Tesco create a QR code enabled "subway" m-commerce store

We have all had that moment of being stood in front of a set of train doors, or on a platform, or in line for the bus where rather than checking Facebook for the umpteenth time on our phones, we wish we could be doing something a little more productive. That insight, mixed with market intelligence is what led Tesco in Korea - to create a "Subway store".

Using billboard posters, emulating the shopping experience of walking down a supermarket aisle they have created a store that can be shopped using QR codes, scanned from your smart-phone. We have seen an explosion in QR codes in the publishing and events space, from delivering additional content from Wired to getting scannable tickets at the cinema, but few have made them successfully implement in the UK in the shopping environment, mostly due to the slower adoption of smart phones.

This seems like the obvious next step for QR codes and mobile commerce, the technology is now there and consumer adoption is growning - but will it take one of the bigger players - Tesco maybe - to bring it to the mums and the masses?

Over to you:

Have you actually bought something as a result of scanning a QR code?

How much do you shop by mobile?

Presence v. Participation

One of the interesting aspects of last weeks LikeMinds conference was the phenomenon that I have experienced in a few good conferences (I use that term carefully), that when the most interesting stuff was being said on stage the twitter stream died of... Interesting I think to myself. The #LikeMinds boys!

It's not that the #tag went completely silent, but you could certainly see and feel a dip in it's momentum. It seemed for a second that the fact that someone had got up on stage to share something with us in the room that was truly interesting, people began to opt for being present where they were, rather than participating (or for some broadcasting their pithy comments) in the conversation on Twitter.

You may now be sat thinking - yes James, this is plainly obvious, why waste your time telling us this. Well you may be right, when we are presented with something really interesting, mixed with the social etiquette of a person on a state, sure we pay attention. But what about at home watching a movie, or at the dinner table in a restaurant or in a lecture? Do you find yourself, your partner or your friends checking Twitter, Facebook or reading the football scores? Or maybe your fingers wander to that level of Angry Birds that was giving you trouble in the tube home?

The thing is, I know this is my experience. For all that I love about these technologies, for all the connectedness they bring, I also find a constant struggle against what has just become the norm, the battle to remain present where I am, with who I spend my time with. It's not easy when these things become so engrained in our way of life. As my friend Jeff Pulver often says "social media is like air" it's becoming just the way many of us (not all I know) live our lives.

But in the same way that many of us found at LikeMinds and as I find my wife Constantly reminds me (as I in turn remind her) that there will always be down time to tweet, blog and post - but the moments of true connectedness are found when we meet, visit and worship together, and right there in those moments by our very presence we are participating, writing new lines of living code into His great tapestry.

At the start of this new week let's give it a go. Being present, participate with what you find in front of you. Practice being present.

Learning to be alone

When was the last time that you were alone? I mean truly alone. Not on the way to work, or in Starbucks before a meeting or even on the toilet. When were you last truly cut off, intentionally - seperate? We have never been so connected, so immersed, so attached as we find ourselves today. We sit in on the tube idly fiddling with iPhones and Blackberry's. I find myself constantly connected via twitter of facebook or foursquare to my extended network.

The truth is that it's very rare for us to be alone any more.  Which get's me wondering if that's ok or not? I think maybe not - which may seem odd coming from me. My job is getting people to talk more, to share, to connect. Even here, writing this now I have email open, tweetdeck, the TV on in the background and my iPhone in my pocket.

Introspection

I think by never truly being alone, we find ourselves missing out on something truly key to who we are - introspection. Seeing who God has made us to be, who we are becoming, or worse striving to become like. I think we fear that element of looking at ourselves in case we don't like what we see when we go there - but we must.

Jesus called us to 'be still and know that I am God' - That is pretty tricky to do with all these distractions, so I have a challenge for you - find some time this week to be alone. Take a look at where you have come from, where you are going and where you are - because it's in that place of alone-ness that we see how valuable our connectedness really is.

*Thanks to @flowerdust for her post "Do You Feel Lonely?" - which prompted this Lamentation*
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The Review: Griffin Elan Sleeve, iPad Case

The Review: Coming Soon - Email thereview@jamespoulter.co.uk In the delirium of buying my iPad, I (like many other happy campers) flocked to the altar of Apple for a case to protect my new "Magical" product. Which was not an entirely bad idea. The Apple made iPad case is not all that bad. It's simple, does what it says on the tin. However one word that cannot be assigned to it is "inconspicuous" - mainly due to the big old Apple logo whacked on the front. This means, that if you are like me and don't fancy getting your last pay cheque nicked on the tube or bus, you will need to carry the iPad in a bag or cover - AKA - Not Practical.

So enter a more luxurious and professional (and discreet) alternative - The Griffin Elan Sleeve

The Griffin case is very well put together, making Faux leather actually look quite good, which is hard to do. It uses a sliding mechanism built into the security strap allowing you to give a gentle tug on the strap and it will lift the iPad out of the case, which from there  you can slide it out quite easily.

There are obviously a few trade offs that you have to accept when using a Sleeve style case - the main one being, that whenever you take the iPad out of the case to use it, it is instantly unprotected from drops or scratches, however the case feels fairly well padded so when the iPad is in the case it feels fairly well looked after.

All in all, one of the better cases in this area that I have seen, and for £25 one of the best value for money!

Here are some of my own shots of the case:

(Disclosure: Thanks to @griffintech and the guys at Beam Agency for sending me the case to review, along with some other lovely Griffin tech which will be here on The Review soon!)

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The paid content debate: Freemium Contiues

Guardian iPhone App This morning sees the launch of the new iPhone version of a national newspaper, in the form of The Guardian iPhone App. This like many others on the market (New York Times for e.g.) offers readers the opportunity to browse, swipe, tap and toggle their way through the papers content in a finger friendly iPhone version. However this is one fundamental difference here, the price tag. £2.39 to be precise. As Tech Editor @charlesarthur mentioned this morning, about the same price as a Tall Starbucks Latte, but representing a very clear stance on behalf of The Guardian in their approach to online content.

The Guardian famously was one of the first nationals to attempt a paid content model back in the early part of the decade for their web portal, which was later abandoned after little take up of the service, so it will be interesting to see how readers react to the penny-gap challenge now placed before them.

The app in itself, built by Salford based mobile marketing agency 2ergo (Client), takes the platform a few steps further than previous apps of this kind, particularly in the form of downloadable content, podcast streaming and tag browsing, through a very neat hover window style, much akin to the quickly spreading raft of Adobe Air applications such as TweetDeck or Spotify.

The ability to favorite both sections, as well as individual pieces of content also adds a nice touch to the browsing experience, and instant access to Galleries, making full use of the Photo Browser iPhone API, makes scrolling through pictures a very pleasurable experience.

All in all a well thought out and executed app, with content from a reputable source, who seem to have spent the proper amount of time that is needed to create the user experience that readers have come to expect of big budget applications, however it remains to be seen whether the price tag will be a stumbling block.

For those users who do not wish to part with the modest sum of a couple of quid, the mobile web portal of the paper continues to provide adequate access to content, but for the superior experience, the app seems the way to go, further solidifying the viability of the "freemium" model that seems to be sweeping the online content world. (More on Freemium here: http://wp.me/pl46h-31)

Personally,  in favour of being able to finish reading Charlie Brooker before being plunged into the dark-3G-deadzone of South Clapham, I'll skip the extra latte.

2ergo PLC are a Client of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, London, for whom I work, however all opinions of this or any other 2ergo App are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of  2ergo PLC, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide or The Ogilvy Group.

Vouchacha - A recession beating iPhone App!

Location Based Food Vouchers for your iPhone - VouChaCha The voucher code trend has taken London by storm in recent months, anyone who is anyone seems to have used at least 3 Pizza Express vouchers for 2-4-1 pizzas in recent months, let alone the likes of Strada, La Tasca and many other chain, not quite fast food franchisees to boot.

A second trend has been the massive uptake of the wonderful iPhone (of which, yes i am a proud and addicted owner) and the massive expansion of the app store serving every mobile based pleasure you can get your grubby little mitts on.

So what happens when you take the magic equasion of food voucher codes + location based iPhone tech? The Answer: VouChaCha!

A friend of mine who has been working on the back end of this for a couple of months now, and they are near to a BETA version which you can go and take a look at here.

In their own words "VouChaCha instantly delivers vouchers that you can use, wherever you are... Direct to you mobile phone." - Brilliant for techno-foodies like myself.

A few others exist in the market place, but seem to have crappy interfaces ("London Offers & Vouchers") and as such are poorly rated, but this looks like it will be much better - at least sleeker.

Yes this may seem like a blatant plug (you can pay me later Alan) but it's not - I genuinely think this is brilliant, so go sign up for the BETA test email and you can stay tuned because this really looks cracking!