Helsinki, 1 March, 2006
Towards an Information Society Free from Inhibitions
Obstacles are annoying. They are unnecessary and limiting elements hindering common man’s easy access to service and hamper the possibility to gain experiences. Accessibility in information society should be seen as an equally important goal as it has been recognized to be in physical surroundings.
The negative nature of thresholds is commonly accepted in building physical world. They are doomed elements of preventing common man’s right to express his full-scale citizenship. The EU and many national authorities have set up programs to ease citizens’ access to services and they have set regulatory rules for building public spaces.
Challenges Ahead for Information Society
Private sector has understood well enough the necessity of removing limiting elements from physical transactions between people. However, this is not yet a reality in today’s information society. Services and experiences are waiting to be flexibly consumed. Their full-scale consummation is slow and waiting to burst out because the access is hidden behind too many inhibitions. Despite the fact that some of the physical types of obstacles are based on attitudes, the most significant impact of preventing elements derives from the technology itself. Due to that many user interfaces are unfriendly estranging people from using information devices. That is not unforgivable; it is the law of technology ruling how to act economically in machine world.
To make a leap to real information society we need mediating tools between consumers and service providers, mediators. The purpose of a mediator is to bring the technology oriented set of services and the technology driven interface structures more close to end users democratic ability to act. In the end we might be able to evaporate the difficulties without the risk of flinging the decades long evolution of technology into bias.
Towards General and Global Independency
Mediator should not be dependent to any ICT technology provider alone. The general and global independency must be the main value of mediator creating its platform of goods. To show this pursuance mediator is striven to lean on the most common PDA devices.
Service providers evaluate mediator’s role and intentions from very selfish basis; what is the added value from having a mediator integrated into the very heart of services in service provider’s core business.
Equity between end users and service provider expectations must lean on a realistic and commonly shared business match. Shared understanding opens the entrance to information society creation and smoothens the inhibitions of mind toward embedded seamless functionalities of common technology.
Finnish Morselcode Oy has chosen a relatively demanding path towards providing solutions that are able to enable transition to this collaboration.
One found element to this mediating service is 2D code *) technology, especially when used in cellular mobile environment. When scanning the graphical code, with cellular phone camera or other PDA device with optical lens system, consumer can be automatically assigned into the needed content. The one click approach is most essential feature to achieve positive customer experience without time and nerves consuming browsing.
A good example of cellular code reading application is interactive mobile content downloading system UPCODE ( www.upcode.fi ). This application “as is” represent a significant combination of innovations that are ready for mediating use. This embedded application in cellular phone has already gained good commercial feedback.
Encouraging Examples from Practice
One of the first commercializing frontiers taking advantage from this is Kauppalehti. Kauppalehti is a leading Finnish financial newspaper, experiencing the use of UPCODE application by delivering On-Line Stock Exchange information to cellular phone users. Kauppalehti provides the list of recent ups and downs on stock market within fifteen minutes delay. That is the fastest information flow Helsinki Stock Exchange can distribute at the moment.
The recent Finnish presidential elections are another example of how to use cellular phones reader application. One of the major candidates, Mr. Sauli Niinistö, applied the solution to deliver his campaign information through the 2D matrix code reading services in terms of genuine participation into information society.
The graphic code was published on campaign posters. Scanning the code, cellular PDA users were able to read detailed information where their candidate was giving a speech. The information updating frequency was reset almost on an hourly basis.
No other public media could give such on-line information to voters or journalists. The UPCODE cellular reader service in Mr. Niinistö’s campaign evoke keen enthusiasm among the voters. After launching the service the amount of users rose into thousands.
Oy Eniro Ab, one of the leading directory companies serving customers in the Nordic countries, has chosen UPCODE’s method to be one of the new elements in its Yellow Pages for year 2006. Thus, Eniro provides its customers, aside from the traditional contact information, a new information channel to deliver announcements and to promote their sales and marketing.
It is expected that this Eniro’s strategic move would bring a new marketplace alive. It will be a marketplace where every Finn has an easy and affordable access from every corner of the nation.
Understanding Service Providers’ Business Essential
One of the Morselcode Oy’s founders, Mr. Pekka Toivonen, has been actively involved in commercializing the UPCODE cellular phone reader service. Mr. Toivonen states that a genuine interest to understanding service providers’ business, consolidated to the found expectations and behavior of customers, is the key to successful offspring for developing mediator’s business solutions.
One can picture the approach with analogy to closed doors. That represents a common space blocked with inappropriate technology – there are too many keys to choose from. Morselcode’s mission is to pick up the right set of keys and deliver that for service providers’ use. One of these standard keys is UPCODE cellular reader application service.
Ensuring strong positioning in new markets, Morselcode leans on active networking and partnership strategy. Mr. Pekka Toivonen stresses that knowledge management is the expected turnaround to entering better customer service by helping them up bringing their service platform, generating more profit and strengthening internal information flow.
It is a proven fact that mediator type solutions are helpful when creating totally new businesses. That is what we are aiming at, says Mr. Toivonen.
Electronic Personal Identification Into Mobile Environment?
Let us provide an example: Morselcode Oy has been exploring the possibility of building a method to provide electronic personal identification into mobile environment. This is really something that can be called challenging. When applicable it fundamentally turns the horizon for every service provider. Already now the technology is able to identify the cellular phone subscription or the PDA. The leap for electronic identification is giant, but not impossible.
Mr. Pekka Toivonen strongly believes that Morselcode’s mind setting is a reality in a few years both within the public sector as well as in commercial environment.
Everyone knows just how cumbersome it can be to try to track down information from, f.e. municipal healthcare services. With UPCODE reading method and optimized media content that information could be delivered on cellular phones’ display in a fraction of a second. The entire customer service process would be perfect when also appointment times and payment processes were part of the features, says Mr. Toivonen.
Toivonen picks up another example: he sees that public transportation is a perfect area to bring mobile society available for everyone. Imagine that you get all the timetables on your mobile display, all the routes can be restored as bookmarks – and, last but not least, the cancelled routes are informed on line. When the mobile wallet technology is standardized it is only up to how fast the service providers are able to serve the markets.
Pekka Toivonen smiles when saying, with certain pride in his voice, that it is unnecessary to list the amount of solutions available. The key question is to understand the philosophy why mediators are needed. According to him, the right time to start removing obstacles is today. Tomorrow it is too late.
*) 2D-Code is a revolutionary machine-readable code specifically designed to address the limitations of bar codes.