A Year in MarketingRead More
Just as I am coming to the end of my year in industry with Notch Communications, it seems a good time to reflect back on my year in marketing.
Coming straight in from my second year reading Biochemistry, the only experience I had of marketing was the adverts that surrounded my daily life. While aware of marketing campaigns, I could not appreciate any of the work and strategy that went into them.
Coming into the industry was a fantastic opportunity to open a door to an entirely new world. Surrounded by people willing to go out of their way to introduce me to all the strategy and messaging that is crucial to a successful campaign, I was able to learn the ropes and get involved. Having now worked on several pitches, I have been able to see all the stages necessary to a successful outcome.
But the marketing strategy doesn’t stop at the pitch. A great idea has to be executed and, again, I have learned a lot about how ideas are implemented, taken forwards and expanded upon. From the more traditional print advertising to the use of social media, the work being done at Notch Communications factors all of this in. I have witnessed how all of the integrated work can have a huge impact on Notch’s clients’ goals and push them forwards in a highly competitive industry.
With Notch specialising in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and aviation industries, not only has my time here directly benefited my knowledge of the scientific industry, but it has also introduced me to new industries.
So overall, what have I learned? Probably too much to list here. From coming in knowing nothing about marketing, I will be leaving very grateful to the people who have taught me so much. So I think there is just time to say a massive thank you to Notch!
Project Loon: Take Off or Crash Landing?Read More
When someone mentions ‘wireless internet’ to you what do you think of? Do giant balloons come to mind?
Well maybe they soon will. Google has just set up Project Loon, a new way of delivering wireless internet connection to remote areas of the world. Each balloon, floating 12 miles above Earth, consists of a set up of solar panels and wireless antennas that can provide internet access to an area of 1250 square kilometres.
Currently being trialled in New Zealand, users of this service have to install a special dish that can connect them to the nearest balloon. The signal is then passed between the balloons before reaching the user. The internet speed achieved is estimated at being close to 3G, but is susceptible to variations depending on the exact position of all the balloons in the network.
Google hopes that this system will eventually be able to provide wireless internet access to two thirds of the population who are currently without worldwide. Sometechnical developments still need to be made to the Project Loon. Currently, the balloons used need to be topped up with helium every 55 days to keep them afloat, though Google has said that new designs will extend this to over 100 days. Weather systems could also affect coverage and location – air systems will be monitored to help carry the system, but unexpected or extreme weather could affect both parameters.
However, the project is not without its critics. It is debated that people living in less developed countries do not have access to the technology that would enable them to use wireless internet services and that, even if they did, they would not necessarily know how to use it.
So while Project Loon may prove to be a useful technological development for millions of people if it takes off (quite literally), is this really just another way for Google to further extend its data harvesting services? Let us know your views@NotchCom.
The Cities That Aircraft BuiltRead More
There is a common attribute of most of the cities we live in according to the majority of speakers at the excellent Future Everything conference. These conurbations are “The cities that cars built when we weren’t looking”. Truth be told, you can see what they mean. Ask yourself; does your city work better for you, or for your car? Are the endless flyovers, the uncrossable highways and the alien subterranean tunnels built with the person in mind? Whether you see it as a misplaced faith in the promise of the automobile, or a more cynical capitalist drive by automobile makers, it’s not hard to argue that the last half of the twentieth century belonged to the car.
All of which was, on many counts (social, economical and environmental), a disastrous move.
So when the next raft of city development sees air travel at its centre, it’s easy to be as excited as it is afraid. It promises to flip the model of the city on its head. No longer will the gridlocked centre see a jerky stream of traffic flow lifelessly out to the stranded, remote airport. With business being truly global in our time, no longer is the quickest motorway to the nearest city the most important route. The most important route now is whichever one gets you into the air quickest.
Dr John Kasarda, author of “Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next” analysed the economic impacts and business benefits of our current relationship with air travel, started the movement for the airport city around the turn of the millennia. As is explained neatly by this quote, “By attracting businesses that need frequent and easy access to airports — delivery-fulfillment centres, exporters, web commerce companies, biomedical manufacturers and other time-sensitive enterprises — other clusters of businesses that cater to existing companies will be formed, Aerotropolis advocates say. Projects, such as entertainment and residential complexes, will soon follow, forming a city whose core and economic engine is the airport”. Or to paraphrase: if you build it, they will come.
With developing countries, and the associated lack of existing dated infrastructure, increasingly city builders are offered a blank canvas. While it’s the logical evolution from shipping lanes and railroads, through highways to air travel, it’s hard to predict the impact of new digital frontiers on the transmission of information and the distribution of products. Nevertheless. without getting too carried away in future-proofing, it’s easy to see how a better connected central hub leads to greater economic benefit for its host.
The airport city as a concept faces a unique duopoly of options, one being it overlays the cities already thriving with business and industry as an addition to their offering, in the face of global competition. Meanwhile their current competition is brand new cities, rapidly evolving under the demands and benefits of having the airport at its heart. “We need to treat airports and airlines as key infrastructure to compete in a global economy. It might take 50 years. But we [USA] must do that, or we’re going to fall behind in competition to India, China and Brazil,” explained Kasarda.
As the ‘City’ itself as a concept undergoes a complete revolution in the face of technology, digital and physical, that redraws lines that were previously solely answerable to physical location. What must be taken from the fate of the automobile-centric city is not a warning or an advertisement, it’s proof that the city development must see a more holistic approach with a better appreciation of long terms goals and effects. In the way roads were previously the veins supplying the beating organs of the country, now airports are paths supporting one global entity, socially and economically. With these paths there is potential for a better connected world and more evenly distributed connections across the globe. However these are still paths upon which we must tread carefully and lightly as our global obligation extends far beyond economic gain.
Looking forward we must ensure these are the airport cities we built under a watchful and fair eye, not the cities aircraft built when we still weren’t bothering to look.
Adding a New Dimension to PrintingRead More
Printing has come a long way in recent years. What was once purely a black and white affair is now disrupting and reshaping industries with its revolutionary approach to manufacturing.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is an additive form of processing. From a digital file, a 3D printer deposits successive layers of material to achieve a solid, three-dimensional object.
Whilst many industries are experimenting with plastic resin and metals, the life sciences sector is testing more sophisticated approaches such as Bio-ink: a liquid made up of living cells that can be deposited and layered to engineer human tissue.
Though still in its early stages, the potential of 3D printing for scientific application is huge. In a recent interview Michael Renard, Executive Vice President of the pioneering bioprinting company Organovo, discussed how “bioprinting should be thought of as the first step in building fully functional tissue.”
Organovo has demonstrated this technology with its 3D bioprinted liver tissue, further suggesting that the concept of a 3D printer someday building a human organis within grasp. The emergence of this technology brings multiple advantages that will transform medical research and the healthcare sector.
The use of 3D disease models will enable drug discovery scientists to conclude more accurate data than is achieved by testing on 2D models or animals. A recent article in GEN, ‘Bioprinting in 3D’, states “there is also evidence to suggest that bioprinted tissues maintain their expected biochemical activity longer than many 2D models, as indicated by specific enzyme and gene expression activity indicative of tissue specific metabolic function.” In terms of drug development this improves safety of potential drugs and can help to determine whether a drug should be taken forward in very expensive human trials.
The 3D creation of tissue patches also shows promise beyond the lab and will eventually benefit patients. Using the DNA from within a hair sample can create stem cells which in turn can be used to create a personalized medium that can be bioprinted to create skin transplants for burn patients and those suffering from skin disorders. This would eradicate the pain and imperfections that are often presented by the common skin grafting procedure.
With the ability to materialize organs comes the potential to extend life, providing organs for transplant patients and offering repair to those in need of regenerative medicines.
3D printing has also been known to manufacture replacement dental, limb, knee and spine components. In the past year a prosthetic lower jaw was 3D printed and implanted into an 83-year-old woman who suffered from chronic bone infection. The jaw was produced from 33 layers of titanium powder that were heated, fused together and then coated with bio-ceramic artificial bone.
The most recent breakthrough was the 3D printing of a bionic ear with the ability to hear radio frequencies beyond a human’s normal range by interweaving electronics and biological tissue. Scientists and bionic engineers hope to apply this technology to other human parts in the near future, such as the eyes and nose. It would appear that we are only a mouse-click away from an array of possibilities.