Issue 17 • March 2011
UK PRS industry starts to show modest growth fuelled by social media and PTV figures published this month by PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of premium rate services (PRS), reveal that in 2010 the UK PRS market grew slightly, up by 0.8% from £810.1 million in 2009 to £816.2 million in 2010. The market report identifies social networking and the mobile internet as potential growth areas for PRS, with an increase of over 400% in the market for virtual goods bought using PRS on social networking sites, up from £1.5 million in 2009 to £8.1 million in 2010. The good news for consumer confidence is that only 3% of phone-paid service users cited “lack of trust of the companies offering these services” as the reason they weren’t interested in using additional types of phone-paid services. A decrease in income and disinterest in the services offered were the most common reasons for consumers not to use more services. Regulation has also helped consumer confidence and market growth in the 087 number ranges, with 087 revenues up from £78.2 million when regulation began in 2009 to £96.7 million in 2010. The importance of the new Code of Practice in helping to build consumer confidence is clear in consumers’ attitudes to PRS. The single most important factor that would increase trust in PRS is accurate pricing, cited by almost 74% of PRS users. Paul Whiteing, PhonepayPlus’ Chief Executive, said: “Reading through this comprehensive report about the PRS market on the day we publish our new Code of Practice is a welcome reminder of how PhonepayPlus works as a regulator. We can see why effective, smart, integrated regulation that works with industry and not against it matters not just for business but – more than anything – for the consumer. “The landscape for PRS is changing fast,” Whiteing continues. “We need regulation that allows industry to take full advantage of the opportunities that such innovation throws up while always keeping in full view the need to pre-empt and prevent consumer harm. I believe our new Code of Practice continued page 2
Core Telecom announced as lead sponsor of Telemedia360 on 11 May CORE TELECOM HAS been unveiled as the lead sponsor of Telemedia360 (T360), which is taking place in Leeds on 10 and 11 May 2011. Core Telecom is an independent network operator, providing a full range of 07, 08 and 09 numbers, coupled with industryleading call management solutions and ultra-reliable outpayments. T360 was established in 2009 but this is the first time it has been held in Yorkshire and Leeds-based Core Telecom was instrumental in bringing the conference over the Pennines from its previous incarnations in the North West. Jarvis Todd, Director of T360 said: “Core Telecom is the ideal partner for T360. Not only are they based in Leeds but are also one of the rising stars in the telemedia industry thanks to their growing reputation for service excellence. We are absolutely delighted to be working with them”.
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The latest news from the industry, along with analysis of what that news means, including: • PRS fraud on mobile to top £140m, with worse to come 2 • Mobile Money Network rolls out Simply Tap easy mobile payments 4 • Secure SMS from mBlox lets brands interact with text 5 • Smartphone boom drives mobile advertising growth 6 • TeamBlogger and Atlas team up for football socials apps 6 • NFC payment app with MasterCard approval starts eco-system? 7 • Ukash iPhone app makes mobile cash even easier 7
Analysis Editorial PRS rises again UK PRS is growing again on the back of social media, but more needs to be done make it really boom 8 ANALYSIS Strand Consult looks at how MNOs can become smart, rather than dumb, pipes if they box clever 9 SMS SPECIAL A Stitch in Time saves... £38m Part of our look at how SMS is still a force to be reckoned with, Sean Leahy from Oxygen8 shows how text is revolutionising healthcare in UK 10 The Mobile Cinema Club David Pearson, Director, Filmology takes a look at how SMS sits at the heart of the new cinema revolution 11
Directory The leading industry directory of services 12
Latest news at www.telemedia-news.com Catch our blog at www.telemedia360.blogspot.com
NEWS PRS fraud costs UK mobile industry £140m per year and in-app billing set to make it worse the uk mobile industry is losing up to £140million a year on premium rate fraud, according to data from BillingScore. And, the problem of fraud is set to get worse as mobile purchasing becomes even more prevalent through the rise of in-app payments and near field communications (NFC) payments. By not tackling this issue, the UK’s mobile operators are leaving themselves exposed to a massive risk and it is consumers and retailers that are paying the ultimate price, the company warns. “Premium rate fraudsters in the UK are cheating the mobile industry out of more than the biggest ever Euromillions lottery win - every single year! We need to stop this money going into their back pockets, and use it instead to improve mobile networks or lower mobile bills for customers,” said Teresa Cottam, Research Director, Telesperience. The £140million per year cost of fraud affects not only the mobile operators, but all the players in the mobile industry, from SMS wholesalers and aggregators, through to content providers and ultimately retailers and their consumers. One of the reasons that operators take such a significant cut from operator billing (around 30%) is to cover fraud and bad debt. Yet the size of the operator cut can make mobile seem like an uncompetitive payment method – reducing the industry’s opportunity to
UK PRS growth
further own the consumer’s wallet. “Everyone in the mobile industry knows that fraud, bad debt and other types of revenue loss are a major issue – yet hardly anyone talks about it,” commented Cottam. “The scale of the problem is hidden and the cost built into existing business models. The mobile sector simply cannot afford to continue haemorrhaging money in this way; nor can it keep hitting honest customers in the pocket in the form of higher charges, simply because it has failed to address the losses.” Cottam continued, “What’s worse, a range of new risks mean that the mobile industry will become even more vulnerable to this type of revenue loss in future unless it acts now.” Operator billing is expected to explode with the growth of App Stores, in-app payments and NFC, combined with the fact that many online retailers are considering mobile commerce as an additional sales channel. Revenue from in-app payments, for example, is predicted to grow by 600% this year. The problem of mobile payment fraud – and the associated cost to the industry – is only going to get bigger unless steps are put in place to prevent it. Yet recent moves from the UK operators appear to be pushing the responsibility for fraud and bad debt onto the service providers, while restricting legitimate consumers from spending money.
The service providers and aggregators now have to take greater measures to restrict fraud as operators are to increase the ‘claw back’ if service providers allow customers to exceed arbitrary daily spending limits on premium rate services. This moves more risk to aggregators and service providers as well as affecting their business models. It also raises questions over whether services such as NFC-payments can ever truly replace the wallet if daily spend is to be capped by operators. “Sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away is not a viable strategy for the operators,” continued Teresa Cottam of Telesperience. “Those who fail to act will see themselves increasingly targeted by fraudsters and will become ever-more uncompetitive due to unsustainable revenue losses and disgruntled customers.” Providing protection for the millions of daily mobile payments transactions would see even faster adoption of mcommerce by the wider mobile community, the retailing sector and consumers. “Fraud is an issue that not only affects the operators, everyone involved in the mobile eco-system, including consumers, is affected by it,” said Chris Newell, CEO of BillingScore. “All of us within the UK mobile industry need to work together to help save the £140m that fraud is costing us each year.
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is exactly what we need in the years ahead to help us and industry meet the challenges and fulfil the opportunities outlined in this annual market report.” Increased focus on social media and mobile marketing, along with some healthy wins in TV vote management in the UK have certainly driven strong growth at telemedia success story Harvest Media Group, which has seen profits grown to more than £1.5million this year. Strong growth is also predicted for this year too as the interactive media sector bucks the recession. Harvest Media Group has operations in both the UK and US where it operates a wholly owned subsidiary, Telescope
Inc, which launched American Idol voting in 2002. Harvest Media Group is backed by FF&P Private Equity, a leading UK growth capital fund. In the UK, Harvest has been successful in securing and implementing a number of vote management contracts including ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ for various broadcasters and production companies. Against this backdrop, leading trade association AIME has recently reported that UK premium rate revenues also showed growth in quarter 3 of 2010 with revenues almost 5% ahead of the same quarter in 2009. Further strong growth is projected for 2011, with a targeted increase in
revenues of over 50%. The company has also stated its intention to increase investment in technology development, upping its 2011 budget to over £750,000, all generated out of strong cash flow. Edward Boddington, Chief Executive Officer of the group commented: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made and the fantastic financial results for 2010.We have a great client base and are looking forward to a major ramp-up in 2011. We have built market leading positions on both sides of the Atlantic and are well positioned for future growth especially as the digital world continues to converge.”
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NEWS Mobile Money Network rolls out Simply Tap to make mobile payments easier for consumers four months after inception, The Mobile Money Network (MMN) has announced a major step towards realising its vision to put the mobile device at the heart of the consumer shopping experience with the launch of its ‘Simply Tap’ payment tool. It has also appointed Sir Stuart Rose, formerly head of M&S, as Non-Executive Chairman. Simple Tap is a pioneering, common sense approach to buying products and services via a mobile phone. Simply Tap will enable consumers with any mobile phone, on any mobile network and with any bank to buy anything from the retailers signed up to the service, wherever they are. Consumers will go through a one-off registration process that securely captures personal details, such as debit or credit card numbers and preferred delivery address. After registering, when a consumer sees a product they want in store, online or in any advert, they simply need to type the product code in to the Simply Tap service
through the mobile app or send it via SMS and the product is then paid for and delivered using the saved details. Simply Tap provides a number of key benefits including saving shoppers time when ordering products online, allowing retailers to sell products from traditional print advertising more effectively, and to extend the range of products they can promote in store for home delivery. This potential puts MMN at the centre of the next significant change in the way that people shop and discover products. “The number of mobile subscribers across the globe has reached almost 5.5 billion with 750 million in Europe. This represents a massive commercial opportunity for retailers if they can take advantage of it,” says Sir Stuart Rose, MMN Non Executive Chairman. “I am incredibly excited to be involved in the Mobile Money Network. It is a fresh concept set to act as a catalyst for three major industries – retail, banking and marketing. With Simply Tap, MMN is mak-
ing the mobile a relevant, useful and fun part of an existing shopping experience. At a time when consumers are short of time but demanding instant gratification, this proposition delivers. The potential is huge and I look forward to the journey.” “Mobile Money Network is different as, from day one, we are bringing together businesses to collaborate and deliver a simple, unified and mass market proposition for consumers. We have the technology to enable more retailers to take advantage of the opportunity and provide consumers with a service they’re calling out for,” commented John Milliken, MD of Mobile Money Network. The Mobile Money Network is a joint venture between Monitise, Best Buy Europe and Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone to bring together the best in mobile payments, marketing and banking innovations, putting the mobile device at the heart of the consumer shopping experience.
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NEWS mBlox secure, cloud-based SMS service allows brands to interact socially with consumers mblox has launched a secure text product the industry’s first secure, cloud-based, mobile app enabling services that provide brands with the opportunity to interact with mobile consumers and social networking group members. Leveraging mBlox’s global mobile network, and the power of on-demand cloudbased tools, the new services provide an extensive set of enablers that foster a new kind of consumer relationship for enterprises and brands. The services offer richer, more personal and relevant one-to-one interactions between large brands and users of smartphones and tablet computers than previously available. Using both Wi-Fi and cellular networks, these groundbreaking services provide new opportunities for mobile communication, interaction and commerce with consumers on a one-to-one basis – regardless of whether that individual is travelling abroad and connected to different international mobile operator. This connec-
tion independence is mirrored by the OS independence to which the services apply – Android, iOS, Windows and Symbian providing coverage for the largest population of devices. Powered by mBlox’s proprietary technology, these initial secure message delivery, location, payment and campaign management services leverage mBlox’s smart cloud network and bring a new degree of economy and innovation to brands’ interactions with consumers. mBlox will initially target global Fortune 500 companies with its new product suite, and is currently in discussions with numerous marquee brands, as well as their app development teams and developer partners. Initial projects with these marquee brands include secure distribution of PIN numbers and virtual credit/debit cards, video and other large data download management, secure and broader payments, and the targeting of consumers based upon location, regardless of connection
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NEWS Smartphone boom boosts mobile advertising – but more is to come the adoption of smartphones has boosted traditional advertisers’ confidence in the mobile space, according to new research from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PwC. Mobile advertising has experienced a staggering 116% year on year growth, up from 32% growth in 2009. Advertisers spent £83 million on mobile advertising in 2010, according to the third annual IAB and PwC mobile study. Entertainment and media has dominated the spend for the past couple of years, but its dominance is reducing as other advertisers – in particular financial, telecom providers and consumer good brands – see the opportunity. Advertisers’ spend on search on mobile has nearly tripled from 2009, going up from £20.2 million to £54.9 million. Display advertising in the form of banner ads, text links, and tenancies experienced a rise of 62% to £23.7 million, from £14.6 million in 2009. The mobile format of pre-and postroll adverts also experienced a rise of 492% to £1.1 million, up from £0.2 million in 2009, showing that the rich media opportunities that smartphones offer are being taken advantage of by advertisers. Jon Mew, director of mobile and operations at the IAB, said: “This year’s research shows that traditional advertisers such as
finance, telecoms and consumer goods are really starting to understand the opportunities that mobile, and only mobile, offers. Mobile advertising allows advertisers to target people on the move, and capture them when they’re most receptive. It’s an exciting time for mobile advertising, and for advertisers who use the opportunities.” Anna Bartz, strategy manager at PwC, said: “We are witnessing patterns of growth similar to online advertising in its early stages. Increasing technology packed into handsets coupled with decreasing costs, presents brands with a tempting opportunity to target mobile consumers.” However, Paul Childs, COO at Europe’s only global mobile advertising marketplace, Adfonic, believes that most brands, ad agencies and content owners are yet to fully exploit this opportunity and tap into the full advertising potential of mobile. “As people switch off from TV advertising and spend less time surfing the web on a PC, smartphones and tablets are becoming the devices of choice for constant and spontaneous internet access,” explains Childs. “They also open up new opportunities to integrate TV and online campaigns with mobile devices and content, and the possibility to engage more effectively with consumers through richer mobile ad units.”
TeamBlogger and Atlas Premium Brands sign a partnership agreement bluetalk NV, the creator of TeamBlogger, the Mobile Community platform for Football fans, has signed a partnership agreement with Atlas Premium Brands, the exclusive Chelsea FC mobile right owner for Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Africa and the Middle East and for Real Madrid in South Africa. The agreement was signed during Soccerex European Forum, the premier football business event. The interactivity between the fans offered by the TeamBlogger platform will boost the distribution of exclusive mobile content including match photos, player profiles, ringtones, mobile games, as well as user selfgenerated content.
Frederic Schroyens, CEO of BlueTalk said: “We are thrilled that such prestigious football brands have decided to go for a new technology like ours and in regions where growth is booming and uniting the fans more important than ever”. Nigel Tatlock, CEO of Atlas Premium Brands said: “Clubs like Chelsea FC and Real Madrid have a huge appeal in these emerging markets, and we are sure that all the generations of fans will fall in love with the exciting new technology offered by TeamBlogger”. The customized service will be available through a selected network of telecom operators and media partners.
NEWS Gemalto NFC payment app set to trigger contactless ecosystem? AN nfc based payment app that is the first to market with Mobile MasterCard PayPass compliance has been launched by Gemalto and has received MasterCard approval -- hoped by many to be the starting gun for the roll out of an NFC payments ecosystem. This major breakthrough paves the way for mass commercial rollouts of NFC payment across the world. In the UK, Gemalto is already partnering with a global, first-tier financial institution and a world leading mobile operator, to implement the new MasterCard certified mobile payment application and carry out the solution’s first mass commercial roll out. Gemalto’s software application embeds the Trusted Service Management interface for PayPass. This feature enables mobile account issuance and over-the-air management. Its user-friendly handset interface makes mobile NFC payment extremely convenient, for example enabling consumers to easily manage the new payment means and check transaction history. It also allows consumers to define their mobile Personal Identification Number (PIN), a code of their choice, through their phone. The mobile PIN is a new cardholder verification method used notably to secure operations such as ac-
count top-up from the mobile phone. The Gemalto mobile NFC payment application can be configured so as to cover all card portfolios including debit, credit and prepaid. In the latter case, the software application enables consumers to top-up their prepaid accounts directly from their mobile phone – the utmost convenience for prepaid customers. “We are pleased to collaborate with Gemalto to broadly expand the use of mobile payment services,” commented James Anderson, vice president, Mobile, MasterCard Worldwide. “Leveraging the interoperability of MasterCard PayPass, Gemalto’s effort will enable cross-border mobile NFC payment, adding ease to the fast-paced lifestyles of more and more consumers across the world.” “This new certification from MasterCard makes Gemalto the first on the market for this mobile product and will enable banks and wireless operators to offer a secure, innovative and convenient payment means to their entire customer base,” added JeanClaude Deturche, senior vice-president of mobile financial solutions at Gemalto. “Gemalto is committed to supporting its customers in their large scale deployments of mobile NFC payment, with a complete mobile contactless offer.”
Ukash iPhone app makes managing and spending cash online easy UKASH, the Global eMoney Network, has launched its first iPhone app to offer consumers the chance to load, send and spend cash online as the popularity and functionality of m-commerce continues to grow. The Ukash iPhone app, which is free to download and can be accessed through iTunes, provides another platform for consumers to store manage their Ukash vouchers on the move. Users can also use their current location to find the nearest store selling Ukash. Apps for other devices are also in development and will be launched later in 2011. David Hunter, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of
Ukash, explained, “It’s our overall vision to become world leader’s in electronic cash payment transactions, and developing innovative technology is central to achieving this. We are confident that consumers will find the Ukash iPhone app a convenient option for getting cash online.” Huge growth in the smartphones market and advances in the wider e-commerce market make iPhone apps and other consumer-facing tools a more important component of payments companies’ sales and marketing strategies, and as a leader in this market Ukash’s multi-platform offering services consumers in more than 50 countries globally.
COMMENT INDUSTRY WATCHER
Just like the South, PRS will rise again PRS services are making money again, driven by social media. But, as Paul Skeldon points out, it could do even better if it ties up with social TV voting so premium rate in the UK is on the rise again? Well, modest growth has been logged by PPP over 2010, which is – all things considered – quite remarkable. Behind the growth, however, lies the fact that the telemedia industry is getting to grips finally with how consumer behaviour has changed: the world has gone social media and interaction crazy and PRS is picking up some nuggets of gold around this. According to PPP’s figures – which are published just ahead of its new Code of Practice coming in to force, which is also set to improve PRS still further, I believe – the UK PRS market grew slightly, up by 0.8% from £810.1 million in 2009 to £816.2 million in 2010. But what is really telling in amongst PPP’s data is that just three per cent of consumers cite lack of trust as a reason they didn’t use PRS services. This is a welcome decline in bad perception of the services, and has been driven largely by the industry getting to grips with the fact that to make money it has to play nicely and, since the TV voting scandal of 2007, this has been hammered home. But it is social media and its role in interaction that is driving growth right now. The purchase of virtual goods through social networks using PRS as the billing tool is still a perfect symbiotic relationship and demonstrates just where PRS can fit into the rapidly evolving consumer landscape. The soon-to-be-introduced PPP Code of Practice is set to make 2011 another bumper PRS year (I use ‘bumper’ carefully here: to my mind, in this current downturn, any growth is a boon). Social networks are set to sit at the heart of the telemedia space, certainly around media and TV interaction and participation, and the fact that PRS use in social networks has grown by 400% over a year means that consumers are ready to use them more widely. SMS voting may still have some issues – still too slow for live voting, for instance – but it will return to TV screen, However, the real bonanza will be around how social media, apps and participation come together over the summer and autumn this year. That is not to say that it’s a shoe-in, far from it. The participation and media interaction market has changed dramatically over the past few months. Apps for voting, the wider use of wifi, the very need to interact at all (some people think its just as much fun chatting on Facebook about X-Factor than actually voting) are all making the landscape very different. For telemedia and PRS to keep pace with this needs change. The operator’s cut is still a bone of contention, the increasing use of other networks that don’t have a billing mechanism such as the web and of course the fact that people want something for nothing are all making it harder and harder to use PRS to make any money. What needs to happen is for PRS to be shown to be the payment mechanism of choice and that it offers a quick, simple, slick and trusty way to pay. Then we will see even more growth and more widespread use of PRS – it has so much to offer, it just needs to enter the 21st Century.
Editorial Editor Paul Skeldon firstname.lastname@example.org | Sales & Marketing email@example.com | Production Director Annika Micheli firstname.lastname@example.org | Publisher Jarvis Todd email@example.com To subscribe, please go to www.telemedia-news.com What we’ve been listening to Accept Yourself, The Muscle Shoal | What we’ve been amused by Friday Night Dinner | Who we’ve been following Brand Shandy | What we’ve been reading about The Death of Bunny Munro| Q2 2011 will bring... and explosion of mobile advertising and m-commerce tie ups
Dumb and dumber, or smarter and faster? An increasing number of mobile operators are now focusing on changing into intelligent pipes, says everyone’s favourite telecoms analyst John Strand. But will it be enough? when we speak with the top management of mobile operators around the world there are two areas they fear the most: the price development of mobile broadband and that they may end up developing into “dumb pipes” in the future. When we look at how the mobile broadband market is developing, there is no doubt that the broadband speed that customers are being offered is growing faster than their requirements. Similarly there is no doubt that the mobile operators’ total ambitions within this area exceed a total market share of 100%. In practice this will result in the well-known war over voice customers being repeated on the mobile broadband market - but with a far greater intensity than we have seen so far during the past 15 years. The price of a mobile broadband modem in the form of a dongle is decreasing so quickly, that the hardware subsidy costs are becoming marginal. This is resulting in the high subsidies we are seeing e.g. in the smartphone market becoming a diminishing problem for the mobile broadband world, as mobile broadband prices drop. This will simply result in competition increasing and that customers will be offered faster broadband connections at increasingly inexpensive prices - which is exactly the opposite of what most operators had hoped for. Any operators that believe they can increase prices by introducing LTE are in our opinion naive. So the big question is what strategy an operator should choose on this type of market? One method would be to reduce their costs by implementing traditional cost-cutting measures. Alternatively, an operator could share its network with one or more competitors like Telenor and Tele2 currently are doing in Sweden and 3, Orange and T-Mobile are doing in England. A third alternative could be to follow in French SFR’s footsteps; SFR is building a new 3G network in rural areas in France that will be shared by SFR, Orange and Bouygues. Another strategy would be for operators to look at new business models that can move them away from being dumb pipes to becoming intelligent pipes. Our analyses show that mobile operators have many possibilities of achieving this, if they understand how to transfer the intelligence that is built into their networks over to the APIs that third-party partners can use to develop exciting new mobile services that function over mobile networks. There is also the possibility of elevating quality of service into an everyday product that customers will pay extra for. QoS is in practice much more than simply guaranteeing a certain bandwidth at a given time - it is also about the possibility of creating and offering a larger variety of differentiated products and services than customers are currently being offered. In our report Successful Strategies for the Mobile Broadband Market we have taken a closer look at the mobile broadband market and how it is developing, and we have examined the challenges that mobile operators are facing. The report looks at how mobile operators can ensure that their business develops positively, with a healthy balance between the cost of producing a service and the payment from a customer for using that service. In our report OneAPI - Next Generation Value Added Services in the Mobile industry we have examined how mobile operators can take advantage of the intelligence built into their networks to develop, market and sell APIs to third-party partners, that can then develop, market and sell services via the mobile operators’ networks.
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A stitch in time, saves... ... £38million Even the smallest savings are now needed to make a big overall difference to efficiency in the NHS and SMS-based mobile appointment reminders could save £38 million a year in lost time and costly administration, says Shane Leahy, Group CEO at Oxygen8 Communications every year, missed hospital appointments cost the NHS £790million, including £18million in Scotland alone. Breaking this down, each ‘no show’ is costing the health service an average of £110 in wasted time. At a time when savage cuts are ravaging the National Health Service, writing off such losses is unthinkable, particularly when cheap and easy solutions exist to wipe out this costly problem. Forgetting an appointment is all too easy, yet for healthcare providers it is too expensive and impractical to devote administrative time to reminding and chasing patients. A far easier way to eliminate missed appointments is to automatically issue reminders via an SMS to the patient’s mobile phone. This has numerous, significant advantages. The worst culprits for missing appointments, GPs’ own findings show, are 16-34 year-olds – the text generation. While they might ignore a voice call, or fail to open an email, research confirms that the majority of people, particularly in this age group, will open and read a text message – and promptly, too. Reschedule The reminder itself is enough to ensure that most honour their appointments. Where this isn’t possible, the healthcare provider has a chance to reschedule – to give the current appointment to someone else, thereby reducing waiting lists, while issuing a new date and time to the original patient. Dedicated mobile healthcare applications exist now to automate as much of this process as possible, by integrating routine text reminders with existing hospital/surgery/clinic diary and calendar systems. There is even the potential
for the system to automatically offer and book alternative dates and times, and to contact patients on the waiting list to offer them the last-minute cancellations. It isn’t just doctors’ surgeries or hospital departments that stand to benefit from such facilities – dental practices, opticians, physiotherapists all suffer from the same issue of making the most of their billable time. What’s most exciting of all is that taking up such solutions is extremely affordable – particularly when contrasted with the huge losses that are being incurred with every missed appointment. Where the knock-on effect of a no-show is a lot of extra administration, not to mention the waste of a consultant’s valuable time, adding up to a loss each time of £110, the most it will cost the healthcare provider to manage and issue a text reminder is a few pence per person. Spare capital Finding spare capital is particularly tough in the current climate, but use of a text service qualifies as operational expenditure, which is much easier to get approved, especially in the face of huge potential savings and the positive implications for reducing waiting lists and improving patient care, all of which are key Government targets. Health service providers don’t even have to manage the system themselves; it can be provided as a remotely-hosted, complete solution, requiring no investment in special hardware or software. The service uses the administrators’ existing calendar and patient contact systems, and the recipient’s own mobile phone.
The potential applications extend beyond missed appointments, too. Automated text contact could also be used to bring greater consistency and reliability to staff scheduling – for example, for last-minute deployment of agency staff in response to an unforeseen absence, or a sudden peak in workload. Scheduling and coordination of community visits could be similarly managed. Diary integration Today, such processes rely heavily on voice messages and voice calls, without the benefit of diary integration. The result is a lot of chasing, and the costly penalty of lost time. With an integrated SMS solution, contact is made swiftly, and appointments confirmed or changed in a timely fashion. Best of all, virtually no manual intervention is needed, eliminating administration costs almost entirely. The outcome is a win-win all round – consultants’ time is more fruitfully spent and can be reimbursed accordingly, waiting lists are significantly reduced as more appointment slots are filled, patient care is improved, and a huge and potentially costly administrative burden is lifted. Missed appointments and costly ‘dead’ time is an issue for healthcare providers the world over. Under more pressure than most at the moment, the UK has an opportunity to lead in harnessing a commonplace, mainstream technology to transform fundamental patient administration in a way that’s easy, natural and costs little more than a sticking plaster. Physicians, this is a real chance to heal yourselves.
ANALYSIS SMS SPECIAL
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The mobile cinema club David Pearson, Director, Filmology, the UK’s first dedicated movie marketing and promotions company, looks at how text is revolutionising a trip to the movies tracking consumer behaviour and predicting trends has always been an essential part of business and marketing strategy, which is why it’s so interesting when something comes along to somewhat alter the axis of an orbit. In the last few years we have seen a significant shift in cinema-going trends, for example, as Wednesday has gradually displaced Friday and Sunday as the favourite days for people to head to the picture house and watch the latest flick, taking second spot to Saturday for the first time. Of course, we don’t need a scientist to explain that this change in behaviour will be largely down to the successful Orange Wednesdays promotion, delivered by mobile and proving to be a winning incentive that has become a regular part of so many of Orange customer’s lives. What it also demonstrates is that mobile lends itself very well to these types of promotions, offering customers access to great deals by simply texting for a unique voucher code. This type of voucher code texting relies on a simple mechanic that the public find easy to use and, from a logistical point of view, can be integrated easily into the box office till system too, requiring only that each cinema has the capacity to register codes as they come in and redeem them accordingly. A similar system has been used with e-vouchers for some time too, where consumers can print off a code from a website and then present that to the merchant in order to gain a discount. This is something that has really taken off over the recession in particular, as consumers lap up voucher codes and other special offers. The mass take-up of smart phones, however, looks set to revolutionise this process further and develop the humble voucher code into a fuller bodied offering. The technology is already available to send mobile vouchers with bar-codes whereby the recipient can have the screen of their mobile phone scanned at the box-office.
Similarly, QR codes, QR being an acronym for ‘Quick Response’, can be read via mobiles after the user has taken a photo of the code, perhaps positioned on a poster or in a magazine. Software installed on the mobile device then translates the image of the code into text, which will commonly be a shortcut/link to a website where further content can be accessed. This development opens up a lot of doors for marketers. The new codes not only look better aesthetically compared to simply receiving a code number, which offers more branding opportunities, but they also provide a gateway to additional content. Here we strike a neat balance between offering greater user experience at the same time as offering marketers a platform to engage directly with their target audience. Cinema-related content provides a good example of how this format can work at its best due to the range of relevant material available on films and cinemas that is compatible with mobile technology. In addition to scan-able vouchers allowing free entry, video previews, a film-news feed, booking information, ‘find your nearest cinema’, special offers, discounts on cinema confectionary, listings and interactive content can all be deliverable via a mobile application. Some screen advertising companies are now already opening up the media space in cinemas so that targeted special offers and discounts can be sent to registered users’ mobiles as soon as they walk through the cinema’s doors and have their locationfinding service tuned in. Targeted content could include discounts on a drink with your popcorn to encourage up-spend or a related film trailer that may encourage repeat visits. On the face of it, mobile voucher makes perfect sense. The mobile phone is pretty much the only media channel which remains with you virtually 24 hours a
day, so what better channel to exploit for vouchers and other media messages? Through their mobile phones, users have constant contact with the internet, their various connections and can even have their whereabouts visible via GPS at all times. The challenge is to utilise the unique portability of the mobile phone unit to add value to the mobile voucher in a way that enhances a brand’s offering to the consumer that also gives added benefit to the brand. There’s certainly a wealth of possibilities out there and the mechanics for delivering all types of vouchers and other incentives via mobile are steadily taking precedence in this market. However, there still remain a couple of bridges yet to cross. Most notably, getting the general public up to speed and familiar with using their mobile phones in this way. While the majority of the population understands purchasing and redeeming vouchers at point of sale, in gift card centres within shops or via the web channel, similar activities via the mobile phone have yet to become the norm. Many consumers just don’t expect to be able to show their phone in order to gain a discount. We can expect that this will be overcome in time as the dominance of smart phones continues to dismantle the divide between the internet and mobile. A second issue worth noting is the familiarity of box-office and shop staff with redeeming mobile vouchers. Technologically, the process need not be too different to standard procedures. The new generation of “barcodes” that are stored on the phone, for example, are compatible with the majority of barcode readers at retail level. It may seem like a small challenge, but familiarising staff with the process really is the first step. As consumers and mobile users themselves, this should not present too many difficulties, but inevitably takes time and training.
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Ellisons UK Advertising agency media planning/buying - press, TV, online, mobile
Paul Markham content provider for Mobile Phones and iPods.
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www.text121chat.com Contact: UK 0871 872 6154, firstname.lastname@example.org, USA 1-888-711-0121, email@example.com
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