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)
The hope of holding a blue touch-screen-handset vanished within the first two minutes of the latest Facebook event, where Zuckerberg surprised the audience unveiling its apperating system Facebook Home.
As the name suggests, Facebook Home is essentially the new home screen of your smartphone. From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos as well as notifications and buttons to access your essentials.
Moreover, you can keep chatting with friends, even when you’re using other apps, which means Facebook now comes before and with everything else you do on your phone.
If you were hoping for something a bit more tangible don’t despair. The good news is that you won’t need to purchase a new smartphone, as Facebook Home will be available for almost any Android device on the market, as well as coming preinstalled on the new HCT First.
Facebook chose Android because of its malleability and openness.
With that being said, can we expect to see Facebook Home show up in the iOS App Store anytime soon?
The Facebook’s CEO admits he would like to be able to deliver Facebook Home there as well, but he’s aware that Apple is adamant about controlling the entire user experience.
Do you think Facebook Home will ever come to iOS? And that perhaps Apple will be more laissez faire towards Facebook?
Ever come across something that you really like on the Internet and felt that a thumb-up wasn’t quite enough?
What about expressing your appreciation with a little incentive?
See.me, a new social network for creative people and people who like looking at what creative people make, lets users express their delight and even contribute with tips of $1, $7, or a dollar amount an artist picks.
However, CEO William Etundi Jr. makes clear that the social network is not aiming to be a marketplace and is not trying to replicate the work that Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites are doing.
So far nothing new, but here comes the interesting stuff.
See.me’s business model also has a social side, as it requires its artists to spend a few dollars supporting other users before they can start accepting tips themselves.
This is what Etundi believes will make its See.me cooler than other crowdsourcing sites out there and create what he call a “fluid social economy”.
Will See.me be able to cut through the thick canvas of countless crowd-funding sites?
If you’re looking for creative ideas here is something you might want to pin.
After only three years from its launch, Pinterest has attracted over 48 million users and become one of the most popular social networks.
Thanks to its openness and flexibility the social platform has managed to move from a virtual inspiration board to an effective marketing tool that allows its users to turn their creativity into interesting contests and effective campaigns.
No matter what size your business is, if you are planning to incorporate Pinterest in your social media portfolio here are some innovative ways to make the best of it, ranging from the UNICEF team pinning through the eyes of a fictional 13-year-old girl from Sierra Leone who “Really Want These” common objects such as water, soap and shoes; to Pinterest’s own behind-the-scenes board that offers a glimpse into what it’s like to run one the most popular social networks out there.
Differently from other big social networks, that are still struggling to monetise their efforts, Pinterest seems to know exactly where is going. Furthermore, now that it has launched its own analytic tool, Pinfluencer, Pinterest is ready to compete head to head with Facebook and Twitter.
Is your business using Pinterest? Join the conversation and share your creative ideas.
But when the most popular brand on the world’s largest social networks says that the social buzz had a measly 0.01% impact on its sales, it does make you think twice about your investments in social channels.
If you’re already thinking to get rid of your digital division, then, you may want to get to the end of the article first.
Coca Cola emphasised that the study was related to a set of brands in a particular company within a certain segment of the consumer-packaged-goods industry. Therefore, it is by no means a generalised result that applies to all industries.
Moreover, Coca-Cola doesn’t have any plans to scale back its social efforts and they suggest that the long-term effects of social media are far more important than short-term sales.
Despite social media being still far from proving its ability to drive sales, the hype around it keeps growing. Hence, such reports are important to keep businesses, and the market itself, grounded in reality.
Do you think social media is just another bubble? And looking ahead, do you think Coca Cola’s figures will change once Facebook Graph Search takes off?
Leave a comment below and let us know your honest opinion on social media.
Facebook may know how you feel about your home but it doesn’t seem to know much about interior design, as Android users may not be particularly enthusiastic to see their phones turning blue.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on Facebook’s latest technology, or if you are an iPhone user (nothing personal here), leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. Till next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
According to the president of the European commission Manuel Barroso, coding and the understanding of programming languages is quickly climbing the ladder of the most requested skills by employers.
The freeiPadapp pits two robots against each other in a battle arena, where each user takes turns coding increasingly complex instructions to move and use weapons.
This is very much inline with what FreeFormers, one of our clients, is doing.
They are a social enterprise, driven by a one-for-one business model, which, as the name says, teaches teenagers how to code for free every time a business signs up for one of their trainings.
What’s your idea about coding games and training for teens? Is this the future of education?
Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Have you ever found yourself pondering over the name of an actor or song while watching a film?
Those days will soon be over, asGoogle’s Movies and TV app will include a new feature known as “info cards”, which relies on Google’s Knowledge Graph to give greater insight into your favourite actors, films and shows.
By tapping on an actor’s face you’ll be able to learn more about him, his age, place of birth, his character in the movie, and his recent work, or scroll through the info cards to learn more about the movie or soundtrack.
However, at least for now, not everyone will benefit form the new Google app, as the “info cards” will work only on movies watched on anAndroidtablet.
If your planning to buy a tablet, would “info cards” influence you purchase?
Let us know what you think about it, regardless of whether you’re an iOS or an Android fan.
The Internet is currently suffering under the largest cyber-attack ever, which seems to have slowed down the traffic and sites across the World Wide Web.
The attack follows a conflict between Spamhaus and Cyberbunker, a Dutch hosting company.
Spamhaus maintains lists of servers that are known to be used for illicit or malicious uses. These lists are then used by ISPs around the world in order to block access from those places to the wider net.
On the other hand, Cyberbunker is willing to host on its servers pretty much anything but child porn and terrorism related stuff, which has gain the company the reputation of spam’s heaven.
Spamhaus has added those servers to its block listings and this seems to have annoyed some people who are now conducting denial of service attacks against it.
But there’s a bright side to this huge cyber attack. Despite it causing great disruptions, it’s likely it’ll motivate the security industry to take more serious action on the open DNS issue.
What’s your take on this? Do you think Cyberbunker I s responsible for the attack? Or do you believe Spamhaus doesn’t have the right to tell what’s acceptable and what’s not on the Internet?
Just when we were starting to recover from the recent ‘loss’ of Google Reader, Twitter announces it’ll discontinue another of our favorite tech services: TweetDeck for mobile. Twitterwill remove its older TweetDeck apps from their respective app stores in May but it hasn’t yet said whether it’ll replace it with a new app.
Furthermore, the web-based service version of the app will loose its Facebook integration, but Twitter hasn’t provided any details on why and when this will happen.
If, so far, you had eyes only for TweetDeck, do not panic. There are many worthy alternatives that will allow you to keep track of your tweets and, perhaps, even mend your broken social heart.
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)
Struggling to stay up to date with what’s new in the rapidly changing world of mHealth? INSIDE mHealth is the monthly round up from RFI delivering the latest news, trends, facts and stats direct to your screen.
From the best apps to the latest NHS news to most Re-tweeted tweets, INSIDE mHealth has got it all covered. Here is your chance to take a look INSIDE the trend that is reshaping our healthcare system and our lives as patients.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary will launch the project for a paperlessNHS on Wednesday, which will see patients’ medical details going digital and becoming sharable between all parts of the health andsocial careservices.
This project could save nearly £5bn a year and, most importantly, should improve patient care and save lives.
The multibillion-pound scheme, however, is likely to raise concerns about a repeat of the fiasco over the NHS database, set up by the previous Labour government and scrapped by the coalition in 2011 after more than £6bn of public money had been spent.
Moreover, details of 25 million people claiming child benefit werelost by HM Revenue and Customsin 2007, hence the plan will succeed only if it’ll focus on reassuring/convincing patients that their records will be kept private.
mHealth is growing at a tremendous rate and undoubtedly has the potential to revolutionise healthcare services around the globe. As with many emerging sectors, a vital area to get right is regulation. This report just launched by Vodafone Global Enterprises takes a look at this critical subject.
According to Blair Reeves from IBM, writing in The Guardian, donors must let healthcare consumers in emerging markets show us the future of mHealth innovation, not the other way around. According to Reeves outsiders should take a big step back and look at what is already happening in developing countries and the global health community should place a much larger priority on mobile health business models that work for providers and patients and help share these technologies more broadly. Examples of these business models are Apollo Hospitals Group in India and Grameenphone’s Health Line Product in Bangladesh.
The company last week unveiled Cisco HealthPresence 2.5, a software-driven version of its telemedicine platform that enables providers to build their own network with the tools at hand. The new solution is designed to enable standards-based connectivity to third-party medical devices and videoconferencing services, as well as flexibility in choosing hardware and deployment resources.
“This is not just a ‘nice-to-have’ solution any more,” said Wes Wright, senior vice president and chief information officer at Seattle Children’s hospital.
It allows you to create new books of business, as the telemedicine program is enabling clinicians to confer with patients before a hospital visit. It’s already in use in some schools and it may soon be adopted in prisons too.
One of the prevailing myths about mHealth is that it doctors aren’t adopting it because they fear it will replace them.
According to Patty Mechael, PhD, MHS, executive director of the mHealth Alliance the doctor role will not disappear but rather it will change for the better, as mHealth technology will enable them to deal more with acute cases than with the routine types.
Furthermore, writes, Mechael, devices will be used for preventive work and diagnostics, but clinicians are still needed to translate the data recorded on those devices and to make clinical decisions for their patients.
In addition, patients will have a more targeted interaction with the health system where and when it’s needed. Hence, doctors shouldn’t fear loosing they jobs as face-to-face interaction will always be required in more severe cases.
WHO TO FOLLOW
British twitterers who are driving the mhealth conversation
THIS MONTH MOST RE-TWEETED
drchrono Enters Patient Portal Business As Google Health Shuts Down http://t.co/EOcRd6ur #ehr #emr #healthit #mhealth #medicalrecords
16 Jan 2013 (3057 estimated RTs)
Increasing trends in tracking health indicators using smartphone apps http://t.co/CGYO10Dw #mhealth #ehealth
28 Jan 2013(90 estimated RTs)
“The smartphone is no longer just a portable computer …. It has become the remote control for your life.” http://t.co/vwEIMDtC #mHealth
Struggling to stay up to date with what is new in the rapidly changing world of mHealth? INSIDE mHealth in the new weekly round up from RFI delivering the latest news, trends, facts and stats direct to your screen.
This week INSIDE mHealth highlights include the latest news from CES, predictions on the big innovations set to hit in 2013 and how prosthetic limbs will soon be talking to your mobile:
2013 will be the year that Google Glasses will hit the market creating the possibility of delivering data and digital information direct to healthcare professionals in the operating room.
Smartphone apps get evidence based background: There are more and more studies focusing on whether certain smartphone apps and concepts can be used in medicine and healthcare, hence, doctors should soon be able to prescribe mobile apps for their patients besides drugs and therapies.
No hospital can live without social media accounts: This has been a clear trend for a couple of years and now every hospital manager needs to understand the importance of using social networks to keep in touch with (future) patients.
Reachability is the term that is used for when our devices are on but we aren’t using them – we are ‘reachable’. This concept is considered the primary reason for the rapid adoption of the newest mass media and needs to be understood by everyone developing mHealth services.
Magellan has introduced their latest galileoTM connected lower limb prosthetics. The technology provides a total new mobile patient- care provider experience by sending constant feedback from the limb to the patient’s mobile and care provider’s device.
Mobile Healthcare, or mHealth, it’s a rising topic of interest, which promises to change the way we manage our health, cut NHS costs and improve the quality of healthcare services. But is mHealth set to last or will it disappear as soon as the excitement around it starts fading?
Here are some thoughts.
Fist of all it’s important to understand the scope of this new trend and identify whether people perceive it positively and as something that will make their lives easier.
Emma Sinden, head of Corporate and Technology at Ruder Finn, explains that the RF’s 2012 mHealthreport discovered that mobile phones, which are the most widespread form of communication in the world (in the UK 51% of the people own one), are providing a real opportunity to revolutionise the healthcare system. Although health and lifestyle apps are currently among the least used (9%), smart-phone and tablet users have expressed their desire for apps that help them manage practical aspects of healthcare such as booking an appointment with their GP (42%), accessing test results (31%) and medical record (30%).
Introducing mobile healthcare is not as easy as it sounds. Patients, or consumers, are not the only cog in the highly regulated healthcare wheel; the government, the NHS staff, app developers and private healthcare providers also play a vital role in determining what shape and direction mobile healthcare is going to take.
The panel speakers attending the event, including Dr Tom Barber, Christopher J. James, Owen Booth and Jon Hoeksma, suggested that in order to get a clearer picture of what mHelath is, it’s important to pay attention to some key areas, such as current trends in app development and usage, R&D, the role of mHealth in service delivery and the obstacles to widespread use of mHealth due to regulations and confidentiality.
It seems that the current trend in app development is that developers create apps and launch them in the marketwithout consultation with GPs and patients; hence, without knowing what is wanted from a health and lifestyleapp.
In light of this, Owen Booth from Diabetes UK states that “social media plays an important role in the development of mHealth” as it facilitates asking users exactly what their expectations are in terms of features, functionality and usability.
So what do people expect from mobile healthcare?
Dr Barber of the University of Warwick / UHCW says that confidentiality is key to the successful adoption of mHealth technologies. As expected, users fear for their privacy when submitting their personal details to the app provider, especially when providing very personal information about their health.
Data management, security and connectivity are also keyelements for the development of mHealth apps. However, these will require an infrastructure and regulations to be put in place as, for instance, smartphones and apps are not currently legally recognised as a medical device.
On the other hand Jon Hoeksma argues that changing mindsets is a bigger issue than infrastructures and that there shouldn’t be the presumption that all patient-healthcare interactions should be face-to-face.
This is could be true, but it leads to the question what services mHealth can and cannot provide.
The panel agreed that for a diagnosis, face-to-face interaction will always be vital. Moreover, people suffering from diseases such asdiabetes are not only physically unwell but often have emotional, psychosocial and social issues that can’t necessarily be addressed by apps.
On the other hand, “for physiological measurements, such blood pressure and insulin levels, the limit of mHealth is currently only technological and it is only a matter of time before our mobile devices will be able to generate such measurements”, says Professor James.
However, it is not just about the app and technology but also about people, as apps require patients to input their own data. Long-term conditions tend to appear in older patients who are usually not as familiar with new technologies and could struggle to enter their own data. Hence, minimal user input, icons and the engagement of relatives will be paramount for the adoption of mHealth by elderly patients. Furthermore, “you can have the best app in the world but you need NHS admin to support it if you want it to work”, says Dr Barber. The NHS is a huge and highly regulated organisation; therefore the adoption of mHealth could become very difficult and slow without strong input from the government.
The government has appeared to be slightly reluctant in investment and support so far. However, this isn’t because it’s against mHealth, but rather because it was waiting to create the perfect conditions for it to happen, say Professor James and Jon Hoeksma. The aging population is placing ever increasing pressure on the healthcare system and mHealth represents a chance for the government to give people more responsibility for managing their own health. For this reason all the speakers agree that 2013 will be a big year for mHealth as the government is keen for this channel to grow.
Now that all the elements are coming together what will be the next step for mHealth?
The feeling is that there isn’t only one path to go down but rather several approaches that should be taken to ensure the growth of mHelth.
First of all, developing an app can be as cheap as £30k. Hence, it’s important to keep launching new mHelath apps in order to get useful feedback and push technological development.
Also, collaborative events like ‘The future of mHealth’ are vital as they allow different parts of the mHelath ecosystem to commutate and establish new agreements.
Lastly and most importantly, mHealth needs the main stakeholders such as the NHS, pharma companies and private healthcare providers to invest in a big money project that bring together its many elements. This will establish a first framework for mHealth and will pave the way for the improvement of new infrastructures and technologies as well as the creation of a new mobile healthcare regulatory paradigm.
It seems like there is a tremendous potential for innovation and creative ideas regarding not only mobile devises but also other channels of upcoming technologies such as smart TVs. Cameras and movement sensors could revolutionise the interaction between patients and GPs, as well as help preparing A&E and surgeons for those patients being brought in by paramedics.
The challenges are many but the expectations are high and, although we are still in a beta-testing phase, there is a strong feeling that mHealth is here to stay and change the status quo. So, what would you like to do to take control of you own health?
For further information on ‘The Future of Mobile Healthcare’ check out the tweets from the event (using #RFmHealth) and the 2012 RF| mHealth presentation.
I suspect the news my smartphone will soon turn into my doctor is exaggerated. While a consultation with my phone will always be easier to arrange than an appointment with my GP, I know for a fact that even the techiest among us still want to see a living, breathing, qualified person when they’re under the weather.
I say this with confidence as this is one of the key findings from the first ever mHealth report by Ruder Finn. The report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 smartphone and tablet users, shows that while there’s an appetite for healthcare applications, and consumers generally love a good app, developers of health applications have not convinced the public of this kind of app’s value to them. The survey’s results show that apps for social media, games and news are the most popular with users of smartphones and tablets; healthy living apps languish in last place in terms of popularity.
The survey, conducted on our behalf by pollster YouGov, reveals some interesting links between type of device and the likelihood of the user to use health & lifestyle apps. The research suggests apps that help take away some of the pain associated with healthcare – booking appointments and getting hold of test results for example – are more popular than those to actually manage health. Our results suggested a great deal of caution around apps to help patients manage long term health conditions – significantly even among those suffering from chronic disease/ health problems. These findings may come as a disappointment to the World Health Organization, which along with The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is launching an mHealth initiative to help combat noncommunicable diseases, based on the fact that mHealth is cost effective, scalable and sustainable.
In our survey, there is a difference between the generations and the impact that might have on app usage. While 75% of respondents between 25-34 owned a smartphone fewer than 30% in the 55+ category did. Although everyone accesses healthcare it’s usually the oldest among us who use it most. It will be interesting to see how usage patterns change as the gamers and Tweeters of today get older.
This is a guest post by Brittany Medeiros who is interning with us for a couple of months. Brittany is a recent communications graduate from the University of Connecticut. Brittany share her thoughts below on how the recent Apple announcements at WWDC earlier this week will affect marketers over the coming months:
On 11 June, 2012, Apple released some of their new products and upgrades that will be available to customers in the coming months. The hot new item will be an updated version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro complete with a new slimmer and lighter design. This will be the lightest MacBook ever, coming close in size to the popular MacBook Air. Software updates were another highlight with the Os X Mountain Lion being released in July and the iOS 6 to be available in the fall. Mountain Lion will have iCloud as a standard feature, making it easier than ever for users to sync all of their Apple products. Siri will be improved with the iOS 6, now being able to support more languages. iOS 6 will also have a new map application that enables navigation and 3D flyover imagery.
One of the changes made to the MacBook Pro is an improved retina display with over 5 million megapixels. This means better graphics with a crisp, clearer picture. Marketers can use these enhancements to their advantage. With new Apple products producing a better picture, advertisers might want to go for more visual adverts. The graphic capabilities give marketers the chance to use creative imagery to support their products and services, rather than text based promotions. Along with the advanced retina display comes increased speed and storage. Not only can marketers use complex images, but they also have the opportunity to become interactive with their public. Adverts that can be customized to the consumer’s needs are possible due to the increase in technology. This allows companies to become more personal with their publics and as a result more successful.
Mountain Lion will add a range of new applications available to consumers while also improving some of the old ones. Now more than ever marketers want to get involved with apps whether it be creating one for their company or putting advertising in existing ones. Consumers rely heavily on the use of apps for everything from information to entertainment, making it a prime resource for reaching the public.
iOS 6 is going to add over 200 new features to Apple’s mobile operating system. This increase with technology will have consumers relying on their phones and tablets more than ever before. Currently, mobile sites are not aesthetically pleasing and are often difficult to navigate. Marketers should take another look at their companies’ mobile sites and make them more user-friendly because this will now become a practical way to reach consumers. The new map application is an opportunity for marketers to make their companies visual to the public. Marketers will want to ensure that the branches of their company are clear points on the map. This gives users a tangible location and the knowledge of how to seek out their products and services.
With Siri’s added language capabilities, marketers can reach out to publics that might have been unattainable in the past. Siri bridges the language gap between company and consumer, and promotions can go global in a way that was never possible before. Specifically, iOS 6 will have new features for China and Chinese-speaking consumers. There will be a built in support for Chinese websites and users are given the possibility to read, write, and translate into their native language. China is a dominating force in the consumer market, therefore, reaching China means reaching an influential public. What marketers can now do is create Chinese specific websites and applications that will increase interaction between Western brands and Chinese consumers.
A new application that will change the face of travel and retail companies alike is Passbook. This app can register airline tickets, movie tickets, retail coupons and loyalty cards. It opens up a window of opportunity for airline companies, theatre companies, and other retailers such as Starbucks that offer loyalty cards to their customers. The big selling point of Passbook is convenience. Tickets have become digital, which means stress-free travel. Brands can market the ease of using their cards or going to the cinema. Consumers want simple and marketing for companies such as British Airways can now give that to them.
Guided Access will now be available on iOS 6. This makes iPhones and iPads user-friendly for consumers with disabilities ranging from Autism to visual impairment. Marketing companies now have a direct way to access the disabled public in a way that is geared towards their specific needs. Company advertisements and applications can be created in a way that is promotional, while also being understandable. This is a revolutionary way to reach those who may have been a difficult target to access in the past.
In the fall, Facebook will be integrated into the applications on Mountain Lion. Users will have the ability to share or “like” posts without ever leaving the app. Notifications will go directly onto the user’s Notification Centre on their desktop. Status updates can also be made from the desktop. Facebook friends’ information will be placed into contacts along with profile pictures, and when a friend updates their info it will automatically be changed in the contact section. This will almost entirely eliminate the need to open a web browser and log onto Facebook. Advertising on Facebook using side bar or banner adverts may no longer be an effective tactic. Marketing will need to go directly into applications rather than relying on browsers such as Chrome to send their messages.
All of the increases in software and technology Apple has released will change the way marketers work and interact with the public. Companies have advantages and opportunities that have never been available before. With technology paving the way of the future, marketing is rapidly following behind.
This is reposted from my personal blog. When the latest Microsoft results came out one of the biggest drags on it was losses made by the company’s online services business; specifically the search product Bing.
Google has had an immense head start in building the best search engine (at least for Roman-based languages), it has built up an unrivaled search index, crawling mechanism and a search algorithm that goes through a complete iteration every three years or so according to Steven Levy’s In The Plex. The technical and audience experience challenge that Bing faces is akin to American car companies who woke up to Toyota and Volkswagen having changed the rules of motor manufacture and struggled to catch up as their German and Japanese rivals continued to further improve.
That isn’t to say that Google is unbeatable: Russian company Yandex, Korean company Naver and China’s Baidu have all managed to build search engines that better match the needs of their markets, but no one company has managed to challenge Google across markets.
When I was at Yahoo! we managed to build a search engine that provided a search experience that was as good in terms of relevance of the queries as what Google had to offer. But being just as good is not enough. Google isn’t just a search engine, its a habit, people look there automatically as routine and this is hard to break.
I find it hard to remember a time searching before Google, I remember that I used to use Excite, HotBot and AltaVista depending on what I was looking for and would ‘work’ the search engines to dig up what I wanted. Some time in 1998/9 I was reading a website (I think it may have been Wired or WebMonkey) came across Google and never went back. It was that good. Bob Cringely wrote that in order for us to make that change we have to perceive something to be 10 times better. Bing has never got anywhere close.
Many of the ‘innovations that Bing brought to the table were ‘borrowed’ from Ask.com, like its trade dress. Lycos Europe’s IQ service and Yahoo! both did really interesting stuff with social search; which is exceptionally prescient of Google’s more recent efforts (and involves some of the same people like Bradley Horowitz) but due to user experience and the brands not having ‘permission’ from consumers to be truly innovative; didn’t gain the level of acceptance they should have deserved. Ask had a really hot algorithmic search engine in Teoma (which I still use occasionally), but again it never got the audience it deserved.
So Bing has to work harder and pay more money to gain the traffic that it has:
Working with mobile carriers like Verizon to be the default search engine on the company’s mobile phones, paying media sites to have Bing as their search box
Arranging for a PC manufacturer to set Bing up as the default search engine on the internet browser that they supply as part of the software on PCs that they sell
Arranging for a Bing toolbar to be bundled with free-to-download software (like Adobe Acrobat reader)
The second problem that Microsoft seems to have (looking at both the online services division and the financial performance of Yahoo!) is that it is failing to monetise those audiences it has effectively. There are still too many searches happening with no relevant advertisements displayed alongside the organic results.
From a financial perspective, just how bad is it?
Well according to a Business Insider analysis piece written at the end of April:
Bing is paying about 3X as much for every incremental search query as it generates in revenue from that query.
What does that mean?
It means that for every $1 Microsoft generates from each new search query it buys, it spends $3 to get it.
(And that’s just direct costs–the costs of obtaining and processing the query. It doesn’t include sales and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative costs–all of which are subtracted from the -$2 Microsoft has already lost on every new query.)
And Microsoft is in a rather unique position to distribute Bing as the default search engine on Internet Explorer with many Windows PCs, otherwise gaining access to search audiences could come at an even higher cost.
If Microsoft was to sell Bing, who could buy it?
Hypothetically speaking, if Microsoft decided to sell Bing, there aren’t that many people that have the deep pockets, chutzpah or knowhow to take advantage of it, but here is a list of some of the more likely candidates:
Alibaba: whilst Jack Ma is a super-smart business man; he has enough problems extracting Yahoo! Inc. from his current business rather than acquiring Baidu
Aol: is in a similar position to Yahoo! in many respects with not enough cash on hand to do the deal and too many things that they need to address internally to even consider a Bing purchase
Apple: has the money, but there isn’t the incentive or the expertise to take on the integration of the business into Apple and the leviathan of a challenge that whipping Bing into a product that Apple could be proud of
Baidu: Robin Li and the team at Baidu certainly have the smarts to take on Bing, the finance could be made available via various sources in China. Baidu has smarts in search; particularly non-roman languages which happens to be where the market growth is likely to be. In addition, Bing would be an ideal platform to bring Bing’s concepts of box computing to western consumer markets. Microsoft would have the problem that it wasn’t selling its search arm but empowering the next competitor to challenge it in the mobile and desktop operating system space with a Baidu acquisition. The biggest issue is would this pass muster with US politicians? As you would have a nexus of wounded US pride, high technology and the politicised issue of censorship. Throw in a couple of Google lobbyists for good measure, stand back and watch it burn
Facebook: could buy Bing and it could be attractive to Microsoft; particularly if the purchase was made with some Facebook equity included. But they don’t need to do it and the shifting of the focus could adversely affect investor sentiment towards the great satan of social
Google: wouldn’t be able to buy Bing because it would set off antitrust alarms throughout the western world
Naspers: the South African media company has a reputation for making smart investments in online properties and could add its brand to a larger consortium
NHN: The Korean owners of Naver understand search and could bring a new fresh approach to non-Roman language search but they just don’t have the revenue to do it on their own. They could still be a wildcard in a private equity-based bid
SK Group: South Korea’s largest conglomerate has a number of successful online services that search would dovetail into, however they are already committed to investments in developing markets like Vietnam and have been burned by US-based investments in the past like the Helio and lost out on a recent bid for Blockbuster Inc. to Dish Networks
Tencent Holdings Limited: As a major online property in China, Bing maybe desirable as a way to help combat the march of Baidu. However, it is uncertain that Tencent would have the relevant deep technical knowledge to turn Bing from costly millstone to world-beating search engine. Like Baidu Tencent would also come under US political scrutiny. One thing in their favour would be having Naspers as a major shareholder – so taking some of the sting out of the anti-Chinese rhetoric likely to fly around
Yahoo!: couldn’t afford it, is struggling to grow the existing business that it had and has dissipated its search talent around Silicon Valley thanks to Bartz & Icahn. It would be a strategic pivot too many and would likely get killed in a shareholder revolt if they could find someone to bank roll the deal
Softbank / Yahoo! Japan: Masayoshi Son is an exceptionally savvy business man. Bing would have to be about more than business: self actualisation. Yahoo! Japan snubbed Bing in favour of Google recently, a purchase of Bing could be awkward
Yandex: it is doubtful that the Russian search business could raise enough capital to take over Bing; if it did it would have its work cut out to turn Bing around in terms of market share. But they would have the smarts to increase profitability of what they already have
Private equity: in theory a company like KKR could make the relevant phone calls and round up funding to buy Bing at the right price. They would have to find a management team, a path to cut costs and find a clear marketing proposition to keep audiences. Finally private equity would want to have an exit; there wouldn’t be that many acquisitive buyers, so they would have to look at some sort of public offering
Why keep Bing?
One of the reasons that I was so surprised that Yahoo! gave up on search was that it is not only a business providing a potentially great contextual advertising point of view. It is also the glue or the mortar that holds online services together. Given that there are so many screens are now part of the internet experience: mobile, television and desktop – the mortar is going to be even more critical in the coming years as the binding agent for a larger eco-system.
With productivity suites moving into the cloud, search becomes the new file system (like Spotlight on the Mac desktop) and Office (or its future cloud sibling) is the core of Microsoft.