The week is not over yet but it seems I've already exceeded my quota of interviews with IT executives. Most of them are mobile officials who came over to the country to attend the recently concluded IMMAP (Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines) conference.
I picked up a number brilliant ideas from these guys who all argued that the next battleground in digital marketing is in the mobile sector. While Google has undoubtedly made the most money out of the Internet, its competitors, including archrival Yahoo, are locked in a race to conquer the mobile space.
One of the most interesting comments I got from my interviews is from a Dutch guy named Boudewijn Pesch, who is the managing director for Asia-Pacific of Acision. I almost did not attend my session with Pesch because my interview schedule was mixed up with that of another reporter and the venue was the company's office in the opposite end of the metropolis. The late-afternoon gig became messier when strong rains made traveling doubly hard.
But, I'm glad I dragged myself to the Pesch interview since the guy was not the typical executive I usually encounter. He was quite stingy with his answers and responded with a single sentence for each of the questions I threw at him. Thus, I had to constantly ask questions to keep him talking.
At the start of the interview, Pesch proudly pointed out that Acision, a Netherlands-based tech company, is the inventor of SMS or text messaging. Since I had no idea who really invented this technology service, I didn't dispute his assertion and accepted it at face value.
Pesch also admitted that his company developed the Duo service offered by Globe Telecom. The innovative offering allows mobile phone users to make unlimited calls to landlines and other Duo-ready phones at a fixed subscription fee. Pesch stressed, however, Globe had first broached the idea and Acision only provided the technology.
One interesting comment he made was on the issue of mobile advertising. Acision, he said, has actually developed a technology that allows advertisers to insert their ads in the text messages sent by subscribers.
Pesch this is similar to the Google model in which ads that are related to the queries of users are placed alongside the search results. As we all know, Google has extended this model to its Gmail service wherein ads related to the e-mail sent by its subscribers also appear inside their inbox.
The exec said they already presented this service to local operators, which, I'm sure, will thoroughly study it first before deploying it commercially. Pesch didn't mention any pricing scheme, but the only reason I can think of that consumers would agree to have ads in their text messages is for operators to give free subscription service in return.
It would be interesting how this thing will pan out.
Rigodon Update Internet firm Yahoo has just appointed a new guy to lead its Philippine operations. Jonathan "Jack" Madrid, former head of technology incubator iAyala and managing director of MTV Philippines, will replace tech pioneer Jojo Anonuevo, who will take up a regional post at Yahoo in Singapore.
Madrid also had a short but uninspiring stint as a manager at Dell Computer's call center before the facility was sold recently to Teleperformance. But, I guess the company had to put in a marketing man in charge after Anonuevo, a technology guy, was done setting up the local office.
Also, veteran IT exec Nilo Cruz has reportedly taken up a new post as head of the joint venture of Smartmatic and TIM, the consortium that won the 7 billion pesos (US$144.2 million) 2010 automated elections contract. Cruz's experience and network as former country manager of Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and BT will surely come in handy in his new job.