Any tech entrepreneur who does not dream with building a worldwide super-innovative company?
The editors of Technology Review, a magazine published by MIT, have selected the 50 most innovative companies in the world.
They have looked for "those that over the last year have demonstrated their superiority at inventing technology and using it both to grow as business and to transform how we live."
"We identified the companies that have the most promising technologies, whether they are giant corporations or fledgling startups with initial venture capital investments. Then we examined their business models, their strategies for deploying and scaling up their technologies, and the likelihood that they will succeed."
Publishers and technology vendors are moving to support the HTML5 days before the non-Flash enabled iPad is launched.
White-label video platform provider Ooyala announced support for H.264 based HTML5 video delivery on the iPad.
Brightcoveannounced iPad-friendly HTML5 video support. Its automatic device detection dynamically switches between Flash and HTML5 player templates.
It looks like CBS will use HTML5 and H.264 to allow iPad viewers that connect to CBS.com to watch its videos.
YouTube and Vimeo has both launched HTML5 implementations for their web video sites.
This month Microsoft has announced that it will support HTML5 video and H.264 encoding in Internet Explorer 9, the next version of its web browser.
Two important limitations today of HTML5 and H.264 encoding are analytics and advertising features, that are already available on Flash. It is a matter of time that these technologies are improved.
H.264 has already become an industry standard online video, and it is royalty-free.
Video pages designed in HTML5 for video playback on the iPad's Safari browser might have also auto-detect measures, meaning that the Flash player will revert back when connecting from a desktop machine.
News organizations and brands who don't want to shell out thousands of dollars a day for a satellite truck have another option, which is the LiveU backpack solution. (I wrote about it last year).
What's is new is the improved quality. You won't get HD quality, but you can get almost broadcast-TV quality. Typical live streaming rates are 700 kilobits to 1 megabit per second. It is certainly better than uploading video from your mobile phone at 200 kilobits per second at the most.
Some brands using this solution include Fox News, MTV, and Calvin Klein.
Free and subscription-based streaming coming from Hulu & Co. are having a huge impact on the media industry.
26 percent of US consumers watch TV programming online more than once a week, and more and more of these consumers watch online video in the living room, thanks to game consoles, Roku boxes and Internet-enabled TV sets.
Now there are 24 million web-enabled devices in operation in the U.S., and it is believed that this number will grow to 102 million by 2013.
These data come from a report from In-Stat titled "OTT Video Platforms, Devices, and Consumer Expectations."
More compelling data about the importance of social media when designing a campaign. Courtesy of Cisco, this time.
Five of the top 10 websites are social
YouTube = 10 percent of all Internet traffic. Along with Wikipedia, YouTube is among top brands
Over 100 million blogs exists. 120,000 new blogs are launched every day. 1.5 million posts per day (17 per second)
For Cisco Systems marketing in a Web 2.0 World means to build communities (not websites); two way communication (not one way); being everywhere (not just in your domain); integration (not interruption); create a relationship (not an event).
A friend one mine has been elevated to IT manager in a large Spaniard law and real-estate organization. He has given the goal to reduce 10 % of the tech spending. In this grim economic environment, it shouldn't be complicated.
Here are some ways to cut technology costs:
Turn into Web-based software -that is, cloud computing, software-as-a-service, software-on-demand and online services. It's cheaper to pay a monthly fee for a web-based service, including data back-up and antivirus protection, than to make an upfront investment in the technology.
Recently The Wall Street Journal featured a 25-year-old consulting firm in San Francisco, that within a year reduced its operating expenses by 20% to 30%. It uses online services for phone, database servers, Skype, Google Apps for email, and on and on.
Renegotiate vendor contracts and ask for special discounts. If you're willing to say you're ready to jump to another competitor, that might prompt better deals. Due to the economic conditions out there, rules and contracts are flexible, and vendors want to keep their clients.
Re-evaluate your tech budget doing an audit of tech inventory. Examine what is redundant and what needs to be replaced.
PBS public network is going social. Its full-length eco-documentary "Earth Days" will be presented in Facebook, eight days ahead of the film's television broadcast on April 19.
It is the first time a major broadcaster introduce a show on a social networking site before than on television.
PBS will use a new social screening app created by Brand Networks that will allow to watch communally and interact with the filmmaker and the executive producer.
The application involves a customized video player, integrated with a proprietary poll system and Facebook's comment box. The NYT reported about it.
Users who want to post questions or interact during the film can decide whether to restrict their comments to others who are watching or make them visible in the news feed that goes to all their friends.
PBS says that is eager to get feedback from viewers in a way that television does not normally allow. “It’s such a distancing medium that we work in, in television. You put all this work into something, and then it goes into this black hole, the ether.”
“It’s an opportunity, we think, to engage with a new audience, an audience that we may not be bringing to PBS Monday nights at 9 o’clock.”
The program draws an average four million viewers an episode on PBS.
In a surprise move, Barnes & Noble named William Lynch, president of the company's Web site, as CEO.
Mr. Lynch, 39, joined Barnes & Noble in February 2009 without any experience in the book business, but with extensive knowledge in the digital arena. He had been executive vice president for marketing at HSN.com and had held a string of jobs in e-commerce or technology companies like Gifts.com and Palm. At Barnes & Noble, William Lynch oversaw the acquisiition of Fictionwise, an online retailer of e-books, the introduction of the company's own e-bookstore, and the launch of the Nook, an electronic reader to compete with Amazon's Kindle.
The U.S.' largest bookstore chain said in a statement: “Given the dynamic nature of the book industry, William is uniquely qualified to lead the company’s transition to multichannel distribution and drive the continuing expansion of our e-commerce platform, eBooks and other digital content and products.”
It seems to me pretty smart to elevate a guy who is the president of the Website to lead the company. The new digital economy is here.
In two weeks people discovered the PiperSport through social media and now are in sales conversations with Piper or its dealers. At least one $140,000 airplane has already been sold online.
As of today:
Videos about the PiperSport posted on its YouTube channel have been viewed 41,000 times. (See below the main video)
Over 8,000 fans on Facebook, a large percentage on whom are active, engaged, and contributing to the community with photos, news, insight, reviews and enthusiasm.
Major aviation journalists and bloggers are following PiperSport on Twitter.
The total outlay for this social media campaign has been $40K.
It included: strategy development, video production, content development and implementation, social media channel management, and media placement and promotion.
One of the participants, Janice L. Brown, explains in her blog that at the beginning Piper Aircraft took a traditional approach. It planned to announce the new plane at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2010 at Sebring, Florida, with demonstrations, a press conference, and press rides. But the firm decided to invest also in an integrated social media campaign.
The campaign reached out to pilots, flying enthusiasts, journalists and bloggers around the world, quickly extending the excitement far beyond Sebring and creating fans all over the world. And generating demand for the plane.
Janice L. Brown highlights "the campaign was successful because of several strategies:"
"Authenticity and empathy -the right tone and content dramatized the PiperSport experience for the online audience.
Engaging multimedia content, created by informed people (Piper and its fans/followers).
Emphasis on interactive conversation instead of just publication.
Tight integration of the three social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and
integration with the marketing goals and overall marketing campaign.
He is a 17 years-old Russian high school student named Andrey Ternovskiy, who built the video site in three days after realizing that no one was offering a web site that allowed random video chats with strangers.
Now he is New York City talking to investors and programmers about where to take the his project next.
The New York Times has interviewed him. The guy (on the picture) seems to be a little confused about his future.
Many companies develop expensive advertising and marketing programs designed to drive traffic to their Website. But too often they loose their focus. They forget a simple rule: the Website must be content-focused.
Eight tips to improve your Site:
Clearly articulate your goals and understand user demographics
Establish a site personality
Create content for each demographic personas (don't write for you!)
Post photos, diagrams, video, podcast, e-books and all kind of content that tells your story
Push content at least via email and RSS
Offer multiple ways for visitors to express interest
ChatRoulette.com is a new website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with an endless stream of random strangers all over the world. With each click of the mouse visitor is transported into a stranger’s life.
The site has only three months, but its population is exploding: 300 users in December; 10,000 in February; over 50,000 today. Big media are covering it up this phenomenon, and even comedian John Stewart made this week a clip about it (above).
Site's founder is unknown; web searches lead back to a Netherlands-based anonimity service. The site is hosted by servers in German and can operate without too much advertising. When writing this post it had a dating service linked.
Some say ChatRoulette.com is fun for dating and very addictive; others see there just a pornographic gate. The NYT has written about it.
The reality is that it's the Internet unfiltered, and nudity and exhibtionists are hard to avoid.
In my view, it is a very dangerous place for children, since perverts can behave anonymously. Remember the old problems of MySpace? ChatRoulette.com, as it is now, without any access restriction and no organization taking responsability for it, is a serious threat for kids under 18.
I have noticed that many graphic designers pride themselves on their ability to "think outside the box". They like to keep themselves entertained by doing something new and interesting on every project.
To be graphically creative is great, but when designing landing pages and web platforms the main goal is to be effective and clear. In other words, the key is to increase the conversion rates and have a fully call-to-action page.
Therefore graphic artists need to follow a minimalist and Zen-style visual aesthetic that focuses on conversion.
The more common visual transgressions found on landing pages are the use of dark, wild or fully-saturated bright color backgrounds, as well as text and headlines with very large fonts in high-contrast colors (and even emphasized by the use of edging effects, drop shadows, color transitions and fades.)
Once Google has acquired (for $133 million) video encoding company ON2 Technologies and its V8 video codec, the internet community speculates what the search engine might do.
Will it open source and push for its mainstream adoption by making it the default codec for YouTube videos?
That's many people desire, including the team of Amigot Interactive. We don't like the to live under Adobe's Flash' dominance.
Last week the folks of The Free Software Foundation (FSF) published an open letter to Google demanding to kill Adobe's Flash y service to the free world.
"Just think what you can achieve by releasing the VP8 codec under an irrevocable royalty-free license and pushing it out to users on YouTube? You can end the web's dependence on patent-encumbered video formats and proprietary software (Flash)."
"You have the leverage to make such free formats a global standard."
"Patented video codecs have already done untold harm to the web and its users, and this will continue until we stop it." (...) "Until we move to free formats, the threat of patent lawsuits and licensing fees hangs over every software developer, video creator, hardware maker, web site and corporation --including you."
"Now it's your turn. We'll know if you do otherwise that your interest is not user freedom on the web, but Google's dominance."
Trying to make web apps and developments compatible for all the browsers (Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera...) is a nightmare. But worse comes when dealing with the Microsoft family of Explorers (IE6, 7 and 8), many times incompatible among themselves.
The solution for the users is simple: upgrade your Explorer browser. Problem is that is requires to buy a legitimate Windows license. So what to do? Use Firefox, Chrome o Safari... but not all the versions!
Once again, Google sets the internet browsing standards and deems anything below IE7, Firefox 3.0, Chrome 4.0, and Safari 3.0 as an "older browser".
Microsoft, on the other hand, has stated that it wants to see IE6 disappear as much as anyone else, though refuses to force anyone to upgrade.
So far, IE8 is the most popular browser, although IE6 is still used by about 20 percent of surfers worldwide, according to NetApplications.
As Google says, "surfing the Web on an old browser can be a lot like running a steam engine along the tracks of a bullet train-it may still work, but it doesn't take advantage of the speed and security of the new technology."