Monthly Archives: August 2013

The ‘Internet of Things’ – the Next Big Thing?

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With the ‘Internet of Things’ dubbed as the next big thing, the world around us is about to start working a lot harder for us

 

Have you noticed that everything around us is becoming intelligent and connected?

 

You may have heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ used to describe this phenomenon: the idea of this is to enable a world where devices, data and places are connected with applications and people over the Internet, transforming the way we discover and interact with the world. The consumer of the future will be able to live in a home powered by smart energy whose lights will turn on as the owner approaches the house in their personalised electric vehicle. They also will be able to easily and independently monitor their own health using their own connected devices whilst at home. In business this might range from sensors in factories to enterprise tracking and handheld terminals within shops.

 

The internet of things

 

Everyday objects, which can be everything from a car to a plant to a coffee machine, can be equipped with sensors, the data from which can be collected and shared using an Internet-like structure. Their device will enable a ‘digital sixth sense’, through which they can interact with the connected world around them, meaning they can communicate digitally with other devices. By connecting all of these devices to the internet, we are thereby creating a smart ecosystem which will change the way societies connect and will ultimately give us more control over our own lives.

 

This may sound like a distant reality. However, this technology is actually already here today and is rapidly evolving. Take a look at the smartphone, for instance: this relatively new device has already become the centre of our smart, connected lives. Smartphone adoption has proven to be much faster than other technology platforms, including PCs in the 80s and the Internet in the 90s, making it the largest platform in history. The popularity and ubiquity of smart devices opens up a whole range of possible ways in which people can interact with the world around them, blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds.

 

Bearing in mind this growing momentum, it should really come as no surprise that the number of connected devices worldwide is set to increase from 10 billion to 25 billion between 2012 and 2020 – and more than half of these will be non-handset devices. So it might not be too long at all before the world around us begins to work a lot harder.

 

Sceptics have questioned the relevance and importance of the Internet of Things and its predicted future popularity and have asked whether it is really necessary to replace our humble home appliances with connected versions, for example. But surely knowing via a smart device notification that an elderly relative has turned on the toaster or boiled the kettle, for example, is a great, minimal impact way of knowing that they are OK. And wouldn’t owning a coffee machine which starts to make your favourite brew as soon as your morning alarm goes off make getting out of bed a little easier?

 

The value of the Internet of Things, to companies and consumers alike, will continue to grow as new ecosystems emerge and already existing ecosystems expand, thereby creating new business opportunities and enabling smart, intuitive ways in which we can go about our daily lives.

 

Tell us what you think about the Internet of Things – are you on board?

Google Glass – Future or Fad?

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There has been a lot of hype surrounding Google’s new venture, Google Glass.   If you are not aware, (and have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months!) Google Glass is a wearable computer that displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format that can interact with the Internet, take pictures, take videos and make calls via voice commands.

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The Guardians of the Internet

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Not a day goes by without a story about hacking but mostly people are oblivious to the threats around them. It falls to corporations to protect hapless users online.

 

How could an individual hope to secure this?

 

I for one, think these companies deserve a bit more thanks than they currently get. Microsoft and its security partners take on the global botnet problem regularly – a botnet is a network of hacked computers linked together to provide computer power for nefarious means.

 

How many computers does this affect? One Botnet called Citadel was at a conservative estimate believed to be 1.9 million machines before it was brought down.

 

Microsoft didn’t just disable the command and control centre of Citadel, it also created a sinkhole in its place which responded to infected machines and removed defences of the malicious program which allowed anti-virus software to remove it.

 

Someone actually criticized Microsoft for doing this because when they removed the virus’ defences they were doing just as the criminals had done and modified a computer without the owner’s permission. I don’t understand this criticism … I mean yes in abstract theory a computer giant abusing its power to modify files without a user’s permission is bad. But in this specific case it was the right thing to do.

 

There may be non-philanthropic motives, Microsoft has become the face of modern computing and makes a living from Windows being trusted. These attacks are often not due to a fault in Windows but still reduce trust in the system especially as other operating systems make exaggerated claims to being virus free.

 

I, however, choose to believe that there is a beneficent motive behind this, since Microsoft must accept that no one else could do this as effectively. Their security team stands by default as the Guardians of the Internet for the common user which is something worthy of our gratitude.

 

Not to mention that after this happened spam watchers at Symantec saw a 25 per cent drop in spam across the internet… the whole internet…

 

So rather than being critical, I’ll just say thanks!

Being literate without being judgmental: the wordsmith’s challenge

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You may find yourself rolling your eyes at those who use language more lazily than you do, but the chances are you also get annoyed at those uptight prigs who judge you for being sloppy with your own punctuation too.

 

The art of the wordsmith

 

The challenge to all those would-be wordsmiths in the communications industry is to be literate without being too judgmental.  We all need to have a certain amount of patience with those who play loosely with language; but on the other hand we must realise that in certain circumstances traditional rules do still apply.

 

Let’s be clear here, this isn’t about phrases or words getting lost in translation, or even regional pronunciations such as ‘holding down the fort’ or ‘erbs’; it’s about things that are likely to make you look foolish in front of clients, or lead to cases against you for crimes against the English language.

 

Below are some of my favourite examples to be aware of:

 

Irregardless: regardless of context, irregardless is not a word. You just mean regardless.

 

Loser and looser: go to any Internet message board and you’ll see some sledger ridiculing a rival as a ‘looser’.  This person is in fact the true loser

 

Antidote vs. anecdote: you share an anecdote with someone if you’re chatting. You only share an antidote with them if they’ve been poisoned

 

Specific and Pacific: one relates to something identified or particularized, the other, to a large body of water separating the US and Japan

 

You’re and your: this one is so common an error that I can almost imagine it becoming acceptable English. The former is you are, whereas the latter refers to something belonging to you

 

Its and it’s:  its/it’s is viewed even less negatively than your/you’re, mostly because auto-correct is more likely to be your accomplice in the linguistic delinquency

 

Mixing up adjectives and adverbs:  If you say, “I feel badly for you,” this suggests you’re not very good at feeling people. The use of badly arises because, ironically, some people think that it sounds more polished and that it thus must be correct.  In most cases, though, people use adjectives instead of adverbs out of laziness: “you run fast” being a typical example

 

So there you have it; there’s a subtle line to tread between sounding like a wise arse, or simply an arse, but for those in the communications sector it is an important one to be aware of and negotiate with care!

Liberty Comms wins global brief for Coriant

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Liberty Comms, the specialist technology communications consultancy, announced that it has been appointed to support Coriant, a global supplier of leading future-proof optical transport solutions.  Liberty will be working with Coriant across multiple markets including the UK and the United States to grow brand recognition and increase the company’s footprint worldwide.

 

 

As a newly formed, independent company with deep roots in Nokia Siemens Networks, Coriant is keen to grow awareness of its offering among industry influencers and potential customers alike. Coriant has a strong heritage but the company will be working with Liberty to carve a niche for itself in its own right and sit squarely at the forefront of the optical networking market as the leader in 100G transport.

 

 

Jayne Chace, chief marketing officer and senior vice president, Coriant, said, “The increase in data usage and the dynamic nature of bandwidth-hungry applications is creating both challenges and opportunities for our customers as their networks experience an unprecedented level of disruption in carrier networks. This puts Coriant in prime position to really make an impact on the market but our position as a newly independent company means our marketing and PR efforts are crucial to our success.”

 

 

Dee Gibbs, managing director and founder, Liberty Communications, said, “Coriant has already started to forge relationships with key industry influencers but reaching the right people in the right markets will be crucial to its success. Our experience both working on global campaigns and with various members of the Coriant team in the past, puts Liberty in the perfect position to support the company in building its brand awareness and we look forward to working with Jayne and her team to help advance the company’s market position.”

Liberty climbs in the PR Week Top 40 Tech Consultancies table

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Liberty Comms, the specialist technology communications consultancy, announced its position at number 14 in PR Week’s Top 40 Technology Consultancies.

 

 

This improved listing highlights the growth of the agency over the last twelve months as well as the increasing support behind the integrated communications model that sits at the heart of Liberty’s offering.

 

The past twelve months have seen impressive growth at Liberty and its telecommunications heritage has been a real trump card as the rapid evolution of the mobile space has seen more and more organisations looking to grow their profiles. In addition to that, the development of the company’s dedicated business units is also reaping dividends with expansion of the Liberty’s enterprise and consumer technology client rosters.

 

Dee Gibbs, managing director and founder, Liberty Communications, said, “The last twelve months has been a critical time for Liberty as we have expanded our global presence and changed the structure of the agency as a whole. Our higher positioning in the tech agency list, especially compared to those of a similar size and ethos to Liberty, just highlights that the agency is going from strength to strength. Fingers crossed for 2014!”

Virtual living? How Augmented Reality is transforming home life

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One of the most interesting aspects of working in the technology sphere for me is seeing how new innovations are affecting and influencing our everyday lives.

 

 

Augmented Reality (AR) is one such technology, and it is increasingly creeping out of the online world and into the real one.

 

IKEA’s new 2014 catalogue app, released this week, is one such example of a truly innovative use for this technology. Allowing customers to envision what a certain piece of furniture would look like in their homes through interacting with the company’s physical catalogue; this app shows how AR technology can help consumers.

 

This application of AR technology is far from alone, however. Clothing and footwear companies have been using it to allow customers to try out a certain colour or size so that they don’t purchase the wrong size. Tesco also famously opened a ‘virtual store’ in Gatwick Airport last year, where customers could order food that would be delivered by the time they arrived home, ensuring they would not return to an empty fridge.

 

Away from shopping, the potential of this area is still being explored and expanded. From gaming to translation tools, AR is rapidly becoming a way of making our everyday lives smoother.

 

The headlines surrounding Google Glass have brought this kind of technology into the forefront of many people’s minds, as it could potentially offer a connected life once seen only in the realms of science fiction. People whose previous encounters may have encompassed cheesy Virtual Reality headsets a decade or so ago would be surprised to see how much this technology is proposing to do.

Top 40 Tech listing – PR Week – it’s out!

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The Top 40 tech consultancies listing came out in today’s PR week and I’m pleased to note that Liberty has come in at number 14, climbing a place from last year’s position. The feature accompanying the listing highlights the changing requirements of clients and the changing communications landscape.  It highlights a growing focus on speaking directly to consumers which explains why revenues have climbed across the sector.

 

 

 

As a company, we are demonstrating our vision.  The 13 agencies above us are all significantly larger agencies.  Liberty’s FY12 revenue sits comfortably within the top third of earnings listed in the table and Liberty leads the table for the size of agency we are.  As a boutique technology specialist this listing position shows off our strengths in our chosen industry.

 

We are making great headway to reaching our goals and we’re really proud of the growth we’ve seen over the last 12 months. My personal thanks goes out to a fantastic team – the Liberty team is what makes Liberty successful  – I’m really proud!