Friday, July 13, 2007


BBC health articles on WAP

Convergence technology is getting a boost. BBC is now on the WAP mode. One can access popular health articles using one’s mobile through the WAP service of BBC. This is an opportunity for pharma and healthcare marketers too. The mobile enabled service can serve to connect with prospects and customers.

Imagine on Chocolate Day (7.7.2007) one can offer articles on the benefits of aphrodisiac chocolate through the WAP service. And these can be supported by simple ads of nutritional supplements with proven sex-rejuvenation qualities.

Now the obvious question is who will adopt the WAP service? The likelihood is of travelers waiting at airport lounges, railway and bus platforms, people caught in traffic jams… accessing the WAP service is more. However, let us not forget that there are competing media available at these points: for eg. the FM radio in the car, lounge TV broadcasts… Nevertheless, the WAP service is more personalized and interactive. The person accessing the service is in-control of accessing information on the media. This control and customer empowerment matters too.

The challenge ahead is increasing the adoption rates of BBC’s WAP service innovation. If the mobile phone medium offers more opportunities for communication with potential customers, then the success of this new marketing medium (wap) through the mobile phone also depends on the adoption rates of the WAP service.

What is WAP?

WAP (wireless application protocol) is an open international standard for applications that use wireless communication. Its principal application is to enable access to the Internet from a mobile phone or PDA.

A WAP browser is to provide all of the basic services of a computer based web browser but simplified to operate within the restrictions of a mobile phone. WAP is now the protocol used for the majority of the world's mobile internet sites, known as WAP sites. The Japanese i-mode system is currently the only other major competing wireless data protocol.

Mobile internet sites, or WAP sites, are websites written in, or dynamically converted to, WML (Wireless Markup Language) and accessed via the WAP browser.

Era of the mobile TV

The dawn of a handheld device (like the mobile phone) with rich TV viewing experiences is possible in the near future, for the mass market. According to Accenture and IDC estimates, the mobile TV market value will be worth $30 billion by 2009. The Digital video broadcasting-handheld, or DVB-H technology, promises to make high quality TV viewing through the mobile or handheld devices, a mass market. Adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in December 2004 as the mobile TV broadcasting standard for Europe, DVB-H is a terrestrial digital TV standard that allows mobile phones and handheld computers to receive TV broadcasting over a digital TV network without using mobile phone networks. With the DVB- H technology live video streaming is possible for unlimited users. Overall momentum is building fast for adopting the DVB – H technology worldwide and is a promising emerging technology.

With the dawn of DVB – H enabled mobile TV; a new vista opens up for Pharma and healthcare marketing – communication activity. One can get hold of prospects and customers even when they are on the go. Communication on health issues will not just be to a living room audience through the immobile TV.

Let us see and observe how the video streaming improvements lead to new dimensions of Pharma and healthcare marketing. (It is interesting to note that the recent Live Earth conference has attracted more online video streaming than audience through the TV channels. CLICK HERE. This indicates the trend towards newer forms of digital and electronic media).

The Mobile phone, persuasive technology and Pharma-marketing

Fogg of the Stanford University has an interesting career - he studies persuasive technology. Fogg, who directs the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, says that in a decade, mobile phones and other portable devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs) will become a more important platform for persuasion than television is right now. He cites the following reasons for his outlook:

Ø Mobile phones travel with us all the time. "It has to be a device you can carry with you without inconveniencing yourself—something like a laptop is portable, but not mobile," Fogg explains. "You can't really carry your laptop with you anywhere, whereas a mobile phone - you can put it in your pocket and forget it's there."

Ø Mobile phones like various persuasive media are interactive. Fogg says, any device has to be interactive to be able to persuade. It is desirable for the gadget to connect with the Internet, he says.

"Because mobile devices are with us all the time, it's such a tight relationship that it's very much like a marriage," Fogg says. "In fact, you probably spend more time with your mobile phone than with your marriage partner."

The scope of the mobile is not limited to persuasive marketing communication: Mobile persuasion "is not just about ads on mobile phones," Fogg says. "It touches many fields, from marketing and advertising to health, to education, personal coaching and so on. In fact, the uses for health are probably the most interesting right now." Applications include weight loss and safer sex practices.

myFoodPhone and SexINFO have adopted the mobile phone for persuasive communication. The former messages on nutritious eating habits, while the latter counsels, and messages, on safe sex practices.

There is enough and more scope for Pharma and Healthcare marketing through mobile persuasion. Pharma companies can use the persuasive mobile technology for sponsoring-

Ø Immunization schedule reminders to enlisted subscribers,
Ø Provide timely reminders for taking doses of medications and remind about the annual or other time-period bound check ups
Ø Doctors can use the mobile to provide reminders about taking appointments; one can
Ø Provide a nutritional supplement advisory service for eg. if the sms typed by the questioner is STRESS, the reply can be Ashvagandha Himalaya from the message sponsor
Ø Can provide updates on side effects and dosage schedules for medications through voice mail or sms or e-mails
Ø Emergency healthcare advisory services

From the above details it appears the mobile phone is in for a very interesting and influential future. CLIK SNAPS – LISTEN TO MUSIC – BROWSE – TALK – SMS- MMS – SHARE INFO AND PICTURES – MOBILE BLOGGING – WATCH VIDEO…it is all about connectivity. The hi-touch and hi-tech approach never fails…Google is also about connecting people and minds, and not just about organizing information (as they say). Mobile phones too fall in to this class of devices connecting people. (I wonder how Google is planning to address this mobile phone enabled persuasion and connecting technology.).

This is my 37th post, and I recommend my esteemed readers to read all the other posts too as they are very interesting. Ph.: 9980800023. Posted from my sister's house on Friday the 13th, July, 2007 at 8.00 PM IST.

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