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The 2018 awards season is well underway. Commentators are announcing their last-minute predictions ahead of today’s Oscar nominations and #TimesUp is making this one of the most memorable and poignant seasons of all time. It’s no surprise that the media has a sharper focus on the film industry than ever before.

The filmmaking business has undergone some real change in the past couple of years, and technology has been monumental in driving progress and empowering independent filmmakers and content creators. But which Film Technology companies should we be keeping an eye on in the next year?

The edit: is the tool that helps creatives keep the creative process moving. Editing content is often slowed down drastically by file transfer and lengthy review processes. replaces Dropbox, for file sharing, Vimeo for video review, and email for feedback. Integrated with all of filmmakers’ favourite tools including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut, Slack, and Vimeo, this is a collaboration platform with some serious streamlining powers.

Cutting a video down using film technology

The training: Masterclass

Masterclass has firmly made its mark on the online learning space in the last year with its all-access pass to online classes taught by some of the biggest names in the creative industries. With screenwriting programmes from Aaron Sorkin, film scoring lessons from Hans Zimmer, directing classes from Ron Howard, and writing masterclasses from Shonda Rhimes, the platform offers unparalleled access to flexible learning course from world-class industry professionals.

The grade: DaVinci Resolve

A favourite of editors and colourists around the globe, the latest iteration of DaVinci Resolve is an industry leading set of tools for editing, colour correction and professional audio post production. The software – which is completely free – was originally designed for the industry’s elite colourists, but is now available to all. With Resolve 14, creatives can switch between editing, colour correcting and audio mastering almost seamlessly, making it one of the easiest tools to use.

A picture of a man sitting in a film studio mixing a film

The soundtrack: Filmstro

Finding or scoring music for pre-shot footage can be an incredibly frustrating process for creatives, but new platforms such as Filmstro aim to make this time-consuming process far easier. Filmstro is a music library for content creators and filmmakers that sits behind ‘intuitive software’ and allows them to create musical scores to accompany their footage. Now integrated with both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, the platform uses a roster of talented composers from across the globe to allow users to control the momentum, depth and power of their music.

Technology hub creating a film

The gadget: DJI Osmo

DJI have been leading the way when it comes to drones in recent years, but one of their newest tools is a game-changer for creatives looking to create professional looking video on the go. The newest version of the Osmo Mobile is a compact handheld gimbal for smartphones. With a lightweight design, cinematic movement, and active tracking, this is the perfect tool for professionals on the move.

The subscription: Flix Premiere

The appetite for independent films is growing year on year, and Flix Premiere is looking to feed this growing demand for originally storytelling with its video-on-demand platform. With new, exclusive, releases each week, it’s an online cinema that helps overlooked independent films find their audiences. The platform offers exclusive access to curated theatrical releases, and award winning independent productions making it perfect for movie goers tired of studio blockbusters.

Spotlight on… Film Technology

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

Lady laptop skyline

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

Jillian Kowalchuck London view

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

Camilla portrait app

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

Vida woman sitting

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

two women discussing bench



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.

Five women in tech to watch at GeekGirl Meetup Conference

When you think of Italy you may well think of great food, fascinating history or world class central defenders. What you may not think of is a tech hub with many exciting companies looking to disrupt a multitude of fields. Below you’ll find a 5 of the hottest tech start-ups coming out of Italy.

The Colosseum on a sunny day with blue skies


Scuter is a Rome-based start-up which aims to change the game in urban mobility with its disruptive technology. Founded in 2015, the smart e-scooter sharing service plans to make city mobility, simple, enjoyable and sustainable. Scuter has developed a vertically integrated service to overcome and satisfy the widespread need for fast and clean urban commuting and travel.

The company aims to do this using a fast, light scooter as a type of car is affected in an urban environment by traffic congestion and additional charges. Key to the Scuter is its level of comfort, both in terms of ride and usability.

It has been designed to be very user friendly for even the most novice of riders to be able to use added to this it is one of the safest and the cleanest scooters on the market. A phone app allows you to see where available Scuters are and once on board can be turned into a Sat Nav.

Scuter was able to secure a seed funding of €100K, a grant of €145K and is currently doing a crowdfunding campaign which will end in March.


‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ has never been easier with the Milan-based start-up, Zestrip. Zestrip has created a marketplace in which the best local experts independently sell tours, dinners and things to do. Thanks to the booking and messaging features of ZesTrip, travellers can choose a professional and book the perfect, tailor-made experience.

Zestrip offers tourists a chance to visit not just the main tourist attractions but also the hidden gems as well as having the chance to experience some real home cooking by visiting the homes of the tour guides. Travellers can also look for more conventional professional tours.

Offering the intrepid adventurer hiking trips through the foothills of the alps to wine and Vermouth Tours Zestrip offers you the chance to experience the less well-known side of a city allowing you to really get under the skin of an area and culture.

ZesTrip was founded in 2015 and has secured more than €100K in seed funding.


Founded in 2011 by Italian entrepreneur and innovator, Gian Luca Petrelli, BeMyEye is Europe’s largest mobile crowdsourcing DaaS (Data as a Service) solution for retail intelligence. With a crowd of 400,000 Eyes, BeMyEye is able to offer companies fast, reliable and actionable insights from across Europe to help inform your business making decisions.

By completing missions, the user is paid a small amount that can be paid into a bank account or a Paypal account. Missions come in the form of small questionnaires that are published on the map. Some missions may ask you to go into a store and check for certain products, or perform a mystery shop. You may be asked to take pictures of certain products and answer questions on their presentation or whether they are part of a promotion for that particular store.

Other types of missions might include going on a treasure hunt to find specific advertising or promotional material. These missions may also be home-based missions. These will come in the form of questionnaires or surveys that do not require you to go to a specific location.


Founded in 2011 by experienced entrepreneurs Paolo Galvani and Giovanni Daprà, Moneyfarm is a digital wealth manager that helps people protect and increase their wealth through time.

Thinking that the world of wealth management was failing the needs of many people and Giovanni and Paolo wanted to make a difference. With the aim that families should be able to invest their money simply and effectively, they created a service that gives people access to investment advice and high-quality products at a family-friendly cost.

Six years on, Moneyfarm operates in both Italy and the UK, offering simplified advice and discretionary investments to thousands of customers. We’ve won awards for our products and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A highly innovative company they strive to ensure that they offer their customers the best products possible to help increase their wealth.

Dropping nicely into the growing number of robo-advisors the company is helping families to make their money go further using professional advice at a cost that more people can afford.


For the perpetual traveller, Waynaut is an app that helps you plan European travels. Launched in 2011, it includes logistics for all forms of transportation from planes to trains to automobiles and helps travellers choose the best route in terms of costs and time. (Having been interrailing and sharing cabins on sleeper trains with total strangers, I know first-hand just how handy this app can be)

Waynaut is the first pan-European platform offering multiple types of transport with both traditional and less traditional vehicles which will take you from door to door.

With a growing number of partners including DB Bahn, Trenitalia and BlaBlaCar, Waynaut is revolutionising the way we travel across Europe and giving innovative solutions to help tourists discover those hidden gems whilst also making travelling easier, less stressful and more convenient than ever.

Italy’s Hottest Tech Start-ups

The PHA Group’s Technology & Innovation team is delighted to have its work recognised in this year’s B2B Marketing Awards – shortlisted for ‘PR Campaign of the Year’.

The Smarter Working Initiative (SWI), which the T&I team first developed in 2016 with long-standing client Powwownow, has been listed alongside eight other PR campaigns, with the winner due to be announced at a gala dinner on 23rd November.

The T&I team worked closely with Powowwnow to develop the inaugural campaign designed to have significant longevity. The brief was to challenge existing perceptions of flexible working and promote the benefits of embracing a working culture that aligns with employees’ personal lives.

As a business with a core ethos of efficiency, productivity, and collaboration, Powwownow’s objective in 2016 was to increase awareness of the benefits of smarter working among UK business leaders and employers. Aware that only 6% of UK businesses proactively offered flexible working to their employees, the team set out to fundamentally change how employers think about smarter working practices.

The SWI was foremost an awareness day: Monday 25th July 2016 – the first day of the school summer holidays. A supporting integrated PR strategy, combining cut-through thought leadership content, data stories, news agenda hijacking and relevant and insightful broadcast interviews for members of the senior management team, helped position Powwownow as a leading authority on smarter working across a range of business sectors.

In the build-up to and following Monday 25th July, the team achieved over 30 pieces of media coverage, reaching a significant business audience across the UK and Europe. MD Jason Downes and FD Andrew Johnson appeared on BBC News ‘Business Live’, Sky News, London Live, talkRadio and Share Radio discussing topics including business efficiency and the rise of technology to facilitate flexible working.

Powwownow FD Andrew Johnson on Sky News

Powwownow FD Andrew Johnson on Sky News


The team’s efforts saw Powwownow more than double their initial target of business sign-ups by securing over 120 businesses, including leading UK employers such as, RED Driving School and Orebar Brown. Over 100,000 UK employees worked flexibly on the day thanks to the initiative.

The SWI received prominent coverage across online and traditional media. Online, we reached business leaders through thought leadership pieces for MD Jason Downes, CTO Chris Martin and FD Andrew Johnson in a variety of publications including and Real Business. Targeting employees, the team also secured press on consumer-led websites such as Metro and Marie Claire, using unique data stories supported by thought leadership. The initiative was also covered nationally in The Telegraph and The Sun, with a prominent photo story in the latter reporting the social media campaign which ran over the course of a week.

Not only did the SWI reach a far wider audience than originally anticipated, it established positive brand awareness and positively changed assumptions about flexible working. After the initiative, 78 percent of business owners who did not previously offer flexible working to their employees said they would do so in 2017 and beyond – a tangible change in attitudes towards smarter working.

Most importantly, Powwownow were delighted with the campaign and last month the Tech & Innovation team oversaw the SWI 2017, which saw over 200,000 employees from over 200 businesses work flexibly on Monday 24th July, resulting in MD Jason Downes appearing on BBC News.

Powwownow MD Jason Downes on BBC News

Powwownow MD Jason Downes on BBC News

Technology’s Smarter working initiative shortlisted for PR campaign of the year

Technology has been developing and changing at a full-tilt over the years, yet with our lives now so intertwined with tech we can sometimes forget it fundamentally boils down to the hardware and software components which form its raw make-up.

This year at CES, with another stellar line-up of technology companies, we’ve picked out the top ten who we expect to make leaps and bounds in 2017.

  • Altia Systems Inc. Altia Systems® is a venture-backed company based in Cupertino, California and creator of PanaCast® 2 – the world’s first Panoramic-4K Plug-and-Play USB video camera. The PanaCast solution is the first video and desktop collaboration system that enables anyone with a desktop or mobile device to communicate interactively, in real-time, through a 200-degree video which replicates the natural human panoramic perspective, creating a natural “being there” experience.
  • Civil Maps: Using 3D data and artificial intelligence, Civil Maps want to enhance mobility and improve safety in the physical world. It’s developed a technology which provides self-learning cognitive perception systems that replicate human context, therefore it enables fully autonomous vehicles to perceive, orient and respond to the physical world.

Civil Maps has collaborated with the leading geospatial, governmental, and academic institutions including U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre, University of California Berkeley and Stanford University. This enables it to convert companies’ unorganized 3D data into intelligent maps. Companies that rely on geospatial data spend billions to manually click through 3D survey data and add relevant mission-critical intelligence.


  • Display Port: DisplayPort delivers more high-performance features than any other digital interface. Designed to replace older standards like DVI and VGA, DisplayPort opens up new possibilities in computing, digital displays and consumer electronics. It’s the future standard and it’s available today.
  • Fibaro: Fibar Group was founded in 2010 because of a successful research and development project, which lead to construction of an innovative home automation system named FIBARO. Using the Z-wave wireless standard, it allows users to integrate all Z-wave compatible products and devices that previously could not be connected to a customized home network.

The Fibaro smart home system allows for the conversion of any home or apartment into a smart home, which not only increases occupants’ comfort, but also allows users to monitor or control their household safety and efficiently. Available in 100 countries, FIBARO, opened its U.S. offices in September 2014.

  • Kiwi: Kiwi is the world leader in motion recognition technology. It’s simple and efficient motion recognition platform enables your connected products to track motions in literally a matter of minutes. The platform works like the human brain, where it learns and adapts to the unique motions of the users. By categorizing and analysing motions, you can do anything from a simple repetition count in the gym, to analysing safety metrics in a factory. The options are endless.
  • Kubo Robot: Kubo is an award-winning robot that offers a whole new way for children to learn and explore 21st-century skills like; communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Kubo is based on the concept of a jigsaw puzzle, which makes it so intuitive kids learn to code from the age of four.

The technology empowers kids to explore robotics, programming, problem-solving and creative thinking through tangible play. We do this in a play and plug manner without any need of prior knowledge of programming and no requirements of a tablet or computer.


  • Orbbec: Orbbec is dedicated to creating intelligent technologies for every person, everywhere. Achieving this requires superb 3D cameras that are affordably priced and universally available. For computers to be intelligent, they need more than the ability to make sense of the world around them—they need to see the world in 3D. And for intelligent computing to flourish, excellent 3D cameras that are affordably priced and universally available will be a necessity.
  • Razer: This company has aimed to reinvent the computer gaming industry through its collaboration with gamers to bring the best gaming experience to the industry. Its products have earned critical praise and won multiple awards for its precision, sensitivity, usability, and distinctions in product design. Engineered to near perfection, Razer’s reputation of being the leader in gaming peripheral technology is embodied in every single Razer product.
  • Tribe: Tribe makes high-quality tech gadgets, from USB flash drives to audio and travel accessories, which bring the best of pop culture to your personal tech collection. Tribe turns the average into the extraordinary. Don’t be too serious, shake things up and add some colour to life.
  • Qwertyfree: Qwertyfree has developed SHIFT™ an amazing touchscreen keyboard for the blind and visually impaired that will revolutionize the industry and open a world of possibilities for those with special needs.

Enjoyed this post? Read more of our series on the latest and greatest from CES 2017

Top 10 computer hardware and software companies to watch at CES 2017

Another year, another IFA, with startups and household names piling into Berlin gearing up to steal the hearts of the masses with their awe-inspiring gadgets and gizmos.

In less than 48 hours, we’ve already had Lenovo launch a tablet that copies handwriting off paper notepads, a curved-screen laptop from Acer and a new voice assistant from Sony, but beyond the big headlines are halls lined with young hopefuls and established businesses alike looking for a piece of the action.

So who’s going to be gracing our homes and phones over the coming months? Well, we’ve done some digging (a lot of digging…) and have given our verdict on the top 10 companies to keep your eyes on:

  • SENSORWAKE (FR) – Kicking us off, what better way to start the day then to the smell of coffee, a croissant and the sea? Sensorwake markets itself as the world’s first olfactory alarm clock, so instead of blaring loud beeps in your ear, it gradually awakens you from slumber through the power of scent. There are currently seven perfumes to choose from and if you pre-order now, it could be at your bedside from November.
  • DIRROR (DE) – Taking a leaf out of The Minority Report, Dirror represents the world’s first digital mirror. It has similar functionality to that of a smartphone or tablet, from being able to access the internet and your social media channels, to acting as your weather forecaster and personal assistant. It also works as a digital photo frame, clock, and of course mirror should you so desire.



  • KEEZEL (NL) – Cyber security incidents cost UK firms more than £34bn in the past year according to a study by business internet service provider Beaming. Almost half of UK businesses lack advanced cyber defences, let alone homes – so here enters Keezel, a small portable device that promises to protect all your technology using VPNs. For the first time, users will be able to connect to a combined network of over 1,250 servers in more than 160 countries, blocking third parties from accessing their gadgets at home, in the office or when browsing in places like coffees shops, hotels and airports.
  • PLUME LABS (FR) – Any cyclist in London will know that air pollution is a serious issue. Plume Labs wants to change that by helping people understand what’s in the air they breathe and what they can do to protect themselves through an intuitive app. You may remember Plume Labs from a clever campaign earlier this year where a flock of pigeons wearing pollution-detecting sensors were sent to patrol London’s skies. They’re now looking to launch a similar wearable for humans to get localised air quality data – watch this space.
  • BLUEAIR (SE) – From the great outdoors to the stuffy indoors… did you know indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside? To tackle this, Blueair have been building the world’s most advanced air purifiers for 20 years. Their filtration process can silently capture 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns in size and deliver clean air to a room in a matter of minutes.
  • XYZPRINTING (TW) – No IFA list would be complete without a shout out to our very own client, XYZprinting, the world’s leading manufacturer of 3D printers. They consistently push the industry forward with their extensive range of affordable, consumer-grade printers, with the latest addition to their family – the da Vinci Mini – coming to market at a jaw-dropping RRP £199.

Image courtesy of XYZprinting


  • SMARTER APPLICATIONS (UK) – They often say the kitchen is at the heart of a home. With Smarter, you can stay connected to it from anywhere in the world. Their first products – the iKettle and Smarter Coffee machine – combined with the Smarter app enable users to make their favourite brews remotely while controlling strength, water levels, temperature and the number of cups to be served.
  • CEREVO (JP) – With arguably the most diverse product portfolio on this list, Cerevo is an umbrella brand for a number of connected solutions. Cerevo is best-known for its impressive LiveShell video streaming range, which enables users to broadcast live in HD anywhere with an internet connection. That said, they’ve recently branched out into sports, starting with a number of gadgets for snowboarders to help them analyse their performance, and a connected 3D printed bike with in-built sensors that can detect and record location, environment and bike orientation.
  • CEL-FI (UK) – Ever had your phone line break up during an important call? I know I have, but believe it or not, signal boosters are illegal in the UK. Or at least were until Cel-Fi came onto the stage. Having cleverly found a way to operate their technology within the licenses of mobile service providers, Cel-Fi’s Nextivity box is the only legal solution on the market for boosting indoor network coverage for people on Three, O2 or EE (which also encompass T Mobile and Orange).
  • IRIS (BE) – Could this be the new way to take notes and quotes? The IRISPen is a beautiful object that works like a highlighter – simply slide the pen over printed text or numbers from newspapers, magazines, invoices, letters etc. and the text will automatically be retyped in your computer. It’s compatible with Word, Excel, Outlook or any other text-editing application and also features an integrated translation function for over 40 languages!

Honourable mentions:

  • PLAYBRUSH (AT) – I wonder how many children are keen tooth brushers? Probably not that many – so could Playbrush be the solution? Developed with dentists and more than 300 children, Playbrush works in combination with an app to create mobile games that children can play by brushing correctly! The Playbrush has in-built motion sensors to record how children are brushing their teeth, and tweaks the game to ensure that children brush everywhere for long enough.

Pico Brew

  • PICO BREW (US) – To round off our list, anyone fancy a nice, cold beer? How about being able to brew your own, personal craft choice? Pico makes brewing beer at home as easy as coffee with ready-to-brew ingredient kits that you pop into a microwave-sized device – in two hours, you’ll have five litres of sweet ale. There’s an aspirational brewer in us all, surely?

Bring on the showstoppers – the crème de la crème at this year’s IFA

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.

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

Scandal, scandal, scandal. Security breaches, data hoarding and ethical ambiguity – if the likes of Apple, Snapchat and Sony are anything to go by in terms of trust in technology, they certainly didn’t do SMEs and entrepreneurs any favours in 2014.

Our trust in technology brands was found to have dipped last year.

Our trust in technology brands was found to have dipped last year.

Last week, a report highlighted that Brits’ trust in technology had substantially dipped in the last year. Consumer electronics and telecoms, in particular, both took a tumble, and now, as other countries enthusiastically steam ahead with innovation, Brits’ trust (or lack thereof) in tech is significantly impeding our progression towards a connected future.

So what can tech companies do to reassure British consumers? Here are our top three tips to inspire, maintain, or, in some cases, rebuild trust in your tech brand.

Data and Security

After numerous high profile data hacks and security breaches in 2014, consumers are understandably concerned about how their details are mined, managed and manipulated. For tech brands, ensuring you are plain and transparent with your use, storage and trading of data is vital to allay the fears stoked by these incidents and strengthen that all-important consumer trust.

High profile hacks have left consumers wondered whether their data is safe.

High profile hacks have left consumers wondering whether their data is safe.

Only a couple of months ago, MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee were compelled to call for new guidelines for apps and websites, requiring them to explain clearly their use of personal data. Increasingly, regulation is making it difficult for technology to evolve, so instead of waiting for more guidelines and possibly laws to be introduced, why not prove to society that tech brands can be responsible, transparent and effectively self-regulate? As Andrew Miller, chair of the committee, noted: “Socially responsible companies wouldn’t want to bamboozle their users”.

Quality and Safety

Technology as a topic can often seem inaccessible – after all, there’s a lot of jargon and few people understand how software and hardware is actually built. So when there are rapid developments, it almost appears too good to be true, leaving some sceptical and mistrusting consumers questioning the validity of research and the quality of the design of a product.

In fact, nearly half of UK consumers believe that innovation is happening too quickly – but then, it’s not in the best interests of tech developers to slam on the brakes. Instead, it’s vital that tech companies address these concerns directly, by allowing people to trial and test their capabilities. Demonstrating quality by offering your product for high profile reviews is a good way of gaining advocacy from trusted, independent parties.

Positioning your company as experts in a relevant field – through thought leadership pieces and interviews – will also reassure consumers that the same intelligence and conscientiousness has been baked into your product or service.


Perhaps one of the most surprising snippets to come out of the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show 2015 earlier this month was an admission from Gary Shapiro, CEO of the event. He acknowledged that over-reliance on digital products is a “Natural trend that people are talking about”, and that he believes in the good of “everything, in reason.”

A digital detox, it seems, may well be on the horizon – and tech companies must be prepared. Consumers mistrust products and brands that serve no true purpose, or that bombard them with so many that they can’t discern what the product is really for. So decide what problem you want to solve and where your niche lies, instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. Less is more – or, in the immortal words of Coco Chanel, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

In your communications, tech brands should ensure that the value your product adds to the market is conveyed clearly and consistently. If consumers can see how your product will save them time, bring them new information or simply entertain them, trust in your brand will strengthen. That one must-have feature of your offering should shine through: purpose over puff.

As we move forward into 2015, it seems that innovation is no longer enough. Trust in your tech brand must be built upon a foundation of transparency, independent advocacy and clear communications – only then will Brits embrace the advances you have nurtured. How will trust in your brand fare this year?

How to Rebuild Trust in Your Tech Brand