All posts by Alexis Dalrymple

In the flurry of MWC news, there were some themes that quickly came through.

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The venue – we had a shiny new venue – I liked it. One of the aspects that went down especially well was the central concourse as it brought in the ‘serendipity effect’ of bumping in to people. This was something that some of you may remember when the show was based in Cannes.


Mobile World Congress 2013


On topics – M2M (the internet of things) truly arrived. While M2M is a fairly mature industry the depth and breadth of it at the show was a sight to behold. At the centre of this was the Connected City which showed applications from mobile health to e-learning.


It was also the year of challengers – from Ubuntu to the Firefox (and even Sony and Nokia), there were some interesting announcements which have the potential to change the mobile landscape.


Mobile security, device management and the enterprise were all big topics too – combined with BYOD. This we know but the threat landscape means that enterprise grade services and security are becoming an increasing priority for handset manufacturers, operators, app developers and system integrators. There were a pleasing number of exhibitors really focussing on these crucial areas. We’re looking forward to what next year will bring already!

Predictions for MWC 2013

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The thing about predictions is you either need to make them so obvious you won’t be wrong or so generic so you won’t look foolish; otherwise the only thing you can predict with any certainty is that you will get something wrong.


Mirror mirror on the wall…


That said we all enjoy a bit of educated speculation – to test this theory I polled my friends and colleagues for their predictions. The trends highlighted this year are pretty much the same as those that were highlighted in previous years.


So ignoring them and the current crop of predictions and themes in the media (which mainly revolve around handsets), I decided to look at some of the topics and trends that businesses actually care about.



Mobile payments: just as we are reading about plastic cards being the death of cash, so too are we beginning to see mobiles have credible applications in this space. I think this year’s MWC will see a good deal of news from the big players (the likes of Mastercard & Visa), as well as the mobile operators around this topic


Internet of things: many people said that M2M was one of the key trends in 2012. I agree, though it was a fairly quiet one. We are set for more of this in 2013 as the industry looks to define itself and becomes more relevant to the wider vertical markets. So beyond the fridge ordering my groceries, telehealth and smart-metering will be two key areas to watch


Services: BYOD has certainly had an impact on businesses – this we all know. There is however a second wave that is crashing in to organisations via services and applications. We’ll hear more from young pretenders like Box and DropBox but also expect to hear more from the old-guard, like Oracle, Nokia, BlackBerry and Microsoft


Security: the mobile world is no longer immune from hacks and attacks. With governments and their agencies warning about cyber security and likening it to the ‘Wild West’, we will hear a lot about mobile malware, hacks, and the importance of encryption


Other topics that will inevitably creep in are big data, cloud (though I would lump than under services), second screen and LTE. One company I will be keeping an eye on is that erstwhile titan of the business device RIM BlackBerry. MWC is its first major outing since its new devices were launched earlier this month so it is bound to have something to say in Barcelona.


I’ll leave you with a thought from Steve Wozniack who was probably right when he opined that; ‘the smartphone and tablet will become the remote control and wallet for individuals the world over.’

Three things all companies should know about Social Media…

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HMV’s verified account has suffered a mishap with a series of tweets outlining that a group of staff were being made redundant. This is very probably the work of a ‘rogue’ employee (read deeply hacked off) though there was some speculation it had been ‘hacked’.


Social Media’s ticking time bomb.


My guess is that it’s more likely to simply be the case that nobody had changed the password since (according to a maverick tweet) the intern set-up the feed two years ago.


By the time you read this I imagine the tweets will already have been taken down.


It is important to understand the bigger picture here – there are people going through a tough time, so in one sense this is completely understandable.


What I do hope however, is that we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we start see a social version of being marched out the building with a black plastic sack as a result, and sadly there does seem to be a sense of resignation and inevitability about it – I just hope I’m wrong.


In the era of social and immediate communications I think we will see an increasing amount of these maverick tweets. Especially as marketing and PR departments can be notoriously bad at changing log-in and passwords to subscription services, taxi accounts, extranets and the like. In this respect we really need to do better.


I am sure there are some lessons to be learned in the long-term here, but the immediate ones that springs to mind:


  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Make sure you can access those passwords
  • Make sure you know who knows your passwords

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon….it’s a classic

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Working in PR we spend a lot of time coming up with great ideas that help tell our clients’ story.


What’s your bacon number?


Sometimes they are fun and sometimes they are serious. Occasionally we managed to blend the two.  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a meme that virtually every PR in tech-land has tried to use over the last ten years or so but I have never seen anyone do it, or at least enough for me to notice.

This is despite the rise of the internet, the connected home, online collaboration, social networks et al. To put it in to context, I think I first suggested/brainstormed using Kevin in about 1999/2000 having been emailed a link on which I spent many happy an hour trying to get a Bacon Score of more than six.


One of the reasons I like the Six Degrees is that it brings to life the idea that we are all connected or only a few steps away from anyone else on the planet (if you’re on Facebook apparently it’s only 3.74). I believe treated properly this idea can be used with business and consumers alike. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could be used to illustrate a business message.


Which is why I am pleased to see this idea being given a prime-time television slot spearheading EE’s new advertising. Hat tip to the team over there and I am sure we will see this idea percolate down to the B2B level.  Watch and enjoy:


It just goes to show that there is no such thing as an old idea* as long as you implement it well and it is relevant.


* you’ll  probably never hear me suggest a treasure hunt though

Why does technology struggle to attract women?

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Looking at the technology industry from the outside in, one might be forgiven for thinking that it is a place of contradictions; the IT world’s geek image generating ‘cool’ brands, social media initiating anti-social behaviour, well, you get the picture.


Women in tech: Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman


However, as writer Ayn Rand once said: ‘Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.’


This week had me addressing my own premises to understand the contradiction of women in technology and here is why: the technology industry, and IT in particular, struggles to make careers attractive to women.


To start with the positive, Fortune announced its annual Most Powerful Women Ranking this week, showing that the technology sector dominates when it comes to the world’s most influential women. At number one was IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, with Hewlett-Packard¹s Meg Whitman, Facebook¹s Sheryl Sandberg and Oracle’s Safra Catz appearing in the top ten.


A total of 16 per cent of the women in the league came from the technology sector, the highest proportion of any industry named.


So clearly something is working to attract some of the best female business minds to technology.


However, after witnessing two recent cases of institutionalised sexism, generated from two key institutions of the technology sector, as people looked on unphased, no comment made, I was left perplexed, trying to understand the lack of reaction.


First, at the Gartner Security & Risk Symposium, an analyst made a joke about people being available to answer technical questions ‘unlike the ones in short-skirts’.


The second case came in the form of a headline on the Computer Weekly site, reading: “Wives of Computer Weekly readers rejoice we’re no longer in print.”


Not the most favourable moments from these pillars of the technology industry I think you and, indeed, they, would agree.


Only in March this year, the Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur asked in an article: “Why aren’t there more women in technology?” He cited several cases that had occurred at that time on the US west coast, a pivotal home to technology, where women had been treated with contempt under the guise of jokes and flip remarks.


The key point raised, for me, came as Arthur posed, to his male readers, the question: “How much of this behaviour goes on which you just don’t notice?”