Welcome to the Startacus Technology News Round-up. For those who managed a screen-break over Christmas, our first round-up of 2014 brings you right up to date with all the latest tech headlines for UK businesses - courtesy of marketing and technology blogger Justin Firth.
CES Shows The Future
The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has hit Las Vegas. CES provides an annual sneak peek of all the latest innovations and ideas being worked on by major manufacturers. The big developments this year involve the ‘Internet of Things’ - the conversion of dumb household items into smart connected objects. Samsung announced its Smart Home Service, allowing control of house light and heat, appliances and security cameras from a single app. Rival LG unveiled the HomeChat system which lets you to talk to and text your appliances to see how they are doing. Your washing machine might let you know if it’s finished spinning and the fridge could ask you to restock the beer.
Also making CES Show headlines is Sony’s Lifelogging App which combines a wearable tracker and smartphone log to plot all your daily activity on a single handy timeline. Find out how much time you spent exercising, sleeping, talking to friends, watching films, emailing, and fiddling about with apps on your smartphone.
Finally, 3D printers go mass market with a whole new range of cheaper family-friendly options. Leading manufacturer MakerBot also announced the MakerBot Digital Store - dubbed the iTunes of 3D printing - it will allow customers to buy popular designs online for easy home printing.
Google Goes In-Car
A week in tech rarely passes without a major Google announcement. This time Google has teamed up with a spread of major car makers to integrate Android into car dashboards. The system should allow drivers to access purpose-built driving apps, mobile apps and their favourite music while on the move.
If you are worried about safety, you really shouldn’t be. Also at CES, Audi previewed its prototype self-driving car with an auto-pilot to take over from the driver during long journeys. Audi claim that the prototyping period is over for autonomous driving, what is really holding the technology back is the lack of modern legislation which allows driverless cars onto the roads.
Smart, Green Transport Arrives . . . In Milton Keynes.
We may just be getting used to plug-in electric cars, but automotive technology is already looking ahead. Toyota have just announced the global release of a hydrogen fuel cell car as early as 2015. Ford meanwhile is at CES showing off the C-Max Solar concept which uses solar panels to boost electric range.
In the UK, the town of roundabouts is fast becoming the centre for automotive innovation. Back in November 2013 Vince Cable announced that Milton Keynes will have 2-seater driverless pods roaming the streets and picking up passengers by 2015. Coming sooner are Milton Keynes’ wirelessly charging electric buses. These buses charge their batteries while waiting over inductive plates in the road - allowing them to work all day without a single plug-in.
Filters Upset Website Owners
The government’s pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install adult-content filters is upsetting some legitimate website owners. Specialist news website Torrentfreak has drawn attention to the problem when its site was recently blocked by Sky’s internet filter. Sex education and rape-victim support websites have also reported being blocked by other big ISPs.
Critics of default filtering complain that filtering is too untargeted and site owners are not notified that access to their sites may be blocked. They also point to how poor filters are at stopping those determined to access content - a fact shown by the recent launch of the free ‘Go Away Cameron’ browser extension for Chrome which automatically bypasses all UK pornography filters.
Eton school made news last week by banning wi-fi access to photo messaging app SnapChat amongst fears it was being used by pupils to share sexual images. The school did admit that they couldn’t stop boys still accessing SnapChat using mobile internet but optimistically hoped they might ‘think twice’ before doing so.
New Year’s Day Busiest Ever On iPlayer
The BBC has reported that New Year’s Day was the iPlayer’s busiest ever day with nearly 11 million programmes streamed. A significant 3.1 million of these were streamed on mobile, and a further 1.5 million on tablets showing how media really is moving from TV, to computer, to mobile devices.
Figures from HeraldScotland also say something about our changing media habits. The newspaper has announced that online subscribers paying for content now outnumbered print edition subscribers. 5,600 have a paid subscription online, compared to 5,500 print subscribers from a circulation of 40,000. In balance to a long declining print circulation, HeraldScotland saw a 16% increase in website visitors from July-December 2013 making it one of the UK’s fastest growing regional news sites.
Startacus’ Technology News Round Upis written by Justin Firth - UK Chartered Marketer and Technology Enthusiast. To read more visit Justin’s marketing and technology blog at www.marketingnext.co.uk or follow @marketingnextuk on Twitter
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