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IMI, the Hyderabad, India-headquartered global provider of mobile value added services for content providers, mobile operators and media agencies, has today announced its acquisition of dx3, the London-based digital content delivery services provider which drove the first legal digital music downloads in Europe. IMI says its acquisition of dx3 is the first step in an aggressive European expansion plan designed to establish the company as one of the largest managed service providers for digital content and converged value added services in the region.

The acquisition will combine IMI's experience in the mobile sector, where it already enables 80 operator deployments globally to drive profitable new revenue streams, with dx3's expertise in the web domain. dx3 has relationships with all of the world's major music labels, a library of over two million music tracks and provides innovative marketing solutions to major brands and creative agencies including members of WPP and OMD. The arrangement will bring the combined services of the enlarged group under the IMI brand and see its carrier-grade DaVinci platform used as part of a managed service offering to power the mobile and online digital marketing initiatives of major brands, publishers and retailers across Europe.

Commenting on the acquisition, Vishwanath Alluri, the CEO and founder of IMI said "This is the first strategic acquisition in an aggressive European expansion. We see two key growth areas emerging. Firstly, converged media campaigns that use both mobile and online platforms. Secondly, ‘off deck', direct to consumer mobile and fixed line operator promotions, working with big name brands to offer innovative offers and marketing inducements to their subscriber base. We are well positioned to exploit this growth with our innovative technology platforms and considerable experience in driving new revenue streams for our global customers."

Anu Shah, formerly executive director dx3, now CEO IMI Europe adds: "The acquisition by IMI gives us fantastic access to a converged online and mobile platform that can glue together growing areas of the market such as digital music, social networking, advertising, user generated content and subscription services. dx3 and IMI believe offering these products under a managed service model offers the best risk / return profile for our clients as evidenced by our growth over the last year. Together we are now in a great position to design and deploy compelling new products and services on a pan-European basis."

The acquisition is effective immediately and will increase IMI's headcount to more than 380 around the world.

Qualcomm, the developer of wireless technologies and data solutions, has today announced a new dual-CPU Snapdragon single-chip solution that is said to extend the reach of the Snapdragon platform by targeting more advanced mobile computing devices. 

The QSD8672 chip features two computing cores capable of up to 1.5GHz for greater processing capabilities, in addition to optimized battery life and a full range of 3G mobile broadband and peripheral connectivity capabilities found on all Snapdragon chipsets. Snapdragon-powered mobile computing devices are claimed to combine the best of Smartphones and laptops, delivering advanced computing while enhancing the user experience with the always-on, connected characteristics of mobile handsets. Sampling is scheduled for the second half of 2009. 

"This new dual-CPU Snapdragon chip demonstrates our long-term commitment to helping our customers develop a wide variety of innovative, data-centric, mobile computing devices," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of marketing and product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.  "With its exceptional computing power and improved energy efficiency, the QSD8672 chip allows us to enable more advanced devices that are essentially always on, always awake and always connected."

The dual-CPU QSD8672 solution, with two highly integrated computing processors running at speeds of up to 1.5GHz, is designed to enable new classes of wirelessly connected computing and pocketable computing devices and deliver significant enhancements to Netbook devices currently on the market.  Having two processing cores allows the chip to deliver an enhanced computing experience with more instantaneous response and greater ability to run multiple applications concurrently. 
The QSD8672 also will provide these devices with greater functionality, particularly 3G wireless broadband through the Company's industry-leading integrated multi-mode modems including HSPA+ for up to 28 Mbps on the downlink and up to 11 Mbps on the uplink.  The chip integrates GPS, Bluetooth, 1080p high-definition video recording and playback and also supports Wi-Fi and mobile TV technologies such as MediaFLO, DVB-H and ISDB-T.  The integrated 2D and 3D graphics engines deliver device manufacturers the ability to offer products with display resolutions up to WSXGA (1440 x 900).

According to Qualcomm, mobile computing devices running on the dual-CPU Snapdragon solution can offer displays from 9 to 12 inches in size with a form-factor that is smaller, thinner, lighter and quieter than laptops currently on the market.  The devices also take advantage of integrated 3G connectivity and comprehensive peripheral connectivity capabilities, which complement and enable these portable form-factors.  Running on Snapdragon chips also allows mobile computing devices to deliver powerful processing capabilities, transparent and reliable connectivity and exceptionally long battery life. 

Mobile Multimedia company, 3ple-Media, has enhanced its Mercury mobile multimedia platform to include the embedding of advertising into mobile video clips and video streams.

The platform is said to enable insertion of pre-roll, post-roll and in-stream advertising, all customizable according to the requirements of the advertiser and the type of inventory in use.  Moreover, the embedded advertising is interactive; for example a post-roll call to action can be clicked on to take the participant to a follow on mobile multimedia experience such as a Mobisite, a new video stream or an SMS/MMS push of information to the handset. This is said to integrate mobile video advertising into the wider digital marketing mix while providing immediate metrics to the advertiser, content provider and mobile operator.   

StJohn Deakins, CCO of 3ple-Media said: "The richer and more engaging the user experience, the higher the acquisition and conversion potential for mobile advertising. Consumption of video online has become mass market and consumers are increasingly taking this behavior to the mobile screen.  Interestingly the current economic climate may actually accelerate the trend as in past downturns consumers have increased spend on entertainment like movies while reducing big ticket expenditure.  When subsidized with advertising, mobile video is the ultimate in affordable, personal entertainment." 

The Mercury mobile multimedia platform provides an intuitive interface for mobile multimedia service creation, compilation, advertising management, distribution, tracking and billing. User accounts are customized for 3rd parties who then distribute content and advertising via a variety of mobile data channels such as SMS, MMS, WAP, USSD and video, all of which are included on the modular platform.  Multimedia content is automatically formatted and can be dynamically routed according to the capabilities of the receiving device. The Mercury DataTrack and ViralTrack modules provide real time reporting of content and advertising consumption as it is received acted on and forwarded around a network.  The SubProfile database provides aggregated profiling information based on preferences and behavior for accurate profiling and efficient targeting.  Mercury applications such as SMS2MMS and MyTV, a user generated video content portal, provide additional rich media advertising inventory to the Mobile Operator.

Vyke Communications has today announced the launch of a beta version of its mobile VoIP software and service for all Windows Mobile 6.0 and higher based smartphones which is being rolled out across Vyke's enterprise channels.

The solution is based on Vyke's stand-alone proprietary mobile VoIP technology, said to provide high quality voice service while circumventing any operator handset tampering issues that may prevent users of Windows Mobile based smartphones from benefiting from mobile VoIP services.   

Jan Berger, Chief Marketing Officer, Vyke Communications commented: "The launch of this new solution addresses the significant portion of the enterprise market that is Windows Mobile based. As this stand alone software is compatible with a wide cross section of business orientated mobile handsets, it adds significantly to our potential customer base and will be an important tool in helping our enterprise sales team reach its goals."

The Mobile Marketing Association has today released its Annual Mobile Attitude and Usage Study, conducted with research partner Synovate. With the objective of helping brands and advertisers understand the habits of mobile users, the study is said to provide insights into overall consumer mobile usage by demographic group as well as the awareness for the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America markets. The study's key global findings include:

 

  • Overall interest in mobile marketing varies by geography. The United States and Western Europe report comparable interest levels in mobile marketing; similar interest levels are also noted among mobile phone users in Asia Pacific and Latin American markets.
  • One-in-four mobile users in the US and Western Europe express strong or moderate interest in mobile marketing.
  • Interest levels are higher in Asia Pacific and Latin American markets where roughly one-half and two-thirds of mobile users respectively express strong or moderate interest.
  • In all regions, "text-to-win" and interactive voting campaigns are the most common efforts in which mobile users have participated.
  • Echoing receptivity to mobile marketing overall, Asia Pacific and Latin American markets report greater participation in mobile marketing efforts; roughly one-in-five mobile users in these regions report having participated in mobile marketing efforts in the past year.
  • Creating strong market opportunity for mobile marketers, across all countries and regions surveyed, heavy penetration and reliance on mobile phones combined with strong feature, text and mobile web usage indicate a willingness to accept mobile phones as devices that reach beyond traditional communications.
  • More than half of mobile consumers (regardless of market) report that their mobile phone is "highly important" to their daily life.
  • Mobile feature usage of non voice applications (text, mobile web, camera and picture messaging) is strong in all markets.

"The Annual Mobile Attitude and Usage Study is one of the most powerful tools available in our industry and we are pleased to expand the number of countries profiled in this year's study," said Laura Marriott, president of the MMA. "Consumers are becoming more adept at using their mobile devices, opening the door to help them to explore and discover mobile marketing campaigns."

"Overall interest levels in the mobile marketing concept vary by market and geographic region - however, common in all markets is the importance of mobile phones in daily life. Further, all markets show an ever increasing reliance on services that are precursors and enablers to mobile marketing efforts," said Beth Ritchey, Vice President, Synovate Tech and Telecom. "This year's Mobile Attitude and Usage Study contains a wealth of information geared to help marketers understand market trends and opportunities in both individual markets and geographic regions."

The global study covers the following markets: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

Mobix Interactive, a specialist in mobile video and TV, and Wmode, a provider of mobile content distribution services, today announced that their global partnership would be enabling new entertainment destinations for Orange Switzerland and Unicel.

 

Using Mobix's Adrenalin mobile video platform, Wmode will be able to offer both European and North American clients a mobile entertainment package in conjunction with its ClearMode service.

In Europe, Orange Communications (Switzerland) SA, a subsidiary of the Orange Group, has commissioned Wmode and Mobix with the management of its entire downloadable content catalogue; sourcing and consolidating the content and assuring quality and delivery of collateral from games and videos, images, polyphonic and real ringtones to full tracks and mobile themes. The partners will also provide a dedicated mobile service delivery platform, marketing downloadable content through the Orange World web and WAP portals as well as by SMS, and managing the Orange Content Hub storefronts.

In North America, Wmode and Mobix will also be managing the complete content portal for regional GSM operator Unicel. This will include video, true and poly tones, images, games and themes and will be available through Unicel's WAP content site.

The Adrenalin-powered storefront, managed by the ClearMode Service, is a complete turnkey solution that provides operators with the ability to deliver an optimised experience integrated with a suite of advertising, pricing, editorial, reporting and quality control capabilities irrespective of the number of content partners or volume of content. The solution provides an environment for consumers to browse and purchase content and features full personalisation and customer self-care functionality.

Damian Mulcock, CEO, Mobix Interactive commented, "These two deals validate the compelling solution that the integration of the Adrenalin platform and ClearMode service offers to operators."  

 

"The addition of Adrenalin to the Wmode offering has created a broad range of distribution and merchandising services for rich media, resulting in global opportunities such as these with Orange Switzerland and Unicel agreements," stated Tom Beaman, SVP of Global Marketing and Sales for Wmode.

Coupons delivered and redeemed via mobile phones are forecast to be used by some 200 million mobile subscribers globally by 2013, according to a new study by Juniper Research.

The Juniper Research report determined that the mobile coupons market is currently most advanced in Japan and Korea, but that growing numbers of mobile coupon services are being offered in the USA and Europe across all the main retail sectors including restaurants, entertainment, shopping and grocery. The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for the major part of the market by 2013.  

Report author Howard Wilcox gave more details: "Today the overwhelming majority of coupons are paper-based, but the mobile phone is the ultimate individual marketing device and mobile coupon pilots show greatly increased redemption rates - often double digit percentages."

The Juniper report highlighted the increased benefit in user convenience and the greater efficiencies for organisations operating mobile coupon campaigns as the two key benefits for the adoption of promotional coupons on the mobile platform. However some significant hurdles were identified, including the lack of suitable point of sale (POS) infrastructure at the supermarket checkout allowing for the quick and easy redemption of coupons, which is critical to the consumer shopping experience.

Nearly all mobile coupon usage today is in the Far East region. However by 2013 Western Europe and North America will together account for almost 20% of coupon redemption values. Technology is also a factor, with most mobile coupons today delivered by a code (often bar code) and SMS. In future, Near Field Communications (NFC) will become popular in this application.    

The Mobile Marketing Association has announced the publication of its first revision of Global Mobile Measurement Ad Currency Definitions. Addressing common ad currencies, the definitions are designed to create consistency across the industry and to serve as the basis for the development of future mobile ad guidelines.

"Metrics and measurement are critical in order to drive further brand spend into the mobile channel," said MMA president Laura Marriott. "We appreciate the leadership of the MRC, and the foundation from the IAB, in helping to shape the ad currency measurement definitions, a crucial step towards driving the adoption of mobile advertising world-wide. We also appreciate the endorsement of the 4 A's."

Developed by the MMA Measurement Committee in close collaboration with the Media Rating Council (MRC), the definitions use the Interactive Audience Measurement and Advertising Campaign Reporting and Audit Guidelines developed by the IAB as a basis to cover the following areas of mobile advertising:

  • Ad Impressions
  • Streaming Video Advertising
  • Rich Media Ad Impression
  • Click Measurement

"Measurement initiatives that provide industry consistency and qualified metrics on the performance of campaigns rather than different data according to vendor or network are essential criteria for the continued growth of mobile advertising campaigns. This is a key step towards the first set of guidelines around metrics and future industry standardisation", stated George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of The Media Rating Council.

The currency definitions included participation from MMA Measurement Committee member companies, ADObjects Inc, Amobee Media Systems, AOL LLC. DoubleClick, O global limited, Isobar, Media Rating Council, Microsoft (MSN and Windows Live), The Coca-Cola Company and Yahoo!

Dexterra, a provider of software to automate and manage mobile workforces, has announced two new editions of its Dexterra Concert mobile development platform - the Dexterra Concert Carrier Edition and Enterprise Edition.  Both editions support the new fully integrated Dexterra Field Service Suite also announced.

Dexterra Concert provides customers with a single platform for mobile application development that integrates with enterprise back-office and legacy systems either behind corporate firewalls or as a hosted service from their wireless carrier. Dexterra Concert supports all market-leading devices and mobile operating systems, including Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, and Symbian OS.

"The lack of mobile solutions specifically designed for the unique needs of enterprises and wireless carriers has been a limiting factor in mobile adoption and market growth," said Rob O'Farrell, general manager of Mobile Platform and Tools at Dexterra.  "By creating separate editions of our Dexterra Concert platform, we meet the specialised mobility requirements of these two types of customers, accelerating their deployments, reducing overall costs, and increasing profits and productivity."

Opera today released a preview of Opera Mini 4.2, the newest version of the mobile Web browser that works on almost every mobile phone. With this beta release, Opera says it is celebrating Opera Mini more than 20 million unique monthly users worldwide. Opera Mini users in the United States and Asia-Pacific region can now also experience faster browsing speeds, due to the addition of an Opera Mini server park in the United States.

"The number of people using Opera Mini worldwide proves that there is a true revolution going on: people want to access all their favorite Web sites on the mobile phone they have today," says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. "We constantly focus on developing a faster and more personal browsing experience. Opera Mini 4.2 beta is an update that takes mobile Web browsing to the next level."

Opera Mini 4.2 beta is claimed to provide a more personalized experience with its colorful selection of new skins, improved support for YouTube and other mobile video services on a wider selection of mobile phones.  Improvements in Opera Link allow users to share notes between their mobile phones and PCs, in addition to their bookmarks and recently-visited URLs.

The latest version of UK sourced mobile development tool MobiForms 4.06 now includes support for wireless PDA access to SQL Server databases.

With MobiForms it is now said to be possible to remotely connect to most industry standard databases including Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, IBM DB2, SQLite, HSQLDB and MySQL. Alternatively for off-line local storage MobiForms runs with a range of PDA databases. The latest version of MobiForms also includes a free copy of the open-source HSQLDB database for server, standalone or mobile database applications, complementing the MobiForms Developer tool and the Mobiforms runtime interpreter. MobiForms says it offers all the tools in one "box" for the creation and deployment of any type of mobile application - from surveys to field service, from signature capture to bar coding.

MobiForms is a rapid application development tool for building mobile applications for wireless platforms including Tablet PC, Pocket PC, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Smartphone, Symbian and Palm. MobiForms is aimed at novice or expert users alike who do not want to spend hours writing complex code like Java or C++. Instead professional mobile applications can be created and deployed quickly using the intuitive MobiForms drag and drop interface, with the data tied seamlessly back to corporate systems.

With the global economy showing more and more signs of slowing down, mobile messaging growth will continue, according to a recent report from ABI Research, which says that mobile messaging services revenues will grow from $151 billion in 2008 to greater than $212 billion globally by 2013. Supply side drivers will be of primary importance for maintaining this level of growth.
 
Principal analyst Dan Shey comments: "Mobile messaging ARPUs are 85%+ of all handset data services revenues regardless of region and will remain so for many years. As messaging involves all the biggest players in the mobile industry there will be incentives for all mobile messaging suppliers to work cooperatively to serve customers well and propel all parties through these rough economic waters."
 
The important messaging suppliers include operators, device OEMs, content providers and middleware vendors. But although these suppliers can make the mobile messaging experience as pleasurable as possible, there must also be valid practical reasons for customers to use them and to and consider upgrading to new plans and services. One of the main reasons: more and more customers see mobile messaging services as a more efficient way to communicate than voice services.
 
Shey says, "The utility of mobile services will keep them a necessity in tough economic times, particularly since displaced workers need to be mobile to find work."

comscore has reported that 6.5 million Americans tuned into mobile video in August. Among the top operators in the US, AT&T claimed the most mobile video viewers, with 4.4 per cent of subscribers accessing either programmed or on-demand mobile video. Sprint's figure was 4.2 per cent, followed by T-Mobile and Verizon with 2.4 per cent each.

According to the study, on-demand video was the most popular format, with 3.6 million viewers. With 1.3 million viewers, amateur videos, such as those on YouTube, represent the most popular type of content, followed by music videos and comedy videos. Music videos are the top choice for programmed mobile broadcast video users, followed closely by full television shows or films and movie trailers.

comscore senior analyst Mark Donovan said, "While the most popular forms of mobile TV and video are genres such as music videos and movie trailers which offer short video snacks, the data also show a nascent audience for long-form mobile content such as TV shows.

"At under three per cent penetration, the mobile video audience in the US remains small, but it is composed largely of males between 18 and 34 years old, which could make it attractive to advertisers seeking to reach multi-tasking early-adopters who don't have time for appointment television."

comScore also announced the results of its August Benchmark Study. Mobile social networking posted the highest growth, at 8.8 per cent, while photo and video messaging had the highest rate of penetration, at 26.3 per cent.

Alvarion, a provider of WiMAX and wireless broadband solutions, today announced the expansion of its frame agreement with the French WiMAX operator Altitude. Alvarion's Mobile WiMAX 4Motion solution will be used by Altitude to extend its coverage and provide voice and data services at 3.5 GHz to corporate, ISP and residential users in the Jura and Deux Sevres districts.

The rollout of this commercial network is already underway, with plans to be completed in early 2009. The new network will offer an enhanced portfolio of high quality wireless broadband services over Alvarion's Mobile WiMAX solution, including indoor and outdoor CPEs.

"Building on our success throughout the region of Aveyron, we see an increase in demand for WiMAX broadband services," said Fabrice Ballart, Managing Director of Altitude Infrastructure. "As always, we are committed to provide the best services and cost effective solutions to our customers, and therefore growing with Alvarion was the natural choice for moving forward and enabling seamless connectivity to the residents of France. This expansion will allow us to reach more customers and offer them the benefits of WiMAX at competitive rates."

"A pioneer of WiMAX in France, we congratulate Altitude on the expansion of its network and look forward to our long-term partnership," said Tzvika Friedman, President and CEO of Alvarion. "Increasing network capacity with our Mobile WiMAX solution enables Altitude to maintain a competitive position in the challenging market while ensuring quality of service and innovation for future expansions."

Alvarion's end-to-end 4Motion solution is the foundation of the company's OPEN WiMAX ecosystem, which combines BreezeMAX and other best-in-class systems. A complete all-IP Mobile WiMAX solution, 4Motion is designed to enable service providers to offer subscribers fixed and mobile Personal Broadband services anytime, anywhere. The 4Motion solution is comprised of core network elements, IP radio networking elements and end user devices.