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The future of ‘everywhere ergonomic’ technology

IDG Connect 0811 The future of ‘everywhere ergonomic’ technology

It’s difficult to avoid adverts or news stories about the amazing technological feats the modern ‘intelligent car’ can perform. One of the most impressive is that a vehicle can now ‘know’ its position on the road, sense when it may be veering into another lane and transmit a warning vibration through the seat to jolt a drowsy driver into attention.

This type of technological innovation that makes our lives safer and easier to navigate is set to extend to the workplace. Already, there are smart chairs that measure our posture and how long we’ve been sitting, as well as smart work surfaces that know when we’re present.

In a recent interview with the Economist Intelligence Unit on ‘The Future of Work’, (sponsored byRicoh Europe), Alan Hedge, Director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University, points out that this type of technology is just the start, “we are at the very beginning of a revolution in ‘active’ objects and products that have sensors built into them.”

Professor Hedge terms this interaction between people and design technology ‘everywhere ergonomics’. While smart chairs and surfaces may not have made their way to all workplaces just yet, many people will already be using everywhere ergonomics at home. It’s only a matter of time before the boom in wearable devices begins to have a transformative effect on the workplace. Think back to how the widespread adoption of smartphones kick-started the shift to mobile working promised by portable computers years earlier. I believe this boom could be bigger.

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Mark Zuckerberg Q&A: The Full Interview on Connecting the World

Bloomberg Business

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has a big, expensive goal: to connect the world to the Internet. He spoke with Emily Chang about his plans, after returning from a trip through Southeast Asia and India last year as part of his Internet.org initiative. The interview airs Feb. 19 on Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

You are a year and half into this. Tell me your vision; tell me what inspired you to do this.

Zuckerberg: When people are connected, we can just do some great things. They have the opportunity to get access to jobs, education, health, communications. We have the opportunity to bring the people we care about closer to us. It really makes a big difference. The Internet is how we connect to the modern world, but today, unfortunately, only a little more than a third of people have access to the Internet at all. It’s about 2.7 billion people, and that means two-thirds of people don’t have any access to the Internet. So that seems really off to me.

There are all these studies that show that in developing countries, more than 20 percent of GDP growth is driven by the Internet. There have been studies that show if we connected a billion more people to the Internet, 100 million more jobs would be created, and more than that would be lifted out of poverty. So there is just this deep belief here at Facebook that technology needs to serve everyone. Connectivity just can’t be a privilege for people in the richest countries. We believe that connecting everyone in the world is one of the great challenges of our generation, and that’s why we are happy to play whatever small part in that that we can.

What has been your single greatest achievement, and what has been your biggest setback?

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Photoshop at 25: A Thriving Chameleon Adapts to an Instagram World

New York Times

The history of digital technology is full of innovations that are praised for having changed the world: the Mac, Microsoft Windows, the Netscape Navigator browser, the iPod and countless others. Then there are the many products that changed the world and were suddenly overtaken by some newer, supposedly better thing: the Mac, Microsoft Windows, Netscape Navigator, the iPod and countless others.

What’s rarer in tech is the product that causes major changes, hits turbulence and then, after some nimble adjustment, finds a surprising new audience.

This week is the 25th birthday of one such aging chameleon, Adobe Photoshop, an image-editing program that was created when we snapped pictures on film and displayed them on paper. It has not just survived but thrived through every major technological transition in its lifetime: the rise of the web, the decline of print publishing, the rise and fall of home printing and the supernova of digital photography.

Photoshop attained the rare status of a product that became a verb — like Google and Xerox. Along the way, it became a lightning rod for controversy because of, among other things, the way it can be used to turn women’s bodies into unnatural magazine-cover icons, or its use by propagandists and your casually mendacious social-networking buddies who doctor their vacation snaps.

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How To Produce Value and Revenue With Digital Video

American Press Institute

Digital video has become a market imperative — something every publisher must understand and do well, regardless of one’s history.

Consider three statistics:

  • More than 62 billion videos were viewed online in December 2014, according to data measurement company comScore.
  • Digital video advertising continues to skyrocket, up 56% in 2014 to reach $5.96 billion, according to eMarketer.
  • Cisco projects that video will account for 79 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.

David Plotz, former editor of Slate Magazine, says video is now “a necessary condition for almost any brand advertiser we’re working with.”

This “necessary condition,” however, is not so easily achieved, even for those whose professional roots lie in visual journalism. Like every new medium that’s come before, digital video is unique and evolving. It shapes technology and is shaped by technology. We’re learning as we go.

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The 3 Phases In The Life Of A Digital Marketer

Business2Community

What’s the future of social? Will you still be doing the job you’re doing now in five years? How will the role of social media change within companies? These are just a few of the questions we asked you during our survey. Our intent was to find out what you – social media and community managers, market researchers, PR executives, digital marketers and many more – see as the upcoming trends in social media and which challenges you face in your everyday work. Here’s what we found out!

We’ve split our respondents into three distinctive categories, based on their level of experience in the digital industry:

  • “The age of innocence” – “newbies” have been working in the field for up to a year
  • “The age of disillusionment” – mid-level with one to up to five years of experience
  • “The age of enlightenment” – those who can look back on more than 5 years of experience

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White Papers Preferred By B2B Tech Buyers

MediaPost

According to a recent report from Eccolo Media, product brochures are frequently consumed and highly valued by B2B technology buyers. The survey, based on data from people responsible for influencing or making B2B technology buying decisions, said that 57% of respondents had looked at product brochures/data sheets from B2B technology vendors in the past six months, the most engagement with any content type.

Other commonly consumed content types read in the previous 6 months are:

  • Emails from vendors (52%)
  • White papers (52%)
  • Competitive vendor worksheets (42%)
  • Case studies/success stories (42%)

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Technology’s biggest challenge is how to connect with people

South China Morning Post

The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will extend the sphere of IT even further into everyday life

The word “technology” leaves many people cold, but its pervasive presence in daily life is only going to make it even more important.

Individuals, businesses, governments and countries are completely dependent on information technology to drive greater productivity and efficiencies.

The challenge for the information technology industry is how to make this dependence more enjoyable and intuitive for users to access content and applications.

This is imperative because in 2015, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will extend the sphere of IT even further into everyday life. The premise for IoT is that devices of any nature can now be interconnected and used to communicate with each other or with humans in real-time, enabling a raft of new possibilities around data, new ways of interacting and new services.

IoT will be big in 2015, with research firm Gartner predicting 4.9 billion “connected things” to be in use, up 30 per cent from 2014.

Every possible device imaginable is being connected in some way, from Bluetooth-enabled toothbrushes to medical devices, cameras, printers and of course the many wearables that are hitting the market. The reality of a hyper-connected world is here today.

In the business world, Gartner predicts IoT will digitize everything and enable any industry to manage, monetize, operate and extend products, services and data.

Researchers at IDC make similar predictions, forecasting rapid expansion of the traditional IT industry into areas not typically viewed as within IT’s universe.

The whole electronics industry, city-wide infrastructure, auto and transport systems as well as the home, are just a few examples of where IoT is disrupting operations today.

IDC predicts that IoT spending will exceed US$1.7 trillion in 2015, up 14 per cent from 2014, and will hit US$3 trillion by 2020. One-third of spending for intelligent embedded devices will come from outside of the IT and telecom industries.

“This amounts to a dramatic expansion of what we would consider IT,” said Frank Gens, chief analyst at IDC.

This implies a fundamental commitment to innovate and explore new applications of technology with the potential to transform how we live and work – whether through the rapid rise of mobile applications, or the increasingly myriad interactions between machines and human users.

 

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Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news

Nieman Lab

Next year will be my twentieth in digital news. From the start, I had an underlying disposition that digital news consumers — sports or otherwise — wanted their content easily digestible: brief, formatted, convenient.

Five years in, that was the inspiration for the Daily Quickie, my column on ESPN.com. Ten years later, that was the soul of Quickish — a startup built around a quick-hit stream of editor-curated “money quotes” on the biggest news topics.

That was my biggest bet yet that news was reaching a terminal velocity of format — the “atomic unit of content” in the form of, say, a tweet (or, as Quartz’s Zach Seward has put it, a Thing.)

I misjudged — I didn’t think nearly radically enough. The quick-hit stream of Twitter or the Facebook News Feed is giving way to a largely agnostic, mostly opt-in “notification layer” on top of the phone screen.

And yet even that notification layer feels larded in the context of the single-most-interesting media-industry detail from yesterday’s Apple presentation: We are about to enter the era of “glance journalism.”

 

“Glance” is the name of the feature of the Apple Watch that let Watch-wearers skim through a series of not-quite-notifications. Maybe they are notifications, but only as a subset of a new class of ultra-brief news.

 

“Atomic unit” was a helpful metaphor, but we’re now talking about the proton/neutron level. Glance journalism makes tweets look like longform, typical news notifications (and even innovative atomized news apps) look like endless scroll, and Seward’s list of essential Things (chart, gif, quote, stat) look unresponsive.

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Seeking funding? Here are 10 investors in India you should meet

Tech in Asia

We have seen investments into Indian tech startups on an upswing recently, topping US$1.3 billion in FY2013-14 and accounting for 266 deals. We’re getting close to a deal a day. In fact, the first quarter of 2014 had a multi-year high of $427 million. While ecommerce took the lion’s share, online travel and educational tech also attracted increasing interest from investors.

This is a continuation of a trend over the past five years. Between 2010 and 2013, more than US$3 billion flowed into India, which compares well with US$1.5 billion invested in Startup Nation Israel in the same period. This despite the fact that the Indian startup ecosystem is still not mature enough for big ticket exits, and over four-fifths of investment deals are early-stage.

So who are these early bird investors making big bets on Indian innovation? Who are the optimistic ones you should probably go to first if you’re a startup looking for funding in India?

Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups tops the list. It was the most active institutional investor in the Indian tech startup scene in 2013-14, making over 20 investments during the year, according to research firm CB Insights. Mumbai-based Blume Ventures was second, while Accel Partners rounds out the top three.

Four out of the top 10 ranked investors are based in India — Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital, IDG Ventures India, and Kae Capital. The others have their headquarters abroad, but most of them have a presence in India to keep track of emerging startups as well as their investments.

Here’s a rundown of the top 10 institutional investors who have been the most active in the Indian tech startup scene recently:

500 Startups

Dave McClure’s popular Silicon Valley based seed fund has been bullish on India, with a country-specific fund called 500 Wallah. It made as many as 20 investments in FY2013-14, into companies like price comparison site PriceBaba and language learning innovator CultureAlley. And it currently has three startups from India in the ninth batch of its accelerator program.

Blume Ventures

This Mumbai-based homegrown venture capital firm likes to take a collaborative approach to investing, roping in other investors and angels into the ventures it backs. Blumers they call themselves, but they have a number of successes under their belt. Cool startups like cab aggregator TaxiForSure and robot-maker Grey Orange are in the Blume basket.

Accel Partners

Investments in ecommerce biggie Flipkart and Myntra’s series E, as well as BabyOye’s US$12 million series B and real estate portal CommonFloor’s series C and D rounds, among others, made Accel Partners one of the movers and shakers in India in the last four quarters. Freshdesk and BookMyShow are among the many Indian stars this California-headquartered firm has backed.

Kalaari Capital

Technopreneur-turned-investor Vani Kola, who returned to India after a billion-dollar exit from Silicon Valley, is the managing director of this Bangalore-based venture capital firm which took a punt on Snapdeal and Myntra long before the ecommerce boom. Kalaari, which derives its name from a martial arts tradition in South India, continues to pick winners like Urban Ladder and Zivame. 

Tiger Global Management

This ‘Tiger Cub’ from New York has funded some of the tech pioneers in India like Flipkart, MakeMyTrip and JustDial. In fact, it was one of the early players in the Indian tech startup scene, before unexpectedly shutting shop in 2009, ostensibly because it did not find the scale it was looking for. But it has been back with a bang since 2011.

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CES 2014: a look back at what mattered

TechHive

Innovation certainly was on display at CES 2014—4K HDTV hardware reached affordable prices, there was a tsunami of wearable fitness and health tech, 3D printers popped up everywhere, and smart cars made their mark, just to name a few of the major trends we spotted.

Our team patrolled the International CES show floor all week at searching for the devices and services you need to know about. In the process, we chose 10 winners for our Best of CES awards.

We also had our usual fun selecting other gear, trends, and innovations that caught our interest, which we showed you in our Picks slideshow. And we poked some gentle fun at some of the weird items displayed at this giant trade show in our Pans slideshow.

Here are some of our comprehensive slideshows about International CES 2014…