Friday, January 7, 2011

Top Wireless Moments of 2010

I make a point of reading through my monthly delivery of marketnews for all the latest information on the wireless industry and the exciting developments coming out. 

In the most recent edition, I came across a small article that featured some amusing stories from the past year, and I thought that others would appreciate a moment of entertainment. Be aware that the companies involved in these stories probably didn't find these as funny as we do...

Apple Loses the iPhone 4
An Apple employee accidentally left a prototype iPhone 4 at a bar he had visited, and the device found its way into the hands of an "innocent" patron who claimed to have tried returning the device to its owner. Upon being unable to reach the owner, the patron decided to sell the device to Gizmodo, further resulting in leaked images, rumors as to its arrival in the market, and a chase to retrieve the lost device.

Apple "Antenna-Gate"
It is rather amusing on its own to see that Apple features twice in these stories....but the realization that the side placement of the antenna in the iPhone 4 meant that owners could cover it while talking, had new users up in arms over losing signal strength each time they were on a call. Apple made the suggestion that users should purchase a case to slip their iPhone into - problem solved, right? Apparently not....consumers were unimpressed that they had to make yet another purchase to ensure their already expensive new Smartphone would work. Considering that the cost to replace every handset sold was in the range of $1.5billion, Apple felt that providing customers with a free case was the best, and cheapest, solution for its customers. Not the perfect result, but it seemed to make people happy....

Woman Sues Rogers for Her Infidelity
Many feel that Americans are quick to sue over any and all situations, and that Canadians are far too smart to do anything similar....apparently that is not the case here. In May 2010, a woman decided to sue Rogers because her husband found out about her cheating through a cell phone bill. At first glance, the immediate question is "How is this Rogers' fault?!" Apparently, Rogers consolidated her private cell phone bill with her husband's cable and Internet services (as a money saver) without her authorization. Upon reviewing her bill and seeing multiple calls to one number, the husband chose to leave his wife. As a result, she has chosen to sue Rogers in the amount of $500,000 for her pain and suffering....

The $8,000 Phone Bill
Soon after the Rogers legal incident above, a man from Alberta chose to go after his own wireless carrier, Virgin Mobile, after he received an $8000 phone bill. Many of us would simply assume that an error had been made in the billing system and that he was justified in making a noise about it. 

However, upon further investigation, it was revealed that this customer had recently returned from Europe where he had used his phone almost the entire time to do the following tasks:

  • Making and receiving calls;
  • Navigation to and from various destinations;
  • Accessing a digital translator; and (this is the most ridiculous)....
  • Listening to a streaming clock radio station from his hometown of Calgary for a total of FIVE hours!

There is no way that someone can claim any kind of innocence for using data to that extent while in another country. And I have to directly quote marketnews for this comment...."if you engage in these acts thinking that through some miracle of the cross-country wireless gods, they're free, the onus is on you. They're called 'smart' phones for a reason. But the device shouldn't have to act more intelligently than it's owner." Enough said!

So, despite the fact that 2010 was a landmark year for smartphones and development in many connected areas, it appears that it wasn't a year for smart actions on the parts of many individuals. Here's hoping 2011 brings some common sense to us all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Does 2011 Have In Store For The Wireless Industry?

2010 was definitely a landmark year for the adoption of Smartphone and other mobile devices, such as tablets, and also for the development of software, operating systems and applications for just about anything you can think of.

So how is 2011 going to see in the new year of wireless communications and technology? 

Todd Engels of Marketing Drive has identified the following five trends that we should look out for in the coming year:

1) Leveraging the power of social media to drive commerce (e.g. Groupon)
Groupon has been the innovator when it comes to group based purchasing, and it will be exciting to see how this method of promotion will affect distribution, effectiveness and efficiency of special offers to consumers.

2) Integration of mobile (handheld) into shopping marketing programming
This allows for additional touch points with the consumer throughout the shopping process. Creating that additional connection can allow companies to capture early adopters and be more innovative themselves.

3) Marginalization of “” promotional websites
Companies are looking to feature their brands and offers on existing social networking sites, sharing sites, or potential partner sites to save having to create their own stand-alone web presence.

4) Localization of promotion
There is more of a move to grass-roots levels in local communities, even with the use of the Internet to facilitate promotions, offers and products / services.

5) Continued blurring of the line between content and promotion 
Companies are looking to have their promotional messages linked smoothly and continuously over a number of media, such as TV, print and gaming. They want to keep the promotion indistinguishable from the content because of the ability to deliver in high-value brand environments. Integration into video games, for example, is a new venture that many companies are stepping into, as a new way to reach their audience.

These five points all cover the element of Smartphone-mobile integration for the consumer. With new online opportunities emerging all the time, and existing elements continuing to move forwards, 2011 will definitely be the year to watch the communications industry.

For the full article and examples to accompany each trend above, see the iQmetrix Newsletter for this week.