All posts by Harry Potts

The Liberty London Tech Week

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Last week saw thousands of eager fans from all over the world gather in one of Europe’s most prominent cities for a celebration like no other. Nope, not that one. While the World Cup kicked off in Moscow, we had our own celebration right here in London.

As the title suggests, we enjoyed our very own London Tech Week. For the uninitiated, London Tech Week is a five-day festival that highlights the best of tech in the UK, Europe and across the globe. Every year thousands descend on the city for a festival like no other. With 300 events and over 55,000 attendees, the Liberty team were hard at work joining speeches on blockchain, networking with developers and reflecting on the coming of the robot apocalypse (well, perhaps not that last part).

In any case, London Tech Week is a great excuse to celebrate UK innovation. With the announcement of new visa rules for tech professionals and figures from London & Partners showing that British tech firms are attracting nearly three times more VC investment than any other European country, surely there are a few reasons to be cheerful?

Celebrating 20 years of technology – Attenborough on demand

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Has there been a greater presence to grace our television screens in the last few decades than Sir David Attenborough? Has any other TV personality managed to outshine the great naturalist, broadcaster, and narrator extraordinaire?

After a straw poll of the Liberty office, we can confirm that the answer is definitively no.

Now, I’ve always enjoyed nature shows. Giraffes in the Sahara? Sure. Penguins in Antarctica? Yes please. Kakapos in New Zealand? Absolutely.

With that in mind, you can imagine how much time I spend watching the likes of Blue Planet II and The Hunt on mobile, on mac, but most importantly – on demand. It’s hard to imagine from inside our gig economy, instant gratification-giving universe – but apparently this wasn’t always the case.

When the BBC announced its new iPlayer platform in 2007, tentatively introducing a brave new world of on-demand shows to an unsuspecting public, many of my friends were initially underwhelmed or uninterested. “You watched Planet Earth on the i-what?” seemed to be a common response.

It certainly took a while for the full enormity of the BBC’s new service to hit me – but once it did – there was no going back. I, like everyone else, was introduced to a new universe of content, with all the shows that I couldn’t quite make time for now at my fingertips. iPlayer offered a new way to watch TV, taking a page from the YouTube playbook to put the viewer front and centre. Each person now had their own personal BBC, customised exactly to their liking.

And of course, Sir David Attenborough’s shows were there for viewing, reviewing and re-reviewing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the original series of Life, a feat (if you could call it that) that would never be possible without our friends at the BBC.

At this point, the only thing left for me to say is that BBC iPlayer turns eleven at midnight on July 31st 2018. I’ll be giving heartfelt thanks and raising a glass – and I hope you’ll all be joining me.

Liberty’s Mobile World Congress 2018: Day One

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Mobile World Congress Barcelona has once again welcomed thousands of delegates to see the latest innovations, hear from industry leaders and network with the great and good of the technology world. With a healthy selection of AR/VR, 5G, IoT and AI there’s more than enough to get the blood pumping – especially for those of us inclined to appreciate a good abbreviation.

This year’s overarching theme is ‘Creating a Better Future’, a concept that ties together devices and content along with the likes of 5G, IoT and AI to highlight the maturity of the global tech ecosystem. In 2018, MWC is about showing how these technologies are all transforming the tech playing field on a global scale.

Take 5G for example. According to new GSMA Intelligence research, 5 billion people will be connected to mobile internet by 2025, representing an increase of almost 1.7 billion from today. As 5G quickly turns dreams into deployments, millions of people around the world will enjoy high-speed access to the internet, opening up new possibilities for work, education and leisure. Meanwhile, as 5G grabs the limelight, vendors are turning their attention to the next-generation mobiles to harness the powerful new networks. Nokia in particular impressed onlookers with the reveal of its Sirocco 8 model, showcasing a high-end device that includes wireless charging and an ultra high definition curved display.

With day one drawing to a close we’ve already seen flying taxis, next-generation virtual reality (as modelled by Liberty’s very own Finbarr Goode Begley) and more lightning fast connectivity solutions than we ever imagined.

How to tackle the payola tombola

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Communications and public relations can be confusing at the best of times.

The suite of services that PR professionals provide to clients can appear overwhelming; the methods that firms employ strikingly diverse.

But from pitching, event hosting and press release distribution to social media management, an important line in the sand bisects all communications activity: the distinction between editorial and non-editorial content.

By way of context, editorial content refers to ‘earned’ media, that is to say, content penned– (or facilitated by) a member of the press based on its value to the story alone. ‘Unearned’, meanwhile, refers to content placed using additional funds provided directly by the client on a sort of ‘pay-to-play’ basis.

This type of article, while   still legitimate, often appears as an ‘advertorial’ or ‘partnership’ piece that, crucially, looks markedly different from an earned, editorial opportunity.

Over the last few months, a number of articles have surfaced that claim a new type of practice is quickly gathering momentum – one that straddles the imaginary line in the sand. This ‘payola’ journalism looks to take something of a Hovis approach: supposedly embracing the best qualities of each with the limitations of neither. Yet in reality, payola sees some members of the press offered unofficial and undisclosed compensation in return for including a business in a seemingly editorial capacity, directly contravening journalistic norms in the process.

In 2018, where the boundaries between earned and unearned media seem to appear more blurred than ever, the onus is on responsible agencies to communicate the distinction between editorial and non-editorial content to their clientele.

With a renewed emphasis on transparency and trust, public relations and communications specialists can ensure clients understand the different types of media, their own unique value to businesses and the dangers of diluting editorial integrity now and in the future.