Category Archives: Technology

Driverless cars are great, but do we really want them?

traffic lights by @Doug88888 FlickrDriverless cars: Can we trust them? Will they work here? Do we want them? Last week’s announcement that the government is throwing its weight behind piloting driverless automotive technology in the UK has sparked a bit of public debate.

The benefits to the general public once this technology reaches critical mass are straightforward: it’s safer and it’s greener. There is a death toll that we must pay to continue our love affair with the internal combustion engine and the sleek machines that house it. Thus, it’s inevitable that driverless cars are going to become a big part of our transport mix.

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Is creativity being replaced?

Creativity by JD Hancock FlickrMuch has been made about increasing prominence of technology vendors in the media sphere, with the Wall Street Journal being one among many to suggest that creativity has taken a back seat. This has been an industry-wide debate for some time, with marketers, creatives, agencies and vendors alike coming forward to defend human input within the marketing process.

In reality, we all know that machines cannot replace imagination, but could technology in fact be encouraging creative thought?

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Eagles swoop in to aid the digitally disengaged

KeyboardFor most of us, going online is such an everyday activity that we barely even notice it. Online and offline worlds are fused such that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. While it’s easy to assume that such connectivity is universal, this is far from the case. 86% of British adults have access to the internet [Q2 Tech Tracker Data 2014] but this leaves a significant minority who do not.

Furthermore, there are many that have access but are reluctant to go online. As we suggested in our report The Forgotten Digital Generation, fostering the capability and confidence of less digitally literate consumers could give brands that do so an invaluable competitive edge.
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The other side of tech: The Wall meets Dan Wagner

Comptoir des Cotonniers powatag“The impact of Powatag is as significant as the introduction of television to advertising, and of the internet on communications.” It’s a pretty bold opening gambit from Powa Technologies founder and chief executive Dan Wagner, but one the tech entrepreneur delivers resolutely.

His unfaltering manner is reflected in every element of Powa’s slick office, which – on the 35th floor of Heron Tower – is not what we’ve come to expect from a tech start-up. Glass and mahogany dominate an expanse of elegant desks and dapper suits. The space is professional and deliberate. Everything shines, and there’s not a bare brick in sight.

It’s the home of Powatag. An e-commerce app and mobile wallet that consumers can use to scan a code or advert and be able to purchase whatever item it is promoting in one tap. It has more than 500 global brands signed as partners, such as Carrefour and Comptoir des Cotonniers. In June, Powa agreed deals with five media agencies, including Carat and Mediacom, and this week announced a partnership with marketing agency Haygarth to help create campaigns for its digital retail client portfolio. Wagner claims to have no competitors, and wouldn’t back anyone that isn’t him. So does the technology match up to the man?  Read More »

Ninjas don’t need instruction manuals. Neither do shoppers.

ninjaYou are an expert. An expert in shopping.

A natural. So good, you don’t even realise how good you are.

To coin some pseudo-marketing-psychology, you have moved to the fourth stage of learning when it comes to making purchase decisions: you have an ‘Unconscious Competence’ in shopping. You are a Shopping Ninja. Read More »

Fitbit and Google Glass are wearable winners

Google glassThe latest research on wearable technologies shows Fitbit, Nike Fuelband and Google Glass are leading the way within the UK market.

Social media monitoring platform Brandwatch partnered with Brilliant Noise to analyse more than eight million online conversations about wearable technology from Jan 2013 – Jul 2014. It found that year on year the conversation around wearables has exploded – increasing a staggering 190% when you compare the first quarter of last year (973,300 mentions) to that of this year (2,816,814 mentions). Read More »

Generation create: Their rise and what they can teach us

Girls texting millenials“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

William James

Back in 1991, Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland captured a moment and hit a nerve with his novel, Generation X. He borrowed the label. Generation X was first coined by Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa. In 1953, Capa’s photo essay portraying “this unknown generation, The Generation X” related to the youngsters growing up after the Second World War. Generation X, at the hands of both Capa and Coupland was catchy, caught on, felt right and right on the pulse. Read More »

A Lingua Franca for the digital age

face by Adrew Morrell PhotographyAccording to the bible story, The Tower of Babel, once upon a time we all spoke the same language.

Which was a huge advantage.

It allowed the peoples of the world to work together and build their famous tower – which would have reached right up to heaven if God hadn’t taken offense. To punish our insolence he scattered us to the corners of the earth and condemned us to speak multiple tongues, fated to misunderstand each other forever. Read More »

HyperCat: the Internet of Things can get even more connected

hypercatWe’re about to be inundated by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. But imagine how much more powerful these would be if they could talk to each other. Life would be even more convenient. So what’s stopping us?

The answer is bespoke APIs. Cue HyperCat: a new IoT specification that I believe will radically simplify inter-operability by providing a standardised format for device-to-device communication. Read More »

What has the World Cup taught us about innovation?

foam by A-C-K on FlickrThe World Cup. It’s up there with the Olympics as the biggest sporting extravaganza on the planet. And given it only happens once every four years, it’s a fantastic bellwether of how society, trends and technology have changed over that time: Chris Waddle’s Italia ’90 mullet killing 80s new-romanticism; Becks in his sarong in ’98 triggering a generation of metro-men and questionable behaviour like ‘skincare regimes’. And that’s just the England team.

We might have expected Brazil 2014 to be defined not by changing fashions, but as the ‘most digital’ World Cup ever. With the unfettered rise of the importance of technology on corporate and social agendas, driven by some of the world’s biggest companies, we’ve been led to believe everything is now ‘connected’, everything should be ‘smart’, and it’s the chief technology officers who will be guiding our futures. Read More »