a matter of trust in business

A keynote from Peter Sondergaard SVP Gatner, ended with the phrase “may the computing force be with you” but spent a great deal of time covering the topic of social computing and trust. In terms of social computing and it’s clearly ‘much more than just adding a Facebook logo to your web site’ was a key message from Gartner, a hugely respected thermometer of trends, was “do not put in place a policy or technology to inhibit this”, those that do will be big losers.

The example of a major Norwegian packaged food manufacturer was used and a little know fact that 18% of Norwegians eat pizza on Christmas eve. The IT department had engaged with its consumers and was talking parts in conversations with them. As a result of engaging with it’s customers a signal was picked up that ‘paprika’ was not liked in many of its pizza products. This signal identified through trusting the IT department to engage led to the development of a product that excludes ‘paprika’. This paprika-less pizza has gone on to be the biggest selling product in the range.

The trend of social computing was the number one trend highlighted by Gartner, the ability to engage the consumer and allow them to contribute to the business is not to be ignored. Technology can enable trust to be managed, revisit behaviors as the world is changing

also posted on the Orange Business Live Blog


My email to my MP #debill

Dear Christine

Please don’t rush through a bill that is ill conceived. It show’s a total lack of understanding of the situation and a complete lack of backbone when it comes to dealing with the media Industry.

They need to find a new business model and focus on attacking their business partners. We buy the media, we use the media and now we’ve changed the way we use media, take Spotify as a example and they want to attack people in a completely unfair manner.

So I’m writing to you today because I’m very worried that the Government is planning to rush the Digital Economy Bill into law without a full Parliamentary debate.

The law is controversial and contains many measures that concern me. The controversial Bill deserves proper scrutiny so please don’t let the government rush it through. Many people think it will damage schools and businesses as well as innocent people who rely on the internet because it will allow the Government to disconnect people it suspects of copyright infringement.

Industry experts, internet service providers (like Talk Talk and BT) and huge internet companies like Google and Yahoo are all opposing the bill – yet the Government seems intent on forcing it through without a real debate.

As a constituent I am writing to you today to ask you to do all you can to ensure the Government doesn’t just rush the bill through and deny us our democratic right to scrutiny and debate.

Please listen to the people who you represent not the media moguls loosing a grip on their business models based from a bygone era.


Dr Rob Evans

UK Parliament Disclaimer:
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Android WordPress app

Posting this on the WordPress app for Android. turned portrait, the Desire could make mobile blogging very easy. Thumb typing is quick and easy and the spelling is quickly corrected by the software. So if you get a chance check out the WordPress app for Android it’s very slick, comments can be approved posts edited and new ones posted, quality.

so the iPad needs a computer, bad move

So last week I posted that the iPad could become the device of choice for educational establishments. Now that the iPad is out, there’s been plenty of guides as to how to set up the iPad and it requires a computer. So for the iPad to succeed as a text book replacement whoever get’s one has to already have a computer to set it up or the educational establishment has to set them all up.

Maybe there’ll be some group set up function by Apple, or over the air configuration to prevent them all from having to be connected individually.  Anyway, the reviews seem to be positive, but it’s not my cup of tea.

Will the iPad be used by Corporations?

We’re just days away now from people getting their hands on Apple’s latest product the iPad, a tablet device or appliance about twice the size of the iPhone. There is speculation that it’ll sell 6M units in 2010 which is a pretty huge number for what essential is a locked down appliance.

So where will all those devices go? Most if not all will go to the same people that (religiously) buy Mac books and Mac book air’s. I guess that most people will buy them to consume media whilst traveling or just sitting on the couch for instance watching episodes of Lost bought from iTunes, but who else could buy them?

We’ve seen the iPhone creep into the Enterprise at the expense of Blackberry (which ironically is creeping into youth culture with it’s built in IM app). How many emails do you now seen in your outlook inbox with the words ‘sent from an iphone’ at the bottom, I see a growing number. There is a view that the iPhone is a consumer device more so than a business supplied corporate handset, but due to it’s ease of use and the size and scope of the  “there’s an app for that” store, we’re seeing it creep in as the power users phone of choice.

The ability of the iPhone to encroach into the enterprise shows that the iPad may well enter markets that it’s not initially aimed at too. Take the Text book market, text books are expensive (or they were when I last bought one!) and they are heavy to carry around. We’re already seeing text book publishers’ work with software companies to bring their content to the iPad. So could we see School, Universities, and educational establishments in general take up the iPad as the device of choice to provide the educational content?

I’m not sure if iPad will creep into the corporate environment as a lot of content creation goes on and at the moment the keyboard is king. However, I can see Apple selling a lot more than 6m iPads over the next few years into a whole host of new markets as it’s an easy to use/manage/upgrade wireless appliance with what looks like a great screen. What does this mean for the Telco’s; it means yet more networked devices requiring a pervasive network and ubiquitous computing creeps ever nearer.

Gravity will soon allow you to forward a Tweet as an SMS.

A few days back I tweeted the message below, wishing that the awesome app Gravity had the feature to forward tweets as an SMS.


A couple of days latter @janole tweets back;


Now that’s what I call a service. The reason behind the idea was that there were a few really funny tweets from @genehunt that I thought would be appreciated by a few friends who weren’t on twitter. As tweets are 140 characters they fit right into SMS 160 characters just fine.

So this is @janole’s handy work, as you can see there’s a “FWD” option, Reply, retweet, favourite and then Forward.

The “FWD” option allows you to forward either as an SMS, an Email or copy to the clipboard. The Email options requires you to have an email account set up obviously. The copy to clipboard allows you to do what you like with it.

And here it is, the tweet dumped straight into the message window, allowing users to pick the recipient from the contact list and send away.

It’s a bit ironic that here in the UK, where twitter stopped it’s SMS alerts we’ve found a way back to text…

Google’s Latitude

Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing the new Google Latitude application, and have found it to be a useful tool. It allows users to locate “friends” – other contacts- and display these locations on their mobile phone via Google Maps. Latitude also allows the user to quickly get directions, and to search for nearby services.

Google has invested heavily in maps and location services, and in my view is trying to become the go-to place to find (and get directions to) just about anything. Moving this functionality to mobile devices will allow Google to generate revenue by providing “sponsored links”, or paid-for adverts, in response to your location search. For example if I’m wandering around Covent Garden, London and I fancy a pizza, entering “pizza” into the Google maps application on my mobile will generate a list of nearby pizzerias. The ones at the top of the list will be sponsored links, as they are on the standard Google results page.

Providing search results and subsequently directions to shops and restaurants has to be a marketer’s dream. Most adverts are passive- you see the advert on your PC and you probably aren’t close to the shop or in this case pizzeria, or even thinking of pizza. However, when you’re mobile and hungry that advert is much more likely to make you turn up and buy the product, especially if you’re also given directions.

Location based services also work the other way round. By knowing your location, advertisers can target specific products towards you- for example, if you’re walking down the high street at approximately lunch time, marketers could post an advert for a local restaurant on the webpage you’re viewing, even if you’re not directly searching for food outlets.

A recent application for Google’s Android platform of mobile devices (e.g. Google G1) allows users to scan a barcode of a product- for instance an LCD TV -and the application will provide the price of the same LCD TV at the major on-line retailers. That’s great, but it becomes much more powerful when you add location into the mix- not only could the application tell you where to buy the TV and its price, it can then direct you to nearby stores.

As location-based applications become more commonplace, services can be adapted to utilise them. One example could be to arrange taxi pick-ups- I could call for a taxi and then just carrying on walking or shopping. Using a location service, the taxi driver could find me and let me know when he (or she) is ready to collect me- I’d no longer need to wait in one place for the taxi to arrive.

Google Latitude isn’t the first location aware service, others include FireEagle (Yahoo), Brightkite and Plazes (owned by Nokia). As the Market wakes up to LBS I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Also posted on Orange Business Live

Who should manage privacy in the age of Ubiquitous Computing?

It’s clear that privacy is a concern in today’s web 2.0 world; the postDoes Google’s flu-tracker raise privacy issues?’ talks about Google’s ability to mine data and its potential impact on privacy. This is a valid concern, but may appear insignificant  in the future, when simply walking across an airport, or even an office floor, could confirm your identify, highlight your political sympathies and provide your state of health to the management via an imperceptible event.

Ubiquitous Computing , described by Mark Weiser almost 20 years ago in the article entitled ‘Ubiquitous Computing #1‘ , sets out this new age of imperceptible computing. One major premise of Ubiquitous Computing , or Ubicomp, is that  the computing process will become almost invisible- this is because the falling cost of the micro-processors means that they can be inserted into the built environment at almost no cost. The insertion of these computers into the fabric of the built environment in which we live would allow computation to flourish away from the PC- a huge  development considering the extent to which we depend on the PC today .

So how could the computational power of Ubicomp be utilised? Imagine you are walking across your office lobby. Firstly the smart floor identifies who you are, and thus determines where you work -for example office 12, floor 48. The express lift door would open as you approach and whisk you off to floor 48 without so much as a button press. Of course, in the meantime, your office heating has come on, your coffee machine has powered up and the status of your inbox is being presented to you as you walk along the corridor in the scenery of the pictures on the wall– lots of bonfires and you’ll get the hint as to what you’re about to walk into.

The Ubicomp world is enormously interesting and many commentators believe that it’s already on its way. However, it presents a challenge to the level of control that individuals have over their own privacy. What should happen if, for instance, your combined data presents a picture to your employer that he deems to be damaging? Think Virgin Atlantic’s Facebook fiasco without the need for Facebook.

It appears that Ubicomp is going to happen, but this raises questions about who will manage the data, and who will control privacy and the rights of individuals. Given that TELCOs provide the network backbone, would they be a better choice to manage the data than the Government, or  a non-elected organisation ?

TELCOs have the capability to filter data travelling across interconnected networks, could they provide the answer and control the data and execute the privacy levels set by the users in the same way they manage firewall policies? Could you choose to allow all data flow and benefit from that, or would you want only a subset of your data to flow and put up with having to swipe your ID badge and press the button for floor 48.

also posted to Orange Business Live

Proporta bought me a drink!

My Proporta Mobile USB charger just turned up and in the package was an Earl Grey Tea Bag!

The device is pretty neat too, it used mini usb to charge, so I can carry just one mini usb cable around (the same one as used to connect the Phone to the PC) and I can use my CA-100 mini USB charge to connect my N95 to the Proporta device as well as using it to connect to my PC. So the only bit of extra kit I have to carry is the white unit itself, great.

Oh and thanks for the drink Proporta!