Embarrassment for London’s much-vaunted Tech City with the news that the abode to many of the UK capital’s start-ups has a poor broadband service, forcing many denizens to work from home in search of a decent Internet connection. In fact, one third of businesses are without high-speed broadband. “This isn’t only about broadband. If you look at the bigger picture, there is no tangible support for serious start-ups,” Rohan Sinclair Luvaglio of mobile phone app company Bizzby gripes to the Hackney Gazette. “The basic ingredients to build an entrepreneurial start-up ecosystem do not yet exist in the UK, particularly in Tech City.”
Vodafone is going big on the Internet of Things. The mobile operator is looking to acquire Italian connected car outfit Cobra Automotive with a £115 million play in the so-called machine-to-machine market. Vodafone likes the idea of getting into telemetrics and Cobra gives it access to the high-end car market thanks to its partnerships with the likes of Lamborghini and Audi, while it also has ties with Bentley, VW and Nissan. That means offering the likes of stolen vehicle tracking and also selling potentially lucrative insurance services based on driver behaviour.
Times are tough for sharing economy outfits in Spain. In an attack on the legal front, police in Barcelona are fining drivers who are using the Uber private taxi app to run cab businesses which undercut licensed operators – the regional Catalan government is looking to fine Uber drivers as much as €6,000 for leveraging the app. Taxi drivers across the country are participating in 24-hour strikes in a bid to put pressure on lawmakers to do something about what they perceive as unfair competition from sharing-economy services.
Two thirds of Whatsapp users say mobile chat apps are one of primary forms of communications, with over half saying they prefer them to SMS for messaging. And only 16% believe that sending photos/videos via MMS is better than with a chat app, according to GlobalWebIndex metrics. Whatsapp users are keen on security and privacy. More than four in 10 want to know that a deleted conversation really has been deleted and that it is not stored somewhere without them knowing about it.
From Mumsnet to ‘Everyday Sexism’, from Malala to Caitlin Moran, from the campaign against FGM to… there hasn’t been so much coverage of women’s issues for decades. But is it all just chatter or is filtering down to women on the ground? As a part of Thinktank’s recent Speakeasy* in Brixton Arcade in south London, the market research firm spoke to young women about what it means to be female in 2014. They found that there clearly is a new ‘feminist’ consciousness of unequal treatment and resentment at the expectations young women – still – encounter.
As Microsoft heads into the cloud it is letting lots of businesses fall by the wayside, writes Steve Mullins. The latest is the company’s move to shutter its Xbox Entertainment Studios unit, which only a few months ago announced a raft of new original programming, including the Every Street United show targeting football fans for the World Cup, the Signal to Noise documentary series and live streaming of the Bonnaroo music and arts festival.
Unilever is placing its bets on the smart bathroom as well as smart ice cream cabinets for the Internet of Things. Via the Unilever Foundry, the company wants to partner with a bunch of partners to enable a ‘more relaxing, enjoyable and sustainable bathroom experience’. That means companies with diagnostic and analytical capabilities relating personal care regimes, such as styling tips and monitoring health.
Heady stuff. Brands might well be turning their attention to people. And that’s because understanding the digital customer experience is one of the primary catalysts for businesses putting substantial investment into digital transformation, according to a new report from Altimeter Group. Plus, there’s a realisation that digital transformation is driven not only by technology… but also by customer behaviour.
Apple may have got the go-ahead to acquire Beats for $3 billion, but that’s not great news for many of those who helped get the new music streaming outfit up and running this year – Apple is planning to lay off 200 people, around 30% of the workforce.
Cool Chinese mobile brand Xiaomi has come up with a piece of wearable technology in the shape of the Mi Band, riffing on the name of its successful Mi smartphone.
British Israel Communications & Research Centre is busy pushing an article by professor Alan Johnson published in World Affairs magazine under the headline, ‘Hamas Rockets Traumatise Israeli Children’.
Media giant NBCUniversal has joined forces with social commerce outfit Buyapowa to launch a campaign offering film audiences the chance to customise special offers and experiences on items such as such as personalised DVD sleeves, custom box sets and bonus content.
Forget cashing in on mobile apps, mobile websites are where consumers spend their cash.
More evidence that Facebook is becoming a utility and that social networking is now two-track.
Orange has launched its fifth African mobile phone waste facility, locating it in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Burkina Faso, Benin, Madagascar and Niger already have operations).
Portland, Oregon will this week vote on an Airbnb-friendly law which would legalise short-term one- and two-bed rentals in private homes.
Over 10% of online advertising impressions is fraudulent, with automotive (12%), fashion (12%) and education (11.
UK newspaper The Independent is pushing deeper into digital with the launch of i100.