Archive for category Technology

Slow and steady wins the race

When Apple released its first iPad back in 2010, majority considered it as a revolution. Well, yes and no. Actually, the first complete concept of a tablet computer was the DynaBook. Alan Kay presented it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even Microsoft in early 00’s first defined the term “Tablet PC”. But only Apple managed to create genuinely user-friendly product, which infected the crowd, and delivered 3 million of the devices in 80 days.

And here we go again with streaming services. Purely philanthropic and non-profit starters such as Pandora, Grooveshark and Rhapsody passed the baton to more mature Spotify and MOG, who took a quite serious approach signing deals with all four major labels (first one has rights to operate only in Europe, second – only in U.S. market). In addition to this, MOG Investors include Menlo Ventures, Balderton Capital, Simon Equity Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music.

Finally, we got to the top: Google Cloud Music beta recently released and Amazon Cloud Player Lets You Play Your Music From Anywhere. Both of them did so without securing licensing rights from record labels but have maintained that their services are completely legal, as users can only upload own purchased music.

There are also rumours about Microsoft Ventura music cloud solution, and even HP confirms that it has acquired Melodeo, a company that provides cloud-based delivery systems for content.

But wait, where is Apple? While Amazon and Google have managed to win a short sprint outpacing Apple by few months, both of their cloud music services have already been heavily criticized, both by the unhappy music industry and from consumers, who have found the quality of the services to be lacking. Such approach could send music content providers rushing into Apple’s arms. And if recent reports are to be believed, Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing deal with EMI Music, and is close to similar deals with UMG and Sony Music Entertainment.

But lets not forget about Apple ability to make things easy to use. It is not only about applying recently emerged technology, but also analyzing current needs of society and improving user experience. And perfect timing of course.

Seems like Apple let rivals to launch their services with only one reason – watch and analyze them. It is a great ability – learn from other’s mistakes. Thumbs up, and lets hope that Google, Amazon or Microsoft can build or improve their own cloud music services in order to give us, users, a bigger choice.

Apple has already confirmed the schedule for WWDC 2011, one of the biggest tech events in the industry, which begins on June 6 till June 10, 2011. Apart from iPhone 5 and Mac OS X Lion Apple is expected to make an announcement regarding its cloud-music system.

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Hack Your Memories

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

1984 by George Orwell

Remember that campaign from IKEA, where a Facebook profile was created, and over a two-week period, the agency uploaded images from IKEA showrooms to a Facebook photo album? First, who managed to tag his name to a product, won it.

Recently, things turned a bit around. We don’t have to tag our names, but rather tag a product in your pictures. Facebook added this functionality on March 11 and many questions popped-up: are they want to make it automatic, so big brands could tag it for you, which is in fact called real-life product placement? Is this another attempt to monetize the social interactions by giving a phantom increase in functionality? And finally, will people actually volunteer to tag any product in their photo album sacrificing their personal image?

Building and maintaining personal online identity becomes more important. Not only celebrities, but rather your close circle of friends (jury of coolness) can affect your behavior  and indirectly force you to buy certain product. Facebook example seems to be just another nail in the coffin of privacy and our authentic memories.

The keynote given by Aza Raskin for the John Seely Brown Symposium on Technology and Society at University of Michigan and his inspiring speech at PICNIC’10 basically  reflected identical ideas – our personal past will be rewritten by the marketer. We are all in danger of having our memories hacked and our past is not immutable anymore. Will you let your life be edited? Will you let any brand to change some details on your pictures (add a hot girl with a crate of Budweiser maybe?).

According to the peak-end rule, we judge our past experience entirely on their emotional peak (bad or good, doesn’t matter) and how it ended.

“If you are looking for ways to improve your overall brand experience, you would benefit most by first defining how you will create a memorable peak experience, and also how you can conclude a customer’s experience with your brand in a clearly positive way.”

So, what do you think? Will you let your life be edited by brands, swap negative peak with positive one making your overall past experience/memories remarkable? Let us know in the comments.

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360°, but not deals

360° full motion interactive videos are finally taking off. Will.i.am recently launched his digital media company will.i.apps and it’s first application BEP360 featuring a video from Black Eyed Peas song “The Time (Dirty Bit)”. Once you download an app, you dive into a fully immersive experience. Moving a phone around user will be able to experience the world.

One of the current biggest players in 360° video production is Immersive Media Corp. from Dallas, Texas, USA. It offers “11-lens camera and full complement of production and post-production services are being used by prominent brands to deliver cutting edge live entertainment and advertising.” Check this amazing base jumping video and even more demos on the Immersive Media demo page.

And for all these with a low budget, Pittsburgh tech start-up EyeSee360 released a 360-degree lens for use on your iPhone. The device attaches to the lens of an iPhone 4 and catches everything visible within 360° view. Viewers of the footage are able to change their point of view using the phone’s touchscreen, looking in front of, behind, beside or above the camera. GoPano is expected to sell for about $80.

Now imagine if we could play this kind of video back through a pair of goggles equipped with motion sensing accelerometers. Turning your head to change a viewpoint, the effect of Virtual Reality might be achieved with the snap of a finger.

We’re looking forward to see how this technology being used for live concerts and fully immersive experience.

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Music Analytics at IASPM2011: Spotify will vanish

The IASPM conference held on 14th and 15th of April rather surprised. Indeed, the differentiation between speakers was quite big. Disappointment, that many students speakers could not answer questions from audience. The most common phrase you could hear:”Oh, I didn’t complete any research on that”. But lets leave them and talk about speakers that brought a huge inspiration.

First to mention is Dr Lee Marshall from University of Bristol. He was talking about stars in the recording industry and changing dynamics. But before his talk, this respectable gentleman was hiding on a last row stinging every speaker with fair questions. Should I say that some of the presenters “capitulated”? And today he even came to us again and gave a perfect overview on music industry biggest players and 360 degree deals. Well done! Thank you and hopefully see you soon!

Other amazing speaker Michael Christianen shared his opinion on developing systems that help customers to optimize the music discovery, managing and sharing processes. This presentation highlighted those concepts together with the results of the research done by Michael in the past 15 years. He also represented his research on streaming business model, claiming that Spotify might disappear, but Goggle or even Amazon might catch up and become major providers of a streamed music and other cloud content. But these grands should consider several attributes, such as:

  • Discover
  • Acquire
  • Manage
  • Use
  • Share

These components must be considered, developed and modified in order to establish a competitive service that will hit the spot. Paradigm shift that started 10 years ago is not finished yet. As Michael said:

“For established parties, it is therefore important to act pro-actively, integrating new technologies, new business models and alliances in order to forge a solid position in the value chain to secure.”

We are here, to provide you with latest updates on music industry. Stay tuned.

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Cache me if you can!

Among all predictions of David Brin, a scientist and world-known author of science fiction, there is one confirmed and, like never urgent nowadays, also known as LifeCaching:

“Yet more Chinese piled off flywheel buses just ahead of Alex’s little car. wearing garish sunhats and Tru-Vu goggles that simultaneously protected the eyes and recorded for posterity every kitsch purchase from friendly concesssionaires touting ‘genuine’ New Zealand native woodcraft “

(Earth, 1990, p. 141)

Last Tuesday ZionEyez LCC published a press release of their concept. Camera shades capable of recording and streaming video, that can be transmitted to the online services such as YouTube or Facebook. “Sharing personal experiences online will no longer be a written status update and a few photos, but a full length HD video journal,” says Brent Burroff, co-founder of ZionEyez LLC. “Eyez gives people the ability to share the world as they see it in real time, from a truly first person perspective, without compromising convenience or style.”

Exciting. And there is one more interesting thing about that: our team came out with same concept, developing product for IPL course. Seems like during last year Kwela Hermmans’ Trendwatcher course we gained certain sense and feeling of what is coming next. Perhaps, we put our stake on the events as one of our 4P’s. Nevertheless, it is still a long way to go before reaching a tipping point and finally ask ourselves a question: “Where is our privacy gone?”

And if it is not China, then definitely Japan will bring significant contribution to a paradigm shift towards The Transparent Society. On that note, I’m leaving you with this hilarious pitch from the Japanese mobile development startup at Launch conference, San Francisco.

Oh, by the way, DOMO raised upward of $16 million in funding since its beginnings in 2008. Will it work? Possibly. At this moment, when Japan is in a such need of resources, we all hope, that DOMO and other projects will aid in the recovery process of  the country. And for those, who are willing to contribute, 7 Simple Ways to Help provides you with solutions you can use to help the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

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Good morning, good news

Thanks to Hoppala AR Content Platform, now we can easily create and maintain a content within AR. The service offers solution to generate and manage points of interest (POI) that can be integrated with Layar, Wikitude or Junaio platform. It simply runs in a browser (no Chrome support!) and no coding needed at all. It was available since Summer, 2010, but only with Layar support. Bruce Sterling in his blog “Beyond the Beyond” suggested that “it may be a mere matter of time before we can augment reality by snapping our fingers at it”

So, this morning started with tests. A few POI placed in front of InHolland University. In result we were able to see information using smartphone and any of three major AR browsers. Indeed, it worked on ease with Layar, but had major troubles with Junaio.

Nevertheless, it is a great opportunity for small businesses to reach their target group spending very little money, as no coders and expensive developers required anymore. Our team is looking forward to it, and will try to implement Hoppala in our marketing campaign.

Follow our blog to find out more  …

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