user interest and is designed to boost usage.

These are some features that can be added to an SMS platform.

SMS Sponsored:(my favorite) Reduces the cost of SMS for users who elect to allow unused space at the end of their SMS messages to bear sponsored messages. See the mobile marketing opportunity here? A cheaper text charge gives you permission. There's a lot of space in a text message box that could be utilized with some creativity.

SMS Auto-Reply: Automatic SMS reply is sent to senders of SMS messages. Brings email "out-of-office" automatic response functionality to SMS. Remember how good this was when AOL and others offered "away messages"?

SMS Duplicate: Sends duplicates of incoming SMS messages to an alternate destination. Useful for business users who want messages delivered to multiple devices

SMS to Email: Sends copies of SMS messages to an email account.

SMS Forward: Allows users to automatically forward SMS messages to another device or email account

First Clickable Mobile Ad

Great idea from Third Screen Media.

First there was click to call on a mobile site or SMS, now there's click to call for a mobile ad. Are you getting permission because the WAP site is doing the advertising? If so, this is a little push to get some pull.

From IMediaConnection First clickable mobile ad launches

The Weather Channel Interactive (TWCI) has announced that its mobile group will be launching its first “clickable” mobile ad campaign, for ArubaTourism.

The ads, developed by Atlanta-based Fitzgerald+CO, will appear on The Weather Channel Mobile internet pages and will feature a banner-style ad that when clicked redirects users to an interactive information page. From the information page of the ad, users can click an 800 number, which will then initiate a call to the Aruba Tourism information center.

The ad leverages new technology developed by Third Screen Media and its MADX Publisher solution.

Their new platform, designed to streamline ad management and delivery on mobile networks, has been selected by publishers such as The WeatherChannel, USA Today and MSN to manage advertising inventory in their mobile content. (there's USA today again)

Mega Mobile Merger?

Rumors have it that there may be a significant merger between 2 mobile players in the near future.

If this is true, this combined entity could change the mobile marketing playing field.

Text Message Song Requests On Radio

I remember as a kid I would always get a busy signal when dialing a radio station, you can now text in your song requests, for a fee. With ipods and satellite radio coming on strong, will this save the dying radio industry?

From Chron.com Enpocket allows listeners to text in song requests

Enpocket today announced that Orlando listeners of WXXL can now text their song requests with their mobile phones using its technology to power interactive mobile programs.

New features include a Song Request program, where listeners use SMS text messaging to purchase three song requests for 99 cents.

Listeners also receive an SMS notification 15 minutes before each song reminding them to tune in to hear their request.

What WXXL should do is use the short code for this service as a "info engine" and have advertisers buy keywords. So when an ad comes on the radio, have users send text for more info using that keyword. I would be wiling to bet the revenues generated are MUCH greater and advertisers would love this.