Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Just pondering this post on mobile phones in Tesco's

In Nick Lansley's post he discusses using the wifi capability on most modern smart phones to do some marketing and offering some useful targetted functionality - i.e. find a product or you might like product X. This article also points to a stronger tie in between mobile phones and the tesco clubcard features.

Using an open access point to nab someones browser and forward it to some local content is a useful idea - as Nick points out this is how hotels and trains tend to charge folks for using their wifi services. Certainly things like local map of the store, store special offers, latest news - all feels like good things. Hook this up with social networking and you could choose to have your friends informed that you're down the local Tesco.

These two got me thinking about other ways you could use mobiles in store and possibly so real time analytics that could be gained. So my recollection of the Where 2.0 convention was that there was some tech there that tracked folks mobile phones - a little digging and I found an oreilly link for the results of where 2.0. In theory the foot path system from path intelligence could allow tescos to track all customers around the store. I'm guessing similar technology exists for Wifi signals - indeed Google's latitude technology is partially based on doing just this.

Makes me wonder if Tesco are already doing this? I assume there is some tracking technology in use.

If not then this coupled with the two mobile activities above could garner some incredible MI. In theory it wouldn't be too hard to link a customers clubcard number to their wifi MAC address or their IMEI number and track how people get around the store. It's all a little big brother but I think some interesting applications could arise - i.e. as a bloke I like to get in and out of the store asap- in, grab stuff i want, pay, leave (possibly browse the electronics bit).

Now if I could see a map of how I traverse the store with suggestions about alternate routes - or even just the store was organised to better support me (assuming I'm average joe public) purchasing things then that would be great.

Tie that up with some web2.0 social networking and you could share and invite comments on your route round the store - just imagine the facebook update : Craig spent 137.51 in 1 hour 18 minutes and 4 seconds at Tesco Purley. ahem - maybe going a bit far.

Also to avoid the recent faux pas in google's street view roll out some sensitive areas would need to be handled - like spending undue amount of time perusing adult magazines or in the pregnancy test section.

Still, in principle sharing my purchases and route with friends and getting useful comments back would be good - why are you buying that? X is cheaper.. or Have you tried Y, it's available just here...

Just some musings, more thoughts in my head but lunch time slot for blogging coming to an end...

Oh, and as for the 'no mobile signal half way through the store' issue would it be friendly of tesco to install some signal repeaters?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

how not to treat your customers

I was so shocked by the handling of this message I thought it worth sharing - clearly written by lawyers and not marketeers. The message could have been "we're doing this to improve service to our European customers" but comes across as "we're restructuring, cancel your account if you don't like it"...


We have a short but important announcement that we wanted to share with our players. World of Warcraft is currently an operation of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (USA), but starting April 14, 2009, the game operator will be Blizzard Entertainment's central European entity, Blizzard Entertainment S.A.S. (France), and will be referred to as such in the game's Terms of Use going forward. Our European office has been an essential part of our global operations since before the launch of World of Warcraft, and this update better reflects its role within our organization, as well as our continued commitment to our European players.

This is an administrative change -- your World of Warcraft game experience will not be impacted. If for any reason you do not agree to this change you may terminate your account with effect from March 31, 2009 by accessing the cancellation feature in the account management page at https://www.wow-europe.com/account/. Note that your continued use of the World of Warcraft service indicates that you agree to the change.

We're looking forward to continuing to enhance your World of Warcraft gaming experience in the year ahead, and as always, we wish you happy continued adventures in Azeroth!

The World of Warcraft Team

Monday, 23 March 2009

Design-thinking works…even for geeks | slide:ology

Brings a slightly more corporate view to 'back of a fag packet'. I like the idea of having the template slides with you in miniature in a back pocket.

Design-thinking works…even for geeks | slide:ology

Monday, 16 March 2009

Prezi - The zooming presentation editor

The number of times I've done BIG pictures and then walked through them with an audience by pointing out parts of the diagram or map. Wish I'd had something like this Prezi solution - would have been superb. Hopefully I can get involved in the Beta and try it out.
Prezi - The zooming presentation editor

Thanks to @mhw for the link.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Moving from Technologist to IT Architect

As a programmer I recall thinking about key skills, knowledge of programming languages, exposure to different environments and protocols and generally being very good at solving abstract puzzles. I note now that the skills and knowledge I value are quite different although I still need the background knowledge.

This actually forms part of the question about how an experience programmer or technology worker moves into the area of Systems Architecture. I recall my own growth and leading the technology in one of my early roles. I recall immersing myself in the detail, becoming familiar with all the protocols the system used, the languages required and configuration methods through the architecture. I recall discovering design patterns by a circuitous route and embedding those into my set of skills.

In recent years though I've spent more time looking at people than technology. Questions I face daily are
  • how do I present this information so that this stakeholder understands the key issues at hand?
  • how am I going to get this message across concisely?
  • who must I influence to make this change happen?
  • what are the key concerns of the people in the meeting with me?
As a result much of the things I read about lately are more to do with leadership, expressing information and around social intelligence. I've also spent time changing my appearance, working with the ideas in walkingtall.com and getting personal coaching on my appearance in order to have greater impact. Of course we all worry about money, so much of my time is now spent talking about money and converting technical lingo in the £££ (both benefits and costs).

Perhaps then the key leap for a technologist into an IT Architect role is to become as familiar with the protocols and inner workings of people as we are with the protocols and inner workings of computers. Oh, and to be able to put a value to such things.