Archive for July 2010
Originally posted at www.crossmedialab.nl on 28 June 2010
Perhaps I am a bit occupationally deformed when it comes down to (digital) media. That’s probably because I’ve been in the media business for three decades. That must have lead to full incorporation of media as such in my life. Sometimes it is hard to understand that what I regard as important may be of utter uselessness to others who just take the media as they are. But then again, media are in every people’s lives, whether one likes it or not
So, media are important. There is no doubt about that. All of us are informed and persuaded through the media, may they be analogue or digital.
So, one may think that I am not the only one who regards the media as a very relevant phenomena in our society. Every year a couple of hundreds of youngsters enter our venue in Utrecht to leave it again after an odd four years as communication professionals. Most of these young colleagues know hardly anything mentionable regarding digital media. That is a disgrace. One should think that with the up rise of digital media would cause a natural effect on young people who want to do ‘something’ with communication. Apparently that thought is a no go.
Our fabulous education Digital Communication can’t get enough students. Kids who need to choose what to do when they grow up hardly ever consider that the future of communication and media is in digital, more specifically mobile. At least, according to me.
To wrap up, MOCOM 2020 has published this:
Approximately 60% of the world’s population has a mobile device used predominately for voice communication;data still remains a small component. Mobile communications are a delivery and transactional vehicle that fosters job creation in emerging economies and can transform other industries such as health, banking oreducation. Adirect correlation exists between increased mobile phone penetration and increased macro-and micro-economic development.
The vision for the future of mobile communications is a fully interconnected world where every citizen will access, create and use content. This is the fastest growing technology in the history of mankind and is also the most effective technology known to date to enable individuals, particularly those at the base of the pyramid, to participate in the global economy.
The nearly 4 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world are realizing multiple macro- and micro-economic and social benefits. This will only continue as more individuals become connected to the global economy and more products and services are deployed. Council Members coined the phrase “Humanity’s Nervous System” to describe this interconnected and highly personalized world.
As an industry, mobile communications are relatively recession-proof and will continue to experience growth, create jobs and unlock innovation. Economic crises result in change – as such, mobile communications will play a huge role in reducing current inefficiencies and raising the productivity of both individuals and businesses.
Three fundamental dimensions impact the future of mobile communications:
1. Access: the ability for individuals to utilize both voice and data mobile communications ubiquitously
• • Key enablers for access include:
– cost reduction of services (infrastructure sharing, handset recycling)
– a global regulatory framework with the removal of mobile specific taxes and over-regulation
• • Key uncertainties include:
– whether universal access is a fundamental human right
– whether we should strive for regulated universal access or defer to market forces
2. Applications/Platforms: the value added services and capabilities available to end-users which would be an extension of the larger public Internet
Key applications for improving the state of the world would include health, education and financial services.
• • Key enablers include:
– an open and interoperable system which creates opportunities for “bottom-up” innovation
– the increasing sophistication of handsets and user experience
• • Key uncertainties include:
– why there hasn’t been greater uptake in health, education and financial service mobile applications given rapid global subscriber adoption
– regulation with mobile banking and financial services
– who pays: financing for health and education
– the literacy challenge of those who only require a phone for voice services
3. Data Ownership (and Associated Personal Rights): the information generated and gathered on individual behaviours and transactions.
This wealth of information holds tremendous transformative potential but clear rules and transparent regulatory frameworks are needed to ensure personal wealth creation and
the prevention of abuses.
• Key enablers include:
– ownership: you own your own data
– accountability: a “post-privacy view” using watermarks to create an audit trail of who uses it
– use of anonymous and aggregated data to create new socially intelligent applications (i.e. health, urban logistics, government services)
• • Key challenges include:
– establishment of a global framework for data usage and protection
– general awareness of this dimension and its broad and fundamental power
– privacy and security of data and application
– liability of data ownership or management
Originally posted at www.crossmedialab.nl on 16 May 2010. I have added the comments.
A couple of weeks ago NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Corporation) announced that they would focus on Internet applications solely instead of forcing themselves into complicated and expensive different apps for different operating systems. At the first glimpse one may think that to be a sort of strange decision. One would expect this mastodon of digital innovation to serve as many people as possible. With all those different OS’s in the market of smart phones and other either mobile or portable devices, has NOS gone silly? Don’t they want to reach all capita? Have they no obligation to offer content to all in The Netherlands? The answer is: YES, they do. And that’s exactly why they chose to develop Internet applications instead of bringing all those different apps to all those different operating systems. And that’s smart, as far as I’m concerned. From now on everybody can obtain the contents NOS produces, aggregates and distributes, regardless of what type of OS one may have embedded in one’s smart phone. Thank God for that. Dutch public broadcaster is bringing Internet to the people – free Internet content – instead of supporting the original device and software makers. Now that’s what I call a true neocracy.
The other day I talked with a bloke who wanted to admire my iPhone as he saw me using the little rascal in public. I was making a phone call. Can you believe it? I actually used my phone to make a call. The guy had heard about iPhones and had seen them in print on posters from operators but never had seen a real one in full operation. It is hard to believe but it’s true, this story. But hey, let us not forget that people like me are like spearheads when it comes down to modern communication. So I showed the thing to him. At a certain moment I told him that I was sorry for not being able to show a lot of apps as I had not downloaded many. Apart from a Layar and QR button, my interface only offers the original buttons that came with the machine. “Why would you want them?”, he noticed. “Well”, I replied, “they, uuuh, well they come in handy. You see, here I keep my contacts, there my photo’s. That’s Youtube and next to it my calendar. Then, there’s the stocks and the compass. There is also a button for the camera, notes, maps, the weather, a Dictaphone, the clock, Safari, calculator and iTunes”, I explained the multi-color display. “And if I slide to the next page, there are some more buttons and apps. Great, hu?” They guy asked me which of these buttons I use most. I had to think. Could it be that I use the phone and Safari button most? I know I have used the compass once. Normally I know quite well where I am and I have not had any directions to go 51° North East during the last forty years or so.
Stop. I’m being over-rational. Had I been a boy scout, that compass would most certainly serve the purpose. I have heard that the US Army is using iPhones in distant Afganistan. Apparently the device is of great use to them. The machine is small, light weight and can be loaded with many relevant applications for soldiers in the cause of battle. True enough (but don’t drop it in the water). Of course I am being over-rational but I am trying to make a point.
For common civilians such as myself, many apps are not relevant. Stop again. I should not generalize my personal issues. For me reading my email on my phone is actually quite relevant.
Back to the Internet and giving it back to the people. I believe that it is the people who should decide how to use and what to use from the Internet. Currently, we, as the people, are pretty much forced into whatever marketing makes us need. As a marketer and Internet observer, I believe that marketing is making big mistakes. Sooner or later people will not accept push mechanisms any more. Power to the people!
Originally published at www.crossmedialab.nl on 18 February 2010.
Communicating, interacting and participating by means of mobile apparatus is booming; social networking, banking, navigating, watching (delayed) television. The mobile communication trend seamlessly fits in the development in which more than one media is available and used (crossmedia) to provide in the (information) needs of civilians and consumers. It also has an impact on the social and commercial development.
The figures make thing clear, a string growth is visible, say not just the statistics but also observations. Have a look around. How many times do you see someone walking in the street with a cell phone glued to his ear? How many times do you see somebody looking at a mini screen in the train, headset plugged in? Are we on our way to the ultimate individualization in which personal services are offered, used and found normal? What is this with mobile? More and more advertisers add mobile as a media extension, a new channel, to their strategies – mobile as in mobile internet – while SMS is still the most popular service we use (apart from the good old making a phone call and using our cell phone as an alarm set). So what will be the effect of innovations like Layar, QR, and what’s next? In other words, where are we heading for? How mobile will we be? And, side line because I’d like to make up my mind from a crossmedia perspective, what will be the crossover effect of mobile communication on different media.
Big questions. And that’s why we organized a full afternoon to discuss these issues with some experts and an audience of, happy to say, students, colleagues and representatives from the field. I’ll report on that event separately.
So, what is mobile? What do we want with our mobile phones? What should a device like that do, now and in the future? What does mobile mean to us? I’d say there are roughly two perspectives. The one starts off from an offerer’s perspective of mobile apparatus and services and the other from a user’s perspective. The hustle about offer and demand is as old as the human race; do we create a market or do people want new stuff? Are iPhone apps to enrich our lives or that of Mr. Jobs?
Anyway, mobile communication seems to be a phenomenon that has embedded in our society; it’s here to stay. The Almere police department sends her burghers text messages if something bad happens. People get notification when an amount was paid to their bank account. Hip dudes watch Tiesto on their mini screens and lord knows how many people stare at their screens while waiting for the bus. Big deal?
We see the rise of a global mobile communication industry, expanding the traditional industry’s quittances of selling devices, networks and data streaming. Over a million iPhone app’s have been downloaded so far. Nokia’s Ovi is booming. People buy their paperbacks at Bol.mobi, check their account at Rabo.mob. People ‘ping’ each other as the flat fee operator subscription doesn’t charge them extra and show their Blackberry as if they show their engagement ring to good friends, their peers, their tribe.
Marketers have a hard time, these days. Should they focus on young people? Baby boomers? Or rather tap into the mainstream classes with all their limitations, bigots and mediocrity? Who are they (we?) doing this all for, we the digital and mobile elite? What life-enrichment do we offer? Which value do we create for whom?
Questions, questions and questions. One thing I believe is that our society will change gradually because of the implications of incorporating mobile communication in our lives. In fact, mobile communication is one of the enforcers of creating neocracies. I guess.
Originally published at www.crossmedialab.nl on 31 December 2009.
For the first time since many years I have watched our queen’s Christmas speech and listened. (http://player.omroep.nl/?aflID=10445151). I have never been a real fan of monarchism as a whole but, hey, what the hack, at least we in Holland have someone who’s keeping us together, haven’t we? But now our first lady from her ivory tower told ‘her’ people that we are actually getting less social. We have no more ‘nabuurschap’ (close social companionship, ‘talkoot’ in Finnish, for all that matter). The reason according to HRH is digital media. Can you believe HRH said this? Where did she get that royal wisdom?
HRH refers to our actual neighbors, the folks who live next door. She is afraid that we are loosing touch. As in that we don’t know them anymore. I suspect that HRH has nothing to do with neighbors in the first place. A propos. Have you ever been bothered by over-enthusiastic neighbors trying to either win your heart or at least a firm position in your daily goings-about? Apart from this, HRH most likely possesses a cell phone and may occasionally read some form of (citizen) journalism made public in some sort of social medium (digital).
HRH’s speech was on Christmas day and the tone of voice was one of utter disbelieve, at least for me. Our queen told us that, because of SMS, MMS, and what have we – Twitter – our world is growing less social. Unfortunately she neglected in giving any scientific proof of this mumbling.
Two days later (27th December, 2009) Désanne van Brederode, a popular philosopher and columnist who referred to good ol’ Bea’s speech that emphasized on ‘individualism which is going on and is killing our society these days and digital media are very much taking care of this’ (Bea’s words).
Can you believe? Who has ever heard of such ridicules? Who has been whispering all that baloney into those royal ears? Who has been feeding our royalty with spam? I humbly ask: Who is writing HRH’s speeches these days?
Following the media during the Christmas holiday, I realized that a lot of commentators more or less adapted to HRH’s point of view. It is a fragile issue. Probably we are all trying to understand what is going on and some people came up with the warm-hearted idea of lonely people. It’s obvious. It’s Christmas. So let’s reflect a bit on what has happened this year and proclaim that we are neglecting our companions. And as we are into it, let’s blame progress – read digital media – as some wannabe researchers and other oracles have dominated that, because of those devious media, fast groups of people are turning less social by the hour. As Van Brederode says: ‘a moralistic present under the Christmas tree’. She finished her speech with an ode to individualism. And I couldn’t agree more with her. Is it not that we become a group, a tribe, because of our different individualities?
I strongly doubt the idea that media, be they digital or analogue, influence basic human social behavior. Would I turn less social – or, to put it in HRH’s words more individualistic (which, to her believes is not a good development) – by reading the morning paper or entering a thought in my (paper) diary? Okay, media, or better the contents in the media, appear to have an effect on public opinions. We have seen enough good and bad examples over the years. But as far as I am concerned, no medium has ever made anyone more or less social, let alone loosing touch with our neighbors.
Pandora’s Neocracy number 2, the first in this new decade, therefore, for me is hope. The hope that no man will be influenced by the contents of public speeches and taking it for granted that a high positioned stand-alone individual tells us about daily life, why it so very wrong and that we should not deal with ‘moralistic group pressure’. Hopefully we are too much individuals to fall for that trap. Together we are strong, each one of us.
Originally posted at www.crossmedialab.nl on 28 October 2009.
I came upon a nice picture of a layar (that’s not a mistake. It is the commercial name of virtual layers on mobile phone applications) on a mobile phone. We see Keizersgracht in Amsterdam on a nice autumn day through a VodaFone branded cell phone. We can look through the phone and the apparent Funda site, the Dutch real estate site. Intriguing. In the same image, we read information regarding a house at Prins Hendrikkade, costing about 349,000 Euro. As an example of what’s coming up, I’d say it is a great picture. From a reality point of view, I tend to say that this mash-up is a hoax. The picture we see is indeed Keizersgracht. The bridge you may spot at the end of the canal is Leidsegracht. It is where I walk the dog twice a day. The shot is taken at the bridge of Leidsestraat. Prins Hendrikkade is by no means even close to this point. I know because I live just behind the left-side houses. And, a propos, there’s no way one might acquire a flat for that price in the Prins Hendrikkade area (which happens to be near Amsterdam Central Station and Nemo. But, who cares. VodaFone has made its point.
Of course, layers like the one in the mock up are gaining territory as we speak. So, what is the relevance of talking about these innovations in mobility? Well, I am delighted to say that I have been working on the concept of a minor. Not just me of course but I have written the concept based on brainstorms with some colleagues. Boudewijn Dominicus, our former educational manager, instigated the whole idea. Clever thinking, Boudewijn! So, hopefully, we are on the road with this educational innovation September 2010 (in terms of higher eduction, that’s fast).
The minor is called Mobile Business Design. There is an addition: ‘in a crossmedial context’. That’s obvious to us but may not necessarily be to outsiders. There is a lot happening on the mobile front. It is not just about layers (layers). It is more about people using their phone to do other things than what they have done so far. I on’t really know where this is heading to but it sure feels exciting. So, we are planning a couple of things that will improve our professional education in crossmedia and digital communication with knowledge about mobility and the (assumed) cross-overs with other media.
The first thing we plan is what we call an Encounter. We hope to be able to cooperate with esteemed players in the field of mobility and creative industry (we have not asked these players so I’m afraid I can’t mention their names at this stage. Sorry). During this Encounter, a half-day brainstorm session, we will deepen issues that deal with the near future of development of mobility, what the industry requires as mobile and crossmedia competencies the next couple of years and how our faculty and research group can anticipate on this.
The next thing is that we refine the concept of the minor Mobile Business Design which has been sent to the Hogeschool’s auditors. What will happen after this, I really have no clue at the moment but for me personally, I’m happy to say that it would be a jewel to my crown.
I haven’t talked about the relationship of mobility and crossmedia yet. I recon it is obvious. Maybe, part of the invitation text for the Encounter may help: “buzz developments succeed each other faster than warp speed. And turbulence rages on. Trends abide as unthought-of heirs of a recent history. Will Twitter stay or are we already in for a new social medium that will enable us to tell the world where we are, what we are, who we are and what we do? Or will the next big thing be something completely different? Something that will facilitate us to be anywhere and nowhere at the same time: “beam me up Scotty”? And looking at all these developments, how can we anticipate?”
Hoaxy mash-ups or not, we are all very sure that we stand at the mere beginning of new exciting developments in tooling our human communication. And I am happy to be able to architecture these accretions into our professional education.
Originally posted on 23 September 2009 at www.crossmedialab.nl.
According to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) 97% of the population of men and women between 12 and 75 years have used the Internet in 2008. That is an amazing number, I’d say. 20% uses the Internet at somebody else’s place, like at a friend’s place, 47% uses the Internet at work and 18 % in school. 6% uses the Internet somewhere else, meaning in an Internet café, hotel, etc. So, what do these figures tell us? To be frank, I wouldn’t know.
These statistics tell us that Holland is extremely well covered with infrastructure. The Dutch are superbly interlinked with the rest of the world through the wonders of the Internet. But my core question is whether the Dutch are literate enough to deal with such formidable connectivity. The sole question is whether people can actually deal with all of these goodies from technology.
A couple of days ago, I read an article in ‘Parool’, our nation’s one and only city newspaper, about the number of illiterate people in The Netherlands. I was astonished that over 1.5 million (out of approx. 16.5 million) Dutch citizens are not able – or hardly – to read, let alone write. I had always thought that Holland was a country of cultivated culture with suburb (and foremost) writers, painters, documentarists, intellectuals, merchants and bankers, all in all, literate intellectuals. But roughly one out of 10 ‘Dutchies’ simply don’t know how to read and write! Yet, these assumed dumbos do something with the Internet, I presume, at least according to statistics. Are they only looking at pictures, or what?
As a pedigree marketer, I wonder what can be made out this latent paradox. Is it so that a fast minority of Internet users is literarily illiterate? And if the issue of illiteracy is a common yet taboo-sized issue, can it be altered? And, should it be?
If we compare the amount of visuals used in all different kind of media today with the amount of, say, twenty years ago, we observe an astonishing growth of pictures. For me, this trend raises associations with walking in medieval churches and looking at all the fine paintings on the walls. They show stories to an alleged illiterate audience (those old time comics were planned for the people then, not now).
In my marketing lectures I often say that the common medieval guy saw less visual messages in his entire life than a modern person sees in a day. Pictures are important nowadays. But pictures are not text. And people need understanding of text if they desire to write a SMS, an email, a blog entry; any form of participating in response facilitating media requires literacy. Yet, with apps like Twitter, how much text does one actually need? The answer: 140 characters. The rest is picture. But then again, every picture tells a story. Paradox revisited.