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May 31, 2020

world no tobacco day: behind the marketing machine

Infographic: Smoking Also Has Serious Financial Repercussions | Statista infographics via Statista


 
31st may is world no tobacco day.  On this day  we present you with some facts and figures on how global Tobacco industry has generated into a mean marketing machine and the top 10 most appalling Facts about global tobacco Company Misdeeds from the Famous Federal Court Ruling (source :american lung association)
On August 17, 2006, federal judge Gladys Kessler found the major tobacco companies—including Altria (Philip Morris) and RJ Reynolds—guilty on civil racketeering charges (i.e., organized criminal activity). On that day, she issued a final judgment and 1,683-page opinion that found the companies had been covering up the health risks associated with smoking and marketing their products to children for decades. And, finally, after many years of delay the tobacco companies were required to issue the "corrective statements" in newspapers and on TV in 2017 and 2018 that were originally ordered by Judge Kessler's decision.
Here are 10 of the most troubling facts the judge found in her ruling against these tobacco companies: 
  1.  The tobacco companies "concealed and suppressed research data and other evidence that nicotine is addictive." 
  2. . The tobacco companies "falsely marketed and promoted low tar/light cigarettes as less harmful than flavour cigarettes in order to keep people smoking and sustain corporate revenues." 
  3.  The tobacco companies own internal records showed "that smokers switch to low tar/light cigarettes, rather than quit smoking because they believe they are less harmful."
  4.  The tobacco companies "recognised that smokers choose light/low tar cigarettes for a perceived health benefit defendants internally recognised that smokers rely on the claims made for low tar/light cigarettes as an excuse/ rationale for not quitting smoking. 
  5. The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertising and promotions. In 2018 $9.06 billion was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco combined—about $25 million every day, and more than $1 million every hour in the united states 
  6. Price discounts to retailers account for 73.3% of all cigarette marketing (about $6.16 billion). These are discounts paid in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers "


7. Starting in the 1950s and lasting at least through 2006, different tobacco companies "at different times and using different methods, have intentionally marketed to young people under the age of twenty-one in order to recruit 'replacement smokers' to ensure the economic future of the tobacco industry." 
8. The tobacco companies "youth smoking prevention programs are not designed to effectively prevent youth smoking." 
9. The tobacco companies "have publicly denied what they internally acknowledged: that ETS [secondhand smoke] is hazardous to nonsmokers." 
10. The tobacco companies' internal records "recognised that ETS [secondhand smoke] is hazardous to nonsmokers." 
 11. The tobacco companies' "marketing is a substantial contributing factor to youth smoking initiation."

May 30, 2020

top 10 noteworthy marketing facts for today:



 
  •  About eight million people around the world earn their living making cars and trucks. 
  •  The Champions League final, hosted by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, draws more viewers globally than the Super Bowl each year. 
  • The Final of Champions League Will Reportedly Be Relocated From Istanbul
  • In its early days, Daughters of Reykjavik, a feminist rap group from Iceland, had 21 members. 
  • The New-York Historical Society invested heavily in touch-screen stations in 2011. Now, it is considering replacing touch navigation with voice activation.


  • It is not legal for a nonprofit to help you transfer money directly to specific individuals if you want the amount to be a tax deductible donation. 
  • Unlike commercial airlines, the private jet industry sells its services by the hour. 
  • At a Sotheby’s auction on June 29, in which bids will be taken remotely
  • Francis Bacon’s 1981 three-part oil painting, “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus,” is expected to sell for at least $60 million. Sotheby’s to Hold ‘Live’ Auctions, Remotely ( source : nytimes)

SpaceX finally succeeds in putting NASA astronauts into space



 
 SpaceX  Final launch 
Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA blasted two astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit, marking the first human launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade and a new partnership between industry and government aimed at revitalising the country’s space ambitions.
This was SpaceX's second attempt to launch two NASA astronauts on a mission to the International Space Station . This is the first crewed spaceflight to take off from US soil in nearly a decade. This is an important milestone in space travel for three reasons 
1)This is first time that astronauts launched into space from US soil since 2011. 
2)This is the first-ever crewed mission for SpaceX. 
3)This is also the first time ever that a privately developed spacecraft launched humans into Earth's orbit. In an early interview with CNN in 2004, SpaceX founder Elon Musk explained how he could work with NASA and his vision for the future of space travel.


The Crew Dragon capsule, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, is now flying free through Earth's orbit. The capsule uses tiny thrusters to stay oriented and help steer the spacecraft toward the International Space Station. It's a slow and precise journey. Behnken and Hurley will spend about 19 hours in the spacecraft as climbs toward the ISS, where they're expected to dock around 10:30 am ET tomorrow.

visualisation of global trade ,economic activity vs gdp growth



 
In today’s global economic system, countries exchange not only final products, but also intermediate inputs. This creates an intricate network of economic interactions that cover the whole world. Over the last couple of centuries the world economy has experienced sustained positive economic growth, and over the same period, this process of economic growth has been accompanied by even faster growth in global trade. In a similar way, if we look at country-level data from the last half century we find that there is also a correlation between economic growth and trade: countries with higher rates of GDP growth also tend to have higher rates of growth in trade as a share of output. This basic correlation is shown in the chart here, where we plot average annual change in real GDP per capita, against growth in trade (average annual change in value of exports as a share of GDP).1 Is this statistical association between economic output and trade causal? Among the potential growth-enhancing factors that may come from greater global economic integration are: Competition (firms that fail to adopt new technologies and cut costs are more likely to fail and to be replaced by more dynamic firms); Economies of scale (firms that can export to the world face larger demand, and under the right conditions, they can operate at larger scales where the price per unit of product is lower); Learning and innovation (firms that trade gain more experience and exposure to develop and adopt technologies and industry standards from foreign competitors)


Over the last couple of centuries the world economy has experienced sustained positive economic growth, and over the same period, this process of economic growth has been accompanied by even faster growth in global trade. In a similar way, if we look at country-level data from the last half century we find that there is also a correlation between economic growth and trade: countries with higher rates of GDP growth also tend to have higher rates of growth in trade as a share of output. This basic correlation is shown in the chart here, where we plot average annual change in real GDP per capita, against growth in trade (average annual change in value of exports as a share of GDP). 

RIP Globalisation: welcome Snowbalisation



RIP Globalisation : welcome Snobalization :


Even before the pandemic, globalisation was in trouble. The open system of trade that had dominated the world economy for decades had been damaged by the financial crash and the Sino-American trade war. Now it is reeling from its third bodyblow in a dozen years as lockdowns have sealed borders and disrupted commerce


The number of passengers at Heathrow has dropped by 97% year-on-year; Mexican car exports fell by 90% in April; 21% of transpacific container-sailings in May have been cancelled. The pandemic has already politicised travel and migration and entrenched an inward looking nationalism towards self-reliance which is bound to leave the economy vulnerable and spread geopolitical instability.


The world has had several epochs of integration, but the trading system that emerged in the 1990s went further than ever before. China became the world’s factory and borders opened to people, goods, capital and information


After Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 most banks and some multinational firms pulled back. Trade and foreign investment stagnated relative to gdp, a process which economist magazine called snowbalisation.


 
The flow of capital is also suffering, as longterm investment sinks. Chinese venture-capital investment in America dropped to $400m in the first quarter of this year, 60% below its level two years ago. Multinational firms may cut their cross-border investment by a third this year. America has just instructed its main federal pension fund to stop buying Chinese shares, and so far this year countries representing 59% of world gdp have tightened their rules on foreign investment. As governments try to pay down their new debts by taxing firms and investors, some countries may be tempted to further restrict the flow of capital across borders ( source : economist )

May 17, 2020

top 10 marketing noteworthy facts




  • George Washington survived smallpox, malaria (six times), diphtheria, tuberculosis (twice) and pneumonia.  source :She Cannot Tell a Lie BOOK REVIEW, PAGE 14 

• ReFrame, the largest drug-repurposing library in the world, houses 20 milligrams of nearly every drug that has ever undergone safety testing in people, whether or not it proved effective for its original use.
 
• A large plant of the weed garlic mustard can disperse 7,900 seeds that can lurk in soil for as long as 10 years. 

  • The overall collection of Funko Pops, those vinyl figurines with saucerlike eyeballs and oblong heads, includes 34 distinct figures of Conan O’Brien. source :Finally, Funkos for Female Directors ARTS & LEISURE, PAGE 12

  •  In air travel, zeppelins, not airplanes, were the first to offer passenger flights in Europe and the first to transport passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. ‘From Now On Our Place Is in the Sky!’ source BOOK REVIEW, PAGE 9

 • According to a 2019 YouGov survey, 45 percent of U.S. adults believe in ghosts. source Violating Spectral Distancing Rules SUNDAY STYLES, PAGE 6 

  •  Because of low interest rates, the payout on commercial annuities has dropped by more than 50 percent over the last 30 years. Dealing With the Dark Side of Low Interest Rates  source:SUNDAY BUSINESS, PAGE 5




December 17, 2019

looks who's talking : alexa vs google Assistant vs siri

Smart Speaker Market Share : 2018 vs 2019

US Voice Assistant User Share 


According to India Mobile Broadband Index report 2018, there has been an 270% increase  in growth of voice searches in India.With the consumers now taking to voice in a big way , voice is being seen as the new frontier of  digital marketing . A decade ago  it would have been impossible to imagine a world where a human being would be able to talk or converse with a machine on a device . As best this was restricted to science fiction. Today thanks to Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa , Apples Siri ,Microsoft's Cortona and Samsungs Bixby, a world of opportunities  has opened up, not only for tech companies who are looking to elevate their consumer experience but also for brands that needs to be present wherever consumers are in  a multi platform world.

The Global Speech and voice recognition market size is estimated to reach USD 31.82 billion by 2025 according to  a new report by Grand View Research Inc exhibiting a CAGR of 17.2% during the forecast period.According to emarketer ,it estimates that in 2019, 111.8 million people in the US will use a voice assistant at least monthly, up 9.5% from last year. This is equivalent to 39.4% of internet users and 33.8% of the total population. According to Dentsu Aegis Network exchange4media  digital report, Digital Ad spends stood at Rs 10,819 crore  and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 31.92% to reach Rs 24,920 crore by 2021. The report stated that the surge in digital ad spends will be lead by 3 main factors including voice based search technology , vernacular as well as video content . This growth is  further enhanced by engaging mobile experiences based on augmented reality ( AR ) Virtual Reality ( VR) Technologies . So how are marketers looking at Voice based search technology and where  are they at the implementation curve ? 

So the Question is Why Voice ?Voice enables  an intimate and conversational relationship between brands and people . In theory it helps brand communicate stronger bonds with their customers. To ensure it happens it has to support the brand purpose , solve a real and genuine problem for people and be something that is uniquely suited for voice. Successful voice marketing means understanding how people like to use voice  recognition technology  and catering  marketing to those habits . 

According to Google nearly 20% of the searches on Android devices are done through voice.On their part companies have also undertaken a 360 degree marketing blitz showcasing their benefits of using voice assistants from playing a song to checking the latest cricket score to setting the alarm.This has resulted in Amazons digital voice assistant Alexa becoming a household name  along with  Google Assistant.When it comes to the household  Amazon's Alexa rules  as America's most favored Artificial Intelligence based voice assistant which controls between 60-70% of the smart speaker segment   and has more integrations with third party smart home devices than either Google Home or Apples Home Kit Products . As such the majority of smart home consumer controls the majority of smart home functions via voice with Alexa despite the fact that nearly 100% of Alexa users have a smartphone with either Apple's Siri or Google Assistant on it.


However  when it comes to the car the story is a bit different . In the smart speaker segment  Amazon has the great advantage of being the first in the field  by about a year . Google has been playing catch up with its assistant and  devices since 2015, and Apple  has struggled to figure out which direction it wants to run  this race, despite the fact that Apple's Siri was technically the first voice assistant to break out in the market . But in the realm of the car voice assistant, both Google and Apple  have managed to successfully connect themselves to the automobile mobile experience. But despite  being behind Amazon is racing avidly for a crack at becoming the consumer's most favored navigator

July 21, 2018

28.4 billion Mobile app downloads in 2018, q2

"mobile app consumer spending"

Mobile App Consumer Spending


 
Q2 2018 –has set new  records for global mobile app downloads and consumer spend. Topping the record-setting Q1 2018 levels, there were over 28.4 billion mobile app downloads globally across iOS and Google Play in Q2,2018  up 15% year over year according to the report by AppAnnie

This number is particularly staggering all the more because the numbers reflect  new downloads and does not include re installs or app updates.

Furthermore consumers spends on mobile apps exceeded  $18.5 billion across iOS and Google Play combined – a growth rate of over 20% year over year. 
Most of the downloads came from Google play as it  significantly widened its lead over iOS , exceeded 20 billion in Q2 2018, up 20% year over year and widened the gap between itself and iOS by 25 percentage points to 160%. However global consumer spend on iOS App store grew 20% year over year. 

The mobile app download on Google Play was led by India which was the largest driver of mobile app downloads in terms of growth and market share.On the iOS, ,United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia saw the largest growth in mobile app downloads year over year.Most of the the mobile app growth was led by FIFA World cup 2018, as , Video Players &  Sports apps drove growth in Google Play downloads quarter over quarter in Q2 2018.

The impact of Sports downloads was even more pronounced on iOS where Sports apps were the largest driver of growth in global iOS downloads, followed by Finance and Travel apps. According to AppAnne out of  the top 10 Sports apps in the US by time spent on Android phone during the first 3 weeks of the World Cup  were (June 10-30, 2018), Telemundo Deportes, FOX Sports GO, and FOX Sports ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively, for average megabytes per user – an indication of users live streaming World Cup matches on mobile.FOX Sports downloads increased by 95x for the same period, while Telemundo Deportes En Vivo grew 444x,

In the UK, over 6 million hours were spent in the top 10 Sports apps by time spent on Android phone during the first 3 weeks of the World Cup, up 65% from the 3 weeks directly prior. Sports streaming service fuboTV saw the largest impact, growing at a whopping 713 percent and adding 309K new users in the U.S., while Hulu saw the smallest impact at 18 percent growth. for example.

Sports apps on iOS were the third largest contributors to absolute growth in consumer spend and in market share in Q2, while Entertainment and Productivity apps were numbers one and two, respectively.In-app subscriptions for both Sports and Entertainment apps drove the consumer spending increases. On Google Play, Games, Social, and Music & Audio apps saw the largest download growth, quarter-over-quarter.


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January 9, 2018

voice asssistant war between google and amazon hots up



According to a Google  blog post this morning, “The Google Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices.” When Google says “devices” it’s including Android smartphones, tablets, TVs, headphones and Google Home smart speakers. However its not clear how many Google Home, Mini and Max speakers were sold in 2017.

In terms of numbers Four hundred million is huge  but that includes mostly Android smartphones. Based on a review of data from NPR, Strategy Analytics and Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, it appears that Google Home has roughly a 25 percent share of the US smart speaker market.Specifically, Strategy Analytics estimated that Google’s share of Q4 smart speaker sales was 24%.Walker Sands (“Future of Retail 2017“), in a survey of 1,622 US adults, found that about 23% respondents owned a smart speaker. If the results can be generalised to the broader population, then something like 56 million assistant-powered speakers are in US homes today. The survey was conducted in late Q3 or early Q4, before Christmas.

Meanwhile Rival Amazon is also making announcements at CES with a range of device makers. Alexa is being integrated into a set of expensive augmented reality glasses ($1,000) from Vuzix. More significantly, it will be added to PCs and laptops from Acer, Asus and HP. This represents a significant potential challenge to Cortana. Meanwhile data suggests that Amazon has now taken over from Apple as the virtual assistant leader, if not in absolute device numbers then in terms of visibility and momentum.

According to a range of third party estimates, Amazon has roughly three-fourths of the smart speaker market to Google’s 25 percent.Suggesting that it’s gaining on Alexa, last week Google said there was robust demand for Google Home. The company asserted it “sold more than one Google Home every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October.” That means, since approximately October 19, Google has sold nearly 7 million devices. That’s not all of Google Home sales but suggests the totality of devices sold is below 10 million.

Last year, Alexa was the clear winner of CES, with companies like Ford, Huawei, and LG agreeing to integrate their products with Amazon's virtual assistant. Since then, Alexa has only gotten bigger - Amazon says that it sold " tens of millions " of Alexa-enabled products, led by its own Amazon Echo Dot, over the holiday season. 

Among the list of devices the Google Assistant is being integrated into are “smart displays”.They will initially come from JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. Google was rumoured to be working on its own answer to the Amazon Echo Show, which will have a screen.It’s not clear if a Google Home branded smart screen device is still in the works or if the company will rely on these and other third parties instead. The screen creates a range of obvious new user experience possibilities as well as new marketing and commerce capabilities for brands, publishers and marketers. That same potential with the Echo Show has to date been mostly unrealised.

The new smart screen Google Assistant devices will make video calls, access Google Photos and show YouTube videos.Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV have been blocked from showing YouTube for allegedly violating Google’s terms of service and not offering Google products reciprocity on Amazon.com. The Google Assistant is also coming to more smart TVs this year In addition to existing offerings from Sony and NVIDIA, introduced last year, TV makers integrating the Assistant include including TCL, Element, Hisense, Westinghouse and LG.

While Alexa for screens works exclusively with Amazon's own echo hardware,Google Assistant  is compatible with devices made by other companies including new models from Sony ,LG,Lenevo, and JBL, a brand of Samsung's Harman division.


As of now Amazon seems ahead of the competition as got in on the smart speaker market early, and has moved quickly to ensure its stays out in front. Now, by most measures, the Amazon Echo is dominating the smart speaker market . The company has built on the lead with an avalanche of new hardware released in the last year: The tablet-like Echo Show, which has a screen; the Echo Look fashion camera; the Echo Plus home hub; the Echo Spot alarm clock; the redesigned Echo.

Plus, partners like Sonos and Ecobee have released their own products with Alexa built in, so you can talk to (and shop from) Amazon from an ever-increasing number of places. And with 30,000 skills, or apps , now available for Alexa, customers can do a lot more with those devices - giving them fewer reasons to switch. This is all a part of Amazon's ongoing playbook to get Alexa everywhere. Now, with its market share established and its position looking to be firmly entrenched, Amazon is entering a new phase in its master plan.


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January 7, 2018

google issues seo guidelines for voice search



Consumers are increasingly turning to voice for search. While Amazon Alexa or Cortana-enabled products uses results from Bing.Google Assistant or Apple Siri, is powered by Google.Brands and publishers are have realised that they need to be on top of SERPs across voice search as well Following these best practices guidelines published by Google recently will be increasingly important for your content to surface in voice searches. 

Google Research blog recently has published the search quality raters guidelines, contractors guidelines to evaluate Google’s search results, specifically for the Google Assistant and voice search results. It is similar to the web search quality guidelines, but it changes in that there is no screen to look at when evaluating such results; instead you are evaluating the voice responses from the Google Assistant.

It is important to note that comScore predicts that 50% of all searches will be by voice in 2020. Gartner forecasts 30% of web browsing will be done by voice the same year. Voice adoption is growing quickly and discovery through Voice SEO will become critical.

According to searchengineland “The Google Assistant needs its own guidelines in place, as many of its interactions utilize what is called ‘eyes-free technology,’ when there is no screen as part of the experience.” Google has designed machine learning and algorithms to try to make the voice responses and “answers grammatical, fluent and concise.” Google said that they ask raters to make sure that answers are satisfactory across several dimensions.Here are some of the voice search and voice assisted search guidelines issues by google. 

Information Satisfaction: the content of the answer should meet the information needs of the user. 

Length of the query: when a displayed answer is too long, users can quickly scan it visually and locate the relevant information. For voice answers, that is not possible. It is much more important to ensure that we provide a helpful amount of information, hopefully not too much or too little. Some of our previous work is currently in use for identifying the most relevant fragments of answers. Formulation: it is much easier to understand a badly formulated written answer than an ungrammatical spoken answer, so more care has to be placed in ensuring grammatical correctness. 

Elocution: spoken answers must have proper pronunciation and prosody. Improvements in text-to-speech generation, such as WaveNet and Tacotron 2, are quickly reducing the gap with human performance.

top 5 silliest inventions in silicon valley

"silliest inventions in silicon valley"
"funniest tweet over silicon's valley bizarre inventions"

The funniest and silliest Silicon Valley Inventions 


 
For every 10 things invented at silicon valley last year, there were atleast 8 things that count among the dumbest and screwed up this year.From a office tent called a pause pod to a the app-enabled vending machine Bodega.Silicon valley in its efforts to reinvent how people live and interact succeeded in altering the human mind by sheer idiocy and brain freeze. Here are the top 5 silliest silicon valley inventions that did not manage to make hay while the silicon valley sun was at its fiercest
1)Juicero 
What was “invented”: A wifi-enabled juicer with a powerful press designed to squeeze juice from a proprietary bag of fruit and vegetables. 
What already existed: Your hands, Capri Sun, juicers. 
Juicero was the silliest and most infamous, $400 juicer that sold its customers prepackaged bags of fruit and vegetables that, it said, could be pressed into delicious juice using only its machine. But Bloomberg figured out that the machine was unnecessary. You could just squeeze the bag with your bare hands and get about the same amount of juice from the vending machine.Five months and $118.5 million of investment later, Juicero was dead. The CEO of Juicero was last seen emerging from Burning Man, drinking an expensive snake oil from a company that also calls it “raw water" 

2)Bodega 
What iwas “invented”: A replacement for the corner store. 
What already existed: Vending machines, minibars. Bodega set a record time for a startup to experience public backlash. Bodega was an app-enabled vending machine with bougie products that aims to put your beloved, locally owned corner store out of business. “The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” Bodega’s co-founder Paul McDonald told Fast Company. That interview ran on September 13th. On September 14th, Bodega apologised to “to anyone we’ve offended.” The apology focused on the name, which the company assured that it had market tested in “Latin American communities,” and 97 percent of respondents didn’t think it was offensive. What Bodega missed was that the entire concept was offensive.

3)Lyft Shuttle 
What it “invented”: Lyft, but for people who are cool with traveling on a set path in a shared vehicle for a lower rate. 
What already existed: A bus. Lyft Shuttle, launched as an experimental service in March of this year, was promoted as a cheaper, commuter-friendly alternative to hailing a Lyft. 
As the Verge noted, the entire thing more or less duplicated what a city bus already does: travels on a fixed route, picks up and drops off riders at predetermined spots and transports a larger group of people at one time.The only difference was that the Proceeds from the bus went back into the system that keeps the bus running, not into the coffers of a VC fund. Incredible work and Great job, Lyft. 

4)The Office Tent called Pause Pod 
what was the invention:your daily getaway at office
What already existed : your workstation 
Long days at office,terrible sleeping habits with day long stress and caffeinated delirium.This is where Odd Company's Pause Pod came in and tried to make a difference, to  increase your productivity at office.The Pause Pod was a kind of portable tent like pod a private pop up space where you could set up anywhere at your office, except inside that corner office where you boss sits the whole day.It was a tent which you can pitch up anywhere and disappear inside leaving your co workers bewildered and wondering what you are doing inside.

5)WeWork:
What was the Invention : A shared office space. 
What already existed : Roomates: 
With an $18billion valuation ,WeWork is worth more than Elon Musk's SpaceX.But unlike Elon Musk's rocket start up,WeWork has no moonshot ideas.WeWork just rents real estate and brands properties.WeWork is like WeLive  akin to living like roommates in a shared office space in a kind of communal offshoot.This is called “co-living” in the world of WeWork. In the real world, it’s called having roommates. If you elect to have a roommate rather “co-living” with someone, it tends to be cheaper, and you get to choose your own decor.




tech trends which will define 2018


 


From Space tourism to electric cars and the rise of virtual reality,technology is  transforming  our worlds faster than we can imagine. It is said "You cannot predict the rain , but you can build an ark". 2018 will see the dawn of newer technology which only existed in the realms of science fiction movies just 10 years ago.

While 2017 has seen AI Bots,Machine Learning, 3D printing, AR and Blockchain starting to become more  relevant and mainstream 2018 will be a year when many of these newer  technologies like Cryptocurrency Blockchain, Electric Cars Virtual Reality will find more acceptance and become advanced.Here are some of the technology trends which will make a big impact in 2018. 

1)Artificial Intelligence comes of age: There are three broad reasons for AI’s phenomenal growth in the last two-three years. First is the rapid advancement in machine- and deep-learning algorithms. Second is the availability of humongous amounts of data (hence known as Big Data) on which these algorithms can be trained. Third is the dramatic increase in computing power that includes more efficient computer processing units and graphic processing units. 

The results are clearly visible. In December, Alphabet-owned AI firm DeepMind announced that its AlphaZero algorithm took just 4 hours to learn all chess rules and defeat the world’s strongest open-source chess engine, Stockfish.

AlphaZero, which was modelled on DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero computer programme, vanquished a world-champion programme in each game of chess, shogi (Japanese chess) and the Chinese game, Go, within 24 hours. Since automation and AI are better than humans with routine tasks, it has understandably given rise to the fear that automation and AI will take away our jobs and become more intelligent than human beings. In his 2006 book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, American author and futurist Ray Kurzweil forecast that AI would surpass humans. By 2099, he added, machines would have attained a legal status equal to that of humans

2)AR and VR will become communal experiences: Right now VR(Virtual reality) is an isolating experience.You can put on a headset and immerse yourself into an make believe world in a universe where you and your own self inhabit.Going forward VR will allow a more immersive experience with your surroundings. VR and AR ( Augmented Reality) will allow communities to experience the world together.We will get to play work and explore the world in the form of alternate realities and our reality distortion field will be all about larger sharing VR  experiences.

3)Big Data overload and privacy concerns  Today every company in the world has begun to mine big data on consumer habits and shopping behaviours.In 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers increasingly talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on unlimited digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare. To add to the problem, a lot of data has a lifespan. At some point in time, these data becomes outdated and its no longer longer relevant.But often it is held onto anyway in the mistaken belief that some day it might come in useful. It is important to remember also that collecting and storing data costs money - data requires storage, electricity to power it and, if the information is sensitive (including customer records) attention to be spent on security and data compliance. Of course, the problem becomes even bigger when we take into account the predicted growth in the data companies will produce: A recent article on Forbes predict a 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020. 

3)Blockchain will increasingly become mainstream: One of the biggest technological trends in 2018 would be the rise and acceptance of blockchain.The rise of blockchain technology wont be just limited to cryptocurrency in 2018.Cryptocurrency will move into larger areas of governance.We have seen some amazing things in the cryptocurrency market in 2017 including the rise of the ICO where companies like Tezos raised almost 250 million, the "big 3" (Bitcoin, Litecoin, & Ethereum) have gained in the 1000%'s, and a massive explosion of interest in both the traditional financial markets as well as the consumer markets here in the in 2017. 

4)Electric cars: Self driving cars are still in the labs.So forget about them and start to embrace electric cars.In 2018 we are likely to see new electric cars promising ranges of 200 miles or more.In 2018 the Tesla Model 3 and the second generation of Nissan are set for release.Long term investment on petrol cars will also start declining. 

5)Smart Soundbars. Riding high on  the back of voice controlled speakers multi room audio looks all set to grow.While there  is an explosion in the hardware market , we are witnessing significant growth in premium multi room systems and smart soundbars in particular.Technavio’s market research predicts the global soundbar market to grow steadily at a CAGR of above 16% by 2021. One of the major factors driving growth in this market is the increasing number of smart homes.Many homes in developed nations such as the US and UK are being remodeled to smart homes.A smart home consists of media and entertainment gadgets, consumer electronic devices, and other smart electronics that can interact with each other through a home network.2018 is also likely to see more of Dolby Atmos and high resolution audio 




January 6, 2018

ripple and ethereum adds to the upheaval in the alt coin world


The virtual currency boom has got so heated that it is throwing some of the richest and most powerful people into disarray.At one point last week one of the founders of virtual currency who is also among the largest owners of Ripple tokens was worth more than $59billion.

Ethereum and Ripple two Bitcoin rivals jostled for attention during the  early days of 2018 cryptocurrency war   as it marked two records in the alt coin world: Ethereum's per-coin value broke $US1000 ($1276) and the rising value of Ripple supposedly boosted its co-founder Chris Larsen to an estimated net worth of $US59.9 ($76) billion.Riding in the digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America. 

 Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, has 5.19 billion of the company's digital coin XRP and a 17 percent stake in the company, according to Forbes, citing sources at Ripple. With XRP hitting a high of $3.84 on Thursday, Larsen's holdings are worth about $59.9 billion. That puts the former Ripple CEO just ahead of Larry Ellison, who ranked fifth on Forbes 400 list with a worth of $58.4 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks fourth, with a worth of $74.4 billion. 

Despite a very real speculation bubble around cryptocurrency, these financial gains are mostly on paper and the two coins couldn't be more different.

While Ethereum bills itself as a blockchain app platform where transactions are used to pay for decentralised computing power,Ripple is the world's only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments. Ripple's core proposal is to facilitate fast, cheap transactions, mainly between banks, through a separate but related entity called Ripple Connect. The Ripple coin (XRP) exists independently in the hopes that banks will someday use it via Ripple Connect.

Ripple is a kind of  real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple. Also called the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol it is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native cryptocurrency called XRP (ripples)

Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally.Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable "secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.

Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology, with American Banker explaining that "from banks' perspective, distributed ledgers like the Ripple system have a number of advantages over cryptocurrencies like bitcoin," including price and security. 

On 1 Jan 2018, the market capitalisation of XRP was 87 billion USD, making it the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap Thanks to one digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America.

Meanwhile according to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum currently has a market capitalisation of about $96 billion (£70.7bn).Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum allows developers to build applications on its network. The majority of initial coin offerings and other trading games are based on Ethereum. Ethereum's particular blockchain technology means that the currency is more naturally resilient to cyberattacks.

The explosion in Ripple's valuation over the last few months is the starkest illustration yet of the mania that has spilled over into the broader universe of virtual currencies.These coins with names such  as Cardona, Stellar and Iota are generally new twists on Bitcoin Technology which uses a decentralised network of volunteer computers to keep a record, known as blockchain, of all technologies.

Cryptocurrency founders can often hold large amounts of the digital coins they create.The anonymous bitcoin founder known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" has 980,000 bitcoins, or about 4.7 percent of all bitcoins that will ever exist, based on widely accepted analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner. 

However Mr Chris Larsen's ballooning net worth and the value of Ripple tokens mostly drew comments about the irrationality of the virtual currency markets which appear to be driven largely these days by the feat of missing out (FOMO)




twins who sued zuckerberg becomes 1st bitcoin billionaires


 
The twin brothers who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole the idea for Facebook are worth more than $1bn after capitalising on the astonishing rise in Bitcoin. An $11m (£8m) bet on Bitcoin made by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss over four years ago has multiplied by almost 10,000% after Bitcoin reached a new record breaking high in december 2017.This is believed to be the first billion-dollar return made by a cryptocurrency investor, a landmark moment for the twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg and claimed that Facebook's idea was originally theirs.

In 2009, the Winklevoss twins received a settlement from Facebook valued at more than $65 million.According to the Telegraph, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss bought 1 percent of all currently mined bitcoin for a price of $11 million in 2013 with the lawsuit money received from Facebook. Since then, the $11 million crypto-bet has multiplied by almost 10,000 percent, making the twins the first bitcoin billionaires.

Seven years ago, the value of a single bitcoin was worth a quarter-of-a-cent. Today, that single bitcoin is worth upwards of $2,200.The twins used part of their settlement money to invest heavily in bitcoin.Bitcoin has grown exponentially since then: According to Fortune when the Winklevosses first invested, the cryptocurrency was trading at $120 per coin, a far jump from the more than $11,000 it has reached today. That's an increase of over 9,000 percent. 

In October 2015, the brothers launched Gemini, a bitcoin exchange described by the Financial Times as “one of the first regulated and licensed digital currency exchanges in the developed world. 

Interestingly the first bitcoin transaction was made by a software programmer on “Bitcoin Talk” known as Lazlo Hanyecz who offered to 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. For the first three days, no one took him on his offer with Hanyecz writing: “So nobody wants to buy me pizza? Is the bitcoin amount I’m offering too low?” A user eventually paid about $25 for two pizzas. In today’s bitcoins, those pizzas would have cost cost Hanyecz $22 million.




January 5, 2018

travis kalanick to sell 29% of his uber stake, worth $1.4billion


 
Former Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick  is all set to sell around 29% of his Uber stake to Softbank in the process making him richer $1.4billion according to Bloomberg post today. The former Uber Cofounder remains one of the wealthiest people in the world on paper.However  post his stake sale, Travis Kalanick would become an actual billionaire for the first time.

Interestingly during a Vanity Fair’s 2016 New Establishment Summit he boasted and touted the fact that he had “never sold a single Uber share which was an expression, of his own faith in the company’s future.


Reports indicate that the former Poster boy  and cofounder of Uber Travis Kalanick had reportedly offered to offload even more of his share which was as much as 50 percent, the most a board member was allowed to sell in the transaction with SoftBank and its consortium of investors, who have agreed to buy equity in the company at a lower $48 billion valuation. But that figure was reportedly scaled back due to the large volume of investors attempting to sell

The SoftBank deal, which is expected to close later in January, will limit Kalanick’s remaining influence at Uber via a number of corporate governance reforms, though he’ll remain an Uber board member.

Kalanick was pressured to resign last year after the company became mired in legal woes and government investigations into the way it conducts how it does business.

Uber has come under increasing criticism in the last 2 years and has been rocked by a steady stream of  workplace and sexual harassment including gender discrimination scandals and negative publicity in recent years, including revelations of questionable spy programs, a high-stakes technology lawsuit, and embarrassing leaks about executive conduct including digging up dirt on journalists and spreading personal information of a female reporter who was critical of the company.Uber was forced to pay $20m to settle allegations that the company duped people into driving with false promises about earnings.

The Federal Trade Commission claimed that most Uber drivers earned far less than the rates Uber published online in 18 major cities in the US. 

More PR disasters followed led by a A #DeleteUber campaign which went viral after the company lifted surge pricing during a taxi protest at a New York airport against Donald Trump’s travel ban. A total of roughly 500,000 users reportedly deleted accounts after the scandal erupted.

Uber also faced lawsuits from Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet which accused Uber of “calculated theft” of its technology. The suit, was a fatal setback for Uber’s autonomous vehicle ambitions, alleged that a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, stole trade secrets for Uber which later fired the engineer.


Travis  also clashed with Benchmark, one of the company’s earliest and biggest investors, which is also selling part of its stake