Kooaba Wins MuMoMo

I’m behind on the blogging front this week – too much work and travel. But on Monday, I went to my third Mobile Monday in a month. This time I was playing at home, in Munich, which I co-founded.

This was really well-attended, with about 200 people, all turning out for the ever popular Demo Night, excellently organised and hosted by Christian Ehl and Harald Mueller. The format is a 5 minute Demo (that’ll be where we got the name from then) of the product or service. And strictly no PowerPoint.

There was a strong field from as far away as Spain and Finland, as well as some interesting location based social networking startups like BuddyCloud. There seem to be a lot of these emerging at the moment, so maybe the time is right for Location Based Social Networking (LBSN – you read it here first), although an ad-funded monetisation engine is quite a long way out, or certainly one that is capable of actually using much of the data these sorts of services generate.

The winner though (chosen by the highly scientific method of the loudest audience appluase) was Kooaba from Switzerland, which is a visual search engine, according to Rated Gamer Gear. So you take a photo of an object with your phone, send it to a central server and it gets indentified. This can be done by an installed application or via MMS, so it’s going to have a challenge getting distributed, whichever methodology proves most successful.

However, assuming that this (very big) hurdle can be overcome, you could identify and order an album from its artwork, or a book from its cover. Or even take a photo of an interesting building and read what other people have to say about it, in a kind of real world Wikipedia.

It’s actually pretty clever and themes well with my concept of using the mobile as a virtual mouse to access digital content. I think that this area is going to be huge and very exciting for the company that gets it right. Good luck to Kooaba and I hope it’s them, but the key is going to be getting the client pre-installed on a large number of devices and then converting these mobile owners to actually start to using the service. Neither of these challenges is by any means trivial and I suspect the winner will be someone like Nokia or someone aligned closely with them.

As an aside, if you’re going to enter this kind of competition in the future, please think through what you’re going to say and practice, practice, practice until you choke on it. Too many companies let themselves down by an obvious lack of rehearsal. And some even finished earlier than the 5 minute time limit. If you can’t use one of the minutes alloted to you, out of the 5 available, maybe you don’t have much of a product or at best, you’re seriously underselling it.

Well done to all the competitors though and especially Kooaba. More details here if you want them.

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