Archives for June 2003
June 30, 2003
Anyone who phones will driving may want to read this article and think twice.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government in the Philippines plans to use text messaging in the government's crackdown against drugs by giving cellular-telephone users a direct access to government drug-enforcement agencies.
"With millions of Filipinos armed with cellular phones, the DILG believes that a text hot line, specifically for the reporting of illegal-drug activities, will be very effective tool against illegal-drug trade, according to abs-cbnnews.
The project initially being dubbed as "Text the Pusher, Save the User"will be launched next month in partnership with the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Other countries have launched SMS preventive campaigns against drugs targeted mostly to young people and in a bizarre story reported last year, a texting service was launched dubbed Snifferdog.com, inviting New South Wales residents to sign up for SMS tip-offs, warning them of the location of dog teams used to crack down on drugs and illegal handguns.
According to The Guardian, "BBC's Radio 4 is to broadcast a ghost story that reacts to listeners voting by text message. The plot of "The Dark House" has been completed and should air in September. The 45-minute play features a husband, his wife and their child, and throughout its duration listeners will vote by text to hear the drama in the mind of their favourite character". It was a dark and stormy night...
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is considering requiring financial advisers to produce a detailed record of any advice given to a client, including by SMS, regardless of whether the advice resulted in a transaction.
The Australian Stock Exchange has cautioned against overwhelming the stockbroking industry with excessive disclosure requirements, as the firms themselves this week prepare for a showdown over the issue with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Senator Ian Campbell, reports smh.com.
"Execution-related telephone advice" (ERTA) should be broadened to include all advice relating to overseas markets, all situations regardless of whether the advice results in a transaction and any advice given via email or SMS text messaging .
British chef Ainsley Harriott launched a South African campaign in the fight against hunger, Harriott is the presenter of the popular BBC programme Ready Steady Cook according to The Star.
The campaign, Unite Against Hunger, was launched at the Red Cross Home Base Project Cape Town, yesterday and will see donated food being distributed to poverty-stricken areas throughout the country. People are asked to donate food while shopping by placing items in carts in supermarkets. Or cellphone users can send an SMS with the word "hunger" to 082-003-9040, where Rand 10 ($ 1.35) will be automatically invoiced onto the subscriber's phone bill.
For more innovative fund raising ideas by SMS, check out this category in Textually.org.
According to an entry in Slashdot: "Spam is a bigger problem in Europe and Japan/Asia, but as SMS text messaging or "texting" becomes more popular in the United States, its users are discovering that spammers like it too, according to this Houston Chronicle story. Cell phone companies are trying to stem the spam flood before it starts, worried that users will turn off their phones, thus denying providers revenue."
The Age reports on IT researcher Neville Meyers who lectures at the Queensland University of Technology, and who is embarking on a major study for which he has recruited 300 public servants, to find out whether the information overload complained of by so many workers really exists. "The study aims to quantify the information received by workers plugged into the internet, email and SMS, and to understand how they cope with it.
Dr Meyers has coined the term "infostress" to describe the anxiety, indecision and, in extreme cases, illness that besets workers inundated with information.
Online newspaper Malaysiakini launches pay-per-view access to it's news content by SMS. In order to subscribe, readers must send an SMS with the word "Mkini" to telephone short code 32300.
Malaysiakini will send a return SMS with a special login code. Once this code is entered into the SMS login box on the website, the content can be accessed for the next 24 hours.
Swiss online newspaper Le Temps offers a similar payment system by SMS to consult articles. Customers are billed by the phone company on their monthly cell phone invoice. Per Malaysiakini.com via SMS: Business Gets the Message.
CityPoems invites it's citizens to submit their own poems at any time by sending them as text messages to 07919 315556. Each poem must fit within a single text message (maximum 160 characters). A selection of these poems will be used to regularly update "PoemPoints" around the city.
If you plan on travelling to Europe this summer, you may want to check out IHT's article on "How to hold down cell phone charges abroad", before leaving.
Not necessarily related to SMS but of interest to all bloggers, Xeni Jardin's article today in Wired entitleld "Bloggers Gain Libel Protection".
"An appeals court decides small-time online publishers can't be held responsible for libel if they just republish information.
The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists".
June 29, 2003
Getting Americans interested in SMS has basically been an uphill struggle (cf Why Text Messaging is not popular in the US). Yet, there are signs of a warming as U.S. phones sent 1 billion text messages in December, up sharply from 253 million a year earlier, according to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, reports Delaware Online and this Spring, 2.5 million AT&T Wireless customers cast their votes by SMS for their favorite TV show American Idol.
One of the reasons SMS is so popular in Europe is because it's less expensive than making a voice call, whereas in America, talk is cheap. To entice customers into typing on their cell phones, US mobile operators offer deals which are sure to make European teenagers drool -- always short of cash to pay for their mobile phones bills -- such as 50 free incoming messages and 500 outgoing messages for $2.99 a month (a T-Mobile USA offer). In Europe, each outgoing SMS cost approximately 22 cents and incoming SMS are free.
The company claims Nextel Communications "improperly obtained" prototypes of some new Verizon cell phones with walkie-talkie features, according to News.com.
A distrubing new mobile phone scam is being investigated in the UK by industry watchdog ICSTIS, after it emerged users were running up huge bills for sex chat lines they never called, according to Scotland on Sunday.
"The fraud appears to work by sending the intended victim an innocuous-looking text message, usually purporting to be from a friend. Replying to the message automatically subscribes the phone user to a premium rate texting service. In one case, the victim was flooded with 25 texts at £1.27 ($ 2.10) each in just 24 hours, running up a £34 bill ($ 56.27)."
A new entry in Keitai log -- a Web diary of Tokyo college students who are researching the changing role of cell phones (keitai) in Japanese society -- on dating Web sites which can be accessed from cell phones to set up virtual dates. This is different than dating services (such as SMS Flirt), allowing users to post their profiles and match their interests within someone within a few blocks, using location based technology.
These dating services only offer chatting by SMS and in an unequal opportunity twist which must be cultural because it sounds odd to us, "these website are usually free for women to join, but men must pay a registration fees" (!).
They are basically place for men to go to get a sympathetic ear, not necessarily to date and many of the female members are actually hired by the company and passed on as ordinary users to communicate with the male customers.
June 27, 2003
I guess this is true, that the movie industry is looking at new technology to bring in new revenue but as Mike wonders outloud of a "wireless tie-in that's really innovative, and does something that really involves the recipient into the story of the movie itself", here goes, some examples of innovative campaigns over the last couple of years offered by studios, mobile operators and wireless communities.
-- To win tickets to "The Birthday Girl" where Nicole Kidman's plays an Internet bride, contestants were asked to send by SMS the most imaginative and sexy text, simulating a response to a personal ad, like in the film.
-- Before the launch of the film in the UK, "Bridget Jones Diary" fans were able to sign up to Riot Entertainment for daily updates on Bridget Jones' neurotic diary and were offered personality tests as well as "ask Bridget" advice by SMS.
-- US mobile community website Upoc.com, in partnership with the movie studios has been offering channels to it's members for years on new movie releases ("Ali", "ET". "Jurassic Park 3"...), allowing for inside and backstage information by SMS on the filming of the movie and the actors in it. And Verizon Wireless offered Lord of the Rings fans wireless communities where they could chat and brush up on trivia around "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers".
-- And this one is a real basic, providing a real service which could apply to any movie picture: For the launch of «The Bourne Identity», United International Pictures launched a billboard campaign in the UK, suggesting mobile send an SMS to short code 81222 to find out when and at what cinema the film was playing.
"A new candy company, started by the daughter of Ralph Lauren, is trying to build some buzz with a a strategy they call mmm-commerce", reports Mike Masnick in Techdirt. Sugar and candy related themed-ringtones are available for download from the Fun section of the website (for a steep $2.99 per tone) and coming soon a feature allowing for visitors to send out a free SMS message with a related ringtone, plus an in store coupon for a lollipop (for $ 3.99).
If the US is anything like Europe, such a marketing campaign could be appealing. What better way to reach a target customer than through a device that is permanently at arm's reach or even better, in your pocket and gets your immediate attention.
According to a study conducted in 2002 by Enpocket, permission marketing campaigns by SMS have been 50% more effective than television campaigns and 130% more effective than radio campaigns. The trials overall on the European market in 2002 were more than successful, with return rates on SMS sent out between 6% and 16,5%. I have many examples of SMS marketing campaigns with their return rates, in French at netsurf/sms. If anyone would like me to translate them, send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Probably the novelty of receiving a coupon or an offer by SMS was one of the factor's in these successful campaigns last year. But things could change as according to Forrester Research, by 2004, 55% of European Marketers plan on alotting 7% of their budgets to SMS in their communication campaign mixes. Too much of "a good thing" could obviously backlash if mobile users feel spammed.
In an interesting article in The New York Times, we learn that fashionable restaurants are using paging systems to look for better ways to move diners in and out quickly, such as the coaster pager which lights up when the table is ready, developped by UK Long Range Systems or another paging device that calls a customer's cellphone and plays a recorded message, "allowing them go browse at Barnes & Noble across the street without worrying about losing their table". Sounds cool.
Per The New York Times, "as the multibillion-dollar video game industry flourishes, extending its appeal, with bolder, flashier and ever more engrossing games - some so difficult that their learning curves outlast the players - a different sort of video game is quietly asserting itself into the mainstream: they are "casual games", easy to use, developped for cell phones and other hand held devices, even allowing for multiplayers.
A successful casual game can be produced in a few months for as little as $40,000. A premier video game for hard-core console players can easily cost $5 million to $10 million to develop and take two years or longer to complete".
Your mobile phone could soon help the emergency services rescue you if you are caught in an avalanche or earthquake.
According to the BBC, "researchers are developing a system that will make all mobile phones in a disaster area emit an alarm tone to help locate their owner. A beeping handset could guide rescue workers to people buried under snow or trapped inside a collapsed building, helping rescue workers find people in the vital first few minutes after disaster strikes". The first 15 minutes are crucial in saving someone buried under the snow.
Poor Prince William. According to the The Guardian, he is victim of smart mobbing as a network of a 100 girls in the area send out SMS to each other whenever he is spotted, informing of his whereabouts and congregate around him.
More than 18 months since New York State banned hand-held cell phone use while driving, there is no data indicating that the ban has reduced accidents there, according to state and federal safety experts, reports MSNBC.
June 25, 2003
Following William Birnbauer's article in The Age last week, describing idle teenagers out prowling at night, finding out what's going on where through text messaging and then crashing parties, the Warren Advocate reports that the NSW Police, Australia's oldest and largest police organisation, has now issued guidelines on how to hold safe parties.
Students in Saudia Arabia can send a text message to a short code and receive their exam resulty by SMS, thanks to a new service launched by Saudi Telecom Company on behalf of the Ministry of Education, according to a post in Arab News. France offers similar services to students.
Norwegians have sex when driving cars, according to a new survey. Others read the newspaper, apply make-up or send SMS messages, according to an article in Nettavisen. Along these same lines, a woman was stopped a few days ago breastfeeding her seven month-old several on the Ohio Turnpike, but getting back to Norway:
-- "Six out of ten Norwegian drivers under the age of 30 apply make-up or send SMS messages when driving, according to a survey conducted by TNS Gallup.
-- Three out of ten Norwegians of all ages admit to be sending and reading text messages when driving.
-- 60 percent of people aged 18-29 admit to sending text messages when sat behind the steering wheel. More than six out of ten admit that they speak on the mobile phone when driving.
-- If assuming that 1 million car rides take place in Norway during one day, it means that 300,000 of these drivers will either send or receive a text message, says Arvid Ask, head of the Hordaland traffic section".
In an about-face, Verizon said that it would drop its opposition to a government plan to allow callers to keep their wireless phone numbers when they switch carriers, which probably means that some other mobile phone operators will have little choice but to yield to the arrangement, according to the New York Times.
I'm so sorry this was only brought to my attention today (thanks Hassan), that NowMMS, a free MMS service shut down effective July 18, 2003. I only knew of operators offering free MMS as part of their introductory offers to attract customers, I was unware of a free MMS service operating for the last 9 months!
The popularity of their service caused them to exceed the monthly fees that they had budgeted for running the free service. Online, NowMMS makes a plea for any sponsors that would like to fund the operations of the free service. Anyone out there interested?
If you are interested in the technology that was used to power the free NowMMS.com service, the service was hosted using the Now SMS/MMS Fatewaygateway product, with tens of thousands of users running on an old Celeron notebook. Trial copies of the Now SMS/MMS gateway software are available for download at nowsms.com.
"In survey of first-quarter 2003 sales of mobile phone, market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) found that Sony Ericsson had slipped from the top five, replaced by LG Electronics.
Its worldwide shipment of phones in the first quarter fell by 400,000 phones to 5.4 million.
Nokia remained the top mobile phone vendor, claiming 35.5% of global market share, shipping more than 38 million units — more than double its closest competitor, Motorola Inc.
Motorola had a 15.5% share, followed by Samsung Electronics Co. with 12.3% and Siemens AG with 7.4%. LG Electronics had 5.2%. Sony Ericsson had 4.8%",
IDC has identified ten smaller emerging wireless players to watch as the second wireless revolution unfolds. These emerging players are:
Each of these companies is accomplishing one or more of the following: playing an increasing role in wireless content, multimedia, or voice market evolution; addressing issues that are generally not at the top of the industry radar screen but are nevertheless important to market growth going forward; meeting key unmet market opportunities in their targeted markets; and standing poised to play potentially larger roles in wireless going forward.
10 Emerging Wireless Players to Watch (IDC #29602)
June 24, 2003
Starting today, millions of Lara Croft fans can follow the latest exploits of this hard-hitting action heroine right on attwireless.com/tombraider. In advance of the motion picture release of "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" on July 25, 2003, AT&T Wireless is launching a comprehensive co-marketing program that will give its customers exclusive access to a variety of mobile content such as movie passes, graphics, screen savers, and ringtones (for only $1.99 each). In addition, customers can sign-up for exclusive text-messaging trivia by typing the word "TOMB" and sending it to short code "8662", according to a press release in Business Wire.
Hollywood is definitely getting it.