Emerging Experiences and Trends in 2010

I spoke to Omar L. Gallaga from austin360 blog right before my SXSW panel about emerging trends, including mobile, augmented reality, and social media, and he posted this interview on their blog; wanted to share a few PoV’s that I provided …

American-Statesman: As smartphones have gotten more popular, we’ve been hearing more and more about augmented reality. Can you explain to us what it actually is and how it’s being used?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the ability of combining digital and real-world aspects to provide a greater or enhanced experience. Traditionally, it’s layering a digital overlay on top of a video stream, think NFL first-down marker, or NASCAR car information. It is not new, but due to the recent penetration of web and mobile it has been getting greater buzz. It was originally coined in 1992, used in PCs in 1999, by Sony PS3 in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2009 when adopted by Flash and made available for the masses that it began to gain momentum.

NFL and NASCAR are basic examples of mainstream media using AR, but the true reach is when it’s more personal: enhance computer or phone video streams with digital layers triggered by either some market or symbol in the video, or GPS and compass information, or any data source that can be translated into personalized visualization that adds and provides value to the user. Traditional uses range from recognizing trading cards, to real-size mailing boxes, to visualizing how would your new TV look in your living room.

As smartphones have gotten more popular, mobile augmented reality still has not, but they’re setting the base bricks and platform to allow greater penetration in the future. Location awareness, compass, maps, user generated content, all contribute to greater and richer data sources that will allow for great digital and real world mashups. The best mobile apps right now are TwittARound, Layar, Nearest Tube, TAT Augmented ID, SREngine, and Wikitude AR Travel Guide.

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Apple App Store Economy / Android and 4G thoughts

the app store economy

Thank you Gigaom

So I’m an iPhone user, and so are most of my friends … but I really think the new gold mine is Android; I was playing with the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment today, Droid Eric over the weekend, and can’t wait to get my hands on a Nexus One … With 50 new Android phones coming out this year, an open app eco-system, and 4G coming out this year, I really can’t wait to see the outcome …

Oh, I was playing with some custom phones I bought from China with Video conferencing over Wifi and it works awesome… so 4G/Wiki, Android OS, free cloud hosting, Google Voice / other VoIP providers … New communications are here, this will be an interesting year.

What does it take to make a successful iPhone application?

What does it take to make a successful iPhone application?

Before answering what does it take to make a successful iPhone application we have to define what makes an application successful. Sapient always asks why are we building something, what are we trying to achieve, and how are we going to measure it; so starting from top down, what are the business objectives, the key performance indicators, and all metrics. iPhone applications usually serve one of two purposes: drive brand or drive revenue.

Objective: Drive brandApplications that drive brand most likely are free since they have to target a broad reach. Objective is usually increase awareness, brand recall, or word of mouth, and is traditionally measured based on simple downloads, usage, and extended with how many share with friends, stickiness, and engagement levels. A good way to take it one step further is tie in social media monitoring and analyze share and velocity of voice, general sentiment, and overall impact of the application within social conversations.

Now that we understand how to measure it, what will the application do? Nowadays brands cannot push messages to the consumers, they have to provide value and we generally call it brand as an enabler. Applications that drive brand usually fall under one of two categories: be entertaining or be useful. Entertaining applications usually have a wider adoption, more downloads, but less engagement as users open it just a few times before they get bored. Useful applications have a smaller reach but higher engagement; less users will download the application, but they will use it much more than simple entertainment applications. However the key for both types is simplicity.

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Social Media: Are you ready for real-time?

[caption id=”attachment_1104” align=”alignleft” width=”400” caption=”Alabama's Local 15 News Live Twitter Billboard”]Live Twitter News Billboard Leads to Social Media Fail[/caption]

A few days ago I found this shocking blog claiming “Live Twitter News Billboard Leads to Social Media Fail“… go ahead, read it and see if you agree.

First, the fact that they pulled off a digital billboard with live tweets is awesome.

So now ask yourself, what was the cause of this event? live tweets? twitter? social media?

The answer is none of the above. The only reason this happened is due to organizational readiness. There are two factors here:

1. Are they ready to accept that people talk? Does it really matter if something like this shows up? how much is it really going to affect their brand? is it really a failure? what are the thresholds and limits?

2. If it is a concern, why didn’t they implement a simple keyword filtering? Any simple profanity filter would have caught the word ‘rape’.

3. If simple keyword filtering is not enough, they could easily have hired a moderation company. Moderation could have been pretty simple to do … would require a person/company to approve every tweet to go live on the billboard. Depending on the refresh rate and how real-time this billboard gets the data, this task could be really simple. Just refresh it every 10 minutes, select 140 tweets per day, done.

So did Twitter lead to failure? I don’t think so … they agency should have added a few precautions, but even without anything in place, the fact that I’m blogging about this and giving props to their agency for innovating digital out of home advertising is great for a local news station … I think it was well worth it.

Omma Mobile Panel: Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Apps

I had the pleasure to moderate a panel for Omma mobile in October with a nice talented group of experts:

Panelist | Jeannette Kocsis, SVP Digital Marketing, Harte-Hanks, Inc. Jeannette_Kocsis@harte-hanks.com

Panelist | Ujjal Kohli, CEO, Rhythm Media lisa@rhythmnewmedia.com

Panelist | Kyle Outlaw, UX lead, Razorfish kyle.outlaw@razorfish.com

Panelist | Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi ken.willner@zumobi.com

Panelist | Jamie Wells, Director, Global Trade Marketing, Microsoft Mobile Advertising jawells@microsoft.com

Moderator | Rob Gonda, Director of Digital Strategy & Innovation, Sapient rgonda@sapient.com

Panelist | Jeannette Kocsis, SVP Digital Marketing, Harte-Hanks, Inc.
Panelist | Ujjal Kohli, CEO, Rhythm Media
Panelist | Kyle Outlaw, UX lead, Razorfish
Panelist | Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi
Panelist | Jamie Wells, Director, Global Trade Marketing, Microsoft Mobile Advertising
Moderator | Rob Gonda, Director of Digital Strategy & Innovation, Sapient

Topic was Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Applications; it was pretty interesting, Ken and Jamie as more vocal and Ujjal with some nice comments for debates. Jamie plugged Microsoft so much that it almost became a game, and I had to get back at him towards the end; he said he wanted to pick up a fight, crowd always loves that.

Please check it out, it’s long, but hopefully you’ll find it useful and entretaining.

Google releases Chrome for Mac

google chromeAfter playing with Chrome developer edition for the Mac for a few weeks, Google released today the official Beta. I tried it on a PC a few months ago and quite honestly, was not impressed at all, and haven’t paid much attention since. Today I decided to run a few tests, and it seems to be 1) pretty fast, and 2) extensible?

1) Open http://www.chromeexperiments.com/detail/canopy/ and click launch experiment … tried it with Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, and Chrome 4 beta … Chrome wins by far …. granted, this code was built to showcase Chrome specific advantages and should not reflect Safari generic JavaScript performance, but it’s pretty sweet.

2) Chrome Extensions : https://chrome.google.com/extensions … wow, I had no idea this existed… this is the main reason I like Firefox, all the nice tools …

All n’ all, I still use Safari as my main browser, Firefox to look behind the scenes, dev tools, and now I’ll try Chrome a little more too.

P.S. Posting this entry using Chrome to test wordpress compatibility; thus far, all good.

[update] P.S.2 Extensions does not seem to work for Mac. Hopefully they’ll enable them soon

[update] P.S.3 Enable extensions for Mac through this little hack-around

MMS For iPhone Is Finally Available


Finally, AT&T’s long-awaited MMS update for the iPhone is finally ready. Just plug your iPhone into iTunes and hit the “Check for Update” button.

You should get the dialog message above, saying: “An update to your carrier settings for your iPhone is available. Would you like to download it now?”

Hit “Download and Update” and wait a few seconds, then go to your iPhone and launch the Messages app. There should be a little camera icon to the left of the text input box at the bottom. Hit it, and you’ll be able to send pictures or video with your text messages.

Some users are reporting they have to manually reboot their iPhone after installing the carrier update.

PS: Haven’t tested if this has any effect on the tethering profile update

Autonomy launches social media analysis tool

autonomyInfrastructure software giant Autonomy launched a new web content management tool under its Interwoven brand, designed to monitor social media content and allow businesses to act on the insights gleaned.

The Autonomy Interwoven Social Media Analysis solution is a combination of the Autonomy Interwoven web content management system and Autonomy IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer). It is designed to provide organizations with the ability to understand and leverage the conversations happening in social networks to make some money.

The technology uses clustering, pattern matching techniques and probabilistic modeling to understand sentiment, and can present marketers with a richer and more contextual set of data than traditional keyword spotting tools may be able to, according to Autonomy.

Anthony Bettencourt, chief executive at Autonomy Interwoven, argued that marketers have not been able to keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in consumer behavior.

“Social networks, which are by nature dynamic and unstructured forms of information, do not fit neatly into traditional, database-driven analytics systems,” he said.

“Interwoven’s meaning-based marketing approach, which can derive meaning from human-friendly information, and empowers marketers to automatically act on those insights, will transform how organizations engage with customers in the years to come.”

Once marketers have determined the trends on which they can act, they can use Interwoven’s TeamSite and LiveSite web content management products to deliver dynamic, targeted and optimized content to cash in on these trends, the firm said.

The company’s Optimost tool can then be used to run multi-variable testing on any changes to the site, according to Autonomy.

Twitter Search Will Soon Crawl Links

TwitterTwitter Search is going to get a lot more interesting soon, said Twitter’s new vice president of operations, Santosh Jayaram, who until recently was VP of Search Quality for Google. Jayaram confirmed that Twitter Search, which currently searches only the text of Twitter posts, will soon begin to crawl the links included in tweets and begin to index the content of those pages.

This will make Twitter Search a much more complete index of what’s happening in real time on the Web and make it an even more credible competitor to Google Search for people looking for very timely content.

Twitter Search will also get a “reputation” ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a “trending” topic—a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the Twitter.com sidebar—Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.

Jayaram did not say precisely how reputation would be calculated; he indicated that engineers are still figuring that out. But this, again, will make Twitter Search more valuable.

Twitter: The Next Piece in Google’s Semantic Web Puzzle

The seemingly endless media and industry fawning over Twitter has lead to the widespread debate over the merits of real-time search and the future of the search industry. Yes, Twitter is an amazing service that allows people to share their thoughts, however poignant, painful or pointless, on events as they happen. However, the hype is reaching a fever pitch only exacerbated by Google acquisition rumors. With that in mind, it’s time to try and figure out exactly where this wonderful new medium belongs in the world of search.

It has been suggested that Google is looking to acquire Twitter because it views it as a threat. That line of thinking is completely insane because Google isn’t going anywhere. The company is still the top dog in terms of financial stability, commitment to innovation and business strategy. Depending on what research firm you ask, Google owns roughly 80 percent of the search engine market and is still gobbling up market share. In terms of users, Twitter doesn’t even match Facebook’s potential as a rival. Twitter is simply not a threat to Google; in fact, the search giant could simply consume the Twitter API. The good news is that it probably won’t because Twitter is a piece of the greater problem Google is looking to solve.

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