Category: Articles & Press

06
Jan

7 Digital Trends for 2014

I wrote an article about the key trends for 2014 on Huffington Post Germany. Here is a very short summary of the article about the key innovations and trends I see most relevant for 2014. As my role as a Keynote Speaker and Futurist I am often ask “What is the next big thing?” or “What are the latest trends?” that’s why I have decided to publish my top 7 future trends.

  • Text-Messaging versus Social Messaging: WhatsApp, Line, Kakao Talk, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Co.
  • Maker Movement and Hardware Innovation
  • Wearable Technology
  • Bitcoin
  • Drones
  • Smartphone becomes the new Desktop-Computer
  • Quantum Computing: Google and Nasa testing new Super-Computer

Read the full article on Huffington Post Germany:
Sieben digitale Trends für 2014

17
Sep

Kate’s topless pictures: Why Kate Middleton needs a new PR Manager!

The italian magazine Chi and french magazine Closer have published a series of topless picture of Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge. Now Prince William and Kate Middleton are threatening to sue French magazine Closer for printing her topless pictures.

It seems that the PR Manager of Kate and William are not aware of the Streisand Effect. The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.

Chi magazine, which is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlluscon’s company Mondadori Group, which also publishes Closer, printed more topless pictures of Kate Middleton today. Thus, exactly these pictures are now spreading online rapidly, from Pinterest to Facebook to Flickr to Blogs….. the internet just does not forget.

30
Jan

Send your Lego Man to space for $ 400 USD

Amazing. Two young boys send their Lego Man into near space with a $ 400,- USD construction. They used a balloon to send the Lego Man including a wide angel video camera almost 25 km into space.

Article by LA Times: Two Canadian high school students have successfully launched a Lego man almost 80,000 feet above sea level–high enough to capture video of the plastic toy hovering above the curvature of the Earth.

Now the results of their experiment have gone viral, racking up more than 600,000 views on YouTube in just two daysand inspiring the young engineers to make their small astronaut his own Facebook page–Lego Man in Space.

The Toronto Starreports that the two teens, Matthew Ho and Asad Muhammed, were inspired to do the project about a year and a half ago when Ho saw a YouTube video of MIT students who sent a balloon to near space. Ho wanted to see if he could do it too.

The friends spent four and a half months working on the project, mostly on Saturdays. In a video interview with the Star, they said the hardest part was making the parachute, which they decided to hand-sew, even though neither of them had any sewing experience.

They also constructed a lightweight Styrofoam box to carry three point-and-shoot cameras, a wide-angle video camera and a cellphone with a downloadable GPS app. They purchased a professional weather balloon for $85 online. The helium that would lift it up came from a party supply store. For launch, they put two mitten warmers in the Styrofoam box to keep the cameras working at that altitude. The whole project cost them about $400.

After the balloon was constructed, the two waited until weather conditions would ensure that the Lego man would land in Canada and not somewhere in the U.S. because they didn’t want to take their chances with U.S. Homeland Security, the Star reports.

Ho and Muhammed estimate that it took their balloon craft one hour and five minutes to climb 80,000 feet before it finally popped. The descent took a little more than 30 minutes.

Besides online notoriety, the two also received a congratulatory note from Lego.

06
Jul

Endemol’s BigBrother launches voting via Facebook Credits

Since the invention of paid-televoting and paid-short-messaging (SMS) the TV industry has creatively adapted or developed TV show formats to increase their revenues. Televoting is mainly used for decision making, opinion polling or game-shows. In the age of Facebook, where users spent most of their time on the social network, Endemol is introducing the first paid-online voting system via Facebook credits.

The consumer behavior is changing and is bridging the gap between TV and Web usage. TV Channels could not charge our TV audience for a “click”, that’s why the focus was on televoting as the major decision tool for BigBrother.

With over 600 million global Facebook users, of which are over 20 million in Germany, the social network is the place where consumers spend most of their time online. The usage of Facebook Fan-Pages or Facebook Apps have already lead to a new discipline for Marketeers. Social Media Marketing is now part of the modern Marketing Communication Mix.

In close teamwork with the Innovation Agency and Social Media Specialist, Ahead of Time, Endemol was working on new TV formats leveraging the power of social media. “With the introduction of Facebook Credits and the rise of other virtual currencies in social games such as Zynga’s farmville it was a logical step for us to develop a paid-voting system on Facebook”, says Monty Metzger, CEO of Ahead of Time.

Big Brother Paid Facebook Voting

“While we envisioned, inspired and strategically developed the concept, we collaborated for the technical development with one of the best App-Developer in Germany I can think of”, says Monty Metzger. PLAZZ Entertainment developed the Facebook Voting App for BigBrother Germany.

Jürgen Mayer, CEO of PLAZZ Entertainment, is convinced that the new Facebook Voting will be changing the TV industry and lead to new show formats, such as Televoting did in the nineties. “The technical development of innovative concepts like this is a challenge, but we did our best to deliver a high-quality user experience with a simple and attractive usability. And we are proud that we, as a german company, are setting new standards in the global entertainment industry”, says Jürgen Mayer.

The Facebook Voting App is integrated in the Fan-Page of Big Brother Germany at http://www.facebook.com/BigBrotherDeutschland

The Facebook Voting App is the first App that uses Facebook Credits for “non gaming” virtual goods. For the TV Channels this is a new revenue opportunity for the future. And virtual currency, like Facebook Credits, may become the standard for Social TV projects.

Endemol’s Facebook Voting App is just the beginning and there are already more ideas prepared for launch in the near future.

08
Dec

Cyber-Thefts steal carbon certificates worth 15 Mio Euro

If you read this, you know why you are (or should be) investing in security and firewalls at your company.
Hackers have been accessing Romanian National Registry for Greenhouse Gases and have stolen Holcim’s carbon certificates worth 15 million Euro ($20 million US Dollar). Holcim is one of the biggest cement companies with yearly revenues of approx. 24 billion Euro.

Here is the official statement from Holcim:

On November 16, 2010, Holcim Romania’s CO2 accounts held within the Romanian National Registry for Greenhouse Gases were illegally accessed. Unknown persons have stolen 1.6 million CO2 certificates of which 600,000 could be recuperated and returned to Holcim to date. The outstanding allowances correspond to a financial value of approximately EUR 15 million.

One million CO2 allowances were transferred to an account in Liechtenstein. Another 600,000 CO2 allowances were transferred to a company in Italy, which has account registries in Italy and the UK. Parts seem to have been further transferred to accounts in the Czech Republic, Great Britain and France.

Holcim Romania immediately informed the Romanian Registry requesting blockage and recuperation of its CO2 allowances and to secure data. Formal criminal investigations have been requested from the relevant Romanian law enforcement authorities. An international investigation has been initiated.

As CO2 allowances are electronically registered and cannot leave the Registry systems, Holcim has asked the European Commission’s support in requesting the National CO2 Registries to trace and prevent the further trading and dissemination of the stolen allowances.

20
Jul

Dog Modding

I just love the new trend from China “Dog Modding”. Here you can see a nice “Tiger Dog”.
Don’t you think?

Tiger Dog Modding - Tiger Hund
The newest thing amongst dog owners in China seems to have emerged from this understandable fantasy and could be described as something like dog-modding: the color-dying of dogs, to make them look like other animals. Like this retriever, that is painted like a tiger.

Fake or Reality?
Look at this nice Panda Dog.
Panda Dog - Dog Modding
A more convincing example of dog-modding can be found in Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province, central China. A Chinese man modded his dog into a Panda – and did quite well so. As many will know, the Panda is a threatened animal, but also the national symbol of China. All living Panda’s in zoo’s all over the world are gifts from the Chinese government and are also considered state-property of the People’s Republic of China. The Panda es extremely popular in China – you could speak of a cult almost. But keeping a panda for yourself, of course, is strictly forbidden. So here the simulation comes in handy.

(Via NextNature)

15
Jul
13
Jul

GE’s $ 200 million open innovation challenge

Today GE announced the start of a $200 million open innovation challenge that seeks breakthrough ideas to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid, and accelerate the adoption of more efficient grid technologies. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the challenge, the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” here today.

The global challenge invites technologists, entrepreneurs and start-ups to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges – building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century. The challenge is one of the largest ever and is open immediately at www.ecomagination.com/challenge.

“Innovation is the engine of the global effort to transform the way we create, connect and use power,” Immelt said. “At GE we have invested broadly and deeply in digital energy solutions and see this as a substantial market for us, but we can’t do it alone. We want to work with our partners to make sure we have a comprehensive digital energy offering. This challenge is about collaboration and we are inviting others to help accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid. We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world.”

The Challenge, launched in collaboration with leading venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital, and Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired magazine, is part of GE’s ecomagination initiative, a global commitment to build innovative clean energy technologies and will help fund the most promising ideas. Proposals are sought in three, broad categories: Renewables, Grid and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings. Select Challenge entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through:

  • Investment: the $200 million capital pledge of GE and its partners will be invested globally into promising start-ups and ideas
  • Validation: evaluate entrant’sbusiness strategy through in-depth discussions with GE’s technical and commercial teams
  • Distribution: explore partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach
  • Development: leverage GE‘s technical infrastructure and GE Global Research Centers to accelerate technology and product development
  • Growth: explore opportunities for utilizing existing GE customer to take Challenge products to market

The $200 million commitment will help bring these new ideas to market by providing businesses and individuals with theopportunity to secure growth capital through GE investment and/or investment by participating venture capital firms. It is open to anyone aged 18 years or older and all legally formed entities.

01
Jun

Live from the catastrophe

BP’s live video stream of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is simultaneously tragic and hypnotic. With each passing second, more gallons of crude oil and natural gas escape into the ocean.

Beside watching this live video from the catastrophe, I recommend reading the ironic (not official) BP Twitter channel @BPglobalPR.

For BP, Obama and the whole USA it has turned from a pure catastrophe for nature into a catastrophe in public relations and reputation.

07
May
17
Apr

Volcano Info Graphic

I am still enjoying my “Volcano Weekend” in United Kingdom, as I got stuck in London right after the Skoll World Forum which was held in Oxford. Here is a helpful Info Graphic about the Volcano and the Cloud.

Volcano Info Graphic

08
Mar

Cloud Computing for Media People

My friend John du Pre Gauntt from Media Dojo send me his brand new “Cloud Computing Guide for Media People” today and I am allowed to share it exclusively with you.

Cloud Computing Guide for Media People
You can also download the full report (PDF) here:
Cloud Computing for Media People - Cover

The Guide translates cloud computing for business level media and marketing executives. It surveys some of the foundation concepts, technologies, players, and potential impact of cloud computing on the media and marketing industries. Circa 2010, we are all amateurs at implementing the cloud model for media and marketing. Anyone who claims to have nailed it cold is trying to sell you something. Consequently, much of the information and/or prediction in this first volume will be obsolete within six months to a year.

The Whitepaper describes some very interesting insights, key-concepts and business models of Cloud Computing. But John also describes four Scenarios about media in 2020.

Cloud Computing 2020Media Marketplaces 2020:
Most professional media and marketing content has been subsumed into the larger world of electronic commerce. Products and services now come with directly embedded media or offer digital tokens for consumers to exchange for the media of their choice.

Just-in-Time Media 2020
The action in media has moved to how fast a provider can customize media and ads at the margin. Scale in media has become a massive optimization game where players compete to orchestrate massive ecosystems to deliver an individualized yet participatory experience.

Smart Media 2020:
Media providers and marketers have dispensed with the pretense that they can tar­ get mass media in a fragmented world. Networks and channels have largely disappeared. Media and marketing messages are tagged with information and function to become the equivalent of “smart bombs” that seek out the right audience regardless of channel or device.

Pushpin Media 2020:
Augmented reality has finally won over virtual reality to create a new media mar­ ket. Instead of trying to substitute a virtual world for the “real” world, me­ dia providers and market­ ers have discovered that a pinch of media in the right physical place has opened a huge entertainment and advertising opportunity.

Nevertheless, this is a good time to plant an initial stake in the ground about Cloud Computing’s potential impact on media and marketing. Players like Amazon, Google and others have productized their distributed computing knowledge and assets into realistic commercial offers. A flood of digital media businesses are launching based on the new IT economics of cloud computing. As this process iterates and scales, the media industry is in for massive change.

07
Oct

48% of Books sold on Amazon are electronic Books (eBooks)

Amazon.com Inc is introducing Kindle, its wireless electronic reader, for over 100 countries globally. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said that for every 100 customers who buy a book, some 48 buy it as an e-book — up from 35 five months ago.

Although Amazon does not release sales or profit figures for the Kindle, analysts believe it commands No. 1 market share in a growing market fueled by more online activity and a lingering slump in publishing and retail bookselling. The devices have proven popular with readers and travelers who like the convenience of downloads and avoiding heavy books, but high prices have kept many potential users at bay.

Amazon has an agreement with AT&T wireless for the international version, under which the carrier handles global network relationships, Bezos said. The new device is designed to work with the globally popular 3G GSM standard. The wireless coverage includes a wide array of countries, including China and Indonesia, for example, so the device will work in those countries although units won’t be shipped there.

Although Amazon does not release sales or profit figures for the Kindle, analysts believe it commands No. 1 market share in a growing market fueled by more online activity and a lingering slump in publishing and retail bookselling. The devices have proven popular with readers and travelers who like the convenience of downloads and avoiding heavy books, but high prices have kept many potential users at bay.

Via Reuters

07
Oct

Amazon’s eBook Reader Kindle will be rolled out in 100 Countries globally

Amazon.com Inc is introducing Kindle, its wireless electronic reader, for over 100 countries, including China and most of Europe, intensifying a battle for the burgeoning digital book market.

The move, announced on Tuesday, gives the world’s largest online retailer the widest global reach among its competitors, including chief rival Sony Corp. The Kindle will sell for $279 in other countries. Amazon also said it would cut prices for its U.S.-only Kindle by 13 percent to $259 from $299, bringing its cost closer to its rivals. The new price is $100 lower than it was a year ago.

Amazon — which regards the Kindle as a pivotal growth driver — said over 200,000 English-language books from a host of publishers as well as more than 85 international and U.S. newspapers and magazines would be available on the international device, which begins shipping October 19.

“Our vision for Kindle is every book ever printed, in print or out of print, in every language, all available within 60 seconds,” Chief Executive Jeff Bezos told Reuters. “That’s a multi-decade vision,” said Bezos, visiting a Kindle office in the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino.

Analysts have pondered the likelihood of Amazon developing the Kindle into a tablet-like device for tasks like emailing, texting and surfing the Web, thus competing with devices reportedly being developed by Apple Inc.

But Bezos reiterated his intention to optimize the reading experience, saying the company rejects compromise, whether it be a touchscreen that affects legibility or computer displays that eat up too much power. At the same time, Amazon is working on making Kindle digital books available on more devices. Besides the Kindle, those books can now be accessed on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

“We want you to read your Kindle books on laptops and smartphones, anything with an installed base,” Bezos said. He said he was not “in principle” against making the works available on rival devices like Sony’s, but was focused on platforms with “large installed bases.”

E-readers are expected by some to be the hottest gadget this holiday season and Bezos said he had “a lot of confidence” that it would be a “great holiday quarter for Kindle.” Forrester Research estimated 3 million e-reader devices would be sold in the United States in 2009, up from an earlier estimate of 2 million. That could double in 2010, bringing cumulative sales to 10 million by end-2010. The research group predicts that Amazon will take 60 percent market share in 2009, followed by Sony at 35 percent.

In July, Credit Suisse estimated revenue and gross profit from the Kindle could reach $420 million and $35 million, respectively, in 2009, representing some 8.4 percent of Amazon’s total revenue.

Via Reuters

01
Sep

EBay sells 65% of Skype for $1.9 billion US Dollar / 1.33 billion Euro

EBay Inc plans to sell a 65 percent stake in its online phone unit Skype for $1.9 billion to private investors including Silver Lake and a venture firm run by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen.

Shares in eBay rose 40 cents or 1.8 percent to $22.54 on Nasdaq after the news.

The deal values Skype at $2.75 billion, according to the Internet auction house, which had bought the phone company in 2005 for about $3.1 billion.

The group buying Skype also includes London-based Index Ventures and the Canada Pension Plan, in addition to Silver Lake and Andreessen’s firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The deal lets eBay focus on its PayPal electronic payments service as well as its flagship auction service, the company said.

EBay originally planned to spin off Skype next year. John Donahoe, eBay’s chief executive, said in May that a $2 billion valuation would be low for the growing Internet telephone business.

In 2007, eBay wrote down about $1.4 billion of its investment in Skype, conceding it did not fit in with the rest of its online auction business.

“Skype is a strong standalone business, but it does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments business,” Donahoe said in a statement.

EBay expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.
(Via Reuters)

01
Sep

What eBay’s decision to sell Skype means for the future of VOIP?

Skype eBay Deal Internet auction and services company EBay Inc has reached a deal to sell its online telephony unit Skype to a group of private investors, the New York Times said, citing two people briefed on its plans.

Andreessen Horowitz, a new venture capital firm headed by the Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, is likely to be among the investors in the group, the paper cited the people as saying. London-based Index Ventures and Silver Lake Partners may also be involved in the deal, one of the people told the paper. The paper added that the value of the deal, which is likely to be announced later on Tuesday, had not been disclosed. EBay spokesman Alan Marks declined to comment on the report.
In May, EBay Chief Executive John Donahoe said a valuation of $2 billion would be low for Skype.

Since eBay bought Skype, the company did not announce major developments nor any innovative new products or services. May it is because of the structure of the size the institution “eBay” has become. Skype was not the leader of digital innovation since years. Thus it has always kept their loyal customers and delivered very good quality of service.

From my point of view there are three key opportunities in the VoiP market for Skype:

1. Reach: Skype is the biggest Online Social Network, twice as big as facebook, but they do not use the full potential of the SNS (Social Networking Software), yet. There are many opportunities to develop new applications, open APIs or useful functions to use Skype as a Social Network.

2. Global telecommunication: Since the start of Google Voice a huge discussion is going on about the future of telecommunication. The network operators such as AT&T or Deutsche Telekom and mobile network operators are getting under pressure because customers can change and manage several telephone number very easily. I think now it’s time for such a service and to roll-out a mainstream VoiP Service like Google Voice – this could be easily realized by Skype as well. Don’t you think?

3. Speed & Innovation: Since the company would be kind of “independable” again. The speed of innovation and business development would be increased rapidly. The goal of the investors might be to really strengthen the company. May be they are also looking to get the global VoiP leadership and then partner or even sell the company again to a major player. Thus this speed and acceleration of innovation might be something very healthy for Skype and I am already thinking about what they could develop for us loyal users.

22
Jun

Hillary Clinton about the “twitter revolution”

CNN report that the role of Twitter in the Iranian protests has got the attention of the Pentagon as well as Hilary Clinton.

07
Apr

GM and Segway develop future car for Megacities

GM Segway future car conceptGM and Segway developed a two-seater electric car to debut in NYC in 2012.

US carmaker General Motors is joining with scooter maker Segway to make a new type of two-seat electric vehicle. The prototype, which will be debuted in New York, is aimed at urban driving. GM aims to start making them by 2012. The vehicle, named Puma, has a top speed of 35mph and can go as far as 35 miles on a single charge. It will use lithium-ion batteries. GM, having been bailed out by the US government, is looking to smaller vehicles to secure its future.

Puma stands for personal urban mobility and accessibility.

GM has already received at least $13bn in aid from the US government and seems likely to enter bankruptcy. It is looking to more environmentally-friendly models as consumers have abandoned their expensive trucks and cars. “We are excited to be working together to demonstrate a dramatically different approach to urban mobility,” said Jim Norrod, chief of Segway. Segway introduced its personal transporter in 2002 and has sold more than 2,000 in the UK. They are capable of speeds up to 12mph and cost £4,795.
The personal scooters came to international prominence when US President George W Bush fell off one while on holiday in 2003.

Via BBC.

23
Mar

Visible Banking Interview with Matthias Kroener, Fidor AG

Christophe Langlois of Visible Banking interviewed Matthias Kroener during a conference in Paris. The event was focusing on Social Media and its impact on the financial industry.

Matthias Kroener, CEO of Fidor AG, talked about their Social Media Marketing Strategy realized in teamwork with Ahead of Time.

09
Mar

Zimbra better than Gmail?

Zimbra 1VentureBeat has written about Yahoo-owned email and collaboration software Zimbra before, but it looks like they’re far from being the only fans. In fact, Zimbra announced that has crossed the 40 million user mark. And those are paid mailboxes, not free accounts.

Zimbra has flown a bit under the radar — it’s not exactly obscure, but I don’t watch it as closely as, say, Gmail. It turns out, however, that Zimbra actually has 31.4 million users in the United States, squeaking by the 31.2 million unique monthly visitors Gmail received in the US during the month of January (according to comScore). And while we’re beating up on Google, we should also note that Google recently reported having 10 million users for the free and pay versions of its business application bundle Google Apps — again, well behind Zimbra. These numbers also imply Zimbra might soon pass other popular webmail services like AOL Email and Windows Live Hotmail.

Zimbra 2

Granted, you risk entering “apples and oranges” territory when you compare a consumer-driven webmail product like Hotmail with something that’s more focused on businesses and institutions like Zimbra. (Update: A lot of Zimbra’s growth was likely fueled by the big deal it struck with Comcast in 2007, as several commenters note below. A spokeswoman says deals with Comcast and other service providers “represent a large number of Zimbra’s user base” but adds that the company isn’t at liberty to offer details.) Throw in the fact that we’re measuring Zimbra’s self-reported numbers against numbers from comScore and Google, and things start looking pretty dodgy. But even if we stick to Zimbra’s numbers alone, the growth is quite impressive — a year ago, it reported less than 12 million paid mailboxes. Let’s hope Zimbra continues that growth despite the departure of founder Satish Dharmaraj.

Zimbra 3

The news also ties into a blog post by Hitwise’s Heather Hopkins earlier today. Pointing to new Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz’ remark that email is becoming “increasingly critical” to the struggling company, Hopkins notes that email accounts for more than third of Yahoo traffic. Of course, Yahoo Mail and Zimbra are separate products, but Zimbra’s numbers underline Hopkins’ and Bartz’ message — if there’s a way for Yahoo to get out of its current mess, email is going to play a huge role.

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