Here are all of the posts in the ‘News’ category.

Event: Build your brand with Instagram.

by Stephanie Ryan in News

Build your brand with Instagram

Hi there,

A quick post to help our friends at General Assembly promote their upcoming event: “Build your brand with #Instagram: A panel of top instagrammers and industry experts

The event will discuss and demonstrate how to successfully launch your brand on Instragram, how to build your followers with engaging content and ultimately how to harness the power of Instagram effectively for your business.

The panel discussion will be followed by networking drinks and you’ll have the chance to meet top Instagrammers, industry professionals and fellow business owners.

Tickets are now available for the event, which will be held on Thursday 12th of February.

We Are Social Senior Strategist Amaury Treguer will be present to talk about his professional experience with the platform, as well as his own successful Instagram account, Morning Bondi.

We look forward to seeing you there!

tagged: , , , ,

Tuesday Tune-Up #174

by Abrye Redeker

#AustraliaDay your way

National Museum of Australia & National Australia Day Council teamed up with Twitter to make history by creating a digital snapshot of how the world spent Australia Day. Throughout the 26th & 27th, #AustraliaDay tweets were curated in a live feed on the Australia Day Your Way website. From there highlights will be collected and stored in a Twitter time capsule, and featured on display at the Museum. Social participation was up 50% from last year with over 105k tweets contributed to the capsule from celebrations all over the world.

National_Museum_of_Australia_-_Australia_Day

WeChat is testing ads

WeChat has started testing ads in ‘Moments’, its (rough) equivalent to Facebook’s News Feed. So far, the network has been reluctant to include advertising; with 468.1 million monthly active users, this could be big business. Sponsored posts will be marked ‘promoted’.

WhatsApp for web browsers

Want to chat to your mates at work, but can’t get away with using your phone? No, no, me neither. Anyway, say that you did, you can now access WhatsApp through a web client. Just scan a QR code using your phone and you use the messaging app on your computer.

WhatsApp for browsers

The service works for Android, BlackBerry, Nokia S60 and Windows mobile app users and you’ll have to use Chrome as your browser. WeChat was quick to remind people that it already has a web-based service, which is iOS-friendly.

Twitter brings ‘while you were away’ to iOS

Remember when the Mashup told you about Twitter’s ‘while you were away’ feature? Sure you do. Well, it’s now rolled out to iPhone and iPad users, who will see a quick recap of the top tweets they missed since last time they logged in.

Twitter adds Bing translation tool

Twitter has added a translation service, powered by Bing. Users can now click on a globe icon, which appears in tweets in a foreign language, to have the tweet translated. The new version will appear just below the original text.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.18.34 PM

Snapchat to launch ‘Discover’

Snapchat is set to release its ‘Discover’ feature at the end of the month. When it does, it’ll be staking its claim as a publisher, posting its own media and that of other companies, including ESPN, CNN and Vice.

Tumblr introduces Creatrs Network

Tumblr has revealed its ‘Creatrs Network’, with which it hopes to connect Tumblr bloggers with brands that want to use their content in ads and marketing. David Hayes, Tumblr’s head of creative strategy, said:

We think the creative class is really the next generation that’s going to come up and change the world and we think we have the largest creative class of any platform.

Bloggers of the world, unite.

Pinterest’s search results hope to appeal to men

Pinterest is introducing new search filters, aimed at making the network more popular with men. Now, search results will change depending on the gender you selected when signing up. According to the company, men are searching for apparel, technology, travel, gardening, recipes, gadgets, design, luxury cars, tattoos, and, errrrr, camping.

Pinterest buys Kosei

Pinterest advertising is in for a big year. Shortly after releasing its first Promoted Pins, the platform has purchased Kosei, an ad tech firm that specialises in targeting ads based on ‘relationship and recommendation modelling’.

Transfer money via Twitter

Indian bank, ICICI, has launched a ‘tweet to pay’ function. Users simply need to follow @icicibank and send a DM containing the recipient’s username and amount to be transferred. The recipient doesn’t need to be an ICICI customer, either. On a completely unrelated note, my Twitter handle is @nickmulligan.

Facebook targeting on show for the Super Bowl

Facebook is hoping to show off its ad targeting chops during the Super Bowl on Sunday. A number of brands have already signed up to show different videos to different segments of the undeniably huge audience, including Budweiser and Toyota.

NBC and the social Super Bowl

The Super Bowl isn’t just one of the world’s biggest sporting events, it’s also a rare occassion when people actually want to watch adverts. NBC, the TV network that will be broadcasting the event, is looking to cash in on this, creating a Tumblr that will be populated by ad-related content. This is part of a wider social media strategy, which will include an attempt to break the ‘selfie world record’ on Super Bowl Sunday.

Nissan enlists YouTubers for #withdad

Nissan has teamed up with YouTube stars, including Roman Atwood (below) and Epic Meal Time, to create a set of Super Bowl teaser videos. Under the hashtag #withdad, they focus on ways to get the work/family balance right. Like turning your house into a GIANT BALL PIT.

 

tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Digital, Social & Mobile Worldwide in 2015

by Simon Kemp in News

2014 was a landmark year for growth across all things digital, and We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 report indicates that this year will see even more impressive numbers.

Including stats for more than 240 countries around the world, and profiling 30 of the world’s biggest economies in detail, this report is the most comprehensive, free compendium of up-to-date digital statistics and data you’ll find.

So what do its 376 pages reveal?

The Headlines

Global Digital Snapshot 2015

As we’ve seen in our on-going series of Digital Statshot reports, mobile increasingly dominates the digital world, and we’re confident that ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ will gather even more pace during 2015, as cheaper handsets and more affordable data connections reach further around the world.

What’s more, with mobile-oriented services like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger achieving the top social media ranking spots in some of the world’s biggest economies, it’s clear that much of our digital behaviour is now converging around mobile devices.

Based on the trends within this data, we expect that mobile will help to push internet penetration beyond 50% of the world’s population during mid to late 2016.

Before that, though, we expect to see social media penetration reach one-third of the world’s population – likely by the end of 2015 – with new users in developing nations accounting for almost all of this growth.

In Context: 12 Months of Amazing Growth

The digital world passed some impressive milestones in 2014:

  • Worldwide social media users exceeded 2 billion back in August;
  • Worldwide penetration of mobile phones passed 50% in September;
  • The number of global internet users passed 3 billion in early November;
  • The number of active mobile connections surpassed the total world population just last month;

Excitingly, the numbers in our new 2015 report suggest that this growth shows no signs of slowing anytime soon:

Slide007

You’ll find an amazing wealth of data and infographics designed for easy copy-paste into your own presentations in the SlideShare embed above, but read on for our additional insights into the numbers.

Internet

Almost 42% of the world’s population has access to the internet in January 2015, representing a significant jump in reported numbers since last year’s report, when the same figure was just 35%:

Slide015

Our analysis of these numbers suggests that much of this increase is due to more accurate and timely reporting of data rather than a sudden surge in access, but there is little doubt that many millions of new users accessed the internet for the first time in the past 12 months – many of them via mobile phones.

As we reported in early November, more than 3 billion people around the world now use the internet via a variety of different devices. However, access is not evenly distributed: the reported number of internet users in Bermuda, Bahrain and Iceland almost equals those countries’ total reported populations, but the data also suggest that fewer than 0.1% of the populations of North Korea and South Sudan have access to the internet.

Slide017

Internet connection speeds vary significantly around the world too, from an average of more than 25 Mbps in South Korea, to barely 2 Mbps in India. Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the USA make up the top 5 fastest nations after South Korea, with each registering speeds in excess of 10 Mbps, putting them well above the global average of 4.5 Mbps:

Slide021

The average internet user spends around 4 hours and 25 minutes using the net each day, with Southeast Asians registering the highest average daily use. Research conducted by GlobalWebIndex shows that Filipino internet users spend more than 6 hours per day using the net, with Thais, Vietnamese, Indonesians and Malaysians also all averaging more than 5 hours of use per day:

Slide018

Mobile Internet

Mobile’s share of global web traffic leapt 39% since the same time last year, with one-third of all web pages now served to mobile phones:

Slide020

However, mobile’s share of the web also varies considerably around the world: mobile phones account for 89% of all pages served in Papua New Guinea, but barely 0.1% of pages served in some of the smaller Caribbean islands.

It’s worth highlighting that India’s web traffic is dominated by mobile devices, with phones alone accounting for 72% of all web pages served in the world’s second most populous nation:

Slide148

The good news is that the potential for faster mobile internet access has grown exponentially in the past year, with 39% of all global mobile connections now classified as ‘broadband’ (i.e. 3G or 4G):

Slide047

Social Media

Social media continues to grow apace around the world too, with active user accounts now equating to roughly 29% of the world’s population.

Monthly active user (MAU) figures for the most active social network in each country add up to almost 2.08 billion – a 12% increase since January 2014:

Slide024

Meanwhile, research conducted by GlobalWebIndex suggests that the average social media user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks and microblogs, with Argentinian and Filipino users registering the most, at more than 4 hours per day:

Slide029

Facebook continues to dominate the global social media landscape, claiming 1.366 billion active users in January 2015. Crucially, 1.133 billion of the platform’s global users – 83% of the total – now access the service through mobile devices.

Meanwhile, Tencent extended its dominance of Chinese-language social networks, with Qzone’s 629 million active accounts leading the pack. However, our analysis indicates that a number of the platform’s users have more than one account, meaning this figure may not be reliable as a basis for the calculation of social media penetration.

VKontakte retains the top social media spot in Russia and a handful of its neighbours, although reliable monthly active user figures are more difficult to come by. The latest data suggest the platform has around 100 million monthly active users, of which roughly two-thirds are in Russia.

Slide027

Mobile Social

As we saw above, mobile usage of social networks like Facebook continues to grow all over the world. Adding up the mobile users of the top social network in each country, we see at least 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts in January 2015:

Slide031

Meanwhile, instant messenger services and chat apps continue their impressive growth patterns, with WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber all reporting more than 100 million new monthly active users over the past 12 months.

Instant messenger services and chat apps now account for 3 of the top 5 global social platforms, and 8 instant messenger brands now claim more than 100 million monthly active users:

Slide028

As in other areas of this year’s report, much of this growth has been fuelled by the increasing importance of mobile devices in people’s everyday lives, and this trend looks set to accelerate in 2015.

Mobile Devices

Unique mobile users exceeded 50% of the world’s population in September 2014, and the current year-on-year growth rate of more than 5% suggests we’ll see roughly 200 million new mobile users over the next 12 months.

GSMA Intelligence and Ericsson both report more than 7 billion active mobile subscriptions, but it’s important to note that the average global mobile user still maintains roughly two active connections:

Slide034

Smartphones account for an increasingly large proportion of mobile use, with Ericsson reporting that these devices claim a 38% share of the world’s active connections:

Slide040

Almost 4 in 10 global mobile connections now qualify as ‘broadband’ – i.e. a 3G connection or better – but as with so many other aspects of this report, fast mobile data access varies hugely from one country to the next:

Slide046

Reports suggest that all of North Korea’s 2.8 million mobile connections are 3G or above, although this is tempered by the fact that the internet – or at least the internet as we know it in the rest of the world – is not available to the country’s average citizen. However, at 11% penetration – 65% up on the same period last year – the role of mobile in North Korea may be cause for optimism.

As with fixed internet access, South Korea is streets ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to mobile internet speeds, with the country’s mobile operators delivering an average connection of 18.2 Mbps – twice as much as any other nation.

Singapore and the UK follow, with 9.1 Mbps and 8.1 Mbps respectively. India, Brazil, Argentina all registered average mobile data connections below 2 Mbps, while Vietnam registered the slowest average mobile data connection in this years report, at barely 1.1 Mbps:

Slide043

Despite these slow speeds, data reported by Ericsson in its latest Mobility Report suggest that the average global mobile connection uses around 900MB of data every month, with total monthly global data traffic rapidly approaching 3 exabytes – i.e. 3 billion gigabytes:

Slide044

However, more than three-quarters of the world’s mobile connections are still pre-paid, and the costs of acquiring a phone and maintaining an active mobile connection continue to represent a significant proportion of household expenditure in many developing nations.

As a result, content producers and marketers must balance their desire to provide ‘rich’ user experiences such as online video with the likely costs that this will entail for their audiences:

Slide039

What’s more, 58% of the world’s mobile connections still come from more basic, ‘feature’ phone handsets, meaning many people will be unable to access such content even if they’d like to.

At the other end of the mobile spectrum, the use of tablets increased steadily during 2014, with 7% of all web pages served in the past month going to these devices.

Combined, mobile phones and tablets now account for 38% of all web pages served around the world.

Mirroring this trend, laptops and desktops saw a 13% decline in share of web traffic compared to the same period last year, down to 62% of all web pages served:

Slide019

Online Shopping

Thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex, we’re delighted to include some detailed data points relating to online shopping for most of the countries in this year’s report.

The United Kingdom leads in terms of active e-commerce use, with data suggesting that almost two-thirds of the country’s population bought something online in the past month

Germany and South Korea follow close behind at 63% and 62% respectively, while the USA comes in fourth at 56%

South and Southeast Asia lag when it comes to e-commerce though, with data suggesting barely 14% of Indians bought something online in the past month. Similarly, fewer than 1 in 5 Thais and Filipinos used e-commerce in the past 30 days:

Slide022

Mobile commerce is picking up momentum around the world though though, especially in East Asia, with data suggesting that 37% of South Koreans bought something online via a mobile phone in the past month.

The Chinese are also increasingly active mobile shoppers, with 27% of the population buying something through their phones in the past 30 days:

Slide045

Local Country Profiles

You’ll also find in-depth profiles of 30 of the world’s largest economies in the report, in the same format as the China slides you’ll find at the bottom of this post.

Here’s a list of the countries we cover in detail:

Slide003

So What Next?

If you’d like to explore the individual country data in more detail, you might like to know you can download the complete report for free by clicking here.

You may also want to refer back to our reports from previous years; you’ll find them all in one convenient library here, but you may find our 2014 report and analysis particularly useful.

We’re also fully aware that the numbers on their own don’t tell you what to do, so if you’d like a more in-depth consultation on what these numbers mean for your business, simply email us at (ua.moc.laicoseraewnull@tahc.stel) and let us know which areas and opportunities like to focus on.

And if you’re looking for the latest data and numbers for other countries around the world, be sure to sign up to our newsletter where you’ll be the first to receive notifications about our upcoming Digital, Social & Mobile reports covering many more nations.

We’ll leave you with the country slides for Australia:

Slide060

Slide061

Slide062

Slide063

Slide064

Slide065

Slide066

Slide067

Slide068

Slide069

Slide070

tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday Tune-Up #173

by Gillian Collison

#AusOpen is back for 2015!

Aussie workplaces are gearing up for some tired eyes this next fortnight, as the Australian Open is back in town for another year. #AusOpen was the fourth fastest rising hashtag of 2014, with players, commentators and fans alike joining in on the Twitter action.

We suggest checking out @AustralianOpen on Twitter to get you started – the team from Tennis Australia provide play-by-play updates, tournament insights, videos, daily Twitter takeovers from players, and fun activities taking place around the grounds. Twitter have also put together a 2015 Australian Open List – featuring prolific tennis players, commentators and past champions. Kia Australia’s Game On app is also official back – check it out to win your very own Cerato Hatch.

Here are a few of our highlights from yesterday:

 

Australian Government attempting crackdown on Youtubers

Do you make money from YouTube? According to the Tax Office, you are now a “performing artist” and now have to pay income tax on any revenue you make from Google advertising. Boooo! Vloggers and filmmakers will potentially targeting – but how the Tax Office are planning to reign this in is yet to be seen. Essentially, anyone who receives income from Google, whether it be beauty, cooking or sewing tutorials, is now subject to the same income tax laws to those with fluctuating incomes – like athletes or writers. We’ll keep our eye on this for future updates!

Ly Lawyers targeting party animals on Facebook with targeted adverts

- 18-40 years old

- Lives in Sydney

- Likes: clubbing, festivals

Sound like you? Then keep an eye out for Facebook adverts from law firm Ly Lawyers - they think you’re a potential drug user and will happily offer you their criminal law services in the instance you need them. An interesting/creative albeit potentially offensive use of Facebook advertising.

Google search results link to brands’ social profiles

We’d say this news story ‘puts the OO in Google’, if we weren’t above that sort of terrible pun. Google search results already link to social profiles for certain celebrities – the same will now happen for brands and companies, on both desktop and mobile.

Social profiles in Google Search

Facebook likes can predict your personality

Computers know you better than your spouse, provided you’ve liked at least 300 Facebook pages. Researchers at Cambridge and Stanford universities have found that, given access to enough information about your Facebook likes, a computer can predict personality traits better than any human. Naturally, this could have a huge impact for brands, as they try to better understand their consumers; We Are Social’s own Paul Greenwood spoke to Marketing Magazine about the possibilities that Facebook data brings:

Facebook Likes offer just one dimension of someone’s attitudes and behaviours. Other signals, such as what people share, what they say, what other platforms they use and so on, can offer a much deeper understanding. The difficulty of course is getting access to that data at scale.

Facebook trialling work-only platform

If you like using Facebook at work, but can’t use Facebook at work, try using Facebook at Work. The new work-only network is being tested with a few partner companies, before it is rolled out fully. The plan is that it will be used as an internal communication platform, where you can do the usual things (post updates, group chat etc.) but only colleagues will see it, and only when using Facebook at Work. At the moment, Facebook has said its focus is growth, not monetisation.

Google catching Facebook for social logins

Q4 figures from Janrain show that Google has cut Facebook’s lead in social logins. Google grew quarter-on-quarter from 35% to 40%, while Facebook dipped from 46% to 43%.

Janrain4Q2014SocialLogin650

Twitter useful for TV and film marketers

If you’re in the TV or film game, Twitter is your friend. Two pieces of research have suggested so in the last week, anyway. The first, by Nielsen, suggests that Twitter TV activity can anticipate audience sizes, as depicted by this positive correlation:

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 3.38.51 PM

The latter, by marketing analytics software provider MarketShare, argues that the platform can have a real impact on box office sales. In fact, over a three year period, Twitter was shown to contribute to 18% of cinema ticket sales, while £1 of ad spend generated £5.88 in revenue.

The cost of advertising on Snapchat

Snapchat is asking for $750,000 per day of advertising, according to Adweek sources. There’s a question mark over whether that’s too expensive, or worth it for access to a lucrative teen audience. Either way, don’t expect Snapchat ads for your local bakery any time soon.

Avengers trailer hits social media

The latest Avengers trailer has been shared on both Facebook and YouTube, and it’s proven an interesting experiment in how video spreads on both platforms. Facebook saw quicker instant growth, but, as of today, YouTube is far ahead (around 65m views to Facebook’s 7m). It suggests that Facebook is good for viral spread, while YouTube has a higher shelf life. It’s only one example, but it’s good food for Thor-t. Right, guys? Guys?

Gillette’s Tinder experiment

Gillette has used Tinder to research whether women prefer men with beards or without. It’s an interesting way for the platform to gain revenue, but I think we all know the answer: girls love guys that are 24 and still incapable of growing a beard. Trust me.

YouTube’s Superbowl halftime show

YouTube is planning an alternative Superbowl halftime show, hosted by Harley Morenstein, the leader of the EpicMealTime crew. It will feature a whole host of YouTube stars, musical performances and even fake ads.

Buffalo Wild Wings makes videos from tweets

Buffalo Wild Wings is turning tweets into sports analysis videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. For the NFL post-season, followers can tweet using #BWWPostGame for the chance to be included. You can see one video below – there’s another one yet to come, for the Superbowl itself.

Brands respond to college playoffs

We hope you like American football, because there’s another story coming up. Last week saw college football’s first playoff competition, with brands as keen as ever to react to the event. The first two are in response to a turnover after the ball was fumbled, while the latter played on the unlikelihood of a Ducks comeback.

 

 

 

 

Branded tweets about #FiveWordsToRuinADate
Brands loved last week’s #FiveWordsToRuinADate trend. They loved it a lot. Some of them loved it well, some of them weren’t quite so successful. We’ll let you decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose your own Twitter adventure

We’ll leave you with a game. Start with the tweet below and see how far you get – it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’, made to promote Timothy Jarvis’s book ‘The Wanderer’.

tagged: , , , , ,

Groundbreaking or uninspiring? #CES2015

by Michael Batistich in News

Following last week’s 2015 International CES, we asked our Head of Creative Technology in London, Matthew Payne, to share his and his team’s thoughts on what stood out for them at this year’s event.

CES

Ridiculously large and unbelievably high definition screens – check. Drool worthy concept cars – check. More health trackers – check. Internet of Things – check. It is, of course, CES 2015.

I was unable to attend this year’s show, which in no way has left me bitter (honestly). However, I have been left unimpressed with some of the main releases and at the same time, quietly excited by other snippets that have been pushed to the side.

One the things I think should have got more attention was the Compute Stick from Intel. Released for either PC or Linux with varying RAM and Flash Storage amounts, these little computers, no bigger than a stick of gum, have high potential in my eyes. Imagine a hot desking office where you just carry your stick around and plug it into any monitor – love it. Whilst still in their infancy, I’ll be keeping a close eye on their development and will obviously try and buy one without my wife knowing I have bought yet another computer. At least this one should be easy to hide.

Elsewhere we’ve seen even more Virtual Reality headsets, in what is becoming a saturated market for the hardware devices. Developers and startups working to make experiences for VR are the current heroes, rather than the people making yet another headset. We need more innovators in the software now, rather than just focusing on the hardware. The social aspect of what Virtually Reality can offer us is exciting for all. Brendan Iribe, Oculus’s Chief Executive, has said that they want to put 1 billion people into a virtual world. This is the aim and attitude that excites me more than the hardware.

Our Creative Technology & Development team followed the event closely. Here, a number of them have shared what they think is exciting, useful or just annoying at, or about, CES 2015. Oh, and Tom our Marketing Director wanted to get in on the action too.

Chris Applegate, Lead Creative Technologist

Peak wearable

2015’s CES has shown we’re approaching peak wearable. Nearly everyone at CES had a smartwatch out, and everyone else has something that in some way attaches to your body and does interesting stuff before the battery runs out.

Wearables, however, at the moment seem to be fixated around the idea of surveillance. True, some of that can be useful – take AmpStrip, a heart monitor that fits inside a sticky plaster – something that if they get it cheap enough, I can see the medical profession taking up and using in the near future.

ampstrip

But for the home market and the casual user, this surveillance may be overkill, to the point of ridiculous. For example, a headset that measures your brainwaves and shares them via your smartphone; cycle shorts that measure how long you’ve been in the saddle and how much you’re sweating; or a belt that measures how fat you’re getting. Even kids can get in on the action – there’s a temperature-tracking smart dummy to give parents one more thing to fret about.

The overall impression is that with these new technologies, we’re not so much cyborgs as lab rats. The wearer is a subject to be studied rather than a user to serve. What can be measured can be managed, so the saying goes. But once the novelty is over, who is going to want to pore over reams of data on how often you loosened your belt? What do we really get out of it, apart from feeling guilty about that third slice of pie, or that bike ride we skipped?

Perhaps once the craze for measurement has been and gone, we can look at wearables that actually do things that are useful, or fun, that make our everyday lives more interesting or connected, just as the smartphone did. But first we need to stop being obsessed by measurement and start thinking more about experience.

Alberto Gomez, Developer

Thync’s enforced happiness

From all the products in CES 2015, there is one that stands out for me. It’s something you would imagine in a distant future sci-fi movie, not in a tradeshow in the present day. Thync mood enhancer claims it has the power to change your mood. It achieves that by “sending ultrasonic waveforms to signal patterns in the brain” (whatever that means – your guess is as good as mine).

The device can induce your mind to three different states: energy, focus and calm. I’m sure many people will be wary of a device like this; how the brain works is still a big mystery in science. Tricking our brain to be in a state it’s not supposed to be in might have unexpected consequences, although Thync does stress the technology is backed by scientific studies and it is totally safe to use.

The Thync applies low electrical current to the brain in order to alter the wearer's mood

It will be interesting to keep an eye on this form of “mind altering” technology. Perhaps in the future it will be developed to have a broader palette of emotions. It also raises all sorts of scientific and philosophical questions. Would an artificially induced happiness still be happiness?

Jaswinder Virdee, Developer

Enhancing the everyday

For me, CES stands for what’s new and coming to the hands of the mass market soon. But for the past couple of years, the events have seen more and more concept products featured to get the attention of media outlets; this year’s item being the driverless car from Mercedes. That’s going into very few hands even in the next 50 years. At this stage I feel our focus shouldn’t always be on new products per se, but new behaviours and accessories to make what we do have better. So my top picks from CES aren’t ground breaking, but enhance the tedious aspects of everyday life.

Most of us use a music streaming service. But switching between devices is a hassle, particularly on Spotify because it doesn’t remember between mobile and desktop where you are (I know – first world problem, right?). But at CES, Philips debuted its Spotify speakers; simply press the Spotify button on the speaker in your hallway and the music instantly picks up right where you left off on your last device. Simple, clever.

phillips speakers

On the same day Google announced the launch of Cast for Audio, allowing Cast-ready speakers to pick up your music where you left off. Granted this is new hardware and should perhaps be first bridged with an adapter to clip onto existing hardware, similar to Chromecast as affordable accessory. I think this will be first and best step to the more connected home of tomorrow.

On another note, improving life subtlety outside the home, QNX debuted video side mirrors on a Maserati to aid viewing blind spots, literally giving you the green light to change lanes. If this could be attached to any car as an accessory it would another short jump for man into the future without having to buy entirely new products.

Beth Allchurch, Developer

Electronics capable 3D Printing

My stand-out product from CES comes from Voxel8, a start-up based in Massachusets, headed by Harvard professor and leading materials researcher Dr. Jennifer Lewis. At CES the company unveiled a printer, also called Voxel8, capable of printing in both PLA and conductive silver ink, allowing for the creation of 3D electronic devices with embedded circuitry.

The most immediate benefits will be in the area of electronics design. Embedded circuitry will give designers more freedom, as rather than choosing where to place circuit boards the circuits will be integrated into the design itself. Prototyping will become easier and faster as testing a design becomes a matter of simply printing it out.

Michael Molitch-Hou, founder of The Reality Institute, shared even grander visions in 3dprintingindustry.com:

Once people begin designing for the Voxel8 platform, the company will be able to push their technology even further – perhaps, to an industrial scale. In the long term, one can imagine industrial printers capable of printing objects with embedded electronics en masse. Leveraging Lewis’s bioprinting research, it’s also possible to see a medical-grade version of their machine used in laboratory settings to 3D print multiple types of cellular materials into a single, biological object.

voxl8

And of course, there’s the tantalizing prospect of being able to download, customize, and print electronic devices in your own home. Voxel8 has opened up a huge range of possibilities with this product, but the real excitement will come when electronics designers and developers begin pushing at the boundaries of what’s possible with the Voxel8 and its successors.

Tom Ollerton, Marketing Director

Social teeth cleaning

My CES highlight is The Grush Gaming Toothbrush. It’s a smart toothbrush that turns cleaning your teeth into a game via a smartphone app. The accelerometer in your toothbrush tells you where you’ve missed a bit, but it also allows you to play a Temple Run-type game as you brush. This is meant to be an incentive for kids to spend more time on their pearly whites whilst also being a social game for families. It might just work…

grush Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.33.41