Thursday, 29 August 2013

Phone Boxes. What to do with them? Great idea from New York. Make them "way-finding" digital touch screens.

So when was the last time you used a payphone to make a call? Couple of years? And yet the city is still littered with these icons of a bygone day. I remember as a kid, visiting London and coming home with a metal die-cast model of the red phone box being such an icon of London.

Indeed, local Irish newspapers reporting recently, that they've become ideal places for drug users to shoot up. But the saturation of mobile phones, has meant that they have no real use anymore and in fact, are becoming an eyesore.

Until now.

Great idea from New York then, which links to a concept being used in London. The idea is to turn the payphones into 'wayfinding' touch screens. Cosy booths, out of the weather to find your way.

So in the payphone booth, are touch screens that give local directions. After all, how many of us have been asked on the street for directions?

An interactive map, with local retail store listings and bus/train stops with timetables, would be a great help to tourism. And a great help to citizens. Once you think about that too, using WiFi, it will allow a lot of other applications.

Clearly Ads on screen being one, but perhaps offering free WiFi hotspots? Or Information hubs on general local heritage stuff? Or opening hours of local attractions showing perhaps, their video? Or local restaurant reviews/info? Car Park information? Traffic updates? Scrolling news? A dispenser of online tickets? Emergency services? And so on. All at the touch of a screen. Perhaps free Skype to allow tourists say hello to the folks literally on the street. 

Commercially it's a sound idea too - as indeed it is to bring real benefits to the streets of a city. The phone box is still iconic and in some ways, treasured. Importantly, it's already there so the conversion is relatively easy.

By giving it a digital makeover could be one of the great landmark ideas. And leave a great mark on the city.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wearable computing begins. The Samsung Smartwatch launches September 4th.

The new generation of wearable computing kicks off on September 4th with Samsung's launch of its smartwatch believed to be called 'Galaxy Gear'.

It will make calls, receive calls, email, text, access the web and wait for it, tell the time. It's believed to have a camera integrated into the strap.

Google, Apple and Microsoft are working on versions of their own but the Korean company is first to market - a big first mover advantage and sure to steal the PR inches. It beats Google Glasses to a full launch, another long awaited wearable concept, although out there amongst a select few. The Sony Smartwatch is already out there but hey, who knows about it.

It will run on Android with a small key pad but brings mobile into a new space and will further the growth in mobile applications. It's much easier to wear a watch than carry a phone. Rumoured cost about 250 usd and it'll come in 5 colours.

Interesting times as we move into the wearable generation.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New Iphone in September will come with a trade-in offer. Great marketing.

We've come a long way since 1983.

The new Iphone release is rumoured to be on September 10th according To Mashable and the 20th from The Huff Post - but we know it's coming sometime in September. They'll want it in the stores by November for the lucrative Christmas rush.

There's talk of new colours (a graphite grey, gold?), super HD screen, 2 handset sizes, better camera/flash, better battery, a possible fingerprint scanner, faster processor, a cheaper alternative, the name (5S instead of 6?) and so on, doesn't seem to be real exciting. But we'll see. Apple always surprises.

However, there is strong talk of a trade-in programme launch which is a great marketing idea. Although some carriers (O2, Vodafone) already offer trade-ins on all phones as you try to get your "free" upgrade, an Iphone trade-in notably in Apple stores, will get the cash coming in.

Given the saturation of Iphones (which is actually the biggest market problem and notably for Samsung growth) and given the high cost of new models, a formal trade-in is a good marketing trick. Once everyone has a smartphone, it's difficult in these straightened times, to sell them a new one. So a trade-in upgrade is one good idea.

Basically it's one way of giving a "discount" on new phones without damaging the brand values and the old phones have a resale value. So it encourages constant upgrading and keeps stock turning.

Expect this to be announced at the launch and I've no doubt it's a great trick that will boost sales of the new Iphone

Will they trade in Blackberrys and Samsungs against a new Iphone I wonder? I would.