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Five women in tech to watch at GeekGirl Meetup Conference

Five women in tech to watch at GeekGirl Meetup Conference

This Saturday one of our favourite networks by and for women, GeekGirl Meetup, is hosting its 5th annual conference.

The confluence of technology and ethics is this year’s hot topic, and we’re excited to head along and hear the insights of some of the most inspiring women in the industry. Here’s a little introduction to five of the speakers: our women in tech to watch.

Ellie Hale, Digital Fellowship Lead at CAST

Photo: CAST

 

A girl after our own hearts, Ellie Hale started her career in communications. Hale now heads up the Digital Fellowship at CAST, the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology. CAST is driving the growth of tech for good by working with investors, non-profits, social enterprises and government.

CAST’s Digital Fellowship is a programme which helps non-profit leaders learn the fundamentals of tech and digital innovation, helping charities embrace digital and put it at the heart of their work.

Jillian Kowalchuk, Founder and CEO of Safe & The City

Photo: Jillian Kowalchuck

 

Jillian Kowalchuk runs the upcoming app, Safe & the City – a tool to help women navigate safer walking routes. With an aim to help eliminate sexual harassment in London, we’re interested to see what’s on the horizon for Jillian when the app launches soon.

Camilla Hayselden-Ashby, Product Lead at fieldmargin

Photo: filedmargin

 

Camilla Hayselden-Ashby is the Product Lead at fieldmargin, a platform elevating the future of farming and making farming more efficient. The app is a mapping tool providing a visual record of a farm, upon which farmers can draw maps, make notes and leave messages for their team – even without internet connection.

Devika Wood, Co-founder of Vida

Photo: Vida

 

Vida, a company harnessing technology and investing in high quality, in-home carers for the elderly and disabled, was born from Devika Wood’s very personal experience growing up. Having lived from the age of 10 with her grandmother, who lived with dementia and epilepsy, Wood witnessed the impacts of a “lack of continuity in carers”. Vida aims to solve this issue in the sector, leveraging tech to provide personalised, expert care through their carer matching and care plans.

Devika has an impressive background in both technology and healthcare, having left school at 18 to work for Google, subsequently working as a breast cancer research scientist at Imperial College London, followed by stints at Babylon and Healthcare Australia.

Scarlett Montanaro, Co-founder of CRACK + CIDER

Photo: CRACK + CIDER

 

A rough sleeper once said to Scarlett Montanaro and co-founder Charley Cramer: “People don’t give me money because they think I’ll spend it on crack and cider.” Fed up with campaigns encouraging the public not to give rough sleepers money, but not offering another solution, the pair created CRACK + CIDER, an online shop where people can buy useful items for the homeless.

Ten Japanese tech start-ups that could take the UK by storm

With Silicon Valley in the US and Silicon Roundabout in our own capital, we know the West is good at taking the plunge and being entrepreneurial. But what of the East?

In Japan, business culture is still ‘dominated by the concept of lifetime employment’ where, in exchange for unwavering obedience and loyalty, the employee can expect stability, security and several company perks. However, as the next generation of 20 year olds reject the restrictions and limitations of the corporate world, Japan’s entrepreneurial spirit is slowly reviving.

As a keen Japanophile, and having lived in the country among a number of budding business minds, I like to keep a close eye on the ideas emerging from the Land of the Rising Sun, in the hope that one day they’ll expand into the UK. So below is a list of some of my top 10 favourite contenders.

A number of Japanese start-ups are set to make a big impact this year.

A number of Japanese start-ups are set to make a big impact this year.

1: Combinator (EN) – So you have a fantastic idea for a business – but what happens when you don’t have the skills to develop your service or product yourself? Helping to turn ideas into reality, Combinator is a platform where budding entrepreneurs can pledge their time to fledgling start-ups in the making. You can be as committed as you want, whether that’s working the odd weekend, helping out after you finish your day job, or fully committing yourself to the project.

2: Air Closet (JP) – Ever looked at your wardrobe brimming with clothes and thought you still have nothing to wear? Fear not, for Air Closet is effectively a library of clothes that you can borrow, with membership costing approximately £40 a month – you receive a package containing three items of clothing, selected for you by a professional stylist, and are allowed to keep the items for as long as you like.  It looks like you can only borrow three items at a time though, so once you’re ready to get your next batch, you simply send the clothes back (free return delivery and no need to wash) and review. The more feedback you share, the more accurate the stylists can be.

Online translation has proven an issue for some businesses.

Online translation has proven an issue for some businesses.

3: Conyac (EN) – Machine translators are getting good, but if anyone has seen this Let It Go Google Translate parody, we know that language is sometimes simply best left to the people who know how to use it! Conyac is an online platform that connects individuals and businesses alike with 40,000 affordable translators around the world, catering up to 75 languages. But perhaps what makes this service special as opposed to your ordinary translation agency is that they have three levels of service: light requests, standard requests and business. For a light request – say a quick email reply in the sender’s language – you can get a translation from a human in as quick as ten minutes.

4: Living Room (JP) – Your children have left their toys all over the floor, refuse to brush their teeth and simply don’t want to help with the household chores. Is there any hope? Yes says Living Room, a Japanese platform that helps to gamify the cleaning, washing, tidying, hygiene – you name it – experience for children. Set for release in February, children are assigned tasks through characters in a ‘game’ app (John the Adventurer in “Chores Quest” for the boys and Princess Marie in “The Magic of Chores” for the girls). The children’s apps are connected to a parent app, where Mums and Dads can confirm when a job has been completed – and once they give the green light, the children receive an in-game reward. The platform also includes a ‘Mama & Papa café’, where parents can discuss ideas and suggestions.

5: Listnr (EN) – We’re getting to a stage in technological development where interacting with your environment by sound is very much becoming a reality – and Listnr fits beautifully into the puzzle as an interactive baby monitor. Working in conjunction with an app, the user receives notifications when the device registers certain sounds – be that laughter or crying. As it develops, Listnr is also set to register the tone of voices in a room and change colour accordingly. The product is still very much in its infancy, but with backing from Panasonic and a successful CES 2015 under its belt, it’s sure to be a strong contender in the smart home arena.

6: Popinfo (JP) – Timing and visibility are of the essence in any marketing and promotional campaign, but can often be difficult to get right – after all, emails and display ads can be easy to ignore. Popinfo aims to increase click-through rates by combining geographical and behavioural insights for perfectly timed push notifications directly to consumers. It appears to be an opt-in service, with users subscribing to shops and cafés of their choice, so it’s a great way to keep your customers updated on activities and events, and drawing in the crowds.

7: AnyPerk (EN) – It’s not unusual nowadays for people to move job every few years, but if you’ve got some great talent in your midst, you won’t want to just let them go. Companies who subscribe to the AnyPerk platform give their employees access to over 700 pre-negotiated products and services, ranging from gym memberships to childcare services. The perks never expire, have no limits on redemption frequency and are redeemable immediately – companies can also customise what’s available to include their own perks, as well as remove those that don’t fit their company culture. Those that sign-up further receive regular updates on redemption statistics, enabling them to identify the most popular perks and benchmark themselves against competitors.

8: Giftee (JP) – How many times has a friend come through for you last minute – whether paying for your taxi home after losing your wallet on a night out, or coming over at a moment’s notice and offering a shoulder to cry on? Giftee specialises in small token gifts, allowing users to show their appreciation through digital vouchers for little treats, such as a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, a beer, a bowl of ice cream or even a copy of their favourite magazine. It’s the perfect way to spread the love.

9: AmazingLife (EN) – Like all things in life, everything and everyone eventually passes – but it can be difficult, and indeed complicated, to prepare for a death. AmazingLife has therefore developed a number of smartphone apps to help simplify the process and payment of services – from cremation and funeral preparations, to wills and inheritances – so that people can take the time to decide what is right for them at their own pace.

10: Type (JP) – As a fellow glasses wearer, it’s not often that a company comes around trying to make specs more ‘cool’. Oh My Glasses, however, attempts to do just that with their new line of eyewear products – Type – inspired by the similarities between the function and design of fonts and frames. The currently have four styles, named after the typefaces they were born from – Din, Futura, Garamond and Helvetica – and I can honestly say I was drawn immediately to my default font…

There are, of course, many, many more fantastic business ideas emerging in Japan – and I’ll be keeping a beady eye out for them. But in the meantime, I hope you’ll agree that there are some worthy contenders in the East that could really take the West by storm – and we should be encouraging them to try.

Instagram Release Video Sharing

Over the past couple of years, Instagram has become the leading social media app for capturing and sharing still imagery. With the option to add a number of filters, it has allowed users to produce really stunning imagery, something which professional photographers with the help of Photoshop would even be proud of.

At the back end of 2012 Twitter purchased the failing video app Vine, which allowed users to record short stop animation style videos and share them around the world.  Until now, Vine has been the only app which has focused solely on sharing video content on a social media platform.

This week has seen Instagram attempt to rival Vine’s dominance as the leader in video sharing, by allowing it’s users to now share video content as well as it’s traditional still imagery. Instagram is also allowing it’s users to upload content 15 seconds long in comparison to Vine’s 6 seconds, while also maintaining the function of adding filters to really enhance the look and feel of the videos.

So what does this mean for Vine? Twitter users have already taken to the platform with the hashtag “please don’t kill my Vine”, referring to the Kendrick Lamar song “please don’t kill my vibe”, suggesting that Vine’s days are over.

Last week it was announced that Vine’s videos are now shared on Twitter more than Instagram photos, mainly due to the fact Instagram cut off it’s Twitter integration in December. So permitting Instagram and Twitter do not integrate again, Vine won’t be in danger.

It is exciting to see what the ability to share video content will bring to the Instagram community, especially with the option to add filters, image stabilization and the option to add a cover frame image. All functionalities Vine has still not enabled.

Only time will tell how the apps will compete in the market, but either way, it has opened the door for video sharing enthusiasts to get even more creative.

Marketing With Vine

 

Vine marketing social

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/esthervargasc/9775763965

 

Vine is growing in popularity, it is a mobile application that enables users to capture and share short looping videos of 6 seconds or less. Due to its brevity, it has led to a creative genre of media and is quickly emerging as a viable marketing tool for brands.

With the high creative potential for Marketers to utilize Vine, here are 5 tips that we recommend:
TELL A STORY – 6 seconds is plenty of time to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end to ensure people are fully engaged.
KEEP IT SIMPLE – Simple concepts are the most effective.
PROMOTE – Try saying something new about your brand to your audience.
HAVE FUN – Or at least make your video look like you are having fun!
USE AUDIO – This is obvious.

Furthermore, Vine has resurfaced a conversation about copyrights and infringement that began when hip-hop exploded into the mainstream. With hip-hop came the art of sampling; borrowing bits and snips from other songs and including them in new instrumentals to be rapped over. Similarly, Vine allows users to create their own original works, whilst making it possible to sample recorded and copyrighted material. But the questions is does this constitute as copyright infringement?

We would love to hear your thoughts and don’t forget to tweet us your vines!

 

Pinterest-ing

 The social pin-boarding site has only been on the social scene for two years (not even a year yet in the UK), and already it’s taking the digital world by storm – doubling its number of unique visitors to 4 million since January.

In case you’re not familiar with the site, Pinterest is a place to organise and share online images that you may find interesting or inspiring.  Once uploaded or shared on Pinterest, these images become known as ‘pins’, which the user can place on customised themed boards.

Some people use the site to share images they find on the web, while others use the site from a more creative perspective. For example, many artists use Pinterest to arrange inspiring images for their work. While bakers may use the social networking site to showcase images of their creative cake collection and interior designers could use it as a platform for different design themes.

Brands, on the other hand, are using it to communicate to their audience through the use of images that best reflect what the brand is currently up to.  An example of a brand that is using Pinterest particularly well is Ikea.

The Swedish furniture store has 15 pin boards, including product ideas and ‘pin it to win it’ competitions hosted weekly – a great way to get people engaged and grow their existing community.

The site uses striking images to represent theme ideas for different rooms.  Some of the images also include price information for each product, so it essentially acts as an extension of its catalogue.

One of its more eye-catching boards for its ‘True Blue’ product range is inspired by Indian Culture, this however, doesn’t seem to be linked to its homepage which could minimise their efforts.

 

Tippexperience – Bigger and Better!

Since the TippExperience was released on YouTube (and quite literally took it over) last year, many have been waiting to see what creative genius Tipp-Ex will come up with next.

Well, you will be happy to know that the wait is over! And if I don’t say so myself they have come back bigger and better than before:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQtai7HMbuQ]

In their latest addition to the TippExperience Tipp-Ex have given us an insight into the Hunter and Bears first birthday party. Alas, during their celebrations a meteor can be seen heading towards earth…lucky for them they have some Tipp-Ex handy (what are the odds?!) and are able to rewrite time. This incredibly clever viral allows you to travel through different eras of history to see how the Hunter and Bear would have celebrated their birthday.

If you don’t have time to go back through all the years, then all is not lost. I have spent (maybe too much) time trawling through the years to bring you the best of Tippexperience 2. I really recommend taking a look, not only is it fun but it is fascinating to see how with a bit of imagination you can create an interactive and engaging viral that stands out from the rest.

My Favourite years:

1 – Here you will be taken back to 1AC, the birth of Jesus Christ, with some slightly alternative insights on how He was named.

500 – See the Hunter as King Arthur and help him remove the Sword from the Stone.

1980’s – Make your own graffiti whilst the bear bops away to his music.

2000 – This year sees the Millenium bug take over your computer…

2004 – Being a digital PR bod, it was inevitable I’d look to see if they had anything for the birth of Facebook, and they didn’t disappoint!

2005 – This year celebrates the start of YouTube

2007– Following my success with Facebook and YouTube, I looked for the year that the Apple iPhone was launched, and again Tipp-Ex have delivered another comical clip.

Type in the year you were born to see there take on the era, the 90’s is suitably cheesy! And any year with historic significance tends to be amusing.

All in all, I am very impressed, it seems to me that Tipp-Ex have more than covered all areas, demonstrating just how much thought has gone into this campaign.

Take a look and let me know what your favourite years are in the comments below!