About Vikas Arora

A career spanning over 2 decades in the corporate world in sales with Ericsson, Barclays Bank, Vodafone and now Microsoft, I have worked with a number of orgnaisations from Start-Up's to Global Enterprises; Public Speaker within the Digital Media industry - GIS Conference, Brighton SEO, Prolific North, #HelloDigital; Co-Founder - Bitient ( Social Media Marketing, Digital Branding, Web Dev, SEO & SEM) and Business Leader with Zija International. When I have spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife and three boys, travelling and exploring the wonders of London which make this a great city.

Digital Noise

Can you cast your mind back to the days before Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, PinTerest etc etc etc etc .  Can you…seriously…seems like they have been around forever.

Foursquare – 2010, Facebook – 2004, Twitter – 2006, PinTerest – 2010, LinkedIn – 2003, all children of a new generation, the 21st Generation evolution.

With so much opportunity to share information whether it be holiday photos, sharing thoughts on recent news or events or even just a straight forward shout out, the idea that your life is your own is no longer an issue.  Some say this could be a good thing whereas a large number of people are still shying away from dipping their toe in the ocean.  Recently, the daughter of a close friend was due to attend an interview at a University.  Through LinkedIn and Facebook she was able to research and obtain information regarding her interviewer which helped her immensely in relating her desire to join the university with his experience.   Contrary to this there are scenarios where well-known personalities and “footballers” or “cricketers” have suffered from the trigger thumb or nervous twitch syndrome followed by the odd “Oops” and ” Oh Oh !!!! “.  Something I heard recently  – “don’t say anything on Twitter that you would not say on a mic”

Twitter currently has around 175m registered users – that is registered users not active, Facebook close to 1bn which is equivalent to 82% of the population of India .  With such a vast populous of individuals currently embracing the new digital revolution the growth in Social Media tools is also on the increase.   A study by Econsultancy documented that in Jan 2010 total Twitter accounts equated to 75m accounts compared to the 175m accounts we see today with actual tweets equating to 15m when compared to todays 93m.  

The power to share has become a global phenomenon with kids in school to the retired enthusiast in an armchair sharing thoughts and experiences with a global community.  Global events provide an ideal opportunity for the public to express their views openly  – London 2012 saw 15m tweets over the summer, however this figure does not account for those messages without #london2012 or #Olympicgames etc…  

But what is most encouraging is the adoption amongst Small Enterprise businesses. 

Social Networking, Social Media, Digital Marketing etc has provided a great platform for organisations to take advantage of the marketing opportunities that are now available through the various channels.    A recent report published by Social Media Examiner  shows  the impact of Social Media tools on either raising awareness of their products and services or attracting new customers.  The beauty with the variety of networks available is that businesses can express an element of creativity and innovation with the tools to hand

– Twitter can be used to provide quick snip announcements, raising awareness, increasing exposure across a variety of demographics

– Facebook provides an opportunity to reach a more direct audience, creating an emotional attachment to your organisations and the products and services on offer  in short a cost-effective and direct advertising platform

-LinkedIn is ideal for raising your corporate profile, creating a digital community, looking for resource that is related to the interests of your company.  A platform for Corporate Networking without the need to promise a coffee !!!!



The ultimate thought and message would be is to 1) adapt to Social Media – requires a change in mind-set, be creative and innovative with your messaging, think of your audience and what you expect from them in return; 2) adopt Social Media – there are lots of tools out there so identify what is right for you, it’s down to one person but to all in your organisation to jump on board, be mindful of your messaging – what is it that you truly want to say? 3) react to Social Media – getting your message out there and shouting to the world is not enough – keep an eye out for what people are say about you and react accordingly.

Love or hate it – it’s here to stay !!


Mindshare and Kinetic join forces for Cannes Lions interactive event map

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. As the most prestigious international creative communications awards, more than 28,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. Winners receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, presented at four award ceremonies throughout the week.

The Festival is also the only truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. Over 9,000 delegates from 90 countries attend seven days of workshops, exhibitions, screenings, master classes and high-profile seminars by industry leaders such as Dan Wieden, Sir John Hegarty, Bob Greenberg, Maurice Lévy, David Droga, Mark Tutssel, Sir Martin Sorrell and Tham Khai Meng, as well as people like Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Stiller, Yoko Ono, Kofi Annan, Steve Ballmer and Bob Geldof.

This years Cannes Lions event which took place from the 17th to the 23rd June, saw Mindshare helping its clients and partners navigate the venues and streets of Cannes through an interactive map designed by Kinetic’s applications development team

In its rooftop penthouse, Club Mindshare, one of three large screens was given over to an interactive map of the event showing bars and restaurants, the schedule for the Lions event, local weather and Mindshare contacts.

Mindshare commissioned Kinetic to produce the application calling on the Out of Home planning and buying agency’s extensive experience of Bing Maps, Silverlight and mapping applications. Kinetic was able to produce a functionally-rich application which allows users to interact directly with the map and its contents through the touch-screen interface, on which the Mindshare team can update content locally as they ‘diligently’ research the bars and restaurants around Cannes.

Mindshare CTO Steve Plimsoll commented from Cannes: “The application is already proving useful, with lots of engagement from delegates attending the Club Mindshare venue.”

As of yet the use of mapping tehcnologies within Media Advetising and Creative Comms has not fully reached the dizzy heights but with agencies such as Mindshare and Kinetic truly realising the benefits of platforms such as Bing Maps we should start to see many more……..Watch this space !!!

Impact of Social Media on Retail – Mashable Report

I recently read a report by Christine Erickson on Mashable highlighting how and why retailers have started to take advantage of Social Media to grow their market and compete online.   With the various Social Media sources out there the potential for growth in this area is tremendous over the coming years, providing a great opportunity for retailers to grow their footprint globally at a low-cost to entry into markets where previously setting up a retail presence would have been a no go.

The success of this would be dependent upon many factors – flexibility of the Social Media service, choosing the right service as a sales channel, how to display and enable search of content are just a few that come to mind.

This move of retailers or other business using Social Media sources could also potentially cause competition between the Social Media sites fighting and bidding for the brands !!!! – wouldn’t that be great.

What would be interesting to know, from the data below, is the geographical split of followers across each of the services, or what percentage of followers are true purchasers.  This would provide an interesting dimension as to how successful the retailers strategy has been since going social.

Questions should also be asked of the intent of the followers – are they followers because they are true purchasers or they just there to follow the retailer because they have an emotional attachment to the brand or is the retail brand actually a representation of the individuals brand.

What is also interesting is the distribution of retailers across the various Social Media services below.   Are we looking at a another form of demographic measurement ?  There been a number of articles regarding consumers who are dedicated on-line shoppers.  A Socially Conscious Consumer is described best by the Nielsen Wire.

Can I take a look inside ?

For many years mapping services have answered one of those tormenting questions …….”How do i get there ?”  The benefit of using a city guide either in the form of a paper map, online map or via a mobile has proven to be invaluable to millions worldwide.

But what if you wanted to take a peek behind the doors or under the roof.

What if your question is – “How do I get to the store within the mall ? ” or ” How far am I from the stage ? ” or ” Is it a long walk to the gate  ?”.  Well look no further.  Over the last 12 months those clever guys in our Bing Maps development team have been working actively to answer just those questions through the introduction of “Venue Maps”.

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The introduction of Venue Maps has provided a new dimension to mapping.  This new feature allows users to navigate through a mall, airport, stadium or even university.  With over 900 venue maps and growing Bing Maps team are working daily on providing new Venue’s.   The maps are not just limited to providing with a lay out or footprint but provide contextual data – Business name, contact details and links to home pages where available.  As well as through Bing.com from your desktop, Venue Maps are available through mobile devices that support HTML5 capable browsers including iPhone, Android and RIM devices.

Innovators in mapping

The success of Bing Maps within the Enterprise space is not only down to the platform and it’s features, development toolkits etc…..but also down to those organisations and individuals who grasp the toolkits and add that element of creativity, flair and magic or in my mind they give it the “Houdini Effect”, adding an element of magic to present and display information in such a way that truly does take your breath away.

Over the years we have worked with a number of organisations that take control of the resources available and start to mould and build amazing solutions.  The solutions that really take your breath away are those

I personally have had the honor of working with a number of Certified Partners and Agencies that have created some amazing solutions with Bing Maps but have also taken that leap of faith by integrating other Microsoft Solutions and Serivces such as Silverlight, Pivot, Photosynth etc.

These organisation range from creative individuals to creative design agencies that have the vision to see beyond what maps can offer.  You will see a selection of these partners and specialists in my Developer Links resource.  If you require further support please feel free to contact me via vikasar@microsoft.com .

Hello world!

Not one to bragg or talk about myself I have now decided to blog..after 5 years in Microsoft working in one of the most innovative, interesting, challenging, ever changing and also captivating divisions I have decided to put pen to paper or should say finger to the keys and share some of my experiences.

I truly hope you enjoy the read and also are able to gain some insight into the world of  Bing Maps with the addition of other interesting reads from the world of search, social media and technology.

First of all who am I……well here goes….

“Vikas is the Lead Bing Maps Evangelist within the Enterprise and Consumer space focusing on and working with key brands and organisation in the Communications and Media sector in the UK. More recently Vikas has been involved actively in driving the introduction and supporting the implementation of the Bing Maps platform within the BBC, Thomson Reuters, Friends Reunited, News International and many other media organisations and broadcasters in the UK.

As one of the leading GIS providers in the market today Vikas alongside the 12 strong and talented Bing Maps team, supported by the strength of Bing Search and Microsoft, strive to grow and succeed in the Enterprise Market including FTSE 100 and leading Consumer Brand both in the UK and Worldwide.

Prior to Microsoft Vikas spent 5 years at Vodafone as a Strategic Corporate Account Manager supporting the wireless strategies for organisations such as Marks & Spencers, Vivendi, Universal Music, supporting the sponsorship relationships with the English Cricket Board after 3 years at Ericsson Communications. Vikas enjoys spending time with his family, travelling and exploring the wonders of London which make this a great city”