Posts Tagged ‘Mobile apps’

In this past week I was fortunate enough to play a key role in the launch of DSB Labs – an open data community by the Danish Railways. For a while I have been following and been mesmerized by the open data movement, right across initiatives such as Tim Berners-Lee’s (TBL) Linked Data, Tim O’Reilly’s (TOR) Gov 2.0 and Barack Obama’s data.gov. I like TBL’s analogy of data being the unhidden goldmine no one can see on the surface, but whose potential is profound – and I totally agreed with TOR’s mantra to redefine government’s role to that of “government as a platform” as opposed to a vending machine of ready-made citizen services.

When you look at data in that light, all of a sudden the release of locked and proprietary data becomes one of the biggest untapped potentials in the world today. A cause worth fighting for. With DSB Labs we’re obviously focusing on the daily needs of commuters and travellers, but if we move beyond travel, open data has already proven to be an excellent crowdsourcing aggregator. During last year’s Haiti earthquake open data helped the relief efforts in a very real way, when GeoEye allowed the open source community to use its satellite data to allow people all over the world to edit the Open Street Map and thereby greatly facilitate efforts on the ground. Impressive – and that’s just the beginning.

My vision is to see all non-confidential data – commercial and public alike – released worldwide to allow all creatives, developers, nerds, visionaries, well, frankly, all citizens to offer their angle on data, because – in the words of Jacob Bøtter (see video below) – the data owners don’t have all the answers.

I had the pleasure of interviewing and filming some of Denmark’s open data protagonists last week and ended up producing this video for DSB Labs. A subtitled version will follow.

Thanks to the following visionaries for making DSB Labs possible and/or for making themselves available for the video: Henrik Jessen, Ronni Egeriis Persson, Kim Jonasen, Kristian Stangerup, Nursel Yildirim, Anne Mette Koch, Rasmus Viemose, Simon Bønløkke, Jacob Bøtter, Søren Rindal Nielsen, Tore Vesterby, Klaus Silberbauer

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Now that everything is electronic and all apps and services are internet-based (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Flickr, YouTube, Google Docs and what not) I feel more certain than ever that I won’t lose my “stuff”. I guess most of my e-stuff from the 90s is gone by now. I probably had some of it on some 3.5″ back-up disks or old computers, but now – it’s gone. Disappeared. Disparu.

It got me thinking the other day when I was looking for an old Facebook wall chat- it wasn’t old old, just a couple of months – and I realized it was almost impossible to find. Whose wall was it on? Was it mine? Who was in it? Anyway, it took me well over half an hour to locate it scrolling through 40-50 pages (the one shown here is another one I decided to keep). It was really good, it made me laugh all over again and I decided I wanted to keep it. But then I found that the only way to really keep it, was to screen-shoot it and save it in my Dropbox. Now, how old-fashioned is that? And what if, in 5 years time, I want to find something from today… I would take me weeks to find it.

It begs the question: How far back do Facebook, MySpace, Twitter et al keep their records?

It also begs the plea: Can someone please launch the service “My Social Stuff”! What I want is something like this: When I read a wall chat I want a little icon next to it that I can hit and it’ll save that chat to my social stuff. The same thing with pictures, tweets, links – basically everything from social cyberspace that I want to keep.

In My Social Stuff I want a powerful Google type search engine, so I can find everything. Folksonomy so I (and my friends) can tag a chat “wedding speech” or “joke” for later reference.

Above all I want a virtual time capsule where I can keep and safeguard all my social stuff for many many years.

I often get the question: “How do you involve your users in product development? Isn’t it cumbersome and costly?”

Not if you truly live 2.0. Check the Occipital blog about their Redlaser iPhone app. It’s all about creating the right universe, being consistent, being present – and being a good listener.

This post from yesterday is the perfect example. I would be surprised if the Redlaser guys don’t pick this one up. A blog can be a goldmine.

I just discovered a great little iPhone app called Redlaser. It scans barcodes and in a split second it returns a long list of online price comparisons, a bit like Pricerunner, only this brings online price comparisons into the offline world.

I spotted Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the bookstore at Dublin Airport at the ”special price of €13.99” and decided to give it a quick try. A Redlaser scan of the barcode revealed that Douglas Adams’ classic could be purchased online at biblio.com for $9.98 (€6.70). Now – that’s less than half price. Would I buy that book from Hughes & Hughes at Dublin Airport given that information at hand? Definitely not.

The app is very simple, but obviously leverages a powerful search engine (TheFind), which hooks up with a rapidly growing number of online shops and its ramifications are astounding. It will put far more pressure on retailers to coordinate online and offline offerings minutely and realtime to ensure that customers don’t abandon their shop purchase in favour of buying it online (which I would have done in my example).

I’ll be following this little red devil closely to see how and to what extent it might change customer retail behaviour in 2010 – and, oh, I’ll be sure to develop some cool strategies for retailers to not only cope with this new “thing”, but also take seriously advantage of it.