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I attended the IBM Smart Camp Euro Finals for the best tech Start Ups in 2014 at Level39, Canary Wharf, London, last week. The 2 winners, http://www.kinetise.com, and http://www.wakingapp.com, go through to represent Europe at the world finals in the USA in 2015.

I was at the first IBM Smart Camp in London 5 years ago, in the early stages of my interest in the UK start up scene. I have had my "pause button" pressed in for a little while, so I was curious to see how things had moved on in the interim up to 2014. The first IBM Smart Camp in London was supportive of IBM's "Smarter Planet" business philosophy, and it still is. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smarter_Planet) But today the focus appears to be more specifically aligned to their Data/Cloud/Engagement skills, expertise and services, with less top line emphasis on Sustainability, or City Development, than back in 2009. Now, the support is more about rolling up the sleeves to help with Data/Cloud/Engagement issues to validate and refine business propositions to help grease the wheels of these fledgling businesses. Smart Camp, is a great programme for Start Ups, offering terrific global technical support and $120k of free cloud usage, and introductions to their global network of Mentors (called Enterprise Client Connections). The IBM Entrepreneurial Team of Jenny Tydeman, Kevin Farrar, Caroline Taylor, and Angela Bates in the UK, have diligently and successfully developed their Smart Camp programme into a leading position amongst many other Accelerators in London over the past 5 years, together with their USA colleagues like Coleen Hayes, who was over here on the UK/Europe side of the Atlantic last week.

Vicky Brock, Leader of http://www.clearreturns.com, who gave the Key Note Speech last week, is a great example of super B2B success. She holds the title of "Everywoman Tech of The Year", https://www.everywoman.com/, as well as being winner of Tech All Stars Europe, http://www.techallstars.eu/, for her work helping large ecommerce retailers to make firm sales. She set the scene and the pace for Contenders and the audience as well.

The contenders at IBM Smart Camp Euro Finals 2014 were:-

http://

A UK Finalist, Naveed and Samiya Parvez offer a new orthotics service for disabled children, which has reduced the production of orthotics from 28 weeks to 48 hours through the use of 3D printing technology. Although not a winner of this event, they received an "Honourable Mention".

http://www.jelastic.com

A business founded by Russian, Dmitry Lazarenko, which builds public and private Clouds running on IBM software, and competes with Google and Amazon

http://www.kinetise.com

A B2C business, presented by 2 Polish Founders, Jakub Kujawski and Piotr Pawlak. A brilliant idea to create a platform, from which anyone can build a mobile app in 2 mins. Actually it took them 4 minutes, but let's not split hairs! Think http://www.wordpress.com for Mobile Apps. A deserved winner. Good luck in the USA in 2015.

http://www.magick.com

A Danish software company that makes cloud based financial trading products. They won the "Peoples Choice Award". Smart Camp was streamed live, so I am assuming that a large part of the audience came from the financial community, and since Financial Traders are Magick's target audience, it's not a surprise that they received the largest public vote.

http://

A Spanish energy efficiency business that helps you to manage your home energy usage, within the "Internet of Things" sector, shared with Nest, https://store.nest.com/uk, owned by Google and Hive, https://www.hivehome.com, owned by British Gas. Momit is Founded by Miguel Sanchez, with Simon Crane assisting with global sales.

Momit is inspired by the fusion of your Mom (Mum/Mama/Mother) and IT, because in Miguel's home, it was his Mom who nagged him about energy use. But at home, it's my Husband who nudges us, so perhaps the title Momit, is a bit of an old stereotype! Anyway, Momit is a service, providing home gadgets that measure all energy use at home, and how you use it, providing usage data to your mobile, via the cloud. A sort of home energy dashboard! I can only imagine the number of rows that this would start, and the thought occurs to me that life is just too short to get this micro at home. Do consumers really want this much detail? Does the value proposition stack up long term? Be careful what you wish for! I think it is a long way down my wish list, but maybe I'll be "eating my hat" in a few years.

http://www.secludit.com

Sergio Loureiro, who I think is Portuguese, is CEO of secludit.com, with a fine technology pedigree from Internet security. His business provides elastic security for enterprises in The Cloud. Think of a security solution to all those personal photos held on the cloud. He is already a partner to Amazon, so things are looking good for Sergio.

http://www.socialbullguard.com

Founder and CEO Gianluca Treu's business offers value from social media for B2C client companies, with a special emphasis on digital agencies.

In the break, I talked with Gianluca, and told him of other social companies I know, www.Comufy.com. Also, www.buddy.com.

http://www.tiramizoo.com

A German business Founded Philipp Walz CEO, and Michael Loehr CTO. Tiramizoo radically simplified and optimised the management of delivery solutions to provide same day delivery to ecommerce retailers in large European metropolitan areas. Great customer service, and perhaps a product differentiator for etailers, whose customers are prepared to pay for it and want this extra service. Uber, Amazon and Ebay (Shuttle, Postmates) are experimenting with these services. Not very sustainable, if the end result is more vans on the roads delivering parcels.

http://www.wakingapp.com

An Israeli business - they are so good at technology. Alon Melchner is President and Founder, and the proud winner of this competition, who together with Kinetise.com goes forward to the USA in 2015. Like Kinetise, Wakingapp offers a platform, but in this case it is an Augmented Reality toolkit and content platform. Alon was originally inspired to design a storybook for his little child using augmented reality, what a lucky baby! Eventually, further down the development loop, he decided not to design bespoke solutions for individual client accounts, but rather offer out his toolkit that allows any technical creative to make use of the wakingapp toolkit, and to develop out a content platform from this. Even I could build interactive dinosaurs into my presentations! Everyone who was at Smart Camp knows what I mean. Good luck to wakingapp.com for the global finals in 2015.

Thanks to everyone at IBM and all the competing companies for a great afternoon. It's so interesting to keep a watching brief on new businesses, and to stay on the bleeding edge of technology developments. I'm off to an event called, "How to build a Smart City" in December, and you never know how the dots are going to be joined together, and where this will lead. It's all quite a long way down the road from my media/Internet career, but one has to keep moving.

I'm intrigued to review how Start Up candidates at all Accelerators across several entrepreneurial platforms in London, have progressed or are progressing since 2009, remembering that, apparently, it takes 7 years, usually, to grow into a "Unicorn" (read my earlier post Searching for Unicorns). But more on this another time.

“Understanding Social Marketing”

I attended a presentation on social marketing, featuring:

  • Comufy, a enterprise social marketing business that I have advised,
  • Agillic, a technology company, (previously unknown to me) providing marketing communication tools to reach consumers across multiple online & offline channels
  • eConsultancy, the Online research business.

There seemed to be a lot of Brand Marketers and Agencies in the audience. Last week I was involved in a discussion with a senior digital manager from the Greater London Authority, so I wondered if anyone from the public sector was invited along today. Post the summer riots, significant consideration of social marketing issues is underway in the public sector, and it would be great for them to find out about companies like Comufy, Agillic and others, and to consider their tools as part of their social communications strategy. Great opportunities exist in the public sector too for social marketing tech businesses.

First off, Jake Hird of eConsultancy set the scene with research, followed by Phil Mohr CEO of Comufy, and then Turlough Martin, MD Agillic.

Social Marketing offers 3 things:

  • A Listening Platform
  • Interaction
  • A Sales Channel

All of this provides data. Data is the new oil, but to be put to good use it needs refining and to be processed, and for that to happen you need businesses like Comufy and Agillic. These two companies are collaborating by combining Comufy’s targeted social marketing tools into Agillic’s data rich streams from multiple channels. Comufy requires consumers to opt in just once, to allow brands to communicate personally with them on a broadcast, segmented, but importantly an individual targeted relevant basis, offering dynamic content and incentives like prize draws, VIP Clubs, discounts etc., from brands in return. It provides trackable links so ROI is easily available, and it allows for e-commerce prompts for abandoned baskets and reminders on interested items.

It also provides a rich stream of customer data back to Marketers, from the information supplied by users via their Facebook and other profiles. Agillic have offered a free trial for Marketers, to test out the Agillic Online services for up selling and cross selling. The end game is a dashboard joining all interactive channels together, both online and offline, with fast communication of consumer feedback across all interested data points up to reaction to stock prices. Ambitious perhaps, given how many companies and organisations still do not integrate social information, but at the other end of the spectrum sophisticated consumers expect marketers to join up the dots and ensure that all their consumer communications are relevant and targeted today. In the bar afterwards, this was certainly the view of Agency people I talked to, from their brand clients. Innovation means staying close to customer feedback.

In the Q & A, issues of security arose. With so much data going through one system, this is an area of great sensitivity, with some financial businesses regarding social data not to be compliant with their “risk” code. Upcoming change in EU cookie legislation was also discussed, with mixed views of whether this would have a negative impact or not. Consensus from the discussion yesterday is that there is time to consider this, as it is over a year until this change will take place. However, a participant working on this, recommended careful consideration of T’s & C’s now to avoid problems down the line. Lovely to see Claire Paterson, Managing Partner of Proximity London, a former colleague, at this event.

The Preview Theatre at The Charlotte Street Hotel is a great venue. I’m sure they will sort out the technical hitches that occurred, and I look forward to going back there again.

I attended my first seminar at The Hospital in Covent Garden, organised by Figaro Digital. Figaro are newish, set up in May 08 They publish a quarterly magazine, Figaro Digital. I was impressed. One of the great things about the digital sector is the collaborative approach amongst companies. Figaro demonstrate this very well, offering these seminars free of charge, while they build up their customer base and partnerships.

Their speakers included Matt Hunt UK MD of Adconion, http://www.adconion.com, They are a global online ad sales network. Evolving to capitalise on the opportunity their technical expertise and reach provides in content serving/distribution/syndication for publishers, to secure rev and market share in the online video advertising market as it develops, as well as selling/serving online advertising. I realised afterwards that I briefly crossed career paths with Keith Kaplan their President of North America, at Interactive Search Holdings. Small digital world! They work with Joost, who are pioneers in the online video content space.

Ad networks/serving businesses have been successful in securing a large share of the online advertising display market to date, and some notable examples have been acquired by Google (Doubleclick), Microsoft (aQuantive) and Orange (Unanimis) and there is every reason to expect that ad networks will be successful in video online given their expertise and drive, but I think they will be given a run for their money by the established TV networks and TV Buyers on their home turf.

Francis Turner of .Fox Networks, forecasted £65m this year for the UK Video Online ad market (In stream). However, put that in perspective with the total UK online ad market at £3.54b in 2009 and within that online UK display at £709.3m (IAB/PWC), and GroupM’s latest Jun 10 UK TV Advertising forecast for 2010 at £3.329b, there is an exciting journey ahead. As an aside, I noted recently a headline that Forrester is predicting video will be the fastest growing interactive advertising format in Europe over the next five years, with advertisers spending more than €1bn (£860m) on the medium.

Toby Crisp of comScore Inc presented an interesting overview of the UK online video market. YouTube dominate with 49% of audience share, over the remaining 51% distributed over a long tail after Facebook, BBC, ITV, BSkyB who are all making good progress. I asked Toby how he thought this might change over the next few years. His personal comments were that it depends on YouTube’s further success in developing distribution/rev share with content providers like UK Broadcaster Channel 4, Hulu.com etc, versus how aggregators/distributors (Adconion aim to be amongst them) and broadcasters develop their video online interests. The average length of video viewed online is now 5.1 minutes, which incidentally is the IAB’s definition of long form video, so it’s not just about user generated content anymore. Only 5% of mobile users view video online, but 14% of smart phone owners, a very lucrative and targetable audience of predominantly higher earners aged 24-34. 38% of all time spent online is now spent watching video content. Strong points for online video are convenience of how you view (easy to stop/start/pause) when (time flexible) and where (multiple or mobile locations). TV still wins out though in terms of pleasure of the viewing experience in both vision and sound on the big screen.

Both Robert Black of EyeWonder and Steve Doyle of InSkin Media presented their very innovative ad formats.The former has been bought by Lime Light, a large content service provider, and I expect that more of these businesses will be consolidated higher up the online video revenue chain over the next few years. Robert Black also chairs IAB’s online video committee, and has been championing audience research work (VAST –open source so able to work Agency/Broadcaster/Advertiser research) which originated from the IAB USA. I sold TV for several years earlier in my career, I know all about the power of sight, sound, motion, and subliminal messages for brands. Steve Doyle of InSkin summarised that online video offers all of these, together with long dwell times, interaction, positive engagement and brand metrics as well, a feast of opportunity, and great news for advertisers wanting to find out more about ROI.

Charlie Grive, MD of Brandcast Media, a versatile production business that has grasped online developments across the board presented his work and credentials. His innovative work with professional communities like Oncologists is inspiring.

I met some great people during drinks after (sponsored by Propellondon.com, recruiters for digital - thanks). It was interesting for me to consider updated views of a sector that I know well. Well done Figaro, look forward to the next one!

.foxnetworks.com 21st Century Growth Ad Monsters Adaptly.com adconion Agillic amazon andiamo.io AOL apps aQuantive Ask.com astia.org BallouPR BBC Online behavioural science Bladerston Capital blog-ola Bloggers blogosphere BookingBug.com Bootlaw Brainient Brandcast Media BraveNewTalent.com BSkyB buddy.com Channel 4 Charlotte Street Hotel Ciklum City Am Claire Paterson COADEC Codility CognitiveMatch com comscore inc Comufy comufy.com Cowboy Ventures customers David Cameron digital Digital London digital marketing digital revolution dot.com bubble Doubleclick Dreamstake.net e-commerce Eagle Eye Ebay Email Eric Schmidt Erply EU cookie legislation everywoman.com Eyewonder Facebook FaceBook FCC Fetchtv.com Figaro Flattr Forrester Foursquare.com FT Games General Motors generator global economic crisis Google Google+ Group M hive.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smarter_Planet http://www.coadec.com/ Professor Hargreaves http://www.level39.co/ https://twitter.com/IBMSmartCamp Hulu i-level IAB IBC IBM SmartCamp independent Innovation Warehouse InSkin Media Inspire Conference IP IPvision-uk.tv ITV jelastic.com kinetise Launch 48 location targeting technology Luca Media magick.nu martin sorrell MashUP* Microsoft Mind Candy momit.com MoshiMonsters Multiple channels Naked Play Neo@Ogilvy nest.com Netflix Now For The Long Term Ogilvy online danger online sales Online T's & C's online video Oodle OpenX Orange Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations Parag Khanna PatientKnowsBest people Policy Exchange; smart cities ; GLA; Catapault; Bristol Futures; UK Broadband: Camden Council; Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis Postmates process Propel London Proximity London PWC recession revenue Rory Sutherland secludit.com Seedcamp Shuttle Sky SkyPlus social marketing ROI social marketing systems social media Social networks socialbullguard.com Soundcloud Spotify Springboard.com Start Ups Stephen Shakespeare Stradbroke Advisors Sunday Times Tech Hub techallstars.com TechCity Techcrunch techcrunch Tess Alps The Europa awards ThinkBox Timesonline tiramizoo.com TV Genius Tweets Twitter Twitter.com Uber UCL; Sharing Economy; Love Home Swap; unknown unknowns; Uber.com; Airbnb.com; UK Trade & Industry Unanimis Unicorn Club upperstreet.com User behaviour VAST wakingapp.comClearreturns.com web security Webinar White Bear Yard wordpress WPP www.lucamedia.com/searching-for-unicorns Yieldex YouTube Zeebox Zeebox.com Zonerider