Entertainment, Software Programs

Mobile Services and Apps are at Rage


Sitting in Cathay Pacific business lounge at KLIA, yours truly found time to address exciting trends in mobile services space. In all honesty, this autumn 2010 has been the busiest I have ever had in my career in consulting. At the same time, this being the incredibly lively and unpredictable "bloodbath year" of smartphones – probably the most news-worthy telecoms competitive situation that the industry has ever seen in a one year timeframe – that has produced so many smartphones stories. So yes, those great mobile services stories have just been collecting. But now I have a good moment to get a few of them done. So today, let’s do updates to existing stories.

Mosquito Noises? Remember the ultra-cool youth ringtone gimmick? My audiences have been seeing me ending my presentations with the ‘make services magical’ bit, and Mosquito Noises have been featured widely in that part. Now we have the numbers. Get this, non-digital and non-mobile brand, Fanta [the soft drink] reached 600,000 downloads in the UK i.e. Fanta engaged with about 600,000 kids. Not bad for truly innovative interactive marketing via mobile? Stats from the MMA in June 2010.

Puma Shanghai Formula One multiplayer racing adver-game? A staple in my social networking, adver-gaming, retail, and engagement marketing topics. A fantastic non-iPhone non-smartphone app [i.e. Java] and brilliant concept in viral marketing driving footfall to stores with coupons and offers delivered via MMS. Did it work? We have the numbers. Generated 200,000 users! Imagine that! A free multiplayer online racing game [four players per car race] that ran in China and got 200,000 gamers. Bear in mind, that Puma only has 350 stores in China. But did Puma get anything out of it. Sure it did – increased Puma merchandise sales by…. 300% [source MMA]. Can you see why I loved the concept and still tell of it today?

Haiti SMS based aid contributions? We’ve mentioned the Haiti campaign many times. Now we have the final numbers Mobile Giving told us in June that the final tally was 41 million US dollars.

Kenya mobile banking. A recurring story but the latest numbers we heard at the Forum Oxford conference on October 15, is that 20% of the Kenyan GDP transits a mobile phone today. It was only 10% as late as May and m-banking is only four years old. It passed 50% of all banking users just this spring. Meanwhile M-Pesa the biggest mobile banking service in Kenya has projected that 25% of the Kenyan GDP will transit a mobile phone before the end of 2010.

Another variation of Lay’s Potato Chips – user-generated flavors contest by SMS – the same idea was run in South Africa with very similar engagement levels adjusted for population as in India. In South Africa the campaign was called Lekkerflavor and achieved 187,000 submitted flavor suggestions.

So onto the various cool mobile services I’ve seen and heard about. Here is one. This one I learned about at the M-Learning Conference in San Diego in June. A couple of UK museums got together with 100 local schools, and deployed a school-kids’ museum-visit enhancing experiment, with mobile phones.

They did just about all the logical ‘Communities Dominate Brands’ types of things, so they asked kids to rate works of art, to take pictures of their favorites, to comment and blog about them, etc. The UK schools knew that most kids will have cameraphones already, but for those who did not own one, the museums provided loaner phones. And obviously they designed various missions and projects for the kids, kinds of treasure hunts and of course lots more information about the various works of art.

Do you think kids prefer this, to a static old-fashioned passive museum visit experience? They loved it. Loved it so much, that the average museum visit lasted 4.5x longer! Can you imagine how powerful this is for education, if you can get kids to voluntarily spend four times more time learning about the object of the visit? A normal visit lasted on average 20 minutes, these kids using the My Art Space mobile museum experience, stayed on average 90 minutes in the museum – plus had tons more lively discussion about the visit afterwards in their school work. Gotta love mobile, eh? M-Learning is a great move currently, and by the way, am reading a book by my friend Gary Woodill, entitled The Mobile Learning Edge – is excellent so far, will give more of a review here and on Amazon once I have finished it.