Want to catch up with the latest tech news? Then you are in the right place. The Startacus Technology News Round-up collects together the latest technology stories affecting UK businesses courtesy of marketing and technology blogger Justin Firth.
Included within this edition; door-to-door robot deliveries, charity donations go mobile, Microsoft make a smart bra, the Yellow Pages goes under, and a new £24m investment fund for European tech firms. But first . . .
Social Media Not A Free Speech Zone.
After celebrity Peaches Geldof tweeted information relating to a case, the UK attorney general will publish Twitter guidance to help avoid contempt of court. The warning is to remind individuals and businesses that social media and blogs are not a free speech zone. Online publishers must be careful that online content is not misleading, defamatory, libelous or illegally undermines a fair trial.
Europe Lacks “Real Risk Capital” For Tech Innovation.
Hoxton Ventures have announced a £24m investment fund for early-stage European tech firms. The fund will address what Hoxton calls a lack of “real risk capital” in Europe and reliance on government for venture funds. According to the fund owners, after the US and China, Europe has the best conditions to build large valuable tech companies - ahead of the tech centres of India and Israel.
However, if you are looking for a little injection of funds be warned. Hoxton are only interested in million dollar investments in companies which can scale to become large billion dollar businesses.
The Big Issue Taking Card Payments
A London Big Issue seller has become the first to take credit card payment for the magazine. Using an iZettle payment device with his smart phone, Simon Mott proves how easy it is to take debit and credit cards payments without a shop location. As a result, the Big Issue says it will be extending credit card payment to other sellers within weeks.
The innovation coincides with a report from mobile firm Three which says that charity donations through websites, social media and apps now account for £26 in every £100 donated in the UK. According to Three, donations from mobile phones had increased 242% between 2011 and 2012 with almost 30% saying that if they couldn’t have used their mobile phone they wouldn’t have donated. The report also highlights the impact of social fundraising, with 30% saying they were more likely to donate after seeing shared charity content on social media. 20% claimed that seeing shared charity content also inspired them to do something for charity themselves.
Amazon Delivery Drones A PR Stunt?
Amazon swept the tech headlines last week with the announcement that they are developing flying drones capable of making deliveries within 30 minutes of ordering. Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos denies that the news release - which coincide with the busiest online shopping day of the year - was a PR stunt. Yet many commentators have pointed out that the real world challenges of drone delivery make the scheme unworkable. Rival bookseller Waterstones even lampooned Amazon with their own new delivery announcement called ‘O.W.L.S’ (Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service) - which would see your book order delivered in 30 minutes by an adorable fleet of specially trained Owls.
But perhaps the idea of drones making important deliveries is not so far-fetched. Four people have recently been arrested in Georgia, USA after attempting to smuggle tobacco and mobile phones into a prison using their own hexacopter drone.
Google Building Delivery Robots?
Amazon’s delivery drones may not be the only technology-driven solution for quick deliveries. Over the past few months Google has been testing a same day shopping delivery service in San Francisco called Google Shopping Express. The service delivers goods from a number of online shops within 24 hours.
Now the New York Times has discovered that Google has recently acquired seven robotics companies and is starting its own robotics division. There is scant information on what Google may be developing robots for, but the New York Times suggests that robots could work alongside Google’s driverless car to automate door-to-door deliveries for the Google Shopping Express service.
Wearable Tech Gains Momentum
Technology you can wear is becoming a new frontier of innovation. A report by technology analysts Juniper Research predicts that wearable device shipments could near 130 million by 2018. That is a ten-fold increase on an estimate the company made just earlier this year.
The sudden rush for the next big wearable innovation is demonstrated by a steady stream of new stories involving the big tech companies. In late November, Sony filed a patent for the ‘SmartWig’ designed to help navigate roads and collect health information. Microsoft on the other hand have released research details of their smart bra which monitors heart and skin activity to inform wearers when ‘emotional eating’ was likely to occur. This connection between skin activity and feelings is also central to the new GER mood sweater by design lab Sensoree which changes colour based on your current mood.
If any more proof were needed that wearable tech is the next big thing, Samsung recently announced that its Galaxy Gear Smart Watch has shipped 800,000 units over 2 months. Samsung have said the devices are selling well, despite the smartwatch being dogged by complaints of limited functionality and battery life, bad onlines reviews and return rates of up to 30%.
Yellow Pages Owner In Administration
Another icon of the print era is facing a bleak future. The Yellow Pages and Yell owner Hibu has gone into administration following plummeting sales due to the growth of internet advertising. The Yellow Pages is continuing for the time being but Hibu will be restructuring with a renewed focus on digital products including an enhanced website design service aimed at small businesses.
Startacus’Technology News Round Up is 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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