Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lufthansa Launches Mobile Barcode Boarding Passes

From Just The Flight Lufthansa Launches Mobile Boarding Passes

German airline Lufthansa has announced a new service that allowslufthansa passengers to use their mobile phones to access electronic boarding passes.

While the scheme is currently only available for those traveling from Hamburg to Munich or Frankfurt, it is hoped that it will be rolled out further if it proves successful.

The service sees flyers who check in online and select the option to do so being sent a boarding pass via email or SMS to their internet-enabled handsets. These passes include information such as passenger name, flight number and a 2D barcode.

SnapTell And Men's Health Magazine Create Mobile Image Recognition Campaign

SnapTell getting lots of press lately.

Soon every magazine will "turn on" their ads and offer more info simply by taking a picture and sending an MMS.

Mobile image recognition is probably the easiest way for print media to generate more interaction with a reader and get more bang of the advertising buck.
Men’s Health, the largest men’s lifestyle magazine brand in the world, has partnered with SnapTell, the leading provider of image recognition-based mobile marketing solutions, to create the first fully interactive advertising magazine in America.

Men’s Health’s July/August summer issue, hitting newsstands June 24, will feature enabled or “live” ads for readers to receive real-time promotional information from advertisers.

Using SnapTell’s Snap.Send.Get mobile marketing technology, readers will snap a photo of any advertisement in the issue with their cell phone or photo-enabled mobile device to send (or short code) to SnapTell, where an immediate promotional bounce-back will be sent to their phone.

Other ponderings on SnapTell

Selling The City Using Mobile Barcodes

Manchester Art Gallery and Marketing Manchester are looking at using QR codes to deliver information to visitors and potential clients respectively.
qr code
Manchester Art Gallery is trialling the technology, as part of its year-long Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery gallery trail. It is displaying the codes next to six objects on the trail. Users are taken to a mobile web page with information specifically about that object.

The trial has a couple of months left to run and the gallery is still in the process of evaluating how it might use QR codes in the future. So far Wetterberg says the response has been very positive. The gallery is also looking at using QR codes to capture visitor feedback and as a wider marketing tool. Meanwhile, Marketing Manchester is in talks with online marketing company Brand Attention about running its own three-month trial, which would start in July

Thursday, April 17, 2008

MyClick Signs Mobile Image Recognition Deal With Pepsi

MyClick's patented photo recognition technology, not bar codes, opens up a world of opportunities for mobile marketing.

From Washington post MyClick Signs Mobile Image Recognition Deal With Pepsi

Two-year old Hong Kong company MyClick, an image recognition mobile marketing firm as it calls itself, that it has signed a deal with Pepsi to create an advertising campaign for it in China, aimed at 12-24 year olds.MyClick


MyClick's technology works much like mobile barcodes, but instead of consumers snapping a picture of a 2D barcode, or QR code, they take a picture of any image?such as a logo, or a photograph?that is bordered by a MyClick frame.

MyClick's frame acts much as a 2D barcode, sending users to a specially created mobile web site for more information, or downloads. Pepsi is using MyClick in its latest promotional contest where consumers are being asked to create a profile on any of China's six major online portals for a chance to appear on Pepsi cans, which will come out during the Summer Olympics.

MyMedia is apparently doing quite well for itself in China, having already racked up an impressive number of campaigns with big international brands, including Coca Cola, Motorola, Estee Lauder, Northwest Airlines, Adidas and Pizza Hut among others.

Images are free for users to click on as well as the airtime on the web site that consumers are sent to. Advertisers pay MyMedia per click, which then splits the revenue with the carrier.

The CueCat Doesn't Seem So Dumb Now

Was connecting the physical world to the Net a dumb idea, or the CueCat device?

When barcodes can be scanned using a camera phone (Physical World Connection), billions of URLS get added to the Internetcuecat database, hundreds of billions of physical objects become become "physical websites".

Pay per click morphs into "pay per scan" and brands are able to interact with a consumer anywhere and anytime via mobile phone.

Kelson has an interesting story about barcodes, the CueCat and Physical World Connection called Linking The Real And Virtual.

Was the CueCat ahead of its time?

CueCat was a single-purpose device that scanned barcodes and was tied to the desktop.

There has been plenty of discussion of the CueCat being a dumb idea. The device might be considered dumb, but the idea of linking any physical object to the Internet could be a multi-billion dollar opportunity....not so dumb.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

LTE Versus WiMax ..Mobile Showdown Ahead

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) has taken another step toward long-term stability. Seven major telecommunications companies announced Monday that they have reached an agreement on a mutual framework for licensing intellectual-property rights relating to 3GPP LTE, the next step after 3G in the evolution of mobile-phone technology.

The vendors are Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Sony Ericsson.

The companies have ironed out a framework they say sets up fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory licensing for LTE technology that sets an single-digit percentage royalty (or, in the case of notebook computers, a fee under $10) on gear using LTE technology which handles all licensing issues for components of LTE technology. With a standardized royalty framework, LTE is more likely to receive backing from the mobile industry, including mobile operators and device manufacturers

Notebooks with embedded LTE will pay a combined maximum royalty in the single digits. For handsets, the single-digit royalty will be a percentage of the sales price.

LTE offers wireless broadband speeds around 100 Mbps and scales well for huge amounts of traffic. The first LTE networks are being rolled out in the US and China.

LTE is a faster and more long distance wireless system compared to 3G.

The wireless industry generally expected LTE technology to be adopted by a wide majority of the world's wireless operators, and in North America Verizon has already announced it plans to use its recent 700 MHz spectrum licenses to roll out LTE-based services in the United States.

However, the first LTE networks aren't expected to be available to consumers for a couple years, and many operators may wait even longer. In the meantime, Sprint is pushing ahead with competing WiMax technology; despite rolling back the launch of its nationwide WiMax service Xohm, WiMax technology is available now, giving it a leading edge on LTE.

My thoughts:
AT&T and VZ have grabbed a bunch of 700 MHz spectrum which threatens Sprint's WiMax.
Sprint/Clearwire won't have roaming or interoperating ability with T and VZ and they will now have the most spectrum. If Comcast and Time Warner commit to pushing WiMax it could get legs, but industry experts are becoming less encouraged with adoption.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aviation Broadband Ready For Takeoff In The U.S.

Aircell one step closer to its goal of bringing inflight mobile broadband connectivity to airline passengers. Aircell is doing a great job of building the infrastructure for the aviation broadband industry, but will it be enough?

Aircell's internet service is expected to offer 2 Mbps speeds to customers.
aviation broadband
Harris Corp, a large communications equipment supplier to the FAA, just announced their aviation broadband solution with speeds up to 35 Mbps per plane at this aviation conference.

Is Aircell doing the heavy lifting for Harris?

Aircell Receives Two FAA Approvals Needed for Inflight Mobile Broadband

The two approvals include a STC (supplemental type certificate), permitting installation and operation of the company's ATG (air-to-ground) network on commercially operated B-767-200s, and a PMA (parts manufacture approval) that authorizes the manufacture of aircraft parts at Aircell's Bensenville, Illinois, facility.

The important approvals follow Aircell's completion of its nationwide wireless ATG network in January and a demonstration flight across the U.S. at the end of March to show its operational readiness.

Aircell and American Airlines completed the installation of ATG technology on a commercial aircraft in January, and American is now completing the equipment installations on its remaining 14 B-767s which are expected to go live sometime this summer.

This high-speed broadband Internet service is made possible by AirCell's unique air-to-ground network, which uses the latest technology to transmit and receive data between the ground and the aircraft. Speeds will be similar to what you experience in your home or office with DSL.

More on aviation broadband.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pondering Primate And Team Monkee Do Off To IronMan Arizona

monkee do
It's IronMan triathlon racing season time again.

Representing Team Monkee Do, I am headed out to Tempe for year's IronMan Arizona race on Sunday April 13, 2008.

Follow the action live at www.ironmanlive.com.
Bib number 1174

I-Nigma Uses Mobile Bar Codes To Help Retailers

We are starting to see major publications discuss Physical World Connection (mobile phones and bar codes) on a daily basis. This is a good sign for this space.
warbasse design
From Washington Post Expand Your Empire

The coolest ad technologies aren't the ones that cost the most--they're the ones that engage users. (It's all about offering some type of content in return for permission to advertise on the phone)

Bar Codes With Extra InfoWhile you may think of "airline check-in" or "mail tracking" when you see the black-and-white squiggles that make up QR, or "Quick Response" codes, these 2-D data matrices are beginning to find their place in advertising.

One QR campaign developed for the clothing industry by Philip Warbasse, founder of Los Angeles-based Warbasse Design, puts the codes on in-store apparel that allows shoppers to purchase sizes not in stock--right on their phones. The codes also offer customers a same-day in-store coupon, and other codes in the campaign help upsell the customer with a discount on a second item in the store if they buy it the same day.

Since QR codes cost essentially nothing to produce, go create your own and download a reader for your phone while you're at it from i-nigma. You can create simple promotions like coupons inexpensively and quickly. One caveat is making sure your promotion will appear on customers' phones as you intend it to, which means hiring someone with mobile design experience if you're offering anything other than a plain-text promotion

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MobileDiscovery GetsFailing Grade For Case Western's Mobile Bar Code Trial

In parts of Asia and Europe, marketers have been using bar code technology to help sell things to people on their cellphones. There have been a few small-scale tests, but judging from the experience of one under way at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the technique is nowhere near ready for widespread use.

Considering this was the first major trial for Physical World Connection, the marketing guys at MobileDiscovery dropped the ball big time. (Jonathan Bulkeley, CEO of ScanBuy, informed me that they had nothing to do with the marketing of this campaign)

In my opinion, advertisers are failing to grasp how big Physical World Connection (bar codes and mobile phones) is and how to implement it. Mobile bar codes can link a brand directly with a consumer immediately.

This Case Western campaign is lacking any creativity and focuses on the benefits for advertisers and carriers, not the consumers. A big mistake.

From the N.Y. Times Bar Code Sales Tool Failing

A company called Mobile Discovery, based in Reston, Va., is conducting the test at Case in conjunction with the university’s engineering school, whose students are helping to manage it. Students and other people affiliated with the university can download software to their cellphones and then can get campus bus arrival times, order magazine subscriptions, enter a sweepstakes sponsored by QVC and get text alerts from USA Today, among other applications. (they couldn't find a more hip publication than USA Today to participate? how many college kids read USA Today?)

They are also called free sweepstakes for a reason.

Interest in the pilot project, which started Feb. 1 and will run at least through May 15, has been tepid, according to students on campus, in part because of the cellphone fees associated with it. (It costs 2 cents or more to check when the next shuttle bus arrives, for instance.)

It's ridiculous to make consumers pay for this type of advertising.

Five phone carriers, including Sprint and AT&T, were cooperating in the trial — but not contributing money for it.

If you want to see mass adoption of this technology, carriers need to turn off the meter for a bit and see who and how consumers scan mobile bar codes. Think of this as an R/D expense for the next generation advertising model. The revenues will come but first you need to let early adopters (the targeted demographic) decide HOW and WHAT they want to use it for.

According to Ms. Dietz of the campus paper, the biggest downside of the Mobile Discovery trial is that the technology is not free.

QVC, the shopping network, introduced a campaign last month called Make It or Break It, inviting participants in the trial to create codes on mobilediscovery.com, then post them around campus for others to scan. Each scan gives the student an entry into a QVC sweepstakes, increasing the chance of winning a prize.

Jeffrey Charney, a QVC marketing director said, “Bar codes are the next killer app,”.

I think that is true, but in this case QVC is relying on the consumer to create the codes. A very bad idea. That will only work AFTER it gets traction.

So far, the most popular use of the technology at Case has been real-time arrival information for campus buses, called Greenies.

This is actually beneficial to the consumer. They get timely information when scanning a code. If you want to combine ads with the bus schedule that would work.

To get rapid adoption of the scanning application on the phone, you need to find a captive audience and include a contest. Did anyone think of a Case Western sporting event? In an arena, or stadium your have hundreds or thousands of people looking at the scoreboard during the game. A simple "send a text to XXXXX to get your EZCode" would work. Include a couple EZCodes in the program for people to scan to win a free Coke etc.

Did the marketing guys talk to any of the local retailers? Are there any campaigns that require a consumer to scan the same code to promote ease of use? Are there any time sensitive campaigns? Any viral ideas?

Students don’t perceive it as practical,” Ms. Vermeersch said. “Why would anyone actually pay for advertising?”.
They won't. The key point is to give the consumer something in return for permission to advertise on the phone.

The software being used in the Case pilot project, EZcode, was developed by Scanbuy, a mobile marketing company that is conducting a separate trial involving restaurants and other stores in its home city, San Francisco.

Did the marketing guys think of placing a notice in the daily school paper on how to download the EZCode software application?

Outside of a couple sweepstakes, what other goods/info were offered?

This was the first major trial of Physical World Connection in the US. The lack of creativity is very disappointing.

Next generation technology should have next generation marketing vision directing it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

AT&T Uses Mobot's Image Recognition For Mobile Marketing

Until all camera phones can scan 1d bar codes, or there is a standard 2d bar code, images will do just fine.

Instead of using bar codes, AT&T (and others) decide to make it easy for consumers and just use images. Take a picture of an ad, book cover, DVD and send via MMS for more information.

AT&T has quietly agreed to support a marketing service that lets advertisers design mobile phone campaigns that link two-dimensional print ads, billboards and product packaging with interactive digital media.

Other U.S. carriers--Verizon and T-Mobile--are expected to follow suit, according to sources close to the project.

The service relies on an ordinary cell phone with photo capability and sophisticated image recognition software designed by Mobot, a mobile visual search company in Lexington, Mass. Consumers take a picture of any traditional two-dimensional ad, product package, or logo and send it by multimedia message (MMS) or a picture message to Mobot.

Scientists at MIT and the University of British Columbia, among others, developed the image-recognition technology that Mobot founder and CEO Russell Gocht licensed to develop the advertising platform.

Here's how the image recognition space stands. Google acquired Neven Vision and Microsoft has their own application called Lincoln.

I'm glad to see that AT&T (and others) are choosing to go with a smaller player like Mobot, rather than team up with the bigger image recognition players. But I wonder, could that be due to intellectual property issues?

Pondering Primate readers should be very familiar with Mobot.

Over a year ago Mobot was acquired by a mobile marketing company for approximately $10m. My company, Visionary Innovations, was instrumental in what was called, "The Marketing Wedding of the Year".

In December 2006, the acquiring company sold Mobot back to its founders.
Here's why Mobot was sold back.

History of Mobot on the Pondering Primate.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Amazon's TextBuyIt Disrupts Physical World Retailing

I'm surprised it took this long to introduce this. Physical retailers will have to get used to price comparisons AND purchases made from online competitors in their store.

What can physical retailers do in order to provide value?

Until camera phones can scan a barcode, or resolve an image on a book cover, Amazon's TextBuyIt mobile application will disrupt physical book store retailers.

From Fox News Amazon Launches TextBuyIt

In less than a minute and using only text messages, Amazon.com customers can find the product they are looking for and complete a purchase using TextBuyIt.

Simply send a text message to "AMAZON" (262966) with the name of the product, search term or a UPC or ISBN code, and, within seconds, Amazon replies with the product or products that match the search, along with prices.

To buy an item, customers simply reply to the text message by entering the unique single digit number next to the item they want. Customers will then receive a short phone call from Amazon with the final details of their order and asking them to confirm or cancel the purchase.

When customers choose to purchase something for the first time using TextBuyIt, they will be asked for their e-mail address and shipping ZIP code they use for their Amazon.com account. With this information, Amazon uses customers' default settings for payment method, shipping address and shipping speed, including 2-Day shipping for Amazon Prime members.

Microsoft Fails Again With White Space Tech Device

A device submitted by Microsoft for US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) testing of wireless 'white spaces' technology has stopped working and been taken out of the process.

The wireless prototype, which was not made by Microsoft, unexpectedly stopped working on Wednesday, Microsoft said on Friday. In February, the FCC took another Microsoft-submitted device out of testing because it had power problems.

Microsoft said the problems that took the two devices out of testing were unrelated to interference and that the units were experimental, not production devices.

Mobile Discovery Links The Physical World With Mobile Bar Codes

Add privately held Mobile Discovery and their CodeIntelligence to the list of companies that link a mobile phone and a physical object to the Internet.

The company was founded to help advertisers breathe new life into print media and to help wireless carriers develop new revenue streams stemming wireless data services. This is accomplished by offering traditional print advertisers a disruptive and convergence-enabling service, which delivers a new and revolutionary customer experience.

Case studies include Billboard Magazine, Wired Magazine and Sprint Website.
When Sprint decided to use codes online they chose Mobile Discovery’s Code Management Platform (CMP). Called CodeIntelligence™

codeintelligence mobile discovery

By combining mobile 2D code technology with advanced intelligence Mobile Discovery delivers benefits via sophisticated backend infrastructure hidden behind a simple and intuitive GUI that puts control in the hands of art directors, brand managers and product manages.

Using the Mobile Discovery CodeIntelligence™ platform, advertisers can create, deploy, manage and measure a print ad campaign injected with new media capabilities. This new solution extends the value of print ads by making them interactive, multi-media and e-commerce enabled.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Intel Sees Promise For Mobile Barcodes And Physical World Connection

From ZDNet Intel Reveals Its Vision For Mobile Phone Evolution

Intel has set its technicians working on a new initiative that it hopes will get mobile devices piggybacking on other devices its user may come across, as well as making use of the increasing number of sensors--such as cameras and GPS--within the device itself.

The terribly-named Carry Small Live Large plan is one of the company's "four or five big bets" for upcoming technology trends, with engineers working on new methods to use the applications available on mobile phones in ways that aren't dependent on the form factor of the device itself.

The Carry Small Live Large scheme is also looking at ways to utilize the data generated by the range of sensors included within mobile devices. According to Kahn, one of the oldest mobile sensors--the camera--has some of the greatest potential.

"That sensor could take a look at a barcode and give you information on the product, it could be connected to a database that you're looking at as a tourist", Kahn said. For example, by allowing the user to take a picture of a building in a foreign city, and using location information from the phone's GPS combined with the image taken by the camera-phone to find the building on a database and then deliver data on it back to the user's phone.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NextCode Works With Kanematsu And Kraft Foods For Physical World Connection


From Media Post Mobile Users Searching For Local Consumption

Moira Jacobs, director of business development for the mobile solutions group at Kanematsu USA, a mobile solutions provider, came to the conference to learn more about mobile commerce and integrating two-dimensional bar code technology on product packaging, print and television advertising. The codes let consumers download information to their mobile phones.

Kanematsu is working with Kraft Foods in the United States to develop a way to put 2-D bar codes from Boston-based NextCode on product packaging, connecting consumers to nutritional information, recipes, coupons, and more on the company's Web site.

The technology relies on a standard camera in mobile phones, but does require consumers to download a small application. "You either need to download a Brew application on your phone, similar to the one we developed, a Java application, or in the future phones could come pre-loaded with the application on the handset," Jacobs says.