Archive for “December, 2011”

Goodbye QR Codes, Hello NFC

A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning Advertising Age online and noticed B.L. Ochman’s article ‘No, QR Codes Aren’t Dead. They’re Just Used Badly’. As someone who has a not-so-secret aversion to QR Codes, I was obviously intrigued. The article itself was nothing groundbreaking, but it did get me thinking about the future of QR codes and one of the most interesting emerging digital technologies for advertisers: NFC.

If you’re not familiar with NFC (Near Field Communication), it has recently become the most widely used technology for Smartphone payments – including Google Wallet. What’s unique and noteworthy about the technology is that, unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it doesn’t require an elaborate pairing process between devices. NFC pairing is enabled based on the proximity (4cm or less) of a NFC chip to another NFC enabled device. Once connected, you can securely share pretty much any type of information or media.

Back in May, Google posted a bunch of footage on YouTube from the 2011 Google I/O Developers conference and in my opinion ‘How to NFC’ was the most impressive of the bunch. The NFC presentation is over 60mins long and a large chunk is designed for developers, however the first third does contain some pretty awesome demos showcasing some of the possibilities of NFC. I’ve included at the end of this post direct links to these highlights, which are well worth checking out.

Looking at NFC under a social lens, the most interesting aspect of the technology is the ability to interact with other NFC enabled devices with zero clicks. This streamlined process will open the door for pre-authorized check-ins, instant content sharing via social networks, and seamless electronic payments between friends.

With the convergence of digital, mobile, social, and real-time location-based applications, we’re already seeing some innovative campaigns that leverage existing technology to enable the distribution of real-time experiences.  Two that immediately come to mind are Coca-cola’s ‘Real-life Like’ and Luna Park’s ‘My Experience’.

It’s only a matter of time until NFC adoption becomes more widespread. In-Stat recently presented research indicating that NFC adoption will ‘increase at a compound annual rate of 129 per cent’ until 2015, when it will reach 30% of Smartphones on the market. When it does, NFC will be a critical technology leveraged by advertisers and a key piece in bridging the gap between digital and real-life experience. There are exciting times ahead for brands and agencies willing to think outside of the box.

Highlights from Google 2011 I/O Developers Conference ‘How to NFC’ Presentation:

Basic NFC Tag Read Demo

QR Code v NFC Comparison Demo

Basic NFC Tag Write Demo

Basic NFC Peer-to-peer Demo

NFC Peer-to-peer Multi-player Gaming Demo

Zero-click Sharing via NFC

Zero-click Media sharing via NFC

Zero-click Application Sharing via NFC

I’m interested to hear from you. Do you believe QR Codes are passing fad? Will NFC change the way we market?

Social Media Roundup for December 2

 

 

Biggest Social Network IPO in 2012?

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is planning to roll out its long-waited IPO between April and June, 2012. The Journal also reported  that the social network is planning to raise a total of $10 billion by selling roughly 10% of the company’s shares through the IPO. This means that Facebook could be worth $100 billion if the deal goes through next year! According to CBC News, this amount is more than four times the market cap that Google had when they released their IPO back in 2004. Take a look at their poll results that asked readers if they agree with Facebook’s valuation. What do you think?

Facebook has remained private for the past seven years, so why release an IPO now? According to Mashable, one of the major reasons that Facebook decided to do an IPO now is because they have to.

Under the U.S laws, once a company get 500 or more private shareholders, you have to publish detailed data about your company’s financial performance.

The Economist believes that as the social media industry continues to grow,  Facebook will continually see more competition from other networks, such as Google+.

Facebook will want to seek a listing before rivals erodes its lead in the social-networking sphere.

Below is an infograghic, created by Namesake, that documents Facebook’s current status and its IPO path.

 

IPOs Continued

Looks like Facebook isn’t the only one that plans to hit the public sector. Today, the biggest social gaming company Zynga filed IPO documents with SEC (Securities & Exchange Commissions). Shares were priced between $8.50 and $10. If the deal goes through, Zynga could be vaulted to a valuation of $850 million to $1.15 billion (max $7 billion). According to Mashable, The company, which is famous for its popular social gaming series Ville (Farmville and CityVille), originally planned to IPO several months earlier but delayed due to volatility on the stock market. The company was originally valued at around $10 billion dollars.

If everything goes to plan – Zynga will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker ZNGA in mid-december.

 

Google + hangout + Free Voice Calls

Google+ users can now make free conference calls within Hangouts. This was announced by Jarkko Oikarinen, the inventor of the first-ever Internet chat function-Internet Relay Chat, through his Google+ page on Dec 1. Anyone with a phone number can be invited to join the conversation, no Google account required! It looks like Google’s ambition isn’t just to attract more people to Google+, but to improve the way we communicate by integrating internet calling with party lines and conference calls. Oikarinen states:

“We are constantly listening to feedback so that we can make Hangouts even better for Google+ users, and we’re excited by the really cool ways people are using the product”

This feature currently support free calls to the U.S and Canada, and is available within Hangouts . Why not give it a try?

 

YouTube’s Biggest Web Redesign

Google bought YouTube and kept it running as a separate entity for many years. We’ve heard that YouTube has been planning on a site wide redesign for quite a while. Well, on December 1st the new YouTube design finally launched for everyone. Our first impression? The black and red side bar on the landing page looks a lot like Google’s new User Interface that rolled out couple of months ago. Pages also look and function a lot more like a social network.

Below is video demonstration of the new YouTube which will give you a thorough walk-through on the changes.

From the video, it is not hard to realize that the redesign is made for just one purpose – to get users to focus on Channels, whether through subscribing to other people’s channels or creating one by themselves.

 

Instagram – a movement in the making.

Part instant picture, part telegram, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks today. In as little as nine months, over seven million users have downloaded the iOS-only app and contributed over 150 million pictures. What began as a way to share mobile photos in real time has transformed into a content curator of live world events and has spawned several clever offshoots to boot.

So what makes Instagram so unique? It’s a global movement. The top 10 downloads come from four continents: Asia, North America, Australia and Europe, which makes it one of the only social networks to crossover continents. Not bad for a four person operation from San Francisco, right? Following users from around the world is one of the my favourite features because at any given moment I can see pictures from Spain, Japan and Brazil without even knowing the users, just by following their feed. It’s a very intimate thing to share moments of your day through photos. It’s also very comforting and somewhat rewarding when I start to receive comments and likes on my photos from users who are thousands of miles away. My follower list continues to grow, as do the likes and comments on my photos. For me, it’s the most innovative social network I am a part of.

Instagram is one of the world’s biggest content curators. What took Flickr almost two years to accomplish, Instagram completed in less than half the time. Over eight short months Instagram produced 100 million photos, that’s 15 uploads per second. And we’re only talking Apple users here, pretty incredible. Social sharing is fully integrated so I can post my latest shots on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and even my Tumblr account which has transformed into a photo blog thanks to all of this. Following real live events has also been a great feature of Instagram. From the Royal Wedding to natural disasters, there are even countless feeds dedicated to the global Occupy movement. Instagram makes it easy to keep up to date in real time to what is going on in other cities and countries.

So now you have all this great content, what do you do with it? This is where the really cool stuff begins. Countless awesome offshoots have sprouted up in the past few months to leverage and amplify Instagram content. A few of my favourites are:

Statigrams – allows you to instantly turn your Instagram stats into cool, sharable infographics.

StickyGram – allows you to turn your Instagram images into lovely little magnets that are delivered to your door. You can also enter your images to weekly contests to win free magnets.

CanvasPop – recently integrated Instagram images to create stunning wall art printed on canvas.

I thought I would share my own Instagram content experience, (yet to be publically marketed, I might add). I recently decided to get new contact cards from moo.com and used 45 of my favourite Instagram photos as the backside to my cards (which I appropriately took a photo of and published to Instagram). They look fantastic and are great conversation starters.

With the recent launch of the Flickr integrated app on Android and no word on a Blackberry app, it looks like Instagram is going to dominate the Apple-only space for a while. I eagerly await the other amazing features, apps and off shoots Instagram has in store over the coming months and, I might add, am completely addicted to this app.