2012: When the foundations were washed away in a digital tideRead More
Last Wednesday (January 25th), Roger Capriotti, Director, Internet Explorer Marketing, invited those of you who haven’t thought about Internet Explorer in a while to take a trip down memory lane with the new Microsoft campaign ‘Child of the 90s.’
Since its debut in 1995, Internet Explorer has remained a prominent browser – despite losing market dominance in recent years due to tough competition from the likes of Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Opera.
The ad, a short, nostalgic video, which invites users to ‘Reconnect with the new Internet Explorer’ has already become a viral success, celebrating over 8 million views less than a week since its unveiling.
But in an age of digital revolution and changing user expectations, is it still possible for an old business model to recapture the modern day tech-savvy audience, whom are always just a single ‘swipe’ or ‘click’ away from a multitude of options?
Reconnecting requires a revival strategy that addresses two key areas of business; product innovation and marketing.
Microsoft, like many global giants have had to adapt their technology to extend beyond their primitive business model. They have listened to consumer dissatisfaction, recognized inherent flaws and responded to industry changes. The result is what looks set to be (IE10) an innovative touch screen browser, offering “fast, fluid, fun” browsing. Perfect for integrating with tablets and mobile devices.
In contrast, 2012 saw the demise of Kodak – a brand name that defined an industry and who ironically invented the digital camera in 1975. Considering that it was Kodak that presented the innovative technology that rendered their traditional business obsolete, it is interesting to ponder why long-time rival Fujifilm transformed itselfand Kodak did not.
In recent weeks retailers HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster have all filed for administration. What unites these companies is a failure to adapt and thrive in the transition to a multi-channel, digital world. Could these traditional businesses have survived, or was the end always inevitable? There are many things that we don’t do anymore because of technological advancements. Buying CDs, DVDs and compact cameras are just three.
The rate that technology and consumer behavior developed has been rapid. But just because the way media is consumed has transformed doesn’t mean that a traditional business model can’t realign with contemporary needs and wants. EntrepreneurPeter Jones is to revive Jessops as a purely online retailer, recognising the lack of demand for physical stores.
Just 11 years ago, HMV was valued at £1bn. It’s been reported that a previous CEO said of music downloads, back in 2002: “It’ll never catch on,” yet digital sales of films, music and games in the UK broke the £1bn barrier in 2012, the highest annual total to date. This is an 11.4% increase on the previous year, meaning that a quarter of the entertainment market is now digital. The Sunday Times reported of (HMV) the 92 year old retailer that “the level of their enthusiasm will determine whether or not HMV is reborn, and in what form.” The same article (The Sunday Times, January-21-2013) also stated that Apple’s iTunes store is now responsible for close to 30% of all music sold worldwide. Apple is not only an example of how digital sales have impacted the music industry, but also how the failing high-street model can be used to its full potential. Retailers are increasingly recognizing the possibilities of ‘show-rooming’ and creating exciting and dynamic ‘multimedia destinations’. Only yesterday, it was announced that the Apple store design has received trademark approval. The future of HMV on the highstreet shouldn’t be a library of CDs and DVDs, but something of the next generation.
Like with HMV and Apple; the services and offerings of parts of Blockbuster’s business were very similar to that of its competitors Love Film and Netflix. HMV and Blockbuster both had strong online platforms that perhaps took too long to come to fruition, and were not vocalized loudly enough. Today’s user expectations have been molded by platforms such as Google Chrome. The supply of instantaneous delivery of an endless source of information, services and choice has created an extreme intolerance for anything that is not readily accessible or of high functionality.
To complete the transition, Microsoft has invested in not only a great viral ad, but it has also launched http://browseryoulovedtohate.com/. Focused around the end user and their existing perceptions of Internet Explorer, this nicely designed microsite combats the negative associations of the product and brings potential users full circle to appreciate the advancements and the kind of innovative technology that they once pioneered. Human, trustworthy, in tone, this ad moves along with the notion that we all make mistakes along the way, and wasn’t it fun? This is a campaign that stands to strategically reinforce IE10’s position for the year ahead. Simply all they had to declare was: “You grew up. So did we.”
Reducing Food Waste to Safeguard the FutureRead More
Food waste and loss has been making headlines recently. It is estimated that we discard 1.3bn tonnes of food worldwide each year, about 1/3 of the total food produced. In the Western world, waste equates to between 95kg and 115kg per person. This falls to 6-11kg in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. It is estimated that about half of the food wasted in industrialised regions is perfectly edible. This discarded food could not only help feed many of the hungry people in the world, but also wastes the resources used to grow and process it such as labour, water, land and energy. Most of the food loss occurs during harvesting, processing and distribution, while food waste occurs in purchasing. Many businesses impose strict controls on how food should look (i.e. size and shape), but consumers also have a tendency to buy too much and throw away perfectly edible food.
Additionally, the general perception that food will decompose in landfill is misinformed. Light and air are needed for rotting, neither of which are available in landfill. Food in landfill goes on to produce methane, a gas that contributes to global warming.
So why does this matter? The first implication of food losses is cost – making sure we use the world’s resources to the best of our ability could make big savings worldwide. For example, the average UK family could save between £480 and £680 a year. The world population is also expected to grow by two billion by 2050, emphasising the need for improved food management.
A second implication of waste is sustainability. With deforestation, limited energy and water resources and over-fishing being just some of the major problems facing us, ensuring we use food wisely could protect our environment and resources. When we go abroad, we might visit rainforests, go and discover the region’s specific landscape or go diving. However, currently, over 20% of cultivated land and forests are being degraded. By reducing food loss at all stages from harvesting to consumption, we could protect our environment from further degradation, feed the hungry and make sure future generations enjoy the landscape we enjoy today.
Notch Watchlist: 5 Things to Look Out for in 2013Read More
With 2012 but a fond reminiscence we at Notch have been feverishly drawing up our list of expectations and hopes for science, technology and tourism in 2013. We’ve called it a Watchlist, and here it is:
Aviation / Travel:
Only days into the new year Sunrun CEO, Lynn Jurich, summed up what could be the cultural zeitgeist of the year 2013 – “The new status symbol isn’t what you own, it’s what you’re smart enough not to own”. If ever there was a year to squeeze the last drop of value out of your time away it’s 2013, ushering in nicely the era of the “adventure holiday”. With social networks providing great access and insight to ever more unique holidays people are increasingly abandoning the pools and beachfronts for volunteer projects, extreme sports and cultural exchanges. Even the newlywed won’t be missing out thanks to the latest craze of the adventure honeymoon. Experts predicts destinations featured in the biggest blockbuster movies will see an influx of tourists or you can combine the danger, excitement and unusual into one “ghetto holiday” usually involving iconic destinations such as Detroit’s, and Eminem’s, 8 Mile Road, LA’s Crenshaw Boulevard, the favelas of Rio or the back streets of Naples.
While adventure beckons in far-flung lands the personal medical environment could be about to witness its biggest shift in hundreds of years. The field of personal genomics promises to open up the secrets of your genome for your own review. Finally, as the flesh-covered binders of information we are, we can browse through our own genetic tale and discover so much about our existence. Personal Genomics opens the door to highlighting illness risks, possible descent lines and the expected characteristics of our descendants. It offers a chance to know ourselves even better, beyond a psychological or emotional level and finally into our own natural hard-coding.
Death to the transistor? It could be just that and perhaps finally an end to the unerring correctness of Moore’s law. Moore wouldn’t have seen this coming (probably, I couldn’t say for sure, which given the nature of quantum physics seems apt). While quantum physics isn’t likely to make for a 10 minute coffee table read any time soon the fact a theoretical quantum computer could process much greater amounts of information far quicker than before makes more than an adequate headline. The simple bit, in its off or on glory, has seen a technological change to human life quite incomparable to any other shift over the course of history. The quantum bit, the qubit, is not just a two-trick pony however, it can still be off or on but crucially it can be in a superposition of different states simultaneously as opposed to the bit. which can only exist in one state at any one time. It adds to being a cute feature of the qubit that completely destroys the limitations faced by a traditional computer as well as a guaranteed and impossible-to-hack communication.
It’s not often that the driest of scientifically-worded objectives will rouse deep-seated ambition and excitement, but maybe this is the one that proves the exception to the rule – “To create the largest and most precise three dimensional chart of our Galaxy by providing unprecedented positional and radial velocity measurements for about one billion stars in our Galaxy and throughout the Local Group”. It ticks all the boxes, from promising mapping on an unimaginable scale to the tantalizing possibility of a digital galaxy map, a Google Earth for the Milky Way. The ESA is even teasing us with an October launch date, the mythologically named satellite primed to be this year’s CERN for excitement levels.
Let’s finish with something speculative but wholly revolutionary. It’s something of a leap of flawed logic to say this but seeing as we first saw Touche back in May 2012perhaps we can hope for an evolution of the concept in 2013. It may just be wishful thinking to expect it as soon as that but with the revolutionary core concept of Touche it’s an almost irresistible ambitiousness. This deceptively simple technology can turn any object, or even a liquid, into a fully responsive acoustic sensor, meaning a phone could distinguish between even a nail tap and a knuckle tap, or offering the possibility of pinching actions across the front and back of the phone.