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Archive for the ‘Mobile News’ Category

It seems so.

According to the LA Times, the LAPD has launched a new system that allows citizens to send anonymous crime tips via SMS. Upon sending in a tip, the user will receive a textback message assigning him an alias, which he can then use for subsequent communication with the police.

[Sidenote: I'm VERY curious to know more about these aliases... Are they awesome, like BatTracker or FrenchBulldog or JamesBondIsMyDad? Or are they totally lame, like Anon345 or User62? I must know.]
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This year marked my first Boston Marathon.

It also marked my first experience with AT&T’s Athlete Alert System, which gave each runner the option of entering the mobile numbers up to three friends or family members who would receive text alerts at the 10K, half-marathon, 30K, and finish.

Sounds excellent, si?

Except that it didn’t work. At least not well.

My mom received one text alerting her that I had passed the 10K mark… over an hour after I had passed it. She also received a text saying that I had finished, which was symbolically pretty nice, but it was little help in actually getting to the finish line in time to see me cross. My other two alertees never received anything.

AT&T promoted the fact that the alerts worked on any network, but I suppose it’s unsurprising that my mom is on AT&T, and the other two are on Verizon.

With over 25,000 runners with three peeps a piece, that’s no small text messaging campaign; regardless, 2 out of 10 messages delivered are some disappointing numbers.

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I bookmarked this NYT article about the Text Generation Gap a couple weeks ago, and finally got around to it today. Sure, the article came to all of the obvious conclusions, but for those of us working in social, interactive media, it’s certainly a decent read. Anecdote-heavy, it’s a nice collection of mini case studies on shifting communication habits.

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While Tom Brady may be getting all of the attention from Boston sports fans over the next couple weeks (and rightfully so), Celtics’ big gun Kevin Garnett has scooped up the lion’s share of the mobile buzz.

Thanks to Adidas’ “Basketball is a Brotherhood” campaign, over 65,ooo people have texted to a shortcode to receive an inspirational message from Garnett since the campaign launched just two months ago. What’s more… 25K of the texters have called back and left messages for Garnett. Users also have options of creating customized ringtones and loading up personalized mobile greetings voiced by KG.

While I’d love to see them extend the interactive portion to the out-of-home market, the roots of the campaign show excellent cohesion– remaining mindful of the user experience throughout each component. I can only imagine what would happen if they brought this to a big screen at the Garden (hint, hint).

A tip of the hat to Carat-NY and Isobar-Boston for their work thus far on the campaign.

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It took a good few years for most academics to accept the notion of online classes, and many still aren’t there yet. So try this one on for size: a college class in Japan is being taught entirely on cell phones. Now, not only can you “go to class” in pajamas, but you can do so while watching YouTube videos and chatting on IM… because– seriously – your computer can’t sit there idle for an entire class period.

The class is taught via Cyber University in Tokyo, which offers only online (and now, mobile) classes. The class consists of a powerpoint presentation downloaded to students’ handsets, accompanied by streaming audio of the professor’s lecture.

The university is majority-owned by Softbank, a dominant Japanese carrier. And herein lies the catch: the classes are currently only available on select Softbank phones. This will be an interesting company to watch, as I’m curious to see if this single class spirals into a full-fledged marketing play.

As a sidenote— the topic for the class: “Mysteries of the Pyramids.” Random for a jumping off point, no?

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