Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Positive thinking - the not so positive side

A fantastic illustrated talk about institutionalised optimism and its dangers.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Augmented reality maps

Every once in a while a piece of technology makes me gasp out loud. This is one of them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mobile aided qualitative and quantitative research conference in Berlin - 2/3 December 2010

I am flattered to have been asked to be a keynote speaker at this event on the 2nd and 3rd of December.

If you are interested in being there, I can wangle you with a 50% discount.

See you in Berlin!

Smoothly does it

Two weeks ago we had a kick off meeting with a credit card client here in Brussels and I had my key team members for each market in town to meet the client. All arrived on Sunday and I made a delicious family Sunday dinner with wine, dessert and a cake to celebrate my wife tolerating 11 years of marriage to me.

On finishing dinner, Varinder went to prepare the cake while I brought my laptop to the table to demo the App and web App. I had my iPhone at the ready and the website displayed on my screen.

My colleagues, slightly too relaxed after all the wine we had downed, looked on.

Me - So here I am videoing you all and the food on the table... Now I click 'use'... now I choose the poject... the themes... and click 'send'! And in a second we'll see the entry appear on the website.

The team - *Eyes on stalks*

Me - *Confident smile*

Me 4 minutes later - *Less confident smile*

Me 7 minutes later - *Head clouds up*

Then something happened to me. I snapped. I jumped on the phone to the developers. I forgot about the cake Varinder brought to the table to celebrate our anniversary. I forgot about our guests.

Me to developers - I though you tested this?

Developers - We did! And so did you! Have you checked your log in details?

Me - They are correct.

I went to settings and re-checked. All looked fine.

Then came the words which completely embarrassed me.

Developers - Log in is case sensitive!

I checked settings again to find I had used upper case with the first letter of my email address and password. By then two hours had elapsed, colleagues had left for their B&B for the night and Varinder was in bed.

But I was so relieved and happy that it was not an API issue or something even more horrible.

The App works! It works so well that I have started to worry about other things to do with capturing events. Concerns such as: how good will users be at holding the camera steady? Might sound trivial but most video cameras are stabilised. The iPhone, Blackberry and Android are not. Shaky video is incredibly painful to watch and analyse. Especially when you have hours to go through. And although it is possible to smooth video over using Final Cut and the like, it's another layer of time and money which the app designed to eliminate.

Last week I jumped on the call to my Denmark director. I wanted to know how good our people would be at filming with these devices. I also mentioned that there was nothing even remotely helpful to do with filming tips on Google using iPhones. And that we had an opportunity to create a 'how to' film for videoing with the App and devices.

The problem isn't fixed place filming where you can stand in one place and hold steady. What was worrying me was when we had to follow people around. Every time I tried to film and walk the result was all over the place.

Bernabe (Denmark director) reassured me that there was no problem with filming on the move and that it would be easy to teach respondents too.

Make me a film; show me, I asked.

Below is a short clip he sent me using the App. See what you think. I'm pretty happy with it. Question is: what will people use more - photos or video? Watch this space.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Are we there yet? An Invitation

One thing I have come to learn about the app development world is that your work is never complete. Our App seems to be in permanent Beta as we add new functionality, test it, get feedback and test it some more before a new idea for new functionality pops into our heads and the cycle is repeated.

That said, we are a day away from completing the final major support beam which holds up our App and web App: permissions. Permissions will allow you to invite hundreds of users to take part in projects and view entries - the instructions and themes simply appear on their app and they can decline or accept.

Functionality such as 2D barcode reader/project launcher will also appear this week depending on how fast iTunes approvals works this time.

I would like to therefore cordially invite you to play with our App and web App. Note the iPhone version comes in free consumer and €9.99 pro versions. And the web App, for the time being, for evaluation purposes, is free. Please go here to register and download the apps. If you need the Blackberry version, please contact me and I'll get it to you along with instructions. The Android version will be ready in November.



Monday, October 4, 2010

Start a dialogue with your consumers - one to one

Here's a build on last week's post about 2D or QR barcodes.

Those of you who know, our Web Application allows project managers to create a project, insert themes/questions/topics and then 'push' the project to an unlimited number of colleagues or consumers. The difficulty will be the need to have a panel or list of emails willing to participate prepared (and paid for) in advance.

A 2D barcode will allow something altogether different to happen. Place a code on any brand with a project embedded within the code. The brand is a jar of Nutella in our case. On scanning the code using our EthOS pro or consumer app, a project is launched for the user to accept or reject. And so begins a dialogue with the consumer - which may include questions such as: a) Show us how you eat your Nutella; b) Tell us why you buy the size of jar you buy? and c) Have you ever recycled the jar? Show us how. Yes you may need to incentivise consumers with cash or vouchers or a competition. But the point is that you begin to create your own community of engaged users who want to talk about the way your brand fits into their lives.

Here is a film we found very hard to make...