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Friday TechMunch: Omnicom Women

As part of Omnicom’s celebration of International Women’s Day, we attended the launch of OmniWomen UK yesterday, which aims to encourage and inspire female talent in our industry. The day was jam-packed with breakout workshops and plenary sessions featuring (mostly) women but also men who have been an inspiration in business across various industries. These included broadcaster Emma Freud, Paralympian Karen Darke, Jo Swinson MP, comedian Shazia Mirza, Dame Dianne Thompson and Dame Fiona Woolf.

The day emphasised that we are not simply talking about a women’s issue, rather the need for inclusivity in our businesses. Omnicom’s executive vice president Janet Riccio underlined this focus: “Companies that have diverse, inclusive management teams and boards financially outperform those who don’t. The best investment we can make is in our own human capital.” It was a massively inspirational day and there will surely be more to come in regards to OmniWomen UK initiatives.

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Friday TechMunch: Wave Goodbye To 2015’s Mobile World Congress

From exoskeletons, virtual reality headsets and news of Google’s wireless service, to phone-charging furniture, here are the technology teams key takeaways from the world’s largest mobile show.

Mobile World Congress grows in stature every year, and it’s never been bigger than 2015. Over 90,000 attendees poured into Barcelona last Sunday and roughly 1,900 exhibitors, all vying to make their mark. So who stole the show? Was it Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote or Google’s long-rumoured wireless service?

Following several product and service launches, it seems like security, IoT, wearables, and virtual reality headsets have once again taken centre stage in Barcelona.

Leading the charge…

We’ve all experienced the annoyance of the dead mobile battery… that dreaded red mark hovering away in your mobile battery icon. Well, cross your fingers because that may all be a thing of the past!

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, StoreDot showcased its latest battery charging technology that may find its way to a smartphone by the end of the year. The company first showcased their battery and charging system in 2014 but this year they are back with the latest, refined iteration that’s able to recharge a mobile battery in a blink of an eye (check this video out to see it in action).

Using nanotechnology, StoreDot has created special batteries that are able to soak up the charge quicker, significantly reducing the time wasted waiting around for your mobile to reach a decent battery percentage.

So what’s next for this great technology?  Mobile phones may be the immediate concern but StoreDot has also revealed plans to develop this product for electric cars with the aim to charge a Tesla in a mere five minutes. No one can say that’s not impressive.

Time to think security

Unsurprisingly, we saw device security continuing to gain momentum at MWC. Responding to growing consumer worries regarding personal privacy and mobile security, a few companies demonstrated their latest solutions…

Finesh company, Jolla, launched version 2.0 of its Sailfish OS and partnered with SSH Communications Security to create Sailfish Secure – an offering that uses SSH’s communication encryption and key management features. Jolla has also been crowd-funding its own brand tablet, which is expected to arrive in the market in the second quarter of this year.

But Jolla is not the only mobile startup eyeing security.

A year on from revealing its first Blackphone, startup Silent Circle revealed a second-generation secure-phone successor along with a tablet for today’s mobile workforce.  The Blackphone 2 has been built to offer enterprises privacy its “Silent Suite” which automatically encrypts video and voice calls over a peer-to-peer VoIP service, offers encrypted messaging, and an automatically encrypted address book. One major advantage for such encrypted conscious folks is that Silent allows subscribers to make encrypted calls to others who haven’t bought the same encrypted device. Pretty clever, right?

If you don’t fancy the hassle of changing phones, fear not as Open Whisper Systems has also released version 2 of its Signal secure calling app for iPhone. This free application offers end-to-end encrypted and contains no advertisements as the development is supported by community donations and grants.

The VR market heats up

Last but by no means least, one of the most exciting products to launch at MWC this year was the HTC Vive – a virtual reality (VR) headset developed in partnership with game developer, Valve. Not only did no one see it coming, the specs suggest it’s actually more powerful than its Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus rivals.

This new VR “game changer” has so shook up the industry that it’s even made people question whether Oculus has started to lose its way. After all, HTC has confirmed a 2015 launch date while Oculus has yet to announce a consumer release, despite its original Kickstarter campaign getting its funding way back in 2012.

Will the Vive be the device that finally takes VR mainstream? Only time will tell.

Whatever happens, this newcomer is good news for consumers. More competition inevitably means more innovation, more choice and better pricing. And there’s no doubt this sudden new challenger to the VR throne will be keeping Oculus and Sony on their toes.

Written by Christina Farrugia, Emma Carey and Francesca Palmiero, Technology Team

 

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Friday TechMunch: British Roads Drive Automotive Innovation

Contributed by Ben Fletcher

For many automotive manufacturers, this month saw one of the biggest industry breakthroughs in recent times as the UK government approved plans for driverless cars to be tested on Britain’s roads.

The plans announced by the Department of Transport mean that “real world tests” of driverless cars can begin immediately on our streets. The £19 million pound government-funded project will be see the self-drive pods tested in Greenwich, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Bristol, positioning the UK as a potential world leader in this new driverless era.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this news is the fact that driverless technology is finally becoming a reality, and not just a concept conjured up by 80s sci-fi film directors. By 2030, the technology running these cars, including hardware, software, sensors and safety features, is expected to reach a level of sophistication that means the cars can operate without any intervention from their passengers. This could become a life–changing, and more importantly a life-saving, change.

A trip to the shops would mean you’d no longer have to search around to find a parking space; you could simply get out of your car next to your store of choice and leave your car to drive off and park itself. Similarly, elderly people would now have a private mode of transport and children would be able to send themselves off to school as a driverless car would mean no driver and, therefore, no driving license.

The benefits could extend beyond daily convenience and offer people a safe alternative to getting home after a night out. Once this technology has been developed and truly refined, it’s likely that driverless cars will have faster reactions and will make fewer errors than humans, inevitably resulting in significantly fewer road accidents.

However, the road ahead may not be entirely smooth.

As with many new technologies it can take a while to adjust and get used to the idea. At the moment, 42 percent of people are horrified by the idea of stepping inside a self-driving car. Let’s face it, a car with no visible steering wheel, brakes or gears could look like an ominous death trap for any first time passenger. Driverless cars will need to have a long standing and consistently safe track-record before the UK market comes to terms with the idea. One fatal crash has the potential to significantly damage trust in the industry.

Another rising concern is the subject of insurance. Using a driverless car would require complete trust in its capabilities, safety and reliability. But what happens in the event that the car crashes; who becomes responsible? Arguments are being raised that if you’re not driving, how can you be accountable for an error on the manufacturer’s part.

It would seem that driverless cars have the potential to transform the motoring industry and its benefits will impact a variety of people across a wide range of demographics. However, the driverless car has a long way to go before it’s ready for the mass consumer market but in this case, the journey will be just as important as the destination.

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Friday TechMunch: FleishmanHillard @ TEDxEastEnd

Recently, FleishmanHillard was at TEDxEastEnd, an independently-organised TED event held at East London’s Oval Space, helping to amplify the ideas shared by its 23 speakers and extend their reach well beyond the 400 people in the room.

This year’s TEDxEastEnd saw speakers, ranging from John Dolan, an internationally-acclaimed artist who made his reputation while homeless in East London, to virtual reality guru David Sackman – talk about a society without borders.

Pre-event image

After raising the profile of TEDxEastEnd ahead of the 2014 event, by securing coverage in publications including Time Out and Evening Standard, FleishmanHillard has been working with the team on their strategic positioning and communications across their marketing channels.

TEDxEastEnd is all about giving a platform to ideas worth spreading. The purpose of our partnership has been to use traditional, owned and social communications channels to increase engagement with those people who aren’t at the event, both connecting with existing TED followers and attracting new ones.

Our media outreach focused on highlighting the great ideas and stories that would be shared at the event. TEDxEastEnd speakers were interviewed on London Live throughout the day before the event, and attendees from the Guardian, BBC, Sunday Times and Red magazine helped drive media awareness on the day.

Working with TEDxEastEnd, we developed an approach that would optimise the activity around the event for conversation on social platforms – from what channels to focus on and how often to post, to what content would best engage the target audience.

#MYEASTEND

When the day arrived, the focus was on real-time engagement. FleishmanHillard worked with a team of TED volunteers to post quotes and exclusive content from the speakers, pictures from the event, and interactions with the TEDxEastEnd audience. Content was also created for Facebook, Vine and Instagram, while the team live blogged throughout the day and responded to the thousands of tweets and posts from across the globe.

The results? TEDxEastEnd was trending on Twitter in London, with over 1,800 mentions of #TEDxEastEnd on the day and a 200% increase in interactions with TEDxEastEnd content compared to the 2014 event.

volunteers

Ultimately, FleishmanHillard’s support enabled TEDxEastEnd to develop a successful multi-channel approach which both enhanced awareness of the event and extended the reach of the ideas coming out of it. As a result, thousands more people were inspired by the ideas shared by some of today’s leading thinkers. All in all, a very good day for communications.

 

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Content is king: FleishmanHillard and Specialist are ready to hold court

It’s a battle cry that you would have heard rattling around offices for years, reverberating off your press releases, keynotes and articles. Content is king. As clichéd as that phrase has become, it has never been more true.

In the age of the Internet, content dominates. In a congested marketplace, strong content gets brands heard. In a climate where brands are moving paid media spend into social platforms, getting content right is imperative. It’s only natural, therefore, for FH to look toward expanding and enhancing our content marketing capability.

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Friday TechMunch: Ready or Not, Here They Come

Contributed by Moe McCarthy

2014 was a year of highs and lows for drone manufacturers. A report published by the Guardian said that sales of consumer drones were up 24% but there were precious few weeks without at least one article or government expressing their done-related concerns. Today, “the ultimate toy that spans the generations” is at once an exciting, new opportunity for consumers and commerce, and a threat to national security.

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TechMunch: Witness the Weird and the Wonderful

It’s that time of year again. 160,000 Technology journalists from far and wide have flocked over to the bright lights of Las Vegas to gawp at, Tweet about and take selfies with the latest and greatest gadgetry the world has to offer.

So, what’s on show?

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FleishmanHillard Launches the EMEA-Optimised Native Newsroom, First-of-Its-Kind B2B Content Marketing Service

We’re excited to announce the European launch of The Native Newsroom, a new service for clients that will help them effectively engage their target audiences through content marketing.

Developed with LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, The Native Newsroom was launched to FleishmanHillard’s U.S. clients in April, and a version optimised for the EMEA regions will now be available to clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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Is it Just the Food that Matters?

At the Food Matters Live conference today, two contrasting moods among participants were in evidence.

Around the stands promoting next generation healthy superfoods, a perky optimism about their revolutionary nutritional potential and possibilities for market growth prevailed.

In the main conference room where discussions centred on the country’ obesity problem and who should bear responsibility for it, the mood was rather more sombre, however.

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Waiting for May

Contributed by Alex Stafford

Theresa May

The papers over the last few days have been full of the rumour of plots about the downfall of Ed Miliband. However, if one takes a step back the papers tell us nothing more than has been obvious for the past few years. Ed Miliband is out of touch and disliked by swathes of different demographics. This has been the truth for years, according to polling, but the fact that Labour MPs are only waking up to this six months out of a General Election shows how they have struggled to deal with his surprising success in the 2010 leadership battle. Nevertheless, with lack of a challenger, the byzantine Labour Party rules and the fact the General Election is looming reduces the chances of Miliband being defenestrated anytime soon.

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