This is a little-known trap that deserves to be dugg this holiday season: Beware of family plans if you ever want to take your phone number to a new carrier. Number portability regulations do not apply normally. Here's how they get you:
Mobile advertising proved that it was still nascent at today's Under the Radar - Mobility conference in Mountain View. Four companies presented, and expert panelists Erik de Kroon of Vodafone, Daniel Rosen of AKQA Mobile, and Eric Ver Ploeg of VantagePoint threw pointy darts at the presenters as noted. My quick take? Keep an eye on Zoove and Transpera as potential game-changers in the mobile advertising market. (Disclosure note: Transpera is a First Round Capital investee.) Here's a quick sketch of the presenters and their game plans.
Set aside your normal business model skepticism and proof-of-efficacy needs for a moment. Wait for it...that done, here are five themes of problem-solving that were recurrent at TechCrunch40 on Monday:
Have you heard of VoIP fraud? As of tonight, I have. When I got home from work this evening, there was an Earthlink box sitting on my doorstep. I hadn't ordered anything from Earthlink, so I curiously popped the tape open and found hardware for a new VoIP account in my husband's name, and confirmation that our current telephone line would soon be cancelled. I quickly went through this series of reactions:
Some surprising news hit the wire this morning - my friend Oliver Starr from MobileCrunch has joined up with my 'family' over at Guidewire Group. This is likely related to Guidewire Group's recent launch of Guidewire Report, its investor newsletter. Oliver has a fanatical interest and focus upon mobile, so his joining the team will add mobile expertise to their analyst bench.
Continuing the theme of mobile advertising: Simon Darr of Comverse (a provider of mobile messaging, content and billing systems) helps to flesh out an important qualitative issue. Of the three entities in the mobile advertising value chain - advertisers, carriers, and subscribers - the relationship between advertiser and carrier is the least established. Would-be mobile advertisers should take these deceptively simple rules into account when considering mobile campaigns:
1. Understand the typical carrier's business priorities. To establish a win-win proposal, mobile marketing campaigns must take these carrier needs into account:
2. Think proactively about traffic optimization. Traffic optimization is the biggest challenge to the adoption of mobile push campaigns. For example: In Europe, Christmas Day messages make up 1/4 of an entire year's messaging total. Once a carrier builds out a system capable of handling Christmas Day traffic, it must then find ways to make money back on that system during the rest of the year. Advertising push has an opportunity to add value, but it presents a new challenge for the carrier: when the system is busy, what gets prioritized - the advertiser's message, or a subscriber's birthday message to Grandma?
Adriano Gaved from mobile media company 3 Italia recently shared the results of an internal case study on mobile content ad targeting. The big takeaways from their testing:
A fairly new carrier, 3 Italia has grown to approximately 7 million subscribers over the past three years. 4.5 million of those 7 million customers have opted in to receive daily promotional content via UMTS push, including both MMS and VMS. (Pull media, on the other hand, goes out through 3 Italia's portal.) Since UMTS is unicasting, this means that if 1 million customers want information, there will be 1 million data flows going out from your servers. DVB-H, on the other hand is a broadcast medium, and has similar efficiencies to terrestrial digital television. Inefficiency is the cost of providing more choice to the user experience, and so the carrier must develop targeting sufficient to pay for the increased costs of UMTS over DVB-H. Here's what 3 Italia found in its test results:
These numbers show that targeting makes a huge difference in returns. It left me wondering, however, if 3 Italia stopped testing after C because that was the CTR required to turn a profit on unicasting in their content model. Or conversely, if a 'D' split fails to provide improvements along the same trajectory.
A fun and dynamic tour of top mobile campaigns was a highlight at yesterday's Mobile Marketing Forum. Eric Wheeler, Senior Partner with Ogilvy Interactive, and Gene Keenan, VP Mobile Services for Isobar International, shared a number of interesting campaigns put together by mobile marketers. These are interesting not only for brand promotion, but also for building community at any organization. In no particular order, here are the Top 10:
Mobile media has begun to appear within the broader media strategies of established content providers. While this work has been innovative, it was clear from expert discussion at today's Mobile Marketing Forum that years of investment lie ahead before mobile media's promise can be delivered upon. Here's a quick look at how name brands are investing to develop mobile as a content platform:
Many PC users take it for granted that their desktop will give them the ability to create, communicate, and discover information without regard for interoperability. On the mobile platform, however, many of these capabilities are either nascent or nonexistent. There were a number of new technologies launched at DEMOfall 2006 that will power a new generation of media and content services.
A number of new consumer devices launched at this year's DEMOfall. The hands-down stunner of the bunch was the Sirius Stiletto 100, a potentially viable competitor to the iPod.
There's been past chatter on the outreach limitations inherent to "insider" tech conferences. In an effort to help drive a diversity of voices, I'm reposting excerpt information from the open calls that I recently received from O'Reilly Media seeking both proposals and speakers for the ETech and ETel conferences. (Disclosure note: Omidyar Network is an investor in O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, a related entity, and I serve on its Technology Advisory Board.)
Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, city CTO Greg Meffert thought that he'd be known for a host of good outcomes as delivered by a new muni wireless system. Neither lowered crime nor reductions in the digital divide, however, were as astonishing as what this system delivered (and still delivers) in Katrina's aftermath:
John Waclawsky (from Cisco's mobile solutions group), coined the term S4 for "Systems Standards Stockholm Syndrome" - like hostages becoming attached to their captors, systems standard participants become wedded to the process of setting standards. Henry Sinnreich from pulver.com moderated a Spring 2006 VON panel that talked about this issue as it relates to voice and video over IP:
Mobile presence, availability, and community were the central issues brought to Spring 2006 VON by Borough Turner of NMS Communications. As explored in Turner's session, here's how mobile IM/IP could become Web portal killers:
Seamless transition between mesh network sites is a tough challenge for data access. At Spring 2006 VON, the even greater challenge of VoIP transitions was addressed:
This session was a bottom-up media, user-generated content (pick your semantic) wonderland. Here are some of the technologies shown at DEMO 2006 for the creation, management, publishing, and consumption of digital media:
There were three DEMO 2006 launches identified as disruptive innovations by producer Chris Shipley. These startups all provided new and fascinating approaches to engaging consumers and encouraging them to participate actively in emerging online communities: