We've found a good WAP idea!
And of course some crap ones too
We like Ed Dale and Pablo Campillos - director and European development bloke of mIQ respectively. Why? Because they have the same perspective of WAP as we do. Meeting up to discuss their sport-stats-on-WAP plan, the first few minutes was spent joyfully poking fun at the one million and one stupid ideas that have been spewed out in the name of WAP (fashion advice, coffee discounts etc etc and so on).
Others things we agree upon: stay out of the consumer's face - provide a service and let the big boys sell it to average Joe; make some money - mIQ claims it's actually in the black (that means making more than you spend); don't make ill-informed comments about where an unpredictable market will go; work with companies rather than use them as excuses when your business plan goes down the toilet; don't lie.
So what is it doing?
mIQ set up a sports stats system in Australia five years ago to cover Aussie rules, football etc and now itsmoving it to wireless apps (your WAP, your Palm) for folk in the UK. The tag is that it'll be up and running for Euro 2000.
How's it work?
Four blokes sit and watch a match. For 30 a game, they call out and record everything that happens (by taping details into a homemade Palm application). This information is fed through a big ole database and a multitude of stats are pumped out the other end.
Then either you and your WAP phone or an interested party (sport Web site, TV programme etc) picks up this info and gets all obsessive and figure-crazed. That's not it though - you can also click through to get current betting
odds and have a flutter if you so wish.
Talk me through it
Okay, you register with mIQ either over the phone or through its Web site. You give them your credit card details if you plan to bet. They give you a pin number. Connect to their site (the PR has promised us the Euro 2000 address - we'll put it here when we get it). Select the sport. Select the match. Then you can select team stats or player stats (completed passes, possession, that sort of thing).
If you want to bet, click the bet button. Enter amount, get told what you stand to gain/lose, click again, receive email with details on.
Why not put bets on your phone bill, cutting out the credit card thing?
The network operators don't want it (at the mo anyway). Not a problem if they change their mind, say the boys.
You say they're making money? How?
Content provision of course. Nice little addition to a site is a stats screen. Also advertising, sponsorship, charging for SMS tips on matches.
There's even a decent idea for the positioning-based commerce stuff everyone is going on about. If you're standing at Trent Bridge, they'll know and so a shortcut to the game going on can be put right at the front of the menu.
Nice. Anything else?
Yeah - the system still has teething troubles. Ed's mobile would keep crashing at a certain point. Could be mIQ's gateway, could not. Also, while the Aussies and Yanks are stat crazy, is the same true for Britain? Probably - sports fans are sports fans. We can see when they cover the Premiership next year.
We also like the poor-quality, cheesy PR photos of Ed and Pablo. Low in colour and resolution, high in genuine grins.
And those other crappy WAP ideas you promised?
Actually, only one, but it's a corker. Nokia plans to bring interactive games to WAP phones. Adventure games, quizzes, chess - all available on a tiny, rubbish screen for the cost of a phone call. That's right, you will "reach new levels of excitement", you will "be able to enjoy the thrilling, interactive entertainment of globally networked gaming wherever you are".
Balls. You'll play a tedious game of Tetris and it'll cost you a fiver. Back to the drawing board.
Other WAP-based announcements: CMP Media has launched a new mobile commerce expo in New York. It'll be in October and then next June and gives more idiots the chance to sell their daft ideas. They've been beaten to it though by an "l-commerce" (we thought it was "p-commerce") conference held last week in Washington. It was held in the Watergate Hotel. Nuff said. ®