Friday, October 24, 2014

'Dorothy' Wearable Technology

This is a fun concept, and a good illustration of the sort of thing that wearable technology could do.

'Dorothy' is a device that can be operated by tapping you heels together 3 times (geddit?) to then perform a specific task in a 'if this then that' way.  For example calling your phone so that you can make an excuse to leave a bad date (we've all been there...), to text 3 friends with your location, and more.

More info here

The first ad on Snapchat

The first advert on Snapchat ran over the weekend of 18th & 19th October: a snap for upcoming horror film ‘Ouija’.

More info


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

App Integration - Apple Pay

Apple Pay, the seamless way to pay though an iPhone or iPad launched earlier this week.  Once set up, shoppers can use it to pay for things in-store with contactless payment terminals, and also through a set of 14 launch partner apps - shown below,

with more coming soon, including Starbucks, airbnb, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster.

While the reviews say that payment in apps is not perfect yet - you can't add multiple things to a basket in some, for example, this is one area where the integration of one app into another (making apps less self-contained, and more linked, like the web) should really take off.

This is a screen grab of what it looks like within the Groupon app - just pay with one tap through Apple Pay:

& here's another - OpenTable and Apple Pay:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

'How Google Works' on Slideshare

Slideshare is a great medium to use to promote a business book - I'm surprised it isn't used more often

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pinterest's Handmade Halloween

The first of a series, I think

Scanning Photos

There's an interesting article today on Marketing about the work of Ditto Labs, who work with brands to identify logos in pictures.  A few years ago this would have been used to detect fake merchandise and improper use, but now more creative uses are emerging:

"It is already working with one of Coca-Cola’s US agencies, Nissan and Michael Kors. Rival Curalate operates in the same space, scanning Pinterest and Tumblr on behalf of brands such as Gap and Urban Outfitters.
"Brands are using this for three reasons," Rose told Marketing. "One reason is in the way brands would do a focus group, they want to see how their product is actually being used in the wild, who’s using it, where - they want to understand usage occasion.
"The second is being able to look at a competitive set; how often is my product being used, and where versus my competitors.""

A good example of how unlikely things can be measured, and this measurement turned into actionable insights

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

App Integration - HealthyNow

I wrote about app integrations a couple of weeks ago - how apps are able to deep link, and put buttons in other apps, making the app ecosystem more like the web.

The first example I showed was Uber, allowing people to order taxis in specific situations.  Now I've seen another which shows how apps can pass information to each other in the background.

HealthyNow, an app that tracks your health and sets goals, now integrates with HealthKit in iOS 8 to allow it to pull in data from other health and fitness apps to monitor a bigger picture of your health:

"Through HealthyNow’s intergration with HealthKit, iPhone and iPad touch users can gather the information they choose from various health apps and fitness devices. iOS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With their permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way for users to manage their health and fitness.

“Cerner’s integration of HealthyNow with Apple HealthKit adds to an already impressive scale of functionality at the fingertips of our members and will keep Sharp Health Plan at the forefront of mobile health and wellness,” said Michael Byrd, Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer, Sharp Health Plan, which has more than 80,000 members in San Diego County. “Allowing our members’ health and fitness apps to work together and work harder for them in real time instead of after the fact is more convenient, more accurate and consistent with our broader mission to deliver our members’ best health, their way.”"

As I said before, I think this will change the way people think about apps, and also change how companies develop apps, needing partnerships with other apps for collaboration.

Update - here is a list of the apps that integrate with HealthKit

#ThatSongWhen for Spotify

A good new campaign, highlighting the significance certain songs have for people

For example


they've also got some influencers to get involved:

(Caption reads: Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" is #thatsongwhen I made my first very long journey in a 2CV just after passing my driving test! ( so chuffed to be collaborating with @spotify on this project. If you go to you can share your song too �� ))


& there's a Spotify site where you can tell your own stories

I really like the tone - very celebratory.

More here

Monday, September 29, 2014

Loom Bands took off because of the inventor's daughters' videos on YouTube

Is there anything more 2014 than Loom Bands?  About half the people (grown ups) I'm in meetings with seem to wear them...  They're everywhere.

An article in The Guardian at the weekend about Rainbow Loom inventor Cheong Choon Ng has this fascinating detail on the role YouTube played in the phenomenon (my bolding):

"We invested our entire family savings of $10,000 (£6,152) to order tooling and 2,000lb (91kg) of rubber bands from China, and assembled the kits ourselves in our garage. I spent months going round toy stores in Michigan with my daughters, trying to sell the loom band. Nobody was interested. The problem was that people didn't understand how they worked. So I asked my niece and my daughters to create YouTube videos, explaining how to make rubber-band bracelets. These created a trend.

In July 2012, I received an order from a toy store in Alpharetta, Georgia, for 12 loom-band kits. Less than two weeks later, the same store placed an order for $10,000. When my wife and I saw it, our jaws dropped. We thought it was a mistake. The store owners told us they had never seen anything like it. After that, our sales climbed every month until, in December 2012, we reached $200,000 wholesale sales a month. I took a three-month sabbatical from Nissan, but never returned to my old job."

I think that this is the original video:

See more of the videos here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

App Integrations

One trend we're seeing at the moment is that apps are becoming more like the mobile web.

Apps (& games) are most people's experience of mobile - stats from Flurry show that apps now make up 86% of the time spent on mobile, and the mobile web just 14%.

The experience with apps used to be that you would open one, do something, and then open another one.

As time has gone on it's become possible to deep-link into apps.

My favourite example of this is CityMapper, the app that has done so much to demystify public transport (buses especially) in London for people like me,

The button below, if you open it up on a mobile, in CityMapper will direct you to my office.  No need to open the app, and put the address in, this link takes to to precise instructions to get to 10 Triton Street, NW1.

Get directions with Citymapper

While this is deep linking into an app from the web (which YouTube has been doing for years), we're now starting to see examples of deep linking to a precise place in an app, from another app.

Uber is a leader in this.  Their recent API announcement unveiled a number of integrations -

"Here are just a few examples of how our partner apps are making it even easier to get where you want to go with Uber:

Dinner date? Request an Uber to your favorite restaurant right from the OpenTable app. Your driver will arrive already knowing where you are headed.

Catching a flight? The United mobile app shows ETAs of the closest drivers and fare estimates, so you can get reliable ride to and from the airport for less.

Night out? Time Out shows different Uber options—from low-cost to luxury—so you can be sure to arrive in style to the city’s best nightlife.

Need a place to stay? Book a room through the Hyatt Hotels & Resorts app and request a ride to your hotel right from the reservation screen.

Want a recap of your journey? Use Momento to view a timeline of your Uber trip history alongside other moments in your life."

There's now even ain integration with the Starbucks app (in the US) that lets you order an Uber to take you to your nearest Starbucks, or even order a coffee for delivery by an Uber driver.

Apps did not used to behave like this, and in doing so now they're behaving more like the web, with things linking through to other things.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Buying on Twitter - Pilot programme announced

Twitter has finally revealed plans for a pilot programme allowing people to buy things within a Tweet.

"In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the “Buy” button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery."

The test includes partners like Stripe for card payments; you'd have thought that shipping and payment details could be saved within the app (as they are with Amazon) before too long - that would cut down on the stages.  [The video actually suggests that payment card data will be stored]

So far launch partners are mainly musicians, but also Burberry, Home Depot and some others are in there.  Full list in the blog post here.

I'd love this to work - but AmazonBasket hasn't exactly set the world alight so far.

Watch this space!

Nissan's speedy 'Royal Baby' tweet

Nissan apparently tweeted this just 7 minutes after the announcement that The Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her second child.
Pretty impressive when you consider that it wasn't particularly expected, or at a time when people were on high alert, e.g. during a sporting event.

Fewer than 200 RTs 3 hours later though - and I imagine that lots of them are from media obsessives like me, rather than royal fans (or petrolheads)

Full story here

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