Category Archives: Technology

Sponsored: A marriage made in Shoreditch: Why Unilever wants London’s tech talent

Marc Mathieu003 (1)This article is brought to you by our partners ad:tech London

From Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout to West London’s Triangle, the capital’s much lauded tech scene continues to excite entrepreneurs, investors and politicians alike as we vie with the likes of San Francisco and Tel Aviv to become the world’s premier digital city.

Brands are the latest entrants to the tech party with global players investing serious capital in the technologies that will give their products and marketing the edge. Enthusiasm for ‘madtech’ (marketing and advertising technology) among brands is at an all-time high as social media, mobile and a data innovation lead a revolution of the marketing industry. Read More »

From wearables to useables: Marketers need to think bigger than the Apple Watch

Apple WatchWhen Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook recently unveiled the much-awaited Apple Watch, hailing it the company’s most personal device to date, I couldn’t help but think that’s only partially true.

Unlike iPhones, the real value to consumers with the new watch lies in its ability to morph into something larger than what’s sitting on your wrist.

For months now the industry has been buzzing about wearables. However, I think that term is misleading. The future of these devices is not about what a consumer wears, but how they behave.

I foresee a major transition when there is true interconnectivity between watches and other devices, homes and vehicles – the phenomenon that’s referred to as the Internet of Things. The innovators who can build novel apps will drive the watch’s adoption, not the device itself. Read More »

Could connected TVs offer another way for advertisers?

smart tvFor most of us, TV remains the focal point of our living rooms, however, a report by eMarketer predicts that in 2014, UK consumers will spend more time viewing digital media than watching broadcast TV. It is this shift towards online video streaming and on-demand TV – as well as an increase in multi-screen viewing – that is making it difficult for advertisers to reach their target audience through traditional linear TV alone.

This is the reason why advertisers have started looking towards connected TV (CTV), which can be used alongside mobile, tablet, and desktop, as a channel for digital video. CTVs are televisions that connect to the internet, allowing online video streaming, as well as web browsing and other online activities. As the benefits of multi-screen video advertising are being realised, CTV is expected to prove just as important as other screens for advertisers when vying for the consumer’s attention. Read More »

From binge viewing to control freakery – 6 ways brands should be using the Internet of Things

Internet of Things, by Samsung TomorrowThe Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything – use whichever buzzword you like but businesses are only now grasping the fact this doesn’t just mean ‘mobile’, it means ‘mobility’, for starters.

Customer journeys are so much more fluid– but the connections and interactions made between people and devices are still not fully understood. For the IoT to deliver for marketers, the tech innovations must be data-driven. Marketers must marry technology with human insights and next-generation storytelling to create a consistent brand message across all devices. It’s about engaging customers with personalised, relevant and connected brand messages at every turn.

The assumption several years ago was that convergence of hardware would lead to one key device that we’d wander around with and control the universe – but that hasn’t emerged. In fact there’s a proliferation of smart devices, which enable the concept of mobility.

Read More »

If the brain has changed, our game can’t remain the same

Pathway by David Mertl:FlickrAs ad agency innovator types, we keep coming up against a familiar pushback: ‘There’s no such thing as new human behaviours; it’s just old behaviours expressed in new ways through technology.’ This makes logical sense to me – there’s just one problem: deep down I no longer believe it. My disquiet has grown so much that I’ve pitched to speak at SXSW – March’s giant tech/innovation conference – to try to get closer to the bottom of this. (Enlisting some friendly neighbourhood neuroscientists. As you do.)

But before boldly going forward, let’s step back – concern over technology twisting our melons (man) is nothing new. Socrates no less cites Ancient Egyptian King Thamus, remarking on the introduction of writing: “This invention will produce forgetfulness in those using it, because they will not practise their memory.” Read More »

Education is key for the connected home

connected home by Hans KylbergThe connected home, moving beyond the early adopter stage, is now trickling into the mainstream. Research we recently undertook highlighted that 17% of Brits would like and have no concerns about installing smart devices into their home. While on the other side of the pond a study by Accenture illustrates that 69% of consumers are planning to buy a connected home device in the next five years.

The entrance of the world’s biggest tech companies into the smart home market is likely to reassure consumers and accelerate adoption. Google’s £1.9 billion acquisition of Nest at the beginning of the year demonstrated its desire to be at the forefront of smart technology while Apple recently unveiled its HomeKit – a suite of tools for controlling home appliances.

Read More »

Imogen Heap and the art of creative failure

Imogen HeapSinger Imogen Heap’s gig at the Roundhouse last Sunday night should be a lesson to us all in creative exploration of a digital world. It taught me two things: how to explore technology creatively, and how to fail with dignity.

The gig marked the culmination of Reverb – a four-day festival of electronic, experimental music that Heap curated, with a heavy dose of technology on the side. Read More »

Are brands ready for the Millennials?

Girls texting millenialsIn its recent communications market report Ofcom has proven that the millennium generation of 14 and 15-year-olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK. Their exposure and awareness to digital media and brand communication across all tech devices is going to equal if not surpass that of the current adult generation, which today is estimated at a staggering eight hours 41 minutes.

These teens are the consumers of the future. They will have high expectations of brands when it comes to digital brand engagement. They have grown up with broadband and digital communications at their fingertips. They are already accustomed to instantaneous service and will expect brands in the future to serve to their preferences across all technologies, wherever they maybe.

Read More »

Is Amazon’s Local Register set to shake up digital payment platforms?

Online payment by EP TechnologyThe retail industry has patiently waited for digital payment platforms to take off: NFC has not yet delivered the magic bullet many had hoped for. Apathy (or, perhaps, deliberate foot dragging) from retailers and major technology players has led to consumer indifference. This year, so far, Best Buy and 7-11 have both shut down their in-store NFC programmes.

It may yet be bodily recognition platforms (like the fingerprint recognition technology implemented on iPhone) or facial recognition technology overtake device-based approaches, of which, Zapp – the UK banking coalition initiative – and iBeacons look favourites to win out. Read More »

Wearable tech would benefit from an haute couture approach

Google glass fashionFigures from CCS Insight suggest that sales of smart wearable devices are going to rocket from 9.7m last year to 135m in 2018. This is predicted to include 68m smart watches and 50m smart bands. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the figures will prove accurate, though the claims don’t seem especially well-supported as there’s a lot that has to change between now and then if this massive boost in smart wearables is going to happen.

Primarily, the creators of smart wearable tech need to ensure they’re actively catering to a key market when it comes to setting trends, the fashion industry.

Read More »