Mobile Monday demo night

I just got back from Mobile Monday’s demo night ran at the Thistle Marble Arch. This evening’s event used the facilities of an Informa-ran telecoms conference: Service Delivery Innovation Summit. I missed the start of the event so my notes probably miss part of the applications on display.

Swytch – multiple mobile numbers on an application, these numbers could be different country codes and not only allowed calls but messages too. The application is basically a VoIP client rather than a soft SIM. There are other similar services especially in Africa, at the moment the founders think that their USP is the provision of access multiple UK mobile numbers. I don’t want to even go there with potential use cases

Quiztix – Q&A game on both Android and iOS, because of its focus on venues as a metaphor for different game levels a couple of people were interested in reskinning it for brands. The most interesting thing for me was the way that they used advertisements to level-up within the game – increasing ad engagement.

Mylo – was a classic millenial application that helped facilitate splitting bills in house share. The application collects billing data from suppliers including Sky. Ovo Energy. Payment of one’s share could be done by PayPal. They admitted that at the moment they had no business model.

ViewMaker – location-enabled AR application that allowed a user to show & publish geotagged content. The business focus was to be infrastructure for other application or brands who wanted to publish their own data. They didn’t currently have a plan to overlay information from other sources such as Foursquare, Flickr or Google Maps at moment. One thing surprised me in the Q&A session was that clients not interested in indoor positioning yet.

Pronto – A Deliverance-type food service with some key differences. Instead of it being a web interface, Pronto relies on GPS for location. Secondly they have a really simple menu, in order to allow two-second ordering and swifter delivery. The menu doesn’t change very often which is great if you are an ‘eat to live’ person. The application recently launched in Italy and is coming to London soon. Apparently a reliable set of delivery drivers is a problem because of the piece rate / zero-hour contract nature of the work they aren’t necessarily as reliable to showing up as one would like.

Adsy  is mobile or PC platform to create mobile applications that reminded me of a  simple HyperCard set – but no scripting for fuller functinoality. They are handy for building catalogues, or a card-based personal site and can be embedded like a Slideshare or YouTube clip.  It was deliberately kept simple and non-technical to appeal to teens – which was interesting given that most CMOs think of teens as master hackers…

IFS – IFS has its own innovation lab and they demonstrated a working prototype of wearables driving business efficiencies – business notifications to wearables, logistics etc from ERP system. Think of a smart watch as a pager. I think that most of the interesting aspects of this was the connectivity with the legacy systems. Given the current lack of compelling use cases for smart watches this could be interesting due to the provision of glance-able data.

OpenTRV – TRV is a thermostatic radiator valve. They wished to use technology to control temperature localised within a house radiator by radiator. The current model by the likes of Nest or Honeywell relying on one centralised thermostat per house controlling a boiler was considered to be a broken model. They are aiming to lower the cost of their smart TRV 10 pounds per unit.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

On Death and iPods: A Requiem | WIREDI miss the time when we were still defined by our music. When our music was still our music. I miss being younger, with a head full of subversive ideas; white cables snaking down my neck, stolen songs in my pocket. There will never be an app for that.

As Phones Expand, So Does the Word ‘Phablet – WSJ – the etymology of the word phablet – originally from GSMA and first mentioned in print by TelecomTV

Grandparents Accidentally Tag Themselves As Grandmaster Flash | NPR – genius.

IBM News room | IBM and Yonyou to Accelerate Big Data and Analytics Adoption – interesting Chinese partner on big data

Apple Watch ‘too feminine and looks like it was designed by students’, says LVMH executive – Telegraph – ok a bit over-exaggerated coming from the man who heads up TAG Heuer, but beneath the comments lies a deep truth about the watches that I agree with

Huawei In Bad PR Move With Anti-Corruption Campaign | Young’s China Business Blog – interesting analysis of Huawei’s corruption drive

China May Be Heading for a Japanese-Style Economic Crisis | TIME – the Chinese have a lot more levers to pull and a stable government (rather than a new prime minister every year like Japan); both of which are in China’s favour. On the downside China has bigger internal security issues than Japan

阿里美国IPO首场路演的38张PPT(全) – Alibaba IPO deck

Microsoft is found in contempt of court for refusing to hand over user emails | The Inquirer – Microsoft has to go to the line on this as it is likely to affect future international cloud services businesses

China Misses Out on First Wave of New iPhone Releases | Re/code – I wouldn’t be surprised if the government is holding it up deliberately rather like the FCC did with H-silicon-powered Huawei phones

A Watch Guy’s Thoughts On The Apple Watch After Seeing It In The Metal (Tons Of Live Photos) — HODINKEE – some interesting observations, kudos for their industrial design and manufacturing but some really good questions

For Alibaba’s Small Business Army, a Narrowing Path | Foreign Policy – TaoBao needs to fix its model for smaller merchants

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

BMW made a video about the production of the BMW i8 to promote the car. However the tone of the video feels rather like a corporate video from the 1980s

Reebok’s classic range looked to draw on the history of Manchester in this video. It split opinions in the office. Many of my colleagues liked it, but I felt a dissonance between the big speech about building the future with visuals that came straight from 1988. The MA1 jacket, the Reebok Classic trainer – the chav proto-shoe, brutalist architecture, a nice house with 1970s architecture and a mid-to-late 1980s BMW M535i – allegedly beloved of drug dealers trying to shift a load. The car looked discreet about its performance, but could still go like the clappers

Great demonstration by Grandmaster Flash (of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) of mixing circa 1983

Kickstarter have a campaign running to reprint the New York Transit Authority’s standards manual which was much more than a style guide but went into things like the methodology of planning signage and usability of New York public transport.

Anton Corbjin’s film A Most Wanted Man makes Hamburg amazing and gets great performances out of actors including Willem Defoe and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The film feels believable because it’s based on a John LeCarré novel of the same name. As would be expected in the 21st century the US comes out of it pretty poorly

Digital PR report (in the UK)

The PRCA have put together a report on digital PR for the UK market in association with YouGov and the Holmes Report. The report made for interesting reading and raised some questions in my own mind about the industry.

The main challenge raised by the panelists interviewed by the Holmes Report was one of agencies spreading themselves to wide in terms of a service offering. I think that this is about knowing when to partner and when to do it in agency. They flagged training as a secondary issue; I have done training in a number of agencies and found that the issue was having teams be able to implement their knowledge in a timely manner.

Back to the report:

Considering that the report was both agencyside and inhouse the sample size could be bigger. I suspect that the sample skewed towards business-to-business sectors looking at the answers later on. I suspect that the total digital marketing spend was bigger than the figures quoted simply because it probably happens outside the sphere of the communications department interviewed in these surveys.

A smaller majority of respondents struggled to measure the ROI of social, but majority of respondents also said that their goals for social were ‘general marketing’, brand awareness and reach. This would be harder to wrap SMART objectives around to measure the activity against. Perhaps it is a mistake that so many in-house teams were defining social strategies? For business-to-business clients that I work with marketing automation tools are being looked to, in order to provide the ‘last mile’ in attribution and ROI for tactics that would fall under digital PR.

I was surprised that 74% of respondents felt that the communications department was the first choice for digital tactical activity. I would have expected a stronger showing from marketers, this may be skewed by the sample. Part of the reason for my surprise is that many of the tactics used in digital PR would fall under search and digital marketing disciplines; we’ve hit a singularity in marketing and the roles and responsibilities could get messy. The numbers suggested a rise in the number of organisations with dedicated social teams; which was closer to my hypothesis.

Looking at in-house needs versus agency offerings I was very conscious of the fact that search seems to have largely passed the PR industry by; except when it comes to ‘online reputation management’ and ‘digital crisis management’. Whilst agencies think that digital is going to be a massive source of revenue, there seems to be be a reallignment of figures required as more inhouse teams get on with it without agency help.

In terms of branching out into future platforms I was surprised to see Instagram rank so highly for what feels like largely business-to-business respondents. I can only assume that Google+ was considered a future platform as this survey could have been conducted prior to Google recently moving away from attaching content authorship to Google+ profiles. In terms of training requirements, web design and build is probably something that should be provided by a professional rather than training PRs to have a go. Whilst intelligent, generally PR people aren’t that visual in their thinking (despite what they may say, the proof of the pudding is in the multitude of pitch decks that I have seen over the past 16 years or so).

More information
Study: Digital Skills Gap Poses Challenge For UK PR Firms | Holmes Report

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Spectre of Corruption Haunts Huawei | CaixinFacing lukewarm growth in device sales and business with telecom operators, Huawei has focused on the corporate network business. In 2013, corporate business reported 15.2 billion yuan in revenue, a year-on-year increase of 32 percent.

Inside Apple’s Live Event Stream Failure, And Why It Happened: It Wasn’t A Capacity Issue – fascinating review of what went wrong

Microsoft rebrands Bing apps to MSN with iOS and Android versions due soon | The Verge – interesting that MSN has new weight especially after the shutdown of MSN Messenger

Why Chinese Smartphone Makers Are Going Global | WSJ – doesn’t actually really answer the question. The interesting thing with Huawei is that most of their growth is driven in emerging markets, which begs the questions about their premium strategy except as a halo for the main products

PayPal’s Braintree Embraces Bitcoin, One-Touch Payments | TechCrunch – interesting to see how this plays with carrier and handset plans for payment. Also interesting to see Bitcoin gaining credibility