Origin Thoughts

Mobile killed the web star? Maybe…but not yet.

Some really interesting stats on the rapid growth of mobile browsing. However when you look beyond the big numbers at who is browsing and what they’re doing it’s not as clear cut as it looks.

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Source: Lauren Fisher, (www.simplyzesty.com)

This Year’s SxSW Was ‘Awesome’!

The Game Layer

Using the Social Platforms Effectively – https://foursquare.com/apps/

Group Messaging – http://groupme.com/

Advertising which entertains, adds value and makes sense.

Go to where the audience is – Mobile, Social, Web

The Brand Website is not dead but needs to change tactics.

QR Codes everywhere!

The Greater Good

Lean Start-up

And as usual, Parties, Free Beer and BBQ all the way!

Facebook Groups Another Game Changer?

Facebook Logo in Play Doh

Facebook have revealed a new version of its Groups. Mark Zuckerberg believes that it is the same as the old functionality in name only, and will change the way we use Facebook ‘again’. The new Group will be controlled by all of its members and new features include an instant messaging platform for the entire group. The mobile interface and Open Graph API will make Groups extremely flexible and accessible.

Early comments include “its like Wave, but done right!”

Read the details and watch the video

Time for Twitter to Earn Some Real Money?

Evan Williams has stepped aside as CEO of Twitter  and handed the commercial reigns to Dick Costolo. Former Accenture consultant and Feedburner CEO, Dick is no doubt tasked with the role of exploiting the endless revenue generating opportunities while Evan

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iPhone Payments Go Live in New York City Subways, Taxi Cabs

By Mike Melanson

Beginning this week, New Yorkers won’t have to pull out cash or credit to pay for their bus, subway, train or taxi fares. Instead, they’ll be able to pay using their iPhones as part of a pilot program for Visa’s payWave program, which allows users to make contactless payments.

The system makes it as easy as waving your payWave-enabled phone in front of a sensor, which then securely completes the transaction.

The solution is different than many of the mobile payment solutions we’ve discussed, in that it doesn’t use Near Field Communication to communicate with the vendor. Instead, the system works on “a majority of smart phones that have a slot for a memory card”. As we wrote when we first discovered the payWave program “users can insert the card into their phone’s memory slot to transform their phones into mobile payment devices.”

With this pilot program, those with payWave-enabled phones will be able to pay for New York City subway, PATH rail system and NJ Transit fares using their phones, along with fares for more than 10,000 New York City cabs.

Update: We failed to mention how Visa plans on allowing iPhone users to make these payments, as did Visa in its press release. According to our last article on the topic, iPhones will be fit with a special case that allows them to make payWave payments by including the memory card in the case.

Source: Read Write Web

Do ad agencies have a future and, if so, what does it look like?

by Simon Mainwaring

Mashable and BBHLabs wrote about the future of ad agencies this week, so I decided to join the fray. As seminars at the Cannes Advertising Festival this year revealed, there is no doubt that the industry recognizes it is under assault from new technology, competitors and tools that threaten their critical relationships with major clients. The wisest are rising to the challenge of change, re-inventing themselves as they help their clients to do the same, but much of the industry is still suffering from a Madmen hangover. Here are a few things they must do.

1. AGENCIES MUST BECOME ARCHITECTS OF COMMUNITY: More and more consumers are reaching out directly to brands using tools like twitter and brands are responding. This cuts ad agencies out of the equation, eroding their traditional intermediary role especially as these exchanges increasingly take place in real-time. As such agencies must position themselves ahead of the social technology curve and serve to help brands moderate their conversation with consumers using these new tools in real time.

2. AGENCIES MUST BECOME REFEREES OF A SHARED STEWARDSHIP OF BRANDS: As the stewardship of a brand is now shared with consumers, agencies must communicate the value of their role to consumers. This necessitates that they demonstrate a similar appreciation of the importance of transparency, authenticity and accountability. If agencies merely offer outdated (broadcast mentality) advertising, or worse, manipulative, duplicitous or disingenuous marketing (even if it drives profit for the brand), consumers will reject the advertising and implicitly the need for an ad agency.

3. AGENCIES MUST APPLY THEIR CREATIVITY TO TECHNOLOGY AS WELL AS IDEAS: For years the creative departments of ad agencies have specialized in intellectual capital or their ability to create ideas rather than IP or new applications of technology. Those same creative departments must now be charged with applying their mind muscle to the use and development of software or technology applications (location based services and gaming to name but two). In short, the storytelling telling of Hollywood must meet the entrepreneurship of Silicon Valley.

4. AGENCIES MUST SELL VALUE PROPOSITIONS AS WELL AS DOLLAR VALUE: In an increasingly social marketplace one way brands can engage consumers with confidence (rather than simply talk at them about themselves) is to communicate on the basis of universal values that inform the contribution they make to society and consumers through their service or products. For instance it could be a healthier burger, volunteer service by their staff or a promotion that raises funds for a cause. I believe the future of profit is purpose and that consumers – fully aware of government debt, the overburden on philanthropy, and the multiple social challenges we face – are looking to their brands to play an increasingly important role in social change.

Naturally this is a challenging and scary time for ad agencies which perhaps explains why they have been slower than necessary to establish a beachhead within the new social ecosystem. Fortunately brands such as Nike, Zappos, Starbucks, Pepsi and Ford have set an example. It’s no surprise either that the top creative agencies are leading the way (Wieden & Kennedy with Old Spice, TBWA\Chiat\Day with the Pepsi Refresh Project and Pirate Pickings, Crispin Porter with Burger King, and BBH with BBHLabs) as that level of creativity is now the price of entry to succeed in this rapidly changing, consumer-driven marketplace. Let’s hope other ad agencies don’t just follow suit but commit to leadership so that the advertising industry can offer its culture of incredibly vibrant creativity to the next generation of brands and consumers.

How do you think ad agencies are doing? Are they changing fast enough, and if  not, why?

Source: Simon Mainwaring

Facebook denies that it’s building a Facebook Phone

Facebook has been forced to deny that it is building its own mobile handset and operating system, following reports on prominent US tech blogs.

The speculation started with a piece on TechCrunch today titled ‘Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone’, which claimed that two high-level employees at the social network are working on the project.

Business Insider then ran its own story claiming to have also heard the rumour, and suggesting that Facebook “needs to be a platform, not a service” on mobile, controlling its own OS and building a more ‘social’ phone than Apple or Google.

The blog then ran a follow-up story claiming that Facebook is planning to use Google’s Android OS as the basis for its handset.

Finally, Facebook issued its own statement denying the rumours. “Facebook is not building a phone,” the company’s spokesperson told Mashable.

Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers.”

Facebook highlights its work on Facebook Connect for iPhone, and the INQ1 handset that came out a couple of years ago with Facebook integration.

“The people mentioned in the story are working on these projects,” continues the spokesperson.

“The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a ‘Facebook Phone’ because that’s such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do.”

Will this quell the speculation? It’s doubtful. Not least because it’s possible to launch your own handset without building it – Google’s Nexus One was made by HTC, for example.

ME’s take on the speculation? INQ has talked about its plans to launch Android smartphones, so perhaps one of its first models will be a successor to the INQ1, with even deeper integration with Facebook.

That could include the Facebook Credits payment system, and perhaps – given the availability of Adobe’s Flash on Android handsets – even access to Facebook games and applications via the browser.


Tesco embraces iPhone with ‘Groceries’ app

UK supermarket behemoth Tesco is the latest retailer to push online shopping to the mobile space, and embrace the nascent app boom, brought on by the growing popularity of iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

While previous Tesco-branded apps allowed you to find the exact aisle and shelf placement of the Jammy Dodgers in your local branch (Tesco Finder), buy wine by snapping a photo of the label (Wine Finder), and turn your device into a very expensive clubcard (Teso Clubcard), this latest is the most feature packed yet.

As long as you are registered at the website, the app allows you to find products, create a shopping basket and arrange for a delivery, all on the iPhone. It syncs seamlessly with your online order, too, so if you have a craving for jam donuts while on the move, you can add them to your list.

Despite the immense popularity in apps, only a small portion of retailers have taken the time to expand their online shopping websites to the mobile space. App detractors mostly quote time and budget constraints, plus the preference towards mobile-friendly websites that can work across a number of gadgets, instead of being confined to iTunes or the Android Marketplace.

To combat the budgetary problem, American e-commerce platform Magento has today released its mobile app solution in Magneto Mobile. The team converts online shops into apps, using a template white-label app design, and brands it with the company’s logos and colours. Early adopters of the service include North Face and the Miami Dolphins American football team.

Other retailers are experimenting with uses that both make the app stand out from its website companion and encourage users to download a retailer-specific app to their device. Amazon, for example, includes ‘Amazon Remembers’, a feature where you can snap photos of objects and products you find on the go, and Amazon will attempt to find a similar product for sale.


Apple profiles iPads used in big business

Apple has published profiles of 4 large businesses that use iPads in their daily functioning. The first, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, explains how their staff has replaced older tools with the iPad. “I don’t carry a calculator. I used to subscribe to all the journals: the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times. That’s all disappeared. It’s all on iPad.”

Additionally, guests who check into Hyatt’s Andaz brand hotels are greeted with iPad-wielding staff who let them swipe a credit card, check in and receive a card key that was encoded by the iPad itself. Since the iPad is so portable, there’s no need for guests to stand in line at the desk.

Also featured is RehabCare, a St. Louis-based medical rehab facility. They’ve eliminated a lot of paper from their process by introducing the iPad, using it to enter patient data, track records and more.

There are two other businesses featured, and each has an accompanying overview video. It’s good to see Apple pushing the iPad to the enterprise market

Source: TUAW

Twitter Launches New Site To Cover Fashion Week

Twitter seems to have no problem building microsites to cover big events. The World Cup was given its own site. Now that has been followed by the New York Fashion Week.


What does the site do? Twitter has partnered with numerous companies involved with fashion (like Womens Wear Daily and Bergdorfs) to create and curate content for a small website to track news and user opinion on New York Fashion Week.

To support the whole event a new Twitter account has been created. Named @nyfw, It promises to be a “Twitterista,” that is “Back Stage, Front Row, Right Now.” If you are into fashion, you might find it very interesting.

In tech-speak Twitter has launched a portal for a massive clothing show with the support (or at the prodding) of major fashion companies to promote and spread the conversation that surrounds the whole ordeal. New York Fashion Week kicked off today and will continue until the September 16. For Twitter users into high-fashion, the portal should provide engaging content.

For everyone not into the fashion scene, this is merely an example of Twitter partnering with large companies and events to bolster its penetration in non-traditional areas. Twitter desperately wants to break further into mainstream culture. This is one of that desire’s byproducts.

Source: TNW