Microsoft may get its mojo back, smartphones will get cheap, and we’re about to enter the Year of Encryption. A look at what to expect in telecom and computing for the coming year.
How might 2014 play out in tech? Silicon Valley may again need to watch out for Microsoft, cheap smartphones will hit markets, and the Edward Snowden revelations will launch the Year of Encryption. Those are a few predictions from Mark Anderson, founder and publisher of the Strategic News Service newsletter, long a must-read for industry leaders and venture capitalists, and host of Future in Review, an annual gathering for tech leaders, investors, and policymakers The Economist called “the best technology conference in the world.”
What does Anderson see in his crystal ball? Here’s the new edition of his annual list of 10 predictions for the telecom and computing world for the year to come.
Siris Move Into Silos. Internet assistants display their importance as a category by spreading out into a large number of new Siri-like products, many of which work to increase utility by going deep into vertical markets. The results are improved success in voice recognition, knowledge-base utility, and customer trust and acceptance.
Visualization Goes Mainstream. As big data, cloud computing, and vast increases in storage and processing take hold, the role of data visualization becomes much more common in our tools. Having created systems much more advanced than the human brain in these categories, we now must find improved ways of digesting all of this information.
The Cheaper Factor. Low price becomes a critical driver in global consumer-electronics product creation, as emerging economies absorb a dramatically larger fraction of all devices sold. The result of bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty is a shift in design motivation from the radically innovative, to incremental change at low cost, driven by the creation of a new purchaser segment in consumer electronics.
Sub-$100 Smartphones dominate the phone category
And 5. Sub-$250 pads dominate the pad /CarryAlong category. These ought to be the top two best-selling product types in their categories for the year , and these two categories ought to be the top two consumer electronics categories for the year, when measured by volume.
6. Software Plays on a Flat Hardware Field, as We Build Out the Global Computer. This is the real mover behind everything in IT, from the blank black real estate of your cellphone and pad, to virtualized storage and servers, emulated processors, software-defined networks and the most advanced cloud-computing services. Even as hardware continues to advance, software is where most of the energy, innovation, and action occur.
7. The New Microsoft That No One Expected. Microsoft gets a new CEO, with a new power structure that encourages cooperation instead of warring factions, and which leads to improved success in consumer markets. The stock continues to climb, on an annualized basis, and Redmond starts to get some of its “mojo” back, defined by people wanting to work there.
8. Micromapping arrives. Various firms open the door on a brand new category in mapping, advertising, location and ID, and transactions. This MALT category launches in 2014, with small but fast-growing revenue that will become mammoth in years ahead.
9. The Quantified Self Goes Mainstream. The idea of knowing more and more detail about your personal health and characteristics goes from being a science story to a jogger’s delight to a mainstream market. Keeping track of your own health data in real time is no longer something for geeks and workout fanatics, but is accepted as a new and mainstream category of behavior, products, and preventative medicine. Doctors will have to start catching up.
10. Encryption Everywhere. The direct commercial result of Edward Snowden’s leaks will be a massive move by large technology companies, both in enterprise and consumer markets, to evolve new encryption technologies and products that use them. While NSA-proofing will be the motivator, the real benefit may be improved protection of commercial IP from theft by China and other nations.
10 Surprising New Twitter Stats to Help You Reach More Followers
Since social media is changing so often. It can be really hard to keep up with stats and trends that affect how you use it. I quite often forget the facts that I've read, or I use Twitter based on stats that are outdated now.
In fact, when I recently looked at some of the latest social media statistics, it hit me that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is is the 55-64 year age bracket. And that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's changed.
In case you're in the same boat with me, I gathered up some really interesting Twitter stats that can help you improve the way you reach your followers. Especially when trying to gear up for the new social media for business, being in the know of the latest stats is more valuable than ever.
1. Twitter engagement for brands is 17 percent higher on weekends.
I guess not many people know about this one, because only 19 percent of brands tweet on the weekends. If you're trying to encourage your followers to engage with you on Twitter, but you don't want to work over the weekend, you could use Buffer to schedule tweets to be sent while you're having a sleep-in.
Social media scientist Dan Zarrella also found in one of his Twitter experiments that click-through rates were higher on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Tweets with image links get 2 times the engagement rate of those without.
Just like on Facebook, photos are more engaging for Twitter users.
Did you know you can Buffer images right from the web? Our chrome extension lets you right-click on an image and put it straight into your Buffer account as an image post:
3. Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17 percent more engagement.
If you're posting tweets with links, Dan Zarrella's research shows that 120 to 130 characters will be your sweet spot.
4. Twitter's fastest growing demographic is 55-64 year-olds.
If you're looking at growing your audience, you might want to look at new Twitter users, which are most likely in the older age brackets. As Twitter's user base grows, you'll have a wider variety of users to target, supposing they're all part of your market.
This largely overlaps with the general social media statistics, social media definitely working its way up the age demographic.
5. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement.
Having said that, keep the hashtags to a minimum. One or two will get you 21 percent more engagement than if you add three or more. This could be because hashtags often connect a tweet to a particular topic or Twitter chat that others are following or interested in. Keep appropriate hashtags in mind when posting, especially if engagement is something you're looking to improve.
6. 66 percent of user-generated tweets that mention brands come from mobile users.
There are a few things to keep in mind when targeting mobile users. Ensuring that you link to mobile-friendly sites is a good start. Linking to Twitter usernames of people you mention and adding hashtags can also be helpful for mobile users, who might want to find out more without opening new browser windows or searching in their Twitter client.
So being equipped with a great social media publishing tool for mobile is now more important than ever. It'll be interesting how the shift to mobile will become even more obvious in the coming months and years.
When you're tweeting, think about where your audience is, and what they might be doing. If it's early in the morning, they might be commuting to the office -- this is actually a great time to get them, as they're probably bored and looking for something interesting to occupy them during this time.
These users are also 119 percent more likely to use Twitter during work or school hours, so don't write off these times as being no good for tweeting -- at least until you try them. Dinner time, on the other hand, is probably not the best time to catch your followers, as you can see in the image below.
Buffer's integration with Followerwonk can come in handy here, by helping you work out when your followers are most likely to be online, and setting up your Buffer schedule to match these times.
8. Amplifiers are 122 percent more likely to send direct messages.
A study by Twitter itself found that amplifiers -- that is, users who are more likely to retweet than others, thus amplifying content -- are more likely to send direct messages as well. Plus, 90 percent of them tweet about TV shows. This points to the important fact that these users see Twitter as a way to communicate with close friends or family--hence the use of the private option of direct messages -- and to talk about their habits and daily activities, such as watching TV.
9. Your tweets have a 12 times higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and 23 times higher if you actually spell out the word "retweet."
This is a really interesting one. I'd heard before that asking for a retweet is the best way to get one, but in fact, spelling out the word "retweet" as opposed to using the abbreviation "RT" gives a much higher chance of being retweeted -- 23 times higher than average! That's not a hard one to implement, either.
10. Tweets that include links are 86 percent more likely to be retweeted.
Like photos, links appeal to Twitter users.. Links, however, are more likely to increase your number of retweets than engagement rate. This is helpful to keep in mind, as you might want to broaden your reach (get more retweets) rather than engage your current followers (increase engagement with photos).
Conclusion: Where to go from here?
The latest changes to Twitter's statistics suggest a clear change to what lies ahead for Twitter's future.
The Sony PlayStation platforming game Tearaway allows users to navigate a 1:12 scale paper world with miniature sets and puppet characters, offering a refreshing alternative to the sleek and digitized lands in most current games. MPC, 180 Amsterdam and RSA Director Rob Blishen built the handmade 3D world made of paper integrated with green screen and shot elements.
The team created the miniature sets and scaled paper puppets, subsequently using stop motion and a live action shoot with matched moves. Each camera move in the miniature world had to be scaled up twelve times, which meant a large studio space was required in order to shoot up to twelve meters away and only very short panning moves were feasible on the paper set.
Matte paintings were then used to extend the sets, which were built on 5×3 meter platforms. Click through to see some behind the scenes images of Tearaway and the official TV ad:
The amount of space available on public transportation is dismal at best in the United States, but for those who have been to Asia, you will know that the situation is much much worse. That’s why industrial designer Siew Ming Cheng has created Spike Away; a vest covered in spikes that are normally used to keep birds and cats away from plants.
Spike Away was created by Siew Ming for a workshop at the National University of Singapore, held by German furniture designer Werner Aisslinger when she was an undergraduate. The aim was to create a “Chindogu” solution, a Japanese term for a gadget that is meant to be more useless than useful, and (almost) solve an everyday problem.
Cheng considered the problem of public transport in Singapore as the perfect arena to create a Chindogu:
“In Singapore, usually during peak hours, the trains get pretty crowded,” Cheng says. “Everybody will push each other to try and get onto the train, hence the solution of: What if I wear a vest that is full of spikes?”
While the commuter accessory hasn’t been put to the test yet, which is kind of the point, it could quite easily be adapted for frustrated travelers across America. New York subways may even justify something slightly more rigid than a soft plastic spike as part of the outfit, but that’s for you to decide should you bring the creation to life.