Thursday, October 28, 2010

MoMo Malta -Video of the session on Location Awareness in Mobile

I had the real pleasure of being invited by Rene' at MomoMalta to give a presentation on Location Awareness Apps and share the ideas from my recently published book on the subject (see link on right side bar).

Malta is set to see growth in its mobile sector, with increasing competition amongst operators set to drive data tariffs down and greater demand for smartphones. Location based services are relatively new (apparently I was the first to present on the subject in Malta in its history!) but the use cases are growing. One of the examples of location apps which was experiencing phenomenal growth was the Groupon app (I will share the entire presentation shortly).

They made an excellent video of the event, which I am sharing here. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

RIP Dot Mobi -and why four letter domain names don't work

I first wrote about the battle between the dot mobi (mTLD) standard and the standard back in January 2008, suggesting that:

" is struggling to communicate its added value, namely that it has defined (and offers as a framework) a set of development standards to improve the user experience of web on mobile"

Well, today I think we can safely conclude that has failed in its mission to create value from its proposition as most of the mobile sector brushes aside any notion it may have had about creating a site and opts for the safe option (such as

Numbers coming through from the dot mobi consortium, suggest they made of loss of €3.5m in the last full financial year (2010) and the situation is likely to get worse.

As The Register reported in June this year:

The problem is that not many companies bother (with dot mobi) these days: even Google, which helped create the domain, now redirects “” to a page telling users to go to “” instead. That lack of interest leaves dotMobi with a lot of virtual real estate to shift. 

So, farewell dot mobi-may you rest in peace. To those who invested in the four letter dot mobi domain name, you had good intentions, but when you buy on the hype, be prepared for a sharp fall. And as URL shortening companies like have shown, every character counts. Frankly, a four character domain seeemed like an overkill from the start. The 'm' has won.


Vance Hedderel, from dotmobi, sent me a response to the blog post that I publish below:

"As a side note to dotMobi's recently recently report of mobile Web trends, which you can find at, we found that leading brands have taken dotMobi’s advice to use multiple entry points to label mobile-friendly content. That means leading brands currently use .mobi as well as and simultaneously. 

While .mobi remains the only ICANN-approved naming convention to identify mobile content as well as to offer unique search-engine optimization benefits, dotMobi is also aware that the most important aspect of the mobile Web is to offer end users a good experience, no matter how they get to that content.

That said, the dotMobi company is closing in on one million .mobi domains registered with that number continuing to grow. We’re now at our highest-ever number in the name base and we’re poised to be only the sixth gTLD to reach one million domains under management. Further, many brands are promoting their use of the .mobi domain, including AT&T, Blackberry, Five Guys restaurants, JCPenney, Simon and Schuster, even the city of London with its special initiative.

Vance P. Hedderel
Director, PR and Communications


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Le Web'10 Paris-Last call for discounted tickets

LeWeb is the #1 European Internet event, where 2500 entrepreneurs, leaders, investors, bloggers, journalists gather together for 2 days in Paris.

LeWeb brings together the most influential audience in the Internet ecosystem. Top industry entrepreneurs, executives, investors, senior press & bloggers gather for 2 days in Paris to focus on the key issues and opportunities in the web marketplace.

Over the years, the LeWeb program has featured such industry luminaries as Jack Dorsey and Niklas Zennstrom, some of this year’s speakers include: Carlos Ghosn, Marissa Mayer, Sebastien de Halleux and Michael Arrington  to name a few.

I have attended the last two editions (last year as Official Blogger) and can honestly say that in terms of European tech events, LeWeb tops the charts in getting the 'creme de la creme'  together under one roof.

So, to ensure you get a place at this stellar event (and benefit from final early-bird prices) click on the title of this post or on the banner to the right.See you there! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Location, Mobile App Monetization and Mobile Entrepreneurship

I recently gave a video-interview to Rene' of Mobile Monday Malta ahead of my talk there in early October on the ideas from my book on Location Aware Applications.

The vidcast covers the areas of Location, monetization of the mobile channel, entrepreneurship and the specific opportunities and challenges in Malta.

You can take a look at the interview here:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Contextual Holy Grail of Location -WHERE Inc moves us one step closer

I have been presenting my ideas on Location-Aware services for some time now, and a key idea I originally presented is that of a 'Contextual Holy Grail'. This is the idea that location on its own is useful but that 'location+context' is the future for these services. If I am travelling to a ski resort and check my weather forecast app, I would like it to recognise where I am heading to automatically and (again automatically) provide latest snow condition reports.

Yesterday, WHERE Inc, one of the early location pioneers based in the US, obtained a patent that could take us one step closer to fulfilling at least part of this contextual requirement. Their Auto-Snap technology allows location relevancy and intent to be detected. While this patent is, admittedly, designed for delivering more targeted ads, it also opens up the possibility of other targeted services to be delivered.

You can read the full press release below:


Patent Improves the Relevancy of Place Recommendation to a User on a Mobile Phone

BOSTON, MA – October 12th, 2010 – Where, Inc., North America’s largest location-based media company, today announced that the Company has received approval from the U.S. Patent Trademark Office for their Auto-Snap™ patent. Where’s Auto-Snap technology creates an association between a person and a place, which enhances the ability to derive intent resulting in improved relevance of place recommendations. 

Auto-Snap uses distance tolerances, landmark patterns, temporal patterns, knowledge of business attributes, knowledge of event occurrences, season or weather knowledge, common place names, user saved places and other types of factors and techniques. 

“With Auto-Snap we are able to determine location relevancy and intent of a consumer,” said Walt Doyle, CEO of Where, Inc. “With this technology, we can better understand the context of a person’s location and improve the match rate for content and ads delivered on our network. Auto-Snap lets us know if a user is at home, in the office or at a favorite restaurant giving us the unique ability to improve the overall WHERE consumer experience and better align the relevance of the WHERE Ads we deliver.” 

Auto-Snap is also being used in WHERE Ads to improve the relevance of display advertisements and search results, including offers and discounts, creating a better experience for the consumer and optimized yield for publishers.  

“Enhancing the relevancy of advertisements is one of the top priorities in the mobile ecosystem. WHERE has proven their ability to deliver great results for a strong pool of advertisers, and we count them among the best ad networks in the space. We look forward to learning more about Auto-Snap—an exciting new technical innovation,” said Marc Theermann, Vice President Mobile, AdMeld.

Friday, October 8, 2010

MHealth-Mobile Health, Body Area Networks (BANs)-How to SMS from your vital organs

MHealth, or Mobile Health, is not a new area of mobile development but, since it first gained prominence five years ago, is making some significant strides in being adopted to improve health monitoring around the world.

Today, the New Scientist, reported how Dutch research company IMEC demonstrated a new type of Body Area Network (BAN) that allows a heart monitor to send ECG information wirelessly to a patients' mobile device (so that they can then be forwarded to doctors).

You can see a model of a BAN below (courtesy of Md.Asdaque Hussain and Kyung Sup Kwak):

The interesting development is that the software for the BAN runs on an Android operating system, proof of greater integration between medical sensors and machines and mobile devices.  Also interesting is the fact that IMEC ditched Bluetooth for a different communications standard (my personal view on Bluetooth remains that it can be great for tethering devices but not very useful for pretty much anything else).

As developments such as this move MHealth forward, there are great opportunities remaining for mobile developers to provide apps that can deliver medical data in a secure and standardised format to medical professionals. Key challenges to address will be power usage (to extend the time range of medical data transmissions) and convicing patients to adopt their mobile device as an everyday  tool for monitoring their health.