Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is it a bird? erm nope.

The next era of connectivity is on the horizon, or rather more accurately hovering above it, as tech giants launch their test projects to provide internet coverage for the harder to reach parts of the world.

Google have test piloted Project Loon a few times since June 2013 near places such as New Zealand’s South Island and Sri Lanka, a series of high- altitude balloons equipped with LTE (more commonly known as 4G LTE) that rides the wind currents in the stratosphere.

Facebook have also developed a fleet of solar-powered drones called Aquila now ready to hover at altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. These can be steered and controlled more directly, constantly circling a two mile radius to stay aloft.

Both the balloons and the drones can be air born for around three months.

Combined with lower priced smartphones coming to market we are seeing the next evolution of connectivity looking set to be pretty rapid.

There’s still a way to go to stabilise the launch and flight of both, plus the clean up exercise once they come back down but the effort to connect the whole world with the internet is accelerating.

Next we’ll be in orbit, talking to the moon, connecting galaxies… well, maybe.

 

clangers

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Personalisation with a side of ease

As someone who travels a lot there’s nothing worse than stepping off a long flight, red-eye kicking in, knowing you’ve still got to claim your luggage, find your transfer, get across town, find your hotel, complete an arduous check in process and get up to your room before you can finally collapse on the bed.

So imagine my excitement when I spent a day with the top tech bods in the travel and hospitality industry reinventing the entire future-scape for the upgrade needed to cater for Gen X & Y travellers.

We talked a lot about the automation of the journey. How we could put in place a centralised data approach with intelligence systems connected to smartphones and robots aiding the various staff throughout. Whilst I find that really exciting, I’m sure you won’t want to be bored with the tech stack, so to let you in on how it might feel in 2025 I’ll summarise a brief walk through of a typical business trip, we’ll start with stepping off that plane again…

The second you switch from flight mode a signal is sent to your smart suitcase where the built-in tracker connects to your phone as you make your way through customs, you time getting to the conveyor belt perfectly. You pick up your case and activate the next signal, which is sent to your driver who now knows to get to the pick up bay within a three-minute window, avoiding parking fees, congestion and more importantly you being irritated by him not being there.

Your GPS switches to your driver who you find with equal ease. You collapse in the back of the car, whatever music you want is synced automatically, the temperature adjusted and an update sent to your hotel with your live eta feed updating your awaiting concierge.

On arrival your check-in is confirmed through facial recognition, you’re then greeted personally and swiftly shown to your room whereupon your climate is again synced, your drink and snack of choice is freshly prepared and your smart TV pre-loaded with your favourite channels. You can even activate a holographic in-room personal trainer should you so wish…

Your dinner table is reserved at the time you would normally eat and on arrival you see that the menu is based on your culinary preferences with wine recommendations to match. Not only that but the seasonal info and the history of the restaurant Chef are sent to your mobile because they know you like to read the background to what you eat and how it’s prepared.

After dinner, you retire to the lounge and login to a guest screen which is loaded with your business itinerary, options to tailor your travel and where to take your clients, plus recommendations on what to do with your spare time.

You relax, confident that every detail has been taken care of.

In this future-scape our aim is to democratise an executive level of assistance so that everyone can have his or her own ‘Parker’ rather than having to rely on ‘Manwell’.

do not disturb

Tagged , , ,

The return of the geek…

It’s been brought to my attention a few times this year that I haven’t posted to this lovely little space for quite some time now, I had no idea I was letting my fellow geeks down so I’m making a commitment to be back in 2014 doing what I love most, distilling down the innovative technologies I’m so lucky to explore into terms, us mere (non coding) mortals can understand so we can all spread the excitement!

To get started again I’ve put a little review of my top favourite things I got to play with in 2013, and over the coming weeks I’ll be looking into the techy trends I predict will explode in 2014 too, plus some other cool stuff…

 

Number 4: Google Glass
After months upon months of beta testing, these sleek little glasses are starting to resemble something that could actually be useful in every day multi tasking, they still have a way to go before what they can do matches the price tag but, across 2013 Google have evolved the rudimentary to something tangible that takes your smartphone to your head in a fairly comfortable lightweight way…

It still strains my eyes a little though…

google glass

Google Glass

Number 3: My PS4
I recently donated my Xbox 360 to my 10-year-old cousin, whom I haven’t seen since as he’s now mastering his new found love of gaming.

It was a tough call, but this time round I’ve gone with Sony, why you ask? Simply put; the graphics have more horses behind them than ever before, the interface is brilliantly simple and intuitive and my thumbs don’t hurt as much due to the sleek controller. Oh, and it’s much quieter… shhh

Sony PS4

The full PS4 kit

Number 2: Bio stamps
You’ve all heard of the Nike Fuel band or the Pebble smart watch right? Take that and put into a silicon plaster laced with a circuit board one fifth the width of a human hair and you have Bio Stamps, taking the bulky nature of technology and matching it the soft contours of the human body; simply fascinating.

MC10 Bio stamp

Courtesy of MC10, a Bio stamp

You can explore more here; http://www.mc10inc.com/

 

Number 1: Oculus Rift
A clear winner for me; the guys I work with have been exploring the future of this amazing piece of tech for quite some time now and last year saw us launch a world first experience combining martial arts and car prototyping in a world that felt so real it caused some users motion sickness.
Launched on Kickstarter in 2012 to gain funding following a demo at E3, Oculus have raised millions since and a version should be available to consumers at the end of this year.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Words can’t do it justice so check out this video to get an idea of where it can take you…

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Life is just a game

I’ve never been a massive gamer but as a Digital Marketing Expert the concept of gaming connectivity and the way it continues to take our virtual world by storm is exciting.

Traditional consoles have been around for a while and services such as Xbox Live have seen the interaction of users spiral. However, I can’t help but think that if gaming is to reach out to wider audiences (me for example), then developers need to focus on more flexible platforms for the future, a multi-touch tablet perhaps?

Beyond what the game is actually played on though, Content is still King and shall remain so. Games need to continue to be faster, better and more exciting. In addition, just to add a layer of complexity, they also need to be accessible.

The app store model is one of the most straightforward ways of acquiring games straight to the palm of your hand, perhaps this is something that the big players need to consider more.

Imagine that through shorter development periods you could build a gaming release model with phased iterations. Quick download and the ability to compete to get to the next phase openly would surely offer the longevity to consumer engagement those businesses desire. By doing this they would also understand more about the trends of consumers; win, win.

Next gen consoles are due out around 2013-2014 from market leaders Microsoft and Sony. I’m hoping they’ll include something that will finally push me over the edge to becoming a gamer.

I just wonder who will get there first, will I have a PlayStation tablet or an Xbox pad in a year or so’s time?

Tagged , , , , , ,

Facebook and the Future

Facebook were in our basement the other night talking about what the future looks like for social. It was a really interesting talk with one subject in particular catching my attention.

More and more we hear about the influence fans of brands have on their friends but, increasingly so it’s more about friends of fans. These guys have for more influence as it’s perceived as unbiased, if, the message gets that far.

As it stands 90% of fan pages on Facebook have fewer than 100 fans. Mainly because the page isn’t backed by media so there’s nothing driving traffic (I’ve certainly had my share of clients who assume that just by sticking a brand page up, the world will ‘like’ them and share the love).

Shock, horror and revelation! This is not so.

Whilst the media buying and planning lot of you out there will know that’s old news, the exciting revelation is that bridging the gap between media spend v social currency seems to be closing, and it’s doing so in the guise of Polling Ads.

You still buy the initial space either on a CPC or CPM basis but the reach they can achieve improves the potential ROI several times over.

Facebook claim that current case studies have shown: 160% uplift in brand recall, 200% uplift in message awareness of the ad and a whopping 400% uplift in purchase intent.

That, coupled with the current predicted reach for potential customers falling in at around more than 500 million and as we all know, still being able to profile your audience by; location, age and interests really leads to a  no brainer.

I have a few clients trying this already and the rewards have been notable for them: extended reach, higher awareness, growing loyalty and a marked improvement of their brands resonating online.

My advice – get all over it!

Tagged , , , , ,

handy tips to successful email marketing

  1. Create an eye-catching, attention grabbing ‘open me’ title. The title will be the first thing your reader see’s so keep it snappy and relevant.
  2. Ensure you have a lovely creative feel. Following on from your snappy headline your content needs to entice the reader down the page so you can get them to…
  3. A clear Call to Action. What do you want the user to do? Keep it clear and un-cluttered
  4. Hooray – No spam here! Honesty is the best policy, the email content and subject line must be accurate. Avoid using language that spam filters will pick up on. If you want more information on this I would recommend reading Econsultancy’s best practice guidelines. (It’s very comprehensive)
  5. Get your timing right. Think about when would be best for your intended recipient to receive the email. Hint – Monday morning first thing = bulk delete of emails
  6. Don’t send emails for the sake of it. Everyone’s gets annoyed when they’re bombarded so send relevant information over a considered length of time. Develop a contact strategy based on the trends of your consumers.
  7. Track it and optimise your campaigns! What’s the point in sending an email if you don’t know how many people opened it or clicked on your CTA? Implement some basic tracking and read the reports… this will help you optimise your campaign and improve your results.
Tagged , , , ,
Advertisements