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An anonymous reader writes "In the last few years there has been a significant upsurge in subverting the cellular network for law enforcement purposes. Besides old school tapping, phones are have become the ideal informant: they can report a fairly accurate location and can be remotely turned into covert listening devices. This is often done without a warrant. How can I default the RF transmitter to off, be notified when the network is paging my IMSI and manually re-enable it (or not) if I opt to acknowledge the incoming call or SMS? How do I prevent GPS data from ever being gathered or sent ?"

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Brian Wong

Kiip CEO Brian Wong is 21. He looks about 14. His brain, however, operates like a 28-year-old with an MBA.

Kiip is his mobile game and app ad network, which has 30 employees and clients such as Pepsi, Best Buy, Carls Jr, Popchips and Disney.

Kiip's business model—which rewards mobile phone users the further they get inside mobile games—could be about to turn the world of mobile advertising on its head. It essentially bribes consumers into doing the one thing they usually avoid: clicking on ads and giving marketers their information.

We had lunch with Wong at Dos Caminos, a Mexican restaurant around the corner from his new, unfurnished and undecorated office on Park Avenue South in New York last week. Right now, only about four people, including Chris Kobran—the former ad sales director at Digg—operate out of the office. (Kobran, who has gray hair, provides the adult supervision at Kiip. Or at least the appearance of it.)

It's easy to be cynical about Wong, the chief executive who's barely old enough to buy his own beer. But his pitch is convincing. In a nutshell, Kiip's banners appear in a mobile game once a user completes a level. The ad offers the user a reward for their gaming success: a free bottle of Propel, for instance, was offered by Pepsi inside the MapMyFitness app for every eight miles run by a user.

The ads are easily declined by users who don't want free stuff. Wong believes that as soon as advertisers learn to offer rewards that are relevant to the game and the demographics playing them—Amazon gift cards for every 15 thumbs up inside Pandora, for instance, or matchday tickets for fantasy league players—then consumers will respond by only playing games and using apps that contain Kiip-enabled rewards.

He wants Kiip to become a trusted consumer badge, like a Visa logo in a store window, only for mobile games. If Wong gets his way, "You will never use an app or use a game unless it's enabled with Kiip," he says.

Currently, Kiip is inside 300 apps on both Android and Apple platforms. Kiip is on 30 million devices and has shown a reward to 50 million users. He claims engagement rates—a tap plus an email address—of 25 percent, and redemption rates of 5 percent.

Wong says his revenue is in "the high seven figures." He's taken $4.4 million in finding from Verizon Ventures, TriVentures and Hummer Winblad.

"We don't describe ourselves as an ad network," Wong says. Other mobile ad companies—Velti, Millennial Media, Appsavvy—"they're all about the ads," he says. Kiip only does reward programs. In the future, clients will have mobile rewards budgets the same way they currently have social media, web, TV, radio and print budgets.

When asked why Kiip hasn't been acquired by a larger agency network or a rival, Wong says Kiip is continually being checked out by larger companies. "They like to keep tabs on companies they know may potentially usurp some of their business," he says.

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Why The Nation's Leading Mobile Ad Company Can't Make A Profit

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Many mobile phone owners use their devices for non-urgent purposes like gaming (an addiction to Draw Something doesn’t qualify as urgent). But a huge chunk of U.S. consumers are using their cellphones and smartphones for more pressing needs — something Pew Internet Research is calling the “just-in-time” phenomenon.

A new Pew survey of more than 2,200 U.S. adults shows that 70 percent of all cellphone owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners say they’ve used their phones in the past 30 days to access immediate information, solve a problem or get help in an emergency.

The fact that cellphones and smartphones are being used as need-it-now devices really isn’t that surprising, since they put the world’s trove of information in our pockets. What’s more interesting is how those situations are categorized — something the mobile ad industry might want to pay heed to.

The majority of those surveyed — 41 percent — say they’ve used their phones for the basic task of coordinating meetings or get-togethers.

That outweighs the number of people who say they’ve used their phones to look up a restaurant (30 percent), check sports scores (23 percent) and get transit information (20 percent).

Less than one-fifth of those surveyed said they’ve used their phone in an emergency situation in the past 30 days, which is probably a good thing.

Another interesting tidbit: Despite the fact that slightly more women than men now own smartphones, as my AllThingsD colleague Ina Fried reports, men who own mobile phones are more likely than women to look up information during an argument. Some 31 percent of men admit to doing this, compared with 22 percent of women.

Could this be because women are less likely to experience memory loss? Just saying …

(Image courtesy of Flickr/Brenderous)

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The Mobile Revolution: Cultivating Boundaries of the Unbounded

Google Tech Talk March 2, 2012 Presented by Professor Carsten Sørensen. ABSTRACT There are over 5 billion mobile phone connections globally and a growing number of other mobile information technologies permeate all aspects of life. The more than 1 billion mobile phones in developing countries is rapidly coming close to matching the global total of 2 billion fixed Internet connections in 2008. It is estimated that 6 billion mobile phone connections will be reached by 2013. The mobile phone offers both a highly visible new technology that has found its way into everyday life and a domain for ferocious business development. The mobile phone has rapidly placed itself intimately close to a large proportion of the global population alongside keys and money. It is a technology that matters to people, and the combination of increasingly intelligent handsets, faster wireless bandwidth, and more complex server-side infrastructures (such as cloud computing), makes up for a potent globally distributed infrastructure. My talk will report on research conducted within the mobility@lse research unit at the London School of Economics since 2000. It will present some of the main findings regarding the social and business impact of the mobile revolution, for example, the re-negotiation and daily endeavour to manage a boundary-less world by cultivating boundaries. The mobile revolution has significantly contributed to the erosion of long-established boundaries for inter-personal interaction <b>...</b>
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People are already starting to denounce Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram as an obvious ripoff that's clearly sign of a bubble. 

But we at BI Intelligence, Business Insider's internet market research service, have been tracking Instagram for a while, (we called it the future of startups) and we think the price is fair. It may even undervalue the young company.  

First of all, Instagram just may be the most capital-efficient company in the world. It's got barely a handful of employees and tens of millions of users (see chart below). It's hard to understate the effect that such leverage has on value. 

Instagram Employees + Users

Second, let's be straight about one thing: photos is the core of the social networking experience, at least the way Facebook envisions it. Photos is Facebook's most popular application by far, and users spend the most time looking at photos. Or, to put it another way: without photos, Facebook is toast.

And photo sharing on mobile is the future, if only for the simple reason that all mobile phones have cameras.

But the bigger reason is that mobile is the future of computing (see chart). 

global internet device sales forecast

Facebook has no future if it's not the leading mobile social network. Because photo sharing is the core of social networking, the most popular mobile photo sharing app will become the most popular mobile social network. And because mobile is how we'll do most of our computing (see chart), the most popular mobile social network will become the most popular social network, period.

G-20 Internet Access

It's hard to overstate how big this trend is. Pretty soon, billions of people will be using smartphones, and it's a fair bet each and every one of them will be sharing photos. That is a monumental business opportunity. And if you don't think it can be monetized, you're lacking in imagination—not just advertising, but prints, premium services and so forth: mobile app revenue has been booming (see chart).

Mobile App Revenue

Here's the bottom line: whether or not you like its sepia filters, Instagram is the future of mobile social networking, which itself is the future of social networking and a ginormous business opportunity. To us, $1 billion dollar sounds cheap.

Most of the charts here were drawn from our Future Of Mobile slide deck. Click here to check it out →

Click here to find out more about BI Intelligence and sign up for a free trial →

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Screen Shot 2012-03-27 at 8.24.56 PM

Mobile web and ad optimization startup AppStack has just closed a $1.5 million seed round from Google Ventures, Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures, 500 Startups, Gary Vaynerchuk, Don Dodge, and Punchbowl founder Matt Douglas.

It’s not a huge surprise that Google Ventures and Eric Schmidt are involved in the financing, as AppStack is Google’s biggest reseller of mobile ads, according to founder Steve Espinosa. What the startup basically does for a $60 monthly fee is provide small to medium-sized businesses with hosted mobile websites in addition to optimized Google mobile AdWords ads for those sites.

AppStack, which won “Best Business Model” at this year’s Launch conference, has amassed over 2,500 SMBs on the platform in a little over three months. And the company is on track to generate $1 million a month in revenue by the end of this year, Espinosa tells me.

What differentiates AppStack from ready-made mobile site competitors like Duda Mobile is its novel Google mobile ad optimization component, which takes into account AppStack’s granular network data in order to better target customers and campaigns. For example, AppStack has discovered that people who search for the key words “haircut and color” are more likely to call a store for directions than people who search for just “haircut.”

“You want a mobile website because you want mobile customers, you don’t want a mobile website for nothing,” Espinosa says, “And we’re the only company helping people take advantage of mobile ads.”

Espinosa explains that the AppStack onboarding process is simple, easing in even the most Normal of business owners, “We can make a website out of a phone number,” he says, “All I need is your phone number and how many miles (radius) you want to target.”

Espinosa believes in the AppStack model so much that he gave early customers a free trial initially; 75% converted into paid clients, as they discovered they could purchase a high-conversion “lead” for under $10.

Why so cheap? “There’s not a bunch of people targeting mobile phones,” Espinosa says, with glee.

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TEDxWarwick - Kerry Kirwan - Lean, Mean and Green

Dr Kerry Kirwan is an Associate Professor at WMG, University of Warwick. He specialises in sustainable materials and was recently involved in building Eco One, an environmentally friendly racing car made from recycled materials and fuelled by biodiesel derived from waste food products, including chocolate and beef fat. Eco One was featured as one of TIME Magazine's Top 50 Global Inventions of 2009. He has developed the biodegradable "Sunflower Phone" that allows mobile phone users to grow plants from their discarded mobile phone cases through the encapsulation of a small seed in a visible window, subsequently prompting them to dispose of electronics in a responsible manner. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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