Archive for May, 2008

Presidential candidates use mobile marketing

To make sure they reach a broad audience, the US presidential candidates have added a mobile marketing component to their election campaign.

Judging from his website, Barack Obama is clearly most into it. You can “join his movement” and stay updated about his campaign, by texting “go” to the shortcode 62262 (the number corresponds to the letters of his name). There are specific keywords (health, education, iraq,…) to receive info on his policy on specific topics. His website also offers free wallpapers and ringtones for your mobile phone.

Obama's mobile marketing campaign

Hillary Clinton doesn’t stay behind either, although her website only offers a subscription form “to receive text messages from Hillary Clinton”. Not very clear what to expect there.

Not very surprising, there’s no sign of any mobile marketing on the website of the Republican candidate John McCain

SMS warns students in emergency

Good and fast communication can save lives in an emergency situation. That’s what several universities are realizing too. After several tragedies at American universities – like the one at Virginia Tech in April 2007, when an armed student killed 32 people – alerting systems via SMS & social networking sites are being tested and implemented.

The first 2 victims at Virginia Tech fell at 7am. More than 2 hours later, 30 others were massacred in a class room. It was not until 9:26 a.m. that the school sent the first e-mail to students and faculty. An investigative panel concluded that lives could have been saved if alerts had been sent out earlier and classes canceled after the first burst of gunfire.

Since then, hundreds of schools administrations have installed text-messaging systems to communicate with students.
It already proved very effective for St. John’s University, where students were informed by SMS within 18 minutes about a masked freshman with a rifle in his bag.

Although such violent incidents are a lot less frequent at Belgian (European) universities, it might be a good idea to already invest in such communication possibilities in order to avoid incidents in the future.

SMS warns students in emergency

Social networks drive mobile internet traffic

According to a recent measurement of mobile internet usage by M:Metrics, social network sites like Facebook, are key drivers of mobile internet usage.

In the UK, is the number 1 domain, where an active Mobile Web user spends on average 1h 44 minutes of time spent per month (or 72% of all time spent on the Mobile Web). In the US the active mobile internet user spends on average 1h 25 minutes on and 1h24 minutes on (representing 61% of all time spent on the mobile internet in the US).

Other interesting finding of this research: Americans spend twice as much time on the mobile internet than Britains: more than 4.5 hours per month browsing on their smartphone, where as British smartphone users browse the mobile web on average 2.2 hours per month. The higher popularity of flat rate data plans in the United States is a primary factor explaining this difference.


Top Domains by Time Spent Browsing per Month: United Kingdom







TheFacebook, Inc


Hutchison Whampoa Limited


British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc


Microsoft Corporation


British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)



Top Domains by Time Spent Browsing per Month: United States







Craigslist, Inc.


eBay Inc.


News Corporation


TheFacebook, Inc


The Walt Disney Company


Helpi and Proximus offer Personal Alarm

In December 2007, received the Innovation Award for the mobile application developed for Helpi, a service that allows to get help in case of an emergency with a simple push of a button. Now Helpi has become an official partner of Proximus to offer a Person Alarm service to mobile users.

How does Helpi work?

In case of an emergency, a Helpi subscriber can notify the helpdesk of Helpi – day and night – with a simple push on a button of his own mobile phone. Without having heard a word, the Helpi operator immediately knows who has send out the help request (with all personal data), who needs to be informed and where the person in need is situated (through the position of the GSM). The operator informs the pre-defined contact persons, judges the emergency situation and, if needed, contacts the emergency services.

Who is it for?

  • SENIOR-ALERT: Seniors who want to notify their children and their neighbours immediately in the case of medical emergencies.
  • CHILD-ALERT: Parents who want to protect their child and who want to be notified immediately in the case of emergencies.
  • BUSINESS-ALERT: Occupations at risk – such as family doctors, pharmacists, shopkeepers or bankers – who want to protect themselves against violence and aggression.


Proximus deal

Earlier this month, Helpi has signed an agreement with Proximus to offer the Personal Alarm service to all Proximus subscribers. The subscriber can activate the personal alarm for 98 euro per year.

The SVA (Syndicaat van Vlaamse Huisartsen) found this solution very interesting for doctors, who often have to deal with agression when doing house calls. To encourage the use of the Personal Alarm, they’ve decided to pay 18 euro of the subscription for every doctor that is interested. The doctor then pays only 80 euro per year.

To know more, visit

10 Applications for the Google Phone

On November 12th, 2007 Google has generously announced to be distributing 10 million dollar to developers who create mobile applications for Android, the open development platform that Google had launched earlier that same month. Winners of this Android Developer Challenge could receive between 25.000 and 275.000 dollar.

A total of 1778 projects were entered from all around the world. Some hundred jury members have now evaluated these projects and in May 2008 the first 50 finalists were published. Below you can find a selection of 10 interesting Google Phone projects.

AndroidScan: allows you to scan barcodes with your mobile phone and then receive comparable pricing and product information (both from online and offline shops). In Japan this innovation is already gaining popularity.


Beetaun: gives a mix of social networking around geographical locations: allows to discover interesting places or hiking trails, based on the preferences of your online soul mates.

BioWallet: a biometrical authentication system that uses iris recognition to serve as protection and gateway to other applications.


CallACab: with this application you easily find the nearest taxi and you can immediately reserve it in one click.


HandWx: gives weather forecast for the coming seven days for a region as well as high quality radar images.

JigSaw: allows to capture images from whiteboards and to quickly process them. It transforms the captured images and data.

LifeAware: a mobile tracking service that helps people to stay up-to-date about the where-abouts of their friends and relatives.

Locale: an application developed by students at the MIT; this service automatically puts your mobile in ‘Silent’-mode when you’re at certain places at certian moments, as indicated by other mobinauts.

GolfPlay: gives all possible real-time help to golf players, using GPS localisation.

Wikitude: this mobile travel guide allows to find the most relevant wikipedia page for a place that you entered; this information is neatly linked to Google Earth.

The 50 selected entries show a broad mix of applications on the verge of communication, information and entertainment. Some applications concentrate on the improved use of already known services (such as Phonebook 2.0). It is not a surprise that the most remarkable applications concentrate mostly on the unique advantage of mobile internet applications, specifically the use of geolocalisation information. It is clear that Google Earth and Google Maps are important building blocks for this, that will result in a range of new applications.

We now have to wait to see who will be the big winner. With its Android Developer Challenge, Google certainly has inspired a large group of developers to create a range of interesting applications. Question is whether these initial projects will be able to create sufficient critical mass for Android to build a credible alternative for Windows Mobile.

Mobile Instant Messaging a threat for SMS?

According to a recent study of TNS Technology Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is set to cannibalise SMS (texting) and eventually email from PC. The TNS Global Telecoms Insight (GTI) study has found that once mobile users adopt MIM it overtakes other messaging tools.

The key findings of this study:

  • Of all messages sent by MIM users (email, SMS, IM, …), 36 out of every 100 messages sent is an Instant Message by their mobile, making MIM by far the most used messaging medium.
  • People who use MIM, use SMS significantly less (compared to all consumers): 23 out of 100 messages is an SMS (compared to 38 for all consumers)
  • Globally 8% of all users are MIM users, with the highest number of users in Hong Kong (23%). Also in China and some developing countries, MIM adoption is leapfrogging other communication means.

Mobile Instant Messaging a threat for SMS?
These findings challenge the strategies of the mobile operators in European countries that have heavily benefited from SMS usage. Do they try and keep consumers focused on SMS to maintain their revenue base, or offer consumers more choice in messaging?  With increasing internet functionality on new mobile phones, and MIM’s strong mass market appeal, operators may have no choice but to promote this feature more widely.

High cost slows down SMS payment

Belgian consumers are still sceptic about mobile payment. 
According to Atos Worldline this is because merchants are not promoting the technology enough. 
More merchants should accept this payment method and should announce this to their customers.  But for this, the cost for the merchants should be lowered. A SMS payment can cost up to 60 cent, while the merchant only pays 6 cent for a Bancontact/MisterCash payment.   For the moment, payment by SMS is used for specific cases, such as home delivery.


Mobistar to bring iPhone to Belgium

After long speculation, it is now clear who has won the negotiations with Apple to launch the iPhone in Belgium. Orange, the mobile phone company of France Telecom and owner of Mobistar, announced today the launch of the iPhone to 10 countries, among others Belgium. The roll-out will happen ‘later this year’.

SMS: A weapon of mass liberation

Amnesty International has added a mobile component to their ‘Urgent Actions’ campaign.  Everyone can now support Amnesty’s actions to liberate people and fight against injustice by simply sending a SMS message.

How does it work?

You can join the Amnesty network by send the message UA to the shortcode number 3313 (1 € / SMS).

Every week, you will receive a SMS (1 € / SMS) to your cell phone giving the details of an individual in danger, asking you to intervene. You send Amnesty a SMS (1 € / SMS) in return with your first name, your surname and your address. Your signature will be added to the appeal that will be send to the authorities.

You will be able to read the complete story of the individual in danger and follow their situation on the website

You can stop your subscription anytime you want by sending a SMS containing the message STOP.

This campaign was set up in collaboration with

Amnesty International - Urgent Actions

Apple brings new DVD releases to mobile

Apple has announced that new movie releases will now be available in the iTunes store on the same day as their DVD release.  Movies can be previewed, purchased and watched on the iPhone, iPod classic, iPod nano with video and iPod touch devices.

Press release