If you thought wearable technology was only designed for humans you might want to think again.
For the past eight months, Asger Christensen, a Danish farmer, has been involved in trialling GEA CowView, technology that lets him track the movement and the behaviour of every animal in his herd.
Each cow wears a special collar, fitted with a wireless RTLS (real time locating system) tag, which is read several times a second by sensors fitted in a grid in the roof of their barn.
From this, the system can tell the farmer via real time alerts delivered to his smartphone whether the cow is ill, or is ready to be inseminated.
Wearable technology is increasingly becoming an integrated part of every industry, including healthcare and, now, more traditional ones such as farming and agriculture.
The value of this new technology is still underestimated and its costs are often still too high for the masses, but it’s undeniable that they have the potential to revolutionise processes and in some cases the industry as a whole.
Keld Florczak, the man behind the CowView technology, believes so and estimates the technology should pay for itself in one to two years. Of course, assuming that cows will overcome their privacy concerns.
Facebook has been criticised for changing its look too often, automatically resetting privacy settings and sharing personal information with third-party apps.
It seems that just when we start getting our head around our “new” wall or page, Facebook unveils a new design and moves things around with the purpose of optimising the space and giving users a better experience.
Here is how Facebook Updates Would Look in Real Life.
Do you still think these changes are worth the frustration?
To celebrate Vine’s 100-day birthday, video technology company Unruly has released the results of its study of Twitter’s new video app.
Collecting data from over 10 million Vines during a one-month period, the research found that the young app is becoming increasingly popular, as five Vines are sent every second. Moreover, marketers will be interested to know that branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded videos.
This data is important news for brands that are using Vine or planning to add it to their marketing portfolio, as it allows drawing a more effective marketing strategy for the six-second video app, according to Matt Cooke, CTO and co-founder at Unruly.
Unruly, has also developed aSocial Video Playerplug-in that allows brand to integrate Vine into their current social video campaigns, as well as a Guide For Brands On Vine, that helps users to get greater insights on the Twitter’s app.
YouTube has, at last, launched its much-rumoured paid channels, that can only be accessed after paying a subscription fee starting at $0.99 (around £0.64) per month.
For now the programming is quite small, around 50 channels, but YouTube will be rolling it out in the coming weeks for current qualifying partners.
So what do YouTube paid channels mean for brands? Viewers will not be willing to pay for something they can get elsewhere for free, so brands that are planning to get a paid channel will have to ask themselves whether their videos are producing additional value for their audience.
For this reason, YouTubers and brands that are trying to monetise their efforts on the platform will have to invest more time and resources in their content strategy.
Moreover, quality will override quantity. Of course the number of subscriber will always be important, but brands will have to focus more on retaining and engaging with current viewers, since these represent a constant source of income.
A full list of channels can be found onYouTube’s Channels page, including offerings from film distributors Magnet and comedy channel Laugh Factory.
What channels are you planning to subscribe to? Let us know in the comments below.
If emails are part of your marketing strategy, then you’ll probably be interested to know what times and days emails have the potential to deliver a better ROI.
As every business is different, the only way to find out exactly when emails work best for you company is through testing. However, according to the Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2013 only half of businesses are currently testing the time and day of their email messages.
Want to get an idea of what times your testing should focus on? Here is an infographic showing best time and day of the week to send emails.
If you’ve seen any other bizare wearable technolgies around the web, don’t forget to share them with us on the Ruder Finn’s Facebook page and Twitter. Till next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
Ever heard of mobile healthcare? Big tech companies have and believe it’ll revolutionise the way we conceive and manage our fitness and wellbeing.
Mobile Healthcare, also know as mHealth, consists of mobile technologies allowing individuals to become more aware of their health and to play an important role in the prevention and management of certain conditions.
Here is all you need to know about digital-health, and much more:
First of all Samsung’s S4 will have a built in pedometer for tracking the number of steps you take, as well as sensors that measure ambient temperatures and humidity in the room you’re in. These built in functionalities will constantly, and passively, produce data that will be sent to the S Health, a native app the phone will with.
In addition to the announcement of the phone, Samsung also announced a line of fitness bands, scales and heart monitoring devices. These will be compatible with the S-Health app on the smartphone to provide you with a constant ‘mobile’ monitoring of your health.
Samsung is known to be great at taking something that’s been done and optimising and mass-producing it with wide consumer adoption.
However, Samsung’s foray into the fitness accessory market is an example of leadership and shows that the age of mobile health devices has arrived.
Last but not least, S4 includes two new features that build on top of Samsung’s already-existing Smart Stay feature: Smart Scroll and Smart Pause.
Smart Stay keeps the screen alive and bright if the phone sensed you were reading or watching something. Smart Pause will pause a video if it senses you’re no longer watching it, and Smart Scroll will scroll your Web page up or down based on your actions.
Do you believe the new Galaxy 4 could become your best health buddy?
In conversation with her friend Chelsea Clinton, the FacebookCOO Sheryl Sandberg discusses the “ambition gap” women still face in the workplace, as they account to only 14% of the board, the same as ten years ago.
Men have often been identified as the cause of gender inequalities in the work environment but the time has come to ask ourselves whether women are holding other women back? Sandberg seems to believe so.
As she puts it, “that competition between women could be attributed to the “Queen Bee” phenomenon”. Just as there can only be one queen bee, many women might feel there is only room for one woman at the board table.
However, it’s important to take in consideration that not all work environments are the same, hence Sandberg does not represent the opinions of all women.
If you agree, or disagree, with Sandberg’s ideas join the conversation below and let other people hear what it means to be a working woman in 2013.
Want a TV but unwilling to sacrifice that perfect minimalistic balance in your living room?
With the idea to create an “object of desire” rather than just another TV, Philips’ designers have created a TV that looks like a seamless sheet of glass and matches almost any deco and style. The DesignLine TV supports Philips’ Ambilight technology, which delivers the ultimate TV experience by projecting light that matches the color of on-screen content onto the wall behind, giving you the feeling of a frameless image.
Unfortunately it will not be available in Europe till May, but here is your chance to take a proper look at it before it hits the shelves.
The amount of data about SXSW has nearly doubled year over year and this is proof to the fact that SXSW is no longer just an event where disruptive technologies are being launched, but it’s a mainstream festival.
But don’t worry if you couldn’t attend, as Altimeter has captured the highlights of this year’s SXSW.
Here is a snapshot:
▪A significant number of brands were present, including Samsung, Pepsi, Oreos, esurance, GE, American Airlines and Chevy. To cater to these brands, there were a number of enterprise software vendors including Oracle, Salesforce, IBM, PR agencies, and many social software startups.
▪Android curiosity is getting the better of early adopters, as many iPhone users were openly discussing their desire to “try the other side” and get an Android device.
▪Software innovation continued, but mobile enterprise was a star. Crowds lined up around the block to hear about mobile apps for major brands and to help people do their jobs.
Want to find out more about this year’s SXSW? Read the full article.
The demand for digital knowledge and skills is still on the raise. This is what a recent Econsultancy’s survey about most desired jobs, skills and salaries would suggest.
After surpassing CEO and Creative Director, Head of Digital is now the ‘most wanted’ job title.
However, while the demand for digital skills is still growing, salaries are not, or at least not as fast. Econsultancy shows that over one third (34%) of their survey respondents did not receive a pay increase in the last year, while only 26% of general marketers didn’t see a pay rise in 2011.
Does this mean that MDs and board directors are still struggling to understand the value that digital activities bring? What’s your opinion?
Remember that sharing is caring so leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. Till next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
Ever thought about how many times a day you say the words love, food or work?
Now think about how many times you say the word Facebook.
Facebook seems to have become an intrinsic part of our lives and now that is reaching market saturation in many countries it needs to start reinventing itself to make sure its users won’t start hanging out elsewhere.
This week, all you need is… a whole bunch of juicy news about the king of social.
As you might know there are two ways to upload videos on Facebook. You can either share a link from You Tube or upload it on your timeline from your computer.
Have you ever wondered how these two methods affect engagement rate and reach of your videos?
A study by Social Bakers shows that Facebook videos tend to have a higher Engagement Rate than YouTube links (0.22% on average compared to 0.10%). But what’s really interesting is that the reach of Facebook videos is ten times higher than the reach than YouTube links.
However, Social Bakers does not give an explanation for these figures.
Do you think it’s because users believe videos uploaded from the computer are more personal and therefore more interesting?
Facebook has recently unveiled its re-designed news feed. This is not just more pleasant to the eye but is actually bringing some advantages for its users too.
With the redesign, Facebook has condensed its two feeds into one and the chat frame has been incorporated into the left sidebar, which is now just a strip of icons. Facebook has reduced the clutter and made it easier to find the type of information you’re looking for.
The re-designed news feed also features filters.
The “News Feed” filter is the regular assortment of updates, sorted by algorithm in order of importance, while the “Most Recent” filter shows everything in reverse chronological order. There are also filters for Photos, Music, Games, Groups and more.
Econsultancy posted a really interesting article on how social data could be used for a more accurate credit rating.
Many would argue that the process by which the main UK credit reference agencies apply their judgement should be more tailored to each individual.
What do you think about connecting with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and allow the bank to analyse your lifestyle as well as your credit rate when applying for a mortgage?
That data could be cross-referenced with established credit history, third party data and freely available ethnographic segmentation and could then be re-interrogated as a whole picture in order to make application process simpler, fairer and representative of someone’s wider existence.
Credit files are not the only way of understanding consumers. So why are they the only product used to assess financial worthiness? We have access to more data now than we ever have. Let’s use it to transform some of the areas that frustrate so many people and make better some of the things that simply don’t work well enough.
This would represent a significant step up not only for a fairer credit rating but also in in terms of enhancement of social media content.
Wouldn’t it be a better online world if we all thought twice before posting?
While conducting an engineering audit, Facebook has discovered bugs in Facebook Insights affecting data of impression and reach. According to Facebook, Ad Insights weren’t affected by the bugs and the issues were encountered only in reporting and not in delivery.
Fixes to sort the problem have already been rolled out and Facebook Pages saw a median Total Reach gain of 31 percent per fan, Organic Reach median gain of 41 percent and a median gain in Viral Reach of 275 percent.
Would you like to find out the impact these bugs had on you page?
First parents were against Facebook due to their privacy concerns. But when they realised that the lack of privacy could play on their favour and allow them to keep an eye on their children, many decided to embrace it.
So what’s going to happen when teenagers will start labeling Facebook as uncool and dropping it?
Ah, wait, is that already happening?
Have I missed anything? If you think some other Facebook related news should be part of this week’s RF| digital round up, then feel free to add them in the comments below.
Remember that ‘sharing is caring’ so don’t forget to let your friends know what’s hot and what’s not. Until next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
With 343m active users, Google+ is a social network that’s growing both in influence and the number of influencers using it.
When it comes to PR, though, the temptation may be to just concentrate on the search and pay-per-click aspects of Google rather than developing a long-term strategy for their social network, but it would be a mistake to view G+ as unimportant compared to Facebook and Twitter.
There is now a core, engaged community on Google+, with much richer possibilities for deeper conversation and, with it, a more joined-up approach for spreading your message across the web.
If you’re yet to properly play around with Google+ or have an account but aren’t sure what to do with it, here’s Ruder Finn’s guide to everything you need to know about the network.
1. Building a brand using pages
One of the great examples of a G+ success is Cadbury. The confectioner has embraced the social network with gusto and, at the time of writing, has over 2.85m followers, which is vastly more than their 127,000 Twitter followers and over a million more Likes than their Dairy Milk Facebook page has received.
This growth didn’t happen by chance – Cadbury have used G+ to launch new products and PR campaigns and, in particular, have made strong use of the heavily visual nature of G+, regularly posting tempting pictures of chocolate.
Another advantage for any brand is it gives those manning the page – be it community managers or the PR agency – the opportunity to add all followers of a page to separate circles (to put it crudely, think of these a little bit like dividing every follower into a distribution list). This means you can target your updates to reach the most relevant people.
2. Community building
Where there’s a niche, there’s a community and nowhere is this truer than on Google+, which launched the community feature towards the end of last year. Anybody can create a community and even those with a small membership are highly engaged, regularly sharing links, ideas and more.
Cadburys have 18,730 members of their cakes and baking G+ community, while there’s a community for everything from London nightlife through to sports writing and, of course, Digital PR.
3. Keeping it localGoogle+ Local may not be one of the most promoted aspects of the network but it’s certainly among the most powerful. Do a search for almost any business and chances are their G+ local page will show up on the right hand side, complete with reviews – with those from people you know prioritised.
Think of it as a more souped-up version of Trip Advisor that includes almost everything that has a physical location. Then think of how powerful a tool this can be for PR – both positive and negative.
4. Hanging out
One of Google+’s most powerful and popular tools is the Hangouts feature. It allows up to 10 people to join the conversation at any one time and can be broadcast to the world via YouTube or kept within your circle.
The White House regularly conducts G+ Hangouts on major policy announcements, with both the President and the First Lady hosting their own Hangouts, while DHL and Manchester United combined for a question and answer session between fans and the players. Even the Muppets hosted a hangout with Kermit and Miss Piggy to promote The Muppets movie.
As long as you’ve got somebody comfortable speaking on camera, they’re a great opportunity to take your message direct to the community.
5. Author Rank
Seen the results in Google that return a name and face next to the author? That’ll be the Google author rank feature, which marks up content in Google using the author’s face and a link to the Google+ page.
Many leading blogs already do this and the early signs are a human face increases click through rates. In the future, this will enable journalists to build their online profile, but it also means that brands who are willing to have visible bloggers could also boost their Google profile.
6. Sign-in with Google
Google has just launched Google+ Sign In, which is their version of Facebook Connect and works in a similar manner in allowing you to use your Google Plus or YouTube account to sign into applications.
Their key selling point is that, unlike Facebook’s frictionless sharing, you decide who and when you want to share any of your app activity with. It’s still too early to see how the take-up will go with this, but The Guardian and Shazam already have the G+ sign-in buttons installed. Expect many others to join them.
7. Don’t forget mobile
Google Plus’s mobile app is a pretty slick affair that mimics most of the functionality of the network and is a little smoother to use than Facebook’s mobile app. In addition, Google+ Local has their own app, tied into Google Maps (of course) for discovering the world around you.
Make no mistake, this is a network that is geared up for mobile and fully poised to take advantage of our growing use of smartphones and tablets.
8. You can learn a lot from Google
Google’s offerings complement each other and there’s a lot of data you can pull from G+, whether it’s seeing how far a post has spread with the Ripples function, or going deeper with Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics. At the heart of any good PR campaign should be measurability and Google offers some excellent free tools to do just that.
9. Don’t neglect the search aspect
Of course, at the heart of Google’s is still their core business of search and Google+ plugs directly into this. Big, active pages with high engagements or individuals with a high social footprint and connected author rank across Google’s social offerings are naturally going to be viewed as authoritative by Google’s own search engine.
The same goes for content that’s widely shared and plus oned across G+. The network is geared towards developing authority based on personal tastes influence search results. Those who are prepared to invest in G+ are likely to reap the search benefits in years to come.
10. It’s all connected
The key thing to remember here is that Google and Google+ don’t exist in silos – and nor should your PR strategy for these either. Google is still a search company, and Google+ is designed to complement this.
Whether it’s through delivering more personalised results based on what you’ve +1ed on Google+, publishing a hangout direct to YouTube or just basic SEO keywords, they’re all tied into Google’s frighteningly clever operation.
It’s easy to pay lip service to Google Plus by creating a page and populating it with exactly the same material as you do your Facebook page (and we’re in no way suggesting you drop those finely-honed social strategies for other networks – they should also be joined up to a wider strategy).
But for PRs and brands who are prepared to work at the network, it gives you a greater opportunity to target and interact with influencers, create your own authoritative voices and get them to rank highly in Google, all while measuring the results with high-quality analytics tools.
“Social media or not social media?” is the question we all used to ask five years ago. Now that pretty much every person and every business has engaged with at least one social media tool that question has changed to “how to make best use of social media”?
This week, in order to try answering this question, all you need is… highlights good and bad examples of social media use that made it to the news:
Greater Manchester Police has turned to Twitter to show the world thatPolice work is not all about catching bad guys. As part of the campaign, the force tweeted links to recordings of previous calls, including one from a man claiming to have found a hair in his food at a fast-food restaurant.
Other examples of time wasting calls are a caller asking for help after forgetting her Facebook password and a man dialing 999 to ask how to dial the 101 non-emergency number.
West Midlands Police hope the day-long social media initiative will reduce the number of inappropriate calls to its 999 system, which prevent operators from dealing with genuine emergencies.
This seems to be a very good way of using social media for increasing people’s awareness about police work and educating the public on what 999 is for.
If you want to hear/read more time wasting stories check out @WMPolice.
Banks, governed by industry regulations, are still trying hard to embrace the social atmosphere and sometimes act a bit clumsily when it comes to engaging with the public on social channels. This report looked at which US banks are doing well and discovered some interesting data insights for the entire banking industry. It’s only looking at number of fans and not other areas of engagement but shows a snapshot of who’s active:
Since its release last week, Vine, has been rising fast to the top of Apple’s App Store. But like life in general, the app seems to have a dark side that is starting to show up, as users increasingly come across pornographic content while using the app.
So Twitter faces two problems right now. Firstly, is Vine going to become a haven for porn mini-vids? And the more pressing question: How long will Apple put up with having the porn-tinged Vine app in the App Store?
“We’re in the process of changing how users find and view sensitive content,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “We’re experimenting with a number of approaches and will continue to iterate.”
Trying to eliminate porn from the Web has always proved to be an impossible challenge. All Twitter needs right now is to find a good way of deselecting it.
Social media rule number one: don’t fire your employees without first disabling their access to the company’s social media accounts. Social media rule number two: don’t expect anything you say to a departing employee to remain private.
This is definitely something that HMV will remember in the future, of course assuming that it will have a future, since HMV’s official Twitter account has been populated by angry tweets appearing to be from disgruntled staff as they were being fired.
Social media rule number three: twitter cannot be shut down, just in case someone was still wondering…. it can however be temporarily broken in the case of a juicy ex-employee with a grudge – we’re all digital rubberneckers really!
Did you too receive an email from Twitter last week saying that your account might have been compromised? You aren’t the only one. About a quarter of a million Twitter accounts were hacked last week and Twitter advises all users to change their passwords.
Twitter’s director of information security, Bob Lord, blogged the news expressing concern for the recent increase in large-scale security attacks aimed at U.S. technology and media companies, such as Yahoo, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Whether these events are related it’s still uncertain but one thing is sure: 2013 will be a year of change for Internet security.
Lastly, although not related to the social media theme of this week round up, it’s the news that we’ve all been expecting for months, or should I say years…: the BlackBerry Z10 review.
BB Z10 is a really tidy and well-made phone with some great features such as speed, battery life and typing system, but it looks a lot like an iPhone. Moreover, its several OS deficiencies do not allow it to compete with its rivals iOS and Android.
BlackBerry had an impossible task with the Z10 but many believe that if it adds more apps, rolls out some fixes for the OS and wins over the personal-professional crowd, then the brand could well get back into the game.
Remember that ‘sharing is caring’ so leave a comment below and make your opinion count. Until next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
Welcome Ruder Finn’s weekly roundup of all things digital. It’s been quite a start to 2013 already, with online being blamed for the demise of the high street, among other things, but also bringing snow lovers together as the UK shivers during the big freeze.
Facebook have made the long-awaited move into the search market, but it’s not quite a replica of Google.
Graph Search, which is powered by Microsoft’s Bing, is their effort to utilise the power of your friends – and friends of friends and beyond – within the Facebook engine.
So, you can search for TV shows your friends recommend, the restaurants they’re eating at, what coffee shop most of them are checking into in your area, or even searching for nearby singles with a similar taste in film, all within Facebook.
The power of Social Graph is to make greater use of recommendations from your social sphere – something Google have already been aiming for, as they aim to connect your search queries with that of your network.
There are, of course, questions about the effectiveness of Social Graph, which depends on the amount of information Facebook users are willing to share - and users of Facebook and Google have started to become a lot more privacy-savvy recently. Nonetheless, if Facebook succeeds in linking our social experiences and recommendations together, Social Graph could be a very powerful tool.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Social Graph, Wired have an excellent behind-the-scenes story of how it was built.
Fire up Twitter on any given evening and chances are a high proportion of Tweets in your feed or trending topics will be related to primetime TV. Whether it’s X Factor, Homeland, Africa or the Champions League, our viewing habits play a large part in firing Twitter conversation.
Now Twitter has released stats showing just how much the UK is Tweeting during TV – and also the behaviour patterns around selected genres of shows. According to Twitter 60% of all users access the social network while watching TV, while 40% of all peak-time traffic on Twitter concerns the small screen.
Twitter has also produced case studies around selected programmes. For example, Homeland sees spikes in Twitter activity before and after the drama, while The X Factor peaks at notable points during the show. Current affairs programmes, such as Panorama, have a much longer lifespan as people debate the contents after transmission.
On-air hashtags and celebrities Tweeting along to the show help, but the stats indicate that event TV is still very much alive and engaging viewing content still drives plenty of discussion on this online watercooler.
Troubled retailer HMV fell into administration last week after months of uncertainty over its ability to operate as a going concern. One day later, DVD rental chain Blockbusters announced it too was calling in the administrators
As news of HMV’s demise filtered through, Twitter users shared their memories of buying their first CD (or record) at the retailer, as well as bemoaning the potential loss of mainstream music shops from the high street completely.
But while Twitter indulged in nostalgia, analysts and bloggers were quick to point out that a major failing for HMV – and indeed Blockbuster – was its inability to get to grips with online retailing, streaming and the threat of the likes of Amazon.
As T3.com noted, HMV never really prioritised online and Amazon and Play filled the gap, while the stores have barely changed in the past 10 years and don’t stay open at convenient hours for many customers. To quote Which, Online shoppingis cheaper, faster and easier – and that’s hard to compete with when you’re chasing consumer spend.
It’s perhaps a little simplistic to completely blame the internet for the woes of HMV, Blockbusters and camera shop Jessops, but online was a common thread linking all three insolvencies – both in terms of products offered and the experience (or lack of) with the collapsed retailers’ own online sites.
Photo-sharing app Instagram moved assure fears of an exodus from the app when it released its latest user figures. The popular smartphone app, which was snapped up by Facebook last year, had caused a backlash when it announced changes to its Terms of Service, which initially suggested that Instagram would sell photos on the site to advertisers.
Instagram rolled back on this and despite many users vowing to boycott the service, the photo-sharing site’s users have continue to rise, with 90 million active users, 40m photos uploaded per day, and 8,500 likes on Instagram per second.
The updated ToS went live on Saturday and so far there doesn’t appear to have been any adverse reaction, although competitors have taken advantage over the privacy row, with Techcrunch highlighting Berlin-based social photo and filter app EyeEm rising to second position in the US iPhone charts for photo and video, and doubling their Twitter following.
Any competitor still has quite a way to go to usurp Instagram in the photo-sharing market though. Although Instagram pictures no longer display direct into Twitter, it still has a growing community – led by the adoption of celebrities such as Rihanna – and has the might of Facebook behind it.
Snow joke for wintery conversation
A flurry of the white stuff is always guaranteed to drive online conversation, whether it’s rating snowfall in the local area with the #uksnow hashtag, sharing pictures on social media, or liveblogs on the weather from every news organisation.
One of our favourites came from Ruder Finn’s very own Joanna Hirst, as featured in the Evening Standard’s liveblog. It looks like the Queen joined in the rest of the nation by underestimating just how cold it was outside…
Remember, “sharing is caring”, so leave a comment below and get involved with the conversation. Until next week…. Gary (@garyandrews).
Having spent most of my childhood and adolescence in Basel and enjoyed its proximity to the Alps, the peace and quiet of the countryside, and secretly loving how punctual the Swiss are, I really have to vouch for the city and all it has to offer.
But my affection for Basel is not shared by my colleagues who travel there on business and moan about the outdated 80s music played in cabs and bars, the abundance of stereotypical English pubs, and lack of culture.
With this in mind, here’s a list of fun things to do while in Basel on business.
Bar Rouge - On the 31st floor of the Messeturm, the tallest building in Switzerland. It offers amazing views of France, Germany and Switzerland and has an impressive cocktail list.
Noohn - This trendy Japanese restaurant and bar is popular with young professionals and is a far cry from your stereotypical English pub. It offers warm sake and sushi, along with other delicacies and has a great roof terrace.
Kunsthalle - A little known fact about Basel is that the city has the highest density of museums in Switzerland. One of these is the Kunsthalle, which is centrally located and has a number of great Swiss and international works on display. During the winter months, the inner courtyard is turned into a public ice rink.
Basler Münster - Situated next to the Rhine, overlooking the city, the Munster was originally built as a Catholic cathedral but has since been converted to a Protestant church. Like many buildings in Basel, the Munster dates back to the 11th century. It is also the resting place of Desiderius Erasmus and provides great views of the city.
“Münschter-Fähri” - A great feature of Basel are the four wooden ferries situated along the Rhine. The ferries are pushed across the Rhine by the water current and are a great alternative to walking across the bridge. Although they aren’t free (approx. 2 CHFs from previous experience) they can also be rented by the hour in the evenings should you wish to host some drinks onboard.
So if you’re Under Pressure in your meeting, make sure you Wake Up Before You Go-Go andsee some of the sights. You’ll soon be saying, ‘I Just Can’t Get Enough’ of Basel!
We also realised that many of you like it as much as we do so we thought we would offer help to inhouse people looking to back up their bookmarks and help move them to an alternative system. If you would like to talk about your wider social media needs and how we can help you then so much the better.
I think it was Bill Gates who pointed out that people often over-estimate the impact of technologies in the short-term and under-estimate them in the longer term. 25 years ago if you’d have told a typical yuppie holding a Dom Jolly-esque mobile phone that one day even primary school children and the homeless would have mobile phones you would have been laughed at, but it has come to pass.
Becky asked me to pull some predictions together last year which can be found here and get a rough idea of my record of success (or the lack of it) in my virtual crystal gazing. So I thought I would have another go at it this year.
As Bill recognised there is a real difficulty in squeezing things into a 12 month time frame. Key factors that I think may influence things include:
Whether the western world as a whole will go into the second dip of a double-dip recession. I think that will be increasingly likely for a number of reasons: growing inflation in China, a Republican majority in Congress which will be fighting President Obama on issues like tax cuts and welfare reform, UK government spending cutbacks together with likely interest rises and government-sanctioned inflation will crush UK growth, as for the Eurozone it’s anyone’s guess at the moment
A second reason is the amount of law suits currently under way between many of the major players currently shaping the future of mobile devices. Whilst they could win in the marketplace, they could be just as easily shutdown in the law courts. I don’t see compromise happening in a lot of cases simply because so many of them have too much to lose. Microsoft is out there fighting for relevance in the fast-approaching mobile future, Apple could see its major growth areas in tablet computing and smartphones wiped out by the courts and Nokia is struggling to stay alive
Net neutrality and intellectual property legislation could throw a spanner in the works:
Ed Vaizey recently declared the end of net neutrality in the UK at the FT World Telecommunications conference and although there will be a lot of political shellacking it will get steam-rolled through. This boils down to walking away from a free market for online services. Unlike the Digital Economy Act, this is a potential money spinner for both large media companies and large ISPs so will feature little corporate lobbying against it save from Google, possibly joined by Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo!. Its also an issue that most politicians don’t understand the significance of so will likely do as their told by the whips. I expect that parliamentary digital evangelist and MP Tom Watson won’t make any headway on this and Ofcom or its equivalent will smile and nod indulgently at the Open Rights group but pay no real attention. The UK is likely to be used as an ‘example’ by lobbyists looking to secure similar measures elsewhere
Implementation of ACTA could put a break on internet and technology innovation as it puts old media rights ahead of new realities of a digital world and consumer protection concepts like fair use which were established during the late 20th and early 21st century. It could have as big an impact as the Multi-Fibre Arrangement had on the textile industry in the late 20th century. In many ways the analogy is similar, an old uncompetitive industry had protective barriers to help it change or adapt in an orderly manner rather than getting washed away by new cheaper threats. Except ACTA is more about moderating the market flow between the media industry versus new online services rather than the flow of trade around the world in the geographic sense. Whole areas of innovation will now be out of bounds
Enough excuses, 2011 predictions
I suspect that this will be Facebook’s best year ever, however its future beyond 2011 will be significantly influenced by Facebook Messaging. Facebook has a challenge. In order for it it to make money it needs to be able to target advertisements effectively and it has to have active members. There are a number challenges to the activeness of Facebook members:
Privacy concerns are starting to bite, as danah boyd talked about earlier this year. Add into this consumers increasing awareness of the economic impact that overly frank imagery can have
Facebook is being seen by its audience as a utility. Many Facebook users log-on to do specific tasks such as find out and respond to event invitations or play Farmville. It’s arguable whether these are truly active engaged Facebook users
Inactive members are a dead-weight that take up storage space on their systems. Individually that cost is not significant but with a large amount of inactive users it starts to cost on a number of fronts: less compelling content to vend advertisements against, less eyeballs to vend advertisements to all adversely affect advertising revenue and then the direct associated storage cost of the inactive profile.
I think that its no accident that the likes of Zynga have been expanding their wings beyond Facebook. Facebook can’t use the stick of kicking out inactive profiles mainly because this would cause dissonance from active members who would see their precious friend numbers decline. Facebook, connect, like and share is about data gathering primarily, though like also makes your Facebook profile look more active than it really is – in this respect it is a shell game that advertisers will eventually wise up to.
Facebook messaging is interesting because IF consumers adopt it, they will be checking in on a regular basis and their communications can be mined for advertisement targeting purposes. So 2011 will be make or break time for Facebook Messaging and the future of the social network as a successful business.
2011 will be make-or-break for Twitter. 2011 should start to see the fruits of Dick Costolo’s efforts to provide a clear long-term vision for Twitter and execute on it. Costolo should be able to formulate a vision by the end of this year and start executing in 2011, whilst Twitter is popular there is still considerable room for future audience growth.
Coupons – the economic condition means that coupons aren’t likely to go away though there will be a thinning out of competition in this field. On the face of it Groupon should be a big winner at least in the US because of its fast-growing audience. I expect that some marketers will get vocal about educating consumers to expect discounts as this diminishes the power of brands, but then many GroupOn clients will be small or medium-sized enterprises more bothered about survival through having an adequate cash-flow.
Gadget sales will have peaked in 2010. A combination of inflation in China, rising interest rates in many countries and the second arm of a double-dip recession I suspect that gadget sales will only be on a par with 2010 or slightly lower rather than showing further growth.
Generation-y will have to suck it up. Up until now generation-y have been pandered to by parents marketers and pundits; however large unemployment numbers and employers having a whip-hand will force them to suck it up in a similar way to what generation-x went through before them. In the same way that the public sector was the miracle market demographic during 2008-to-mid-2010 boomers will be that demographic for 2011. Not having to pay mortgage payments (which are likely to rise) or rent (which is already rising), they are likely to have a better disposable income than most, although many of them may end up being The Bank of Gen-Y so they may not be the saviour that many brands would be looking for.
I am a big fan of Delicious and noticed that they had been tweaking the ’save window’ interface. The result provided an elegant experience, though I was thrown by the tags box being moved above the (now much smaller) notes box. The way in which tags are suggested seems to be faster and more elegant.
I grabbed a screen shot of what I could, the box looks out of proportion with a lot of white space as Delicious hasn’t resized the amount of screen real-estate that the Delicious toolbar claims when you press the ‘tag’ button. The team at Delicious have published a great blog post outlining their thinking on the redesign: the key takeaway for me being that I am obviously much more verbose than most users in the notes field. This is cross-posted from my personal blog.