Featured posts

IK Multimedia launches iKlip A/V



IK Multimedia has announced the iKlip® A/V, the first broadcast mount for professional audio and video recording with smartphones is now shipping. iKlip A/V now gives broadcasters, videographers and digital storytellers the ability to capture and monitor professional-quality audio for their videos on the go using its integrated high-quality XLR mic preamp with phantom power and built-in wireless receiver support. It also helps deliver a steady picture thanks to its secure smartphone holder and ergonomic handgrip. iKlip A/V gives everyone the power to use their smartphone or compact video camera as a full-featured broadcasting solution with professional quality audio.


Exceptional audio

Until now, getting pro quality audio while shooting video on a smartphone had been a challenge. Developed in Italy with input from professional field reporters and broadcasters as a cost effective - and more readily available - alternative for field reporting, iKlip A/V is designed to help videographers capture professional quality audio for their mobile video productions. iKlip A/V is also perfect for mobile reporting through online media outlets or social channels like Facebook, Periscope or Snapchat, or smartphone filmmaking for YouTube, Vimeo or Instagram. It features an integrated microphone preamp with gain control that lets users record with high-quality external microphones thanks to its XLR input. iKlip A/V also delivers 48V phantom power for high-end condenser mics using two AA batteries and features a built-in support bracket that can hold most popular wireless microphone receivers. Its input gain control, headphone monitoring output and 1/8" TRRS audio output ensure a great signal no matter what microphone or device is used providing streamlined recording experience.


Steady and secure

iKlip A/V features a large ergonomic handheld grip and an expandable smartphone holding bracket that shares the same technology as IK's iKlip Xpand Mini and the iKlip Grip for ultra-steady shooting. It can securely hold any iPhone, iPod touch or Android device with a screen size from 3.5" to 6". iKlip A/V can also be attached to a monopod or tripod thanks to the standard female threads on the underside. Its smartphone holder bracket can be detached and replaced with a compact video camera thanks to its standard camera mount. No matter how it's used, iKlip A/V delivers an effortlessly stable picture quality.


Completely connectible

iKlip A/V works with any smartphone or camera that accepts a 1/8" (3.5mm) TRRS (CTIA/AHJ wiring standard) audio input. With an optional iLine Camera Adapter cable, iKlip A/V can be used with any camera that has an auxiliary microphone TRS input, meaning that it can deliver great broadcast-quality results with any compatible device that can either fit on its grip or fit on iKlip A/V's standard camera mount.


Pricing and availability

iKlip A/V is available now from photo/video, music and electronics retailers worldwide, and from the IK online store, for only $/€179.99 (excl. taxes).

For more information, please visit www.iklipav.com


Reducing Your Carbon Footprint With Technology



Carbon footprint is a relatively modern term, every person or business creates their own carbon footprint. The term is used to describe the amount of carbon dioxide an individual or business creates due to the consumption of fossil fuels, the term and philosophy of carbon off-setting has become widely discussed due to the green house effect and the emmission of green house gasses.
We all create a carbon footprint no matter how we live our lives or where we live, green house gasses can be created through the production and consumption of food, fuel, goods and the disposal of stuff we no longer need such as technology equipment.


How Technology Can Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emmissions

Technology enables business and individual users to reduce their carbon footprint in a number of ways. Cloud hosted video conferencing services are one such technology that ensures we can communicate with our business associates, friends and family all over the world. International meetings and conferencing events can be set-up quickly and multiple delegates from all over the world can attend them, thanks to technology events that once required air travel and took weeks or even months to set-up can be arranged in hours. Video conferencing makes hotels and air travel a thing of the past for some business users, technology can be used to reduce the downtime and expenditure associated with international travel.


The McKinsey Report

The McKinsey Report suggested that technology could help to eliminate 7.8 metric gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by the year 2020, equivalent to 15% of global emissions. The report suggests that despite increased use of technology in growing economies such as China, India and Brazil virtualizationcan be used to reduce the size and number of data centers required.
Virtualization is the consolidation of a large number of individual machines onto one large server such as a Cisco blade server. Cisco says their technology, simplifies physical and virtual networks, offers increased flexibility, scales better and more rapidly. Cisco say their solutions enable companies to; reduce costs, increase manageability, lower infrastructure and increase flexibility.

The McKinsey Report says, “Virtualization improves the productivity and overall ROI of the IT infrastructure with the use of SANs (Storage Area Networks) and other NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices which reduce redundancy and idle time for the scarce, energy guzzling resources. Virtualization improves the server utilization rates resulting in lesser no. of data centers required. The technology enables lesser energy consumption, lesser green house-gas emission, reduced heat generation, and lesser production of e-wastes.”


Recycle

When we throw our old equipment away it may go to landfill where it requires fuel to move it around and eventaully bury it, recycling old equipment means we can prevent it filling up landfill sites. You may even be able to make some money back and earn carbon off-set credits.
If you have upgraded your blade servers or invested in virtualization you may wish to consider recycling your old equipment, recycling is another way to reduce your carbon footprint and clawback some of the expenditure you invest in new infrastructure. You can recycle your old infrastructure by selling it to an asset recovery firm who will refurbish and sell it on.


This post was supplied and written on behalf of Lobster Net, asset disposal, discount Cisco and Huaweii.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Striking Product Recalls Over The Past Decade



Growing safety regulations have made most products much safer, so massive recalls of things produced by trusted brands are far less common now. In modern times, most product recalls involve a few thousand items being recalled after something makes someone slightly ill or injured. However, there are still a few cases of shocking product recalls that have stunned consumers, and some of the biggest recalls of the past decade involve popular name brands.


1. Crushing Drop-Side Cribs 

In 2009, an infant in Houston was suffocated by a crib with a side that dropped down. After it was revealed that cribs created by Simplicity could break easily and trap a child in a potentially suffocating position, over 400,000 cribs were recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission eventually revealed that cribs by Simplicity had been implicated in several past recalls. Though the company claimed to fix their hardware, they continued to have problems with faulty detachable sides suffocating children. Altogether, 2 million Simplicity cribs were recalled between 2007 and 2009, and the company is no longer in business.

2. Faulty Pedals on Toyota Cars 

In November of 2010, Toyota had to recall 5.3 million cars because their floor mats would trap the gas and brake pedals. This shocking recall was then followed up just two months later with a recall of yet another 4.1 million vehicles that had gas pedals that could get stuck during driving. There are currently still investigations of why almost 9.5 million vehicles managed to pass safety tests with such severe faults, and it is unknown how many crashes and deaths occurred after Toyota drivers suddenly found themselves unable to brake.

3. Deadly Baby Slings 

Baby slings designed for both the Infantino and the Wendy Bellissimo brands were found to be responsible for at least 3 deaths of infants. Over a million slings were recalled in 2010 after it was discovered that they could put a child into a position that would cause the child to suffocate. Suffocation could occur due to the fabric of the sling or the mother's chest, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that up to 14 children could have been killed by these slings.


4. Pain Medication Causes Fatal Heart Problems 

Darvon and Darvocet are both brand names for propoxyphene, a medication that was used to treat mild or moderate pain. In November of 2010, one of the pharmaceutical companies behind the medication voluntarily recalled it and quit selling it because studies revealed that the drug could make the heart beat out of rhythm, possibly causing death. Elderly people, who often took the medication for mild arthritis pain, were particularly likely to succumb to the side effects of the medication. Eventually all versions of propoxyphene were recalled, and the medication is now banned in the United States and Europe.


5. Disgusting Peanut Butter 

In 2008, a salmonella outbreak that killed eight people and infected hundreds of others was traced back to the products that used peanuts from the Peanut Corp's processing plant in Georgia. The factory walls were covered in mold, and both roaches and rats were allowed to run over the food. During the investigation, the FDA discovered that the company was shipping out products even though they knew their product testing had revealed salmonella. Ultimately, countless products containing peanuts, including peanut butter, ice cream, and trail mix, had to be recalled, and the company went bankrupt.

Author bio:
Mark Sadaka from Sadaka Associates, the leading Hazardous Chemical Attorney, has a national practice and works with clients from New York to Alaska.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Emoji Pool Floats



Ever wondered what it was like to be a hero? Wonder no more.

Now you can own every pool party you walk into with the Original Emoji Pool Float. Lay back, crack open a beverage, and survey your domain while riding high on these gigantic, high-quality, forces of nature.

Enjoy the summer with your favorite emojis, including eggplant, poop, fire, 100, and sunglasses face. 




What's Included:
One Emoji Float. (add-on electric pump is optional)

Product Details:
• 5 to 7 feet long
• 3-way valve for easy inflating & deflating
• Premium matte-finish on ultra-thick, durable vinyl material
• Lounge eggplant has mesh support that allows you to sit in the water 












Brits Say No To Tech Homes



Smart technology has developed at an exponential rate over the past decade. No longer confined to phones, smart technology is now used in a whole host of applications, including TVs, watches and fitness devices.

Our home appliances are also getting smart, with devices such as smart fridges that tell you when you’re running low on food, and smart heating and energy systems that can be controlled from your phone. However, despite the prediction that family homes could contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022, it seems that Brits are less than enthusiastic about making their homes ‘tech-tastic’.

PwC recently carried out research on British people’s attitudes to smart technology in the home, and the results were somewhat surprising. The survey discovered that almost three quarters of participants had no interest in making their homes ‘smarter’ by using the latest technology, and were not planning on investing in smart gadgets such as automated cleaning appliances or renewable energy devices in the next two to five years.

For those people who would consider using smart technology, the main drivers appear to be practical gains and financial advantages. For example, the survey found that financial incentives such as free installation of smart energy meters or lights, or reduced energy bills, could persuade people to change their minds about smart technology in the home.

In contrast, only a small proportion of respondents (just 10%) stated that they would purchase smart technology in order to keep up with their more tech-savvy friends and family members. The ability to control devices through a mobile app also failed to spark people’s interest, with most preferring to walk across the room and flick a switch instead.

However, while homeowners may not be showing much interest, more businesses are keen to adopt the new technology to help reduce power costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Companies such as Networking 2000 are seeing a growing interest in efficient, and often smart, electrical systems that are designed to be as cost effective as possible. Offices are a classic example of where money is wasted on electricity, as lights, computers and peripheral equipment are often left on overnight.
Richard Hepworth, head of digital utilities at PwC, puts this reluctance to embrace smart technology down to a potential lack of knowledge and understanding.

“While people have been quick to embrace smart tech lifestyle products such as phones and tablets, many still don’t really understand the range of smart energy products on offer and the potential they have to ease their busy lives in a practical way or even reduce their energy bills.” he explained.
“And therein lies the challenge – how can companies change this lack of knowledge into real know-how?”

The future may be smart, but Brits appear to be reluctant to embrace change for the time being.
Smart technology undoubtedly has its uses, but as more businesses jump on the bandwagon without considering what the market really wants, there is a serious risk that the smart tech bubble will burst in the not too distant future.

How do you feel about the idea of smart technology governing the way you live? Do we really need our fridges to tell us that we need more cheese, or our home heating systems to decide when to turn themselves on, purely for our own comfort and economy?


Author bio:
Stuart Macleod is the director of Networking 2000 IT Support in Romford, which provides contract-based IT support for businesses in Essex and London.

Featured images:
License: Image author owned 


Monday, June 27, 2016

HP Enterprise Teams Up With Docker For New Containerized Data Center



Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has allied with Docker in an effort to empower customers to build containerized applications that can be ported across all existing HPE servers. Docker is widely lauded throughout tech circles for its advanced containerized technology. The strategic alliance is centered a HPE server program that is tailored uniquely for Docker. The tandem will work together in a myriad of business realms ranging from engineering to sales, support and general knowledge sharing. Future HPE servers will be combined with the Docker Engine as well as customer support. The result will be heightened customer agency that empowers them to create their own containerized applications.


The Emergence of Containers 

The HPE-Docker alliance will facilitate IT responsibilities insofar as the sending and handling containers. Industry analysts estimate that upwards of one-half of new workloads will be transmitted into containers during at least one component of the typical application's life cycle. The two companies are preparing for this challenge by providing operations workers and developers with HPE's Composable Infrastructure plus Docker's Container-as-a-Service. It is anticipated that this package will be “ready to run” to limit the amount of time that clients must invest. It's just one reason why so many tech experts think the HPE-Docker tandem will flourish.


The Docker Data Center 

The Docker data center is best described as an “end-to-end” style platform designed for commercial purposes. It arms HPE customers with the type of all-encompassing solution that meets diverse client needs across posterity. It's the type of joint solution that can ramp up business efficiency without diverting attention away from already-running applications. The end result will be a 13-fold increase in application shipping speed and a 20x infrastructure optimization boost.


Container and Hardware Packages Coming Down the Pipeline 

The HPE-Docker partnership will provide an extensive array of container and hardware packages by way of HPE channels. Let's take a look at a few examples of what's in store for the companies' clients.


Docker-centric HPE servers – HPE's personnel will pre-configure server platforms that are specifically prepared for Docker containers and the Docker Engine. Server models include HPE Cloudline, HPE Apollo and beyond.


Docker Support and Consulting – HPE currently provides tech assessments along with design and implementation services for containers and microservices that are unique to Docker. HPE will now offer Docker enterprise-grade support that aligns with HPE's nuanced tech services. There will be one contact point that provides access to support professionals across the world and around the clock.


New HPE Container Technologies Connected to and Tested With Docker – Examples include the following: HPE container-enabled technologies that are integrated and tested with Docker. These include: HPE reference architecture for Docker data center, native volume plugin, integrated networking, HPE SiteScope, HPE OneView, HPE Helion Cloud Suite, HPE operations bridge monitoring, HPE AppDefender and others.


What the HPE-Docker Alliance Boils Down To 

There is no denying that HPE is placing an enormous amount of trust in Docker to advance its container services. Cloud and data center customers who desire Docker will lean on HPE for container requirements. In the end, HPE will deliver top-notch comprehensive hardware, software, management stack and general support.

Author bio:
Katrina answers all your racking How-To’s for Rack Solutions in these video series

Featured images:
License: Image author owned 


5 Common Printer and Ink Mistakes that Cost You Money



If you think you know everything about saving money on your printers, inks and toners, think again; you could be saving more with your stash of discount coupons and a good sense of the bad printer habits that cost you unnecessary expenses.

Besides using discount coupons to get the biggest savings when buying your toner and ink cartridges from places like Total Discounts, what other alternatives do we have to cut down on unnecessary wastage?

The surprising thing is, most of these mistakes seem so minute – so insignificant. What most people don’t realize is how much costs they incur in the long run. Some of these bad habits can even cost you your printer!

Read on to know more about the 5 common printer and ink mistakes and learn about how to avoid them and the unnecessary expenses that come with them!


Printing without checking the quality of your images and documents.

A lot of people don’t realize it but the quality and purpose of their prints matter in saving up. Documents that do not need to be presented, or ones that do not need to be at the very least presentable should not be printed in high quality to avoid excessive use of ink. Images need to be printed in high quality and in the proper resolution to avoid getting low quality prints that only necessitate a costly repeat print. The most important principle about saving up is to avoid printing unnecessarily.


Overstocking on inks and toners.

Inks and toners, like most anything else in this world, come with a shelf life. While it is greatly tempting to hoard on new cartridges when shopping on sale or using coupons, it may not be the best idea. Inks and toners can dry up when left unused so unless you are absolutely certain about using them within six months, stocking up on them is just bad idea.


Buying refills from unreliable sources.


There are way too many ink and toner refillers in the market today that it is hard to distinguish good ones from bad ones. The risks that come with bogus ink refillers can range from low quality prints – ergo, more expensive and inefficient repeat printing, to damaging printers.


Unnecessary use of large, bold fonts.


Use your bolds sparingly, and stay within the usual, readable font size to avoid inefficient consumption of inks and toners. If you can, download the Ecofont, a font designed to be more ink-efficient and therefore environment-friendly. The Ecofont comes with a series of fonts that can suit your different printing needs.


Printing in color for black prints.


Color inks are usually more expensive than black inks, so unnecessarily printing in color will definitely take a toll on your printing budget. Sometimes, it’s hard to notice that the font colors are not in black but a slightly different, dark shade that it sends a message to the printer to use a combination of ink colors. That is why make sure to double- maybe even triple-check your printer settings to make sure that it is not on color-printing mode when printing black and white documents. 

Which of these common mistakes are you guilty of?


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Best Android Travel App Is Hopper!



How flight search app Hopper provides an enhanced service that has caused it to win a Google award and a commendation from Apple and leading media.

An app competing in the already highly competitive travel pricing arena has scooped two significant recommendations and awards recently as tech giants Google and Apple have commended it for its innovation and design. The Hopper app helps users find the best flights deals possible.


Innovation in a crowded field

Flight aggregators aren’t new of course; leading online travel company Expedia offer one and Cheap Flights have for some time been a go to resource for those searching for the best deal. Hopper’s unique benefit is in the way it gives users the chance to either book a flight immediately or wait until the price reduces.

Apps such as Hopper, other travel aggregator websites such as hotel and car hire bookers, and along with online travel insurance, make the whole ‘do it yourself’ booking cycle very simple for those looking to put together their own trip rather than booking a package.


How it works

You tap your destination in to the app and it returns dates when your flight is available, and colour coding shows you which dates are in certain price ranges. You can then ‘tweak’ this to select flights on the dates you want.

Hopper will then search for flight prices and then tell you whether you should book now or to wait as the price will likely reduce. If you choose to wait, the app will notify you periodically as to the price status of the flights you’ve inputted.

The app guides you as you choose your dates; it’ll notify you if, say, a better option is available in terms of direct flights or similar.

Once you’ve decided to book, you can do so easily and swiftly as the app will pass you on to the provider with a couple of taps. If booking with American Airlines, users can do so via the app as Hopper has signed a partnership deal with the USA carrier.

The company claim Hopper is accurate with its flight details to within 95%, and when Apple named it one of their best apps of 2015 it was the only travel app to make the list.


Heavy growth and high funding

The company is young, having only launched in early 2015, so picking up Apple’s commendation was a significant achievement particularly in view of the welter of travel apps available, and Hopper currently rides high in the download charts being the top travel app in over 30 countries.

As of the end of March 2016 the app had been downloaded over 3 million times and had monitored over 5 million flights. Some 38 million push notifications had been sent to users by this time.
With a round of funding secured in early spring of 2016, the company - with staff based in Boston and Montreal - had raised some $38 million as of the end of March.

Along with Google and Apple, Hopper has been named as a top app by well-known media such as Vogue, New York Times, Buzzfeed, Tech Insider and TIME.


Improvements and enhancements

The people behind Hopper aren’t resting on their laurels; various enhancements are planned for the app mostly designed to offer users a more personalised experience. For example, it will be possible to specify certain criteria for flights such as avoiding long layovers, restricting searches to omit low cost carriers, and suggestions of alternative airports amongst other innovations planned.
The company also intend to make their already impressive search accuracy even better as development techniques improve.


Author bio:
 Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive at Avanti.co.uk, who specialise in online travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.


Featured images:
License: Image author owned 


Driving Safety Tips To Follow On The Road



Anyone who drives a car on a public roadway has a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers and anyone else on the road. In order to properly fulfill this responsibility, there are certain rules and tips that all drivers should follow. Here are a few helpful driving behaviors that can help save lives inside and outside of your automobile.


Ensure That Everyone in the Car Wears Their Seatbelt 

Automobile fatalities took a nosedive after the early 1970s, when consumer safety advocates fought tooth and nail to force automakers to include seat belts in every car and force Congress to pass restrictive laws governing seat belt use. The personal air bag and the seat belt are still the most effective safety tools in modern automobiles, and it is imperative that every driver or passenger wear his or her safety belt. Some people frame the seat belt issue as a personal liberty issue, but passengers who do not wear their belts risk becoming a fast-moving missile and injuring other passengers inside and outside of the car during a crash.


Regularly Refresh Yourself on the Rules of the Road 

Most drivers study extremely hard for their driving test, and then never look at a road rules handbook for the rest of their lives. Every driver could certainly use a reminder about some of the more obscure regulations on the nation's roadways, and reviewing this information could easily save lives -- or, at the very least, save money and time in receiving fewer moving violations and citations. It certainly couldn't hurt to occasionally review the merging order for a traffic circle!


Know Personal Injury Lawyers in the Area 

If an accident does occur, it is important to be prepared to fight for your rights, both financial and medical. Personal injury lawyers excel in confronting insurance companies, medical organizations and drivers at fault to ensure that your accident does not force you to pay obscene medical bills, forfeit wages, or accumulate points on your license. Attorneys specializing in automobile accidents have the resources and expertise to reach fair settlements with large companies and avoid costly and lengthy trials.


Be Assertive, But Not Aggressive 

Most car accidents are actually caused by inappropriate passivity on the part of the erring driver. It is a common myth that aggressive drivers are the source of most accidents -- however, an accident is just as likely to occur because of a hesitant merger, or a swift yellow light braking decision. A good driver drives confidently, meaning that they make a decision and stick to it. Drivers are trained to react to the decisions of other drivers, but they cannot react to indecision. Even if you make a poor driving choice, committing to that choice is the easiest way to save lives. Counterintuitive, right? The sword cuts both ways though -- aggressive drivers are also frequently involved in accidents that are their fault. Being a courteous, but firm, driver is the safest way to operate a motor vehicle.
These are just a few driving safety tips that should positively impact your driving record. Brushing up on rules and regulations, following important safety laws, and adhering to correct roadway conduct can help you save lives on the road -- including your own.


Author bio:
Christopher Steven is an avid blogger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who is passionate about encouraging safety in the Tulsa community while working with the Gorospe & Smith Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyer Firm.

Featured images:
Photo provided by: Guest blogging community 


What is Docker and why is it so popular?



Docker is a new container technology that makes it possible to get far more applications running on the same old servers. Also, it makes easy to package and ship programs. System administrators and cloud IT specialists just love it. But, why does everyone love containers and Dockers?

Most probably, if you are working in an IT sphere you have heard tons of times about containers in general and Docker in particular. All the noise happened when Microsoft, The New York Times, Shopify, Business Insider and others proprietary companies started adopting Docker at a rapidly increasing rate. Later also small businesses rapidly start moving their server applications from virtual machines to containers.

So, why Docker is so popular? A friend of mine - a professional programmer from Magora, London based app development company, explained me that virtual machines hypervisors are “based on emulating virtual hardware, which suggest that they and are not efficient in terms of system requirements. Containers use shared operating systems. That means they are much more efficient than hypervisors in system resource terms.”

Docker can bring together all your software files such as coding, runtime, tools and libraries in one, all-inclusive space. Docker can reduce the operation complexity of launching an application increasing both efficiency and productivity as well as guaranteeing a perfect performance, every time and anywhere - regardless of the setting the software is running in.

Docker helps build better software and in turn, better applications. When your finished app is categorized in Docker containers, there is no need to worry about setting up and maintaining different environments, nor do you need a different tool for each language. With more time on your hands, you can focus on inventing new features for your application, fixing any existing issues and shipping your software.

In other words Docker can be described as a complete toolkit or service in creating containers for your personal application infrastructure. It can also get you more applications running on the same hardware than other technologies it makes it easy for developers to quickly create, ready-to-run containered applications; and it makes managing and deploying applications much easier. Put it all together and I can see why Docker is riding the hype cycle as fast as I can recall ever seeing an enterprise technology go.



Monday, June 20, 2016

Top 5 Trends for 2016’s Mobile Apps



Technology advances at lightning speed - in the blink of an eye, developments and updates on mobile apps, smartphones and smart TV’s can easily be missed. Today in 2016, it is fair to state that mobility is ‘large and in charge’ and that the tech landscape has strikingly changed from just a few years ago. In fact, mobile aspects haven’t just caught up with desktop - they have long surpassed such functions and are literally trampling the competition.

The emergence of larger smartphones and wearable technology increased mobile-demand; a study from IDC states that more than 2 billion of the 3.2 billion people on earth who access the web will do so from a mobile device, thus pushing app developers to perfect their mobile designs.


With such numbers in mind, here are the Top 5 Mobile Trends for 2016!



#1 The Growing Influence of Wearables


Wearables is the term used to define specific, intelligent gadgets such as the Apple Watch - listed amongst the most popular. A prediction has been made for the year 2016: the wearables market will increase an average of 18.4% from 2015. In other words, about 50.4 millions units would be sold!

Clearly enough, a pertinent demand is present within apps that can delivery clear and concise data at a simple glance. As a result, this year’s designers and developers find themselves competing against one another, in the race to create user-friendly, functional applications for wearable gadgets.


#2 Visibility: Clear & Easy to Read

In the past it was trendy, or at least part of the norm, to have largely text-based mobile applications. The reason for this was simple: faster loading over a slow connection. With the advances in Wifi, Bluetooth and overall speed capacity, slow connection is much less of an issue - paving the way for unencumbered, clear and easy to read apps instead.

Today, designers base their functions on availability. In other words, the goal is to include all the necessary information and make it accessible in one quick glance. Achieving this goal entails several details such as shading, contrasting specific elements and most importantly, the font. Thin typography has gained much in popularity for it provides a highly effective user experience, once combined with a high resolution background


#3. The Importance of Color

Traditionally, colors are sought to create strong and loud contrasts - leaving a remarkable impression on the user as well as facilitating the reader’s experience. However, the trends defined so far in 2016 go against this mainstream, conventional lesson by offering softer, warmer color schemes and subtle tones.

This complete turnaround in mobile trends is in fact deemed to be rather positive. Toning down the contrast a little as well as using simple textures and patterns is in fact much easier on the eye, permitting for a better overall user experience. It is for this unique reason that today, even some of the most current websites are making the decision to move towards a more subdued form of color scheme.


#4 Touch Design

Estimates state that by 2020, 6 billion people worldwide would be considered smartphone users. This is specifically why designers today are working towards globalizing mobile gestures and in turn, accommodating a wider range of products.

Currently, there are about 15 gestures that are considered common and global such as Tap, Swipe, Pinch and Rotate. However, with constant growth pertaining to the mobile industry, significant improvements still need to take place in order for users to have access to a wider, more intuitive range of motions. Furthermore, certain gestures have yet to be abolished and replaced by more general ones. An example of such would be the removal of less appealing gestures such as Shake and substituting it for Swipe - which is more comfortable and natural for the hand.


# Flat Design 2.0

As 2016 continues to run its course, designers will face the challenge of adequately communicating functional elements. In other words, expect to start noticing subtle 3D elements, gradients and lighting effects now known as Flat Design 2.0. This is due to the overall criticism that the current flat design lacks significators, failing to alert the user that the icon can be tapped or swiped.



Further still, Flat Design 2.0 mimics the natural world, casting shadows and creating weight. When needed, such effects can even be muted - which can sometimes be easier on the eye.

Overall, impressive trends have been set for 2016 and with more than half the year underway, this movement is even currently observable on a daily basis, throughout the use of the numerous existing mobile products and popular applications



GPS Treasure Hunts In London




Street-Based Team-Building Trend Attracts Thousands GPS Treasure Hunts are an excellent chance for companies to provide technology-based team-building challenges in cities around the world.
GPS treasure hunts are the new trend in fun team-building events which are powered by technology. The idea is that groups made up from a minimum of 8 people are led around a specific city and have to answer trivia questions along the way.

Team building helps to create nurture efficient and productive employees. In a GPS Treasure Hunt there is an opportunity to compete in various challenges. Spy School gives participants the opportunity to complete secret missions and City Explorer is the perfect chance to discover a city in a totally different light. Pub Explorer provides plenty of beverage stops on route around town!


The Technology

This activity works by combining a well-designed GPS app with a Google Maps interface on platforms such as the most recent Samsung Galaxy tablet or iPad Minis. The interactive maps allow you to see the exact location of your team as well as the ability to track rival groups with drop-pin functionality. You can also monitor the success of your team and that of your competitors on the live scoreboard.


Around The World 

Currently the GPS Treasure Hunts are set up to operate in over 22 different countries at more than 100 different city locations. This means that companies and organisations around the world can benefit from the entertainment that a GPS Treasure Hunt can provide.


Team-Building 

Many different types of groups might want to enjoy a GPS Treasure Hunt – new graduate teams, old friends on a reunion trip or even a stag and hen party would relish the opportunity to take part in this activity. It provides an excellent chance to bond with team mates whilst bringing out a competitive side and having a giggle. However, typically GPS Treasure Hunts are organised for companies with a corporate team-building exercise pursuit in mind. Over 750 companies have already taken part in the exceedingly popular event which launched in 2011.

A treasure hunt can start from anywhere in a specific city, even beginning and ending at a company office if necessary. There is no need for a venue hire. Participants will simply receive either a tablet or iPad and then be assigned an event manager who will keep in touch with them via a messaging service throughout the challenge. They might be sent encouraging messages or just a curveball challenge such as a photo or video assignment which will ignite their creative skills.


Corporate Values 

The app has a personalisation feature which allows each company to customise parts of the treasure hunt to cater to its own professional needs. These might include testing delegates on their knowledge of a company’s latest products and services, information on company vision or the inclusion of training and induction focuses. To make it more light-hearted you might even test employees on their bosses by providing questions based on staff trivia.

GPS Treasure Hunts are trusted by huge companies such as Lloyds Bank, NHS, Harrods and Sky. If you’d like to join successful organisations such as these in providing an excellent team-building activity for your company, then arrange a GPS Treasure Hunt today.

Author bio:
Gary Martin is a research consultant for the UK travel site Go 2 London. A lover of both London and business, he enjoys seeking out new entertainment and team building events and activities in the capital.


Featured images:
License: Image author owned 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Marketing Your Business In The Digital World




Video Marketing Is The Wise Advertising Choice For 2016 Make a huge digital impact with a video marketing strategy for 2016. Why and how video advertising has taken over from traditional written ads. 

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying "Fast forward five years, it's going to be video.” This was stated as part a keynote speech where he talked about the changes in shared content on his platform and the takeover of videos from text links. It is easy to see why Facebook and many other digital platforms see video marketing as a central component of their models. In 2014, Facebook hosted approximately 1 billion video views per day. However, by the end of 2015, this number had grown in excess of 8 billion per day. This is an incredible number and proves that video marketing is well worth investing in.


Connect With Consumers 

Video advertising provides a unique and contemporary way of connecting with customers. If you’re able to actively engage with your target audience and hold their attention span whilst they watch a captivating video which promotes your brand, then you’ve come a long way in attracting their interest as a potential lead.


Identify Your Brand Values

Companies can use a short marketing video as a way to display their core brand values and ethos. Through the power of clever and thought-provoking storytelling, a company should be able to relay the personality of their brand as well as offering the USP of its products and services. Video is superior to the written word in this respect, as it provides the opportunity to display a quick snapshot into the culture of the company and allows customers to imagine what their experience of being involved with the brand would feel like.

As some videos are not watched in their entirety, it is of course imperative that a company pays particular attention to the opening few seconds of a video ad, in order to persuade the viewer to keep watching. If successful, the right video ad could provide engagement with a brand for as much as three minutes.


Expand Your Reach 

Whilst written advertising has worked well in the past, the fast-paced lifestyle of today’s digital users means that many site visitors don’t have the time to sit and click on every advertising link that they come across. In fact many users are now arguably blind to some types of text and banner advertising.
Video advertisers offer another method of being able to effectively connect with consumers. The modern digital landscape relies heavily on the importance of social media platforms and shared ideas. Although text links are shared, it is viral videos that have come to prominence in recent years. Sites such as Facebook make it even easier for videos to be viewed by allowing an auto-play functionality. This means that when a user scrolls down over the vid, it will start to play. The user is then forced to engage with the video by either watching it or stopping it.


Google Loves Videos 

The search engines are also aware of the power of video marketing. Google has a ‘Videos’ tab in its search results and some simple SEO techniques could ensure that your brand video is given the boost it needs in organic search.

When planning your video marketing campaign, it pays to do your research – watch plenty of other videos and work out what will appeal to your target market. With video consumption at the highest that it’s ever been, now is the time to hire some trusted corporate film makers and integrate video ads into the digital marketing campaign for your brand.


Author bio:
Martin Newton is the Manager & Director of Energise Media, a video production company based in Hertfordshire. Energise Media specialises is creating engaging corporate videos.

Featured images:
License: Image author owned 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Benefits of a Company Sports Team



Before we delve into the topic at hand, allow me to tell you a story about Scott Adams, the mind behind Dilbert. Considering how his comic strip deals with corporate satire, a lot of his material has hit close to home for many a company. However, Adams has noted that a lot of problems that he mocks are issues that existed on a personal level; in one interview, he stated, “Well, business schools may tell you how to manage a business, but they don’t tell you how manage people. A business education makes you a lot smarter, it makes you understand all the issues, it teaches you about the cost of doing business, and it teaches you about marketing and customers and that kind of stuff. But what it often doesn’t tell you is how to deal with a disgruntled employee, for example.” To help resolve, some companies take time to host team sports and other activities that help their employees act in a cohesive unit.

Of course, the comic strip has mocked and satirized the concept of company athletic activity and other forms of team-building exercises, especially when they seem to do little besides waste everybody’s time. Nonetheless, if done effectively (and more importantly, successfully), the company sports team can work wonders for your employees. In some ways, it’s amazing how much morale can be boosted by having everyone spend some time out of the cubicle.

Part of the reason why a company sports team can help is that offers a nice little insight into the way your employees tick. Sure, most of the basic insights that may come up are essentially the Freudian kind. But a careful, intelligent and observant manager that doesn’t has his or her head all the way up in Cloud Cuckoo Land can see what positions work for the best for each of their subordinates, and apply it when it comes time for the next group project. After all, the employee that you had to relegate to the right field position because he or she can’t pitch to save his or her life is not the type you would want in any leadership position. Not to mention that, for more of your… er, “big-boned” employees, being on a company athletic team can help improve their health. It may need a nice and easy transition before that employee is assigned a position that can be strenuous, but over time one can easily see not only physical improvements, but emotional improvements as well.

Nowadays, the concept of the company sports team is starting to lose much of its luster. According to one article from The Wall Street Journal, “Despite its perks of fresh air, good times and an early exit from the office, company softball is an increasingly difficult sell, according to league commissioners and former players. From kickball to distance running, options have exploded as free time has shrunk, they say.” Such a decline can be attributed to many factors, such as an unsure economic future in the age of the ‘jobless recovery’, or the explosion of online work that didn’t absolutely require employees to be in the office from 9 to 5. Or it could be the fact that more jobs are in cities where the average worker doesn’t have a job and feels like he or she gets enough of a workout trying to get to work like it’s the last helicopter out of Saigon.

However, the idea of the company sports team has not lost all relevance. With the right incentives (*cough*, pay raise, *cough*), as well as a custom flag from a company like Build a Flag, you can have a great team that is winning in and out of the office. 




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hot Tips to Enhance your Brand Online



Branding is the very foundation of a successful business as it enables your customers to relate to your products and services. The name of your company, the name of your brand, and your logo are not mere symbols, but the images that flash into your customers’ minds whenever they need to purchase your products and services. Your brand attracts your customers’ attention and retains it. However, creating a brand is just the beginning of the story. You need to enhance it, offline as well as online, so that it reaches the widest segment of your target audience.


Check out our hottest tips to enhance your brand online.


Create an Attractive Website – Your business website should be something like Casino.com, an online casino. It really represents the business, neat and informative. Your website should be capable of not only attracting potential customers’ attention, but should retain them. Fill your website with valuable content, company profile, product portfolios, company history, and so on. Pay special attention to your domain name as it should be clear and effective.


Social Media
– A marketing plan that includes optimum use of social networking sites goes a long way in enhancing brand visibility and promoting businesses. Your presence on social networking sites will give your brand several loyal followers and this in turn will generate more sales. Social networking sites will make your brand known to an international audience.


Press Release – Whenever you issue a press release, you will be enhancing your brand in ways unimaginable. If your press release appears on Google News search results, your brand will get a lot of exposure and visibility, leading to business growth. It's easy and there are plenty of good press releases sites to choose from.

Post Videos – Post your branded videos on websites such as Vimeo, YouTube, and MetCafe as they go a long way in driving traffic to your website, promoting your business, and getting your brand noticed. It's important to try to be as creative and viral as you can be, in order to increase page views and traffic to your site.


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