Category Archives: Mobile

Mashable offers favourable view on JockTalk

With JockTalk appearing at Demo12 at the same time as Beta launch there is an opportunity for the great and the good of the digerati to get their hands on the concept and offer some feedback.
First out of the blocks is Mashable with an insightful and very positive review of the platform. Their analysis is spot on and it is comforting to know that the simplicity and power of JockTalk can be communicated so effectively in a world that is becoming increasingly complex as a result of digital explosion. I am now really looking forward to the reviews that will follow the presentation later today.

The evolution of Sports Social Media

I was recently invited to get involved with a social media start-up called JockTalk ( I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to new social media ventures because I am the type of person who likes the ones I use and use the ones I like and that keeps the paying field small – mainly LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (a bit and mainly for the kids). However, the more I heard about JockTalk the more convinced I became that this is the future of sports social media.

Photo of stage at DEMO12

There are a number of social media plays trying to fix the “monetisation of Twitter” problem and JockTalk certainly addresses this opportunity. A revenue share with athletes means that the content created can be monetised through ad revenue. However, what is really great about JockTalk is the level of fan engagement built-in. It is obvious when you get under the hood, that athletes have been involved in scoping it because each feature fulfils a flaw in the way Twitter supports fan:athlete engagement. There is a Q&A section, athletes can rank top fans and the platform publishes to Twitter and Facebook so it doesn’t require a massive behavioural change for athletes and fans to get involved.

What I most like about JockTalk is that it is designed to deal with all sports. As a fan this is crucial because like many fans, I enjoy multiple sports. I don’t want to go to a different social media platform for each set of athletes (soccer, Rugby, Baseball, Cricket etc.) I want to be able to put all my sport in one place. As a Twitter user with two profiles – one work and one social I already have compartmentalised my business Tweeting from my sports Tweeting and so JockTalk allows me to enhance this even further. The site is in Beta but you can take a peek here:

The team is presenting at DEMO12 this week and I can’t wait to see the feedback. It is often said that the simplest things are the most effective and JockTalk’s simplicity and power are sure to be a hit.

In defence of Morrisons

Yesterday, reported that retailers were losing millions because of poorly integrated touchpoints. It goes on to say many are playing catch-up and can’t understand why “retailers are allowing sub-standard websites to damage online sales opportunities”. Of course in an ideal world all major retailers would be investing in the digital channel but I think Morrisons has a defendable argument as to why they are late. I should say from the outset this is my analysis and I don’t have an inside track on what Morrisons is doing.

If you drive down the M5 between Bristol and Exeter you will see one reason why, in Morrisons case the website is not currently the centre of attention. They are investing £95million in a new regional distribution centre and the project is slightly behind. However, it is a very important project in support of allowing Morrisons to distribute nationally.

The group is also only half-way through an IT infrastructure roll out at an estimated cost of £310m. The project, called “Evolve” will be completed in 2013 and is a five year upgrade of virtually every system and process the business has. The upgrade will support the groups planned expansion to 600 stores whilst saving support costs and providing operational benefits and efficiencies. Back in 2004 Morrisons also paid £3.35bn to acquire Safeway and has some problems integrating the 327 stores and IT systems into its own.

Also, Morrisons only announced that it would have a go at online sales in 2010 and even then was cautious because of keeping costs under control. Recent news compared Morrisons to the sales Tesco and Sainsburys are achieving online but that hardly seems fair given Tesco’s was the worlds first online grocer and Sainsbury started online in 1998. Having said that, the recent acquisition of a 10% stake in FreshDirect is designed to accelerate the groups knowledge of how to run an online business. They will actually get a seat on the board and the ability to learn about the systems and processes FreshDirect has. They also announced the acquisition of Kiddicare back in February who is an online retailer of cots, nappies and push-chairs.

8th September, Morrisons announced its interim results for the half year to 31st July 2011. Although Morrisons financial performance is good, they can only do so much. Revenue is up as was PBT (to £449m for the period) and cashflow was £667m, £97m up on the previous period but with higher outflows due to capital expenditure. They have also initiated the first phase of the planned £1bn equity retirement. As a result debt grew £238m to £1,055m but they do have a £1.26bn revolving credit facility available until 2016 and with £494m not drawn down.

Can they also invest in a major multi-channel, integrated customer experience programme? I would argue they already are by getting solid building blocks in place both in terms of systems and knowledge. This will put them in a very good position to accelerate development of mobile channels and possibly even overtake some of the competition.

I haven’t bought a news paper in years but I buy The Times daily

I am now totally convinced that digital publications will be the salvation of the news print industry. I haven’t paid for a paper in years but now read The Times every day on my iPad and have subscribed to the digital package that offers web access plus The Times and Sunday Times for £2 per week.

The secret to sustainability by consumers comes from a change in habits because of your product or service and The Times iPad addition has definitely achieved that. My morning routine has now been adapted to ensure that my daily “paper” has been downloaded and the pictures are available for my commute.

X-ray vision on the iPhone

When I was a young boy growing up in the 70’s, I wanted to be “The Man from UNCLE” and this was in no small way due to the gadgets you received on becoming a secret agent. Chief among these were the X-ray glasses and in those innocent days seeing through walls was all I wanted to do. Of course as I became a teenager I threw away those childish fantasies and instead wanted to see through clothing.

Now that dream is a reality – well a virtual reality, in the form of an iPhone application that enables the user to see people naked. But don’t take my word for it, check out the video:

And if that isn’t enough for you and you really do want the x-ray glasses you can now get them – although they will set you back about $2,400 US. Check this out:

CScape Customer Engagement Report is out

The 4th annual customer engagement report has been published by CScape and I was privileged to be asked to contribute to the report by Richard Sedley, the director of the Customer Engagement Unit. The report can be downloaded from EConsultancy’s website and is free to members and £150 for non-members. A “highlights” report of the key findings can be read at Issuu.

Electronic book readers

Sooner or later any, and probably every blogger, will pull out a reference to the Gutenberg press. Now it’s my turn. The Gutenberg press was probably the single most important invention in modern times. It came on to the scene in about 1440 and by 1499 approximately 15 million books had been printed across some 3,000 titles. The development of the world wide web comes close and has had a similar dramatic impact on the distribution of knowledge to the masses. Not so, however the electronic book reader.

Kindle was launched in 2007 and on August 25th, as reported by various publications including the Economist, Sony has launched their latest challenger. In the same article it is also reported that “according to some estimates more people use Apple’s iphone to read digital texts than use Kindle”. To me this is no surprise and is the classic single function product problem.

It is as if electronic book readers have been developed by book lovers rather than technology companies. For the same reason the born digital generation don’t wear watches (their mobile phones provide them with the time as well as a range of other functions) they also won’t buy ebook readers. They may well come to buy a device that reads eBooks in an accessible and pleasurable way but also plays audio and video files, store photos, accesses the internet, tells the time and various other tasks but that appears not to be what eBook reader manufactures are producing.

The Gutenberg press created the opportunity to share all the information in the world in the best format available at the time. It happened to be a single function device – printed material. Today’s information requirements are far broader and the sooner eBook reader manufacturers realise they are competing with mobile phones, mini laptops, internet watches, and a whole host of other wearable and static technologies the sooner the consumer will start parting with their cash.

The World is Flat (ish)

I am on holiday this week and right now I am sat pool side in the beautiful Tenerife resort of Los Gigantes. As usual I am trying to read a book, a page at a time, as I juggle the (not entirely unreasonable) demands of my three children with my own needs. The book I am reading is by three time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman titled “The World is Flat”.

It is an excellent book and even though I am only half way through I have found it thought provoking and informative. It is a must read for anyone in business now, whether large or small. My only reservation is that in many ways the book is ahead of its time – despite the various current and historical examples and case studies.

As I write, the third day of the fifth Ashes test is about to get under way. Last night England bowled Australia out for 160. In an ideal world, I’d like to log in to my Sky Player and watch the 3rd day unfold – but I can’t. The licensing laws apparently won’t allow it so despite paying my monthly subscription, Sky is getting two weeks of my money for very little service delivery. In a truly flat world I would be able to access any of my entertainment services wherever I am and when ever I want to.

One of the stories in the book is about Friedman’s daughter searching addresses through Google by using phone numbers and considering her Mum to be almost backward when she asks if she has brought an address book. That was 2004 and I wonder now what would be the expectations of her and other teenagers like her?

I am far from being a teenager and I am already impatient for a flatter world. I am having to type this blog post in open office writer and then copy and paste it in to the blog because the Internet connection is so unstable. Even if it were stable I still couldn’t do what I want to and access my paid for entertainment.

The world may well be flat if you are UPS, Google or Infosys, but if you are an individual there are still quite a few bumps in the road. Having said that, the fact I can sit here, pool side on my laptop and access the Internet at all, is a world away from just a few years ago. In another 5 years I would expect the connections issues to be a thing of the past. Licensing however, is a political issue that won’t go away any time soon.

Wrist Watches – the last of the single function devices

I was at a lecture recently by Sir Ken Robinson. If you have read my posts before you will know I am a fan but I’d like to make it clear I stop short of stalking him. I did get to meet him this time and he is as enthusiastic and personable one on one as he comes across when speaking and he didn’t put a restraining order on me to boot!

Sir Ken was promoting his new book “The Element” which builds on some of the themes in his last book “Out of our minds” – a review of which you can read in the “what I am reading” section of my blog. (I’ll post a review of The Element when I have read it). During the talk we were asked to put up our hands if we were over 25 and to keep them up if we were wearing a wrist watch. A lot of hands went up and nearly all of them remained up. Next the under 25’s were asked to the same question and although there were fewer of them most of the hands went down when they were asked if they were wearing a watch.

The under 25’s don’t wear watches because they use their mobile phones or other similar digital devices to provide them with accurate information about time. And these devices provide a multitude of other functions that their watch doesn’t. Why carry a compact digital camera and a phone with a decent digital camera built in? You wouldn’t and the same argument, for the young at least, applies to watches.

I have three children under the age of 11 and all of them have been given wrist watches over the years as birthday and Christmas presents but they never wear them. Time at that age, is not important and Mum provides all the scheduling they need. Although I agree with Harwood E. Woodpecker in his blog post “The Wrist Watch and the Digital Age” where he talks about parents using watches and in particular he says Casio Digital watches, to make “our children slaves to time”.

However I think his argument is outdated in device terms. Parents that want to know where their kids are and make sure they come home on time will give them mobile phones and although we are resisting, it is not uncommon at my daughters school for girls as young as nine to carry a mobile phone. There is a dual benefit to this situation. Kids get a device that is cool (like the Casio digital wrist watch once was) and parents make them become slaves not only to time but also to being always available.

The ideas intrigued me and I began to wonder what this could mean for watch manufacturers? As a jewellery item or a statement about our status I should think the watch will have a long life but this is quite a niche market. In 70 years the last of the  mainstream watch wearers will be all but gone and how many people in their autumn years get a new watch other than as a retirement gift?

However if we think about the evolution of the watch it moved from pocket to wrist in the 1920’s and this was for reasons of fashion where women were concerned and the practical demands of war for men. If practical needs drove the humble watch from pocket to wrist could they do the same for the mobile phone? With this in mind I searched for “wrist watch of the future” to learn what developments were taking place.

First item I came across was for the Windows watch of the future which comes complete with Windows CE 5.0, 1.45-inch screen, GPRS, network camera and/or 1.3-megapixel digital camera, Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth, up to 1 gigabyte of T-flash memory and it also supports Skype, MSN and other applications. And just in case this is actually a joke I also found that HP have a bunch of designers that have actually brainstormed ideas for the watch of the future.

So it looks like the watch may not yet be dead although with the limitations of screen size it will be interesting to see whether what really develops is more an evolution of wearable technology. Thoughts anyone?

Mobile internet about to explode!

Pornography has been behind the rise in adoption of many media forms and is widely attributed with the growth of the Internet. So now, with the launch of iPorn ( an iPhone porn site we will probably see an explosion (if I can still use that term) of mobile internet users.

So 2009 will finally be the year of mobile internet and we can all stop predicting each year that it will be this year. What a relief, finally we can get on with some real work. Now where is my iphone….