Category Archives: mobile

Half of MailOnline’s UK Readers are Mobile

The Daily Mail has revealed that 19.9m people in the UK visit the MailOnline site from their mobile device every month, 46 per cent of its monthly web audience here. 

According to figures shared exclusively with Mobile Marketing, 12.1m of those use the mobile web on their smartphone, with a further 6.1m using a tablet. The MailOnline for iPhone is its most popular app, the company said, with 2.9m downloads to date, of which there are 641,000 monthly active users and 310,103 daily visitors. On average, 40 visits are made to the app, with sessions lasting 12 minutes and 50 pages viewed.


The Android app has seen 1.1m downloads, with 460,000 monthly users and 147,024 coming back daily. The iPad app has been downloaded 1.4m times. It has 174,000 montlhy users and 42,593 daily users. 


The Daily Mail Group has announced a new Sunday edition of its iPad app, called the Mail on Sunday Plus, which will form part of a weekly subscription package or be offered as a one-off purchase. It features re-formatted Sunday magazines You and Event plus more sport, interactive TV listings and 30 puzzles. A seven-day Mail Plus subscription will start at £9.99 per month. Google Play and Kindle users will also see their subscription costs brought in line with iOS users.


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/half-mailonline-uk-readers-are-mobile#loSytwzWJthm7g6w.99

Goodbye Visa, Hello Fingerprint Payments?

Last week’s news that a host of high profile investors have contributed a record $25m (£16.4m) seed funding for mobile payments startup Clinkle has certainly caused a stir in the industry.  

While everyone from banks, operators, retailers, payment providers, OEMs, and of course consumers seek to benefit from the innovation going on, could mobile payments end up being something of a mythical El Dorado city of gold? 

Traditional players are joining forces in some areas and appear to be thinking creatively, but do they have the agility to succeed? And what chance do startups have in taking a share of an industry which is set to be worth $235.4bn (£153.8bn) by the end of 2013? 

I spoke to two mobile payments specialists, Michael Nuciforo, futurist and former head of mobile at RBS and Australian bank ANZ, and Roy Vella, ex-PayPal and Visa Europe exec, about the current state of the market. Both now work as consultants advising major players in the mobile payments space so we asked them who they think ultimately wins in a crowded market like this. Does the market own the customer, or will consumer choice prevail?  

Truth or crap? 

While a lot of noise is being made from vendors selling ‘the next big thing’, both men urge caution. “We need to distinguish between the truth and the crap,” says Nuciforo. “When we look at what’s happening in the market, the first thing you have to understand is that a lot of the announcements that you see are purely that, they’re not necessarily fully functioning services.”  

Although consolidation may help, Vella doesn’t see this happening any time soon: “I think money’s going to get more fragmented not less. The idea that there’s a winner in mobile money is just PR.” And as operators, banks and payment providers continue to carve up their customers, Vella adds: “This ‘we’re going to own the customer and that’s going to be forever’ is ridiculous. That’s never going to happen again. It’s now as easy to move as a touch of the finger.”  

Initiatives from the biggest names in the payments industry have been slow to start or are yet to take hold but Nuciforo is betting on the banks, at least in developed markets: “Joint ventures like Weve really have to rely on coming together and trying to attack the market as a group because if they were to do that on their own, they would have no chance. But success really depends on regions and market sophistication. “In Europe, the UK, the US and parts of Australasia, I think the banks stand the strongest chance from the perspective that they have the opportunity to come together, which a lot of them still haven’t yet,” says Nuciforo. “Most importantly, payments are driven by the fact that your salary is paid into a bank account.” 

Vella takes a more critical view of these traditional players. “The banks and the operators are both trending towards commodity utilities. They’re just a central clearing house for data. The one who’s going to win is the one who provides the most convenience for the customer at that time for that particular transaction. “But it could be any brand. It could be Tesco. It could be Virgin. It could be Apple. People have brand affiliations that they like and if that brand offers them service and convenience and value, that’s what they’re going to use.” 

Middlemen will lose out 

He sees the traditional customer-merchant relationship coming back to the fore. “I think merchants and consumers are going to connect directly in as many cases as possible,” Vella says. “The losers are going to be the intermediaries like Visa and Mastercard who are trying to connect the dots between two individuals. That clearing system in the middle is not required anymore. If they’re not worrying, they ought to be.” 

In the US, the likes of Walmart, Target and Gap have come together as the Merchant Exchange to seize on the energy of mobile payments. Vella points to the potential of closed-loop merchant systems: “The most successful mobile money implementation in the developed world today is run by a coffee shop. Starbucks is holding $1.5bn in balance. Coffee that’s been purchased but not even drunk yet.  “What we all forget because we weren’t born then is that payments used to be run by the merchant. In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, they outsourced payments to Visa and Mastercard and now they’re going to insource them back.” 

He sees this as a key time for shoppers to reassert themselves. “Consumers are definitely flexing their power in terms of transparency and understanding the market. They are going into retail stores now and bringing their phone with them and they know exactly the price of the item in front of them, globally, in every currency and they know how well it performs. I know what I know, and what everyone else I know knows, and what everyone they know knows,” he says. 

The future is Square

 So what of the weekly announcements from mobile money startups? Nuciforo is sceptical. “It is difficult to see a big player emerge though there is a lot of interesting tech coming out. Eventually I see a huge amalgamation of all these startups; some of them will die off, some of them will be bought.” Vella is more keen. “The future is Square [Wallet]. I don’t touch anything. I walk in and I walk out. I don’t want to touch my phone, I don’t want to touch my wallet. That’s the world we’re going to live in.” 

Both point to biometric as the next battleground. In Nuciforo’s native Australia, where the futurist usually looks for consumer trends yet to hit the UK, his former employer ANZ bank is already investing a huge amount in fingerprint cash machine. He says the next step for this would be fingerprint payments. 

NFC, a key element of the Weve Wallet to launch mid-2014 is a pet hate of Vella’s. “One, it’s not fast and two, nobody cares,” he said. “The difference between swiping, chipping and pinning and almost touching a reader – nobody cares. That’s not important. No value has been added. “Eventually maybe it’ll be biometric – the whole Minority Report thing – we are not far from that.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/goodbye-visa-hello-fingerprint-payments#GAyGfT9ZvJLsIImV.99

Generation Wireless – Will women and unconnected majority lose out?

Generation Y Millennials – aged 18 to 30 – will be led by a group of tech savvy, switched on young people who believe they can change the world, says Telefonica survey of 12,000
Telefónica UK has released the results of the largest ever global survey of Generation Y Millennials, broadly seen as those aged 18 to 30 that have lived most of their lives with access to the internet. The mobile operator, owner of O2, spoke to more than 12,000 people across 27 countries in six regions. 
Given the tech focus of the report, it is clear that many see the global internet revolution as empowering, useful and necessary for future personal and global success. The research found that 76 per cent of this group now owns a smartphone, highest is in Asia thanks to hugely tech-savvy populations in Japan and South Korea, at 83 per cent, and lowest in Central and Eastern Europe at 60 per cent. Look to your left and right. No matter what your political leaning, and whether you think it is always a positive thing, it is clear that we are always-on, media gorgers. 
Much of what they found won’t come as a shock. In North America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia, all of these young people agreed that the economy is the number one issue. In Latin America and the Middle East and Africa the answers differed – with social inequality and terrorism topping each list respectively.
A significant majority, 63 per cent of Millennials globally, believe it is difficult for their generation to progress from school to adult life. With unemployment rates in many of the countries surveyed highest among 16 to 24s, this comes as little surprise. And news of the consequences of ageing populations has clearly reached our young people too – 39 per cent expect to have to continue to work indefinitely and not have enough money to retire. When asked whether they thought employment was a right or a privilege, 55 per cent said that having a decent job was the former versus 45 per cent who picked the latter. A bit of a leading question? It is an economic imperative – we all have to eat. More positively, and hopefully without delusion, 68 per cent of those surveyed believe that they have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur.
Telefónica claims to have identified a new kind of elite – 11 per cent of Millennials globally – who are not defined by metrics like socioeconomic status, but by their access to technology and opportunity. While their immediate priorities are the same – family, school and friends come first – 44 per cent of these leaders believe access to technology is important to success, compared to 30 per cent overall. “These people are at the cutting edge of technology and highly interested in what happens around them from a political standpoint,” said José María Álvarez-Pallete, COO of Telefónica on launching the results. “Politicians around the world must see that technology is going to influence the future. But this is not just for government but for business leaders too,” he said. 
Speaking in a keynote at the launch, Julian Genachowski, former chairman of the US telecoms regulator the FFC and head of Obama’s tech strategy during the 2008 election, said that the world is now engaged in a “global bandwidth race”. As healthcare, tech, government and people move increasingly online, countries are now concerned with giving companies and citizens the quickest access. But given that only one in six of the world’s population actually has access to the internet, 1bn people, it is clear that socioeconomic status, which gives people access to technology and opportunity, is likely to still dictate who the winners will be.  And while many young people are switched on, politically speaking, as Álvarez-Pallete mentioned, many aren’t. Recycling is the acceptable face of the green movement in developed nations but sustainability goes out the window when you see flights to Barcelona for £49. Meanwhile, literacy and access to basic human rights and services, let alone internet, are also hopelessly lacking in large parts of the world too. 
The UK’s young people appear to be are more tech savvy than their global counterparts, the survey found, with 49 per cent here saying they have an excellent knowledge of technology compared to just 30 per cent worldwide. Tech is now seen as more important than any other subject, with 25 per cent saying it is critical to future success, compared to economics and science both at 18 per cent or languages with just eight per cent. There are certainly jobs to be had in tech, in fact, there is a skills shortage. On top of that, 76 per cent believe technology makes it easier to get a job – many jobs are only advertised online  – so job search, application and even doing many of your average Western jobs is an increasingly digital pursuit.
A “new gender gap”, as if we need one, was also outlined by Álvarez-Pallete, with men around the world much more likely to consider themselves at the cutting edge of tech – 80 per cent vs 69 per cent. Those that believe that tech is the most important factor to ensuring future success also saw a contrast – 42 per cent vs 29 per cent. It appears that women, yet again, are likely to be left behind.
But why would a company like Telefónica want to know just what little old us think of our future anyway?
“For a company like us,” Álvarez-Pallete said, “we need to understand what’s going to happen for our industry and for our customers. This is the largest technological revolution in human history and Millennials are the drives.  We deeply believe that we need to understand what’s going on to have an idea of what the future will look like.”
Take that to be altruistic, after all Telefónica has its own start-up accelerator and is working with the EU to create a young entrepreneurial community of 300,000 people, along with many other worthwhile initiatives. Or look at it with a keen eye. We are a huge target market for advertisers and will continue to be so into our later years – more than 90m of Telefonica’s 316m customers worldwide is a Millennial. Companies like this need our custom, our data and actually depend on our success. But given how events have unfolded around PRISM and GCHQ, I’m just surprised they didn’t have access to all of our vital statistics already!
My favourite stat from the report was that 89 per cent of everyone surveyed believes that the best days of their country are yet to come. In a world of economic uncertainty where we fumble from one political problem to the next, I’d like to hope that they’re right!

Mission mPOSsible – Decoding Mobile Card Readers

Given the number of announcements about mPOS solutions this year alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every market trader or corner shop owner is just a tap away from taking card payments on their phone. But the majority of some 4.8m small companies in the UK are yet to accept any kind of card payments, let alone mobile-enabled ones. 


According to a survey by Intuit of 1,000 micro-businesses, which have fewer than 10 employees, only 19 per cent currently accept card payments. But, while merchants are still getting their act together, many consumers are increasingly cashless. A study of British shoppers by Santander UK and iZettle revealed that 39 per cent avoid businesses that don’t accept card payments or require a minimum payment amount. Independent retailers, pubs and bars, market stalls, taxis, along with food and drink stands at events were all identified as potential losers. 

Here, we take a look at a range of newly launched and more established mPOS providers to reveal just how competitive the market now is. An industry-standard charge of 2.75 per cent per transaction seems to have been reached to make the offer simple for merchants. Free Apple and iOS app systems dominate, but what does this mean for emerging markets where smartphones haven’t taken hold?  

Many of the solutions don’t have a large customer base, with some reluctant to reveal their figures. Plus, some of the mPOS supporters detailed below reveal a tech proxy war in the payments space between more familiar companies, and even between different innovation hubs around the world.  But what if this doesn’t even take off? Will mPOS be superseded by contactless or peer-to-business payments before you can say swipe or sign?   

Intuit 
Intuit launched in the UK in March and is the only one of our mobile payments systems currently operating in both the US and UK, as well as Canada. It offers swipe across the pond or Chip & PIN systems to UK traders, which connect via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android app. Established in 1983, giving it a fair head start, the company also offers a range of online book-keeping services to its clients.  It was recently caught out lobbying the US government to the tune of $11.5m – more than Apple or Amazon – to ensure its tax solutions don’t get wiped out by free online accounting. 

Cost of reader: £49 or free in US (was £99) 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% on all transactions / 3.75% on manual / or a monthly plan of $13 a month (US-only) Supporters: Partners with Verizon in the US and now on sale in Staples online and in UK stores  

iZettle 
Sweden’s iZettle got off to a bumpy start when it launched in November 2012. Although it had a sales partnership with EE in the UK, the free headphone jack-connected swipe device left users unable to accept Visa payments. Nonetheless, the company says it had 100,000 customers by the end of the year. The Chip & PIN reader, which works via Bluetooth and an Android or iOS app, launched in February. It currently operates in the UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and now Mexico. 

Cost of reader: Was £49 now £99 plus VAT but offering £50 cashback to Santander Business Banking customers in Spain and the UK 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% per transaction but if you’re not using the card reader, the fee is £0.10 + 3.5% per transaction 
Supporters: Santander invested €5m in June this year   

Judo
Judo launched in the UK in May and operates here on the USP that sellers and merchants do not need a smartphone or a card reader to make or accept a mobile payment. It has 2,000 small business customers at present and says it will go global if its clients require it. There are a range of transaction limits outlined by the company, but these can be waived under certain circumstances. 

Cost of reader: No device but £50 to set up account 
Cost of transactions: 2.9% + 29p  Supporters: Privately-owned    

Jusp 
Jusp (short for Just Pay) just received $6m (£3.9m) in Series A funding to develop its European Chip & PIN solution that connects via the headphone jack a la Square. The Italian company was founded by two 25-year-olds in November 2011 and is heading for a Q3 2013 launch. It offers the lowest transaction fee of any solution out there – but only just!

Cost of reader: €39 (£33) 
Cost of transactions: 2.7% Supporters: Italian VCs   

Monitise 
The UK’s Monitise launched its mPOS white-labelling service in Europe, Canada and parts of Asia in May this year. The company has a variety of live models that are chosen by its customers and the cost of each deployment depends on a variety of factors, not least of which is the size of market and type of solution. Monitise recently partnered with Blackberry to launch the BBM Money peer-to-peer  payment service in Indonesia. O2 is currently offering a Monitise mPOS for £20 (plus VAT and 2.75 per cent per transaction) to Android and BlackBerry users. 

Fees: Monitise does not set the transactional or devices fees – its customers build their own models 
Supporters: Visa   

payleven 
payleven is on offer in Brazil, a fast-growth smartphone market, along with the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. It would not disclose its usage figures, but went on sale in February 2013 with its Chip & PIN device that works via Bluetooth with an Android or iOS app. The German company launched in March last year and like Square in the US, has received the stamp of approval from Apple in the UK, where it is now on sale in retail stores.  

Cost of reader: £99 (was £49) 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% plus £20 credit for payments Supporters: Apple    

PayPal Here  
Although it will not disclose any usage figures, PayPal is among the legacy figures in this line up, and has accumulated 110m active online payments accounts since it launched in 1998. The free swipe/manual/Chip & PIN headphone jack reader and app system, PayPal Here, is ‘on its way’ to the UK this summer. It is already in use in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. The company has been accused in recent times of being slow and bureaucratic but it does have the most visibility among consumers. 

Cost of reader: Free reader 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% when you swipe a card / 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction when you type in a card number (3.6% in Japan plus 40 Yen, increasing to 5 per cent for use of Here) 
Supporters: Owned by Ebay. And the ‘PayPal Mafia’…   

Square 
Square was founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey in 2009 and was first-to-market with its headphone jack and app solution, which launched first in the US. It is now on offer in Canada and Japan but they haven’t (yet) reconfigured the payments platform for use in the EU. Square currently has 4m users and has a variety of loyalty offers, including the Square Wallet and gift cards. Square recently announced that it would not allow its product to be used by gun sellers. Which is nice. Both Square and PayPal are going head-to-head with operator NTT Docomo in Japan. 

Cost of reader: Free swipe reader 
Cost of transactions: Pay 2.75% per swipe for all major credit cards (3.25% in Japan) or a flat monthly $275  Supporters: Twitter, used in Starbucks and sold in Apple’s US stores   

SumUp 
SumUp is currently on offer in the most countries around the world: the UK, Belgium, France, Portugal, Russia, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. It would not comment on usage figures but launched in August 2012, giving it a fair head start over other European providers. It is currently only a chip and signature solution that attaches to the headphone jack, but a PIN reader is on the way. 

Cost of reader: Free 
Cost of transactions: 2.75% Supporters: Klaus Hommels (early Skype, Facebook), Groupon and AmEx

Job Centre: With all eyes on Tech City, where are the mobile job opportunities and do we have the skills to fill them?

According to the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, established by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, the IT, software and digital content sectors are worth £100bn to the UK economy. This is larger per head than any other country in the world and could represent 10 per cent of UK GDP by 2015. 

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in January, EU commissioner for technology, Neelie Kroes, said that Europe would have 1m new tech jobs by 2016 and 2m by 2020, with up to a fifth of these in the UK. Worryingly though, IBM’s 2012 Tech Trends report found that just 1 in 10 UK organisations believes it has the skills to use advanced technologies, including mobile computing, cloud computing, and social business. Meanwhile, 73 per cent of educators and students said there is a major or moderate gap in their institution’s ability to meet demand for these skills.  

PM David Cameron has announced a £50m regeneration of East London’s Old Street tech hub, Silicon Roundabout, which is due for completion in 2016. While this will certainly create an impressive landmark to showcase digital leadership, little commitment has been made to creating a suitably skilled British workforce. And in any event, it may already be too late.  

With some of the biggest media companies in the world – the likes of Skype, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and BSkyB – all expanding their mobile operations in London, and each requiring large engineering teams of hundreds of people, the competition is already fierce for mobile talent. Is the UK up to the job? 

“Our candidates think mobile is a really interesting opportunity, particularly around M2M and the chance to use mobile technology to make people’s lives better, whether that’s through medical and health or utility,” said Mark Long, director of future media recruitment company ABRS. “They are in a really good position – everyone from software engineers, UX designers, product managers – across the mobile platform, there are more jobs than candidates. If you’ve got the skills, there are loads of opportunities – if you’re a company trying to build this stuff, there is lots of competition.” 

Like the FT, Walmart and Deloitte, Thomson Reuters bought a London-based mobile dev firm, Apsmart, to shore up its mobile capacity. Bob Schukai, head of mobile at Thomson Reuters, says: “It’s not uncommon to just buy a mobile development company to take them completely off the market. You might never do anything with the product, you might just be doing it as a talent acquisition.  “It used to be about offshore versus inshore – that discussion has changed completely. It’s now about outsource versus insource. You can see a decline in numbers in the PC space and with that comes an insatiable demand for mobile talent. That’s a capability that companies need to create themselves and be able to instil across their organisation.”

 So, does the talent have to be bought or can you help grow it? Raj Day, group CSO for Telefónica in Latin America, was out running while considering his difficulty in finding innovative products, services and different ways of working. There was only one shop for digital innovation – Silicon Valley – and it was not only expensive to hire from but was also eating up some of his own digital talent. He passed an empty shop and thought ‘what would happen if we filled that full of startups?’ 

Three years and 13 countries later, the startup initiative Wayra is now established across Latin America, the US and the EU. Ann Parker heads up EU operations for the accelerator programme, and she says there is an abundance of talent. “The perception I had was that we would struggle to find that kind of talent and people willing to go and work in a startup in London,” she says. “We have found quite the reverse. We get a lot of people who have finished their degree but have decided that the corporate ladder isn’t for them. We also get lots of people in their mid-30s. People who’ve got life experience, who’ve made a few mistakes. That really helps.” 

While Telefónica says it does not intend to take any of the teams that it gives funding to into the business itself, startups like cloud service provider Cloud66 have become preferred partners and in return gain access to more than 300m customers. “If we want digital startups to contribute to the economy, everyone needs to be putting their hands in their pocket,” says Parker. “There’s room for us all.” 

Eric Van der Kleij, fintech entrepreneur and head of Level39, Tech City’s newest accelerator, believes that the financial crisis has given entrepreneurs and big business the opportunity to explore and create new technology together. “London and Europe are facing another challenge in the contraction of the financial services sector, which has previously represented up to 12.9 per cent of GDP if you include IT services,” he says. “It’s the innovators in tech and digital and creative that are going to form part of this replacement economic growth.  “You can imagine an idea being created at a hackathon that one day goes on to become a substantial banking mechanism for new, open, transparent banking. Now that is being made possible by the talent and by an environment that supports innovation – with a combination of support from organisations and government.” 

While this all sounds rather cosy, startups and big businesses are clearly in competition for great graduates. Some see a ‘brain drain’ as people choose big bucks in the City over the uncertainty of startup life. But Bob Schukai thinks the issue is more fundamental. “Five guys can build a product and beat you to market in a heartbeat. Big business is going to need that technology talent to be successful and compete at an enterprise level as well as at a consumer level. The challenge in the UK, like the US, is that neither are producing enough STEM grads. That’s where the real problem is.”

American-born Schukai has gone on record many times arguing that foreign graduates in the US should ‘have a green card stapled to their university certificate’ and he thinks much the same is required in the UK. “Anybody that graduates with an advanced technology degree should be given indefinite leave to remain in Britain. These are people that are going to be producing, going to be working in high paying jobs, contributing revenue to Inland Revenue.” 

Wayra’s Ann Parker, however, disagreed with the perception that tech graduates are the only people who can create entrepreneurial success. “Good ideas come from everywhere,” she said, “you don’t need to be a computer scientist to have a great idea for a startup and even if you are a great coder – it doesn’t mean you will be a successful entrepreneur.” 

So if it’s skilled digital workers we lack, why do we have an abundance of idle ‘digital natives’, 1m young people who commentators fear becoming a ‘lost generation’ excluded from employment into adult life? While 16-24-year-olds are never too far from Blackberry Messenger or Facebook, many, it appears, may not understand the opportunities in emerging technologies; the opportunity to become creators, rather than simply consumers. If you were born in the 1990s, the digital natives rather than older digital immigrants, can you help but take technology for granted? 
“’My brother said ‘stop being a waster, have a Sinclair ZX81 [released in 1981]’, and for the first time I felt completely empowered,” says Van der Kleij. “Today, the mobile phone, and especially the smartphone, has made technology incredibly accessible. So many more people understand how apps can solve problems in life and come up with solutions that previously would have required huge amounts of programming expertise. This exposure could catalyse them into entering the computing profession and maybe getting a computer science degree or even entering IT services.” 

With this tech-native generation coming of age in terms of their careers, what does the Government need to do to nurture growth? “The first thing I would say to Government,” Ann Parker at Wayra says, “would be to get more computer programming on the syllabus. People should learn it from age six or seven – do it like speaking French. There also needs to be more work on encouraging more entrepreneurial skills to be taught at school – understanding the concept of cash flow, knowing how much money you have in the bank and not spending more than that.” 

A number of organisations already work for free to excite young people about creating the technologies of the future, including Devcamp and Apps for Good. Reuters’ Schukai is also a mentor for Apps for Good, where participant schools spend a school term building an app from start to finish, with the winning team going on to have their app made for real.  “We think that this can become a feeder for large and small companies across Britain or creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” he says. “We have more than 200 schools and it has become the benchmark programme, but I would love to see more engagement between business and schools.” 

There are many online courses, at minimum cost, as well as free resources that offer a real learning opportunity at a fraction of the debt promised by university. But is it too late by then? Courtney Boyd Myers, audience development director at London’s General Assembly, a tech education and events business, says businesses must work together with educators to help the education system keep up with the pace of change in the tech, digital and mobile industries. “Business both established and startup need to have the resources and knowledge in place to be continually learning, growing and developing in this space,” she says. “Our opportunity and our challenge is to figure out how we can build businesses that help people connect, increase access to healthcare, education and jobs, and provide an infrastructure to create further new businesses.”

So where are these 2m promised jobs of tomorrow going to be? Bob Schukai believes “app exhaustion” may have set in. “But there are other areas that are underexploited, such as health, fitness, and especially education,” he says. “You will see a lot more testing and evaluating jobs that didn’t really exist previously. People in the beginning just sort of built stuff and threw it out the door. You’ve also got to have people who write the automation programs, because the amount and number of mobile products you need to create isn’t going down it’s going up. Those people are eventually going to become developers themselves.”

So far, £6m was pledged in the Autumn Statement to train 3,000 people in technology roles and after intense pressure from the industry, Michael Gove’s controversial EBacc qualification – the education secretary’s proposed GCSE replacement – will now contain computer science as a fourth science option. Business and universities will be consulted in the development of the syllabus, Gove has said. 

But is this all too little too late in the global tech race? “Some of the most exciting ideas come from innovators who have had no formal training. They are not restricted by the fetters of corporate and traditional education,” said Van der Kleij. “But any investment that we can make in education that is more appropriate to the skills that we need at the moment and that we’ll need in the future – any investment that we can make in that is a worthwhile thing to do.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here:  http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/job-centre#ZaiA8MTBVxewdhiq.99

It’s a Girl Thing: why are there so few women work in tech and what can we do about it?

Veteran mobile journalist Tim Green called this year’s Mobile World Congress “so ludicrously mono-demographical it’s almost funny”. And the most largely represented group, in case you were wondering, was “middle-aged, white males”.  

Look within the tech industry, and at leadership roles across other sectors, and funnily enough, this story isn’t unusual – LadyGeek calculates that the number of UK technology jobs held by women actually dropped from 22 per cent in 2001 to 17 per cent by 2011. Only 22 per cent of MPs are women, and despite a drive following the Davies Inquiry to reach a pretty reasonable target of 25 per cent female directors in the FTSE 100, the number is stubbornly stuck around 17 per cent. Six of the FTSE 100 boards are still all male. 


Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, and clearly one of the most powerful women in business, has caused a stir that even she says she hadn’t expected on the launch of her book, Lean In. Pragmatist and feminist, she argues that often women hold themselves back, uncomfortable with the decisions they make in their career. You cannot wait for the institutional barriers to fall down around you, she says. 


A year ago, and before Sandberg’s book had even gone to press, Women in Wireless (WiW) London launched to promote and develop female leaders in the UK’s mobile and digital industry. The four founders, Jen Macrae, Rimma Perelmuter, Rhian Pamphilon and Jen Hiley, have a formidable combination of expertise, killer contact books, drive, vision and a bit of humour between them. 


Today, the network has more than 700 members, and within its first year, hosted eight events across its Connect, Develop and Promote streams within its first year.  The London branch was established after Macrae, who is currently working as VP, digital wallet market development, at MasterCard on the UK deployment of its Masterpass payments system, was approached by one of Women in Wireless’ global co-founders about setting it up. “Although there were many networking organisations, there was an opportunity to create something member-led, targeting career development needs, and serving to promote and support the development of women to more senior roles,” she says.  


Things kicked off with a launch led by former Nokia CMO Jerri DeVard, followed by an entrepreneur debate hosted at Telefónica’s Wayra Academy, and then an international careers event with leading female executives at QTel and Microsoft.  At the end of last year, WiW London commissioned its first (if not the first) survey into women working in wireless in the UK, with the help of Telefónica and Diffusion PR. The study sought to understand the barriers and opportunities for women in the industry, to raise awareness of diversity issues, and set priorities for their work. The survey garnered more than 600 responses. 


Mobile is a young industry, with, the survey found, many younger women working in it. 43 per cent of those surveyed were aged 25 to 34 and a further 9 per cent are in the 18 to 24 age group. Just 14 per cent are 45 to 54 and only 2 per cent are 55 to 64. Not surprisingly, as stereotypes go, the most popular career for women in wireless is marketing – while just 5 per cent work in product development or innovation, 4 per cent are engineers, and only 2 per cent have financial roles.


While there are many initiatives to encourage more young women to get coding skills and take-up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects, Jen Hiley, who is currently a senior consultant at Infosys Lodestone and social coordinator for WiW, says it is the myth of all tech jobs being “techy” that can deter women in the first place.  “There is a mystique of it being a very technical field, whereas, in fact, there are so many non-engineering career paths in the industry,” she says. “Today’s marketplace for technology is no longer about meeting the internal needs of big business. It has shifted to meeting the ever-growing demands of the everyday consumer, which in turn is driving innovation and creativity, and opening up masses of new opportunities.”  


Many of the women surveyed are yet to make it to senior roles – just 15 per cent currently hold one – fewer still – just 10 per cent – have directorships. Rimma Perelmuter, who has worked in mobile for 13 years and is now CEO of MEF and co-chair of the WiW development stream, believes it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the causes of why women are under-represented in senior industry roles. “The survey reveals some surprising results,” she says. “83 per cent of respondents between 35 and 54 believe that it is harder for women to succeed in their careers than it is for men, with 36 per cent identifying ‘a male dominating culture’ as the reason they are under-represented at senior levels. While culture is clearly a challenging issue to address, the survey is a wake-up call to the Industry to take action.” 


“The survey shows a stark reality,” says Dereck McManus, COO of Telefónica in the UK and board lead for diversity and inclusion, who helped to analyse the results. “The majority of people we spoke to believe it is harder for women to succeed in their careers than men, and two thirds seeing culture as a barrier to the progress of women to senior positions. I believe that businesses have a responsibility to do more to ensure that women are represented at all levels in business. At Telefónica, we’ve launched a number of initiatives, including our Women in Leadership programme, to do exactly that. “One finding that I found interesting, but perhaps not that surprising, was the fact that flexible working was seen as one of the top ways companies can support women in their career. Just last year we ran the biggest ever flexible working pilot, with 3,000 of our people working remotely for a day. It sounds ambitious, but the pilot showed what’s possible when flexible working is done properly.” 


While some businesses clearly see the benefits of helping employees manage their career and busy home lives – just 11 per cent of survey respondents said they have an excellent work/life balance – Yahoo’s first female CEO, Marissa Meyer, recently banned her staff from working at home. All of the WiW founders emphasise the need for personal initiative as a means to success – whether that’s finding mentors, sponsors, networking opportunities or going to educational events. 52 per cent of those asked said they had never tried to find a sponsor, while 41 per cent had not identified a mentor. 


“At our inaugural event, inspirational speaker Jerri DeVard made a poignant remark that’s stuck with me: ‘We all stand on someone else’s shoulders’,” says Peremulter. “It speaks to the importance of going beyond ‘superficial’ networking to building relationships with mentors, sponsors and colleagues that you can learn from and that are there to support you.   

“Equally, it is important to take the time to share your experience with others and give back. I’d like to see more leaders in our industry take the time to live up to this ideal regardless of whether they are women or men.” 

It is natural networking abilities, Jen Hiley believes, that should bring success to younger women. “We are widely recognised to be more empathetic, task-orientated and extremely thorough. Women are born networkers, with the ability to forge strong and lasting relationships, seeking out opportunities and alliances. Creating groups like Women in Wireless will hopefully inspire more C-level women to share their extensive knowledge, whilst providing a forum for ladies who can feel comfortable asking for support.” 


Self-belief and confidence was highlighted in the survey as one of the top enablers to support career progression. But what happens when that takes a knock? Jen Macrae says: “Our survey respondents have told us, and we have all experienced it, that when personal initiatives fail, it can have a negative impact on career opportunities and confidence. Our challenge now at Women in Wireless is to provide a support structure that helps those wanting to progress to overcome their own internal barriers.” 


Telefónica’s McManus concludes: “As an industry, we need to do more to turn this around. Whether it’s running mentoring schemes to support women throughout their career, or using positive role models of successful women in the industry – all businesses can make a difference. If we don’t take action, we run the risk of missing out on the vital skills of a generation of women.”


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/it%E2%80%99s-girl-thing#KLXduxDsrktJQkfx.99

Vogue and Maxim are UK’s Best Cross-Platform Mags

Vogue and Maxim are the only UK-based magazines that are fully-optimised for a multi-platform audience – with iPhone, iPad and Android apps, along with sites specially designed for iPad, Nexus 7 and smartphones – according to research into multi-screen advertising experiences with publishing companies by BrandPerfect.org.

The survey of 100 popular consumer-facing magazines in the US, the UK and Germany found that 93 per cent  don’t offer their readers a fully cross-platform experience. 83 per cent of the 78 consumers magazine brands surveyed from the US and UK have an app. 65 per cent of these have an iPhone app and 40 per cent have Android. Almost all  – with notable exceptions like the BBC’s Radio Times – have a separate iPad app. But, the report says: “Without satisfactorily audited audience circulation figures available, especially where app are bundled in with print subscriptions or availabe for free, how [do we know] many people are seeing them?”

Fewer mobile sites despite easier targeting

46 per cent of the UK-based magazines assessed by the company and 45 per cent of the German publications did not have a site optimised for smartphones. Just 25 per cent of the US ones were in the same position. The report says: “While many publishers have invested heavily in apps, website readerships are much larger, targetable and easier to analyse.”

Many of the publishers offer a scaled version of their desktop site to tablet and smartphone surfers, with varying results.  Glamour magazine in the UK scaled to fit the smaller screen, although the writing becomes rather small, while Wired magazine readers in the UK have to move their screen from side-to-side to read full articles on the scaled site.

Vice and Marie Claire were missing just one of the seven criteria used each – an Android app and an iPad-optimised site respectively.

Written for Mobile Marketing and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/vogue-and-maxim-are-uks-best-cross-platform-mags