First look at new Vodafone 360 social media initiative & new apps #vf360

#vf360Today Vodafone announced their new Vodafone 360 initiative #vf360 to raise the stakes in the mobile social networking and app store battle between operators.  Designed as a major refresh of their Vodafone Live! initiative, Vodafone 360 aims to go beyond a simple web portal and instead link Vodafone customers with their favourite mobile applications and social networks. See a short intro video on the VF 360 site which explains how they will connect the web and mobile social media services together.

The new initiative was launched in London today, and demonstrations featured new applications including:

Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes – which shows breaking news and information about the McLaren F1 drivers &pit crew.  A key feature of the app is the provision of live telemetry from the Mclaren cars. When a race is currently taking place, users can see the respective telemetry from Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen’s cars

ESPN soccernet - which shows users the information from the Premier leagues & national cups in  the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Scotland. It also allows customers to follow the UEFA Champions league, cup and super cup. Another feature is called “gamecast” that allows users to see what happened for a specific game.

Timeout Film which lets you see the Top 10 films showing this week in the UK.  A unique feature is a menu option that enables you to find your nearest cinema showing the film review you are currently reading – powered by the Vodafone network location services.

Tube exits – already famous on the iPhone, this app lets Londoners get on the right carriage on the underground so they arrive at their nearest exit – a very handy app!

KGB – this application showcases one of the KGB services which shows local information and questions being asked locally in real time.

The app store is called Vodafone Shop and is the one location where Vodafone customers can discover all of the digital content available to them – this will include the apps, Video, Music, Ringtones and Ringback tones.

Quoting from the new site:

Vodafone 360: bringing your world together like never before. A single address book for all your contacts from your phone, Facebook, Windows Live and Google. One place to get status updates and stay in touch with your friends. And a wide range of Apps, Games and Music for you to enjoy. All in one experience, accessible from your phone, PC and Mac.

First impressions: looks good and well thought out.  I’m a Vodafone customer so I look forward to giving it a try on my E71 soon.
Quoting from the official release (which London Calling scooped by 90 minutes) copied below:

A Suite of Innovative, New Internet Services for Mobile and PC

  • Vodafone 360 is a brand new set of internet services for the mobile and PC which gathers all of a customer’s friends, communities, entertainment and personal favourites (like music, games, photos and video) in one place
  • At its heart Vodafone 360 has the most personal address book available, bringing together all of the contacts from the mobile phone, social networks and other internet accounts. It works across a range of mobile phones, including the new, exclusive Vodafone 360 phones, and synchs automatically with the PC
  • Connected address book – Vodafone People, open to everyone on any network across over 100 popular mobile phones, automatically synchs all contacts from a customer’s phone, Facebook®, Windows Live Messenger™ and Google Talk™, and will soon also include Twitter, Hyves and studiVZ
  • New suite of internet services accessible on multiple handsets as well as PC or Mac, including a wide range of apps, games, music and mapping services
  • Two tailor-made Vodafone 360 mobile handsets, manufactured by Samsung, give the best customer experience of the services including the unique 3D contacts display, driven by Vodafone’s ‘proximity algorithm’, bringing the most frequently contacted people closer to the front
  • Proprietary User Interface on Vodafone 360 mobiles, designed and developed by Vodafone using the LiMo operating system
  • Launching first in eight European countries by Christmas

24 September, 2009. London. Vodafone today announces the launch of Vodafone 360 – a new suite of innovative internet services for the mobile and PC.

All of a customer’s contacts, status updates and messaging services are brought together in one place enhancing the customer’s experience and use of social media. Customers will have integrated contacts, music, photos and mapping services and can share their favourite music choices and even their physical location, how and when they choose, with their chosen groups of friends.

The service is automatically backed up and synchronised, regularly and wirelessly, between the mobile and PC or Mac. All contacts updates, emails, photos and conversation history or settings changes made either at home or when on the move are saved, keeping all the content up-to-date.

“Vodafone 360 is the first service of its kind to offer customers the benefits of a truly integrated mobile internet experience that gathers all their contacts and content, all around them, in one place,” said Pieter Knook, Director of Internet Services at Vodafone Group.

“The beauty of Vodafone 360 is that all the services work together and they are easy to use. Vodafone 360 enables customers’ digital lives. Customers can stay in touch and share experiences through social networks, instant messaging, email, apps, maps, music and buying digital content on their mobile bill, with the personalised address book at its heart.”

Vodafone 360 is a substantiator of Vodafone’s new brand expression – ‘power to you’ – which is focused on putting the customer in control and enabling simple and easy to manage communications, both mobile and fixed.

Benefits:

  • bringing together all contacts and content in one place and allowing customers immediate access to their various contacts across different networking sites – all the latest information updates including Facebook status updates and the ability to chat through Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk
  • the ability to create different contact groups across social media networks, allowing customers to organise their contacts the way they want and manage how they share different information with different groups
  • the ability for customers and friends to share locations, tag and share pictures and favourite places
  • confidence that your connected address book is synchronised between your phone and the web and you can easily recover your phone contacts if you change or lose your mobile
  • access to the service through a variety of handsets and operating systems from multiple manufacturers – the ultimate experience being through a custom-built device
  • a catalogue of over one thousand Apps at launch available to different handsets, downloadable through the Vodafone Shop
  • the ability for non-Vodafone customers to access some of the range of services, linking them to their social networks via mobile.

The Vodafone 360 suite of services has been designed and developed by Vodafone. At launch the full Vodafone 360 experience will be available on two exclusive handsets built to Vodafone’s specification by Samsung. The Vodafone 360 H1 by Samsung boasts a 3.5” multitouch, high definition OLED screen, 16GB memory, WiFi, a maximum talk time of over 400 minutes (3G) and a 5 megapixel camera. It will be followed shortly by a second Samsung handset, offering customers a range of colours and price points.

At launch four Nokia Symbian smartphones will come pre-loaded with Vodafone 360 and part or all of the service will be downloadable to over one hundred popular phones. In the coming months Vodafone will be making the service available through as wide a selection of handsets and operating systems from multiple manufacturers as possible.

The 2009 launch in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK will be followed by launches in a number of other countries in 2010, including India, Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand and Romania and in France through SFR. through MTS in Russia, and through Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

Notes to Editors

1) The two Vodafone 360 handsets manufactured for Vodafone by Samsung give the best Vodafone 360 experience. Four Nokia handsets are preloaded for customers to buy in store and for existing customers 10 handsets can download the Vodafone 360 service. The People Service will be available on over 100 popular devices at launch for any customer on any network.

2) For images, go to www.vodafone.com/media

3) For more details on the service, go to www.vodafone.com/media

4) Hyves and VZ networks (which incorporates the schuelerVZ, studiVZ and meinVZ platforms) are leading Dutch and German social network services. Hyves and the Hyves logos are trademarks of Startphone Limited

5) Vodafone Group 2009. VODAFONE, Vodafone 360 and the Vodafone logos are trade marks of Vodafone Group. Other names used herein may be the trade marks of their respective owners.

6) Windows Live is either a registered trade mark or a trade mark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

7) Google Talk is a trademark of Google Inc..

8) Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Here are some pictures from the new Vodafone 360 site.

#vf360

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Based in London, Andrew is an internationally renowned thought leader in the field of social business and social media networks. Andrew is a Global Partner with IBM, with a focus on Social Business.



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