Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mobile World Congress: small tech players

Away from the major vendors and their glitzy corporate stands, Mobile World Congress is a great place to meet young and up-coming businesses with a mobile flavour. This brief post showcases the ones that most caught my eye.

blippAR (based in Holborn Circus, London) provide an augmented reality advertising platform that overlays rich content onto print content. The technology works really seamlessly from an iOS or Android application and has already been used by major brands like Cadbury, Tesco and Omega, but I reckon what will really make it take-off is native integration into the iOS and Android operating systems. That’s in the pipeline.

Siine (also London based) were marketing an improved keyboard experience for Android. This sounds like a small thing, but Siine’s combination of quick templates for commonly used words and general ease of use marks it out as one to watch. I also loved the idea of icons for brands embedded in the keyboard so that “Meet me at Costa at 1600” can be typed in three strokes. A revenue model in the making.

Of course, social networks were very much in evidence this year. Of them, I was most impressed by Lightbox (Shoreditch, London), which both beautifies camera-phone snaps with some clever colour presets and also presents them in a crisp, pinterest-alike fashion. Sort of like photo Twitter, with the added advantage of a photo-blog that mirrors the social feed.

Breaking my London theme, Oonair (Barcelona, Spain) provide a simple video message and sharing plugin that allows people to shop on eCommerce together. They’re already working with Zara and a number of tech retailers. I hope it’s more successful than SkyPE’s integration with eBay!

So, four very different businesses that show that innovation is alive and well in the mobile industry and in the UK.

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