Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Making The Unsocial Social

May 31st, 2011

When A Place Is Not A Place

The New Directions are heading to nationals in NYC on Glee and a group of girls are comically preparing for the wedding of the decade in Bridesmaids. Popping bubble wrap and hitting green lights in row are amongst 1000 pleasures in life described in Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome. Love songs and ballads are penetrating the ears of listeners as British gem, Adele, hits the top on global music charts. Seems like a lot is going on in the entertainment industry, but do we have all the stickers to prove it?

Traditionally, paperbacks in comfy chairs or classic films on the couch while wrapped in blankets accompany rainy days. TV has been a mindless pass time for as long as Bob Barker hosted the Price as Right. Now all the activities that your introverted side associated with have gone online and become social. No need to panic and hide in the closet clutching your weathered collection of Harry Potter, platforms are now available for you to discuss your potion concoctions and Quidditch tactics with other muggles online.

Platforms like GetGlue, Miso and Philo provide viewers with enhanced interaction with their favourite forms of entertainment. This allows networks, publishers and film studios to build relationships with their consumers by rewarding them with stickers or other tangible prizes and encourage further usage. TV studios utilize these platforms to encourage live viewing and consistency as certain episodes unlock other rewards.  GetGlue has evolved into the leader of this booming space with users surpassing 1M and check-ins exceeding 12M. Users can check-in through their website or mobile Apps (available on iPhone and Android, sorry BB users!) to identify that they are watching, reading or listening to items. In doing so, users will receive stickers or badges and sometimes be entered to win tangible prices. Furthermore, there is the option for users to comment and like pieces as they would over crumpets at their book club.

As marketers within the entertainment industry, how can we use this to reach our target audience or even just to have one of those nifty stickers? Networks have already launched successful (and somewhat adhesive) campaigns.

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Gets Glue’d

For Canadians (like myself), hockey is part of the culture and suits worn by Don Cherry had become socially accepted and respected. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada teamed up with GetGlue to make exclusive stickers that are available to users when they check in at games. This campaign was launched during game 7 of Montreal vs. Boston with exclusive sports-related stickers. Now onto the semifinals, let’s just hope that Canada comes out strong to make these stickers worth it. Go Canucks!

Miso let’s Viewers Pick ‘Em

Although Donald Trump is a leading business magnate, his luscious blond locks don’t always allow him to make the right decisions on Apprentice. Seeing as reality shows are something that cannot be missed because of the fear of overhearing the outcome during your commute to work the following day. Miso is allowing viewers to participate during the living viewing, to step in and make the decision for Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, this poll will have no bearing on the results of the show but it does encourage user engagement and allows viewers to interact with each other in real time. So, next time you’re watching Dancing with the Stars, log on to Miso and share who you think should move on: Kirstie Alley or the Situation. “None of the above” isn’t an option.

You Again, Philo!

Prior to the premiere of the movie, You Again, Philo launched a campaign offering the chance to win a $500 spa package grand prize among smaller prices like memorabilia and free tickets. To be entered in the draw, users had to check in a minimum of 3 different times to shows that aired a You Again commercial. If the user went on to comment “you again” on any of the qualifying shows they would be entered to win the grand prize. Not bad for a lazy Sunday on the couch.

GetGlue and others have broken ground in a whole new space. They have developed a platform that works like Foursquare but the users don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home. ‘Checking In’ is no longer limited to actual places, but virtual ones too. In doing so, GetGlue has reached an entirely new market, formally known as the couch potatoes and bookworms. Going forward, you should remove the tarnished pins from your old canvas rucksack because it’s all about stickers now!

Extra, Extra, Foursquare To Get It!

April 13th, 2011


April 16th, 2011 marks Foursquare Day around the globe.  Now in its second year, more than 150 cities are participating in a global group-hug check-in to the platform with more than 8 million users.

Why April 16th? According to founder Dennis Crowley, “Since four-squared equals 16, it would be great to check into Foursquare and create Foursquare Day on the 4th 16th of the year, otherwise known as 4/16 or April 16th.”

In addition to the special Foursquare Day badge, several other social media powerhouses are jumping on board, not the least of which is McDonald’s.

After posting a 33% increase in checkins on Foursquare Day last year, the company had pledged to join in the fun once again. This time they’ve come up with a creative offer that shows off one of our favorite characters — among foursquare users, at least — Mayor McCheese.

100 people (they will be randomly selected) who become the mayor of their local McDonald’s on Foursquare Day will get a unique, vintage Mayor McCheese shirt.

In addition, Untappd the location based mobile web application that lets you share your favorite beers, as well as where you’re enjoying them, has created a special badge you can earn via linkage to your Foursquare Day check-in.

Here in Toronto, where I’m based, an event MC’d by the fabulous Lauren O’Nizzle is planned with sponsorship support from the likes of Virgin Mobile, Chapters Indigo, Love Sewing, Canadian Stage, and TIFF.

Also, the folks from Mill Street Brewery will be out between 8:30-9:30 pm for a 4SQDayYYZ beer tasting!  Did I say beer again?

Over at the Location Based Marketing Association, we’re pumped to be the official promotional sponsor for the day. The event is being held at the Firkin on King and folks can join the meet-up here: http://www.meetup.com/foursquare/Toronto-CA/

See you there

What Wireless N Means For The Hotspot World

August 21st, 2009

The recent WIRED article entitled “New Wi-Fi Standard Promises Blazing Fast Data Speeds” finally clears up a few of the unknowns of the 802.11n standard that has been in development for the last five years.

This technology will allow for increases in speed, range and number of simultaneous users on a network. Wireless N, as it is mostly commonly called is also backward compatible; meaning that a new 802.11n router will still support connections from devices using the older 802.11b and 802.11g chipsets.

Even though wireless n devices have been available to consumers for some time, they have been based on the draft of the N standard.  The September release of the finalized standard by the IEEE, brings with it some interesting modifications to the draft, which the current products are based on. These improvements include: the addition of a extra send and receive channel, increasing both the range (to approx. 4000 square feet) and throughput by an additional 33 percent.

These improvements will benefit both the home wireless network user and the hotspot provider, allowing for greater coverage, higher speed and better concurrency.  Unfortunately depending on the Internet gateway services available, end users may not receive the full benefit of the equipment improvements because the service itself is not capable of supporting it. This could mean slow adoption rates for hotspot providers like us at Vex.

Once the ISPs can support the technology, browsing and downloading content will become a significantly better experience. This is one of the first instances where wireless technology has outpaced the wired service (internet gateway) and will lead to innovations and lower bandwidth costs in the ISP market.

The Age of Smartphone WiFi

July 13th, 2009

Starbucks is one of the first places people think of at the mention of the word WiFi. The classic combination of WiFi and coffee however, is no longer the only place to get wirelessly connected since WiFi hotspots are evolving rapidly. The driving force in WiFi is the trend in mobile device technology to include WiFi chipsets.

Last week Sprint Nextel announced that a new version of the Research In Motion BlackBerry Tour 9630 will be released next year to support WiFi, as Sprint expects consumers to keep craving mobile devices capable of accessing the Internet.  As major U.S. wireless carriers continue to roll out new smartphones, the lack of WiFi in many new smartphones has left both users and carriers frustrated.

“It is now a requirement for all our PDA equipment suppliers to include Wi-Fi,” Jeff Clemow, Sprint director of business product marketing, noted in an interview with Fierce Wireless.

A recent ABI Research reports suggests that 141 million WiFi enabled smartphones will be shipped in 2009.

Many Smartphone users connect to WiFi to download new emails instead of using the bandwidth from their data plans, the gen X and Y’s are using WiFi to update their Twitter and Facebook status.

Will the future of hotspots evolve or is it constricted to cafes, restaurants and hotels?  Providing WiFi adds value for customers of these traditional WiFi hotspot venues, choosing the restaurant for a business meeting or a hotel to stay in can be partially decided by the availability of WiFi Internet service. A Reuters poll found that “47 percent of travelers make sure a hotel caters to their technology needs before they book it.”

And the shift to WiFi-enabled smartphones is changing the way other venues consider WiFi as well.  Sports complexes, like Ivor Wynne stadium and shopping malls are expanding coverage to the entire building instead of just the food courts. The portability of devices with WiFi connectivity is increasing the demand for hotspots.

It seems people want to stay connected wherever they go.  So should they have to pay every time they enter a new hotspot? I personally think not – especially in North America.  Hotels have already ready begun to hide the fee in room charges and many airports in Canada and US now have free WiFi.

Consumers are demanding free WiFi in Canada and I for one look forward to seeing the carriers and other wireless ISPs respond to this need.

Welcome to “In the Air Tonight”

July 6th, 2009

Welcome to “In the Air Tonight” – an online destination for all things WiFi.  I am Asif Khan, a Toronto-based technology entrepreneur and connoisseur of all that amounts from the intersection of business, advertising and technology.

My latest venture is the launch of the Canadian arm of a global WiFi company called Vex.  At Vex Canada we envision a nation where WiFi is Free and Everywhere.

There is a shift coming.  That is the shift from laptop only WiFi locations, to the WiFi enabled smartphone.  Every new device on the market, from the iPhone, to the Palm Pre all have built in WiFi, but finding a free connection in Canada is not always easy.  WiFi should truly be everywhere, from the grocery store, to the hockey rink, to the gas station.

We’re hoping that over the next year we can truly create a blogspace where you can come to learn more about WiFi.  Where you can engage in discussion about WiFi in Canada and abroad, and where we together can help shape the future of WiFi in Canada.

One final thought: Our national anthem contains the words “True North, Strong and Free.”   Perhaps we could consider a new take on WiFi in Canada as follows: Canada (True North), (Strong) WiFi connections, (Free) for all!