Admob clarifies – Click through rates ..

Russell Buckley of admob clarifies on previous post for mobile click through rates

Hi Ajit

Russell of AdMob here. The original article rather overstated our click through rates, I’m afraid and Bena has clarified them in the comments section.

For the record, I quoted her about 0.5 – 1% as an average, but it was a noisy venue and I guess she misheard.

We have had much higher responses than this, but I don’t really think it’s very useful to “talk up” these as it will lead to disappointed advertisers. In other words, if you quote an average of 5% and the campaign delivers 2%, it’s going to lead to disappointment. If you quite 1% as an average and it delivers 2%, it’s going to lead to delight!

I also don’t think it’s really very helpful to focus on CTR anyway. The true measure is surely how well a campaign met its objectives and CTR isn’t always the key variable. As an example, some clients are looking for brand exposure, in which case CTR isn’t really relevant. And many look at Cost Per Acquisition, in which case a high CTR, with low subsequent purchase, isn’t very helpful either.

Finally, the problem with quoting very high average CTRs (even when they’re true) without releasing specific case studies to back them up, is that it can come across as mere hype. And the higher the CTRs become, the more it’s likely that people will be sceptical.

Cheers

Russell

Mobile Advertising Click Through Rates of 5%, 12%, 25% and 29%?

I note these stats on gomonews with great interest – and some scepticism Mobile Advertising Click Through Rates of 5%, 12%, 25% and 29%?. Any comments welcome.

>>>>

I am not the only one who finds the recent high profile comments about Click through Rates hard to swallow.

It started with Vodafone’s Ray de Silva quoting 25% at Mobile Advertising and Marketing Forum in London in January.

Then, at the MoMo Peer Awards Blyk’s CEO quoted 29%. Both Vodafone and Blyk have not shown any proof about this and they do sound like figures pulled out of that hat.

I spoke candidly to AdMob about the “reality” of these figures and there was agreement that these figures can only come out of very controlled circumstances or campaigns managed within a week or month. These are not the industry standard for on-going mobile advertising services.

As a market leader AdMob says that its click through rate on average is about 10 to 15% – which is impressive and on top of that realistic. But quoting figures as high as 29% is doing little that building up home for mobile advertisers in the market.

I would actually go so far as to say it’s like a “please advertise with me” number that sounds appealing but without justification or signing up – one will never know.

We know mobile advertising is a growing market. But quoting figures without substance is a bad move.

If you look at the chart above it’s from a campaign that I ran with AdMob. I made the same charts in more detail for campaigns run with Decktrade, Google and JumpTap and others.

By using examples of bkimedia.zinadoo.mobi and gomonews.mobi in campaigns run over 2 weeks I managed to track to see what campaigns were more effective by terms of cost and click through over each vendor. If you would like to know more, then contact me – but in the diagram above over two days the sheer volume of impressions on AdMob drove down the click-through vs cost ratio. The above is only a very small example and the click through rate for the campaign was about 2% – but then the cost of the campaign was also only pennies.

Finding a rational between cost vs click through vs impressions is the first step that companies need to take in the mobile advertising and marketing space before quoting unrealistic click through rates.

<<<<

Blogtalk 2008 – Privacy and Revocation two sides of the same coin – A new privacy model for the social web

I'm going to BlogTalk 2008 in Cork!

I am speaking at Blogtalk 2008 at the invitation of Dr John Breslin whose team does some pioneering work on the semantic web. This talk is the first of my ‘research/PhD’ talks – so dont heckle me if I make mistakes :) – however I am truly passionate about this topic and its taken me some time to come to the exact area I want to focus(My PhD is at ucl under the supervision of Dr Miguel Rio )

Overall I am interested in privacy and reputation systems. The specific area of work I am looking into is as follow(and is also the topic of my talk at Cork/Blogtalk conference). I am using Google opensocial APIs for this talk(and also a paper based on the same talk which will be submitted at this conference)

The topic is as follow

Privacy and revocation: two sides of the same coin – A new privacy model for the social web using a dual social networking and a network layer model

Conventional privacy models lean towards a closed, digital fortress. These can take many forms – linkedin introductions, signed applications, third party trust endorsers etc etc. However, these methods don’t fit the current open web ecosystem and more importantly a future web based ecosystem where there is a tendency to give up privacy especially by the younger generation.

Social networks are increasingly going to be the primary form of interface to the Web for many of us. For many teens, that’s already the case with facebook. Unlike the Open Web, the social network has some form of structure (profiles, messages etc etc). This structure can be used to create a model of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ as opposed to the existing digital fortress ecosystem based on (‘guilty until proven innocent’)

In this session, we examine the proposition that – privacy and revocation go side by side i.e. ‘I will be open to contact but in return – I choose to exercise the right to terminate that contact instantly if I need to’ (maximum privilege and instant revocation). In other words, strengthen the revocation – not the moat bridge .. Let people cross freely at the moat but always have the revocation engine as a defence mechanism

We will take a social network (social graph) and also a network levelperspective(certificate revocation, Identity etc)

Admittedly, any revocation engine may not work in context of the whole web but it may well work within the context of a social networkcoupled with network layer functions like Identity, certificate management function. Already, the spam features of Gmail work in a similar way(except Google does the revocation implicitly on our behalf).

The same mechanism can work within the context of any social network – mobile, P2P etc. In fact, revocation models already exist in networks like Qualcomm – however note that I am speaking of revocation by the individual and not by the provider)

This talk examines the impact of revocation and revocation engines as a privacy and security mechanism within the social network. We use examples from Google Open Social APIs to implement the model of maximum privilege and instant revocation.

Notes:

a) At a network level, revocation is concerned with certificate management and it’s implications

b) I will lay out some ideas – but I cannot cover all the aspects. So, any comments/feedback welcome since these ideas are being developed.

c) Google Open social APIs will be used to illustrate

d) Note that the locus of control rests with the user. I am advocating a model where the user has control(not an external provider like an Operator)

e) What can be revoked? – Both the application and the individual. To revoke applications – we need a lot more information about networks, application ids, application components, application wrappers etc

f) To revoke individuals – we need information about Identity, weak identity, certificates, their social network, degree of trust

g) Ultimately we need a page rank like algorithm(a trust matrix) along with a mechanism to revoke both applications and people. This spans many domains

h) I also intend to ultimately focus on P2P(peer live)

i) Other components like a learning system, PKI, Global incident handling (threat broadcast) are also a part of this concept

If you are interested in this topic, see books like this one

Trust, Complexity and Control: Confidence in a Convergent World (Hardcover) by Piotr Cofta (highly recommended) and / or email me at

ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com and meet me at Blogtalk

Carnival of the Mobilists #111

Carnival of the Mobilists #111 at the visionmobile blog. Dont miss the posts from Andreas and Peggy Ann Salz. Great work as usual by Andreas

Implementing Mobile Web 2.0 – The eleven architectures of Mobile Web 2.0

I have been thinking of this post for some time.

How do we actually implement Mobile Web 2.0?

In my book Mobile Web 2.0 , I have been talking of Mobile Web 2.0 as extending Web 2.0 to the Telecoms domain.

At a minimum, Web 2.0 can be characterised by three properties

a) The use of the Web as a backbone

b) Harnessing collective intelligence and

c) Creating a database/body of data that becomes richer as more users contribute to the system .

If we can fulfil as many of these three criteria through mobile devices – then we have a Mobile Web 2.0 ecosystem

Extending the three criteria to the mobile domain implies – harnessing collective intelligence from mobile devices coupled with the use of the Web as a backbone with an enriched data repository being maintained on the Web.

This leads to a typical ‘iPod like’ application.

mobile web2 charac1.jpg

Note that – on a personal note, I am a big advocate for the Web and Open standards. So ideally I would like the Web to extend to Mobile devices(and for me – the Web also includes Widgets i.e. not only browsing). However, to harness collective intelligence from mobile devices, you don’t need the Web itself to extend to mobile devices – it can very easily be done using any other client(such as Symbian or Java) as long as you have a Web backbone and maintain a body of data which is enriched by a growing user base.

This is all good .. however if mobile devices are merely relegated to capturing content and sending it to the Web, then we lose the uniqueness of the mobile device. I have called this the deep blue sea problem i.e. once content is sent from a mobile device to a site like Flickr – then it goes into the ‘deep blue sea’ of the web.

So, the question is: How does the mobile device adopt the ethos of the Web and yet maintain some unique advantages?

There are many approaches – not all will satisfy the three criteria but many come close.

One idea comes from TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) labs which I have blogged about before.

TIM.JPG

In this service, the context (in the form of a machine tag) is automatically suggested/appended to the picture/video before it is uploaded to the user’s favourite site(which the user chooses i.e. it is an open system). This adds value to the user and also enables the Mobile device to have a unique value proposition(In other words, let the content end up on any site the user chooses – as long as it goes through the value added gateway enabled via the device/operator). Pikeo from Orange and Shozu also follows a similar concept.

(Note that in the above scenario, the ‘database’ is still Flickr/ YouTube etc – but it is a service which users will pay for because it solves a critical problem – that of adding tags to pictures. Alternately, it could be easily ad funded because there is a ‘loading bay/processing area’ between the device and the web site – which is controlled by the Operator – and advertisements could be appended there)

So, that’s just one way .. what other implementations of Mobile Web 2.0 are possible?

The basic approach we are taking is to explore the implementation of Web 2.0 to the device and network stack

At least eleven implementations are possible. These are listed below and subsequent blogs will elaborate on these ideas.

1) The Operator implementation – This will be likely based on IMS/SDP. There are pros and cons of IMS(and yes there are applications that will need IMS as I have indicated in the post Where are the IMS applications? ). On first glance IMS and Web 2.0 have little in common – but market forces have conspired to bring these two ideas together especially because many IMS services can be implemented by Web 2.0(often for free ..). See an example Ajax (facebook application) and IMS mashup using a JSON-RPC bridge

2) The handset implantation – This approach is best indicated by Nokia’s Ovi strategy and the iPhone. The device is a strong brand in itself and in the case of iTunes and Ovi – the operator billing relationship changes with iTunes . With features like GPS and an excellent user interface, the devices can be a significant force in themselves especially if the relationship between the device and network becomes ‘one to many’ i.e. there are different types of networks(like Wimax, Wifi, cellular etc) and the customer has a choice to connect to them

3) The Enterprise network strategy – Best epitomised by Cisco’s foray into Web 2.0 based on recent acquisitions such as Tribes and Five Across (Why did Cisco buy Tribe AND Five Across ). The impact of this is not yet felt fully but I am watching it with great interest – especially because of its emphasis on consumer and on video(and not just corporate which is Cisco’s traditional domain). Cisco could easily deploy a SIP based device and extend it’s leverage into the mobile space

4) The Web players coming to mobile .. Best example of this approach is Android. Whole books can be written on this subject .. and in fact I am writing one :) Open Mobile ecosystems: The disruptive potential of open systems and open source in the mobile environment. For instance, Andreas of Visionmobile (a key contributor to the Open Mobile book )says on his blog Every application on Android is a Web 2.0 citizen.

5) Mobile Web 2.0 and Devices – This is a new area and was suggested to me by Jim Morrish – senior consultant at Analysys when he attended a session I chaired at an Osney media event in London . The basic idea is network access is ‘resold’ by devices. For example – when you acquire a subscription for Amazon Kindle – you don’t buy a phone or you don’t sign up to a contract with a network operator. You get a connection implicitly. In addition, browsers are being deployed to devices – for instance the Opera browser in the Nintendo Wii.

6) SCWS(Smart card web server) – A relatively new approach with the SIM cards being increasingly powerful and with the deployment of a web server on SIM cards. A preliminary blog at OMA smart card web server . More to follow based on some interesting demonstrations from Gemalto at MWC Barcelona

7) Identity and Security – Identity and Security can complement almost any service and a telecoms network has an advantage there. For instance – most people will trust their music preferences to Apple but when it comes to protecting minors from malicious content/users – may well trust the Operators

8) Browser APIs/DOM extensions – This one does pertain uniquely to the mobile browser. Inspite of rapid strides, the browser does lack some key elements – especially access to APIs. A whole raft of capabilities are possible via browser extensions(plugins) ranging from Location aware browsing to offline browsing. This is another area that can contribute to making the browser as a more integrated platform for Mobile Web applications

9) Voice Call detail records to create social graphs – The use of voice call detail records to create social graphs has been discussed before. After my talk at Mobile World Congress entitled Mobile Youth is a myth until it reflects the Youth’s social graph , I met Carlos Domingo (Director of Internet and Multimedia and director of the Barcelona R&D center at Telefonica.) BTW, It was a pleasure to meet Carlos in person – having emailed many times before and knowing that he is a fan of our books). We discussed that the Telcos do have a good understanding of their customers’ social graph. I agree in principle. Much to explore here – especially how that voice social graph can map to data(permissions, privacy etc etc) . . This topic is of interest to me from my research/PhD point of view as well. You can see an excellent academic paper for this topic Analyzing the Structure and Evolution of Massive

Telecom Graphs

10) Make it quicker / easier – users will always pay extra for the small improvements which make their life easier even when other(more cumbersome) ways exist which may be cheaper. There are many examples of this – but the best one I can think of is Sony Ericsson blog this concept (apparently even if you don’t have a blog it creates one for you on blogger – which is a nice feature!)

11) and finally, there is the concept of Umbrella social networks Beyond Web 2.0: The social web or the semantic web ? and the rise of the Umbrella social networks i.e. a social network which spans the Web and the Mobile web. I see users primarily interacting with the one (social) web and that web will make it the distinction between the Web and the Mobile Web transparent. This idea also relates to cloud computing

So, these are the techniques by which I believe Web 2.0 can map to Mobile devices. Of course there may be more .. and I welcome comments

Some notes:

a) There is no ‘one way’ – I believe a number of options are possible as I have outlined above – and indeed there could be more. In considering the ideas of Mobile Web 2.0 – I consider the idea of extending Web 2.0 to the Mobile domain(and Web 2.0 being defined primarily by the three ideas at the beginning of this post)

b) Many of the techniques involve big companies – for instance Gemalto, Cisco, Google, Apple, TIM, Amazon and so on. I think this is reflective of the traction needed to make this work across the value chain – and again Google Android is a good example of this approach(and by no means yet proven). Linux consortia have existed before – it is only with Google’s entry that Linux is taken far more seriously.

Even some excellent work done by big companies is not noticed much. I have blogged about Vodafone Betavine before and the betavine folk I know like Guillermo Caudevilla, Curro Dominguez, Dan Appelquist , Stephan Wolak, David Pollington and others have done some excellent work especially on Vodascript/Mobile script APIs front . (I don’t know how much of their work is public – but if you meet the betavine team – do ask them for demos!). However, few in the industry know about it. The point being – even with the leverage of Vodafone – it is not easy to get traction.

Comments welcome!

Bitpipes and Mobile World Congress: History does not remember the builders of the Silk Road – only it’s travellers and it’s traders ..

silkroad.JPG

Here are my impressions of the Mobile World Congress. I was in Barcelona for the whole week and met many great people – but did not attend any sessions (except my own of course Mobile Youth is a myth ) :) So don’t expect any insights from specific sessions .. but here are my impressions and thoughts from speaking to many in Barcelona and also meeting many of the vendors there.

Bit pipes

In 2008, we see an industry in turmoil – and in the keynote sessions that dreaded word ‘Bit Pipe’ was mentioned at length. “We must not allow ourselves to become bit-pipes and let somebody else do the services work,” Sarin warned.

But by common consensus, the company everyone wanted to meet was not an Operator – It was Apple. Like it or not – Google, Apple, Nokia and others drive the agenda today – and already with the launch of iPhone – the Operator is already a bit pipe. There may be no going back since iTunes is the billing mechanism for iPhone as I blogged before

The Silk road

Brian Dolan of Fiercewireless calls this the Dumb Pipe Nostalgia at the Mobile World Congress .. and I agree.

I have long studied history and archaeology . Let’s put this in a historical perspective.

The Silk Road is a series of trade and cultural transmission routes that were central to the cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting East and West by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from China to the Mediterranean Sea during various periods of time. The trade route was initiated around 114 BC by the Han Dynasty (114 BC) – from Wikipedia

To the many merchants, wandering armies, and adventurers of our ancient civilizations, the Silk Road served as an important communication link between cultures and economies. During the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), this 5000-mile stretch of trade routes was possibly the world’s first “Internet,” linking Asia to Europe and Africa.

(from Schools of California Online Resources for Education, History/Social Science SCORE H/SS)

Chinese scholars like Hsüan-tsang criss-crossed the length of the Silk road and unified the ancient civilization of India and China. He was not alone. Recent archaeological discoveries in the Tarim Basin (now in China) point to a ‘melting pot’ of cultures thousands of years ago.

There is a statue of Hsüan-tsang at the Great Wild Goose Pagoda

Hs%C3%BCan-tsang.JPG

However, history does not remember the builders of the silk road – commendable as the achievement was.

What does this tell us?

Builders of roads are rarely the same as the traders and the intellectuals who use the road.

Today the traders are the eBays and the intellectuals are the Googles. But the principles remain the same from the ancient times of the silk road. The builders are not the same people who add value to the network(silk road) – and a higher value will be added by the traders and the intellectuals who trod on those ancient pathways.

Why does this happen?

Simply put – if someone tried to monetise/block the Silk road – other roads would be found. (Think Wimax/WiFi here!). Human beings want to connect/to interact. Life will find a way. It always has.

The year of open systems and open source

I see three important trends of 2007 reflected at MWC and will be played out in 2008.

Besides all the talk of Bit pipes, some have said, this is the year of Linux. I don’t agree. Linux consortia have been there for a while. Google Open handset alliance(OHA) however is more than Linux – and it is a key development to watch. OHA is however – next year’s talking point in my view.

This year’s big success was not Linux(yet) but Webkit. 2007 was the year of Webkit. 2008 more so. In doing so – Webkit also made it the year of the browser and the open source.

The third trend is simply social networking. I blogged about the idea of umbrella social networks before. I think social networks will become important

To Conclude

The three things which will make an impact last year and this year are: Open source on mobile devices, social networks and the browser.

And Bit pipes? Think silk roads and the historical, social and technical trends that influence it!

Image: Silk road – http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/silkroad/; statue – wikipedia

Mobile Youth is a myth ..

Mobile%20Youth.jpg

This blog is based on my talk at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week on the theme of ‘Exploring the myths and realities of the Youth Demographics’.

The theme of my talk was: ‘Mobile’ Youth is a myth until it reflects the Youth’s social graph .. There are no ‘Mobile’ Youth – Just ‘Internet Youth’. Mobile is a medium – but there are others. The medium they will adopt most will be the one which reflects their social graph

Besides me, the three other speakers were: Matthew Key, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Telefonica Europe ; Javier Ferreira, Head of Mobile, EA ; June Bower, Vice President Marketing, Consumer Entertainment, Alctel Lucent labs all moderated by the very able Paul Goode, Senior European Analyst, M:Metrics

I was speaking about Mobile Youth and social networking. I initially thought that my views were contrarian – but I was surprised to see that was not the case.

Paul Goode (always a great source of mobile industry / mobile youth stats) said that – the under 24 years account for only 20% of the installed base of mobile subscribers(I think this was uk based). Also, June Bower said that the youth use the Internet as the benchmark (which was my point).

My talk was based on the concept of the Social graph and the key message of my talk was:

Myths:

We expect ‘Mobile’ Youth to drive revenues. However, at the moment – that is a myth since the Mobile environment is not open and interoperable and does not mirror the youth’s social graph

Reality:

Youth are mainly interested in connecting with peers. User generated content is the foundation of that connection (Web 2.0/Mobile Web 2.0). We need open and interoperable systems if we are to emulate the success of the Web and win the youth demographic

Vision

When we do succeed in mirroring the youth’s social graph, we get services that work – like Nokia Ovi and itsmy.

We see youth as .. loaded with money .. But from Israel to India, all they want to do is to communicate with their peers.

myth%20of%20mobile%20youth.jpg

The Mobile data industry is short-sighted and arrogant in claiming a whole demographic.

Do we think of IPTV youth, or fixed line youth, or cable TV youth or to be even more futuristic – wearable computing youth??

But with a Gollumesque glint in our eyes .. We want to own a whole demographic .. (My precious)!!!

But .. Where are the youth? In fact they are reading a book .. Problem is .. the book is facebook (Web 2.0) .. ( and by the way .. That means they are not downloading ringtones! )

So, why do Web 2.0 services work?

Because they mirror the user’s social graph and focus on user generated content (UGC is a form of communication). In contrast, the mobile services do not in most cases. All your friends are not on the same Operator – you don’t live your life like that! Since mobile services are not interoperable(excluding voice and SMS) – they do not reflect the social graph. The same applies to user generated content. UGC needs interoperable systems and that’s why the youth gravitate to facebook …

Brad Fitzpatrick of facebook defines “social graph” as “The global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”.

The key is: How closely is the youth’s real life social graph mirrored to their online graph (Internet and Mobile). That’s where facebook wins and ‘Mobile’ loses in winning the hearts and minds of the young ..

However, when the social graph is mirrored on mobile devices .. We get some very interesting services ..

Nokia Ovi defines the concept of circular entertainment and predicts that 25% OF ENTERTAINMENT BY 2012 WILL BE CREATED AND CONSUMED WITHIN PEER COMMUNITIES

“We think it will work something like this; someone shares video footage they shot on their mobile device from a night out with a friend, that friend takes that footage and adds an MP3 file – the soundtrack of the evening – then passes it to another friend. That friend edits the footage by adding some photographs and passes it on to another friend and so on. The content keeps circulating between friends, who may or may not be geographically close, and becomes part of the group’s entertainment.” Says Mark Selby, Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia.

Share on Ovi .. also reflects this idea. This works because it mirrors the social graph!! (There are no restrictions on sharing ..)

A smaller but fast growing service called Itsmy also reflects the same concept ..

At one million registered users, 2.5 million visitors. 16 million Mobile Internet downloads, 1.76 million UGC components(videos), 920,000 Mobile home pages, 2.8 million mobile sites – itsmy is a huge success story. In a recent survey of 8256 votes, 26% of the people(the second highest requirement) said that they wanted to find and meet people in their own area(again reflecting the social graph)

itsmy4.jpg

So, to conclude .. Don’t take the youth for granted – and at least for now, Mobile Youth is a myth! Just as wearable computing youth will be in future!

wearable%20computing%20youth.jpg

Images: Courtesy Google Images copyright owned by the respective owners where applicable.

Rich communication suite – MWC announcement ..

The Rich communication suite announcement has not got a lot of coverage. I think its very interesting and I am watching it with interest IMS Rich communication suite

Carnival of the Mobilists #110

Carnival of the Mobilists #110 is live from Debi Jones at Mobile Messaging 2.0. enjoy!

Mobile Multimedia Twitter

This blog explores the idea of Mobile multimedia twitter as an IMS application.

Continuing in the series of blogs about IMS and WEB 20 , we look at the idea of Mobile Multimedia Twitter (conceptually synonymous with Mobile video twitter/Mobile audio twitter)

Twitter is popular microblogging service .. and according to Wikipedia

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application.

The idea of a media rich twitter is not new and indeed loic-lemeur is building video twitter - which I watch with interest .. and of course .. Twitter itself is already ‘mobile’ in the sense that you can get updates via SMS.

However, to take the idea of Video twitter to mobile devices, would be a complex proposition .. and would need optimization of the network(hence an IMS application).

The idea of Mobile Video Twitter is interesting and could combine a number of different ideas – most of which we know already

a) Twitter itself i.e. short updates

b) Video

c) Maybe Presence

d) Maybe location

e) Maybe Push to talk

f) Client side optimization

However, most importantly – it will need the mobile network to be optimised.

Push to Talk has been around for a long time .. it’s biggest proponent being Nextel. However, PTT has not taken off in most places in the world – partly because it needs the network to be optimised .. and in most places, you end up delivering voice over the non optimised GPRS network – which is not really feasible from a performance and user experience standpoint as we can see from the experience of Orange which attempted to launch PTT back in 2004 without much success.

However, the networks themselves have come a long way since that time .. and indeed .. one of the most common questions we see today is Where are the IMS applications – which translates to Where are applications that can uniquely use the network (See my blog – Where are the IMS applications? for the reasons why)

One company who is working on such a service is Ecrio . (Disclaimer: I am an advisor to Ecrio) and their new services(in development and soon to be launched) can be treated as ‘Mobile Multimedia Twitter’. As I alluded to this before, to make this service really work – we have to combine client side optimization, network optimization(what I call as a true IMS application), possibly other features like PTT, presence etc.

Ecrio comes from a background of IMS applications especially from their work in Japan. Ecrio is the sole supplier of SIP-IMS client (FOMA handset) software to NTT DoCoMo with over 25 million handsets shipped. Their FOMA applications include Presence, Group and List Management and PushTalk. Outside of Japan, Ecrio is a supplier to multiple handset vendors of AT&T (Cingular) IMS Videoshare client software which is currently being evolved in scope for worldwide deployments under GSMA’s task force effort called Videoshare Phase 2 (See the Wikipedia entry for some very good insights on videoshare)

All this experience may serve them well in launching such a service

A secondary question is: Is there a need for Mobile Video Twitter?

The success of twitter comes down to the desire to communicate at the speed of thought(phrase borrowed from Paul Golding – a long time associate and friend) .

On Sat night, Paul, me and some others were stranded at Oslo airport due to heavy snow and as we looked out at the snow .. we speculated if the snowflakes were growing bigger(i.e. the storm was worsening) and how much de-icining would be needed to get the airport going again.(Paul claimed Jedi powers in reducing the size of snowflakes – a claim which I consider to be sacrilege :) )

Snow in Oslo

oslo%20airport.JPG

But more to the point ..

Here was a scene where I would like to send a video status to my friends because it was truly dramatic(see the pic above ..). Consequently, I think the need to ‘update status’ definitely exists – some do this more than others – but it’s an unmet communication need and the lower the friction – the greater the chance of adoption.

So, Will the idea of Mobile Video Twitter work for the Operator?

Certainly, it will need IMS i.e. network optimization(in other words – it is not a ‘web only’ application by definition). It will need client side optimization as well as network side optimization if the service is to conform to the idea of ‘communications at the speed of thought’. I have been sceptical of the idea of end to end (Person to Person) IMS and I don’t think Person to Person Mobile Video Twitter will work(yet). However, a Web terminated service can certainly work.

Interestingly, it is one of the very few services I have seen where an Operator can have a competitive advantage over a similar web application (because the service needs both device side optimization and network side optimization)

More promisingly, I believe also a need exists and the success of Twitter itself may pave the way for Mobile Multimedia Twitter.

As always thoughts welcome