Friday, December 12, 2008

LeWeb08-Google's Mayer tips Local Search as key opportunity for 2009


PARIS-Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Product & User Experience at Google, gave an insightful view on various challenges facing both Google and its competitors in terms of Search.

Marissa pointed out that there is still some way to go to improve search (harking back to a previous interview she had given where she had stated that 90% of the work on search has been completed but that the last 10% was the tricky part).

One area where Google is looking to improve its game is in personalised search, with the recent launch of the Google Search Wiki seeking to test the waters in this area.

Another area, is search through devices other than the PC, notably through a mobile phone and, linked to this,voice-activated search.

Loic le Meur asked Marissa whether she thought any improvements in video search were in the pipeline. She answered that improvements are imminent in detecting voice within video and searching on this. However, graphic recognition (e.g.of a face in a video) is still a few years away partly due to YouTube's success and the proliferation of video content on the web.

Finally, and critically for companies in the LBS space, Marissa stated that "local search is one of the big opportunities in 2009".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

LeWeb 08 Paris-Prologue and Photos

Add ImagePARIS-LeWeb08 managed to pull off a great event in a time of economic uncertainty, and despite the heavy atmosphere associated with the global financial system, it offered rays of hope as well as advice on how to weather the storm.
Many industry heavy hitters, from Marissa Mayer at Google to Marc Simoncini of Meetic, Maurice Levy of Publicis and Martin Varsavsky, serial entrepreneur, gave their take on future plans and opportunities in the market.
Marc Simoncini gave a very entertaining talk on different dating habits he had to consider when launching his service in different countries in Europe.
For example, in Italy, women were not overt in their dating habits as they normally 'had to ask permission from their brother to date' while in Sweden, the Meetic offer of free membership for women was met with a 'why should it be free for us' reaction.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Nokia N97..but not for Christmas


Nokia used the opportunity of the Nokia World Event in Barcelona on Tuesday 2nd December to announce the release of the much anticipated N97 -the second touchscreen phone by the manufacturer, but this time, unlike the XpressMusic, it comes with an inbuilt QWERTY keyboard. It also has sufficient new features to pack a punch and looks set to carve out its own cult following.

The N97 features integrated A-GPS sensors and an electronic compass, which the vendor says will make it easy to update social networks automatically with real-time information, giving approved friends the ability to update their status and share their 'social location' as well as related pictures or videos. The device supports up to 48GB of storage, including 32GB of on-board memory, expandable with a 16GB microSD card.

Sadly for Nokia-philes, the N97 is only expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009 (at an estimated retail price of €550 before taxes) at which point demand is anticipated to have built up dramatically.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ESA -Technology Transfer Programme and LBSs


BARCELONA -Framed by the spendid view from the 20th floor of the Mapfre Tower, Bruno Naulais, European Space Incubators Network Manager at ESA, explained some of the current initiatives of the ESA with potential for tech start-ups.

The new Galileo satellite will offer better resolution than GPS, precise timing via an atomic clock and a guaranteed signal (a boon indeed for LBS companies given occasional unreliability of GPS signals on mobile devices).

Bruno also covered other alternatives to GPS.Consisting of three geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations, EGNOS achieves its aim by transmitting a signal containing information on the reliability and accuracy of the positioning signals sent out by the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). It allows users in Europe and beyond to determine their position to within 2 metres, compared with about 20 metres for GPS and GLONASS alone.

In addition, new boosters are being developed as part of the ESA Technology Transfer Programme that will allow indoor usage of GPS, thus providing realtime navigation guidance at large scale indoor events (trade fairs).

A new centre for Innovation in Geospatial and Location Based Services is also being set up by ESA together with Oracle and TeleAtlas.

The ESA VC Fund Initiative is providing finance of up to €1.3m for innovative start-ups and they are seeing the key dealflow in the area of Location based products and services.

More info can be found at www.esa.int/ttp

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ESA Living Labs-Mobile Lessons from Space


When it comes to exploring the frontiers, both geographical and cognitive, space agencies are difficult to beat. Many inventions originally conceived for space missions (one example amongst many, lithium ion batteries) have found their way into the consumer mainstream.

It therefore makes perfect sense to attempt to harness the know-how capability of space science for the benefit of the world of communications and related technologies.

Living Labs Global, together with the European Space Incubators Network of the European Space Agency, ESA, run by Bruno Naulais, and Barcelona's 22@ Initiative have organised a half-day event on the 19th November in Barcelona to explore how best to leverage space innovation within the start-up environment.

The event is limited to 50 participants so getting a seat may be a challenge. If you are keen to attend though, you can give it a try by following the title link. Otherwise, I will be reporting back on the event on this blog and provide highlights on the key points.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Location Mobile Trends for 2009 LBSs


The Location Based Service (LBS) sector of Value Added Services (VAS) on mobile is evolving.

I see 3 key trends and a similiar number of challenges for the year ahead for companies within the expanding LBS ecosystem:

TRENDS:

1. COMPETITION

There is little doubt that this sector is heating up, with both the iPhone and the Android platforms spawning a plethora of applications. And the global start-up map for LBS indicates that new ventures are emerging outside of traditional hotbeds like the US and Western Europe. This means that differentiation is becoming key. Start-ups with the big budgets can choose to differentiate via advertising (though this is becoming unviable-see point 3 of Challenges below) while smaller companies need to think smart and go for whatever niche they think offers the best returns.

2. PREMIUM CHARGING

It is apparent that consumers are ready to pay a premium for some LBS services, though this is on a more pay-per-use model than a subscription model. Quick and easy services that everyone can understand and that add immediate value (place me on a map now and show me Points of Interest around me) can be charged successfully and it is looking increasingly likely that pedestrian navigation-type services will also meet with success.

3. CONVERGENCE

Convergence spans a wide spectrum of meaning. In terms of LBSs, it means that traditional LBS services are moving into the Portable Navigation Device (PND) space, and that the reverse is also happening. It also means that connected devices like the Playstation Portable (PSP) are also moving into the LBS space with the likelihood of new devices entering the market (including the rumoured launch of the National Geographic Explorer Device).The LBS landscape is liable to some tectonic shifts in the coming year.


The LBS sector has consistently offered some of the greatest opportunities but also some of the greatest challenges in mobile, some that I would highlight today are as follows:

CHALLENGES

1. OPERATOR RESTRICTIONS

Fortunately for the mobile ecosystem, walled gardens are crumbling and we are seeing what I have previously defined as 'Open Playgrounds' being created. This doesn't stop Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) from imposing limitations on accessing their location platforms. No MNO currently offers anything other than 'pull' mechanisms for location detection (the user has to request to be located) while it is the 'push' mechanisms (tell me automatically where I am and push relevant info to me) that would yield the greatest benefits to the user.

2. SEAMLESS LOCATION DETECTION

Locator technologies are in themselves converging as the need to deliver a seamless location detection service to the mobile user becomes more of an imperative. 2009 will see an acceleration of this trend and successful apps will be able to switch automatically from a GPS to a Wi-Fi to a CellID environment according to the criteria that deliver the best experience to the user (this could be related to location, so delivering Wi-Fi location indoors or battery life, switching to CellID to reduce battery exhaustion).

3. MONETISATION

The monetisation model for LBSs has not been proven.But it will. And even if it takes time, let's not forget how long it has taken YouTube to adopt a clear monetisation mechanism (it announced today that it will offer sponsored video search, 3 years after launch). However, there is a tiresome task pending for LBSs to continue educating brands and advertisers of the potential effectiveness of LBS advertising (particularly that which links place with context). However, we live in a period of retrenchment-MNOS are retreating in their shells and curtailing infrastructure spend. Some, but not all, advertisers are cutting back on mobile and retreating to less effective media like TV.

Now is the time for LBS start-ups to redraw the lines of their monetisation models-to squeeze out revenues where they can be squeezed and cut costs in other areas. Highly funded start-ups with high burn rates will need to adapt more to the new low cost environment. The opportunities for small start-ups with smart monetisation ideas will peak next year-but their emphasis will have to be on easily addressing the true needs of the mobile user, requiring an understanding of the likely behaviour of this user in the new economic environment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

AT&T Acquires Wayport to add to Wi-Fi capabilities



AT&T Inc. announced yesterday that it had agreed, through one of its subsidiaries, to acquire privately-held Wayport, Inc., a leading provider of managed Wi-Fi services in the United States, for approximately $275 million in cash. The deal adds Wayport's focused capabilities and enterprise customer portfolio with AT&T's leading Internet Protocol (IP) and 3G networks, and broad consumer and business customer bases, to deliver enhanced broadband connectivity at home, in the office, on the road, and virtually anywhere in between.

The acquisition expands the AT&T Wi-FiSM footprint to nearly 20,000 domestic hotspots, takes the company's global Wi-Fi presence to more than 80,000 locations*, and creates thousands of new ways for customers worldwide to stay in touch. Millions of AT&T customers — plus millions of other consumers needing to connect on the go — will benefit from access to new hotspot locations served by Wayport.

AT&T's global brand, marketing leadership and extensive enterprise sales force will complement Wayport's expertise in enabling and managing applications over an integrated network. Wayport will also extend AT&T's reach in the hospitality, health care, education and retail sectors.

"We're seeing exponential growth of Wi-Fi-enabled devices — such as smartphones — combined with a continued dependency on 24/7, anytime, anywhere Internet access across business and consumer market segments," said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. "Now is the right time for AT&T to affirm our commitment to Wi-Fi leadership. By acquiring Wayport, we're giving consumers more ways to stay in touch and building a more robust network management solution for businesses. We're bringing ready access to the nation's leading Wi-Fi, wireless and IP networks — on a global scale."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Le Web 08 Conference, Paris-Exclusive Reader Discount


PARIS-Once again, Le Web 3.0 (now re-branded Le Web '08) is upon us, and over 1800 participants are expected to converge on Paris for the 2 day event on the 9th and 10th of December.

Paulo Coelho, now popular amongst digital media events, will bless the conference with his insights along with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, Mark Simoncino of Meetic , Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and many more..This year's theme for the event is 'Love' and, going along with this theme, as I love my blog readers, each and everyone of you can claim a 20% discount.

Just link through from the title of this post to the Event Website and you can get your ticket for €1196 instead of €1495 if you book by November 20th.

Don't miss out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mobile Services in Korea-an eyewitness report

SEOUL-As you would expect, things are a little different in Korea compared to, say, Europe...Research reports are all fine and well, but they fail to give that 'finger-on-the-pulse' feel for what is happening on the street.

So, having spent a week in Korea (and considering that this is one of the most advanced countries in terms of mobile communications) I thought I would share some brief impressions of mobile usage in the region.

Firstly, I'd like to dispel the myth that everyone uses the sort of high end LG or Samsung models widely publicised in Europe...while Koreans have a very high penetration of 3G handsets, many of the ones I saw were Anycall handsets, a Samsung local brand or Cyon (the LG local brand) .

Another thing you notice travelling on the Seoul subway, is how everyone has a mobile device of some sort, be it an MP3 player, PSP or mobile phone. And the most widely used feature on a mobile phone that I witnessed was..yes, you guessed it, TV...and not Mobile TV, but good old Terrestrial/Digital TV, whose signal is captured via a not-so-modern retractable antenna.

All of this should not make us forget that Mobile Social Networking is also huge in Korea, with the Cyworld service launched by SK Telecom boasts over 20m users and has built a profitable business model based on sale of creative digital content.

Finally, it was also noticeable how every car (and I really mean all of them, taxi or otherwise) had a GPS PND device-Seoul is a big city, so GPS offers an invaluable service to local drivers.

One bit of trivia...Samsung is actually a word in Korean and it means 3 stars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

KoreaComm 2008-IPTV, Converged Services & More

SEOUL- Steve Murphy from AOL kicked off the event yesterday with a keynote speech where he highlighted the following based on his experience at AOL and of AOL customers:

-Mobile is about immediacy more than anything else...as people can get to their mails quicker on mobile than on a PC this explains the migration from PC to Mobile Web (personal note:hearing subsequent talks on future converged devices about to be launched that go for a widget based Web approach, immediacy could come to the traditional PC world soon)

-Mapquest is one the most downloaded AOL apps in the US

-About open models, the question is not so much whether this is important or not (everyone has it a priority)..the issue is whose version of 'open' will prevail

-Steve also made a point about niche plays on mobile which is convenient for me as I make a point on this in my presentation later today


Young Lyoul Lee from KT gave a remarkable presentation on IPTV in Korea (it is simply huge here, with KT planning to invest $1bn in this area over 5 years)...over 450,000 subscribers have signed up since launch in early 2008...the KTH network (a subsidiary of KT) now has over 35,000 videoclips available, the biggest collection of any operator in the world.

KT is now about to launch an IPTV-Shopping combo service this month, where you can watch actors in a videoclip and interact to find out what they are wearing and make a purchase online...

Young Min Kim from CELRUN gave a presentation on converged services, explaining how Telephone, Internet, Broadcast and Content are set to converge business models soon..interestingly I was reading the local paper today and they mentioned how the Korean government had just approved portability of household numbers so that users switching to IP telephony could retain their old number...

Young Min made a good point about the need for Service providers to merge to be able to increase the scope of their offerings..a trend we are starting to see already.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KoreaComm 2008 Kicks off


SEOUL -Things are about to kick off here at the Seoul Sheraton and the expected 2000 strong crowd is making its way in...huge auditorium here with a largely Korean crowd, though the first couple of seat rows are reserved for foreign dignitaries including various diplomats from Latin America, Central Asia and other areas.

Was provided with a thoughtful gift of a 4-CD boxset of traditional Korean music, which I will duly check out on the all-singing and dancing Bose stereo at the W Hotel.

More at lunchtime (Korean time)...

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Evolution Of Mobile Web


I'm going to Seoul for the KoreaComm 2008 hosted by the Korean Communication Commission with over 2000 professionals expected to attend over the two day event on 30-31st October.

I'll be giving a talk on the evolution of mobile web broaching such subjects as 'are we at Mobile 2.0 yet' and picking out a few key trends I've noticed over the last year.

I'll be dedicating some time to discussing the evolution of Location Based Services and the convergence between Mobile Social Networks and LBS's. Not only are services based around location quintessential to what makes up Mobile 2.0, but the whole area of LBS is going mainstream as it navigates its way through the famous hype curve..witness Loopt's sponsoring of The Middle Show in the US.

I'll post more from the event over the next few days as well as share my presentation online.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Mobile Crunch" -New rules for Mobile Start-ups in today's economy


Extremely well-timed Mobile Monday Barcelona session last night focussed on Mobile Start-ups in Times of Crisis and how to manage through a financial and/or economic downturn.

Panelists Oscar Farres from Debaeque Capital, Sergio Perez from Caixa Capital Risc and Marcel Rafart, from Nauta Capital, gave their take on the current situation and offered guidance to young mobile start-ups.

Their main points:

  • The rules of engagement have changed -risk profiles have shot up and banks are retreating to safe investments, those that generate revenue or profit already (but preferably both). Fundamentally, for young start-ups the message was 'forget the banks'.
  • Start-ups should outsource or plan to outsource whatever activity can be externalised, as these leverages the company's cost base and reduces risk from an investor point of view.
  • Focus on burn rates-cut out any expenditure that is not strictly essential
  • These are tough times, but also times of opportunity for those companies able to stick it out throughout the crisis.
As Rudy de Waele put it eloquently, 5 years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter or myspace...times of crisis allow for a natural selection of only the very best concepts and businesses. Start-ups should really ask themselves what unique benefit do they offer that no-one else offers?

I asked the VC guys what % ROI they expected to still consider making an investment and the rule of thumb was 25-30% y-o-y.

Interestingly, Oscar Farres highlighted what he considered to be the big growth opportunities in the market (independently of recessionary pressures) and Location based services was up there amongst the chose few sectors.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Opera Mobile for your Windows Mobile Device


It has now been 3 months since the Norwegian browser Opera released the beta of their Opera Mobile 9.5 for the Windows Mobile platform. Despite some initial bugs, including an OOM (Out of Memory) problem on some devices as a result of caching activity and a Notifications bug (that turned off notification sounds), overall feedback has been positive from the Opera fan base.

Browser wars are hotting up, though, with Mozilla announcing a mobile version of their browser later in the year, Skyfire consolidating its mainstream appeal and the i-Phone Safari browser receiving accolades for its user experience.

Meanwhile, Opera's Java-based browser, Opera Mini, has built up a substantial following of its own and provides an excellent solution for mid-range phones to access the web and avoid connectivity glitches that arise by accessing the web through the operator portal.

Currently, Opera Mobile 9.5 only works on touchscreen devices with non-touchscreen compatibility expected to be added in the future. However, things have gone dead quiet on the community forum over at Opera and no announcements have been made of future releases..maybe they are busy gearing up for the Mozilla launch, which is now rumoured to take place in 'a few weeks'.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why now is a good time to invest in mobile start-ups


Global financial meltdown...credit crunch...government bailout...fiscal tightening...all these words will be very familiar to everyone following the unfolding of financial events on both sides of the atlantic. The picture for stock holders and bond holders, from private investors to pension plan owners, is not pretty.

That small proportion of wealthy individuals around the world are faced with some stark choices for making the most of their capital...look to preserve it by adopting a risk-averse approach (and buy gold bullion) or sit on their cash and ride out the storm, wary of potential bank collapses.

Neither of these two options offer the true capitalist a decent return. But, as always, there is money to be made in times of crises and parts of the economy that will fare better than others. The mobile sector is by no means immune to the downturn, and while operator revenues are likely to stay flat (guarded by inelastic demand), other parts will grow.

Mobile web is at an inflection point in terms of its global growth, moving from niche to mainstream, from Mobile 1.0 to Mobile 2.0, and there will be a number of competent start-ups that, though small today, will be huge tomorrow.

The great news is that the relative risk of investing in these start-ups has decreased compared to a year ago, given the drastically reduced equity returns from quoted companies. In addition, many of these quoted companies have either cut or withdrawn their dividend, and so look and feel more like growth stocks.

Fancy a flutter on an equity investment? My advice is, look at the opportunities out there to fund a mobile web start-up: it will be not much riskier than a blue-chip investment, will certainly be more fun to follow and, you never know, could be your next mobile equivalent of Facebook.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Enablers for Mobile Social Networks (MSN's)




LONDON-As one of the key themes that was discussed at the Mobile Web Europe Conference last week in London was Mobile Social Networks (MSN's), User Generated Content (UGC) vs branded content and Location enablers, I feel prompted to delve into this subject area to share some current thoughts.

Firstly, when we think about MSNs we often witness the attempt by some operator or another to launch their own network (whether based around music or some other catalyst)...these attempts have met with mixed success, though it is probably to early to draw a line below them. Nontheless, in research presented by Priya Prakash of Flirtomatic, over 70% of social network users would refuse to join a(nother) social network created by an operator. On the other hand, off-portal attempts by start-ups (notably itsmy.com) have met with success.

In general, the feel I get is that operators are losing traction at a faster pace than anticipated and off-portal startups have proved that it is possible to build a sustainable and profitable business without the operator.

Social objects (or the reason two people are talking to each other) can be either UGC or branded/syndicated from mainstream sources...with the saturation in the MSN playing field, it seems that at the very least a mix of the two is required to ensure that community members remain stimulated (and check in daily or hourly on the MSN).

An interesting play on this is by Buongiorno's blinko MSN (currently in closed beta) which has VIP channels that allow users to follow their favourite celebrity (be it Paris Hilton or Beyonce' Knowles).What is interesting is also the breadth of VIP channels available, which relates to a point made by Adrian Velthuis of Milennial Media. He stated that advertisers and community hosts alike should develop niche audiences to allow a differentiation in their offering compared to the plethora of competing MSNs or other mobile content.

As far as location is concerned, my belief is that this will be one of the key enablers of MSNs in the future -and that while technological limitations mean that it is still not mainstream, developments are expected in leaps and bounds. Sam Critchley from Gypsii talked about 'ambient awareness' as being the background awareness of what one's social network is doing...definitely something that reinforces location as a key enabler (where am I?) to achieve that contextual holy grail (what am I and my friends doing?).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mobile Web Europe Conference- Key Takeaways


LONDON -It will take me a while to assimiliate 3-days worth of information on where we are headed with Mobile Web today but some of the key questions that were addressed were:

-Should we head towards a 'one-web' concept (same for PC and mobile as per the Convergence theorists) or more towards two distinct webs (as advocated in part by .mobi), one optimised for PC and the other optimised for Mobile (and the maligned 'small screen')?

-With much talk of Mobile Social Networks, shouldn't companies in this space realise that they need to focus on hosting the network instead of managing it? This was a great point mentioned by Priya Prakash of Flirtomatic, who also went on to state that a great host should facilitate conversations and act more as a matchmaker so that new contacts can be made

-Alfie Dennen from moblog:tech was of the opinion that the iphone has taken the industry a step back (due to its closed environment), something overlooked amongst the mass hysteria surrounding it

-Kashif Hassan, from ooober, made an excellent point about content, suggesting that given the sameness of many Mobile Social Networks, it is the presence of branded content that will make the difference...witness HBO's Entourage feature on the whrrl site

...to be continued///

Friday, September 12, 2008

GeoMe quoted in El Pais Newspaper as Leading LBS Innovator


MADRID -El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper, published an article yesterday on Location Based Services and Mobile Social Networks, describing the overall environment and prospects.

'In Spain, there are a handful of innovative start-ups vying to lead the market.From the location-based service of GeoMe...the mobile phone is 'dressing up' with a web outfit in order to hit the town..' says Manuel Angel-Mendez, from El Pais.

I was interviewed for this article and duly get a quote later on where I state my view that most users don't want to be tracked wherever they are and prefer to leave messages on a map so that only their friends can see them if and when they are in the same area as the message.

Rummble, one of the companies presenting at the Mobile 2.0 Europe event in July in Barcelona (see previous quote) gets a well-deserved mention-they have a recommendation-based search function that allows community members to receive notifications according to your preferences.

'The barrier for mobile social networks is achieving a community of 100,000 users' continues Angel-Mendez, 'Once a service hits this magic number, anything is possible'.

For Spanish-speakers, the El Pais article can be referenced through the title link of this post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

deCarta devCON08-San Francisco 22-24 October


deCarta, one of the enablers behind NokiaMaps, is hosting its Development Forum, devCon08, at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco on the 22-24th October 2008.

The event will cover a wide range of development issues surrounding location on mobile, with both lecture-based and workshop-based sessions. The rough agenda is as follows:

  • Business and Industry sessions to provide the latest perspectives on mobile LBS market trends, technology requirements, roadblocks and opportunities, with individual presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the industry's leading experts.
  • Technical sessions going deep on topics such as advanced navigation capabilities, geo-coding, enabling the mobile Internet, real-time and thematic data integration, traffic, platform scalability, best practices for sat nav system UI design, and so on.
  • For developers who are new to location applications or deCarta's technology, a series of sessions will provide an accelerated course on developing applications using deCarta's DDS platform, Web Services and powerful JavaScript API, as well as deCarta's Nav.Net, and Internet connectivity for advanced personal navigation devices and smartphones.
  • A full-day, hands-on Developer's Workshop on the first day will be custom-tailored to help you accelerate your mobile application development.
For more info and to sign up, link through the title to the event website.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kevin Kelly's 'The One' Vision

A friend of mine pointed me to the video of Kevin Kelly's (Editor of Wired) presentation at the TED conference and his 'The One' vision is well worthy of being shared further.

His premise is that the web (not the internet) is only 5000 days old and has grown to an amazing level in that time in terms of complexity and functionality (and the amazing thing, he says, is that no-one is amazed).

He then looks at the future 5000 days of the web, which will be the 'Internet of Things'. He envisages total personalisation of the web in the future but at a cost of providing 'it' with total transparency of personal information...if you forget your phone number in the future, you will only have to google for it...

The future web will be smarter (and incorporate AI), will anticipate what we do and will be more ubiqitous.Everything will go through the web or be saved by the web. Scaringly, today the sum total in processing power (or 'intelligence') of the web is equal to that of one human brain but in 30 years' time, the intelligence of the web will exceed that of the whole of humanity put together...

In terms of mobile web, Kelly's vision puts portability of the web high on the agenda and connectivity everywhere -implying a dominant role for portable connected devices, mobile or otherwise.

I recommend you take a look at the video and judge for yourselves...


Friday, September 5, 2008

Ecorio-scoops one of 10 top Android Developer Challenge Prizes


Sometimes a startup comes along and executes a nice, innovative concept in a beautifully simple way and with a nifty design...Ecorio is one of these rare pearls, with an application that allows you to measure and reduce your carbon footprint by keeping track of your journeys using the GPS on your mobile device.

Ecorio was founded by '5 guys from Ontario', and they came up with the simple 3-button model of ecorio:

Reduce-to find out how to save by changing route or transport mode
Inspire-with tips from community members on how to reduce environmental impact and
Offset-allows the user to mail himself with a carbon offset calculation and purchase carbon credits online.

Ecorio won one of 10 top prizes of $275,000 under the Android Developer Challenge competition and now has a real chance to build on their initial success and develop new features for their application.

View the full Android Developer Challenge results by clicking on the title link of this post.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fring-mVOIP startup works up an edge


Fring, the Israeli company with $10m funding (from Pitango Venture Capital and Veritas Venture Capital) launched its first Mobile VOIP (mVOIP) service back in January 2007, and since April this year has made its application available on the iPhone.

Fring works well with flat rate data tariffs as well as Wi-Fi. The nice aspects of the application are that you are able to see who is online before you call and to do so, you simply click on Fring’s green button icon.

Some debate exists as to which company is likely to make it in the mVOIP sector, where notable players include jajah and truphone (see my earlier post in January). Fring may have the edge, given that it is truly free (it works completely off the operator data plan with no extra charges) and also seems to have a clearer and more aggressive strategy than the others.

Truphone, though initially much hyped, initially set out to deliver mVOIP exclusively over Wi-Fi, a bold move but ultimately the wrong one, as it was later forced to additionally offer its service through the 3G network. It was also behind fring in offering its service on the iPhone, only releasing the app in July this year.

Fring has now also opened up its API to third parties, allowing it to build up something of a community in the future. It now features a Facebook add-on and encouraged microblogging through its FringOlympics promotion in the summer. The Fring-me widget is one the later additions to the stable of add-ons, allowing those connected to the web to see when a Fring user is online .

Monday, September 1, 2008

CERN Time Machine to start ticking on Sept 10th


GENEVA -I rarely stray from the main subject matter of my blog, but unless you've had your head buried in the sand during the summer vacations, you will realise that in just 9 days, the biggest scientific experiment ever planned will take place near the tranquil waters of Lake Leman in Geneva.


The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile long particle accelerator at the CERN facilities (home of the inventor of the www), will accelerate matter to 0.01% of the speed of light and will be switched on for around 10 hours. During this time, its beam will travel roughly twice the distance between Neptune and the Earth.

All of this is vaguely reminiscent of Star Wars, and the photo (credit:Maximilien Brice, © CERN) reinforces this impression.

Exactly what will happen when the enormous amount of energy required to fire the beam is unleashed is anyone's guess but, if I were you, I'd plan a full backup of your computer files for September 9th...

A webcast is available at CERN, which you can reach by clicking on the title of this post.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Closing Mobile Usage Gap


I posted a piece back in January this year about the Rise of the Mobile Wallet and was pleased to see that it was quoted in an Experian Consumer Research Report about the US Mobile Usage Gap.

The report suggests that while only 2% of US consumers regularly make purchases via a mobile device, already 16% use mobile banking services, roughly equally distributed among different age groups.

Interestingly, the research shows that the age profile of GPS users is heavily skewed towards 18-24 year olds, with a severe drop off in usage rates in the age groups 45-54 and over.

Mobile advertising acceptance is confirmed as being higher than for traditional web, with over a third of consumers who are online for at least one hour a week rating themselves as interested in receiving ads via their mobile provided there is a tangible incentive.

You can read the full 9-page report by clicking on the title of this post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Social Network Valuations Reach Record Levels



I wrote back in March about AOL's acquisition of Bebo and the (inflated) purchase price they splurged for it (USD$850m). This, you may remember, equated to $38 paid per Bebo user.

Now an article in Mashable.com suggests that frenzied interest in social networks is taking these frothy valuations to new heights, and that Facebook's 100m users are worth at least $150 each based on the company's estimated value of USD$15bn.

Clearly, the exact calculation of Facebook's theoretical value remains a mystery, but by all accounts makes it the most valuable social network in the world and sets the marker in terms of premium valuations.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose personal stake is worth an extravagant USD$3bn., must be rubbing his hands with glee. And execs at Microsoft must be praying that their investment in 2% of the company pays off strategically.

Meanwhile, market analysts anticipate that Facebook has the capability to continue expanding its user base to over 200m members, which would ramp up its value even further...someone please prepare the smelling salts...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Killer Apps in Mobile Social Networking-Part 2


I posted earlier this week on potential candidates for the next Killer Application in Mobile Social Networking, identifying the following 4 potential candidates (so far):




-Mobile Dating Apps
-Mobile Social Network Aggregrators
-Virtual World or Second Life type applications with chat
-Phone Address Book

Here are my thoughts on the latter two candidates:

Second Life type applications with chat

There is no doubt that people are spending more and more time in virtual worlds. A company called Vollee has already released a public beta that allows you to make a connection to the Second Life Grid while handling the technical heavy lifting of rendering objects. The company then streams video output to your phone like any other media file.

By combining SL or other virtual worlds with chat on a mobile phone, a new dimension opens up for social interaction on mobile-anonymous and faceless maybe, but also with fewer boundaries than in the ‘real’ world. These characteristics may make it the next killer application in mobile social networking (at least in Japan, where anonymity in social networks is valued highly).

The Phone Address Book

The humble phone address book has been, is and will be one of the cornerstones of the social dimension of the mobile phone. Before anyone learnt to SMS, they learnt to add contacts to the phone address book. And when anyone loses their mobile phone, the thing they grieve about the most is the loss of their phone contacts.

The phone address book is the mobile social network par excellence –albeit a bit limited in its current state. But, let’s think about this…ALL one’s valuable contacts are already in the address book (no need to ‘add’ any friends), often with full contact details (including e-mail) and a photo…all we need is for a phone manufacturer to transform the phone book from its current state and integrate things like ‘preferences’, photo tagging and maybe some location-related info (“where are my contacts?”) and hey presto, you have a powerful social network ready to use!

Ok, some issues around privacy remain (will everyone be willing to make their phone address book public?) but the trend amongst mobile handset manufacturers is definitely towards beefing up their mobile software applications, and what better way to do this by transforming the now old-fashioned address book?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

uLocate announces deal with Garmin for Buddy Beacon


BOSTON-In line with a trend that has been developing this year, uLocate (well-known for its WHERE platform) is the latest LBS company to announce a deal with a device manufacturer. Today, the company has released a note stating that they will integrate their Buddy Beacon application into Garmin's connected devices and their Mobile XT Platform.

The full press release is as follows:

" August 19, 2008—uLocate Communications, the world’s leading developer of location enabled applications, announces an agreement with Garmin to add friend-finding capabilities to select current and future Garmin GPS devices. The partnership leverages APIs on uLocate’s WHERE™ platform to enable Garmin users to easily find and connect with friends nearby through the leading friend finding network, Buddy Beacon.

“The team over at uLocate continues to drive innovation with their open WHERE platform, enabling the broadest set of location based applications across the largest distribution network in wireless,” said Jeff Rath, vice president, global head of technology research of Canaccord Adams. “This represents a powerful combination – the largest PND manufacturer and the dominant platform in the market bringing together the universe of location enabled connected devices.”

With access to WHERE’s Buddy Beacon network, Garmin customers will be able to connect with their friends, share their location and update their status across a variety of online social networking sites including Facebook. Unlike other friend-finding applications, WHERE’s Buddy Beacon operates seamlessly across multiple networks, making it possible to connect with friends regardless of phone or carrier.

“We are delighted to team up with Garmin and through our WHERE platform, provide their users with access to Buddy Beacon,” said Walt Doyle, CEO of uLocate Communications. “The partnership connects two leaders in their industries that are committed to offering customers new and exciting interfaces."

Expect other companies in the LBS scene to come out with further announcements in the coming months, as new distribution and monetization models come to the fore.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Killer Apps in Mobile Social Networking




I will be contributing to a speaker panel on the Next Killer Application in Mobile Social Networking at the Mobile Web Europe conference in London in September and am gathering some thoughts on the subject.

So far, I have identified 4 potential candidates for what this next Killer App could be:


1. Mobile Dating applications
2. Mobile Social Network Aggregators
3. Virtual World or Second Life type applications that incorporate Instant Messaging
4. the Phone Address Book

I will be discussing the first 2 candidates in this post, while the remainder will be the object of a subsequent post:

1. Mobile dating applications are currently limited in their use of technology and frankly, have not made their case powerfully enough compared to web-based dating sites. Meetmoi, a $1.5m-backed mobile dating service launched last year still relies on SMS texting and requires the user to update his location manually-hardly revolutionary in the light of advances in location technology.

However, rumour has it that Microsoft is developing a mobile dating service that relies on Image-based face search in order to match prospective dates…a step in the right direction in terms of killer applications.

2.Mobile Social Network Aggregators (such as Spokeo) have attracted increasing levels of interest this year, in part due to the proliferation of mobile social networks and the tiresome task of keeping up with 4-5 different profiles and passwords. Different strategies are being deployed, with some aggregators going for Identity consolidation, others for message consolidation and others still for friend tracking.

Only a few days ago, news emerged that SonyEricsson was planning to release soon its own version of a social network aggregator, 3GLifestore.The game is hotting up…though would I pay €29/year to join Spokeo? Maybe not…

...to be continued

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Online Social Network Rules

One of my readers from Youth Radio highlighted this Current.com video about young people's attitudes towards web-based social networks and privacy.

It gives a quick snapshot of current opinion but offers further proof that web users are wisening up to the risks of over-exposure via the web and adopting their own set of rules for using their favourite social networks sites.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Mobile Internet Blog reaches 3000 Readers (or thereabouts)


BARCELONA-I launched this blog in January this year to be able to share my passion about all things mobile with the large (and growing) mobile community out there.

Now, with the blog's global readership about to reach 3000, it is a good time to say thank you to all of you out there for reading, commenting on, bookmarking and sharing my blog -your support makes it all worthwhile!

In the first 7 months of this year, I have been privileged to participate in a number of mobile events, from the Mobile World Congress to the Mobile 2.0 Europe event, and have enjoyed sharing the latest news and buzz from these events with you (it has been great to share with readers from all corners of the world, from New Zealand, to Trinidad, Hawaii, UAE and India).

If you like the blog, please remember to subscribe to the RSS Feed so as not to miss out and also join the blog community on MyBlogLog. Above all, keep those comments flowing!

Beijing.mobi-coming soon?


With the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing scheduled to kick-off on Friday 8th August, speculation is mounting as to whether or not the often gossiped about flagship dot.mobi site for the city, beijing.mobi, will finally be unveiled.

The mTLD or dot.mobi consortium has, since its inception, focussed heavily on developing city mobile sites, with barcelona.mobi following the initial helsinki.mobi development.

One of the touted strategies of the consortium is to synchronise city.mobi launches with prominent events, and the 2008 Olympics could not offer a better platform for this, given the substantial amount of publicity (both postive and negative) that the games have attracted this year. Much of this media frenzy will peak this month, offering a great opportunity for mTLD to achieve a truly global launch for the site.

It would also help to stave off critics and sceptics alike, who have pointed out how the m.dot domain still remains predominant in North America.It would also give the whole dot.mobi movement a shot in the arm at a time when its main shareholders (the mobile operators and equipment manufacturers) are increasingly coming head-to-head with each other in their attempt to retain (or attain) control over the mobile subscriber.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I love Mobile Web Awards



I will be on a speaker panel at Informa's Mobile Web Europe event on the 22-24 September in London to discuss the next killer ap in mobile social networking (what do YOU think it is?) -the mix of topics on the conference programme is probably the most comprehensive available for this area, and so there are bound to be interesting learning points and clues to the future shape of things to come.

One of the side events is the I love Mobile Web Awards sponsored by the dotmobi consortium, aimed at recognising the best designed and developed mobile internet site.

Enter one of six exciting categories for free before 22 August 2008, and you can have your work featured online at ilovemobileweb.com for the industry to view.The judging panel includes Michael o'Farrell, Chairman of the dotmobi advisory group.This is a unique opportunity to have your innovative ideas showcased to a highly qualified audience, so if you are in the .mobi site space, don't miss out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Great iPhone Debate


Much too much has already been said about the iPhone in general, but especially recently, with the 3G version rolling out across Europe and news of Apple selling 1 million units in the first weekend of sale (this compares to the 74 days it took to sell the original iPhone).

What we are talking about here is an emotional product, a marketing success by Apple, who have managed to exploit an unsatisfied need in the market with a neat design and just the right amount of cleverly orchestrated hype to make the iPhone one of the most wanted objects in recent history.

That we are talking about an emotional product is clear by the way certain operators enthuse about its virtues (irrationally some may say) and how developers and mobile enthusiasts equally lambast it or praise it.

At the recent Mobile 2.0 conference in Barcelona, Antonio Vince-Stabyl from itsmy.com, expressed his hatred thus, in a now popular quote: "what does the iPhone have that makes it special? It is just about browsing, browsing and more browsing". Antonio also confided later that he had initially handed all his employees a new iPhone and was later flooded with returns because it was simply impractical for business use.

Love it or hate it, the iPhone is here to stay and Apple would be wise to maintain its pricing premium by keeping it in the niche market that it currently comfortably dominates (more media-tainment than telephony).

I just love the story told to me yesterday by a Dutch acquaintance, of a flashy business type busy discussing an important deal on his iPhone, getting out of his taxi in a hurry and putting the phone hurriedly back to his ear after paying the fare, only to have its glossy, slippery surface glide right over his face and form an arc in the air, before landing neatly in a rose bush.

Stricken with panic, the businessman shouted at the rose bush and continued his conversation from a distance...just one of those hazards of the beautiful, sleek and smooth iPhone surface you don't hear about so much..but then again, I wonder how many iPhone aficionados are actually using it for calls...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mobile 2.0 Europe -Wrap-up


The Mobile 2.0 Europe event at ESADE in Barcelona delivered against expectations -a good selection of European start-ups, some early-stage, others more advanced, presented their projects to an audience made up of mobile entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

The discussion panels were animated, with much time dedicated to how the iPhone is changing the playing field and disrupting existing business models. The highlight was undoubtedly the after lunch discussion panel on the Operator Perspective, which featured a heated debate around what operators should or shouldn't be doing to help stimulate the development of the mobile 2.0 industry. Mobile entrepreneurs were keen to hang the operators for blocking innovation, though others came to their defence on the grounds that they were caught in a trap between rising infrastructure investment and decreasing data rates.Given that 90% of the operator profits still come from voice, this seemed to be a weak excuse for inertia.

The Early Stage Startup Sessions was won by Zipipop, with their 'Intention Broadcasting' concept allowing you to see what your friends are planning to do. The Pre-Series A Startup Sessions was won by Rummble, with an interesting recommendation process based on an in-house algorithm developed in partnership with an Australian university.Finally, the Post Series-A Startup sessions was won by Nimbuzz, a communication platform for social networks incorporating mobile IM.

Overall, congratulations to Rudy de Waele and Carles Ferreiro for pulling off a great event, and successfully transplanting the Silicon Valley event in the increasingly innovative Barcelona area.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Osaifu-Ketai: NTT DoCoMo's Mobile Wallet


I'd like to share an interesting presentation on the development of NFC contactless mobile payments as described by NTT DoCoMo in Japan during the recent GSMA Mobile Money Summit in Cairo.

The latest figures released show that the uptake of mobile payments has been dramatic, and that at the same time as the number of retails outlets accepting this form of payment grew to 600,000, so did subscriber numbers for the service, to 28,5 million.

Apart from the cultural factors at play to explain this successful uptake (tech savvy consumers, on-the-go lifestyle etc), key to sucess has been the succesful partnerships established amongst chipset manufacturers, handset vendors, service providers and Mobile Network Operators.

This has made mobile payments the payment option of choice for a wide range of transactions, from loyalty card point collection, to ticketing, employee ID card authentication and many more.

You can read more about this in the presentation by clicking on the title of this post.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Google Mobile Phone will start ringing in Q4 2008


According to the Wall Street Journal, the first of the new Google phones developed on the Android platform, will become available by the end of 2008, at least 3 months behind the original planned launch.

Taiwanese firm HTC is expected to be the first manufacturer to release a G-phone and will be met with high expectations, given the claims by Google that Android-powered phones will make the internet as easy to use on a mobile phone as it is on a PC.

Google's aspirations to become a leading force in telecommunications should not be under-estimated -via the Android Developer Challenge, the internet powerhouse is tempting developers into its fold by offering $10m in prize money to savvy programmers able to come up with the best applications.

Android consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications and is available under an open-source license, which has been praised for setting a new industry standard.

However, detractors comment that Google is not moving fast enough to be taken seriously and that its partner line-up for Android is missing some of the key industry players, notably Vodafone and Nokia.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Codilink Press Update-Signs up Spanish Retailer El Corte Ingles



I posted an entry about Barcelona-based barcode experts Codilink last month-the company recently released a press note about their latest deal with Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles, as follows:

"Madrid, 09 June 2008: El Corte Inglés and Codilink work together to offer the clients of El Corte Ingles the chance, until now impossible, of participating in a mobile marketing promotion whereby a unique and personal coupon, in the form of a 2D barcode, is sent via MMS and/or Email encouraging the consumer to visit their nearest department store, redeem the coupon, to collect the associates benefits.

The technology solution, invented by CODILINK, is a novel system that revolutionizes the traditional way to generate, distribute and exchange coupons. It offers greater security and flexibility to El Corte Inglés, while securing important savings in time and money for the launch of any promotional campaign, and allowing full real-time reporting.

CODILINK generates unique 2D barcodes (coupons) for El Corte Ingles, which can be sent in any format: paper, mobile phones, plastic cards or email. In order to scan and instantaneously validate the 2D coupon each participating store (specifically the stores of El Corte Ingles in Murcia, Elche, Pamplona and La Coruña-“Casa del Agua”) has been equipped with low cost and easily installed Codilink Scanners.

CODILINK is a world-wide leader in 2D barcode solutions, with more than 38 million coupons, tickets and loyalty cards generated for its various clients (publishing groups, store chains, cinemas, restaurants, etc.) from beginning of 2008 alone"



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mobile, Domains & The Future


“Mobile, Domains & The Future” is the first book by Javier Marti. In the past, books about the mobile environment have been exclusively focused either on the technical or on the sociological impact of the mobile web, resulting in a poor learning experience for the average person or domainer. “Mobile, Domains & The Future” integrates figures, advice and information on the world of domain names, future trends in the mobile arena, the .mobi extension and domainers’ personal stories, the debate on which mobile extension “is better” or will prevail over others, the logic behind domaining, potential threats along the way -search engines redirection, dependency and addiction, economic crisis…- and much more.

All this information is presented in a non-technical manner with pictures and graphs accompanying the text. This is also the ideal book for any lay person to read in order to get up to speed in the mobile web and the domaining world.

However, this book is not only for the “newbies”. For the experienced developer, content provider or investor with an interest in “mobile”, this unmissable book’s passages provide multiple sources of inspiration and ideas while effectively drawing our attention to new or creative sources of revenue and potential business contacts.

This first book by Javier Marti also contains articles or extracts from a number of guest authors on several subjects: from SEO, to traditional and web Marketing, to potential future values for different domain extensions.

Since Javier Marti is an independent author, the tone of the book is as impartial and objective, although there is a clear tendency throughout its pages to consider and expose domaining as a perfectly valid business activity, and a potential opportunity for financial freedom -if approached from on a sensible manner- for average individuals. This opportunity is explained in great detail.

The book also includes a section where we get to meet domainers and hear about their personal views through their own words, when they answer a standard questionnaire about their activities, motivations and future plans. Here we see the human face of domaining, and the personal stories behind those pioneers shaping the future of the Mobile Web today.

The book is free to download at:
http://trendinews.com/download-mobile-domains-future-javier-marti/

I recommend you take a (free) look at it...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jobs on Map Beta Launched by Spanish Infojobs Portal


I was e-mailed a notification that a new service is being tested by Spanish Internet Jobs Portal, Infojobs. The company, with a presence in Spain, Italy and Mexico, was one of the pioneers of online recruitment in Spain, quickly establishing itself as a market leader together with Monster.com at the dawn of this new market.

Now, Infojobs is looking to innovate again, with their new 'Jobs on Map' service, that allows users to navigate a map and find jobs within their neighbourhood. Though as far as I'm aware, there is yet no interface built in for using this on a mobile device, it does continue to prove the 'hunger' that exists in the marketplace for clever, everyday services that add that crucial location equation to their product offering.

It will not be long before this type of service will also migrate to mobile, thus extending the reach of online recruitment to an even bigger audience.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

P-Cell Technology -New locator Alternative for LBS




KOREA: This time, a development to report on from Korea, where in 2007 a patent was published for a new type of locator technology for a 'network-based Location measurement method...using P-Cell database'.

Not being a technical sort of guy, and this being a very new technology, I will leave it up to the engineers out there to correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is as follows:

This technology attempts to overcome the issues surrounding location triangulation using conventional Cell ID...namely, accuracy and reliance on operator network cell size parameters.

Instead, the new technology divides an area into pre-defined 'lattices'of a predetermined size which are mapped in a P-Cell database (where the P stands for Parametrized).

Then it continuously determines whether a request for location measurement occurs by a service subscriber; and when the request for location measurement is generated, it compares fundamental information received from a mobile terminal with the P-Cell database, determines a matching P-Cell, and reports the matching P-Cell to the service subscriber.

The advantages are that indoor location fixes are improved by about 70% (or so the technology patent says).

As far as I can determine, the system works like standard base tower signal triangulation (or trilateration, to be more precise) but instead of using the operator's cell tower signal radii, it uses 'lattices' of a standard dimension.

I have asked Tom Tierney from Navteq to shed more light on this technology and welcome any comments from readers who wish to add more information, particularly whether any testing has been carried out outside of Asia.

Either way, a key point is that location on mobile will increasingly become ubiqitous and most likely by offering subscribers a choice from a range of alternatives to ensure they can access location services wherever they may be.

Facebook Privacy Video-Big Brother is watching

A scary video I picked up from Luca Conti's excellent blog, Pandemia.info, that stokes the fire of the controversial privacy policy and use of personal data by Facebook.

If you have a Facebook account, this video will make you think twice about exactly what information you put up on your profile...



Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Diary of a Mobile Internet Startup -GeoMe


BARCELONA-Like most bloggers out there, it may come as no surprise to you readers that I also have a day job -and an exciting one at that! I run an emergent startup in the mobile space called GeoMe...so, what do we do?

We are planning to launch a Location Based Service this year that will offer best-in-breed services aimed at a specific target group. As much as I would love to tell you readers more about our concept, unfortunately at this stage everything is still hush-hush, but I did want to share my experiences in setting up the business in a kind of startup diary that some of you budding entrepreneurs may find useful...

BIRTH OF A MOBILE STARTUP

Our startup saw its first light in 2007, born out of a discussion in a bar between 2 of the founders and their desire to do something new using location on mobile. Subsequent discussions followed, then workshops were held with experienced mobile professionals and developers until the core concept took a definitive shape.

My role upon joining was to take this exciting opportunity and turn it into a business proposition for a whole range of stakeholders, be they mobile operators, potential investors, collaborators and other techy companies.

I would say that one of my challenges at this stage was to keep our focus, as inevitably every time we explained our concept to someone new, different ideas on how to develop things would emerge.

Our strengths right from the word 'Go' were the team we built up around our new concept and the clarity we had around our brand and market positioning.

THE FIRST 6 MONTHS OF LIFE

The first few months have been enormous fun but also an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved-a lot of excitement would build up when we got great feedback for our concept and even verbal comittment to x, y or z. Then, stakeholders would take a long time to make a decision or miss agreed deadlines and somehow we'd be back to square one.

Then suddenly, we'd get a break and have big corporations open doors to us and our concept and we'd all be back on an emotional high again...maybe a familiar story not just for mobile entrepreneurs but all those setting up new ventures out there...nerves of steel definitely help in coping with the inevitable dose of uncertainty surrounding a startup.


TODAY

The future for GeoMe is bright, as time and time again we receive encouraging feedback to our concept and our demo from different corners of the world.

We are currently working on our website, so that we can share our vision with the wider world and get people to sign up for our beta version as soon as it is released -exciting stuff!

Other things are happening too, which I will share with you shortly -so keep your RSS feeds open!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nokia Maps 2.0 -Location Detection without GPS


Nokia announced on May 12th at the Where 2.0 Conference in Burlingame, California, that they had released their Nokia Maps 2.0 beta, with a raft of upgraded features and web linkage to its Ovi.com site.

Ovi is a Nokia Web portal for Internet services such as content sharing. Maps on Ovi will let people use and mark up maps on the Web and then upload their changes to a cell phone. This is all part of Nokia new gambit into the world of software development and its desire to extend its reach beyond its own hardware.

However, the interesting part is a not-as-yet-reported initiative by Nokia to make Nokia Maps truly mainstream by eliminating both the need for GPS and the need for the Mobile Network Operator.

How? Simple...by investing over the last few years in building up its own database of cell IDs matched to geo-cordinates, and then building functionality in Nokia Maps that allows for an estimate of the user's location based only on cell ID.

Gone would be the days of waiting up to 5 minutes for GPS fixes, 'indoor blackspots' and battery drainage... Location Based Services would truly be able to achieve the ubiqitous status that both Navteq and Nokia are placing their strategic bets on.

The implications of this development are truly dramatic and it will not be long before the impact is noted by companies operating in this space...