New Technologies

Pinterest -To Show Off Your Clients

Pinterest is a great app for collecting and displaying images, in the form of boards, that you have discovered around the Internet. If you're a home decorator, you may use it to display interesting projects you have doen or work you admire; if you involved in manufacturing, you may use it to to display end-products, processes or staff; universities can use it to aggregate images from multiple social media platforms and websites. There are hundreds upon hundreds of decent uses of Pinterest. Here's one way that we are using Pinterest on the Marketing Tom website - flagging up companies who have have sent staff on our social media courses. At the moment we have simply created the image using PhotoShop - one day soon I look forward to seeing the Pinterest API coming out.

Revolutionising Mobile Payments

This Autumn, Marketing Tom Media will start rolling out its latest course - the CAM Diploma in Mobile Marketing. We have been successfully delivering the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing for over two years now and are really excited to offer this new course. Whilst developing the course material we have come across some really neat apps and we plan to share them with readers over the coming months. Here's one that you may not be too familiar with in the UK - Mobile payments. Mobile Payments have been around for a little while but now companies like Square, PayPal and Google Wallet are really starting to ratchet up their marketing push on these exciting new products. We have identified a few videos from some of the big players to give you a flavour of what is on the horizon for UK retailers and shoppers in the months to come. We're sure you will start seeing a big increase in shops and other businesses who employ these services.

Here's Google Wallet

and here's Square:

And this is the UK's new kid on the block, Mpowa:

Useful links
Starbucks backs Square for mobile payments in shops

The New ‘You’ Economy

Over the past couple of weeks I have been playing around with an application/website called Airbnb. It's a service that gives ordinary home-owners the ability to rent their homes direct to other people. This means that your house in London, Paris, New York or Munich can appear on the Airbnb website, along with pictures, prices, maps and more and be seen across the globe. There are options to rent the whole house or part of it; throughout the year or just for part of it and it all comes with peer reviews and social media plug-in functionality.

When you look at it carefully we could see the beginnings of a major shake-up of an industry here. Instead of paying £250 a night for a hotel room in Paris, you can now pay £100 for an apartment and get a true experience of Paris. In many cases the owners provide you with welcome baskets, information and sometimes work you around the neighbourhood. Now, that can't be bad can it? A company like Airbnb also employs a review system which gives you rich, peer-to-peer feedback and helps you make better renting decisions.

The system is quite interesting in that both the owner and guest pay money to Airbnb - 3% and 6-12% respectively. They will also send a professional photographer out to you free of charge in most cases. I can see that a service like this could start to create some real headaches for hotel chains, booking companies and the like.

Another website that has caught my attention over the last month or so is Kickstarter. The Kickstarter website offers 'creative' people the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the wider public and ask for funds to turn their project ideas into reality. These pledges are not loans or investments (shares) in a company and in return people are offered 'goodies' - more often than not products associated with the company - watches, cd's, art, etc.

Take the example below from Pebble Watch, these guys were looking for funding in for the following reason:

With your support, we can bring Pebble onto wrists worldwide. While we're close to entering production, your contribution will help fund:

- Production tooling
- Large component order
- Global Bluetooth certification

They gave a great pitch and in return generated more than $10 million when they only wanted $100,000. These pledges took the form of the standard pebble watch (before it had gone on sale), coloured watches, developer packs and distributor packs. One further point to note is that unless you reach your pledged total, none of the money will go to your cause. What's really neat about this concept is that budding entrepreneurs can now access funds without having to hand over equity to investors or get stung for high interest rates on loans. It's yet another example of a website which is starting to shake up (all be they ripples at the moment) an industry.

One area which has been around a little while is peer-to-peer lending. The concept is that instead of going to a bank to loan money, you simply go to a site like Zopa and loan it from the general public at artes substantially lower than the high street banks. Individuals are able to invest sums of money, divided into smaller pots of money to reduce risk, to people who require loans. There is obviously a risk involved for lenders (they have lost 0.5% of all monies loaned) but the returns can be quite handsome - 7.5% on a loan of £5000 for example.

The amount of money loaned by market leader Zopa is over £210 million to date and the UK Government is so keen to see business sites, using the same model, lending to UK companies that it is to invest £100 million into these sorts of companies. With poor interest rates for investors, higher rates for borrowers and general distrust of banks increasing, we may see another industry facing a shake-up.

One other area which you can't fail to have seen is the huge rise in sites like Gumtree and Netmums, which allow you to sell unwanted items direct to your peers. Having recently moved house, it has been a revelation to me the amount of enquiries you get for items which otherwise you may have taken to a charity shop or the skip. I am sure that the more that people use these sites to sell all manner of things, the more likely it is that some of them will see opportunities to sell 'new' products which could have further impacts on traditional channels.

To conclude, we are definitely seeing a rise in the general public 'stepping up to the plate' and offering their services, lending money or pledging funds. This will definitely have an impact on traditional offline and online channels and potentially makes for more dynamic marketplaces. And, I suppose, this can't be a bad thing.

LeWeb Highlights

If you didn't get a chance to go to LeWeb 2011, you may be interested to check out their YouTube channel which features over 130 sessions in HD format. Highlights include Eric Schmidt talking about the new Android features (love the facial recognition unlock feature), Karl Lagerfeld and the founders of Spotify and Evernote.

Could DailyBooth Be A 2011 Hit?

I was watching Brian Pokorny of DailyBooth's presentation at Web 2.0 Summit yesterday. If you don't know about DailyBooth, the video below should shed some light.

DailyBooth, I suppose, is a bit like Twitter but uses real-time photostreams instead of text. Here's DailyBooth in their own words:

Simply put, DailyBooth is "Your Life in Pictures". This community of self expression connects people to their friends in real-time through the use of pictures and status updates.

The folks at DailyBooth also say that the iPhone 4 is the ideal companion for photos as it has two built in cameras. Dailybooth likes to break down mobile photo apps as those that are back-of-the-phone apps - Twitpic and Instagram and those that are front-of-the-phone apps - DailyBooth. This app certainly seems to have been rapidly adopted by younger people and if you check out the stream of photos in their real-time map, you will see that the majority of their users are young people (let's call them the under 25's). In his presentation Brian Pokorny quotes a sociologist "over 25's see Internet as destination to put content up, whereas younger people view it as an extension of themselves." It also seems that people are using webcams in their pc's/laptops and Macs to connect, too.

Having taken a look at what people are posting and how they're interacting, I have a couple of observations. First off the majority of photos tend to be of people sitting in front of their monitors, taking pictures (along with some thought) and posting it. Maybe, it's because I'm not in this under 25 category but I can't see myself doing this. The idea of just taking a picture of myself and firing it online doesn't appeal to me and probably wouldn't appeal to my friends. Secondly, I'm not sure how people start building up a network on DailyBooth (like on Twitter) or is the idea that you take your friends and colleagues online with you and simply connect with them. The reason it may appeal to youngsters is that it is a natural extension to text-messaging (of which they are heavy users) and this adds a certain richness to that experience.

That said, I do like the fact that it is instant and that people are leaving photo comments on each others photos. Personally, I would like to see more examples of people using this app to connect with friends outside of their bedroom/home office - possibly with snaps at restaurants, on holiday, at events, in bars, in the office. We often find that these new apps are often taken up by youngsters and then the 'oldies' or laggards start using them.

Get LeWeb Streamed Live To Your PC, iPhone, iPad…

Today is the start of the 2-day LeWeb Conference, which is the main European Internet event in the calendar. According to their website:

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.

In 2008 and 2009 I was able to make it but this year I am unable to attend. Still, I will have it streaming in the background and looking forward to seeing Marissa Meyer, Gary Vaynerchuk, Matt Mullenweg and the folks from MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. Some of the panels that have caught my eye are: From Analog Artists to Digital Mainstream , How Social is Changing the Gaming Industry and How to Leverage Social Networking in your Business. I have added the Ustream live feed below. If you'd like to join the conversation on Twitter, the hashtag is #leweb.

Apple Again Changes The Playing Field With The MacBook Air

Apple again seems to have raised the bar - this time with the introduction of its new MacBook Air. As many of us are aware Apple products are always game-changers. Think iPhone. Think iMac. Think iTunes. Think iPad. I was thinking the other day that their products seem to come out at certain time intervals. First you buy the iMac for desktop solutions and don't need to buy another for a while; then they introduce the iPhone and sort out your digital mobile communications; then they introduce the iPad and sort out your digital mobile consumption and now they introduce the MacBook Air to sort out your mobile digital office.

The MacBook Air seems to have taken laptops to another level - it introduces touchscreen to your touchpad/mousepad and the next phase, App Store, will add elements of the iPad to your iMac and MacBooks. I suppose you have to wonder what they will do next?

Veeple – Interactive Video

Everyone is aware of YouTube and thousands of individuals and companies upload and their hosted videos every day. Over the past year or so online video has undergone some changes, with companies like Viddler allowing you to add annotations to videos and now another, Veeple, allows videos to be made that are fully interactive. Let's say that you discuss a product brochure in a video - Veeple lets you hold up the brochure and make it into a clickable link. Or imagine that you mention a product or service - Veeple lets you click on a link (within the video) to find more information. Hold up a rugby ball and someone clicking on it will be taken to the Rugby World Cup site.

If you'd like to see how this company is taking video to another level, check out this interview between Robert Scoble and Scott Broomfield.

Ten Things I Like About My iPad

In July I purchased an Apple iPad with WiFi and 3G. Having just come back from holidays and used it quite extensively I must say I am still very pleased with the purchase - even though it did cost £599. Very quickly, here are some of the things that have particularly impressed me.

1. The fact that it fires up so quickly. Having used a laptop for so long you get used to waiting for up to 5 minutes for the thing to load. The iPad can get and download emails within 5-10 seconds! Google queries in next-to-no-time.

2. Multi-touch capability. Expand, open, move - all done with your fingers. I know the same capabilities exist with the iPhone but the iPad takes it to another level.

2. Keyboard. Though the keyboard is touchscreen and it is smaller than a standard laptop keyboard, you can quite easily write up emails, do spreadsheets and even write up documents with no problem.

3. The ability to be able to download, view and respond to emails in with great viewing panel and keyboard. I did quite enjoy driving past the local internet cafe in Spain to download my latest emails via WiFi (they never changed the code)!

4. I must say I did read a couple of books whilst away and loved the fact (with the Kindle app anyway) that you could press a word to find out a meaning or a stat. The page said "Riga" and straightaway I knew Riga it "is the capital and largest city of Latvia, a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltics, and an important seaport, situated on the mouth of the Daugava." It also has 709,145 .

5. Huge app library. It's great that you can select so many apps according to your tastes/needs. The Genius for iPad makes it even more intuitive.

6. Crisp screen, very good sound.

7. It's lightweight. When carrying it in a shoulder bag I didn't even realise it was there.

8. Ability to tilt the screen around according to the angle you're viewing it.

9. With 3G it is great to able to fire up the app from pretty much anywhere in the UK and get information sent directly to you. Great if you're out house-hunting, want a coffee and need to read a paper, need to get emails out fast and much more.

10. Battery life is great. This device will go for hours before needing a recharge.