Create the Future. Today

Benjys Delivered is a service that definitely delivers: it’s a fast growing ‘mobile pop up’ business owned by Benjys, one of the biggest sandwich retailers in the UK. Fully equipped vans unfurl into actual sandwich and coffee shops, delivering sandwiches, salads, hot pies, snacks and bean-to-cup speciality coffees to hungry office workers in food and beverage challenged business parks. Nationwide opportunities are available for potential ‘vanchisees’ in the UK. At a franchise fee of GBP 15,000 (USD 27,665/EUR 22,070) per franchise, more than 114 new vanchisees took to the road last year, and there are now five permanent hubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Portsmouth.

Opportunities

We’re spotting more and more mobile concepts bringing previously unheard of levels of quality, freshness and variety straight to consumers and office workers, from coffee, fruit juices and sandwiches, to piping hot pizza and even the latest fashion. Now that the technology is here, and creative thinking can be turned into relevant pop-up services, there’s no excuse for you not to hit the road, whether you’re in Sao Paulo or Sydney, and be where your customers actually want you to be. Update: Unfortunately, Benjys has gone into administration. From an article in the Telegraph (dated 6 February 2007): “Benjys had a turnover last year of £33m and had ambitions to open 250 stores. However, its 65 outlets were hit by increased competition and mounting debts.” We still like the concept, though! How nice that the ENTIRE world is now not only watching Reality TV, but also contributing to the endless stream of format innovations. Point in case: M-Net, South Africa’s premier movie and entertainment network, recently combined hot tech applications with reality TV to create an inventive hyper-multimedia approach to consumer-created entertainment. Or in plain speak: the world’s first Reality TV in a Booth! Launched in February 2004, B on M-Net was the first incarnation of M-Net’s idea to combine cell phone-activated TV cameras, the SMS platform, a dedicated interactive website, and an entertainment twist on POPUP RETAIL and GRAVANITY trends to produce reality TV content. Unlike most reality shows, no application process or contest was used to screen B on M-Net hopefuls. Remote mobile studios popped up in shopping malls, and anyone was welcome to step inside and “do their thing” for a chance at instant stardom. Special technology allowed entrants to dial a number from their cell phone to activate the TV cameras, and then a live M-Net director remotely guided them through the process of recording their clip on the spot. Choices in clip themes included “Dare 4 A Dream” (entrants performed a dare for the chance to have a friend’s lifelong dream fulfilled), “UB Da VJ” (introducing and dedicating a music video), and “Leap Year Wedding Proposal” (best proposal wins an all-expenses-paid wedding). The best – and worst – clips were selected by the show’s staff for broadcast on a dedicated B on M-Net channel. Entrants whose clips were chosen received notifications via SMS, and the audience voted via SMS and the show’s website on the ultimate winners. M-Net moved fast to capitalize on the success of the first show. B on GO launched in June, uses the same unique production model, and is a more refined version of B on M-Net. Stats from the first show identified the youth demo as the primary market, so M-Net discontinued the dedicated channel and now airs the broadcasts on their existing youth channel, GO. Popular B on M-Net entrants have been tapped for B on GO hosting duties, and the clip themes have been expanded to include categories like “R U a Babe”, “R U a Hunk”, and “Celebrity Q&A” (Source: TrendCentral). 5 half-hour themed episodes are broadcast daily, and the website now includes expanded content and interactive capabilities. Repeat after Springwise: There’s nothing a human being won’t do to claim his or her 15 minutes of fame.

Opportunities

There’s two things we like about Reality TV: it’s GRAVANITY fueled (and thus about making billions, not millions), and the number of formats seems infinite. Spotting or introducing the successful ones is key, and in this global economy, it pays to keep an eye out for ideas outside the usual suspects (UK, Holland (Endemol), US). So if you’re not in South Africa, but you ARE in media: grab B on GO’s idea and run with it! From major TV Networks to big corps looking to spice up their marketing activities, bringing Reality TV or Reality PC to the masses is a no-brainer. Email your colleagues or buddies in Joburg or Capetown, study TRENDWATCHING.COM’s GRAVANITY, POP-UP RETAIL and GENERATION C trends, and you’re good to go! MyFoodPhone and Nutrax are LIFE CACHING based diet services: with their cameraphones, users take pictures of everything they eat, and send them to their own Registered Dietician. Once a week, on a personalized web page where customers keep track of their weight and other biometric information, they’ll get video feedback from their dietician, who analyzes their nutritional intake and advises them on how to modify their eating habits. MyFoodPhone charges customers about USD 99 (EUR 79/GBP 53.70) a month for the service, while Nutrax offers a few cheaper options. In their own words: “Much more fun – and motivating – than pen and paper food journaling!”

Opportunities

Cameraphones are ubiquitous and inseparable now, picture quality is increasingly outstanding (2MP is fast becoming the standard in Europe, while in Asia, 5MP is widespread), and subsequently consumers are getting used to taking pictures of everything and anything, all the time. All of this is a golden opportunity for you to dream up services involving experts helping consumers make the best of something based on the instant pics (or audio, or video; there’s little that modern cell phones can’t capture) they’re submitting: think fashion, think medical, think diets, think DIY… Definitely warrants a brain storming session with your more mobile-oriented friends or colleagues! GENERATION C. LIFE CACHING. If hearing about these trends yet AGAIN makes you groan, then don’t read any further. And if you’ve had your share of cell phone ideas, stop right here. For everybody else: Canadian ComVu has created PocketCaster, the world’s first live video broadcasting solution from mobile devices to global audiences. Which means that with the push of a button on a cameraphone, bloggers, consumers, citizen reporters, and corporate professionals can broadcast live events to their communities, or friends and family. The key here is ‘live’: this is not moblogging (uploading videos for all to download), this is streaming video, i.e. turning consumers’ cameraphones into TV style live broadcasting tools. How it works: upon launching ComVu’s PocketCaster software, a connection is made between the user’s mobile device and the (patent pending) ComVu Video Manager. Before starting the webcast, a link to the live transmission is sent to the selected audience by group notification via sms/text, IM and email. Audiences, big or small, can then ‘tune in’ to the broadcast via their web browsers. Costs: after the beta phase, which is free to users, a basic level of webcasting will remain free, while some enhanced features – including more bandwidth – will be charged for on a monthly basis.

Opportunities

ComVu is catering to an interesting new market, inspired by initiatives such as Scoopt, the citizen journalists’ photo service. In their own words: “it’s only a matter of time before all newspapers and broadcasters will seamlessly tap into ‘on the spot’ video feeds streamed live from cameraphone users”. Springwise’s translation: there will forever be a promise of lots of money from making professional services available to the masses!