lördag, november 09, 2013

Something is happeningI

Signs in the sky. A lark sings.
Suddenly your eye catches a glimpse of a 100 dollar bill (or in my case it would be a 500 kronor bill) and you turn and pick it up.
Something is happening.

I love it.
It's happening right now. It's super high tech, best in the world,+6 years ahead of anyone. Again.
It's not the first time. Probably not the last. I can, maybe, count the times it happened. Last time I said it was the last. I didn't muster to go into the mood again.
But it's not the number. It's the feeling. The mood you get into. Creation.
You created this. It. A thought you once got was turned into action and created something new.

I love it.

Let's look back a bit. Between age of 12 and 27 I played a lot of sports. Of course I played before, and after, but those years are the most vivid and important ones. Because it was for the love of the moment. The moment when things fell into place and got unique.

I longed for those moments and I did as much as I could to get more of them.
After I stopped playing on a high level I got involved in high-tech startups. Between the games I acquired a few skills in programming, design and math. Pretty useful skills.
But my dad told me to get a good education and a job. Programming was for flunks and dropouts.
So I did. While I played.

I played football (soccer). Tennis. Golf. Table tennis. I skied, down-hill, cross-country. I played chess. Bridge. Well I was good at math, that's my excuse. I practiced shooting. I was a master of rifle at the age of 14. Got the King silver medal in the army.
All the nerdy games.
I played indoor floorball. Tried out for almost any other sport except badminton. Always disliked it. Squash. Mountain climbing. Biking. Riding. Swimming. Boule. Bowling. Darts.
That was not interesting.

I'm still a sports nerd.
But the kicks come from being good at something else than sports. It's about creativity.
Being good and creative.

That is also why I dislike non-creative stuff and lack of innovation.

Here is a list of the lost.
Things that isn't creative.

1. Building a house that looks like the next. Or the 'nother.
2. Wearing clothes from a fashion brand. Or H&M. Or their evil partners in crime.
3. Saying things like "I think..." "The government..." "Aren't just people...."
4. Starting a riot based on no 1.2.3. and maybe 5.
5. Thinking it's always someone elses fault.
6. Setting up a new company based on your idea of getting rich. Or no 5.
7. Joining any company based on the idea of getting rich. Or bore people.
8. Starting your swing with a twitch in your left arm. In any sport.
9. Looking at the world and saying "this is perfect!" Or say "hey, didn't you kill my brother?"
10. Reading too much.

BTW. Don't listen to me.

fredag, oktober 11, 2013

Ulocs now - Qubulus then

For those of you that remembers, I started Qubulus in 2010 based on a project I ran at MHBC, the art of indoor positioning based on multiple radio networks. When I left Qubulus at the end of 2011 it was with a vision to scientifically solve personal positioning, for good. Without radio networks.

Why without radio?
Everyone uses radio to position individuals today. Network operators (best ~50 meters in urban areas), other radio technologies as WiFi, Bluetooth, sound (3-10 meters) based on what is in a Smartphone today. The rest I will ignore for now.
The accuracy/penetration was very good, in favor of Qubulus as we developed a new tech platform that was way more accurate with less than 2 meters in bad places. The problem was that it was still depending on the radio access points being on the same spot all the time and that in many places there are no radio available at all. Then the impractical need to record every floor with equipment etc etc.

I had come to the conclusion that sensors (accelerometers, gyrometers, pressure, magnetism etc) similar to the ones used on Smartphones is the way to go  You can read more about what we do at Ulocs on this.

Now here is a video showing the comparison of Ulocs and Qubulus platforms at the same location, same settings and it will be obvious that we have killed radio as a method of indoor positioning when it comes to applications that needs "always on" as a prerequisite.

With this simple demo of a Ulocs device showing that Ulocs sensor driven tech is extremely accurate and radio independent, we want to pinpoint the use cases of this device and the core tech in it:

1. Accurate body movement tracing to enable gaming environments with or without avatars, analytics of the movements, coaching feedback of performance etc. To be incorporated in shoes, gloves, jackets, trousers, head gears, helmets and more.

2. Accurate positioning of the wearer in X-Y-Z that enables data transfer of the position to   other devices and external systems. Great support for workforce in high risk environments: guards, hospital staff, security workers, transportation, police, fire fighters and more.

3. Accurate body analytics based on Ulocs Styles to define how well or not well a wearer of a device carries out their daily life. Can easily detect fatigue, illness, heart function and other diagnostic behavior recognized in movement pattern changes. Great support for remote/home monitoring of patients, hotel & resort guests and more.

If you have more ideas on how to use our technology then don't hesitate to contact us!

söndag, oktober 06, 2013

Roximity prank demo

Indoor positioning is a funny funny game.
Sometimes it is sooo funny because there are schmucks out there doing these demo videos:
 WTF?? Awesome is a word I would hesitate to use after this...

lördag, oktober 05, 2013

Being right and being sooo wrong

This is a story.
You know, a story about something that matters.

Then, Back in school I just loved maths. Maybe I was what we today call a geek, I don't know. I still was on the soccer team. A prospect for the A-team at the golf club. Played some tennis. Yeah. I was a dork. Not a geek.

Then, in 1980 they bought a couple of ABC80 computers to the school. Only the uncool kids were signed up for "science class". To my surprise I was picked for this "counteradventure".
Because I was good at math.

I still, +30 years later, can do some maths baby!
Like when I in -03 calculated in less than 60 seconds that my client was going bancrupt in 30 days. Like when I saw a devastating loss of 1.2 M$ for the working year in -06 at a client then reversing it to a small but positive profit in less than 6 months. Or when I actually figured out a way to reverse time in a time machine when I was 11.

I kid you. About the time machine. It didn't work.

Still  math is a killer.

 Then, +12 startups later, I feel that what we see in innovation is still within math. Now jump-

We have been working on the idea that we could interpret movement patterns into behavior into feelings. You know, feelings.

We succeeded. We got Ulocs Styles.
Then a special partner asked us, "if you know this, don't you know the position?"
We were confident, but not sure.

Then four months ago we went into the venture of understanding Individual Movement so we could translate it into Individual Positioning. Easy.


But a funny challenge,

And on we moved. Now we are here. We are here. WE ARE HERE! WE ARE  HERE!!! and we are goofs. weird. funny and strange.

But we did it. And we are proud. Still it is a silly plot print...

fredag, augusti 02, 2013

Why it makes sense for Sony to buy HTC

Today the earnings from Sony was published and they are good. Even very good. Not compared to old days but for a struggling hardware company these days... good.
HTC. Not good. Not at all.

Sony can obviously sell. But their phones sucks. Even if ordinary people don't see the difference they get used to dirt by buying Sony (Ericsson) Smartphones. But it brings in gold to Sony now.
Great sales. And marketing. I love the marketing. No irony, it's great.

HTC. Used to to some good sales. Must have lost the touch, the feeling, the love. But they still build the best Smartphones in the market. They are great. Really great. If people actually paid attention to details they wouldn't look at iPhones (where did Apple get lost...) and if they would compare a Sony to a HTC they would laugh.

So the timing has come for SOny to buy HTC, let them run the Smarthone design and please boost the production process so we see at least 5 new ones per quarter. Then give Samsung a fight. Which will be epic :-)

I love epic!

torsdag, augusti 01, 2013

CRM is an amazing Black Hole of Nothing

I've always been a big fan of CRM, real life CRM, the kind of CRM where CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Not the fake one that is online or in a desktop software which I call eCRM. The e as in Electronic is really not bringing any return on investment.

It has, so far, brought a meaningless tool for managers to prey on the knowledge and time of their sales people. To no shown effect.

You don't agree?
 I bet you are one of those managers.
 I'll tell you why I know.

Because I met you.
Maybe not You but your body double. Or triple.
Why I met you?
Because I have been in sales for more years than you remember. I am sales.
I know sales from the ground up. Bold?

Yes. But that is part of sales isn't it ;-)

 Anyway in 1999 I joined a small startup that needed an architect to construct the user interface, the MMI, what you young people call UI/UX. The aim was the boldest, to build the only necessary knowledge management portal software ever.
 Remember this was 1999 so we thought we did have all the answers. No limits. Funny thing is that there are still companies that believe that a great UI/UX will fix it on eCRM...

Except the technology available of course. Bloody mess of browsers.
 So the user interface needed to comply with anything from Lynx and up; Internet Explorer was the common joke of the time, Microsoft inventing HTML tags that didn't exist in the standard. Netscape. It was hell.

We had to invent browseridentifying algorithms to direct the portal to the best possible GUI output and similar. This was to be able to present the information in a user friendly way so that the maximum engagement level was gained, to get maximum input of information done and be able to get maximum output from executing procedures interesting and easily accessible in the portal.

 This was 1999. We didn't really talk CRM, we talked customer information.

Then came CRM and we adjusted to it and the portal was expanding into fields like customer hierarchy, customers customer information and hierarchy, knowledge regarding deals, partners, suppliers etc. So I wrote a paper internally about an intelligence approach on customer relationship management. This wasn't really appreciated by the British owners of the company and we were told to stay on the route of supply chain information management instead and was asked to build an auction module that would later to become very efficient in procurement procedures at various customers.

Which in the end didn't help the company that was killed by share owner battle over cash.. Anyway, the paper lay the ground for the first desktop software company focused on customer relationship intelligence or what it became to be called CI, Competitive Intelligence. The field was a +20 players of specialized software companies that supported internal intelligence operations from government, police and on to commercial companies. Big ones were i2 and search engines like Albert Inc (Hi Azeem:-) from France and Clearforest (now part of Thomson Reuters)and we came with a one cd (!) easy to install and use Windows based desktop software which we called Brimstone Intelligence.

Talk about changing the game. Or not.

 Because at that point in time, early 2002 the CRM (eCRM often called) was taking over. Already two years before the players in this field had started to move from desktop to web and Salesforce that started in 1999 was gaining speed as well. Even the ERP providers started to talk customer management even if they hardly could spell it. So Brimstone turned the other cheek and got into CRM instead of promoting its superior software in itself.

There was no endurance for that. The rest of the story I can tell you at another point in time.

 The point I'm making is that CRM isn't eCRM. You cannot transform the behavior of a good or great sales person or a team into a system if you are not interpreting and incorporating each and every member of that team, his and hers sales skills, presenting methods, ethics, way of picking the right timing to contact a potential customer or follow up sales, the chain of thoughts that is going through their heads when reviewing the circumstances of the individuals they are dealing with and much more. To ask anyone to put that into a CRM-system is like asking me to put the cheese back into the box.

It won't be done.
Even if the boxes where there.
Which they are not.
Not in a CRM-system.

In Brimstone Intelligence at least you could make your own boxes if they were not there. In Salesforce? Get out of here...
Why not? Because CRM-systems are, with or without glam¨UI, the Managers decision and not the in the hands of the salesman or woman.

 Because it is sooo nice to boxify everything in sales into small, nice boxes of information that everyone is supposed to put info into and follow all procedures and behave. But you know what? Great salespeople NEVER behave.
 So that is why CRM as in eCRM is deader than a Dodo.
But still continues to live on as the managers are still out there to keep them alive.

 I will continue to monitor this field of software. It is essential for the effectiveness of our society ;)

onsdag, juli 24, 2013

Patents Comment and What Is Wrong Whit This World

I have a weekly routine to read the patent review. Fun stuff. The companies and keywords I keep track off are the big ones in my world, things like healthcare, radio, positioning, golf and companies like IBM, Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, etc.
All of the keywords means something personal to me, the companies are big players and some are smaller ones that is good at innovation.

At first I just thought it would be good competitive intelligence to keep up to date. Then I discovered patterns in the approved patents. Then I saw new patterns. Like the alignment between how detailed patents are within control of radio networks and how few there are that is actually creating new radio possibilities. How many there are that is close to brand protection and how few that is actually innovative. And on.

Exciting stuff.

The overall trend I see is that more of the big Kahunas go for brand protection and not that much innovation. For example Apple are now getting more and more patents approved that is about details in their products. Like the hinges on the iPad cover. Wow. Not Exciting. No glass staircases anymore.

Nokia that has always been a great provider of innovation in radio, both on the network and handset side, is not exciting at all. Today they came clear on this one: Method and apparatus for generating privacy ratings for applications . For f*ck sake.

This was the company that made us proud to be from the Nordics. Shit.
The big question from my side of the table is How Do You Make Money from these lousy innovations and patents?? My answer so far is: You Don't. So is this the new way of keeping up appearances? Most likely. Get a grasp and get going Nokia. Apple. IBM. Microsoft. You other Dinkelspielers.

tisdag, juni 18, 2013

The State of Innovation in Sweden - June 2013

This is a bold title.

I like bold titles. Like being the Mark "I'm CEO, Bitch" Zuckerberg. Or telling the world what the state of innovation is in Sweden.
Lägg till bildtext
No other comparisons.

It kind of comes with Swedish Mentality (which I studied in the early 90-ies as a part of becoming an urban planner) that you do NOT state anything bold. You will have to eat it up.
We had this conversation today about the change in Swedish Mentality since the 80-ies, based on the queing "system" at McDonalds that used to be organized but now is a boiling chaos as the Swedes are now more "I WANT MY FOOD!!" than "I'll just stand in line and get my food when it's time".

Same goes for Innovations.

A lot of entrepreneurs are yelling like bitches all the time now. "MY INNOVATION IS THE GREATEST!! BUY!!!" and even worse. The funny thing is that Swedish Innovation was more innovative in the 1960-ies to the 1980-ies than it is now. (Cars, mobile, etc)
Now it is Wrapp. Spotify. And worse. Nothing innovative at all besides the exit models for the investors.

So I got this message on the Fb-tube today

"You've gotta love this blog post by the guy's at Tunaspot" and it was linked to http://www.tunaspot.com/dear-coca-cola-thank-you/ so I read it.

Let us go back in time.

In 2006 I ran a startup called Dirigo. Mainly financed by Almi Innovation. It was created on the foundation of Emappz that was the first advertising financed Turn-by Turn navigation "app" (before apps) company. Killed by Google more or less. But Dirigo had something new. A social app (widget) for J2ME that showed the proximity of content (text, music, sound, video) from your epicenter. We had a radar and all. Nice.
Alexander called up, a connection was trying to source the production of a device that could present recorded content to people wearing the device, focused on visitors to parks, resorts entertainment etc and the idea was to rended playlists based on proximity of positioning.

So we designed a device, a platform and the architecture was open so it could be used for any other geo-focused application. The question came up to launch a geo-proximity playlist for iTunes or other mp3-like system. Johan that was involved with Loudeye, bought by Nokia in 2006, told me that this was something that could attract the big kahunas. But would cost a lot of marketing to both sides.

So we looked at it me and Alexander. What we came up with was that it was a) very difficult to go cross platform b) difficult to protect and c) difficult to monetize as people had started to view apps (widgets) as free of charge instead of cool to buy.

Dumped it. Hard.

Back to the future. Now.

Tunaspot. Innovation at its peak. Well, no. It is now copied, killed and wasted effort. The bitterness I was accussed of (!) last week regarding the handling of Qubulus, is now handed over to the guys at Tunaspot (I know them and I feel guilty of using them as an example of non-innovation, sorry guys you are now ok to kick my ass at any time!!) so that I can write this.

Next. Wrapp. What the F-CK is this about?? It is so nice, it is so well packaged. It is so easy to copy, it is nothing to do with innovation, it is an haute coutoure app at it's best-

Spotify. they call it an innovation. Mostly I'd say in it's financial department. Not in the apps and services. I am a HARDCORE heavy metal fan. I have a record collection of +5000 records, cd's and EP's-. My friends the same. What we find on Spotify. Christina Aguielera. And similar. AAARRRGGH:

Innovation? I'll tell you what innovation is.

It is something that changes something. So adding a feature to an existing service. No. It is not innovation. To build an app that offers a service that used to be physical and now is digital. No. It is not an innovation. To improve what someone else innovated. No. It is not innovation.

I think that most people today, in all good intents, use the word innovation instead of adjusted, improved, altered etc.

To come up with a new way of distributing parcels? Innovation. To launch a new way to distribute the same parcels as before? No innovation. Improvement.

To alter physical distribution to digital distribution? Alteration. No innovation. The digital channel is already there, you use it for new things to distribute but the innovation lied in the the creation of the digital channel not the usage of it for new products, that probably lied within the scope of the creation of the channel and cannot be accounted for by the new player using this channel.

You see my point?

So I'd say, looking at the state of the Swedish Innovation of today, it is in really good shape when it comes to biomed and traditional production tech. But for mobile and consumer services? Not good. Not even close.

Go home, do your homework, see what needs to be done in audio, video, cellular, chipset and sensors. Then get back on track.

måndag, juni 03, 2013

The Qubulus Story

(All names are fictional and any resemblance with reality is unintentional unless there is an obvious case of public record or similar communication)

Today it was announced that Qubulus is put into bankruptcy.
It was expected. Ever since I exited the company on the 6th of January last year.
Why? When you have (or had) the best technology available? When you have a fast growth market of indoor positioning with smart opportunities for indoor navigation and all the add-ons for that?
When WifiSLAM and Meridian got acquired within the last six months?

Well it's not a mystery. The first problem we hit was investor greed.

The first major investor in Qubulus was Innovationsbron, the Swedish government seed investment vehicle, and the investment manager Qer Jeander was thrilled to invest the first €90.000 and others followed as Nats Xiedmar representing the SW consultancy firm Jayway, Iampus Kacobsson former co-founder of The Astonishing Tribe bought by RIM/Blackberry in 2010, and others.

We got just enough, 1/3 of what we asked for, to run the show for six months. During that period we managed to build what I would call the most advanced engine for indoor radio positioning. It looked great so we asked for a new round of investments. We got it.

Early spring 2011 was when the problem started. Qer Ieander called 1-2 times per week to ask for yet another round of investment as he told me he got the investment board on for that. But he/they didn't approve of the valuation of the company. So if I just could accept the valuation (1/3 of what I had been calculating on based on the international market for indoor positioning tech) then we had a deal. I explained that it was counteractive to push for a low valuation if they wanted to make an exit, which they should as they can't invest that much more than €300k in total, but Per, Sorrry Qer, was an eager beaver. I told him to stand back as we had a customer deal in the making that would replace the need for his money.

The deal went through in August.
I bet 1½ minute after the ink had dried up Qer Ieander got me on the mobile and told me he wanted to expand the ownership of Innovationsbron to 30% of Qubulus, no matter what. I told him that at the current state you can't afford it. He got pissed. He wanted in. And in the Investment Agreement Innovationsbron had a veto right on any decision made by the company and the CEO. Which was me.

SO we sat there with a golden Goose egg, a beautiful project with fantastic people to work with at the customer side. I managed with resistance from my co-founder, which is a really nice marketing guy but without any kind of business brain, to expand the team with the right staff, the perfect staff, to meet the objectives of that customer. But the cash flow was running out. Qer had promised over phone that if we just got the project going we could fund it by convertible loans and when the time was right we would be able to pay back. Innovationsbron use this method all the time so I believed him. Which was Stupid no 1.

In September Qer contacted my co-founder to discuss the situation. If they could come to an agreement they could get the veto going and decide to get the investment round approved without my approval on a shareholders meeting. In the mean time we had great results from the project and sales was picking up on the software side. We had launched the first API for indoor positioning on Android Smartphones in September and got really good numbers on the sign up. Jayway supported with fantastic coding under the supervision of their CTO. We were rolling!
Nats Xiedmar promised me that we could run the expanded team on tab and we could convert it into equity whenever the timing was right. Stupid no 2.

Early October we went to the US to set up sales and marketing which was one of the big things my co-founder wanted to do, he was over there in June to scout out best possible setup plan, meanwhile we collected hundreds of leads on customers and VCs, and we executed really well in October over there. Mid October I got an email from Qer that wanted to have a conference call with the board where Nats and he was the leading investors. I said it could wait until I got back at the end of the month and asked him to finalize the deal with convertibles as we needed it now. He refused.

It's like being hung from the lowest branch. Sitting in a distant part of the world, trusting the board and the people around you to back you up and then get the email, not even the phone call, that we don't support the operation any more unless you bend over and take the pain. In this case a stupidly low valuation 1/5 of the closest French competitor when they got their round. At the same year with the same track record, that would only hurt the chances of getting a fair deal from VCs, delay round negotiation time and shoot the whole US establishing trip to pieces.

So I went home with a bag of great promises from US customers and investors and what I faced was a gun squad that had struck a deal with my power-eager co-founder. They wanted to run the round without my approval which they now could with a minimal majority and I was asked to move all product development to Jayway as they and Nats believed "had the explicit competence for this type of product development". I told Natz and his Orch Miklas that they had zero knowledge of product management and product maintenance experience which made them disqualified for the job. They should back us up and continue to do what they were doing, expand the core team with their competent staff and start documenting what they did as they hadn't done any of that hard work so far which is the core of product management.

To no surprise they didn't like what I said.

Things moved on, we had explosive growth in leads, managed to host the API service and growth with customer expectations, followed the product delivery plan with our major customer. But the cash flow was bad. The staff was fantastic, supportive and I love them all.

A asked a thin dude from Canada to look for alternative investors and he was fast, introduced me to a Danish fund that wanted to expand. The first meeting was great, fast moving. I thought that this could replace Innovationsbron and Jayway as I wanted their ghoulish faces out. Greed isn't pretty.

But at the end of October I realized that the Canadian guy had played behind my back to get a job at Qubulus by talking to only my co-founder and Innovationsbron, Jayway and the rest of the board. I suppose the image of their meetings must have been close to the vision of Sauroman sitting down with his staff ;-)

So they struck a deal where the Danish fund invested and funded the cash flow, Qer got his %, Nats got his revenge by firing all developers on Qubulus and run the development in-house at Jay-fucking-way (so unbelievable counter productive...)  and the Canadian guy got a business development job. What a joke. None of the involved had any experience of running any kind of international or global operation, none had any experience running a full product management operation, they put my delusional co-founder in pole position and now they crashed 18 months later.

I could have told that then, my shareholders agreement helped me from doing it openly and I got a good enough exit agreement signed just before Christmas 2011. They thought that they signed a smart agreement but they used the worst possible lawyer in Sweden, VICI, and I played them all over the field which is a benefit from being in legal procedures regarding business since many many years. What you call earned experience. But these guys were bad. I laughed. Still laughing as the company Qubulus was written out of the agreement and now it's the people who signed it that is responsible.

So in the end this whole journey with Qubulus added to my plus account and I can only say that when interacting with dilettantes as Innovationsbron (Almi now), Jayway, Iampus Kacobsson, Darl Tilbersky and my dear dear co-founder the dim-witted Grank Tchuil; best of luck to you all in the future!

tisdag, maj 07, 2013

Future of Internet is Exclusivity

Since we first encountered Internet 2.0, the contextual Internet or whatever we would call it, the fight has been on getting as much usage per user as possible. Facebook, GroupOn, Google search, any search, Instagram, histogram, fistogram whatever.
The overall dogma is that if we have user aka usage then we have an audience and at some point these schmucks will buy from our advertising lists/friends. And it works. For now. Slowing down. Overhead grows. It looks like TV? TV commercials? Yes.

The thing is, from an intellectual/psychological perspective we act as we belong to a group but we want personal/individual attendance. The ads don't know me, the networks either. They try O´so hard to get to know me, intrude my privacy (Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc) and they hope they crunch it right so the ads in the right/top/bottom of my page is the right ones so they can show some good digits on the "penetration".

Some news for you.
This has been done and tried before.
It was called DM, Direct Marketing. How didi it go? Well they won over newspaper ads, radio and TV. Did we like it? No. But the old men that ran/run this DM they say "if the viewer connects with the ad it's not an ad, it's information".


It's just a good ad. Not information. Basically it didn't work in the long run.

This is a new Ad Age. We still long for individual attendance and now we could get it as almost everything is digital come to media and information. And the ones that isn't can lean on the digital. So let us look at what "WE" want:

- In a world of limited resources we always want the best value for the best price

- In a world of complicated situations we need adjusted offers to our situation, not what the neighbour need, what I need.

If I can't get the best value on an individual basis I want the next best choice that I can afford, here is where it get complicated:

This means that the one that is offering me somethine needs to have a superb overview of the market and a unique insight to my needs aka situation. That is why consulting sales is growing but the cost of such consulting sales is staggering. The hit ratio is low and the margins are not even close to anonymous e-commerce. (won't go into why e-commerce is a different approach all together)

This leads to the next revelation. The future of Internet is Exclusivity.

We need to share what we need and what we can afford to get what we desire. But we need to trust the person/service that we share this with. Frankly, would you trust Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, GroupOn, SchmuckOn, MobileLocationShareOn or whatever with your deeper needs and monetary situation? I bet not.

Let's look at the fast growing market of Location Based Services. LBS. Is it growing fast in terms of users? Yes. Is it growing fast in terms of usage per user? Yes. Is it growing fast in terms of channeled deals per user? No.

Most of the players tend to explain this by the system of hand over; when a user get his or hers information from a LBS they go to the counter and buy and therefore the transaction is handed over to the transaction holders. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Cash.

There is an obvious gap. SO they try to invent mobile payments that works (none so far) and they try to convert LBS to actionable sales by coupons, bar codes, QR etc. Not working. So we can't bridge this because a) consumers don't trust LBS with their lifes b) there are few situations where I need a LBS to buy something and in a competitive environment there are low margins so offers are few and bad compared to all the things we need to buy. Just look at it, how many of your last 1000 buys was done through a coupon/offer??? 1? 2? 5?

It's pure shit.

We don't trust transaction holders with our needs and we don't use LBS for our fulfillment. Fact.

So mobile location as a transaction centric environment have no future. Even if 99% of all players in this field still believe this. I can excuse them as they lack knowledge, wants to believe and have few other alternatives.

What we need is to put trust in the hands of the consumer. Treatment by individual, pricing dependant on my private situation, my trust and my needs. So basically what we need is a virtual or real, unit that act as my digital representive when I trade, buy, shop or scan for help, assisted buying or similar.

This is some of the areas where we need totally new services:

- Banking. They treat us as dogs, either they pee on us or they lick up our arses. We need a unified individual approach based on trust; which means I get to pick from their smorgasbord and not the other way around.

- Insurance. Better than banks but they still try to fool us with their "offers". Get real and start giving us some value for money dependant on what I need and not what You need to sell this quarter, Noone trust You guys.

- Energy. Anyone that is anyoed with your electricity bill? I thought so. Want to change provider? I thought so. No difference between the providers? Right. So these people needs to understand trust as a concept. They are crooked, evil and mean based on their behavior. Why should we trust them? You tell me.

- Communications. Hahahahahahaa. Don't get me started. If you don't watch your back they'll fuck you, over and over again. Trusted sales are very far from reality today.

- Travels. Often in monopoly situations, never eager to negotiate. Take it or leave it. Saturated market. We are here to fulfill their lives and not the other way around. Would I trust an airline or a train travel provider with my personal situation? Not today. Maybe tomorrow if they take my needs seriously.

- Food. Supermarkets and brands. Wooha. If they can stab you in the back they will. Low price on steak this week? It means higher priced milk and bread to compensate. Need personal service? Fuck You. We are already understaffed, overprofitted and don't give a cent. Customer for life? Haah. YOu need our stuff so get in line.

There are more and of course this is a somewhat simplified version of life, but you get it. What You need is a way to convince yourself and the service provider that there is a trusted relationship. I believe it starts with taking control of Who we are at the marketplace.

That is why we don't trust LBS; mobile search, advertising, commercials and glossy offers. When They start to take Me seriouusly and I have the control over my own location, data and needs; then we have a conversation!

The future of Internet is Exclusivity. And it's not their choice.

BTW most marketeers are idiots and they will until they start educating themselves on the reality.

tisdag, april 09, 2013

Ordered some smartphone

The world of commerce... you got to love it. I read an article of the Chinese Goophone, an iPhone copy (Swedish)running Android and the success it has selling globally. So I had to order one!

Went for a hunt and on DHgate I found one for $52 including shipping; sold!
Here it 12 days later.

Looking good?
Well, not really:- the Android version is unknown, the screen is reaaally bad, you can chose location on it but Sweden isn't listed though Hong Kong and Eastern Europe is. Wonder where they have their largest markets... It's basically crap but for that price...

Did I tell you it comes with a TV? Yup. And 12 inch pullout antenna too....

Why WifiSLAM can't solve The Apple Problem

I've read a few articles lately on the acquisition of WifiSLAM by Apple. For me it's a bittersweet event that I've been waiting for as I lead my previous startup Qubulus to the gates of the same company, presenting what still is the most beautiful API for indoor positioning based on Wifi radiomapping. As a bunch of people have pointed out -"it could have been You.."


Well, no. I came to realize shortly after the encounter with the Apple indoor tech team that a) radio wasn't their preference when it comes to indoor positioning accuracy b) they were not very good at what they were doing, only somewhat better than the competitors at Google and Sony(Ericsson).

A Swedish company, SenionLabs, was mentioned at the point in time to have conducted a demo at the exact same place as we picked and that there wasn't much of a difference in the user interface (ie the map) between the technologies. Which proves my point b, if you look at a map on a screen with demo scale, detail accuracy and best case a beta version of the tech and not under the hood... Then you are just like someone buying a car based on the color.
SenionLabs and WifiSLAM technologies are rather close in comparison but I'd say that it looks like the WifiSLAM architecture is way better on how to move from macro positioning (GSM/UMTS/etc) to local positioning (Wifi, BT) down to micro positioning by Sensors (Gyro, Acc, Magnetometer, Compass, light etc).
Which proves my a) statement, it was the use of sensors that they wanted, and bought.

Then I started to work on something new 14 months ago. I didn't believe anymore that Wifi would be the solution to ubiquitous smartphone positioning indoor, basically all players were making it extremely difficult to create a common solution. Apple turned off RSSI-readings for Wifi on iOS. Microsoft didn't even implement it on Windows mobile 7 or 8. The wild west behavior of producers of Android phones created a mess, Samsung created so many new models so fast they didn't implement Android and RSSI-reading in the same way throughout. No time for it. So you could say that the manufacturers killed Wifi as a good basis for indoor positioning, willingly or not.

What I started out with was the knowledge about the sensors in combination with all other components in a smartphone, how they "feel" the presence of RF-modules, battery charger, screen etc. I realized that in the existing structure that all smartphones are built; cramped, packed, overheating, antenna problem, huge screens pulling +50% of all power etcis killing the sensor performance.

So even if you have almost "learning" algorithms (I can talk for days about the misconception of self teaching algorithms...) as WifiSLAM and SenionLabs, you can't get them to perform over time.
Simply put, they are there in a smartphone to react to real time issues and are not in any way kept in a way to perform over time and distance.

Now, 14 months later we are running a full scale startup with product development, Ulocs, with a brilliant team that combines research of sensor performance with user interaction analysis. I won't tell you How we do It and What we Use in terms of Solutions but I will tell you some of our findings.

Finding no 1. From a sensor technology environment smartphones sucks. And iPhones suck the most. Because of their design Freakshow. What do You think will happen if you put the antenna as a frame around the whole package with maybe the most advanced screen technology in the middle pulling the battery power faster than anything on the market? Correct, sensor disaster.

Finding no 2. Everyone is using different internal architecture but sensors are on the lowest priority when it comes to internal resources, space and isolation. I bet the design process of a new platform goes like this:

- "Dudes, we need a Bigger screen!"
- "Yeah, let's get a bigger screen! Anyone got a science fiction battery to go with it??"
- "No but we will have when we go into production; let's roll! Throw in 4 CPUs, 5 radios, lot's of memory and a killer design based on a metal frame around the whole thing!"
- "Dude, that's is aaawsome!!"
- "Wait, I think we need sensors too...?"
- "Uuuh, that's right, well put them somewhere, I don't care..."

Finding no 3. Everyone is using filters to read the sensors so the output to services and functionalities based on the sensor real time input is stabilized. First we thought these filters were adaptive and "smart". Shows they are not. So the filters are not adapting to the usage of the other parts of the phones platforms; meaning: shit in - shit out.

I believe it's a kudos to the WifiSLAM team on this too that found this out +2,5 years ago. They started to read the raw data output from the phone and created their filters and analytical algorithms based on that. Still they had to pull the old binary map trick to get any kind of micro accuracy going so that proves their problem with basing some smart stuff on mistreated sensors sending raw data. And now it's Apples problem.

Basically, as long as you design a smartphone platform the way Apple is, you can't get any good accuracy based on sensors without binary maps. To get binary maps you need to have the indoor map of a facility that you want to provide your users with indoor positioning. So Apple have what we can see as pretty bad sensors, lousy architecture for sensors and a need for binary maps to pull it together.
Bad boy, you are going to get punished...

It still means that you have a huge advantage over radio mapping from Wifi. That takes a lot more work on site even if you get better accuracy. And anyone that suggests that installing beacons, well they are focused on office spaces and not public areas, malls, airports or any other commercial space because of the huge maintenance that brings.

If you really want to have great micro positioning based on sensors? Then I suggest you work out your filters and architecture. Who you wanna call? Ulocs.

Btw, based on knowledge about teams that get acquired by Apple when they have superior code over Apple; I'm 90% sure the WifiSLAM will end up in the dungeons under Infinity loop...