Archive for May, 2009

Don’t you hate it when you watching a very interesting tv show and an ad comes up? Ignoring adverts is no longer an option,  it’s about to get a lot tougher with the development of billboards and advertising posters that use Bluetooth to beam video ads directly to passing cellphones.


As people walk in malls go past the billiards/posters they will receive a message on their phone asking them if they wish to accept an MMS advert. If they do, they can  either receive movies, animations, music or still images further promoting the advertised product. This is called bluecasting or blue magic.

Nokia has taken bluecasting to another level, they have created posters fitted with Bluetooth technology that allows people to download maps of the local areas that have highlighted cool shops, bars, galleries and restaurants. They partnered with Superfuture, an internet-based urban city guide, where users can download maps highlighting interesting places worth exploring in that area.

annoyed consumer

Blue Magic opportunity

In India there are some temples which offer ringtones, wallpapers of gods and some other content using bluecasting. They have capitalised on bluecasting for religious purposes.

Imagine if other South African media houses or  advertising organisations, have looked at this model of advertising or spreading information for their industries.

This could open such great opportunities for customised advertising. For instance if one is in a certain place and Bluecasting can customised ads according to the place you’re in.

Customised advertising via Bluecasting can target those in a particular place and advertise restaurants, bookshops, movie houses, school plays etc.

Blue Magic Dangers

The danger with bluecasting is that downloads can be corrupted and exploited to inherent vulnerabilities in particular hardware, causing it to crash.

Another danger is how companies  can persuade users to accept the adverts once the novelty has worn off? This may be quite possible as people get over trends quite quickly. However, I think this can be avoided via good marketing strategies.

Content needs to exclusive or valuable to consumers, content also needs to actively persuade consumers to consume it, for example get vouchers for certain shops.

Other software companies, such as ScanBuy in New York and Semacode in Ontario, have been experimenting with making posters interactive by having 3D bar codes printed on them. Their software allows a phone camera to scan the code and launch the phone’s browser at a particular e-commerce site – to buy concert tickets, for example.

Magic taking over television

Whatever content is downloaded onto the cellphone it can be bluetoothed to television sets where the image, video etc can seen on a large screen. This creates interactive TV (also referred to iTV) where information flows not only from broadcaster to viewer, but also back from viewer to broadcaster.

Lets now turn our sights to a similar wave of communication…widgets. This will soon take off, in fact Yahoo and Intel are ramping up their TV platform to enable access to weather, stocks and news information on the TV.

This proliferation of widgets could come at a cost, however this (along with bluecasting) if they merge can dramatically change how viewers live and take in advertising.

For example imagine if  TV widgets and devices/programs such as  Bluecaseting merged? Well you can probably get  interactive television that can allow:

  • T-commerce: You will be able to buy a pizza without dialling a phone.
  • Interactive Goodies: You will be able to pause live TV or record shows. You will be able to click on advertisements to “find out more”.
  • Families will be ordering gifts through their TV sets, choosing camera angles while watching their favourite sporting events and sending email to friends.

telegent_chat This is where the next generation of human beings is going to, inside this cycle of persuasion, observation, refinement, and new persuasion.

It may be pleasant for some and it can possibly be hellish too as such merges or advertising can be intrusive. But if you get annoyed, just switch off your bluetooth.

As for advertising companies new media tools ( such as bluecasting) can bring in a great deal of revenue.

Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected on 12th August 2009.

According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), 26 percent of the world’s population is illiterate and 98 percent of these people live in developing countries. Africa as a continent that has a literacy rate of less than 60 percent.

MXit as of a week ago launched Africa’s first MBook in order to help with the decreasing illiteracy and to encourage literacy and a passion of reading amongst the youth internationally.

mxit image

MXit’s (pronounced “mix it”) first MBook is Emily and the Battle of the Veil, a fantasy novel based on a 13-year old South African girl, written by Karen Brooks.

The novel can be downloaded for ZAR13.50, which is far more reasonable than buying traditional books and can be read at the user’s own time and convenience on the mobile phone.

In 2004 Mxit started off as a free instant messaging software application developed in South Africa (SA), that runs on GPRS/3G mobile phones and on PCs. It allows the user to send and receive smses or multimedia messages to and from other users, as well as chat rooms.


MXit opens doors

I believe this initiative (of introducing the Mbook) is breaking the status quo of the traditional publishing industry, as well as giving young readers and aspiring writers an opportunity to read new literature or showcase their work in a digital format. Furthermore MBook is environmentally friend, no trees are being cut down.

The launch of MXit’s MBook follows the launch of an online South African maths initiative called Imfundo Yami Imfundo Yethu (My education is our education). This joint effort by Nokia South Africa, MXit, a Finnish company and SA’s Department of Education is piloting a new education project that delivers mathematics tutorials to Grade 10 learners via MXit. They will receive 15 questions on the MXit channel and tackle problems to find mathematical solutions. MXit will be like an affordable and instant tutor.

mxit userSteve Vosloo, a Communication and Analytical Skills Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation in his thought leader blog posted that he believes that “this time- and space-shifting effect means that learners, and higher education students, can have classroom-like experiences when it suits them, not just during school hours when one educator is shared with 30 or 40 other learners. For many young people in South Africa, this might be the only opportunity they have to access qualified educators”.

This just shows that social networks can educate and bring people together. Mxit along with it’s initiatives will draw the young and perhaps old into reading again. Will this open other social networking and media doors. I trully hope so because many are migrating to mobile media and such initiatives can benefit communities. I also think media houses can learn a thing or two from Mxit and start developing mobile media strategies that will engage with both the young and old.

Students in SA can access Maths on MXit via MXit on 079 992 3960. Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected on 19th October 2009.

Kindle DX has arrived, well it’s been in the market since 2007 but not everyone knows about it, especially South Africans.Kindle2b

I don’t do not yet own the Kindle however, states that this device is a slim e-book reader, thin as most magazines, includes a program which integrates newspaper content or books instantly, is lighter than paperbacks, and is portable like newspapers. It has a big display screen which displays digital newspapers, documents and textbooks.

From researching about this device it seems like is a groundbreaking step in increasing the popularity of eBooks.

It apparently boasts an electronic-paper display to mimic the look of real paper, wireless connectivity, more than 88,000 books, newspapers and magazines available for purchase, and the capability to email Word documents and pictures.

Kindle is  said to be environmentally friendly. It uses no paper and there is no need for recycling. You can just download content wirelessly anytime, anywhere, no distribution costs involved.

There’s a huge potential for the Kindle to be used in schools, replacing textbooks and library books, but at about R5000 per unit perhaps it should be more multi-functional. Perhaps an additional calculator, internet searching, texting, phone? This could be a good textbook opportunity for the academic market.

Future of print

imagesThe bonus of this device is that has a text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you. Amy Gahran from Poynter Online says that the text-to-speech function does a “surprisingly decent job of reading news content aloud”.

This device is good for people who have a preference for audio news because as people cook, or do the garden or even exercising can listen to the texts. (yet one may ask, how is different from ipod then?)

This nifty device can take text-to-speech service or tool can interact with text-based news and information content. But I wonder if it’ll work for foreign languages like South African languages such as Zulu, Xhosa and Sepedi (Northern Sotho), however I do think creators of text-based news content should start to take that into consideration. If Kindle can do all these things, how much is it? In the State its approximately $400 and apparently South Africans will pay R4 995 for it.

Blessing in disguise

The idea of the Kindle is a potential blessing for the print news industry.  However, US newspaper guru Alan Mutter says that the found absolution for what  he calls news media’s “original sin” is the fact that such a device will be giving content away.

Mutter further says that “at a time when newspapers are suffering from falling readerships and a depressed ad market, Kindle readers are signing up to pay for newspapers and magazines to be sent wirelessly to their e-book readers”.

Newspapers and magazine publishers are watching developments closely. As they face the biggest crisis in their history, they are hoping Amazon may have come up with a solution to getting people to pay for news again. But will this make people read more downloaded newspaper content than print publications?

The bigger question is will Kindle can help with the decline of newspaper’s circulations, crumbling ad revenue and declining readership?

decline of print circulation

Well, I don’t think this device will save the newspaper industry but it may win some new readers. And hopefully give some sort of solution or idea for the print industry. Amy Gahran does give some solutions on how news organisations can capitalise and benefit from this smart device.

Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected 19th August 2009


I found it impossible to escape the news about Swine flu, now called H1N1 influenza A as I pondered what to blog, it’s on everyone’s minds, lips, tweets,  and status updates…

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 06:00 GMT, 5 May 2009, 21 countries have officially reported 1124 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection. Mexico has reported 25 deaths and United States has reported one death. How does this link to the blog? Well, the H1N1 flu virus is too being rapidly spread through the social networking and media wires.

Yet this is not the first time the internet has been the one-stop shop for news scoops. Twitter has emerged as a source for major breaking news stories. Like the earthquake that devastated the Sichuan region of China, tweets from the disaster zone gave the rest of the world its first glimpse of the scope of the devastation. Again we saw how social network sites took the forefront when  there were media events that were driven by the web 2.0 e.g Mumbai terror attacks, plane crash in Hudson river etc.

Over the plethora of social networking websites, people from all sorts of backgrounds are blogging, twittering, facebooking and myspacing about the flu virus. Twitter has once again gained media attention as a source of fervent ‘swine’ flu discussion, it’s become the top trending topic on Twitter, with users rapidly tweeting about the latest (Twitter even topped out at a rate of more than 10,000 tweets per hour earlier during the course of last week).

Yes granted many ‘swine’ flu updates were making crude jokes, like SA’s own advertising upcoming guru Khaya Dlanga’s tweet updates, “Swine flu my ass, I’ll bring my mighty vengeance & furious anger upon these pigs. Had bacon for breakfast. For lunch, something with pig” or “If I hear one more thing about Swine flu I’ll go eat a pig”.

This proves that social networking sites can be as misleading, however a significant portion of the discussions about the flu seemed to centre around a legitimate desire to connect with others and talk about real issues. This created a some what tight knit community that wanted to speak about what is happening in the world.

New media vs old media

Google Trends reports that “Swine Flu Ohio” is the 27th most popular search keyword currently, with searches for “Swine Flu Symptoms” also making the top 100 keyword searches on Google.


Google Maps have also been created to chart the spread of the Swine Flu. Below is a Google Map created by a bio medical engineer, this charts suspect and confirmed cases of the Swine Flu in the U.S. and Mexico.


Technorati has graphed the number of times the term was used in blog posts and it shows that the mention of Swine Flu rose sharply from Friday to nearly 2800 blog post demonstrates.

This for me, shows the power of the internet but most importantly the power of social networking and media sites. People from every corner of the globe are conversing about something that doesn’t affect them directly however it now part of their community discussions. These new media tools have gone beyond reporting on a particular story to what people want to say about particular issues. Now it is and it is creating some independence and democracy with audiences.

Granted only a few people have internet access to the but  the minority engage instanteously with the rest of the world. And in this case new media tools helped to support and deliver public health messages quickly and broadly and how to track such viruses.

Old media in trouble?

However, I think  the role of new media may overshadow traditional journalism and it can cause a form of tension in newsrooms because now journalists are trusting social network sites for scoops in the land of social media.

New media tools have become the new hybrid form of journalism, they are quick and everywhere on the web unlike traditional forms of journalism.

So is the traditional notion and value of hard core journalism being apprehended?

I think not, social netowrking and media sites can be complementary to old media. They just need to verify facts. Journalism and new media tools need each other to inform and educate the world. In the future when more outbreaks such as swine flu occur social media can help out traditional journalism. Futureye signing out.

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Blog last updated and corrected on the  27th May 2009