Monday, April 28, 2014

How Twitter Wants to Be Your TV

Lady Gaga is performing at a show, has a blast and posts it online for her fans to see and in about minutes, puuf,  over 10 million people gets to know and also share the post with other people following them. Getting snippets of events happening right now is the average internet user's utility for Twitter either with close friends or celebrity. But something is about to change big time due in no small part to Twitter Amplify, a year-old program that has allowed the company to snag a piece of the billions of dollars spent annually on TV ads. This is the thrill of audience commercialization. Read on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Designer Credit Cards: MasterCard rolls out cards with LCD display and keypad

Pimp My Credit CardFor several years, personalizing a credit card mainly meant you could pick the image on your card. You customize the image using a tool on the card issuer’s website (my personal favorite: upload a photo so your face can be surrounded by a bunch of jelly beans), then wait a week for the card to show up in the mail.

As mobile payments start to gain traction, some card issuers have looked for ways to let customers interact with their cards in a more tech-savvy way.

For starters, the next time you receive a new card from your bank, don't be surprised if it has a keypad and LCD on it. Standard Chartered is doing it! Find out more.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What is Data Bartering and its Multi Billion dollar industry?

Noam Bardin wanted to expand the reach of his company’s mobile mapping app to South America. It was a bold idea, but an expensive one. So over the past year, Bardin, the chief executive officer of Palo Alto-based Waze, met with resellers of geographical mapping information and asked them for access to their proprietary data. The catch: The Israeli entrepreneur said that he didn’t want to pay a dime to get it.

In return, Bardin offered to trade some of the data on automobile traffic, speed traps, roadwork, and collisions that his company would collect from new South American users of its app. One of the companies, Multispectral, signed on in January, and six months later the Waze app rolled out to drivers throughout Brazil. “It would have taken us a year and a half to get there on our own,” Bardin says.

Bardin’s Waze and other companies are at the forefront of a new trend called data bartering, where companies exchange databases like baseball cards, with no money changing hands. App makers are pursuing all manner of targeted consumer data—from restaurant ratings to store hours—but it’s often expensive to acquire. Data swapping can be a win-win if both sides have complementary proprietary research. “We live in an age where the ability to capture data has never been greater,” says J.P. Rangaswami, the chief scientist for (CRM). “It’s a commodity now.”

A market for data swaps is rapidly emerging. Factual, a Los Angeles-based startup, has put together a database that houses location data and details on retailers and restaurants. Access to the database costs companies money, but they can accrue discounts by agreeing to contribute some of their own information.

For the larger companies that are willing to share, Factual is effectively free, says Gil Elbaz, the company’s CEO, who previously built Google’s (GOOG) advertising platform for third-party websites. Facebook (FB), Groupon (GRPN), and consumer ratings site Yelp are among the clients providing user-contributed information on retailers to Factual’s database. Danny Rimer, a general partner at Index Ventures, which invested in Factual, says other industries could benefit from data bartering as well. Farms, for instance, could trade information about soil quality and crop yields to better understand how to tend to their plots.

Factual scours the Web for detailed information about shops, restaurants, and landmarks, and organizes it into a standard format that clients can pull into their apps. The system also can take data feeds from clients and optimize them, if necessary, to ensure that everything is up to date and suitable for use by others.

That saves startups the time and expense of having to keep enormous amounts of data organized, says Trevin Chow, who considered selling some of the information collected by his restaurant review app Chewsy before deciding to use Factual to exchange information about restaurants’ Twitter accounts, websites, phone numbers, and other details. Foursquare, the New York-based mobile check-in app, is a Factual client as well, but it also employs a dozen data scientists, or about 8 percent of its staff, says Dennis Crowley, the company’s CEO. Three of the eight employees at Sonar, which makes a similar app, are dedicated to analyzing data full-time. “There’s so much data out there that you could bankrupt yourself trying to manage it,” says Brett Martin, Sonar’s CEO and co-founder.

Although not a Factual customer, Waze has attracted some 30 million users to its app with help from several data swap deals, including one with Apple (AAPL) that Bardin declines to discuss because the terms are private. The company is building its business on advertising. Earlier this month it added digital billboards to its app that pop up when users drive past a certain location. To draw even more users and attract advertising dollars, Bardin says he next wants to strike bartering deals with city governments, which have access to data on traffic lights, parking meters, and police routes—valuable information that no one else has.

The bottom line: App developers are bartering data to accumulate hard-to-get information and make and save money.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Behind Israel's Iron Dome: How This Marvel Stops Missiles

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defense missile
system in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on Nov. 18, 2012
The success of Israel’s Iron Dome in shooting down missiles fired from Gaza has a lot to do with a company you’ve probably never heard of: MPrest Systems. Led by a retired Israeli naval captain named Natan Barak, MPrest makes the smarts of Iron Dome. According to the company’s website, its computer technology performs “air awareness picture building, target classification, calculating interception programs, and controlling launch and interception processes.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Behavioral Science Propelled Obama's Win

For the last couple of weeks, pundits have been analyzing why Obama won the 2012 election, not to mention how Romney’s strategies led to a loss. One area that has received scant attention is the use of behavioral science and consumer persuasion techniques in the Obama campaign.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This device can make you "odeshi" that is bullet-proof!

Super Material Can Stop Speeding Bullet I used to wonder if its possible for one not to fear bullets. Imagine padding yourself with some white stuff that automatically makes it impossible for bullet to touch you!

Well, researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it - an advance that may have huge implications for ballistic protection for soldiers, as well as other uses.

During tests, the researchers were able to shoot tiny glass beads at the material, which effectively stopped bullets in their paths.

"This would be a great ballistic windshield material," scientist Ned Thomas said in a clip posted on the university's website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ many of my reader may not be aware, i have taken up a full time employment with a new personal care FMCG company. Coming from my background and years of a experience, i have been feeling like a champ until it dawned on me this morning that the game has changed; i now have a boss over me who could talk to me/criticise me and today we exchanged some "unpleasant" words and i thought to my  who on earth does he think he is but i soon realized that i needed to learn how to take criticism like a champ and run with it.