Sunday, October 31, 2010

BPN 1449 Dutch messes up e-reader primer (1)

The rumour went around a whole week that the Dutch branch of would offer an e-reader plus 10 electronic books under 100 euro. Even the CEO of the Dutch branch, Mr Daniel Ropers, even got a free spot on Dutch public television to announce the primer. Not that it was really a real primer, as the German retailer Weltbild had started to advertise the e-reader Aluratek "Libre" (Unser erster eBook-Reader unter 100 Euro!) for 99,90 euro a few weeks before.

New of announcement was the offer. By buying 10 electronic books the buyer would receive a free e-reader, a Hiteker HDB-107, an Ambience e-reader. The offer followed the old paradigm of offering a free PC by buying a software suite. An exciting offer, one would say.

However the ICT department of fucked up the offer over the weekend. The ICT department could not produce the algorithm of 149, 95 euro for the e-reader less 50 euro for 10 electronic book is 99 euro. Instead over the weekend two different prices were shown to the potential buyer, one of 172, 86 euro and one of 222 euro. But nowhere the offer of 99 euro was available.

A telephone on Saturday morning to the service desk made already clear that there was a problem. In the menu the e-reader option was mentioned. Yes, the person at the service desk affirmed that there was a problem with the algorithm, but the department was working on it and in the afternoon clients would be able to order the e-reader and electronic books. A telephone call before the closing time of the service desk made clear that it would not be possible to order the reader and electronic books in the weekend. I was told that the ICT department did not work in the weekend, so that the mistake only could be corrected on Monday.

In short the Dutch branch of missed a complete weekend of orders for the e-reader and electronic books. It is unbelievable that could not call up a programmer in order to produce a simple algorithm deducting 50 euro from 149 euro.

1/11/2010: did get it right this morning. I ordered one as the price is now right!
The offer is 10 electronic books with an e-reader for free as present.

Have also a look at the sequel to the story.

BPN 1449

Sunday, October 24, 2010

BPN 1448 Postings from Brazil (5)

Looking back over the conference in Sao Paolo, I discovered a rather unique project. A telephone service translating SMS messages into MMS illustrated message in the form of sign language for the deaf. The system is being developed by the Tunisian laboratory of the University of Tunisia, the department of Informatics by a team led by Dr Mohammed Jemni.

The lab is working on sign language for the def already for 5 years and has input from more than 50 PhD students.

The lab handles many projects for the deaf, but significant are the project Websign and project MMSsign. These projects are in the mainstream of accessibility. For deaf people internet is hard to access. Sites are 56 percent in English, 7,7 percent in German, 5,6 percent in French and 5 percent in Japanese. As for sign language the percentage is not know, but what is known is the fact that 80 percent of deaf people lack education and hardly get into touch with internet. So the sign projects are not aimed at internet but on telephone.

Problem is that sign languages are not universal. There are 127 sign languages and dialects. So the lab has designed a translation engine, which translates textual messages to sign language using an avatar.

The lab uses an open source for the automatic translation. Text is translated via a dictionary construction to a message. A multilingual interface can be used to translate messages in various languages; an application which can also be useful for non-deaf people. Websign will soon move to internet.

MMS sign send a message to a telecom provider via a short number. At the provider the messages are made into video images through VRML in 3D. So the text messages become multimedia messages thanks to the avatar. So if you have an appointment with a deaf person and you can not make it in time, you can send a text to the effect to the provider. The deaf person gets the message on his smart phone and is alerted through vibration. An avatar appears and the makes the appropriate signs to convey the message.

It is a great application as such and even more as it is done in open source. The system can handle more sign languages. Upon the question whether the Tunesian lab could handle a Portuguese/English dictionary and build a MMS sign application for the Brazilian market, the project manager confirmed that that was possible and that he would like to talk about it.

Talking to the project manager I told him about the latest World Summit Award initiative, namely the World Summit Award mobile media and that he should have entered this application. It turned out that he had entered the application for the contest thanks to the WSA national expert Faouzi. Great work Faouzi. It might be a real candidate for the category mobile inclusion. We will see at the WSA mobile media awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

BPN 1448

BPN 1448 Postings from Brazil (4)

After the wrap-up meeting the time to flight started. I had made an appointment with Marcello, a friend and colleague of the World Summit Award. We had been in the first World Summit Award jury in Dubai in 2003 and were able to keep track of him through Facebook. So when the flights were fixed for Sao Paolo we made an appointment to meet each other after the conference was over. As I was a novice to Sao Paolo he proposed to have lunch and offered a few place. I opted for a traditional meat restaurant, as I associate Brazil with meat. An experience it was. You get to a table and you start with the salad bar. Of course be a novice in such a restaurant you heap too much salad on your plate, leaving less room for the various cuts. On your table you have also a token, which can be switched from red to green. Green indicates that the meat boys can pass by. Red means that you are filled up and do not want to see the meat boys any longer. Those meat boys pass by with a skewer of a special meat cut. Some six different meat cuts are presented to you and you get them offered as rare, medium and well done. It was a great experience; happily enough I will have to fast tomorrow in the plate and can compensate.

After the meat feast, Marcello brought me to the apartment of Cid. We had to cross through the whole city and that is fun, if you do not have to drive. If you have to, you will have to be careful with the many motorbikes that drive beside you putting their lives in danger.

Sao Paolo is an extensive city with more than 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, so it takes time to come from the one end to the other. From the airport to the hotel for example it is 36 kilometres and if you are lucky you see traffic jams at the other side of the road. Of course Sao Paolo being also famous for its crimes such as hold ups at gunpoint at the traffics lights, has stimulated the use of helicopters. So the major hotels like the Sheraton, but also businesses have helipads on top of the roof; daily helicopters land on it, so that a big boss or rich guy or girl can safely start his/her business meeting.

So Marcello dropped me off at Cid Torquato’s place. In fact Cid stopped right behind us. And Cid got to meet Marcello again after many years. They had been in the same school together. Marcello was a jury member in the first edition of the World Summit Award in Dubai in 2003, while Cid took over as a jury member in the second edition in Bahrain. It was an historic meeting. I think they said that they were going to meet again.

The apartment of Cid is situated in a beauty building. When you have been let in by the security guard, you  immediately get the feeling that it is a building by the French architect Corbusier. The timing is roughly right, but the architect was a Spaniard, but definitely a follower of Corbusier. The whole building breathes the mode of cocooning. There is a swimming pool; in fact it was the first one in an apartment building in Sao Paolo. The apartment building has a bar and a barman for the 140 families. There are more common rooms for the people living there.

But the top of the 19 stories building is marvellous. The view is great, although the skyline of Sao Paolo is not very interesting. But the top itself is a beauty with a garden, a plafond with holes in it through which you can se the sky. There are several cosy niches to sit and enjoy the view.

We had a nice get together in Cid’s bar, which is decorated on the corridor site with French lily symbols. And by ten it was time to say goodbye to Cid. I had expected a very emotional meeting up with Cid. And in the end it was an emotional meeting, but in the good sense. Cid met his soul mates of the World Summit Award again and after three years we could team up again with him and help him in the mission he has at present. Seeing the intensive way he has handled the preparations of this conference, I see him going to do even greater things as long as he is going to be assisted in his handicap. (BTW Being handicapped in South America is an expensive business; Cid’s favourite black humour expression is: Handicaps are for the rich!).

The farewell was intensive as we hope that we can work together with Cid again. Hopefully we see him around World Summit Award events.

BPN 1448

Saturday, October 23, 2010

BPN 1447 Postings from Brazil (3)

It is Saturday, but not a free day. There will be a wrap-up session to produce conclusions about the last two days. Dr Linamara, state secretary for persons with disabilities, and Cid Torquato were chairing the session. In the room there were many experts with diverse expertises. So there were not really competitive, unusable remarks, but very constructive and systematic observations.

The area for disabled people has to be placed in a large perspective. Legally the charity bit should be thrown out and people with a disability should come up for the right to be part of the inclusive (information) society. Disabled people should neither be looked at as medical problems. But in practice disabled people conquer their basic right. Besides they need to be helped by a feeding line which starts with research on one side and from the bottom up on the other. In between there are many stages and needed institutions. So it is a good idea to set up a centre of excellence for technology and innovation for disabled persons (CETID), which should be the choreographer of the feeding line. People working in this institution should have an overview of the feeding line, the institutes and services. But they also should regularly do a gap analysis in order to know the holes and black areas in the feeding line. Also more attention should be paid to the technology transfer, the knowledge transfer and especially the marketing transfer for newly developed products and services.

It was also suggested to hand out an award for best ideas, proposals and projects in the area on a regular basis. Of course at the World Summit Award we know all about this, the rules the guideline and the objective. CETID aims at having such an award in place next year with money awards in six categories.

Brazil will be the hotspot of the World Championship Soccer in 2012 and the Olympic Games in 2014. The disabled should make hay of these events and participate. I felt a sense of urgency in the room and it reminded me when I was in Cghina before the Olympic Games. There was this same urgency, although it ewas more technical by pleading for example for a very progressive translation system. But the urgency I felt in Brazil was different and more directed towards society.

In the end the people in the audience formed five groups to discuss two items they would put on the agenda and in the white paper Dr Linamara and Cid Toquato would publish by the end of the week.

Dr Linamara closed the session thanking everyone for their input. She had been impressed with the group of experts and their expertises. It was a unique group, who enthusiasm could help the CEDIT to make a lasting impression in Sao Paolo, but could also replicate its experience in South America and the rest of the world.

It was remarkable to see the group of experts CID Torquato had been able to gather around him. He knew them all and linked them all up to each other. It was a very successful meeting for an initiative that will last.

BPN 1447

Friday, October 22, 2010

BPN 1446 Postings from Brazil (2)

Today we will present the World Summit in the context of e-Inclusion and universal design. We will present with three people: Alexander Felsenberg from Germany, Luis German Lopes from Columbia and myself from the Netherlands. The Theme is World Summit Award – New International Paradigms of Accessibility and Usability. The introductory text in the brochure says: “In an international context entitled “Information Society” and known for the new media and innovations of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the digital and social inclusion must be promoted by recognising the creative use of digital and interactive media as to its content and diversity. In this sense, the discussion about the new accessibility and usability paradigms must occur internationally, involving all society sectors, like the World Summit Award, which will have its 2011 version dedicated to digital accessibility issues.”

The presentation went off well. We had produced a common presentation. Alexander profoundly went into the accessibility issue and Luis brought the finishing touch to the presentation. He brought in also a funny movie on liquid mounteneering or of people training to walk on water as a metaphore for working with accessibility. It was really funny to see guys running, negotiating a bend, stepping on the water in order to find themselves sinking in the water after four or five steps. One person in the audience complimented us with the presentation of 1,5 hours. It was a good thing that we did not have three separate presentations, but showed to be a team and kept the attention span longer.

The conference drew to close with a few more presentations, one of which was by a Tunesian professor who appeared to present a WSA mobile nominee with a MMS service for the deaf. I will dedicate a separate posting to the subject.

After the conference the speakers were invited for dinner in the restaurant Brooklyn. In this music restaurant the serving personnel also brought a show with songs from musical such as Cabaret. It was very professionally done. I kicked on the song Aquarius from the musical Hair and I was not the only one. A consultant was singing along as well, knowing all the words by hard and yes we were of the same generation. It was a nice close of the official part of the conference. Tomorrow we still have a wrap-up session to make an inventory of actions Sao Paolo should take in order to serve the disabled people better.

BPN 1446

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BPN 1445 Postings from Brazil (1)

Sao Paolo (Brazil) is a new destination in my travel book. For the first time I am flying to Brazil and for the first time I am in South America. It is a long flight to Sao Paolo, some eight hours. But with a computer to write articles on and an e-reader with a new Dutch language e-book on the hours slip away. It will also be an emotional meeting again with Cid Torquato, whom I have not seen since 2007.

I have been invited to speak on behalf of the World Summit Award at a conference on e-inclusion, especially disability, and innovation. In fact I will be there as part of a WSA team, consisting of Alexander Felsenberg of Germany, Luis German Lopes of Bolivia and myself. We will present together, having made a draft of the speech during a one and half hours conference call on Skype. It is remarkable how fast this works. By the end of the call we all went back to our individual desks and started to design our part of the presentation. As a result of that conference call associations came up and generated some nice examples.

It is a big conference. I guess that there are some 500 conference delegates and there is a large area for exhibition. The conference is professionally organised by the municipality of Sao Paolo. There is, in fact, a major Brazilian conference with another conference inside. Sao paolo is very active in the field of the disabled persons. The municipality is now setting up a Centre of Excellence in Technology and Innovation with the stress on disabled people (ETI-D). Some 4 million US Dollars have been awarded to the project. The people taking the initiative have high aims as they want to become the centre in South America and a well known centre in the rest of the world. An just looking at the list of experts present, there are many experts from abroad, especially from the USA.

It was good to see Cid on stage this morning and delivering a plea for including disabled people in the information society not out of charity, but as full partners in the information society. From what I have seen so far, he is a spin in the web, not only in Sao Paolo, but also in South and North America and an advocate for the rights of disabled people. He really know a lot of interesting and professional people.

BPN 1445

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BPN 1444 The close of Scienar (3)

The seminar was held in the monumental building of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science in Amsterdam. It was a small group of consortium partners and invited people from Italy, France, Slovakia, UK and The Netherlands. The seminar delegates received in their documentation The Scienar DVD, produced by Nicholas Mee of Virtual Image Publishing Ltd, with all the documentation and presentations of the two year Scienar project.

The presentations went according to schedule. It was a varied program ranging from an survey of science and art to a presentation about the essence of the Romanian sculptor Brancusi, a presentation of digital photography and two scientific presentations on mathematics and arts. A surprise presentation was one on the Baptisterium of Pisa. The seminar was closed with a digital music performance.

The historical overview of Dr Mauro Francaviglia can be reduced to three scenarios:
- Scenario 1: The Birth of Geometry at the time of Greeks: the role of proportions, the music of Kosmos, Platonic Solids, the Golden Mean.
- Scenario 2: The Role of Symmetry and Prospective in Renaissance: the birth of Perspective and Projective Geometry, Simmetry in Art, the beauty canons in Painting, Architecture and Music.
- Scenario 3: The New Mathematics and Art of XX Century: Curvature, Impressionism, Cubism, Fractalism, Motion and Fourth Dimension, Digital Art.

The presentation on digital photography was by Marcella Lorenzi. Her digital photography had started with a mistake she made making a photograph. These days she exhibits het photographs in Paris at a UNESCO exhibit and at Toronto. She consciously paint with her camera. Her statement about “Photography, and Digital Photography in particular, is uniquely capable of recording a space/time image. Yet to photograph a space/time image is quite complex. For example, the correct shutter speed to depict motion varies considerably depending on the motion of the subject and the artistic intentions of the photographer. In addition there are many other variables to movement. And to record this kind of imagery successfully, the photographer must have a tool that allows instant display of the imagery just taken so that adjustments can be made based on that feedback - which is the very powerful capability provided by Digital Photography.”

The digital music performance shook the Academy offices for half an hour as their floors are wooden floors. However it was an interesting performance. Leonello Tarabella had brought his own installation and connected this to an movie theatre amplifier. But standing between a type of beamer and a screen, on which for example a piano was projected. Then Mr Tarabella started to play the piano without touching a physical piano.

The whole seminar has been taped and filmed for a DVD production. Eventually the presentations in powerpoint and pdf as well as the filmed presentations will go online. One of the participants, Peter Heijens made his movie summary of the day and put it on YouTube.

Also Carek Kuitenbrouwer produced a movie on the Amsterdam SCIENAR seminar and specifically on the music performance by Leonello Tarabella.

BPN 1444

Friday, October 15, 2010

BPN 1443 The close of Scienar (2)

For the public meeting on Friday we had set up a program for the day.

9:30h Registration

9:45h Welcome by Dr Mauro Francaviglia, chairman
10:00h Dr Mauro Francaviglia, Universities of Calabria and Torino (Italy): Overview project SCIENAR
10.45h Gheorghe Samoila, ITC (Romania): Brancusi-A life quest for the essence

11:15h – 11:45h Coffee

11:45h – 12:30h Dr Marcella Lorenzi, University of Calabria: Mathematics, arts and photography

12:30h Lunch

14:00h – 14:30h Monika Kovacova, Slovak Technical University (Slovakia): webMathematica - on the border between Science and Art
14:30h – 15:00h Daniela Richtarikova Slovak Technical University (Slovakia): Captivating Symmetry
15:00h- 15:30h Leonello Tarabella, computerART Lab of Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell'Informazione Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy): The Baptisterium of Pisa

15:30 -15:45h Tea

15:45h – 16:15h Jak Boumans, Electronic Media Reporting (The Netherlands): Will the computer become the artist of the future
16:15h – 16:45h Leonello Tarabella, IST/CNR (Italy): Informatics and Music
16:45 – 17:00h formal closing of the project by Dr Mauro Francaviglia, chairman

17:00h Drinks

BPN 1443

Thursday, October 14, 2010

BPN 1442 The close of Scienar (1)

The EU project Scienar is about to end. By the November 2, 2010 the two-year project will come to a legal and administrative stop. For the occasion Amsterdam has been chosen to have the final consortium meeting. And as the consortium members will be there, it looked a good idea to tell the world about the results of the project.

Scienar was started up as an EU project in 2008. The project has been divised by dr Mauro Francaviglia for the scientific side and dr. Marcella Lorenzi for the artistic side. The project takes into account the links existing between Science and Art; it has used the innovative possibilities that new media and ICT offer for a better Visualization and Communication. Visualizing and Communicating theoretical achievements of present Culture is by no means simple; moreover, presenting them in an innovative way is a fascinating challenge dictated by new trends of Society. ICT allow us to explore and represent these fruitful relationships in a way unthinkable before.

All the consortium members were present. There were two representatives of the University of Calabria in Italy, two representatives of the Slovak Technical University in Slovakia, a representative of ITC in Romenia and a representative of the UK company Virtual Image and myself on behalf Electronic Media Reporting from the Netherlands. Today we have a closed meeting to talk through the last details of project administration, a look back at the project achievements and the future of the project. Project administration is dull, but it has to be done, filling out forms and excel sheets and account for the costs.

Looking back at the results is more interesting. The project started during November 2008. Since that time happenings have passed: the conference for mathematician, Aplimat 2009 and 2010 in Bratislava, where every year a special session was held on science and art. An exhibition was held in Bucharest (Romenia). And also an exhibition and conference was held in Cambridge (UK). Next week an exhibition will be held at the university of Calabria in Consenza/Rende (Italy). But in Amsterdam seminar, consortium members will report on their contribution in the project.

With this Amsterdam meeting the project is closed. But in principle the project Scienar is dead, long live Science and Art. So we discussed about the future and how the consortium would continue their co-operation. Easy points of reference are of course the Aplimat conferences in Bratislava (Slovakia). But on the other hand the consortium should be seen as a movement which promotes the study of science and art. So participation should not be limited to a few people, but open to other interested people, as we believe the study of science and art is interesting for teachers and students, artists and interested people. So the consortium will continue after the project to co-operate. An open site is foreseen.

BPN 1442

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BPN 1441 Dutch pension funds in FttH

Three Dutch pension funds (ABP, PGGM and PvVervoer) have set up the Communications Infrastructure Fund (CIF) in which they have invested some €1 billion. The purpose of the fund is to develop, over the next ten years or so, a national fibre network through a range of mergers and acquisitions of existing networks as well as new builds and network expansion commitments. This network will be made available to all players including the incumbent KPN and the principal cableco UPC and Ziggo.

CIF also aims to invest in antennae to be used by mobile network operators for their mobile broadband offers based on HSPA+ and LTE technologies. The move is astute, given recent developments in both the fixed-line and mobile markets.

A report from the Task Force Next Generation Networks to the government in mid-2010 recommended that 90% of Dutch homes and businesses have access to NGN broadband services by 2020. The report covered proposals for rolling out faster networks, and assessed ways by which average download speeds could be increased to between 75Mb/s and 400Mb/s by 2020, compared to 5Mb/s to 14 Mb/s currently.

Mobile broadband will have a more substantial role to play in pushing high-end data services to rural areas: the April 2010 auction for licences in the 2.6GHz band saw four licences awarded to the joint venture between Ziggo and UPC, Ziggo 4 (set up in December 2009 to deploy and run telecom and broadcast networks). This will allow the cablecos, which together have near national geographic coverage, to complement their existing bundled services (based on fixed-line access) with mobile voice and broadband offers.

KPN’s HSPA network is currently being upgraded to provide up to 21.6Mb/s, while Vodafone in July 2010 doubled download speeds on its HSPA network to 28.8Mb/s in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Tele2 NL in the same month announced plans to trial LTE in Diemen and Amsterdam (Tele2 also received four licences in the 2.6GHz frequency auction). All of these players would be able to make use of CIFs fibre-based mobile antennae as backhaul.

A main consideration for CIF is to provide a healthy return on investment for its clients. Real estate and most stocks have proved very volatile since late 2008, and there remain few safe havens for investors. The final cost of the project may reach up to €10 billion.

For more info see: Budde Blog

BTW In June the fibre connection was brought to the cupbord of our Almere apartment. But there is still no live connection. All this FttH effort has been going on in our neighbourhood since 2009.

BPN 1441

Saturday, October 09, 2010

BPN 1440 Finland trip 2010 (7)

On Friday night a farewell dinner was organised by Media Update. We sat around a fine dinner and looked back over the week. The organisers of the trip, Hans and Jak, were thanked and received Groninger gingerbread as a present. They had brought together a group of interesting Dutch multimedia lecturers. They all are working in multimedia education and come from Groningen (Noorderpoort College and Hanze Hogeschool), Utrecht (Hogeschool Utrecht, CMD) Amsterdam (Hogeschool Amsterdam, Interactive Media) and Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam. They also mixed with one another. And they also played jokes on one another like the guy offering to get coats for his colleagues from their hotel rooms as he was going upstairs. The next day the colleagues found out that their suits had been exchanged.

The weather was also beautiful for the whole week. For the lucky ones in the hotel who had a room with a view, they looked over the lake and part of the wood and had a view in the morning like the photograph. The hotel is built against a rock which is overgrown with trees, who were already showing their autumn colours. It was also remarkable that this solicited a lot of walks in the woods by the participants before and after the program. But they also walked to the city to shop for beautiful, but expensive Finnish goods, such as a winter coat and lady’s bags (no photographs shown!).

Interesting was the behaviour of some of the young lecturers. They were the whole day busy with their mobiles picking up messages and writing tweets. I had expected to see many iPads like I saw last time in New York, where every other youngster of the WSYA event had such a tablet. But sometimes the lecturers were in a meditative mood.

The program consisted of three parts: two days visits to educational institutes, one day academic lectures and a two conference. An evaluation will have to tell what the general feelings were about these three parts of the trip. But the delegates were also enterprising as they went amongst others to a presentation of Electronic Arts at the other side of town. There they were informed about all the new stuff in games and especially about the Wii and the micro strokes. And one of the lecturers got completely excited by the Galaxy tablet by Samsung. He said: Forget the iPad. The only real drawback was the price of 900+ euro in Finland and 750+ euro in The Netherlands. Some lecturers also went out to visit other schools outside Tampere such as in Turku for contact, students and lecturers exchange.

The social agenda wasnot filled but a number of parties were attended. On Wednesday night the Cloud Computing people had drinks together. On Thursday there was a reception at the Old Town hall in the center of Tampere. It is a beautiful old building with a great chandelier in the reception hall. Some of the lecturers extended the invitation of the Electronic Arts people and had a good time at their party.

On Saturday morning most of the group flew back to Holland. Some stayed behind in order to visit Helsinki or have talks with Finnish colleagues. Some went early to Helsinki to look around or do some shopping. Once back in Holland the Amsterdam people were home soon, but the Groninger people had still a long way to go by train.


BPN 1440

Friday, October 08, 2010

BPN 1439 Finland trip 2010 (6)

The second day of Mindtrek started with a view of the future. Latif Latid, the president of the IPv6 Forum, spoke in the plenary on the need to change the IP address from version 4 to version 6. He urged the Fins in the audience to press the politician to have IPv6 introduced.
His presentation was larded with historical details. IPv4 originated in 1983 and resulted in 1992 in The Web. In the meantime, from 1986-1995, the US Government and the US military pursued the OSI telecom standard. It was in 1992 that the US Congress approved the use of NSFNET (National Science Foundation) for commercial traffic. In 1993 the US Government moved to IPv6.
His conclusion is that Internet is loosing its original design and needs to change over to IPv6 fast. IPv4 is good to connect a quarter of the world to internet. Google scans only 17 percent of the present Internet. IPv6 can do the whole internet. IPv6 can connect the whole world. Besides, more than 50 billion of devices will be connected to the internet in the next 10 years.

After the plenary a choice could be made out of four tracks: social moving pictures; social machines; war stories and a workshop on designing social network games with soPlay heuristics. I chose for the social moving pictures. Tommi Pelkonen of Frantic Media in Helsinki has been in interactive marketing for years and has worked in The Netherlands and Hungary. He introduced the subject and the speakers. It is all about story telling. It is the oldest media format, while video is fairly new.

Tommi introduced Christian Fonnesbech an interactive media producer from Denmark. He has been in this trade since 10 years and has made interactive, cross-media productions for banks and other companies. I met him some 10 years ago when he had just left the movie industry for the interactive industry. Now he is creating big production. As promo for Mindtrek he wrote:

"Facebook is wonderful on a good day. Most of the time, however, the experience is like inviting your friends over to watch TV and discovering that there is nothing on. You sit around, trying to start conversations, chitchatting about the weather and making jokes.
But what if this is just the beginning? What if the Internet is destined to become a dramatic, narrative medium – just like other media? Books, Films, TV, and Console Games have all become storytelling media.
My presentation will show some of the cases and methods that have led us to the development of our online, storytelling format, including our global breakthrough from 2009, The Climate Mystery."

Christian Fonnesbech is a new kind of director. In over 30 different online projects, he has explored the Internet’s potential as a storytelling medium. Through various combinations of dramatic fiction and games, social networks, search, e-mails, mobile phones, webisodes, websites, teaching materials and more, Christian has gained unique insights into how to engage online audiences emotionally and interactively. He has worked with many different audiences, purposes and media formats. The Climate Mystery (2009) was a global breakthrough, developed in collaboration with partners such as Microsof and Discovery Channel.
Christian is Creative Director at the newly started The Quantum Room (TQR), a Copenhagen-based digital content studio, which has just become the first team in Denmark to receive Film financing for online fiction. Christian is a master of Film and Media Science. He has worked as a consultant for the Danish EU chairmanship, for a variety of film and TV companies, as well as for the MEDIA and IST programmes.

After the presentation of Christan Fonnesbech, Korash Sanjideh, managing director of chew tv network, took the floor and presented TELL US TV, connecting the UK's young people through social movie making.

In summer of 2010, The Chew TV Network was commissioned by the UK’s leading youth development agency, Creativity Culture in Education, to develop a nationwide social moviemaking experience that would see thousands of young people from all over the county be given the chance to let the UK government know what they thought about Culture and how it affected them.
The TELL US project is based on the premise that exposure to the arts and culture can transform the aspirations, attainment, skills and life chances of young people and over the course of 3 months, Chew TV developed a unique approach to capture the imaginations of thousands of young people through in a fun and exciting way.
From the development of the core brand messaging to the production of positioning movies to be used on the national tour, The Chew TV Network involved young people in every step of the production process to ensure that the content remained current and connected with young people on a level they understand and enjoy.


BPN 1439

BPN 1438 Finland trip 2010 (5)

It is Thursday and the conference Mindtrek starts. It is the largest multimedia conference in Finland and draws a lot of people. Looking into the halls I estimate that there are some 450 visitors. The conference starts with two plenary sessions, followed by four tracks. The conference day will be closed with another plenary session. In the evening there is a social program with a reception at the old town hall, followed by the Mindtrek party and the awards ceremony.

The first plenary sessions dealt with cloud computing and Yle, the Finnish broadcast company. The cloud computing presentation was a good presentation. At the end of the presentation I understood the breadth and the with of cloud computing and the potential effect. I understood that Amazon is the example of cloud computing. Around Christmas time they have to scale up in order to process all the orders; so they buy capacity and not servers. Dave Nielsen of Cloud Camp had a nice oneliner saying that data are like oil now. And he predicted that healthcare was a typical area for cloud computing.

The second plenary was an interesting subject, be it presented too slowly by Lauri Kivinen, the CEO of Yle. He started presenting the basic stats of Yle. It is a broadcasting company, which started in 1926, now serving 5.5 million Fins with 4 TV channels, 6 radio channels and the portal, but also with events, mobile and big screens. The company now also has on demand television and radio, but this is not very popular yet. Presently the company is restructuring itself and aiming at cross-media programs. On November 1 it launches a children’s series, using all the media available. Around that same time the company will launch a series with ten instalments on Rock ‘n Roll, presenting it on TV and radio and drawing heavily on archives. The objectives for the coming months are:
- few services, but richer content;
- network journalism;
- ubiquity;
- unlimited mobility;
- services for young adults are growing fast.
New to the broadcast business is the top of the broadcast pyramid. On the bottem are the direct broadcasts, in the middle the on demand programs and on top the social media with which the audience can share, link, mesh and participate.

The tracks were concerned with: new mobile ecosystem; cloud computing; Mindtrek launchpad and more academic sessions. I joined the new mobile ecosystem. Not that I could do much with the information, but you can hear what the companies are going to do next month. In the presentations the systems Android by Google, Symbian 1.3. by Nokia and the iOS by Apple. Google gives Android away for free in order to grab the market. Google gets 30,5 pct of the mobile world. As far as the future, the bet is on Symbian and Anadroid. The iPhone, also called Jezus’ phone, has less of than a Nokia. Real potential will have the Bada operating system. Remarkable was the presentation of Tomi Ahonen, an excentrix Fin, who proves that less iPOD has been sold. He states that Apple works with perception of market share rather than the actual figures.

In the evening there was the traditional reception in the monumental town hall in the center of Tampere. In the reception room there is a beautiful chandelier. After a speech the glasses were filled and finger food served. After the reception we negotiated the corner to the right and got to the disco Brix. There was the Mindtrek party: music, drinks and dancing till late in the night. There was also a reward ceremony of several contest. I was asked to be the representative for the World Summit Award Finland 2010 and the World Summit Award Mobile Media Finland 2010 and hand the certificates to the winners.


BPN 1438

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

BPN 1437 Finland trip 2010 (4)

, TAMKToday we do not have to rise so early as the Pre-Mindtrek activities start in the hotel. So no hastening in order to catch the Telitaksi. We can slowly take breakfast and go to pick up the Mindtrek badge.

The Pre-Mindtrek activities consist of two major tracks: Academic and Cloud Computing. The Cloud Computing stream is a full day session. The Academic track has five major streams: gaming, social media, open source, ambient media and user experience. I have chosen for social media. I would almost say of course, as we are in the country were social media was embodied first. Finland was in my book the first country to develop social media with the Habba-hotel, a social media site for kids. In 1999 it received a Europrix award and has had lots of success with licensing the concept.

The Academic sessions were really academic sessions: some presentations were very obligatory and just an excuse to come to Finland, but I also heard some interesting stuff. Early in the morning I was confronted with social media and public transport. Not exactly a line of research I would have thought about. Yet one of the first slides I remembered. It was about a metro exit where the staircase had been decorated with the keyboard of a piano. When piano music was played more people took the staircase than the escalators. But when I saw it first I did not see this as an exercise in social media. Now the researcher demonstrates with examples that public transport can do with an experience by using screens and mobile applications. It looks promising, but I guess that first many transport systems, like the Dutch smart card system, will have to be made more efficient before people experience public transport as a joy.

This presentation was followed by a presentation with a high igNobel Award level. The subject was users as sensors. It was a filmed presentation as the researchers were now based in Stanford temporarily. The long paper has as subject creating shared experiences in co-creational spaces by collective heart rate. That was really a mouthful for an experiment whereby members of the audience of an ice hockey event all received a device with which the heartbeat could be collected and totalled. Conclusion: whenever a goal is in the making the collective heart beat rate goes up. Of course.

In the afternoon I sat in on a session named In the face (book) of daily routine. Greek researchers had studied the use of Facebook by 60 students. Their conclusion: the students only use Facebook as a waste of their time. They want to be busy with Facebook, for then they do not have to be busy with something else. I have my doubts about this research. First of all the group is very onesided, only students. But I think that this group is online and using Facebook just in order to present themselves to peers and claim a place in the community. As such it is not a waste of time. Secondly the choice of a single group like students does not deliver interesting results. No attention was paid to Facebook and business. The researchers thought that LinkedIn was more apt for that. That is not my experience. LinkedIn is too restrictive with its premium messaging and putting up events. More can be done with Facebook. I hope that the Greek researchers can do another research project on Facebook.


BPN 1437.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

BPN 1436 Finland trip 2010 (3)

The second day of the Finland trip was a heavy one. We will move to Hervanta, a new town with a smart industry such as Nokia Lab, just half an hour outside Tampere. We went there with two small coaches.
9:00 – 10:00 Nokia Research Centre/Nokia Innovation Centre
The session at Nokia Innovation Centre concentrated on the way the company works on innovation. Political issues like the future of the mobile operating system Symbian and the new CEO are friendly avoided.
Nokia started research in electronics in 1977 and presented its first computers in 1992 with Mikko and Mikromikko. In 1991 the first digital GSM was launched. In 1992 the first portable phone Mobra Cityman was launched. Since 2007 Nokia looks at innovation as managing complexity. Since then research concentrated on four areas:
- Sensing & Data Intelligence;
- New User Interfaces;
- High performance mobileplatforms;
- Cognitive Radio.
In these areas research should deliver breakthroughs, cutting edge technologies and provide alternatives in unchartered territories such as 3D or mixed reality.
In order to reach innovation by co-creation. Nokia works together with universities in joint projects. It also receives public funding from the innovation agency Tekes and the European Union. In Tampere Nokia has a contract with local universities (TUT, UTA and TAMK). In this framework there are 16 professors involved and some 50 PhD researchers. Nokia offers collaborative meetings, discusses topics and uses the open call for proposals and grants. The lifecycle should have 5P’s as results:
- Publications
- Patent
- Publicity
- Prototypes
- Products

10:30 – 11:30 Tampere College, Hervanta: Qualification in Publishing and Printing (Hervanta)
- Study Programme in Layout Design
- Study Programme in Printing Technology
This department of Tampere College teaches students printing and lay-out design. It was for me like going back in time. Printing machines and even lead fonts! It was an ink sniffing occassion. In the same building the students have digital design using high tech computers; of course Apple, the symbol of the typographic community.

11:30-13:00 Lunch at Tampere College (in Finland lunched is served early). For the afternoon program we got into the small buses to go back to Finlayson in the center of Tampere.

14:00 New Factory: The collaborative innovation engine room
In Finlayson we went to Demola, the demo factory. Here students design solutions for products and services on request of companies. Presently it has delivered 30 products. The time from idetion till evaluation and follow-up lasts 3-8 months. This year a summercamp was held in which 9 problems were posed to teams to be solved. One product was a game, the Super Awesome Fighters, created with tools from Nokia. The licenses to the game stay with the originator and will deliver some money.

14:30 University of Tampere Department of Information Studies and Interactive Media (at Demola)
This year Tampere has a new university institute, named INFIM. It is a merger of Hypermedia Lab, the baby of Jarmo Vittelli from 1998, and the Department of Information Studies. It now has 70 employees and 6 professors. The new institute teaches Information Studies and Interactive studies.

15:00 Creative Tampere and HUB Tampere
Tampere has been an active municipality in the digital world. It has had a program e-Tampere, I guess since 1998 or perhaps even earlier. Now the program is named Creative Tampere. It is oriented towards attracting creative industry. The municipality puts 7,4 million euro in the program. Support from Tampere institutions and companies should bring the total to 40 million euro, while the total revenue out of this effort should be 100 million euro. One of the activities supported by Creative Tampere is the HUB. This is a community which wants to be the center of social innovation. The HUB has 2 to 3 events a week such as salad events, speeddating by companies and dinners. The visit to the HUB started with changing shoes for houseshoes, sold by one of the HUB members.

Late in the evening a group of Dutch delegates went for dinner and climbed over the rocky hill, against which Scandic Hotel Rosendahl has been built. It was a good choice of restaurant.


BPN 1436

Monday, October 04, 2010

BPN 1435 Finland trip 2010 (2)

The Media Update delegation started the first leg of the program on Monday morning. First visit on the program:
9:00 – 10:00 Tampere College, Pyynikki, vocational Qualification in Audiovisual Communication
- Study Programme in Audiovisual Communication.
This vocational college train boys and girls for the audio-visual industry. The training lasts 3 years and has 20 students in every year, in total 60 students. They follow 32 lessons a week and have 8 hours of homework. A normal college day lasts from 8 till 4 o’clock. The gender balance is 50/50 per cent. The students becomes mostly all round AV assistants.The college exists 14 years and has produced amongst others in 2005 the World Skills games in Helsinki.
We noted, that the college was well equiped with AV material and has a strict selection procedure. The initial applications of 80 candidates has to wittled down to 20. The diploma’s are checked, there are tests bringing the number down to 40 and by new tests and an admission interview the 20 students are selected.

10:30 – 12:00 Proacademy and Voimala, Finlayson;
The visit to the Proacademy was fascinating. I have been at the Proacademy in 2007 when it still cohabitated with the TAMK School of Arts, Media and Music. Now the Proacademy has a floor of its own in a factory building in Finlayson. The Proacademinas study for a BBA degree in entrepreneurship. The story about its origin sounds biblical:
“The story of the Proacademians began over ten years ago. Some restless nomads in tampere had a nose for business but there didn’t seem to be any place where they could test their ideas in practice. They sent scouts around in Finland to look for new radical solutions. Many scouts returned without nothing. However, one scout returned from a little town called Jyvaskyla telling stories about a tribe that learned via action and dialogue. These Teamacademicians had an elder with vision of taking the tribe around the world and learning in the process. The scout’s stories inspired two elders in tampere to change their ways of teaching the young and Proacademian tribe was born.”
One of the students presented the working of the Postacademy. At the Proacademy university students work 2,5 years in a team and learns business and marketing. They are evaluated ny their fellow team members and by coaches. All the teams aim at getting a turnover; but the Proacademy is not money oriented.

12:00h Lunch in Ziberia

13:00 – 15:00 Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), School of Art Media and Music;%20
After lunch we went to the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), School of Art Media and Music (new name). This is the school of our guides Sohvi and Cai. Funny enough they did not take the floor to tell about the school itself. But they had a student present a students initiative: Score. It is a community of students interested in game development and gamers. The community is student oriented; teachers cooperate.Score started three years ago with 20 members and has today 80 members. They arrange lectures, workshops and trips. TAMK offers space and resources such as licenses for game projects. So far they have developed their own games such as Overboard, Number game, Poltergeist and Overtower. Some rights have been sold amongst others to Microsoft. Since the summer 2010 the community organized itself into a co-operative with 20 members.
Sohvi showed also one of their famous movies: The Electrician ( This is a surrealistic movies about an electrician, who loses his job as the electrician of the electric chair.
A guided tour through the building from the ground to the fifth floor drew quite some oh's and ah's about the equipment and the space available.


BPN 1435

Sunday, October 03, 2010

BPN 1434 Finland trip 2010 (1)

Today we are off with a group of 16 people in total, people working in education. My business mate Hans Sleurink of Media Update and I have organised this trip with the help of Cai Melakoski, the international contact person of the Tampere University of Applied Science school of Art, Media and Music. We will stay in Tampere for a week.

The flight to Tampere did not go without problems. Hans had problems to reach Schiphol Airport in time as the Dutch railways had an electricity problem. He barely could drop off his luggage in time. One of the delegates had problems with his passport and had to take a later flight. Having arrived in Tampere the luggage of Hans had not come with our flight. So a form had to be filled out. Later that night, though, the luggage was delivered to the hotel by Finnair Airlines.

We booked rooms in the Scandic Hotel Rosendahl, a conference hotel in the middle of the woods and on the border of a big lake. It is great to have a room with a lake view.

The first two days the group will visit educational institutes, while the last three days the group will attend the multimedia conference Mindtrek. There are a lot of themes in the conference, in fact too much to take in. But it is nice to pick up trends here. In the next days I will report on the visits and the conference lectures and I understand that the instructors of the Noorderpoort College have promised to blog on this trip also.


BPN 1434