Monthly Archives: November 2008

Dial2Do still wants Sandy

I *still* want Sandy !

I *still* want Sandy !

So the other day, IWantSandy announced that it was going to go offline very soon. Caught lots of people by surprise, as you can tell from the comments on GetSatisfaction. Ceo Rael Dornfest has been explaining his reasons, among them, the fact that he’s decided to join Twitter (Congratulations!).

At Dial2Do, we’d love to keep IWantSandy alive and running. Many of our users liked this service and have been actively using it with Dial2Do.

So this is an open call: Hey Twitter! Can we do a deal to keep IWantSandy alive? Surely there’s a way???

Twitter. Rael. Someone. Call me.

sos “at” dial2do “dot” com

Thomas Howe critique of Twilio Voice APIs

Excellent critique by Thomas Howe of the Twilio Voice APIs

http://thethomashowecompany.com/449/twilio-comes-out

Sean

MobileMonday Dublin, November 08

I went along to MobileMonday Dublin last night. The organisers have done a solid job in keeping the Dublin MobileMonday well-run and well-attended, and have kept the quality high in terms of both venues and more importantly content. I’d guess there were maybe 40-50 people there last night, a mix from across various software companies both large and small, operators, and various people “just interested in mobile”. 

Four companies presented :

Locle kicked things off and demo’d their application, which you can use via the web, or via a wap/mobile site at http://m.locle.com.

You register with them, and then you can invite friends to use the service. You “check in” with your position, and I reckon, depending on the model of phone you have, locle will aim to auto-identify where you are, based on their cell-tower information and a few other tricks up their sleeves. Nicely implemented, the real payoff, as with any social network, is when your friends are in there too. However, even despite that, I like the concept of “locle Yokels” – people you *don’t* know, but who are nearby (and have explicitly shared that information). Lets you get a feel for the service right off, without having to import your whole address book etc. You can also set a “proximity filter” using two attributes – time and distance, allowing you to “zoom in” (or out) on people in both time (here now, versus here a while ago) and space. 

I think Locle is a well implemented, and their deal with Eircom puts them in a great position for winning the key early stage traffic that helps you tune and grow a service like this. Worth watching. I’d reckon the competition is from BrightKite, NrMe, maybe even Twinkle and a few others where location+friends is the “centre of gravity” of their offering. 

JustRoutes was next up. This is an application I’ve used before, and one I think solves a real problem. At the best of times, figuring out your way around Dublin on the bus system is a “buzz wrecker”. And I say this as someone who uses the bus regularly. JustRoutes have gone to the trouble of collating all the available bus information (routes, timetables providers), and seem to have geo-coded the lot, enabling you to just enter a start and end address, and have JustRoutes offer the available routes to you, including walking times between transfers etc. Nice. 

Right now they focus on Dublin. It would be fair in fact to say they’ve “gone deep” on solving this problem for Dublin and making the service work well for that city alone, initially. And work it does! They’ve a few nice elements in the service: you can use it from the web or mobile (mobile is at mob.justroutes.com). They autocomplete street names as you type (very handy); they’ll offer a selection of routes (most direct and others), will tap you straight in to the timetable if you want it, and also offer a youtube-style direct link for that route so you can email it, share it, save it and bring that route back to life with a single click (for example: bus route home for me is http://justroutes.com/14034)

They were asked a few questions about their business model and potential for partnering. For example, could they show real-time information on buses? (Answer: that’s not available from Dublin Bus, even though they have it). I thought that was an opportunity. Partner with Aircoach (who have real-time information), and whenever someone wants a route to the airport, offer an “see real time bus information?” option, which right-now, will *only* show Aircoach buses. I think Aircoach might like to pay for that. Or another option is to create offers related to routes (they know where you’re headed based on route request, which means they know if you have time on that route for a coffee, or a snack, or a newspaper, or whatever….). Lots of opportunities for relevant, CPA based ads in there. 

Finally, I think one of their more interesting insights is this: they’re not targeting cities with, let’s call it, Grade A public transport infrastructure. They’re after the brain-damaged, poorly serviced, haphazard public-transport places, like eh, Dublin.  I think that’s a genuine opportunity – they can solve a real problem for cities like that, and last time I checked, there are lots of them! The competition is likely to be (guess who) Google, or Dublin Bus (if they ever get their act together), but I think there’s room here to “go deep” on the problem they solve, as well as for the kind of cities they solve it for, and build a solid business in that space as a result. 

RateMyArea was next up. Their mantra is “What, Where?” – what are you looking for, roughly where? This is another service I tried out recently (just a few weeks ago) for the first time. Beautiful looking site (I’m a sucker for eye candy as well as functionality), the goal is to both let you find things you might like in relevant areas, and also contribute by rating and reviewing things relevant to you. For example, apparently car parks are one of the unexpected “social objects” that get rated quite a lot by the early users of RateMyArea 🙂 If you browse around the site – you get the idea – ratings and reviews for parks, visitor centers, shops, restaurants, car parks, whatever! 

RateMyArea was also asked about their business model, and responded that there are many angles to find money as you build a database of “what’s good” in a local area, as well as at the point of search. I like their soundbite – “A TripAdvisor” for the other 355 days of the year” as a way to neatly summarise what they’re trying to do. As usual – the competition is potentially fierce in this area (local search, for example, is *big*), and they were asked about Yelp (a service I love) as a competitor in the same space. Yup – plenty of competition there – I reckon the key will be to find local partners who can really drive traffic and content generation through the site. In addition, I think they need to steal some basic tricks from the other networks. For example, LinkedIn gradually, and gently, nagged me in to filling in more of my profile, by displaying that annoying progress bar that showed my profile being “30% complete”. I finally succumbed and did the stuff that made it “90% complete” – added background, interests, yada yada, thereby improving their content, search results and ability to match within the network. I think RateMyArea could do the same – lightweight, subtle but persistent “nagging” for me to “rate a bar near work”, “rate a restaurant near where you live” and so on. 

Wubud was last up. Ewan seemed to have an impossible task: give a talk about wubud while expressly and specifically saying absolutely nothing of any detail about wubud. Tricky that! 🙂 Anyway – that’s what he did. We know wubud is a mobile social network, and that the jump-off point for contacts is your phone’s address book (something you’ll know we agree with violently here if you’ve seen our earlier posts about the social phone book). So I’m guessing they’re in the zone of Zyb (mobile client), Aka-aki, Belysio in terms of their “coupling” to the phone’s address book. Hot space, and they would want to keep a close eye on the set of new social phones on the way or already out there. Hard to tell – as the stealth cloak is firmly over the details right now. However, they do have funding from Bebo, albeit a modest amount by all accounts, so perhaps they have an “in” there that could help them really ramp adoption out of the blocks. We’ll have to wait and see.

Wubud in Stealth for now

Wubud in Stealth for now

 

 

All in all – excellent event and well-organised. If you’re in Dublin and looking to network with the mobile and wireless community, this should definitely be on your radar. Next meeting in sometime in the New Year.  Watch the website or join the group for information. 

 

The Social Phone : It’s for You-Hoo (and your facebook friends)

TechRadar UK has a nice hands-on review of the INQ1 social phone that was launched yesterday in the UK. This is from Three (or Hutchison Three G), the people who brought you the SkypePhone. This phone continues the trend towards net-centric mobiles, and goes deeper with Facebook in particular. The contact list in the phone lets you see latest updates from Fb and other sites.

The new INQ1 phone from Three

The new INQ1 phone from Three

From the review:

We liked the social-networking layering within the phone a lot. A Lot. Being able to go to a contact and see their Facebook status complete with updated picture, and the same for Windows Messenger and Skype, was a really nice touch, and helped show how the handset was mixing the PC-only world of these sites with a proper mobile experience.

The phone will automatically add these contacts to the handset once you log in for the first time, and then you can choose to merge them all under one name for easy use.

We have one word for that: Nice! We look forward to getting our super-secret (ooops) Dial2Do client running on that puppy.

Dial2Do live on Chris Pirillo

Chris loses a friend but gains Dial2Do

Dial2do and Skydeck : your phone knows your social graph

Your phone knows your graph!

Skydeck : Your phone knows your graph!

We came across a great company and service called Skydeck a while back. The service is one of those offerings that looks deceptively simple at first sight, and just gets better and better the more you think about it. So what do they do? Well, in a nutshell, you give Skydeck access to your online phone bill (US only right now), and they mine your bill data for you. What’s the use of that? Well, you can find out a lot of cool things by looking at your phone bill, especially in the US where receiver-pays means that there’s a nice symmetry to the bill. You can find out:

  • Who you call most often
  • Who calls you most often
  • Who you text most often
  • and so on

More subtly, you can go deeper in to this information and figure out a bunch of things about how you communicate with people and companies in your daily life. In effect, Skydeck uses the phone bill to extract your social graph. And we all know that one of our most important social networks is represented by the names we use most often in our phone’s address book. We just typically don’t have a handy list of who that really is. Skydeck figures out who matters most to you and then shares that with you. There’s all sorts of value-add can then be layered on that. More on that down the line.

In effect, Skydeck is another innovative approach to make the phone book social, but this time based on actual analysis of who you actually communicate with most often. And this is where Dial2Do comes in. When you start using Dial2Do, one of the things that really makes it useful for you is to have your contacts in the Dial2Do “cloud”. But which contacts should you import ? Well, Skydeck now has an API. Which means we can now offer to import your 100 most important contacts from Skydeck, as one of the contact import options for Dial2Do. It’s right there on the import page in Dial2Do.

Import your top 100 contacts from Skydeck

Import your top 100 contacts from Skydeck

If you’re not already a Skydeck user – take it for a spin and try it out. We’re delighted to be working with Skydeck, and pretty excited also about what they plan to do further down the line. More on that in a later post.

IMS Applications : The Clues are Out There

We have a simple thought that we share pretty regularly: if you’re on the hunt for those “killer” apps that will work with IMS, take a look at some of the mobile and especially Voice 2.0 players that started up in the last 18 – 24 months. Some great clues there for what’s possible, and what’s likely to find user adoption as IMS gets deployed.

We can’t seem to get our Slideshare embeds working with WordPress right now, so in the meantime, the slides are here.