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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 14:49

This week I’m pleased to publish an op-ed from Nathan Ward, Director & Co-Founder of Mapp Media on a rather challenging topic for many mobile companies, developers and content producers a like: Finding the right mobile advertising partner.

Over to Nathan:

- – - – -

We all know that mobile usage has exploded over recent years and we also know that for many businesses mobile revenues, especially through advertising, have become an important part of their business plan. Yet the businesses themselves are often not best placed to maximize on the revenue opportunities themselves.

What we’re finding is that it’s becoming more and more important for platforms and publishers to work with the right mobile advertising partner to help them create the best revenues and the best approach for their business.

But how do you know what to look for in a partner? And how can you succeed with mobile advertising?

Here we’ll give you 5 great tips on how to find the best partner to help you get the best results with your mobile advertising:

1. Research – Look around and research the potential partners you could work with. One good way to research is to take a look on other platforms, see what you and your users will like and then contact those sales teams for an intro.

2. Build Relationships – get to understand the challenges facing a sales team working on your behalf. Your love your platform, but not all advertisers will and sometimes the sales team will have to work hard for you. Provide them with all the tools they need to succeed and start with a trial period to make them earn your long-term business.

3. Don’t ruin the user experience – The right partners will work with you to improve the user experience. Don’t be afraid to speak to them, ask advice and listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to agree with it all – but if you’re talking to the right people they’ll have the experience to back up their advice.

4. Create experiences not advertising – Focus on the experience that your users will have when they see an ad. The advertising you’re offering should fit within the user journey and be relevant to the environment.

5. Take the lead – don’t always wait for your sales partners to come to you. Send ideas, set up regular calls, keep an eye on what brands and solutions other platforms are seeing and demand transparency on how you are being pitched and how you can help to drive interest in your product.

- – - – -

Nice one Nathan. Thank you very much for that. And here’s a bit of context on Nathan: He is the Director and Co-Founder of Mapp Media. His career started with building web and wap sites for a variety of publishers, but soon expanded to work on the commercial side of the business. Nathan has worked on projects such as Perform’s ePlayer, Waitrose’s e-commerce site, Virgin Media & Getty Images. He now advises Mapp Media’s clients on how to strike that balance between content and revenue, whether that be for web, social media or mobile platforms, to help drive both user engagement and income.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, advertising, mapp media, News, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 10:45

Take a few moments and watch this implementation of Google Glass by the team at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Houston and Houston Zoo.

This is probably the first time I’ve seen Google Glass being used in a manner outside the standard ultra-geek methodology.

In fact this video is worth watching to demonstrate just how naturally children — the next generation approaching fast — will assimilate and acclimatise to technology that we currently have all sorts of problems with.

Watch the natural reactions of the children to the experiences. I love it. Great idea.

(Picked this up via Buzzfeed.)

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Devices, Services, Google, google glass,..."
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 22:59

Now there’s a question! It was one posed to me in a note from a reader this evening. Here is the full question. I wonder if you can help?

I’m writing to ask of the uber-connected MIR cognoscenti: for the seriously wealthy of London, who manages their mobile video conferencing or room-based Telepresense needs? Do any of the ‘Concierge’ firms offer this? I am about to take on the European Business Development role with a boutique Telepresence Concierge provider – a small firm of top-class Telepresence experts, who manage the executive video and VIP event services for some of Europe’s most prestigious firms. In my new role I will be looking to expand the firm’s London customer base supporting new and existing Telepresence locations, from design procure and build to full white-glove concierge technical and administrative support. Having an idea of who does this, the size of the market etc would be a great start.

My first instinct is to suggest that London’s super seriously wealthy wouldn’t know a telepresence unit from a toaster.

My second thought is to wonder whether London’s wealthy simply use the phone, or at best, FaceTime — with the grandchildren?

Of course I would expect a few individual oligarchs to have a team that sorts this kind of thing out. But just how widespread is it?

Have you any experience or perspective to offer this reader? Any companies or individuals spring to mind? Feel free to email me if you don’t feel you can’t respond publicly and I will connect you with the chap. As always I’m ewan@mobileindustryreview.com.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, Services, conferencing, telepre..."
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Date: Monday, 31 Mar 2014 23:02

Back in January last year, a lot of readers were absolutely astonished when Lenovo announced their 27” tablet, retailing at £1,000.

I remember the almost 50:50 split between those horrified by the size and those who thought it was an excellent concept. I liked the idea of a ‘table tablet’. (The latest Ideacentre Horizon tablet is retailing for £1,399 on Lenovo’s site at the moment.)

Well, the market is about to hot up with new entrant, Ocado. For our international readers, I should point out that Ocado is very well known in the UK as one of the best providers of online grocery delivery services.

Recently rival and hugely dominant supermarket chain Tesco has had phenomenal success with their 7” HUDL Android tablet range repeatedly selling out.

Ocado were clearly watching with interest.

Today they’re launching a 42” tablet (branded, “sLablet”).

Here’s a product shot:

Ocado Technology 42 inch Slablet - the world's biggest tablet [IMAGE 1]

Granted, this is rather big. That’s the first thing you’re thinking, right? Incidentally I reckon 42” is the size of our home TV!

The 42” sLablet is most definitely “category defining” as the press release puts it.

But I’m sure there will be quite a few folk queuing up to get one, especially given the price: £597. That’s almost a third of the cost of the 27” Lenovo Ideacentre Horizon.

The team over at Ocado Technology haven’t skimped on the hardware though: 300mbps WiFi (also with the newly approved category ‘fu’ and ‘ck’ wavelength support), 4k resolution (at 3840 x 2160 pixels) and a rather disappointing 12MP integrated HD camera.

It’s not the only disappointing issue though. The battery will only do 60 minutes, following a wholly unacceptable (in my view, anyway) 19 hour charge cycle. I think that’s going to seriously limit the portability.

And — well, it’s the portability that’s probably the biggest thing that bothers me about the sLablet. It weights a back-crushing 35,000 grammes. But, conversely, it does come with straps! Probably the only tablet I’ve ever come across that comes with straps out-of-the-box.

Here’s a rather brave chap using the sLablet in the park:

Ocado Technology 42 inch Slablet - the world's biggest tablet [IMAGE 2]

Neil Simmons, Ocado’s VP of Ocado Technology’s Quadro-Fabricated Division, says of the sLablet:

“We thought, why be shackled by the constraints of a 7″ tablet? We wanted to escape the claustrophobic conformity that these devices were inexplicably enforcing on consumers.”

“In order for us to stay at the forefront of the latest consumer trends, we needed to look backwards to what we’ve done, then to look sideways to what was going on around us. Finally we then looked forwards to what we haven’t done. We therefore decided to create the world’s biggest tablet to allow consumers to easily browse the world’s largest grocery range of over 34,000 product lines.”

My view?

First, I think Ocado should be thinking about the battery. No one is going to use this thing on the train. Not with just 60 minutes of battery. And really, the size? Surely there are limited use cases for something this big?

The photography (and the promotional video) has people walking about with their 60-minute-powered sLablets in offices and in parks! That feels rather unrealistic to me. Although when I saw the woman in the video scrolling through webpages like she was looking at a video-activated table, I was sold on the concept.

In a snub to Tesco — unusual in corporate press releases — Neil finishes with this point:

“The sLablet is 500% larger than a traditional 7” tablet and therefore, 100% better than rival supermarket tablets.”

(Of course for the avoidance of doubt I should point out that Neil doesn’t mention Tesco directly!)

The sLablet does make sense though. Ocado — like the other supermarkets — is having to respond to the market pressure from Tesco. At just under £600 gets you a lot of tablet for your money, especially when you look at the retail price of the iPad Air’s entry level model (£399).

Given almost 45% of Ocado customers check-out on their mobile device (a friend of mine does his shopping via the Ocado app on his daily commute), it’s no surprise that the company’s tech division has felt they needed to act.

A 42” tablet? Who’d have thought. It’s absolutely unbelievable!

What do you think? Will you be buying one?

Here’s the video too:


- – -

Here’s the full release from Ocado:

Ocado Technology today launches the world’s largest tablet, the category defining 42” sLablet. With its desktop-class architecture, the sLablet leads the large tablet market, which includes Samsung’s recently released 12.2″ Galaxy Note Pro and Apple’s rumoured 12.9″ iPad Pro, due later this year.

The launch video detailing the sLablet and its capabilities can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/1loLK0j

Neil Simmons, Vice President of Ocado Technology’s Quadro-Fabricated Division said:  “The market for tablets of this size is literally massive. Precision-engineered and weighing in at a svelte 35,000 grammes, the sLablet has been designed with every consumer in mind, from David Haye to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”

The sLablet’s ultrafast 300 mbps Wi-Fi capability and powerful 4k resolution of 3840 X 2160 makes web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic, making content even more immersive.  Moreover, its next generation 12 MP HD camera features image stabilisation so muscle spasms induced by holding the sLablet don’t ruin users’ selfies.

Priced at £597, the sLablet provides up to 1hr battery life (following a 19hr charge) and is only 20cm deep, ensuring complete unportability. It is also equipped with two unique self-adjusting strap mount systems, enabling the user to attach the sLablet to their back like a backpack or around their neck.

Neil Simmons continued: “We thought, why be shackled by the constraints of a 7″ tablet? We wanted to escape the claustrophobic conformity that these devices were inexplicably enforcing on consumers.

“In order for us to stay at the forefront of the latest consumer trends, we needed to look backwards to what we’ve done, then to look sideways to what was going on around us. Finally we then looked forwards to what we haven’t done. We therefore decided to create the world’s biggest tablet to allow consumers to easily browse the world’s largest grocery range of over 34,000 product lines.

“The sLablet is 500% larger than a traditional 7” tablet and therefore, 100% better than rival supermarket tablets.”

Ryan Lipowitz, Head of Technological Innovational-Innovations at Ocado Technology added: “We found that 80% of the time, 40% of people needed a device that had 120% the power of desktop, 12% of the time. Once you hold one in your arms you will understand what an incredible advancement this is, delivering all-lunch battery life in the biggest full-sized tablet in the world.”

PS: April Fool.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Devices, News, Product Review, April foo..."
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Date: Monday, 31 Mar 2014 21:45

I’m more and more impressed with the output from the team at Three, the UK’s challenger network.

I was delighted when they switched on 4G for their customers without additional charges. That was smart. All you needed was a 4G capable device and boom, you were entitled to 4G.

Their recent announcement about inclusive 0800 numbers did take me by surprise. For the longest time, operators have been quietly smiling with relief at the revenue certainty. Almost everyone has to make an 0800 call at some point and given our mobile devices are far more accessible than landlines, it’s far easier to make the call there-and-then… and end up paying almost premium rates. 

To be accurate, Three’s move is to zero-rate 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls. The usage of them won’t come out of your inclusive minutes. The other annoying ‘local rate’ number ranges (084x and 087x) are charged at 5p per minute.

By comparison, Vodafone — right now — will take 14p a minute for 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers and a whopping 35p a minute for 0844 or 0871 number ranges.  That is the network’s standard rate policy. Here’s the link to have a look yourself

Even the most cost-conscious price plan watchers will routinely wonder why their £20 ‘unlimited’ deal seems to always come in at £24 or £28 a month, even though they were very careful with their activities. Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Three reports that the average person makes 2.28 calls to 08x numbers per month or 27.36 calls per year, costing an average of £60.19 per user. That adds up. YouGov reckons UK consumers are paying about £600 million a year for 08x calls. 

Not for long, thanks to Three. 

They will put continued pressure on the other operators to eventually sort this out. 

So well done Three. 

There’s only one slight issue. With 4G, every Three customer automatically received that (provided they had a capable handset). The ‘free 08x’ calls plan is only available on new contracts at the moment. Come on Three… you could have gone further! 

(But, then, I recognise the complexity of getting the billing systems to talk to each other to make this happen, so fair enough). 

Yet another reason to consider Three for your primary operator service. 

Here’s the full release (and research detail): 

Brits shell out over half a billion pounds on 08 calls each year
Three responds by making all 0800 numbers free on its new pay monthly plans 

  • 0800, 0845 and 0870 callscost UK mobile consumers £600 million a year
  • Bill shock affects nearly half (47%) of mobile phone users
  • Three’s new plans make calling 0800 free and 084 and 087 calls 5p per minute

New research – conducted by YouGov – has found that mobile phone users are in the dark when it comes to the cost of making calls to 0800 numbers from their mobile phone.

Three quarters of people surveyed have no idea how much their operator charges them for an 0800 call and 10% think these are free, as they would be from a landline. Research also highlights that calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers cost UK mobile consumers an estimated £600 million a year.

The research also found that 47% of mobile phone users have experienced bill shock, with almost a third (31%) of these users saying this was caused by out of bundle expensive calls such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.

From today, customers who sign up to Three’s new plans can call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers for free, while all other 08 numbers, like 084 and 087, will cost 5p per minute. These charges typically range from 14p to 40p. Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date.

Dave Dyson, Chief Executive at Three, said: “We asked people what frustrated them most about their mobile bills and confusion around the cost of calling 08 numbers came out top by a big margin.  These charges are often buried in the small print and they’re expensive enough to make most customers fear calling them from their mobiles. 

“We believe in making mobile simpler and better value – the cost of calling 08 numbers is something we want to address for our customers.

“UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances.  That’s why we’ve made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA.  It’s why we’ve launched 4G at no extra cost and why we’ve committed not to raise our monthly recurring charges during the minimum period of a contract. ”

Under the new plans, customers will also be able to set limits to stop them going over their minutes allowance and limit spending on expensive numbers.

They will also receive text alerts to help them understand when they are close to using up their voice and data allowances.

To celebrate that 0800 numbers are now free, Three is launching a selection of fun and pointless 0800 numbers on 17 March for people to call and enjoy, including a Singing Dictionary line, a compliments line and a 24 hours lullaby line.

And here’s the research detail:

All figures are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2018 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th – 13th February 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Cost to UK consumers 

Research conducted by YouGov, the figure is based on the following calculation: 

-        Average amount of calls to 0800, 0845 or 0870 numbers per month: 2.28

-        Average call cost per min of calling 0845, 0870 numbers from mobiles: 22p

-        Average call length (10 minutes) x Call cost per min (22p) = £2.20 average cost

-        Average calls per month (2.28) x 12 months = 27.36 calls per year

-        Cost to one consumer per year – £2.20 x 27.36 = £60.19

-        Current UK adult population that owns a mobile (94% – based on Ofcom) = 42.2million

-        Percent of people who dial 0800, 0845 or 0870 numbers from their mobile phone = 23.64% = 9.98 million

-        £60.19 x 9.98 million = £600.7 million

-        Cost to UK mobile users per year = over £600 million

0800 and 08 calls 

All 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls are free for customers on our new plans, while other 08 numbers (like 084 and 087) will cost 5ppm. 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls sit outside of a customers’ voice minutes allowance, so they can make as many calls as they like to these numbers.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Operators, Three, uk"
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Date: Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 22:15

Great. I’ve been meaning to post this for quite a while. I did a series of mobile marketing workshops at the Digital Marketing Show a little while ago. Bizcrowd had a big presence at the show and I was invited to talk about the issue of ‘effective mobile marketing’ for small businesses. I had to keep it rather generic and straight forward given the audience (small business owners, new to the internet and mobile).

So if you’d like to see me doing a bit of passion, then have a watch. A few f-words slipped through so don’t play it in the office if someone’s likely to get offended:

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, bizcrowd, digital marketing sho..."
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Date: Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 16:46

I’m delighted to publish this op-ed piece from Brendon Craigie, Hotwire Group CEO. Brendon was on site at SWXW (the lucky man, I’ve never made it yet!) and I asked him to summarise his experience from a social standpoint.

Over to Brendon.

- – - – -

Brendon Craigie, CEO of Hotwire Group

Brendon Craigie, CEO of Hotwire Group

Each year thousands of people descend on Austin, Texas to celebrate the latest and greatest in music, film and emerging technology at SXSW festival. A natural by-product of so much innovation in one place is the amount of online chatter created, and 2014’s festival is absolutely no exception to this.

At Hotwire we got our Insights and Analytics team to monitor the swathes of activity on Twitter to see what it was at the show that was really catching the eye of the social media community. In the astounding 1.14 million tweets that came from SXSW there were two mentions that really stood out, the ‘virtual’ conference appearances of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

Both men gave their slant on how the tech community needs to react in terms of data protection and security and this was clearly exciting festival attendees. Not forgetting the tech itself, there was still plenty of interest in ‘wearable’ technology and mobile app businesses.

I was lucky enough to attend the festival and experience first-hand the events that were making people talk and I found that SXSW has proven to be an interesting one to watch socially. It isn’t like other tech conferences where the buzz focuses on just three or four big brands. Instead, SXSW gives other smaller companies and emerging startups the chance to shine, with the likes of Oculus Rift – the virtual reality headset – racking up more mentions than industry trends like ‘wearables’.

The main battle for share of voice, however, was between Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who both received a lot of pre-speech attention and excitement. In the end, though, Snowden’s Monday address hit over three times as many mentions as Assange did for his Saturday speech. With Snowden’s speech highlighting the need to “fix” mass-scale government e-surveillance, it’s unsurprising that his comments on the need for privacy online received massive social media attention as an issue that is front-of-mind for many consumers at the moment.

There’s no doubt that SXSW continues to be an essential date in the calendar for the tech community and it remains interesting to see if the tech successes of the next 12 months reflect the online conversations of this year.

#SXSW: The battle between Edward Snowden and Julian Assange

Top mentioned in tech at SXSW:

Edward Snowden: 62,468
Julian Assange: 19,310
Health: 3,493
Uber: 3,084
OculusRift: 3,051
Biz Stone: 3,001
Wearables: 2,941
Grumpy cat (meme): 2,887
Nate Silver: 2,350
Android: 2,039

Source: Hotwire – Insights & Analytics

- – - – -

Excellent analysis Brendon, thank you (and to the Hotwire Insights & Analytics team!) for taking the time to contribute this post.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, brendon craigie, hotwire, hotwi..."
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Date: Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 23:02

Yesterday at about midday I’d just finished a conference call when I got a Whatsapp from my wife.

“Blown a tire,” it said.


She was apparently meant to be on the way to see some friends with both our young (3.5 & 2 years) boys. 

“Blown,” didn’t sound good at all. Not like a flat tyre. “Blown” suggests some serious action. 

The next message will strike fear into the heart of any mobile-fanatic-father/husband/partner:

“Battery low.”

Shit. Ultra shit. What the hell is she supposed to do with zero battery? Is your partner like mine? She’s that connected that despite charging her iPhone 5S overnight (so it’s 100% at 6am), it’s routinely heading towards red by about 3pm. Yesterday morning was a pretty heavy morning from a communications standpoint I suspect so by midday she was already heading toward the low 20 percents.

As any “wall hugger” [CEO of BlackBerry’s description for battery starved iPhone users — read more] knows, the moment you’re into the low 20s, you’re screwed. It won’t be low before you get your first battery low warning. And once you’re at 19, 18, 17% it’s basically game over if you get a phone call or get involved in an instant message discussion. 

I immediately replied telling her to switch off her bluetooth and wifi and to set her brightness to ultra low. First step. Then I phoned the breakdown people for her. She didn’t have the details. Arrrgh. And she was managing the two frustrated children wondering why the car had stopped. 

If you think our generation is intolerant to failure or poor service, you need to meet Archie and Freddie who are significantly unimpressed at being made to wait 10 seconds at a red light. Woe betide any corporation that fails to satisfy them instantly 10-15 years in the future. 

Anyway. I started kicking myself. We do have an emergency phone in the car. I bought one of those tenner Samsungs with, I think, a tenner credit from Virgin Mobile and stuck it in the glove box. Turns out the Virgin Mobile credit lapses pretty quickly — something my wife escalated to me a few weeks ago when she left the house without her iPhone. Imagine her utter annoyance at discovering ‘no signal’ on the device. 

And me apparently a mobile industry chap. How embarrassing.

Well, like a Gardener with a rubbish gardener, I haven’t taken the time to sort out my own patch. 

So I resolved to get the tyre-change-fixer chap out to my wife and then fix the emergency phone situation.

I’ve dumped the Samsung. That can go to charity thanks to envirofone. I think I’ll get £0.63 for the device. Or maybe they’ll just take it off my hands for free. 

And I’ve dusted off the Xperia T. It’s now upgraded to the latest Android version. I’ve setup a dedicated Google account for it. I’ve got all the critical family phone numbers added on the Google account, which have all synched automatically to the device. I’ve also added Evernote (with a PIN) and downloaded the offline notebooks that are likely to be required in a similar situation. 

Further, I’ve sorted out the connectivity issue with a new account. I walked into the Three store in Islington this evening and got a £6.90/month (12-month contract) sim that comes with 200 minutes, 5,000 texts and 500mb of data per month. Ideal. 

So the phone has got a sim that won’t expire. 

The mophie juice pack arrived this morning:

This is perhaps slightly over-egging things. But it’ll charge an iPad and an iPhone at the same time. I carry one in my bag all the time and regularly rely on it. 

There’s a micro-USB cable included with the Mophie and I’ve got an iPhone lightning cable ready too.

Tomorrow it’s all going into the glove compartment. I’ll keep the phone off, obviously. But I’ll set an appointment with Remember The Milk to take the phone out, charge it, switch it on, sync it, once a month. 

That’s my plan to make sure that neither my wife or I are caught short on-the-go. With the added advantage of being able to charge iPhones/iPads on-the-go if necessary thanks to the Mophie.

Wotcha reckon? 

What’s your emergency car phone strategy?

[And in case you were wondering, the AA arrived promptly, sorted the wheel temporarily, the local garage sorted both tyres, all is good, everyone is well.]

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, Services, backup, car, emergenc..."
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Date: Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 22:41

I dusted off my Sony Xperia T yesterday and found an operating system ‘update’ notice. Unfortunately in order to upgrade from Android v7.x.x to v9.x.x I had to plug in the device to a computer.

How quaint, eh? 

I haven’t actually done this — with any phone — for absolutely ages. I’d go so far as to say I haven’t plugged a phone into a computer for the purposes of synching for at least one year, possibly two.

Everything is in the cloud. I just upload directly nowadays. I’ve typically no need to mess about with synching nowadays.

However, on this occasion I thought I’d play ball.

I prepared for the inevitable bucket-of-shit that I’d have to wade through with Sony. For a long time Sony’s desktop software has been nothing short of appalling. And the level of arse was only magnified if you tried to use their stuff on an Apple device.

That’s all in the past now, clearly.

I’m sorry to say I was totally, totally surprised when I was able to locate the software within seconds. I just Googled “Sony Xperia Bridge” and got the result first time (“bridge” is the name of their Mac sync tool). Time was you had to spend a good half an hour on some half-arsed bollocky Sony support site to find drivers and whatnot. Remember those days with Minidiscs? 

Bridge installed right-away. I plugged in the Xperia T still not believing my eyes. Butter me in Scotch and call me Susan: It worked. 

The device was identified immediately and I was installing the new OS upgrade a few moments later. Boom!

Screenshot 2014 03 11 21 38 33


Screenshot 2014 03 11 21 44 33

Very impressive.

The media syncing looked rather smart. I sucked all the photos and video off the device and stuck them into Picturelife while I was at it — that was a breeze too. 

Nice work Sony. Someone clearly got the memo. 

I’ve been enjoying the company’s handiwork with the Xperia Z (the first gen waterproof device) and this positively smart seamless experience only encourages me to step toward them further. Like James Whatley, I have been giving a lot of thought to getting hold of the new Sony Xperia Z2. Whatley is one step ahead. I think I saw on Facebook today that he’s just placed his order.

If you haven’t already checked out their Android sync software, do take a look. The PC equivalent (“PC Companion”) is right here

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Devices, Opinion, android, Sony, xperia"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 18:05

I know quite a few developers looking at the issue of app security so when @DominicTravers tweeted me this excellent app security primer, I thought it was definitely worth a quick post.

Dominic highlighted the deck presented by Scott Alexander-Brown at RSA 2014 last week. It’s titled: Assume a hostile environment: securing mobile data in the app. Here’s the embed:

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Applications, Apps, secure, security"
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Date: Monday, 03 Mar 2014 20:49

[ Insert moan here. ]

At the moment I’m buying tickets on a daily basis because of how and when I’m traveling into London, so my commute is exceptionally frustrating. It’s a first world problem, yes, but I remain continually pissed off that I have to keep on dicking about with its of paper to enable me to travel.

If I buy a weekly, monthly or annual ticket, I am obligated to mess about with a stupid photo card and paper ticket.

I had to check myself today as I fumbled for my ticket, checking to make sure it says “RTN” on it rather than “OUT”. Almost exactly the same pissing technology we’ve been using since someone thought of putting a steam engine on rails.

Don’t get me started on queuing for the fracking ticket vending machines. At peak times in Waterloo the queues are often 6 or 8 people deep. You regularly miss the train you could have caught because you didn’t have the right piece of paper at the right time. Or, more accurately, because the rail company couldn’t take the money off you fast enough. Here’s the photographic proof.

In case you live in Wales, or deepest darkest Sussex a la Rafe Blandford and don’t ever have to deal with queues of folk, here’s what the ticket machine mess looks like at rush hour:

Screenshot 2014-03-03 20.22.16

Every single one of those people has a smartphone, a data plan, and probably either an iTunes account with a credit card, an Amazon account, a Tesco Online account, you know, everything that normobs (“normal mobile users”) tend to have nowadays.

Walking through Waterloo last week I was prompted to examine just how stupid things have got with South West Trains when I saw this gloriously horrific bunch of toss of an advert:

south west trains

That’s right. They’re advertising the fact that you can buy your ticket online and… here’s the science bit… print it out at the station only TWO hours later. Amazing! Technology! Online! Internet things!

Who authorised that statement to be stuck into a promotional campaign, eh? I can only imagine the various committees and compliance folks involved in that decision. Clearly, nobody was embarrassed enough to recognise that this statement is the complete opposite of what we all expect. Indeed it shows just how rubbish the whole system must be if this is the best that can be done.

If you actually have to qualify that ‘online’ means ‘a minimum of two hours’ — and you have to do that in the flipping advertisement’s call to action, oh dear. Oh dear, dear me.

I am significantly disappointed that South West Trains are still obviously gazing starry-eyed at this new thing called ‘online’ when the rest of the planet has gone mobile.

Let’s get past the ‘two hour’ thing and get to the reality of mobile. I got on a plane last week to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress and didn’t use a piece of paper once. [Set aside the passport thing]. The legendary British Airways app did all the work for me. It was seamless and a pleasure to use.

Wouldn’t it be nice to do this with the morning and evening commute?

Probably by 2020.

No doubt there is a strategy paper somewhere at South West Trains entitled something like “Project New World” which includes a bullet point near the top of a list that reads, “mobile ticketing”.

It’s not as though this stuff is unproven. Or complicated.

Masabi, one of the leaders in the field of mobile ticketing, managed to deploy mobile ticketing for MTS in San Diego in two weeks. Two weeks, dear reader. From contract signing to live. TWO weeks. TWO FLIPPING WEEKS. That appears to be how long it takes for someone in South West Trains to finish decorating the bullet points on version 28 of their Project New World strategy paper.

As I write this post, a polite chap from South West Trains walked through the carriage and asked to see my … paper ticket.

I duly showed him.

Why am I even having to do this?

It does my brain in, it really does.

I could live with it years ago when Masabi were showing off this sort of thing on Nokia handsets that, for the period, were amongst the very best devices you could possibly buy. Back when even being able to install an application on to your Nokia phone was a significant, significant experience that only the serious geeks could achieve. Mobile train ticketing obviously wasn’t consumer-ready when the average person was fretting about the cost of sending hundreds of texts a month and when data plans were a glint in the milkman’s eye. But now? You only have to look at the legions of folk getting on any British Airways flight [other airlines are available]. On some flights I’ve been on, paper is in the absolute minority.

You know I’d settle for an Oyster-style service that enabled me to dispense with paper tickets.

I won’t hold my breath though.

Give it 6 years and, you know, by iPhone v12, maybe it’ll be a reality.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, Services, train, travel"
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Date: Friday, 28 Feb 2014 14:28

Just a quick reminder for the legions of readers who use 3. If you haven’t already noticed, you’re now using 4G. There are obviously a few caveats. To use 4G, you need to locate yourself within the 36 large towns and cities that have already been provisioned (e.g. London, Birmingham, Manchester, Reading, Liverpool). You also need a 4G-capable device.

A whopping 1.7 million 3 customers have got 4G devices now, though. And they’re all now able to use 4G where available. Some devices will need a software update for compatibility but in most cases it should be automatic. And of course you don’t need to bother getting a new more expensive price plan like you would need to do on the likes of Vodafone.

If you haven’t yet seen the wonderful little 4G icon pop-up on your phone, don’t worry. 3 will have their 4G service live in 50 cities and 200 towns by the end of the year and by 2015, 98% of the population will be covered.

Good news.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Operators, 3, 4G, Three"
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Date: Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 22:55

At 10pm I had a call with San Francisco.

I write it like that, because it sounds cool.

In point of fact, the chap I was due to speak with is the height of cool. One of the Valley’s uber-connected dudes.

I phoned him at 10pm as I boarded the train and sat down. Firstly, he was quite surprised I opted for an actual old-skool telephone call. He was expecting some kind of Skype, FaceTime or VoIP thing. I had to quickly remind him that I live in the United Kingdom and that means nothing happens when the train moves.

I had to further explain that the best I could hope for was an audio call.

I could hear him wince.

I had to declare, before we began our chat, that I had about 14 minutes available before I would probably be cut off. I could feel him looking at me strangely from 6,000 miles away.

“I shit ye not,” I had to explain, “Seriously, the train departs at 1012pm. Two minutes into the journey, we’ll be travelling way too fast for anything to actually work properly.”

[Side note: 4G on EE is excellent — I can more or less watch Netflix from Waterloo until about Fleet — roughly 40-odd minutes. But that’s because there’s a degree of buffering going on. It’s sadly not a full connection, all of the time.]

So bad are my expectations for using voice on the train that I actually explained to the chap that when we got cut off, that was it. I said I wasn’t going to dick about phoning him, speaking for 20 seconds, getting cut off, phoning him back, getting cut off and so on.

“When I get cut off, we move to instant message, right?”

He agreed.

Lo and behold, dear reader. What happened 14 minutes into the call?

I felt like the proverbial mind reader. The call dropped.

Somebody please get me a satellite phone.

You know what, I’d love to get a sat phone and see if you can actually use these things properly. Could I sit on the train, by the window and maintain a phone call at, say, 40 miles per hour? I don’t know because I’ve only used a sat phone on a desert island.

[I took an Iridium sat phone to an island in the Maldives for a Mobile Industry Review Desert Island Special a good few years ago. See the posts and the pictures here.]

Yes it would be a pound-per-minute to use the sat phone, but guess what, that’s roughly what I was paying to call California from my Vodafone connection that doesn’t really work.

So there you go. If you’re reading, Iridium, can I borrow a sat phone for a day? Would that fix things? Would I actually be able to do a phone call on a moving train with an Iridium device? Is that what it takes nowadays for these basic things to work?

I do wonder.

And for good measure, here’s the satphone photo I took whilst in the Maldives. (The device and the service worked perfectly.)



Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, basic, iridium, phone, satellit..."
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 21:13

I am hoping to crowdsource a list of mobile industry headhunters. Can you help?

Now and again I’ve had emails from senior executives in and around the mobile industry contact me asking if I can recommend any headhunters. Sometimes it’s because the executive in question is keen to exit. Other times — and more often than not — it’s because they’re looking to retain an agency to help them find a particular individual. And although most big companies tend to have a few go-to agencies they use, there’s always room for more, especiallßy if it’s a key hire.

If you’re looking for work, or if you’re looking to hire, a list would be useful.

I’m thinking I should list out the individuals I know or have come across, linking to both their LinkedIn profiles and their company websites. I’m aiming for a good list of those who work in the mobile world but I don’t think they need to be limited only to that industry, given the mobile now underpins or penetrates almost every basic industry.

I won’t bother listing email addresses to save the individuals from the perennial nightmare of spam — but LinkedIn is a perfectly good way of connecting with them.

Let me start it off with this one:

- – -

Charles Matthews
Marlin Hawk

I’ve met Charles for coffee and found him a pleasant, informed, focused individual. Although I’ve no direct experience working with him,  a few people in my network have nodded sagely when I’ve mentioned his name, so that can only be good news.

Updated — I’ve got the first recommendation already:

Thayer Prime
Team Prime

I’ve not met Thayer yet — I’ll try and right that shortly — however the recommendation comes from one of the UK’s brightest and most influential mobile experts.

- – -

There we go. I’ll add a few more shortly.

Now, over to you. Who do you rate and recommend? Bonus points if you’ve actually been placed by them or if you’ve hired a good colleague via them. Please do email me with your recommendations (ewan@mobileindustryreview.com) or comment with a name/company below and I’ll get them added above.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, careers, head hunter, headhunte..."
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 00:53

I am accustomed to spending thousands going to Mobile World Congress. Typically, this is a straight business expense for me. I have to be there. It’s a great opportunity to discover new technologies, services, companies and individuals. Perhaps the biggest reason for going to MWC is the networking — and this shouldn’t be under valued. Yes, it’s possible to meet many people at other points throughout the year, the magic with MWC is that everyone is ready to meet, to explore, to ponder new ideas during this particular week.

This year, I had some significant work commitments. Normally I fly out on the Saturday or Sunday beforehand and I routinely stay through until the following Friday to make sure I can get round all the meetings and stands I need to. This year, I could only go for one day. It could be any day.

I picked Tuesday.

I reasoned that although it’s traditionally one of the busiest days at the show, the supporting infrastructure around the city is usually pretty quiet.

I wasn’t wrong! Here’s how I did it:

  • I booked a British Airways flight about 30 days prior. London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 is most convenient for me and I managed to get a return economy flight for £133. I selected a 730am departure. This put me on the ground at Fira Gran Via about 1030am. I then booked the last (if memory serves) flight out of Barcelona at 825pm, returning me to London at 940pm.
  • Consider the virtues of BA versus anyone else. Efficient service, you can use their mobile app and you get a sandwich and a drink. And Terminal 5 is brilliant.
  • Getting from the Airport to downtown Barcelona or to the Fira is usually an absolute arse when I arrive on the Saturday (and particularly the Sunday) because there are so many other people trying to do the same thing. Monday, I understand, is even worse. Whether it’s a taxi, train, bus, whatever, the delays mount up pretty quickly. I used the free-of-charge shuttle bus that whisked me from the Airport door to the Fira in about 15 minutes. Excellent.
  • I had to pick up my badge. That was highly simple. I didn’t bother with paper. I just presented my NFC-enabled phone with my pre-reg details loaded and my passport. I got my badge a moment later. Boom. I think I was ready to rock in Hall 1 by about 1107am. I know this because I did an Instagram tweet about this point.
  • I spent about 6 hours in the halls meeting people. This is absolutely not ideal — I’m used to spending days wandering around — so I had to keep on target continually, especially as I’d arranged a few interviews.
  • By about 5pm I began to think about exiting. By 530pm I had made a serious commitment to exit. I used the GSMA’s MWC app to confirm that the taxi queues outside the Fira Gran Via were already at the 20-minute mark. It’s important to give due consideration to the logistics required to move tens of thousands of MWC people around Barcelona. There are delays. I didn’t want to get stuck in a ’20 minute’ queue that took 80 minutes. I have heard (and experienced) similar.
  • Which brings me to the hack suggested by seasoned MWC visitor, Rafe Blandford. He recommended I get the bus or the tube to ‘somewhere else’ (e.g. Placa Catalunya or Placa Espanya) and pick up a cab from there. I hesitated for a few minutes watching the taxi queue grow and resolved to give this a go.
  • The tube/train stop is just across the road from the Fira. I popped across and found very helpful transport staff on hand to help with the ticket machine. I purchased a 2.85 Euro one-way ticket and hopped on the next train to Placa Espanya (where the old MWC events used to take place at Fira Montjuic).
  • Boom! I hopped off the escalator and immediately spied three empty cabs (with their green lights on) waiting for business. I strolled across and jumped in. I was at the Airport 20 minutes later.

Now, I actually could probably have stayed on location for another hour or so — but I wanted to leave enough room to avoid missing my flight. I was playing it very, very safe. (I should also have tried out Hailo which is available in Barcelona.)

Leaving at 530pm allowed me to avoid the crazy queues. Indeed things were beginning to get rather busy by the time I got on the train, with queues for the tube backing out quite far. It’s rather amazing how quickly things get clogged up when thousands of people have the same idea.

So if I’d left it any later, I worry that I could have arrived at Placa Espanya and found zero cabs. And then not have been able to find a Hailo.

I’m pleased to report that this methodology worked nicely. I got to take in *some* of the show. However I have also been able to balance this with my work commitments — and I’ll even be able to go along to the NotAtMWC event taking place in London on Thursday!

My total expenditure was thus:

  • BA flight: £133
  • Barcelona tube ticket: £2.50 (roughly)
  • Taxi from Placa Espanya to Barcelona Airport: £20 (roughly)
  • So rough total: £156.

There’s one other key consideration point with Mobile World Congress: Getting in the door costs money. At least £600 for standard entry to the exhibition. There are ways of avoiding this. If you’re particularly keen to avoid having to buy a pass (who wouldn’t be?), I strongly recommend developing a relationship with one of the bigger industry players. They receive an allocation of tickets that they routinely give away to anyone they deem deserving. Some of the niche players with stands also get a bundle of tickets that they often don’t bother using. Again, strike up a relationship — talk to them and see if they can help. They often go to waste.

Don’t forget that if, for example, you buy thousands of pounds of text messaging credits every month from a supplier, the chances are they probably have a stand or a presence at the show and could probably be pressed into giving you one of their spare tickets for next year.

Press passes aren’t an option  for most — they’re incredibly difficult to come by. The GSMA rigorously filter out anyone who’s clearly just knocked up a blog the week before in the hope of getting free entry. If you genuinely start an online mobile publication and prove yourself across the year, you should be able to get a press pass. The GSMA are really clear here, though — there’s no automatic guarantee that you qualify — and even past approval doesn’t mean you get in the door automatically the next year.

Finally, if you’re a speaker, you obviously get a free badge — a very funky gold one. It’s definitely worth ‘submitting papers’ to the MWC conference team for 2015 soon if you’d like to participate. This is also quite a stretch simply because there just isn’t a lot of space available so you’ll need some stimulating ideas and a bit of credibility for the GSMA to consider including you.

Right then. MWC in a day. Done!

I’d very much welcome your suggestions and hacks in the comments.


Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, british airways, mobile world c..."
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Date: Monday, 24 Feb 2014 23:41

Bring it on. I can’t wait. I’m getting on the plane in 8 hours.

I am not going to print my badge. Instead I’m going to use the Mobile World Congress app along with my Photo ID to get my badge. Paperless entry, finally!

And, in an MWC first for me, I’m going to actually try and use the PayPal buy-food service and see how that works. I’ve always been way too crazy busy at past events.

I’ll let you know how I get on.


See you there!


Author: "Ewan" Tags: "News, mobile world congress, mwc14"
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Date: Monday, 24 Feb 2014 23:40

It’s Day One of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and I’m in the UK, getting organised for my flying visit to the exhibition tomorrow. I’ve spent the evening reading the various different press releases from Samsung and wondered just how they were managing the Unpacked Galaxy S5 announcements on YouTube.

I searched “Samsung Galaxy S5” on YouTube. Well, actually, I got so far as typing, “Samsung ..” and YouTube autocompleted the rest. Rather useful.

The first result? 

youtube samsung galaxy s5


I hit the down arrow and then Enter. 

I spotted this Samsung Mobile Galaxy S5 introduction video and noted it was just 3 minutes long. Short and sweet. 

I clicked and had a look at the description text:

Live from #UNPACKED in Barcelona, we go hands-on with the latest addition to the GALAXY series and the new wearables.

Join us behind the scenes with host Frankie Vu as we get up close and personal with the Samsung GALAXY S5 and Gear Fit. The new S5 is equipped with a faster, more robust camera, improved durability, a 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen, finger scanner, and heart rate monitor, to allow greater integration with your day-to-day life.

“Just 3 minutes? Excellent,” I thought to myself and clicked. Note the key feature highlights are already there for me to read. 

It’s excellent. You see the very personable Frankie Vu welcome you — but without the usual third party publication gubbins. Frankie dives straight in, taking us through the features of the S5 and also giving us a bit of background on the new Galaxy Gear watch devices too. 

Here’s the video itself — 3 minutes tells you, more or less, everything you need to know about the Galaxy S5.

Time was you used to have to wait for the bloggers to get their videos edited and live. But why wait? And why risk the lack of control? Just go to the public directly with your own bloggers. Yes the video is produced by Samsung and will obviously be positive, but if you’re after information, if you’re a consumer (or a big Galaxy fan) keen to find out what’s coming, this video does a phenomenal job. There’s no messy sound. No shaking cameras filming in shitty light conditions and no, ‘errs’ and ‘emmmms’ from pressured video bloggers trying to read off a spec sheet. 

Most public relations and marketing folk know this is the way ahead. The trouble is, it’s quite a bit of commitment to go this far — you need a proper video production outfit and you need dedicated resource with the balls to get the data out there on-time without having to seek multiple approvals. If you think about the organisational logistics needed to get this video out to market, that’s a big ask for a lot of slow moving corporations. 

Still, stunning work Samsung. 

This is a problem for a lot of publications. I’ve sat through about 5 other videos from leading mobile and technology publications each doing their best to introduce the new S5. All of them are poor knock offs.

Oh, they’re fine. They do a lovely job.

But not a patch on the Samsung video. I think it’s the fact Samsung’s Frankie clearly knows his stuff. He’s rehearsed. He’s had the opportunity to perfect the delivery and get to know the specifications back-to-front. The lighting is excellent. He doesn’t look forced or sound stressed. And he’s clearly got a world class video production team sitting behind him making the output look simply effortless. 

Back in the day, when companies used to try and do this, they’d stick a slightly sweaty PR dude in front of a wobbly handycam and spend most of the video trying to be as non-corporate as possible but failing miserably. The bloggers back then did a phenomenal job of giving you access to the tech ‘there-and-then’ from the show floor, complete with the noisy high-energy atmosphere. 

Today is the first time I’ve seen a video that made me not want to bother wondering what the ‘geeks’ think. Indeed, watching the competing videos from other publications from the point of video of a semi interested consumer, I recognised that time is up for the tech geek bloggers.

I write this as being one of the chaps who, with some good eloquent colleagues, did a lot of this sort of thing years ago. It actually got so annoying trying to pitch these things on camera that we ended up just getting the PR reps to do their standard introduction on video.

There is a time for critique and opinion, yes — but not delivered more or less real-time as the chap on screen spends 9 minutes twirling the phone at you whilst he tries to think of smart things to say. Give me the basic facts now and then I’ll read-up on it later on.

Or… if I’m anything like many of Samsung’s legions of Galaxy fans, I’ve already bought it. I just wanted to know more about what I’m going to be buying.

Nice work Samsung. And to the other hardware manufacturers out there, take note — this is how you do it. By all means let the media do their own shakey-cam videos, but make sure your own friendly product pitch is front and centre, first. 

Update: Ben in the comments below reckons Samsung should have been way more blatant with the video, explaining that Frankie is giving the Samsung view as opposed to his own independent perspective. I think that’s a fair point.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Devices, Opinion, android, galaxy, hands..."
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 21:14

It is Mobile World Congress time next week so therefore I present the following tips that should be rather useful for newbies — although I hope some regular attendees might find some use from them.

Right. Here we go…

  1. Passport: Do not lose your flipping passport. I always keep mine *on* me. Make sure you’ve got a photocopy in Evernote or Dropbox.
  2. Your MWC badge: Take it off when you exit the venue. I know this is a simple dullard tip but I’m always amazed when people forget — or when they deliberately keep it on because they like the look of it. It is a walking advertisement to the hordes (and I do mean, HORDES) of Barcelona thieves and vagabonds.
  3. Your valuables: Think carefully about whether you need to bring your £2,500 camera. Don’t be surprised to return to your hotel room and find it missing from your rucksack as one blogger colleague experienced a few years ago. Not good.
  4. Plan your time properly: It’s all too easy to decide that since everyone who is anyone is there, you should meet them. Don’t over stretch. A few years ago I thought I could easily do one 20-minute meeting every hour. No. It’s nigh-on-impossible because everyone else is late… because you just don’t realise how flipping big the place is. Don’t forget to allow for the random ‘fancy meeting you here’ connections.
  5. Battery. You will look stupid — seriously stupid — when your top of the range smartphone is out of battery by 11am. It will be, especially if you’re trying to connect with people and, even worse, if you’re trying to do demonstrations to people. Your phone will have to work triple time just to try and squeeze it’s signal through to the many transmitters around the venue. With tens and tens of thousands of people all trying to do the same thing, your battery won’t be able to hack it. So, take multiple phones. Sim swap if necessary. If connectivity is important to you, definitely think about getting a Mophie battery pack so you can charge your devices. And remember, MWC is when even the best mobile phones look really stupid — when you remember that, yes, Nokia did have it right years ago with their approach to managing battery life. Your 3310 will last the whole of MWC. Your S4 or 5S won’t even see midday — so allow for needing to demonstrate your app or service at 1am in the morning to someone very important.
  6. Team Whatsapp: Other messaging apps are available of course. But get your whole team on Whatsapp or something like that with a live connected chatroom. That’s one of the most effective methods of staying in touch with a disparate set of people at such a venue. And let’s face it, a lot of the communication is mission critical, particularly when the CEO of Vodafone has just arrived on your stand and your boss has decided to go and get a ham sandwich somewhere.
  7. Remember to eat: Have a huge breakfast if you can. But, there’s a better way ahead and this one comes from Rafe Blandford — the man who writes the infamous All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone sites. Blandford fills his suitcase with Mars Bars whilst in the UK and then takes at least 4 of them out each day in his ruck sack. It’s a very, very smart move and one that I’ve started doing regularly too. If you’re being serious with your meetings, food will be your lowest priority. And standing in large queues will not appeal. By 11am on the Tuesday you’ll be screwed, especially if you missed breakfast and managed to eat 5 tiny canapés the night before. Mars Bars. Seriously. You can wolf them down whilst you’re walking to the next hall.
  8. Parties. Don’t forget that a lot of the networking is done after hours at the hundreds of parties and events that happen throughout Barcelona. There are a series of excellent party lists — I’ll try and tweet some as I discover them.
  9. Get some sleep. Although it’s tempting to stay up late and do the party thing, if you’ve actually got to deliver a service level (i.e. be able to speak competently to customers on your stand), I strongly recommend getting to bed as soon as you can. Most of the MWC attendees do zero exercise for the whole year, spending all day at the office sitting on chairs. Imagine the shock to the system when you have no choice but to walk 10 miles a day for almost a week. Don’t underestimate the shock to the system.

Now, here’s a selection of tips from the wider MIR Twittersphere:

That’s a good one Aleksi.

Very sensible advice from Joe.

Short and sweet Patrick … but a seriously important point, especially for women. Think twice about the funky shoes. Choose the ones that you can actually walk in. 

Ah yes this sensible advice Ben. It’s way too easy to just think, ‘right,… I’ll just see what’s going on in Hall 8,’ and then wasting 2 hours of prime networking time. Get searching and connecting with people right now, ahead of time.

Another sage piece of advice Patrick — very important for those who are attending along with their company and expecting to be camped out on the stand. Book some time in your diary to get out to see other people. 

Ilicco speaks from experience, I think. He’s been to tons of MWCs. Very good idea this. And also, travel via LHR if you can. Terminal 5 is my favourite. Although I have to say Gatwick is doing well at competing. Berocca is required, definitely.

Ah you’re absolutely right Lauren! If you expect to be disappointed with huge queues and plan accordingly then you’ll be fine. 

Very good. Geert’s right about the ‘cool stuff’ — I highly recommend seeking out the smaller stands at the back of the halls as that’s where you’ll often see some amazingly smart innovations.

How could I forget business cards, Liron??? Goodness me. Very good point. Oh… and plug adapters… arrrrgh! Yes don’t forget those. Or chargers. 

And this is reader Patrick showing precisely the sort of attitude you need at MWC. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. I might even wear my rather bold MOBILE INDUSTRY REVIEW jacket again.

Can’t forget TripAdvisor Jolene, very good idea, especially when you’re hunting for a good Tapas restaurant!

Well then, if you’ve got any more suggestions please put them in the comments. Thank you for everyone who response to my request for tips on Twitter. I recommend clicking through and following each of the individuals above!

Have a wonderful MWC — and I might see you there. I’m there on the Tuesday.

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Opinion, mobile world congress, MWC, mwc..."
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 20:26

I’d like to propose a new rule for hotspots. The rule is simple: If my phone identifies The Cloud or BT Openzone, I want it to check that I’m staying in that location for more than 30 seconds before attempting to login, fail to validate automatically and then leave me ‘connected’ without an internet connection. 

All too often now I’m getting routinely frustrated wondering why my phone’s internet connection has stopped working. When you’re obsessively using Whatsapp or similar, you notice an interruption immediately. Clicking into the WiFi settings, I then discover that as I’m walking past the local pub in Hook, my phone has decided to join “The Cloud”. 

Great. But not really. Because in the time it’s taken for me to walk by the pub, the signal has become strong, middling then weak. And now I need to wait another 45-60 seconds — and walk faster — for the phone to correct itself, drop that WiFi signal and revert back to cellular. 

When you’re in the middle of trying to get-shit-done, this is perhaps one of the most annoying experiences. It’s not just iPhone; I suffer routinely on Android too. 

The fundamental problem is that these hotspots want you to login. Or at least visit a webpage and click. They don’t force a pop-up though. Or perhaps, more accurately, they’re generally incapable of doing so until you visit a web browser. 

Surely it’s time we had a bit of logic added into the phone that will prevent this mind-numbing occurrence? 

Years ago, it was simply amazing when it automatically found my home WiFi signal… when I got home. In those days you actually had to manually instruct your Nokia to change the data bearer. Oh, those were the days.

Now, though, I am routinely getting right browned off*. Perhaps the worst is when I’m on the train and traveling slowly. All of a sudden my Whatsapp disconnects or my email starts generating errors when my phone latches on to “The Cloud” care of some passing pub in the distance.

I have arsed about installing certificates and whatnot so that it can get a connection right-away without me having to do anything. I think BTWifi works seamlessly. But inevitably if there’s a BTWifi around, there’s usually a BTWifi-by-Fon (or whatever it’s called). Which my phone seems to want to prefer, all the flipping time. That needs the user to do something to activate it.

Seriously annoying. 

Isn’t it possible to construct some logic, dear Mobile Industry, that says if my phone is moving a lot or if I’m clearly walking past the hotspot then joining it would be unhelpful? 

The next problem with these hotspots is that I am actually finding them far, far slower than 4G. So actually I’d much prefer to prioritise 4G on my device ahead of WiFi. This can’t be that difficult to actually fix. I’m sure those network wizards at Amdocs have probably already got a solution. 

You can obviously just switch WiFi off. That fixes everything. 

I’m annoyed that this seems to be the only universal fix. Indeed I am often now finding that in London (where there is more or less ubiquitous 4G) I just keep my WiFi off. 

Am I missing something? And are you having the same annoyances? Or is it just me?


* Edmund Blackadder, points if you can remember the name of the episode without Googling. 

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Operators, Opinion, bt openzone, connect..."
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Date: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 21:53

Screenshot 2014 01 30 21 44 38

I’ve been a long time user of Koding — way back when it was called Kodingen. It’s been an absolute life saver for me. I’ve been coding for at least 15 years (mostly PHP) and now and again I’ve found myself out and about, but with the need to actually change something on one of our servers. 

Telnet is an option — but if you want to properly sit down at a computer in the middle of nowhere and properly update a few lines of code, Koding has been invaluable. (I actually used it to edit a lot of my services ‘live’ — not recommended, but, sometimes when needs must..!)

The multiple iterations of Koding have now made it into a seriously ideal online development environment. Here’s their overview:

Koding is an online development environment with the goal of simplifying worldwide development and providing free computation and development to everyone. It does this by offering Free VMs for development to anyone. The Koding VMs provide you with a real Ubuntu OS, with a real Terminal, and allow you to work on real code. Python, PHP, C++, C, it doesn’t matter. Even better, they are online. Accessible from anywhere in the world. Even sharable with teams.

The sharing and collaboration looks utterly brilliant.

Right now they’re giving away an extra 1GB of storage (5GB free, in total) to every user. So if you’re a curious developer (I know there’s a lot reading), I strongly recommend having a look. 

If you use my link, instead of a 4GB free account, you’ll get that 5GB one. 

Here’s the link: https://koding.com/R/ewanmacleod

Author: "Ewan" Tags: "Services, cloud, dev, dev-team, develope..."
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