Mobile Applications from MIT Students

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Written on Saturday, December 20, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I've just come across this great news at CrunchGear. The article reports about a course in MIT, where students are given 13 weeks to build mobile applications. The outcome is, admittedly, quite impressive, and here's a list of the mobile applications, with a short description of each.
  • Marauder (Windows Mobile): measures crowd density by detecting nearby Bluetooth-enabled phones.
  • Ballyhoo! (Symbian): a mobile coupon redemption tool for point-of-sale terminals that are equipped to handle near field communication (NFC).
  • Memento (Android): a photo geo-tagging and organizing tool
  • Mem 2D (Windows Mobile): Information-retrieval tool from posters via 2d barcodes.
  • MobileTrader (Symbian S60): A mobile trading application for people within a certain distance (1.5 miles)
  • Moca (Android): a mobile medical diagnostics program for developing nations. Medical field workers can send data (photos or videos, sound -- e.g. coughing, and answers to a series of questions doctors would ask) instantly back to doctors in the bigger cities to diagnose.
  • Eclectyk (Symbian): near-field communication (NFC) applications that aims to replace the cards in your wallet
  • UberCal (Windows Mobile): synchronizes your mobile Outlook calendar and Google Calendar
  • CashTrack (Android): application that’s used for splitting bills
  • TrainMe (Android): a.k.a. “Pocket Fitness Trainer” tool, contains images and videos of certain exercise moves for people new to working out, and it'll also create customized workout plans for you.
Fascinating stuff! And some pretty cool ones in that list!


Looking at these apps qualitatively, it's interesting to see that:
  • OS: Android tops the list with 4 entries, while Symbian and Windows Mobile both got 3.
  • LBS: 40% of the apps (Marauder, Memento, Mobile Trader, Moca) have to do with location-based services. Shows you where the market is going.
  • Mobile Payments: 40% off the apps (CashTrack, Eclectyk, MobileTrader, Ballyhoo!) were about payments via mobile, or about organising payments and making them easier in general.

If I had to pick a winner, well I just have to go ... with: da da da da dum ... Moca!
It just comes to solve a real problem people around the world are dying from, and that is access to doctors. If mobile can also help solve that for us humans, then we are taking a big step forward with this type of applications. Well done guys!


Bluetooth Marketing Campaign: Pattex Clear Power Tape

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Written on Friday, December 19, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

It is always refreshing to read about a properly done bluetooth marketing campaign. The folks over at Henkel have seemed to realize the power of Mobile Marketing and Proximity Marketing, and were quick to implement their very own marketing campaign that combines a number of key ingredients for a successful marketing campaign.

The news announcement reads:

Henkel wanted to demonstrate that Pattex Clear Power Tape is an extremely strong and above all clear Power Tape that sticks to virtually any surface and resists even extreme pressure. To demonstrate the extreme strength and durability of the tape they used billboards throughout the country that looked like they were made of solid concrete. The posters were suspended using the clear Power Tape which gave the impression that they were hovering midair. Those interested were able to ask for further information about the product by using the Bluetooth facility on their mobile phones. They were also able to order a free sample of the product having first answered the question ‘How much weight can their Clear Power Tape withstand?’. With the world’s first floating concrete poster an average number of 120,000 spectators during the one-week campaign were shown in a surprising and colourful manner that Pattex Clear Power Tape really does live up to its name. With over 10,000 requested samples it became the most successful media campaign of the year. Pattex Clear Power Tape is one of the most successful products in the Henkel adhesive portfolio.
It is important to note here that the campaign did not contain itself to a single medium, mobile or physical. It used a combination of each approach, in order to utilise the best of both worlds and achieve maximum results.

The key ingredients used for this spicy recipe included:
  • An eye-catching physical artifact that immediately grabs the consumer's attention
  • A fresh, new approach with the way the ad was placed mid-air,
  • The ability for the consumer to interact, and find out more about the product.
The physical artifact hanging mid-air was a mix of a traditional marketing approach, with a fresh take on things. The campaign designer took the poster from the poster board, where it would have traditionally appeared and put it mid-air, somewhere consumers would least expect to see it, immediately grabbing their attention.

Because just grabbing attention is not enough however, the campaign designer wisely chose to add interactivity. This way people that really found the campaign interesting, or were interested in the product could find out more about it. (I know it's just tape, but, hey, if I witnessed the campaign I know I would have been curious to find out more about how they've done it, and what exactly it is -- regardless of the nature of my work).

A big congratulations then from me, to everyone involved in this campaign. Looking forward to seeing more interesting stuff from them..


Interactive Public Display via SMS

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Written on Friday, December 19, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I came across a news announcement today about a projector system called the SMS Chatwall, which allows people to interact with it by sending SMS messages, which are then projected onto the wall for public display. The blog article reads:
The SMS projector system developed by Haase & Martin GbR is published in an English version. Short text messages, sent by any mobile phone, are received by the SMS Chatwall and shown on TV and by projector systems. Dresden (PRWEB) September 21, 2005 — The SMS projector system developed by Haase & Martin GbR is published in an English version. Short text messages, sent by any mobile phone, are received by the SMS Chatwall and shown on TV and by projector systems.
I like public display systems because they provide so rich opportunity for interaction. Users can essentially participate in what gets displayed simply by sending an SMS message, and the process for posting content on the wall is so simple, that it is very inviting.

It is very easy to imagine these types of systems in common areas in universities, used by departments, clubs or societies, and any other group of people that would now be using a noticeboard where members can post content. This is simply the digital version of the noticeboard.

However, what's really missing from this version of it, is multimedia. That's what would really make a digital noticeboard stand out. If you want it to work as a product there are at least two factors that are a must:
  • Being digital implies that it can contain multimedia, and can change its content dynamically.
  • The ability to easily post content on the board.
Obviously there is a big number of other factors that make a commercial product successful, such as marketing, build quality, market competition, etc., but I think the above two factors are key to the success of such a system.

I've experienced such systems where the difference is that you can upload multimedia content via Bluetooth, E-mail and MMS, and it is a whole new level of interaction.

Sure text messages are great, because the most important element is content, and text messages contain enough of that, but just not enough when compared with a picture or a video.

I hope the SMS Chatwall soon evolves into something a bit richer both multimedia-wise, but also interaction-wise. For example it is quite straightforward to adopt a proximity marketing system that offers Bluetooth, MMS and E-mail integration, to provide for a much more complete public display system, that I am sure a lot more people will be interested in.


Location-Based Services Competition: Location Innovation Awards

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Written on Thursday, December 18, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I've just read about this competition and I agree it seems like a great way to bring things in the Location-Based Services sector forward a bit. It takes this type of motivation for people to actively participate into forming tomorrow's scene in lbs.

I believe in such competitions because they bring out some great ideas that can really help push the world forward. These type of competitions (especially the ones were no implementation is needed, like this one) are much like long brainstorming sessions, but with a prize!

The location-based services competition contains four categories:
  • Social Networking
  • Proximity Marketing
  • Location-Based Games
  • AAMaps Widgets
Regarding proximity marketing in particular (which is the category most related to this blog -- not that the others aren't of course), the announcement explains what they are looking for:

So the concept we are talking about goes like this. Through a form of marketing, you convince people to opt in to a service, it could be via a brochure, a message on product packaging or on a label, or perhaps through a website or billboard. You will allow the service to send you messages based on your interests in products or services, which will probably be SMS or Text Messages. The messages might contain an offer, an electronic coupon, or ask you to do something.

To me the concept of being offered special deals for things that I am specifically interested in at a time that I would like to receive it is a great idea. For the marketing company if they can find willing subjects it is also great because it is targetted rather than the normal scattergun approaches. How much junk mail have you received in the recent build up to Christmas sales mostly about things you weren’t interested in? What would be the ad drop to sales conversion ratio. A very good DM (Direct Marketing) Campaign would get 5-10% return, the average would probably be less than 4%. If you know you can target people that are interested, you would get a significantly greater result.

The thing is, you don’t want SPAM solicited or not, so there need to be rules and if the rules aren’t followed, the entire industry could be set back for many years. So for the competition our rules are:

1. You must clearly understand what you are opting into.How many messages are you likely to receive.

2. You need to have control over when you will receive messages. For example for a ‘Happy Hour Club’ You might decide you only want to receive messages on Friday and Saturday nights and only between 6 and 10 PM.

3. From a proximity perspective you may only want to receive offers when you are within a km of a participating bar or club.

4. It needs to be easy and clear how to opt out. People might try something once in a while, but there are many services such as subscription newsletters where it is very difficult to figure out how to opt out of the service.

It’s interesting when you start searching for existing applications, how few actually exist so far, while the web is full of sites suggesting what could be done, most of the companies who could be doing it aren’t and wouldn’t know where to start, which is why this competition is so important.
I won't be entering the competition myself, so if any of you are interested in this you can drop me a quick mail and I'll be glad to share my views on your idea with you (and you alone). I might also write an article about it if it's really interesting (and I have your permission - of course).

Good luck to everyone entering!


Google AdWords Targets Mobile

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Written on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

Now that mobile internet is on the rise (especially so here in Greece), mobile advertising on this medium is also becoming extremely popular and now Google is also stepping up its game. Ads from Google Adwords will now have the option of being targeted specifically on mobile platforms.

From the Google Inside Adwords Blog announcement:
Today, we're announcing a new campaign-level option that allows you to extend the reach of your text and image ads to show your AdWords ads on the T-Mobile G1, the iPhone, and other mobile devices that have full (HTML) Internet browsers. This new option will now allow you to display your ads specifically on these devices, create exclusive campaigns for them, and get separate performance reporting. We hope this option will help you more effectively reach your audience with the right message at the right time.
...
Users are performing a lot of searches on these devices, and searches are likely to go up during the holiday season. Last Christmas, the iPhone drove more traffic to Google.com worldwide than any other mobile platform.
...
Unlike standard mobile ads, you don't need to format your ads for mobile phones to show your ads on the G1 and iPhone. Because the G1 and iPhone have full Internet browsers, you'll be able to display your standard AdWords ads and landing pages on these devices without having to modify them.
Now that Google is ever more actively becoming part of the mobile advertising game for the Mobile Web, I am pretty certain we will see a far greater increase -- more so than up to now -- in the upcoming months. So, look out for Google ( -- not like you didn't know this already, but I thought I'd just try to be funny!)


Mobile Marketing Q3 2008 Report from MMA

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Written on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I've just finished reading the Mobile Marketing Association US Report for Q3 2008. The report explains that:
More people in the United States (and indeed globally) have a mobile phone than an Internet-connected PC. Consumers are quickly emigrating away from pay-per-use mobile services and are heading toward free-to-enduser services that are supported by advertising. Coupled with a fragmenting media landscape, advertisingsupported, free-to-end-user services create exciting opportunities for brands to reach consumers in ways never before possible.
It's been very informative, and though it contains somewhat expected information, it is very reassuring to hear about this from an official source. I've gone through the rest of the report and summed everything up in a quickly digestable list of bullets, to highlight the important points:

1. Mobile Services Usage
  • Subscribers up 6% from 251 million to 267 million
  • SMS up 14% from 140 million to 160 million (this is still the predominant mobile data service)
  • MMS up 15% from 88 million to 102 million
  • Mobile internet used by 29% of subscribers (78 million people)
  • Mobile video/tv up 6%
2. Mobile Advertising Penetration
  • 39% of subscribers (104 million) remembered some form of mobile advertising: an 8% increase from Q4 2007
  • 60 million recalled ads seen in SMS (42% increase!)
  • 40 million recalled ads seen in MMS
  • 31 million recalled ads seen on the mobile web (fastest growing -- 56%)
3. Who is seeing mobile advertising?

Gender
  • slight majority (58%) male (but might down to targeting of ad campaigns)
  • 64% male recalled SMS ads
  • 52% male recalled MMS ads
  • 58% male recalled mobile Web ads
  • 66% male recalled mobile TV/video ads

Age group
  • 52% of those recalling mobile ads are aged 35-64,
  • 28% are aged 50+ ,
  • A mere 43% are under 34.

Ethnic profile
  • Caucasians predominant amongst those recalling mobile advertising (though mobile ownership higher for non-caucasians).
  • Mobile marketing campaigns targeting non-whites probably not taking place, or unsuccessful.
The full report comes with pretty graphs and is recommended reading if you are in the field (especially for you from the US) as it gives a very good quick overview of the US mobile market.


Bluetooth-Powered Treasure Hunt

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Written on Monday, December 15, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

As a kid I always loved treasure hunts! The excitement, the chase, solving riddles, running around from place to place, cooperating with other members of a team, and doing it all first, to get to the 'treasure'! Not much has changed since, as I always try to take part in my city's yearly treasure hunt.

In a lot of treasure hunts teams are required to use their mobile phones more and more. Mobile phones are the ideal tool to technologically enable a treasure hunt and thus add a lot more spice into the explosive mix of a good treasure hunt. Teams are often required to use their phones in order to collect evidence that they have solved a riddle (e.g. take a picture using their mobile phone camera).

This is just the start however. The mobile phone is much more enabling, and allows you to do a lot more than just that. I've jotted down below some thoughts about ways in which the multimedia, connectivity and location features, the mobile phones offer could be used.

  • Bluetooth
With bluetooth you get connectivity in a certain proximity. Proximity is the A-Z of a treasure hunt, as where you are has everything to do with how well you are doing in the hunt.

Bluetooth could be used to send people near the solution to their riddle (i.e. in the same location) more clues, and also the evidence that they have reached the solution, as a digital artifact on their mobile phone.

Perhaps more importantly, it can also be used in order to track and record the presence of team members in designated locations. This is very important because, in large treasure hunts, teams often cheat by obtaining evidence from other teams when they have not necessarily solved a riddle. (Ok, I know pirates in real treasure hunts also stole stuff from one another, but our treasure hunts are games - not real life, and we are players - not pirates! )

Obviously to do all this you will probably need a decent bluetooth marketing platform (for some examples take a look at this recent post, or just google it).

Bluetooth can also be used to send mobile applications to the players, which will consist the riddle itself. The mobile application can be a simple game which is specifically designed for mobile phones and is much harder for people to send to others from their mobile phone. It can also be much more engaging, interactive and multimedia-enriched.

  • Camera
The mobile phone camera is the ultimate tool to provide evidence of presence. If you're there, you can take a picture of it. Unfortunately, however, this does not go both ways, because if you have a picture of 'it', it doesn't mean you were there. Pictures can be e-mailed or sent via MMS to someone else, so the pictures alone are not enough to provide evidence of the solution. It needs to be combined with evidence of presence in the area where the picture was taken (e.g. geotagging, or use bluetooth to record presence).

  • SMS / MMS
Wireless Messaging on the mobile phone can be used to provide instant 2-way communication with players. Clues, riddles, evidence, and most treasure hunt artifacts can be sent from the mobile phone, to enable a quicker and painless transition of information.

  • GPS
The GPS functionality available on an ever-increasing number of mobile phones can provide similar evidence of co-location as bluetooth. Using GPS you can know that a team member has been at a certain location. Also you could use some software that geotags pictures with the current location, and make sure pictures were taken where they were meant to be.

GPS can also help players move around more efficiently using:
  • Maps
What treasure hunt is complete without a treasure map!? The treasure map can have all sorts of hidden information that gets unveiled during the process of the hunt.

However maps are also essential tools for team members that often need (in large treasure hunts) to move around the city in parts of it that they are not necessarily familiar with.

Obviously with GPS and Maps you will need both the appropriate functionality on the mobile phone, but also the appropriate software. (e.g. if you want to geotag your pictures you might want to use something like this).

Treasure hunts are (at least for me) great fun! And I think there's a lot more potential to make them even more enjoyable using the latest technology to our advantage. Any ideas you have are welcome!


SMS Shooting Campaign

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Written on Sunday, December 14, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

We are still, here in Greece, shaken from the shooting of the 15-year old boy by the police a week ago. Civil unrest and riots are still ongoing, probably quite a bit more than is let on by the media.

In light of these events, the video below causes a bit of a weird feeling cause it simulates the sending of an SMS or MMS with a 'mobile-phone-gunshot', but in all fairness the campaign is pretty cool and I wanted to share it with you all, just because I liked it so much..



Top Proximity Marketing Systems: v2

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Written on Friday, December 12, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

After my last post about the top proximity marketing systems I have received a couple of e-mails regarding additions to the list. The new, updated list now contains 15 proximity marketing solutions, which I think are some of the most well-known systems around the world.

I have tried to only include original systems, and not reseller solutions, unless they are significantly differentiated from the original.

As I live in Europe I might well have missed some systems elsewhere in the world, but I am more than happy to add them to the list, if you send me an e-mail regarding a system that's missing.

My disclaimer (again):
The list below contains the companies that I know of, in alphabetical order, so as to avoid any sort of ranking. My list is a list, not an ordering! And it contains only the companies I know. If it doesn't contain one you know of, or work for, please let me know and I will gladly add it to the list asap.
I have also had a couple of requests for a side-by-side review of the above systems, and if I get a few more (i.e. this is something that really interests you all), I'll try to get something together which is as objective and to-the-facts as possible (obviously based on the information available on the internet for each of the systems).


Mobile Broadband Rising Says European Commission

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Written on Thursday, December 11, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

With everything else going on here in Greece over the past few days (in case you've missed it), it's kind of hard to concentrate on other aspects of professional life. However, I've tried to come up today with a positive note of life here in Greece..

The European Commission recently released a report with data from most member countries (some did not gather this data). It was really good (and admittedly a little surprising) to see that Greece (EL) is relatively high in the list, compared to other EU countries. Mobile broadband is the medium for a number of mobile marketing services.

From the European Commission website:
Other figures published for the first time show that broadband based on mobile technologies such as 3G and data services via data cards seems to be taking off in a number of Member States. Denmark, Greece, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Spain have reported a mobile broadband penetration rate above 10%. There were 34 million mobile broadband subscribers in the EU on 1 July 2008 (not including France, the Netherlands and the UK who have not provided information on this). The mobile penetration rate, which measures the proportion of the total population actively using mobile broadband, ranges from less than 1% (Belgium and Cyprus) to nearly 20% (Spain). The EU average is 6.9%. The number of mobile broadband connections using only dedicated data cards/modems/keys, typically allowing mobile internet via laptops, is significantly lower (around 2 to 3%).

I was already aware of the fact that mobile broadband is moving quickly here in Greece, as the operators have been pushing heavily towards that direction in the recent months / past year. However, what surprised me was the fact that other EU countries are still lagging behind.

Mobile broadband means near-ubiquitous access to a number of mobile services for everyone, and is thus a very important factor for the mobile marketing ecosystem.

Hopefully, more aspects of life in Greece will soon start looking brighter, like they do in the mobile technology sector...


SMS Provides Life-Saving Instructions

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Written on Tuesday, December 09, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I came across an amazing story today! A surgeon in the Democratic Republic of Congo requested and received instructions via SMS on a surgery he had never performed before, from a fellow surgeon in London. The task was to perform a life-saving arm amputation, for a young teenager in Congo, who had reportedly been bitten by a hippo while fishing, while it was later reported that his wounds were caused by fighting between Congolese government troops and the National Congress for the Defence of the People rebels.

The doctor was confident the surgery had to be performed, in order to save the boy's life. With little to no alternative options, the doctor decided to request the help of his colleague, Professor Meirion Thomas. The only reason this was feasible, however was via SMS, as it was the only communication option at the time.

The other doctor then replied with an SMS 10-step guide of things to watch out for and check, during the procedure. (Professor Meirion Thomas, is apparently one of the few surgeons in Britain experienced in such procedures.) It's important to note here that the two doctors were already well acquainted, and had in fact worked a number of times in surgery together, making an otherwise impossible task, such as that of communicating surgery information, now possible.

There are a few ideas that also come to mind regarding the amount of medicine-related sms marketing services that can really change the life of patients, especially in developing countries. Regardless of the outcome of this surgery, just think how much easier the operation could have been and how much video (for example) could augment such a task!

Here's some quotes from the doctor / hero himself, taken from the original news announcement I came across:

"I knew the procedure that was right for him was to have a forequarter operation, which is an enormous operation," he told BBC radio of the procedure he carried out in October.

"In the UK you'd need an intensive care unit to do it. It was a huge undertaking. He texted back step-by-step instructions on how to do it," Nott said.

"Even then I had to think long and hard about whether it was right to leave a young boy with only one arm in the middle of this fighting.

"But in the end he would have died without it so I took a deep breath and followed the instructions to the letter.

"I knew exactly what my colleague meant because we have operated together many times.

"It was just luck that I was there and could do it.

"That is why I volunteer myself so often, I love being able to save someone's life."

An amazing success story that just goes to show us the potential of SMS, and its power, and how much we rely, more and more on the ability to communicate anytime / everywhere.

My best of wishes for recovery to the victim!


Ad-Funded Mobile Gaming

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Written on Monday, December 08, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

The mobile device we all carry around us, has, even since its early youth, relied on a lot more than the ability to make phone calls on the go. Even early mobile phones were shipped with mobile games, such as the legendary Snake on Nokia phones, (which practically everyone I know around my age has spent endless hours playing -- by the way, the successor of the game is now available as a multiplayer game via Bluetooth).

Adding entertainment into the mix of the mobile phone (via mobile gaming), transforms the mobile into a device that can provide very useful pass-time activities. This turns mobile phones into engaging devices that occupy us when we would have otherwise been bored or idle, so much so that we can really become attached to.

Since the days of Snake, however, mobile gaming has evolved. A lot. There are now excellent mobile games on sale, with very impressive features and gripping gameplay to keep you occupied whenever you have some spare time -- or even if you don't ;) . Very few of these games are free, and most cost a mere few euros. Still, cost is an inhibiting factor, and if you add device compatibility problems you have good reason to want to find an alternative.

Ad-funded mobile games have come as the answer to this problem, by providing free games for the consumer, and profit for developers through advertising. This is a win-win-win situation for all parties (the consumer, the developer and the advertised companies), assuming of course there are companies wishing to be advertised on the game.

Still, ad-funded mobile gaming is now being rolled out in the U.K., so we will soon be in a position to tell how well it goes and if it really can work for everyone. The article on Mobile Marketing Mazagine reports:

T-Mobile has become the first UK mobile operator to offer its customers free mobile games. Customers can access at least one new ad-funded game per week by joining T-Mobile’s Game Club. The first free game available to consumers is ‘Poker Million II’, which is funded by advertisers including Paramount Pictures, which is using the game to promote the movie, ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’.
The content is being hosted and managed by digital ad-funded entertainment specialist Digistores, and new games will be made available each week. Games scheduled to appear in the coming weeks include ‘IQ Booster’, ‘Pro-Bowling’, ‘Pool Star’ and ‘Einstein’s Brain Game’. Digistores’ service will only offer customers games that are compatible with their particular handsets and can automatically detect the games that will work on individual devices.
The games are available to people who subscribe to T-Mobile’s web’n’walk data plan. In exchange for watching two full-screen, targeted adverts before starting the game and two more after the game has finished, customers get the game for free and will not be hit with any hidden charges.
Within the UK, customers will not be charged for the data required for downloading the game or accessing the ads. The full screen, interstitial adverts are interactive and enable the user to visit an advertiser’s mobile site or click to call or text the advertiser. There will be no limitations on the number of games that can be downloaded or how many times each game can be played.
Damien Byrne, Head of New Proposition Development at T-Mobile UK, says:
“The launch of ad-funded games further strengthens T-Mobile’s mobile gaming offering to consumers. We continue to make mobile gaming easier than ever before and a more enjoyable experience for our customers.”

I hope the numbers from real-world use do add up in the end, because I think this has real potential.. And everyone can benefit if it does:
  • Gamers get games free.
  • Companies get advertised on specific target groups, meaning higher conversion rates and ROIs.
  • Developers get paid what they deserve for their game.
The audience is definitely ready for this here in Greece, the market probably not yet, but the U.K. can lead the way and open up more European markets. We'll just have to wait and see.


British Police Bluetooth Marketing Campaigns Overview

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Written on Saturday, December 06, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

I have posted before about bluetooth marketing campaigns from the U.K. police. I keep reading more about new campaigns from them that target mainly younger audiences by approaching them directly on their mobile, their most personal device.

(Previous posts: You can have a look here for an article arguing the legal side of bluetooth marketing following adoption from Northamptonshire police, and here for another bluetooth marketing campaign from Southport police. )

I've recently come across a couple of articles from around the U.K., about new such campaigns:

From the South Yorkshire police:
This year South Yorkshire Police will be stepping up roadside enforcement throughout the whole of December and into the New Year in a determined effort to catch those drivers who ignore the warnings and advice.

This activity will be reinforced by an advertising campaign organised by the South Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership. The campaign is aimed particularly at young male drivers and encourages them not to drink like a fish: A fish could drink all day but would never dream of driving. Don’t drink drive. The posters in support of this campaign will appear across the county from the start of December.

As well as the traditional method of advertising, the South Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership is using Bluetooth mobile phone messaging to send messages directly to targeted areas across the county.
Also, the Cumbria police is giving away free Coca-Cola (pun intentionally avoided):
This year the Department for Transport's THINK! campaign is supported by Coca-Cola, meaning designated drivers will receive free soft drinks at thousands of pubs across Britain.

All five constabularies in the region have promised that more breath tests will be carried out and Cumbria police will also use innovative Bluetooth messaging technology to send a "Think! Don't Drink and Drive" message to mobile phones in pubs, clubs and restaurants without reaching phones in vehicles.

The THINK! campaign - with brand new radio, Internet and in-pub advertising - was launched today to remind drivers, and young men in particular: If you get caught drink driving you'll be processed like any other criminal.
Finally, Northumbria police ran a firework safety campaign, also delivered on mobile via bluetooth:

The ‘fireworks and bonfires ruin lives in a flash’ campaign is being led by Tyne and Wear Rescue Service, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police in partnership with councils, the ambulance service and the NHS.

Over the next fortnight, about 30 young people a day will be witnessing demonstrations of various bonfire night scenarios at SafetyWorks, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s interactive safety centre in Benwell, Newcastle.

The campaign features a TV advert, a website, posters and a marketing campaign using social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo. This year it is also using Bluetooth technology to send people text messages warning of the dangers of fireworks.

I am glad bluetooth marketing is getting such widespread adoption by police all around the U.K. because there is real potential for getting a powerful and engaging message out to the public. There have been, at times, excellent drink-drive related ads to help reduce casualties, and it seems reasonable to distribute these beyond television, into more modern channels such as the internet and certainly mobile.

In comparison to more traditional forms of advertising such as print advertising, posters, etc, with mobile you get multimedia. Video, sound, text, and interactivity combined. Makes for a much more powerful message than your average tv ad, not only because you have video and sound, but because it is interactive.

The mobile channel provides an excellent opportunity to help reduce the number of casualties from drink-driving and I think the campaigns from the U.K. police are certainly on the right track. I just hope people will listen and we see the difference in the numbers at the end of next year!


Mobile Marketing Promotes Art

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Written on Thursday, December 04, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

After a few days of inactivity (thanks to some pretty pushing deadlines at work), I've come up with a piece of news about a bluetooth marketing campaign in Austria. The mobile element was part of a general marketing campaign in Vienna:
Epamedia, Austria’s largest public space company created that platform throughout the entire city of Vienna. The main protagonist: a small statue, only 11 cm tall. Her name: The Venus of Willendorf. It’s only 100 years ago that this 25.000 year old lady was discovered in the remote hills of Wachau, Austria’s arguably most beautiful wine region. The little historical relique has been displayed in the Natural History Museum of Vienna and has fallen into oblivion ever since.
It is interesting to see that mobile and proximity marketing can be used for a number of different events and in diverse settings. In this case, the art exhibition invited people to participate interactively in re-exploring this exhibit using their mobile phone. From the blog post:
We also added applications to the media, testing the society’s willingness to receive our message. We gave away museum tickets, offered information download on the statue and a little mobile phone game. The use of SMS, Bluetooth, image recognition and QR code technology was applied and tested.

The results of the campaign proved our expectations right. Over 20% of people downloaded the bluetooth game. Hundreds of people downloaded the QR code reader, double as much used the scanner to read more about the figurine. While the use of image recognition wasn’t high, it still showed that there are many people out there interested to pull information from an advertising board.

I think art exhibitions and events have real potential for mobile interactive services, because by their very nature such cultural events are more enjoyable for the visitors when they are also given a chance to participate in the experience and interact in some way. The mobile phone is an ideal platform to enable this, as it combines the privacy, directness and new technology for an immersing experience.

Interactive electronic guides in museums are the obvious application, but there are more. I am not just talking about museums, but also galleries, concerts, the theatre, the ballet, and everything art, really. The visitors are already interested in the event, and it is an excellent point of opportunity to approach this public, if it falls within your target audience.


Top Proximity Marketing Systems

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Written on Monday, December 01, 2008 by Giorgos Saslis

Over the past couple of weeks I have received a few e-mails from some of you asking to find our more information and suggestions for mobile marketing and proximity marketing systems. I have tried in my replies, to be as objective as I can, and as always I have refrained from recommending specific systems. Each have their own competitive advantages, but I prefer to leave it up to the readers to decide. To make this easier on you though, I've put together a list of the companies manufacturing and selling proximity marketing platforms, and I've turned into a post (mainly to avoid repeating myself in e-mails, but also because it seems this is something that seems to interest quite a few of you)!

The list below contains the companies that I know of, in alphabetical order, so as to avoid any sort of ranking. My list is a list, not an ordering! And it contains only the companies I know. If it doesn't contain one you know of, or work for, please let me know and I will gladly add it to the list asap.


I know at least a few of you will find this useful, and I hope with your contribution this will expand to a more complete listing.