Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Microsoft just scooped up Third Screen Media for their mobile advertising platform, I wonder if Bill has his eyes on any of these
The D4 All Things Digital Conference started yesterday and the Center for Citizen Media blog has a nice summary
I’m at the Wall Street Journal’s D4 All Things Digital conference, where Bill Gates was talking last evening about the future of mobile phones that handle many other functions including video, writing, etc.
He referred to these gadgets as — I’m not joking — “Reality Acquisition Devices” that will, if I understood him correctly, be used to connect digitally to various stuff, such as using the phone to read product bar codes to learn more about the product.
Personally I like the term physical world hyperlink better.
I think he was referring to Microsoft's Aura Project or their recently introduced Photo2Search application. Both applications involve scanning an image or code (barcode) via camera phone to information on the Internet.
D4 All Things Digital Conference offers the chance to meet the movers and shakers who are at the forefront of the digital revolution and get a firsthand look at new technologies.
Vinod Khosla, Founder, Partner of Khosla Ventures and sponsor of the Carnival of the Mobilists, will be speaking.
iMagic Systems has launched a free new service that enables consumers' camera-phone snapshots to help initiate mobile e-commerce.
It might not be MyClick, but the concept of linking the physical world to the Internet using a physical world hyperlink, in my opinion, will produce The Next Google
A couple interesting points to note w/ iMagic's MyClick physical world connection application.
First, they modify a QR code to make it unique for their resolving function. They are also getting the advertisers pick up the tab for consumers to adopt this application.
From Televisionpoint MyClick software for advertisers
A number of leading advertisers will subsidise costs for consumers interacting with them via mobile phone, as part of a major push to develop the mobile as a marketing medium.
The software will enable owners of GPRS and 3G phones to browse advertiser WAP sites through their phones without having to pay any charges to the mobile phone operators. These fees will be paid instead by the advertiser, based on the number of times people use the software to access the site.
Advertisers will pay for consumers to use their wireless data plan?
MyClick works on similar lines to QR codes currently deployed in Japan, China and Taiwan, where users use their camera phones to take a picture of a special symbol, giving them online access to a special WAP site.
Rather than a symbol, however, MyClick software recognises a special frame studded with stars that advertisers can use as a border for an image.
Does adding these stars make this 2d code proprietary?
"It is up to advertisers to come up with new, innovative ideas to stimulate people to take action, If we work together, we can then create a wave of adoption and understanding." said an official who relates in this matter.
iMagic is a leading technology company in Hong Kong that has over 10 years history of excellence and international acclaim for its product development and integration and as an operator of public access payment and telecommunications solutions.
The irony here is that the concept of linking the physical world to the Internet is being called the next killer app, and yet PC World just listed the CueCat (the same principle) as being one of the 25 Worst Tech Products of all time.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Peter Hanami, who lives in Tokyo, has a great shot of a McDonalds cheeseburger wrapper with QR, (2D) codes on it. It shows that brands are recognizing that 2d codes are the physical world hyperlink of choice for now.
When the code is scanned it takes customers to a site with allergy and calorie information about the range of products.
But what else could they do with that wrapper and a 2d code?
Ex. Download the McDonald's McCoder and scan a 2d code for free fries on your next visit. This would be one easy way to get the 2d code scanning application on the phone.
The idea I have is that McDonald's COULD SELL interactive mobile advertising on all of those wrappers.
They could sell adspace on the millions of wrappers they distribute daily with an interactive function (2d code and camera phone).
McDonald's is making their locations Wi-Fi enabled, see the possibilities?
At Haneda, passengers can order a ticket online via the internet and the airline will send a barcode by SMS to the customer.
The passenger just has to hold the phone under one of 52 scanning devices at the airport and they are checked in.
According to ANA, passengers will need just eight seconds to check-in compared to the usual two minutes for passengers who check-in at the gate.
Already 70 percent of passengers at Haneda use these electronic tickets.
The new Txt2Buy service allows consumers to respond immediately to HMV adverts appearing in the national and lifestyle press, using their credit/debit cards to buy products ‘on the move’ in a simple three step process over the mobile internet.
From 5th June, HMV will place a series of adverts in national magazines and newspapers with a unique ordering code for new music, film and games titles.
Customers simply text back to a shortcode number, and receive a mobile internet link to a secure site where they pay using their credit/debit card details.
With the order complete, the album, movie or game is posted directly to them. No pre-registration is required, and uniquely the service also offers the option of consumers saving their card details to a secure ‘mobile wallet’, accelerating subsequent mobile purchases
Friday, May 26, 2006
A couple big announcements from the Carnival.
Check out the new site .
Khosla Ventures have agreed to sponsor the Carnival of the Mobilists from June till end of the year.
Cash prizes are for best host and best post. So post your mobile musings at the Carnival.
Great job Russell and Carlo.
Justin at MoPocket alerts us to iBuyRight and their soon to be released tool for camera phones.
iBuyRight is the code name for a suite of applications currently being developed by a team at UC Berkeley to deliver social, environmental, and health information about products at the point of purchase.
"After a product bar code is scanned with a cameraphone, iBuyRight retrieves relevant information from a social and environmental issues database, then displays it on the cell phone screen in an easy-to-read format."
These tools radically transform the information available to consumers on the impacts of the products they buy. Our tools empower consumers to screen and compare products based on their personal values and concerns through the presentation of detailed information about products, companies, and brands.
This information is presented in easy-to-understand ratings and detailed descriptions. We believe these consumer information tools hold the potential to empower literally millions of concerned consumers to buy products that better represent their values.
A beta version of the iBuyRight tool for camera phones will be released soon.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
From CBS ActiveSymbols offers Indy 500 mobile marketing applications for camera phones
ActiveSymbols Inc., a Logicalis Company, and IndyCar Series and Racer Magazines , produced by Haymarket Worldwide, America's premier motorsports publisher, today announced a partnership that will enable mobile consumers with popular camera phones to utilize their phones to receive exclusive Real-Time breaking news, alerts and offers from IndyCar Series Magazine and Racer Magazine leading up to the Indy 500 race and during the race itself.
From your MOBILE PHONE go to http://ezcard.activesymbols.com/w/7 for race day alerts. Or text INDYCAR to 415-318-2744
-- Subscription Discount on IndyCar Series Magazine
-- Subscription Discount on Racer Magazine
-- Wallpaper of Indy cars
-- Wallpaper of Indy drivers
-- Ringtone of an Indy Car
-- Photo Games and Contest
-- You're in an IRL car
-- Directions on how to send a person's picture to the ActiveSymbols MorphMe application and put your face in Danica Patrick's Helmet.
-- Mobile Photo Blog Contest
-- Directions on how to send your Indy 500 pictures to the IndyCar Series Picture Blog. The best photos will win INDY related merchandise.
-- Breaking News Alerts
-- Real-Time Race Day Alerts
-- Did You Knows (DYK's) During the Race
-- After the Race Follow-up
From Reuters Microsoft in talks to buy Third Screen Media
A deal could give the software giant access to technology and relationships with clients. Third Screen's clients include USA Today and The Weather Channel, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The talks could still fall apart and a price has not been reached, according to the Journal, citing unnamed sources.
Third Screen's MADXPublisher platform is getting lots of press lately.
They were the first to introduce a clickable mobile ad .
There are two platforms (one in WA and one in NC) that I think will be next. Know who they are?
I have primarily focused on the possibilities when 2 billion mobile phones and individual objects can be connected to the Net, but imagine when every appliance and machine in every home/office are connected to the Net. A continuous physical world connection.
M2M (machine to machine) or telematics, is when machines are connected to the Internet and are able to provide information or be monitored/controlled from a remote location.
M2M (machine to machine) device shipment revenues are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 27% over the next 5 years, reaching $10.6b worldwide by 2011, according to figures just published by Harbor Research Inc.
Often described as the ‘next wave of the Internet’, Harbor Research believes that the networking of such products will open up vast new opportunities for growth in added-value “smart services” for product manufacturers and will radically change the dynamics of many industry sectors.
Harbor is already engaged with many product manufacturers to identify and help develop opportunities for such new smart services arising from manufactured products across many diverse sectors
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Jessica had read The Pondering Primate and asked for my input.
A lot of the interview wasn't included, but the idea that the WSJ is exposing this disruptive technology, is very encouraging.
Cellphone Services Read Codes On Ads, Products, Buildings And Link to Details Online
While shopping at a Whole Foods store in Los Angeles, Richard Jefferson spotted a curious sticker with tiny black squares on a package of Yum Tum raw vegan pizza.
Intrigued, he sent a text message to a number listed on the package and received a link prompting him to download software to his Sony Ericsson cellphone to decipher what turned out to be a bar code. The software allowed him to snap a picture of the bar code to be connected to a Web page with recipes and health tips from Yum Tum, a raw-foods brand in Los Angeles.
These are codes from Netxcode's Connexto.
"This could be huge," he says. A rising number of people are using new free services to connect to the mobile Internet by photographing bar codes. The codes -- either conventional bar codes or digital ones -- are showing up on more products, advertisements, books and even buildings.
I have been calling them physical world hyperlinks . The camera on the mobile phone acts as a mouse and the barcode is used as a hyperlink to get to a targeted website.
The technology is popular in Asia but previously failed to catch on in the U.S. after several attempts. Now, improving technologies and the ubiquity of camera phones are triggering a host of new bar-code services.
Nokia Corp. has built its own bar-code reader into new models of two camera phones that are scheduled to become available in the U.S. this fall.
Scanbuy Inc.'s. Scanbuy Shopper, expected to be live in the next few weeks, grabs Shopping.com prices and reviews, for example, from a Universal Product Code, or UPC.
Nextcode Corp. has launched ConnexTo , mobile software for reading digital bar codes that are cropping up on food packaging and posters.
NeoMedia Technologies Inc., which owns mobile-ad firms, will launch its bar-code reader PaperClick later this year.
The codes are appearing gradually in grocery stores, embedded in business cards, on promotional posters and T-shirts and even near landmarks like the Chrysler Building, around where people placed a code linking to the building's Wikipedia entry.
They are piquing the interest of advertisers who see the potential to serve up more relevant ads -- a trailer downloaded off a movie billboard, for instance -- and consumer-product companies trying to make products more interactive.
The technology, part of the mobile industry's push to embed more functions and features into mobile devices, is still in its early stages, meaning the new services may only work with some camera phone models and service providers. While there is vast potential for the technology -- from downloading movies off billboards to helping diabetics purchase food safe for them to eat -- a range of hurdles have some questioning whether the applications are functional enough to succeed.
Not all software programs can read all types of bar codes. This means consumers must, for now, pick and choose among services.
Scanbuy, for instance, works with standard bar codes while Semacode Corp . uses a code standard called Data Matrix. When PaperClick launches it is likely to used a third symbology, Aztec .
The new services also have some competition from other companies working to provide similar services off existing logos and images, not bar codes. Mobot Inc., owned by PaperClick's parent company NeoMedia, lets users snap images directly from a magazine or billboard.
The user sends the picture to an address, and Mobot's technology reads the contours of the image stored in its database and sends a message back with the relevant content, such as promotion details.Packages of Yum Tum's raw food use a new-style bar code that links customers to recipes and ingredient information.
Companies are seeking to make the bar-code technology easier to use by preloading it on mobile devices. Consumers, who are turning to their phones for a multitude of functions from downloading ringtones to text messaging to mobile Web browsing, also appear more ready for the services, which are free excluding data fees.
About 15% of U.S. cellphone users accessed the Web on their phone last month, according to Seattle-based mobile-research firm M:Metrics.While two Nokia models will come with bar-code readers standard in a few months, consumers for now have to get the software themselves.
Most services can be downloaded to a camera phone by typing a Web address into the device's browser. Some applications, such as PaperClick, ask those who sign up for some demographic information such as age and location to better tailor the types of results they see.
From there, users click on the application icon, hold the camera a few inches away from the code, and click as if taking a photo. (Some detect the code automatically and register it without clicking.) The software decodes the information, typically a Web link, and quickly directs the user to the relevant Web page.
It's a new chapter in bar-code history. In the 1950s, two inventors filed the first bar-code patent, which included a sketch of a ring of concentric circles. In later decades the Universal Product Code, a symbol whose fine lines could be scanned at a checkout counter, for instance, emerged.
Today, commercial uses of bar codes proliferate. Airlines use them to shuttle around baggage and delivery services rely on them to help track packages. The Pondering Primate, Scott Shaffer, 39 years old, a private investor in Boca Raton, Fla., recently went to the ConnexTo Web site to create his own bar code that he now puts on his business cards. Now, anyone with the ConnexTo reader downloaded to their phone can snap one of his cards to be routed to a Web site with his name, address, phone number and email.
Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already offer mobile versions of shopping Web sites or text-messaging services that pull up a few lines of abbreviated text per query.
Scanbuy Shopper promises to deliver more information like reviews and comparison statistics through miniature Web pages. The new service, which will allow users without the appropriate camera phone or lens to key in the bar-code number manually, has also been updated to read codes in dim light and at odd angles.
Textbook publisher Prentice Hall will be putting PaperClick smart codes in the next edition of one of its introductory-marketing textbooks expected to be released in January 2007. A handful of codes will appear in some entries in the text linking to further examples and related news articles.
Nonprofit groups also are using bar codes for new purposes. A world-wide project called Semapedia involves people creating more than 2,500 codes that they are sticking to or near landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa or Machu Pichu. The codes link to the Wikipedia entry for the location.
Write to email Jessica E. Vascellaro
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
A 2D code can say a thousand words.
Two of these codes link to a website I chose. Can you tell what codes they are, who provided them, and how to get to that site?
These are only a few of the many 2D codes available today.
Two of the codes are easy to recognize, but can you identify the others?
In order for physical world connection to get adopted, there will have to be a "standard" code or scanning application that can read ALL 2D codes. This will be done by a software application, or in a universal database (won't be a direct connect function).
Barcodes are easy for a consumer to recognize and are "owned" by a corporation, but getting a camera phone to resolve them isn't.
Until camera phones can resolve a 1D code (barcode), 2D codes will be the physical world hyperlink of choice for both corporations AND consumers. Both consumers and corporations can create them on their own.
Here's the tradeoff for a mobile marketer and brand, do you want a direct connection with a limited number of codes, or do you want as many phones as possible to interact with your ad?
When the service providers choose their physical world scanning platform(s), they should keep in mind ALL of the abilities and limits from each 2D code supplier.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Mastercard senior client business leader Bill Saubert told the International Credit Card Summit conference that technology allowing mobile phones to scan product bar codes using infra-red light had already been perfected.
There will be many ways the physical world gets connected.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
See what the travel industry is doing with a barcode.
From HotelMarketing Thomson showcases travel technology of the future
The UK’s leading travel company Thomson today gave an insight into the key technological developments that are likely to benefit the travel industry in the near future.
A mobile phone, equipped with a bar code reader, would enable customers to scan bar codes on advertisements or holiday brochures; details of availability information can then be displayed on their mobile phone screen.
A booking confirmation would have a unique barcode (2d code) that the customer would scan to store it in the phone so that travel shops, hotels and airports would be able to instantly recognise the customer using an RFID reader - speeding up the check in and security processes.
What I find interesting is that 2 forms of physical world hyperlinks are being used.
There's something wrong when a 4 hour plus race is considered "fast".
I have really enjoyed this race the last two years. The course is pretty fast, and this year 90 plus degree temps could be a factor.
You can follow the Primate and others live with race day coverage here
My bib number is 1048.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
For now, it still takes a special lens to resolve a 1D code (barcode seen on packaging), but their consistent press exposure will allow them to capture the 2D code (QR codes and Datamatrix) market too. Their software has the ability to read 2D codes too.
From CBS4 Boston Cell phone uses barcode for shopping deals
As Peter Shirley from Independent Mobile explains, "It takes the cameras that are built in on the cell phones and essentially uses them as a scanner."
More specifically, the camera scans the product's barcode. This allows the consumer to get valuable information while still in the store.
See the video
It won't be too long before other barcodes (2D codes) will act as physical world hyperlinks.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
You didn't buy your new 50" LCD to watch commercials did you?
It looks like we have our first physical world connection mobile phones being introduced by Nokia. By including a 2D code reader in the mobile phone, Nokia has removed the biggest obstacle mobile marketing companies face.
Tommi at S60 Applications notices Nokia has added a 2D barcode reader to the Nokia N93 phone.
"I noticed that the user manual of Nokia N93 mentioned our barcode reader application on page 109, so I guess it is safe for me to write about this subject."
He also finds S60 devices are starting to ship with a barcode reader application built-in.
Will Nokia, Yahoo and Flickr create a mobile marketing powerhouse now?
All companies, and individuals can produce a free 2D code, and will have their own physical world hyperlink for mobile marketing. Create your own 2D code free.
Because Flickr's database is so big and has so many users, your 2D code will be included in such a large database, and it will still be proprietary.
I would look for Flickr or Yahoo to gobble up and include a 2D code generating website shortly.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Last week Yahoo quietly became a mobile marketing powerhouse, did you see it?
Nokia, Yahoo and Flickr announced the platform for a mobile marketing powerhouse. Yahoo already has a short code 92466 (YAHOO) for text messages.
Nokia, the world leader in mobile communications, and Yahoo!, the number one Internet destination, announced that they are making it easy for mobile photographers to upload and add comments to photos directly from their Nokia Nseries multimedia computers to Flickr, the largest online photo sharing community on the Web.
Yes, this is for uploading photos, but with a little innovation, they can access that same user/advertiser created image database and download content too.
The biggest problem the physical world connection companies PWC face, is how to getting their "platform", or scanning application on the phone.
This is only a problem because they are focusing on what's best for the advertiser, not the consumer. Google didn't create Adsense, then build their search engine.
With Flicker, you have a consumer application, that utilizes a camera phone, and an extraordinary viral marketing possibility.
How does it work?
Yahoo/Nokia adds an optical character recognition application (image/code reader or they could let the Flickr server resolve it) and then all of the uploaded codes/images in/on the Flickr database become physical world hyperlinks .
These , these , and these become physical world hyperlinks.
Advertisers can then start uploading their own magazines and DVD covers. The Chanel ad gets uploaded so a mobile user can connect in ANY magazine. Don't have your own logo? There are a dozen sites that will create 2D code for you.
What is the biggest problem it solves? It puts all of the different codes, created by all of the different physical world connection players, in one database.
In my opinion, this is how mobile marketing will implement a physical world hyperlink.
Budweiser uploads their logo and a 2D code to the Flickr database. They won't care who creates the 2D code, because the Flickr community is larger than the population of all PWC company users right now.
As of Dec 2005, Flickr had over 2 million users with over 100m photos. How many registered users does Yahoo have? The number of camera phone users is only growing and the potential physical world hyperlinks is endless.
Not only will Yahoo generate revenues by "turning on" specific images for advertisers AND consumers, but they will build an analytical database to use for mobile marketing purposes later.
Google could offer the same service utlizing their Image database, but they need to create some kind of image creating/recognition application for the phone.
Until the carriers decide on which 2D code scanning platform(s) they will put on the phones, or until one of the PWC has a campaign that has enough creativity to get users to download their application to the phone, this is the platform that will kickstart physical world connection mobile marketing.
Look at what is developing.
Microsoft owns Corbis and a mobile OS. They just announced their Phone2Search than can comb 6,000 images in 3 seconds.
Google has Google Images, a terrific image database and the leading Internet advertiser, but no application that utilizes/controls the camera on the phone yet.
Getty Images has teamed up with Cingular and Sprint.
ActiveSymbols is using the Corbis database for its mobile service .
Yahoo owns Flickr and has the the leverage of 2 social communities for adoption.
In many ways the PWC can learn a lot from Google. They created a great consumer application, and found a way to include advertising. Looks familar doesn't it?
As I have been saying for a while now to PWC companies, open up your code, and let the consumer decide what scanning applications will be desired.
Looks like Yahoo and Flickr will let consumers decide what applications THEY want.
Monday, May 01, 2006
From Directions Mag GeoVector gets new patent for innovative mobile search
GeoVector Corporation, the world leader in pointing-based local search solutions for wireless devices, today announced the issuance of its latest patent for a unique location-based service (LBS) system which allows users to search the internet or query databases merely by pointing a wireless phone or other mobile device at a location or object.
View the demo
Users can point their phones at retailers, restaurants, billboards, banks or historical sites to instantly retrieve information on what they are looking at, or find what they are looking for.
Utilizing GPS technology and a digital compass built into wireless phones, GeoVector allows users to “Click on the Real World®” similar to how computer users point and click with a mouse to access information, conduct transactions or play games.
The solution currently utilizes Qualcomm SnapTrak® positioning technology and their BREW® solution.
"We revolutionized the way people use a wireless phone to interact with the world around them,” said Peter Ellenby, GeoVector’s Director of New Media.
GeoVector is not limiting its focus to Japan and is already in discussions with carriers, handset manufacturers and content providers in the US and Europe. The new patent has also been filed internationally.
“GeoVector’s pointing solutions will soon become the de facto world standard for local search,” added Ellenby. On April 3, 2006, a leading industry journal, RCR Wireless News, reported “This technology may well turn out to be the tail that wags the dog of nascent location-based services.”
Their patent list
Who wants to guess how long they stay independent?
3GVision allows camera phones to read 1D or 2D codes. Add them to the Physical World Connection list
3GVision's Barcode Reader is a software-only utility that turns any camera phone into a handy one-dimensional and two-dimensional barcode scanner.
Reading barcodes that contain a URL has become a standard method to access wireless sites in Japan.
With more than 20 million handsets shipped worldwide, 3GVision's Barcode Reader is the clear market leader and the technology of choice for the cellular community.
Modern barcodes can store a large amount of information, like URLs or product information, and even entire news articles or business cards. Using mobile handsets to scan printed or electronically displayed barcodes helps end-users
access various types of data, bypassing the tedious process of typing URLs and access codes.
Looks like they have been busy
The mobile marketing ideas from this are endless.
Text campaigns include offer wallpaper, pickup lines and ways to breakup with your lover. They even show you how to make your own ring tone.
Text COMPASS to MAXIM to win a free wallpaper from Jeep.
The special insert "50 Things you didnt know you could do with a cellphone" is pretty informative too.
The insert alone is worth it. The issue has Jamie Lynn Sigler on the cover.
Maxim is one step away from delivering the premier mobile marketing magazine to the targeted demographic.
Pick up the issue, it's worth it. With a monkey picture like that how can you refuse?
Marc Montaldier, who is head of mobile marketing for Orange France, had a couple highlights.
--mobile is unique - 1 subscriber is 1 audience member (no "pass-along" in mobile) Results in better targeting
--the mobile device goes *everywhere* with the customer; and it is multimedia enabled
--perceived value to customers who get a context-sensitive discount is huge (can take advantage of 2D barcodes)
--Get on Mobile Marketing now
From IndyStar Success comes down to the wire
James E. O'Keefe a technology consultant making metal alloys whose molecules are arranged as randomly as those in liquids or glass.
He came across a glass-coated, hair-thin form of the invention. The more he looked at the technology, the more convinced he became that such microwires could be cheap to make and could serve as powerful signaling devices.
O'Keefe has been showing a prototype to retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue. He says his start-up company, Demodulation, could provide security tags at half the cost of the metal tags used in systems sold by companies like Sensormatic, a division of Tyco International that is the leader in retail article tracking.
The tags could be scanned from distances up to 20 feet and would be harder for thieves to fool than most current systems. Such an unobtrusive system would be welcomed in stores focused on designer clothing.
Research suggests that the magnetic regions in the snippets of wire could be manipulated to store digital information and tiny bar codes could be applied to the glass coating.
Such versions of the microwires could become a much cheaper alternative to the radio identification tags currently being developed to help Wal-Mart Stores and other retailers track goods flowing into and through their vast supply chains. Unlike most radio tags, the microwire signals are not disrupted by metal foil or liquid.