The thing we like most about Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends presentation is it’s just packed with data. The charts are sometimes *too* intense, in fact, carrying too much data. But it’s always revealing, and usually inspiring. Because it’s fact, not fiction.
Slide 7 is especially impactful. I was born on the left hand side of the chart, probably around when there were 5 million computing-capable units globally. On the right, just ten years from today, the forecast is for 10 billion+ units. Extraordinary.
Came across this today. Tweet-o-Meter (link) is the beta version of a platform created by University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. The Tweet-o-Meter supposedly updates every ten seconds (not sure it does quite do that right now), showing the number of tweets in each city per minute. The ambition is to log and analyze all geo-located tweets in these major cities. Once logged, they will be used to show Twitter activity over time and space. Various kinds of maps will be the main output. I imagine a variety of delicious visualizations will be forthcoming.
We are possibly attracted partly by the simple analogue-feel, dial-based interface. But we’re also struck by yet another work-in-progress attempt to bring life to the data spawned by Twitter (see also Getting to Know Your Twitter Followers & Why that Matters from earlier this week).
And of course it also reminds us of of the work by Google’s Aaron Koblin on visualizing SMS messages sent on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam in 2007 (see below). We imagine as Tweet-o-Meter moves forward through beta they’ll need to figure out how to marry Koblin-esque visualizations to their gushing pipe of data. Bringing magic to the mayhem.
Posted by Peter Sells (@sellsy), Head of Mobile, BBH London
Ed: We loved Peter’s winning talk on mobile for the UK APG’s Battle Of Big Thinking (#bobt) at the end of last year so much, we managed to persuade him give us a little more background to his thinking. For the slides and unmissable video of his presentation on the day, please go here.
Jointly authored by Anjali Ramachandran (Made By Many, London), Chandrashekhar L (BBH India), & Ben Malbon (BBH Labs).
Brands in India are still struggling with advertising on the internet, even as mobile services steadily explore new territory.
Both mobile and the internet comprise what is popularly known as ‘digital’, yet unlike in Western markets such as the UK or the US, the former is much more powerful and prevalent than the latter. The reason for this is primarily the drop in the cost of mobile usage over recent years, versus the increasing cost of broadband usage. As this blogger says:
“What the Indian telcos should do is adopt a model that was instrumental in driving mobile usage in India. Drop the price points so that even the average person (living on Rs. 100 per day), would find Internet usage compelling, useful, and not frustrating. If they were to adopt a mass usage policy and not price their broadband products based on margins, I believe that in 5 years, India could have at least 100 million broadband users (via DSL, cable modem, Mobile 3G, wiMax, etc.).”
The mobile industry in India is witnessing rapid changes, with voice and messaging charges dropping drastically. Tata Docomo started the concept of “pay per second” not too long ago, which was replicated within a fortnight by all other major players like Vodafone, Reliance and Airtel. Less than a week ago, Reliance (the largest CDMA player) introduced the option of choosing between 1 paise per sms (a measly 0.02 cents) or 1 rupee for unlimited SMS per day (2 cents per day).
The interesting paradox is that while basic call and text charges have dropped to unbelievably low prices, GPRS costs have yet to come down. Therefore, the trend suggests that the evolved value-added services (VAS) will definitely grow at a much lower pace, as those costs aren’t coming down as steeply: accessing services on the phone still costs a lot in India, even though phone tariffs are amongst the lowest in the world.
As more and more people in the country jump on the mobile phone bandwagon, from small villages to large metros, innovation is growing apace. Consider, for example, the new business deal between DirecPay, a bank-neutral payment aggregator service from Times of Money (part of the Times Group, India’s largest media conglomerate) and PayMate, a wireless transactions company. The deal will provide an extended mobile payment facility to merchants who sign up, and with the current rate of penetration of the mobile device in the country at 35% (the number of GSM users alone is at 335.5 million currently), it is likely to bring even more consumers into the considered set of e-commerce users, as Avijit Nanda, the President of Times of Money says.
Mobile phones in India are also extremely powerful social and commercial tools. Nokia handsets are the instruments of choice of the majority of the population in the country (the company owns about 65% of the market share).
Where educational iPhone apps are less than 1000 in number (737 in November 2008) and certainly not as popular as gaming and entertainment apps in the Western world, in South Asia, Nokia has understood the market and is investing in Mera Nokia, a tool that provides farmers with useful crop-related information, Nokia Life, which offers agriculture, education and entertainment service apps specifically targeted at the market in smaller urban and rural areas, Nokia Tej, a mobile order management system, and Nokia Point and Find, a context-aware service that recognizes objects through barcodes and GPS. (Nokia has embarked on the last two as part of the Progress Project, in partnership with Lonely Planet). Airtel (another popular Indian mobile operator) and Thomson Reuters also offer services similar to Mera Nokia.
If the market offers a completely different set of challenges, the only way to counter them is to understand how to leverage the instrument that is clearly succeeding. We imagine something along the lines of the Blyk model would work well here: where advertisers subsidize the cost of mobile usage via targeted advertisements. It may even be possible to build a two-tiered offering like Spotify has for it’s Premium and regular (free) offerings. What Hugo Barra, a Product Manager at Google says is particularly resonant in this respect:
“People will not want to pay for services that they can get for free, and the services will be free because there is a massive opportunity for advertisers to come onto the mobile platform. This is still untapped. Thanks to the proliferation of location information, specific advertising, and I mean non-intrusive advertising can easily come onto the mobile.”
Another opportunity that can be tapped into is the growth of social networks in the country. India is now only behind the US in Twitter usage, and it is 5th in the world in Facebook usage. An interesting model would be to explore a hybrid that combines the extensive usage of mobiles and social networking.
The big players are already realizing the opportunities for promoting social networking services. For instance, Aircel Telecom launched the biggest advertising burst in the telecom category (before Tata Docomo) by showcasing Facebook on mobile while Airtel has launched a campaign of 4 TVCs promoting the use of Twitter. Here is some of the creative from those two campaigns:
According to a 2009 Trendspotting report, online ad spend is only 3% of the total ad spend in India, compared to 8-20% in developed markets. But advertisers are evolving in their use of the online medium by going beyond banner and keyword advertising to creating campaigns that leverage social networks and connectivity, while the use of the mobile phone for advertising is still very rudimentary (mostly used for text-based promotional offers). The increasing use of the internet and especially social networks on the mobile would automatically mean that the online advertising approach gets extended to the small mobile screen as well: 63 million Indians already access internet on mobile as compared to 45 million on the PC (Source: IRS and TRAI estimates).
What’s fascinating – and perhaps instructive – for those involved with making sense of all this in Western markets such as Europe and North America, is how telcos and marketers in India seem to simply be jumping over some of the phases and issues the typical North American marketer might face. Despite the fact that in many ways the technologies at their disposal are less sophisticated than in Western markets, they seem further ahead in terms of mobile utility, mobile commerce & micro-payments, and in many cases more adventurous as far as advertiser-funded mobile platforms are concerned.
We have much to learn.
This is so brilliantly simple, and hints at a very interesting emerging platform both for conventional storytelling (in this case, reading with kids) but also for new opportunities where print meets interactivity anywhere.
This is a mock-up, clearly, but @Schatz & I been trying to work out what technology would allow the iPhone (say) to know when the page was turned; this would ensure a more immersive & richer experience.
Two thoughts come to mind:
One, use headphones controls to hack some kind of next page function from the next track control.
Two, shake and turn (bit random with kids in charge)
Any other ideas?
More details here: http://www.mobileart.jp/phonebook.html
Thanks to Alex Rainert – @arainert – for the original link on his excellent blog: http://www.everydayux.com/
(Posted by Richard Schatzberger, Director of Creative Technology, BBH New York)
We spend a lot of time thinking about how now you can do things when you step away from the confines of your desk — tweeting in the supermarket, replying to email on the escalator. But what about when you are sitting in one of those comfy sofa’s or ergonomic Steel Case chairs? How does mobility come into play when you are in a fixed location?
I recently started using Apple’s Magic Mouse and have found myself leaning back in my chair and just using the touch functions to navigate. It’s an oddly liberating feeling to move your hand and mouse away from the desk and still be in control.
I have also spent the week with the Motorola Droid and by far my favorite feature is the dock that sits on my bedside table. I am no longer fumbling for my iPhone to check the weather in the morning to decide what to wear before I get up. I can now retreat back under the covers for a few extra minutes of sleep as, right there in my peripheral view, I can see that it’s “56 degrees and cloudy”.
And, right now I am sitting with my headphones on as I write this, but I would much prefer to be untethered and have a sound laser wrap the sound around my space rather than having a device wrapped around my head–allowing me to move slightly to hear the conversation rather than removing an object from my body.
Mobile phones have untethered us from objects plugged into walls and wires so we can run jump and call at the same time, but we do live and work in a society where people sit in single locations for large amounts of time. I like to think of the new technology as a way to enable 7.1 Dolby Surround… for everything. Surround screens, surround data, surround interaction.
Micro mobility requires design for all our senses and subtle changes in the environment, rather than distinct I/O control giving people a new type of freedom in the locations they spend most of their time.
If you could unhook or liberate one thing that is sitting close to you right now, what would it be?
Author: Adam Glickman
Following our piece looking at journalism (a review of the transformational change at the Telegraph Media Group) and fiction (interview with Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Penguin), our interest in the profound changes occurring in the publishing industry continues with this look at the opportunities in mobile.
We often talk about the future of mobile media and what it will all look like, but what about the future of the mobile media of the past? The notion of carrying around your reading as reams of inked paper might disappear, but the written word certainly won’t. So it seems a very natural progression for print publishers to move from paper to digital by simply reformatting for small screen mobile devices. But the considerations are vast. And more importantly, how much do people really want to use their phones as reading devices anyway?
We recently met a company called ScrollMotion, a New York-based iPhone app developer that is hard at work answering these questions. The company have been steadily creating a suite of new tools for traditional print media companies to better engage their readers via apps on mobile phones, and in the process, quietly making publishing deals with a wide range of top-notch publishers. Their growing client list is impressive and includes Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., Tribune Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Wiley.
Author: Richard Schatzberger, Director of Creative Technology, BBH New York
This weekend saw the first Town Holler, a meeting (and pub crawl) of foursquare Mayors in New York City. From the photos, it may just look like another fun Saturday evening, but what’s special about Town Holler is that it’s whole reason for being is to create a direct physical world connection using digital platform. Organized by Conrad Lisco (@conradlisco) and myself (@schatz), our goal was to use an existing digital platform to facilitate and enhance a physical world experience, in real time, which, to be frank, should be the goal of any great digital creation.
Imagine five years ago, where a party organizer would, perhaps, illegally take over a warehouse in Brooklyn and throw a rave. Well, using foursquare, we (playfully) squatted on a social platform and threw the party on top of their digital service. We didn’t have to build any software, spend any money, ask permission (the foursquare creators did come along for the journey), or risk being arrested! We hooked into a passionate group of people who had the tools to connect in their pockets–on their iPhones–leveraging someone else’s software and data to curate an event which blended the digital and physical worlds.
Wow, we’ve all become over-exposed to the hype around augmented reality, but we’re starting to see applications emerging which genuinely seem to add value and utility, rather than just make you go “cool!”
We spotted this simple, still slightly rough-looking, but potentially amazing app for the iPhone, which works off the phone’s video function. Currently only available for the London Underground, and for those lucky enough to have a 3GS, but follow-up apps across broader geographies and platforms can’t be far behind.
When you load the app, holding it flat, all 13 lines of the London underground are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many kilometres and miles away they are and what tube lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons.
Geo applications and brand experience-based applications seem to be emerging as two of the most interesting playgrounds for AR – we’ve certainly started putting our heads together on a couple of the brands we work with. Watch this space.
(For some existing BBH work that uses AR, see BBH Asia-Pacific’s work for WWF).
Thanks to Tim Bradshaw (@Tim) for bringing this to our attention this morning.