Monday 12 October 2009

MomoLondon: Go your own way? A fresh look at LBS

Tonight’s event was probably the busiest I’ve ever seen the CBI Centre — the room was packed and there were loads of new faces. In terms of the content, there were good bits and not so good old bits — the “walk past a shop and get a voucher” idea reared its ugly head yet again, despite being shown several times to be of no interest either to advertisers or to the consumers.

Vodafone showed off their 360 phone and some services, but shorn of the glitzy launch, it looked a little clunky. The panellists spent a lot of time talking about foursquare and Andrew Scott of Rummble got a few words in edgeways. I’m not quite convinced that either of them have a business model. Shazam looked impressive and gave a good demo — they do have a business model, even with Spotify around. The guy from Cloudmade knows his stuff about maps (the stuff they do is fantastic), but didn’t seem to have much of a clue about mobile.

Skyhook Wireless

Kate Imbach

  • Now selling hybrid location: Wi-Fi, Cell ID & GPS
  • 10-20m accuracy within 1s
  • Drive to find networks
  • London coverage follows people, but empty in parks
  • 125m+ APs worldwide
  • 70% population coverage in Europe
  • Commercial apps require an ad revenue share or a licensing fee
  • Free apps can use SDK for free

Some examples (all on the iPhone):

  • Sit or squat — rate toilets…
  • MyStarbucks
  • Flixster — cinema reviews w/social features + find cinemas & restaurants close by
  • Shazam tying music to locations
  • Sportacular — voting by location, then see stats over country
  • TuneWiki — see where people are listening to what music, and what’s popular around you


  • MyTraffic — driving alerts, works in Boston
    • has smarter location-based advertising — but who is selling them?
  • Scoreloop — location-based leaderboards
  • Amazon — what’s popular in Seattle this week? what are the business books selling in London?

New launch — Maps Booster for S60

  • feeds Skyhook location into all location APIs on the phone

Vodafone 360 Demo

Patrick Weissert

  • WiFinder acquired by Voda and providing location for 360 phone
  • VF 360 widgets (see have location API available
  • Apparently Vodafone 360 is still beta…


Tristan Brotherton

  • browse photos (“cards”) around you and see where they are
  • can add comments to the cards
  • have a follow model like twitter
  • can collect cards you find interesting (favourite)
    • can then add categories
  • scoring mechanism
    • if other people collect your cards, you score more
  • seems too much like twitter with twitpic
  • (integrates with twitter)
  • what’s the business model?


Jonathan Symons

  • > 35m users
  • live in 150 countries
  • Jonathan’s role is to think of the money…
  • money comes from:
    • users getting involved, sharing app & music
    • buying things
  • getting roughly 60,000 tweets of music a day
  • “I can find myself in a bar”…
  • meet new people who like the same music
  • basic service for free, funded by advertising & follow-on content acquisition
  • additional services cost

Panel Session


  • Stuart Dredge of Mobile Entertainment
  • Kate Imbach, Skyhook Wireless
  • Jennifer Hicks, Ink Communication
  • Nic Black, Cloudmade
  • Roberta Lucca, Vertu
  • Patrick Weissert, Vodafone


  • just launched a new phone
  • together with a location awareness service
  • Vertu consumers work hard, play hard, spend hard
  • travel way more than average
  • not digital natives — use things that are relevant for them
  • want recommendations & whole experience, completed with human concierge


  • here to lower the barriers to entry for location apps
  • making location a feature, not a whole application

Ink Comms

  • Global Marketing & Strategy
  • analysis

Is iPhone leading the way? What about Android & Symbian?

  • KI: a lot of focus on iPhone
    • Android devs scaling back and going for iPhone instead, since that’s where the money is now
    • Lots of faith in Android but it will take its time
  • NB: various limits for iPhone, esp. everything has to be active
    • Android allows swapping out services for others, e.g. using Cloudmade map service instead of Google
  • PW: VF360 addresses 3 out of 6 segments
    • iPhone is making mainstream what we thought a couple of years ago was just for geeks
    • Android will take similar path
    • can share VF360 even if you’re not on Vodafone (and it picks up facebook, etc)


  • JH: foursquare may come up with a biz model with advertising on a local level
  • NB: foursquare about building up local content
    • need it for developers to play with
  • RL: content useful and so is location, but targeting is vital — need to match the right content according to the influencers
  • NB: have a choice of “what don’t I show on the map”
    • depending on the activity, the time, the context
  • SD: segmenting by the apps you select
  • RL: sometimes people don’t want discover things — they want the choice made for them

Has the industry come round to starting with the service rather the tech?

  • KI: lots of complaints that the Apple App Store has too many apps, but there are a lot of niches
  • KI: 100s of millions of lookups every day — location is becoming ubiquitous within apps, becoming mainstream

How are people making money?

  • KI: Visa are sponsoring a shopping app, seeing $15-24 CPMs — does anyone know what this is?
  • JH: still trying to come together
    • lives in Amsterdam, people are using foursquare like crazy
    • social networking side of location services
  • NB: releasing first part of location based advertising service later this year
    • tailor advertising to app’s context
  • RL: need to involve audience
  • PW: flixter are ticketmaster — they sell tickets
    • the app is advertising for their own service

@torgo: What about the privacy issues? Could that lead to a backlash against location services?

  • KI: app developers are sensitive to the privacy issues
    • generally sharing location for the user experience
    • weird when app asks for location for no reason
    • Skyhook don’t do user application tracking
  • JH: consumer issues will hit as this stuff spreads
    • consumers can get picky
    • getting libel suits as twitter becomes mass market
  • NB: thinks the early adopter community are more concerned by privacy issues

How does immediacy affect social mores?

  • RL: different countries reacting differently
    • next generation will not bother about personal info
    • e.g. Google StreetMap just useful
  • KI: gave up on privacy after my mother guilted me into accepting her friend request on facebook
  • Floor: In Amsterdam, youth feel privacy is very important
  • JH: want you to ask permission to share their info
    • teens will not part with their phones
    • will not be sliced by age; depends on industry
  • PW: need to enable location selectively
    • not enable every tweet
    • choose to

How does Vertu work with location?

  • RL: Vertu handsets are Series 40, but luxury
    • use of location is made clear — transparency
  • SD: more like “push my location to the paparazzi right now!”

What is the thing that O2 UK could do that would be most helpful?

  • NB: reduce barriers to entry: make location part of the platform, and pay them for using it, via location

Does advertising really work?

  • A user is in Kensington, shoe shopping and I want to serve them an ad. Right now, advertisers might have an advert about shoes, probably clothing instead, almost certainly not Kensington
  • NB: might also want to tell people about coffee shops nearby
  • JH: talks about walk-by advertising…
  • @fj says “I’m not responsible for any store making money - get outta my phone!”
  • KI: no inventory
    • no incentive to sell more targeted ads as they sell less impressions that way
    • location-based banner ads are probably not the way things will go
  • PW: time & location push model doesn’t really work
    • more about pull — enabling people to find you

Will there be more integration between mobile and web apps?

  • PW: VF360 all about that. Can sync them up
  • RL: all about lead time: takes a long time to put a new device on the market, but not to launch a service

Are we going to see content fragmentation?

  • PW: biggest problem of app store model — think that services will converge
  • SD: federating content like wikipedia
  • NB: will be launching a “publish content through a central service” later this year

For certain apps, a facebook app is worth about 400 leads

  • JH: it’s too early
    • foursquare think they will make money from local advertising
    • they’re experimenting at the moment
  • Andrew Scott: foursquare not making money — just taken $100m of funding…
  • RL: concentrate on providing something that is highly valuable for their consumers

Upcoming events

  • 26 Oct — Mobile Phones for the Senior Market
    • Even in the UK there is only about 50% penetration in the 55+ market
    • Learn about the opportunities and how to take advantage of them
  • 26 Oct PM — DCKTN Mobile World Congress competition judging
  • 9 Nov — Mobile Monday joint birthday part w/Swedish Beers
  • 7 Dec — Heroes of the Mobile Screen
  • 4 Dec — OpenMIC in Guildford on AR & Location

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