Monthly Archives: July 2013

From Jules Verne & Shark Repellent, to Google Glass and beyond…

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Science fiction is one of the oldest genres in literature, with its roots tracing all the way back to the days of mythology.

 

from big screen to real life

 

Sci-fi can be fanciful, extreme, even downright insane, but what separates it from fantasy is that it commonly relies on technology which, in at least some respects, could actually be feasible.

 

Hover boards and flying DeLorean time machines may not have been created (yet), but other elements of Sci-Fi have certainly definitely permeated modern living.

 

Although not widely known, Jules Verne is credited with having directly inspired the inventor of the US Navy’s first submarines (Simon Lake was inspired by Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea) and creator of the modern helicopter, Igor Sikorsky was inspired by Verne’s Clipper of the Clouds.

 

There are a whole ream on other Sci-fi inspired gadgets and gizmos that have appeared too: the 1966 film Batman introduced us to one of the greatest gadgets of all time – shark repellent. And low and behold, chemist Eric Stroud developed a device that effectively repels sharks and sends them swimming in the other direction based around magnetism.

 

The next great innovation to jump from Hollywood’s silver screen of Sci-fi and the police monitored state of Minority Report is Google Glass.

 

In an attempt to free data from desktop computers and portable devices like phones and tablets, and place it right in front of your eyes Google has developed arguably its greatest innovation yet. Essentially, Google Glass is a camera, display, touchpad, battery and microphone built into spectacle frames so that you can perch a display in your field of vision, film, take pictures, search and translate on the go.

 

The principle is one that has been around for years in science fiction, and with Google moving a step closer to mass-producing its glass (after taking a stake in a company that makes the device’s screens) this slightly clunky prototype has taken a significant step towards becoming the next Sci-fi inspired product to become a reality.

 

The demand for big budget Hollywood Sci-fi films is as popular as ever and our grasp of technological continues apace the question is; if the sky’s no longer the limit and it’s rather our imagination what can we expect next? Maybe my dream of a hover board for Christmas isn’t that far away after all!

Will album apps change the way we listen to music?

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The cool kids among you will know that US rapper, Jay Z recently released his much anticipated new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail as an app available exclusively on Samsung Smartphones.

 

 

The app offered early access to the rapper’s new album to over a million fans three days before its official release date.

 

To the naked eye, the move looks like just a lucrative sponsorship deal for Jay Z and a chance for Samsung to improve their street credibility. But when you look beyond that, what you find is possibly the beginning of a revolution. Just like we had the Dropbox moment for storage and Lovefilm for streaming movies, we might look back at this moment as the beginning of the sea change in the way we consume music.

 

Ok, maybe it is a bit premature to be referring to album apps at the saviour of the music industry and album sales but it is at least safe to say it has brought about a buzz unlike any other since the transition from audio cassette to compact discs.

 

There is a long way to go before album apps become the norm but this new approach presents an opportunity for the music industry, disastrously slow with keeping up with the latest technology in recent years, to pioneer a new service before the pirates. Newspaper and book publishers have tapped into similar opportunities with great success so perhaps that presents a good template to follow.

 

In its short lifetime, the album app has already experienced more controversy than many other technologies experience in their many years of use. Despite being downloaded by 1.2 million users, the Magna Carta Holy Grail app was removed from the Google Play store, following complaints on the amount of personal data it was trying to access. With the dust not yet settled from the PRISM debacle, it’s no surprise that users are a bit sensitive on issues to do with data and personal information.

 

Privacy issues will need to be addressed but the power ultimately lies with users. If users feel they are getting a satisfactory amount of value from the album app, most will forego their privacy, or at least find a way round it, to have access to the favourite artists’ music. The true test of any new technology is how fans react to it and I guess the same will be the case for album apps. Artists have certainly not been deterred – Lady Gaga recently announced that she will also be releasing her album ARTPOP as an app.

 

It will be interesting to see what we’ll be saying about album apps in 10 year but it has certainly made a grand entrance.  The first episode has not had the happy ending Samsung would’ve hoped for but we have undoubtedly been introduced to a new way to access music.

Liberty’s Summer Liquid Lunch

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Yesterday the sun was shining and the drinks were flowing as Liberty celebrated its summer 2013 Liquid Lunch.

 

 

Heading down to the Oyster Shed at Cannon Street (complete with wonderful views of the Thames), the Liberty team shared an evening of relaxed fun, jokes and anecdotes (mostly clean) and good conversation with journalists from a variety of sectors joining us to celebrate summer finally arriving.

 

In addition to some of the regulars attendees there were a number of new faces from telecoms, consumer tech, IT, broadcast, marketing and national publications; most notably from Pocket-Lint, Business Cloud News and Mobile Entertainment

 

TechWeekEurope once again hit the jackpot in the Liquid Lunch raffle winning the prize draw, so congratulations there.

 

After a great evening in the sun on the banks of the Thames it’s back to business as usual at Liberty HQ this morning and we sincerely hope there aren’t too many sore heads out there!

 

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to pop down for a drink and a chat. For those that have been to a Liberty event before it was lovely to catch up and to the newcomers it was great to get to know you all a little bit better too.

 

We hope to see all of you at the final instalment of the Liberty Liquid Lunch 2013 schedule at Christmas. But for now its bacon sandwiches all round!

What’s PR really about? The Liberty Academy reveals all…

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Before starting out in communications, I thought that having a PR degree would be all that I needed to get me on my way.

 

 

 

The truth being that whilst having some theory behind me, in reality, having practical PR experience was undeniably valuable: providing me with an understanding of how to create real integrated campaigns and how to deliver targeted messages.

Today, it’s especially difficult to enter the world of PR and communications with the current economic climate: whilst some agencies are expanding, many are actually freezing recruitment. This became a big discussion point amongst us “Libertines”, hence the launch of our first Liberty Academy Day.

 

We invited keen undergrads and graduates to join us for the day, where we provided them with a real introduction to PR, sharing real-life campaign examples and inside knowledge of the rapidly changing PR landscape.

 

The day was a massive success. Partly because of the endless amounts of pizza but also, we like to think, because of our honest snapshot on the real elements that make up PR and comms today: The digital landscape and the wider marketing mix; what makes a good PR executive; writing; understanding journalists; and tools of the trade that help generate and importantly, measure our effort.

 

What stood out from the day was the grads’ focus on stats and measurement. We were really impressed with how eager they were to better understand what results could be measured and what PR results would be considered a success. With pretty much all of them growing up with online and social media, it was evident that there was a great awareness of the need for strong PR measurement of multichannel communications. PR measurement is something that Liberty has focused heavily on, recently developing an award winning, Liberty Index measurement tool, so it was great to see the next generation of PRs so engaged and intrigued by this element of PR.

The Instant Nature of Communication

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Yesterday, I sent a text from California to a colleague in London. Considering the distance (5,468 miles / 8,800 km), I paid close attention to the delivery confirmation, which came almost instantly via iMessage.

 

 

This sparked my curiosity…how fast did that message actually travel?

 

While it’s hard to say for sure, since these tiny bits of data within a computer don’t physically exist, it’s reasonable to assume that such messages travel at near the speed of light…186,282 miles (300K km) per second! Putting that into greater perspective, the speed of light travels at 670+ million miles an hour, and items travelling at this rate, would hypothetically require 1.3 seconds to reach the moon from earth…it might as well be next door!

 

A few decades ago, an equivalent letter could have taken a week or more to travel from California to London, via a mail carrier.

 

Mankind has communicated using largely the same words and grammatical structures for centuries. Today, the QWERTY keyboard layout, which remains hugely popular, has been in use since 1873! So while good things can last a long time, it’s important to be prepared to leverage the modern tools of the times that we live in.

 

Today, the material that we read, write or otherwise create (blogs, tweets, Instagram posts, vine videos, Facebook likes, emails, marketing collateral, ads etc.) are distributed and absorbed at an unimaginable rate. I can see even the grandest science fiction minds of the past being in awe of today’s possibilities!

 

Communication advancements directly impact how we interact with our friends and family…and the same is true in business. Companies of all sizes, can’t afford to exclusively communicate through 20th century tactics in a 21st century world!

 

At Liberty, we believe in and execute, a “follow the sun” integrated communications methodology, where marketing, public relations, social media, web design, etc. are designed and implemented as part of a single consistent discipline.

 

Technology helps us ensure that no matter the time of day, our clients’ messages are promoted and delivered consistently across mediums, in the targeted manner that works best for the markets and influencers that matter most to them!

 

After all, your innovation and information is rocketing at the speed of light, and your message(s) should be aligned to work together to hit the mark and be delivered on time.

The Instant Nature of Communication

By | Corporate Blog | No Comments

Yesterday, I sent a text from California to a colleague in London. Considering the distance (5,468 miles / 8,800 km), I paid close attention to the delivery confirmation, which came almost instantly via iMessage.

 

 

This sparked my curiosity…how fast did that message actually travel?

 

While it’s hard to say for sure, since these tiny bits of data within a computer don’t physically exist, it’s reasonable to assume that such messages travel at near the speed of light…186,282 miles (300K km) per second! Putting that into greater perspective, the speed of light travels at 670+ million miles an hour, and items travelling at this rate, would hypothetically require 1.3 seconds to reach the moon from earth…it might as well be next door!

 

A few decades ago, an equivalent letter could have taken a week or more to travel from California to London, via a mail carrier.

 

Mankind has communicated using largely the same words and grammatical structures for centuries. Today, the QWERTY keyboard layout, which remains hugely popular, has been in use since 1873! So while good things can last a long time, it’s important to be prepared to leverage the modern tools of the times that we live in.

 

Today, the material that we read, write or otherwise create (blogs, tweets, Instagram posts, vine videos, Facebook likes, emails, marketing collateral, ads etc.) are distributed and absorbed at an unimaginable rate. I can see even the grandest science fiction minds of the past being in awe of today’s possibilities!

 

Communication advancements directly impact how we interact with our friends and family…and the same is true in business. Companies of all sizes, can’t afford to exclusively communicate through 20th century tactics in a 21st century world!

 

At Liberty, we believe in and execute, a “follow the sun” integrated communications methodology, where marketing, public relations, social media, web design, etc. are designed and implemented as part of a single consistent discipline.

 

Technology helps us ensure that no matter the time of day, our clients’ messages are promoted and delivered consistently across mediums, in the targeted manner that works best for the markets and influencers that matter most to them!

 

After all, your innovation and information is rocketing at the speed of light, and your message(s) should be aligned to work together to hit the mark and be delivered on time.

Educating the educators

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Recently, the Liberty team has been working with two key players in the education technology and e-learning space, IBIS Capital and Edxus Group, on a new event exploring the business of education and acting as a catalyst for the consolidation and investment required in the sector.

 

 

The project has been a great example of one of the things that I most enjoy about working in technology PR – looking beyond the bottom line of a new technology’s earning potential to how it impacts on the real world and can potentially change lives. Along with m-health, education is clearly an area which has the potential to be revolutionised by technology – with benefits for both education providers and the recipients.

 

As IBIS Capital’s industry reports into e-learning have found, despite the fact that the global education market is worth a staggering $4.4 trillion, 20% more than the global IT market, it has been one of the least innovated areas of modern life over the past decade. If market dynamics can be aligned then e-learning and education technology generally looks set to turn this lack of innovation on its head. In return for governmental and education institution investment that falls far short of that required in traditional learning delivery infrastructure (which has skyrocketed in recent times – by 80% since 2000 according to IBIS), e-learning platforms have the power to cost effectively provide a better standard of education.

 

Not only can this help to democratise education, offering access to standardised content whether a student attends the best private institution or a rundown inner city school, but the immersive, interactive platforms that are available will fundamentally change the way that education is delivered. By leveraging virtualisation and gamification, adapting to an individual’s need for visual or numerical content for instance, the potential for improved engagement and therefore results is huge.

 

Combine this with e-learning platforms’ ability to harness big data and smart analytics and you can start to see how content can then be further tailored to the individual’s learning patterns and aptitude. Progress can be tracked down to the individual with less need for exams and less admin for teachers, as well as greater visibility for parents or bosses in the professional learning sector.

 

Of course, we’ve got a long way to go before all schools are able to offer e-curricula, but the trends in the higher education and professional learning sectors towards e-learning are clear and seem to be well received. If government and education institutions can work together to welcome the digital age then hopefully the impact on both results and budgets will be an education in themselves.

 

For more information on IBIS Capital’s industry reports, visit http://www.ibiscapital.co.uk/resources/investment-banking-research.aspx and http://edxusgroup.com/a-european-perspective-on-e-learning-report-ibis-capital/.

 

For information on EdTech Europe, Edxus and IBIS Capital’s recent London event, visit http://edxusgroup.com/category/events/.