Of course, one of our favourites is cult TV show Silicon Valley and its satirical look at the trials of tech startups. It’s no surprise that it has built up a strong following around the world, from tech and non-tech audiences alike. However, tech isn’t just the star of the show in front of the camera. It is also working behind the scenes to bring some of our favourite shows to the small screen.
Millions of people around the world have been hooked on Game of Thrones – the show based on a series of epic fantasy novels. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard about the magic, dragons, war, and family feuds playing out in Game of Thrones that has us tuning in for every episode.
It’s true to say that the fantasy world of Westeros is seemingly behind the curve in terms of tech innovation, however, the technology deployed to create the world we see on our screens is as cutting edge as a Dothraki blade.
With the budget starting at $6 million per episode when the show began in 2012 (and now rumoured to be around $10 million an episode for the final series), much of that money was spent on the technology that would bring those impressive battle scenes to life.
Though you might feel that the world drones on about our favourite GoT scenes, drones are actually used to film them (see what we did there!). Some of the most spectacular and memorable moments have gone down in history – Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon ride from the fighting pits, and spotting Peter Dinklage’s head in a sea of flailing bodies to name a couple – were filmed by a drone flying overhead.
When the normal shooting ends, technology steps up to fill in the gaps. The show would be nothing without the visual effects department.
Now we know those dragons aren’t real, but when watching them in our weekly instalments we could almost be forgiven for thinking that they may just be out there. Interesting fact: they changed their visual effects team twice just to get the dragons right.
From using flame throwers to create the fire, and a tennis ball on a stick to get everyone looking in the right direction, the magic of CGI is never far away.
But it is not just on-screen that technology has helped turn this show into a cult classic.
Off screen, websites and apps have been fanning the flames of fandom. Like any good epic story, GoT has invented a number of fictional languages. Kudos to any bright tech sparks that have looked to use this to their advantage. Duolingo – the online languages platform – is one example, as they are giving fans an opportunity to ignore the subtitles and embrace a High Valyrian language course.
The tech involved with this show just keeps getting better and better but with season 8 rumoured to be the last one, it’s hard to imagine how they will be able to top this season? Whatever comes next with this visually stunning and captivating masterpiece of imagination, one thing is clear… It’s a brilliant example of what the combination of a fantastic story, in combination with some of the best tech knowledge around can create. In fact, some my say that it sounds very familiar to our day to day. Well… without the fire breathing dragons and a little less blood shed perhaps. But we’ve definitely seen the magic of what the combo of great tech and a good yarn can do!
With more people using the railway in Britain than ever, we need greater capacity on our trains. Could magnetic levitation tech be the answer to cutting journey times for the UK?
The main benefit of Maglev is the ability to accelerate and decelerate quickly. Ideal for shorter intra-city trips. The trains have fewer carriages better suited for passengers travelling on trains frequently.
Asia has the world’s fastest commercially operating Maglev train reaching speeds of 267mph.
However, Maglev have high running costs over long distances.
Anything more than 15 miles current makes the technology uneconomical.
Is there is a place for Maglev to improve connections between our major cities?
We’re not going to see Maglev connecting London and the north anytime soon, but there is potential to create super-fast inter-urban lines.
The pods seat one person and move on their own over a pre-described route.
The idea is that the human operator interacts with the pod using a touchscreen in the windshield. Once you’ve swiped to select a destination, you can read the news, check your email or play a video game.
There will be a built-in wireless hotspot to connect your gadgets.
Similar pods are being used in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and at London Heathrow airport, but both are used in tightly controlled areas.
The only social network purely dedicated to professional networking, LinkedIn currently has over 467 million users, with 57% of companies reporting to have a LinkedIn company page.
For businesses in the B2B space, LinkedIn is even more vital: 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions.
Ready to learn more about how your business can use LinkedIn? Keep reading…
There’s more to LinkedIn than a company page
To get best results from LinkedIn, managing your company profile page isn’t enough. Posting regular content to your LinkedIn page is valuable, and we’ll get on to what to share in a minute. But, there are limits to what you can do with the company page.
LinkedIn company pages are able to share updates and post links to content, but that’s about it. Company profiles cannot use LinkedIn’s blogging platform, nor can they connect with individuals. You also can’t join any LinkedIn groups with a company profile – only with personal accounts.
This shouldn’t discourage you from setting up and managing a company page on LinkedIn. Do it, but be aware of its limitations. For best results, combine your LinkedIn company page with strategic activity from the whole team.
Encourage the team to share updates posted by your company page, as well as joining relevant business groups. Since only ‘people’ can blog on LinkedIn, enlist employees to become thought leaders on your business’s behalf. Posts can be like what you’d share on a company blog, but keep them in the first person, so they’re more personal. Remember to link back to your website, too.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at what to post on your business’s LinkedIn page…
Sharing photos can be an excellent source of content for LinkedIn, but there is a caveat to this.
Photo sharing on LinkedIn isn’t the same as posting photos to Facebook or Instagram. All photos should be relevant and professional and accompanied by a meaningful caption. So, avoid posting pictures of the staff Christmas party or office pranks. Instead, share pictures of the team at conferences, awards ceremonies, or other work events.
If in doubt: ask yourself what your clients would think if they saw the photo. If there’s even a chance it’d upset them, don’t share it.
Your LinkedIn company page is one place where it’s acceptable to blow your own trumpet. If you’re nominated for an award, or have won an award, your business’s LinkedIn page is the perfect place to share the news.
If you need people to vote for you to help you win, it’s OK to use LinkedIn for that too. Make sure to do it in a courteous way, and don’t ‘spam’ people with requests!
One of the first things many of us do when we’re job-hunting is spruce up our LinkedIn profile. Many job-seekers also use LinkedIn to research companies any other professionals.
Since it’s already a tool used by job-seekers, LinkedIn is the perfect place to share job opportunities at your company. Encourage your team to share the post so it’s seen by their network of connections.
If you’re smart, you could even encourage employees to share the listing in relevant groups to get it seen by more people. Of course, don’t forget to use your LinkedIn to show culture and expertise. Show applicants your business is a great place to work, and you’ll attract a higher standard of talent.
Sharing your own content should make up a large portion of your LinkedIn activity. However, content needn’t be limited to just blog posts. All of the following content should be shared on LinkedIn:
– Interactive content
– And of course, blog posts
When your PR efforts pay off and land you some media coverage, be sure to share these on LinkedIn.
As always, we recommend posting PR coverage on your blog or website first. This way, you are still driving traffic back to your site to tell them about the article. It’s a win-win!
And finally… what not to post
We’re just going to come right out and say it: don’t post memes on LinkedIn. Not ever. Not even work-related ones.
Not only are they unprofessional, they’re always just a bit lame. Save them for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – but only if they’re really funny.
Which social network shall we tackle next? Let us know in the comments!
In this blog post, we look a little bit closer at the impact of tech on the environment: can technology save us from climate change?
Climate change has been an issue for many years. We each do our own part to help, recycling, riding our bike, zero waste etc. According to recent research and estimates, our beautiful planet could be two degrees warmer by 2100. While nobody knows how much irreversible damage has already been done, clearly now is the time to act.
Luckily, there are a few technological innovations that may play a helping hand. Keep reading to find out more.
Whether at home or in the office, light, power, heating, and cooling all contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.
The combined emissions from these contribute almost 20% of global emissions. While many of us make an effort to minimise the amount of lighting and heat we use, we cannot eliminate it entirely.
Harnessing digital technologies to solve today’s urban problems. They’re currently looking at how traffic flows through a city and solving hotspots of congestion, helping to reduce air pollution in our cities.
Transport represents 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, as the population continues to grow, the demand for transport is only going to increase.
Environmentally friendly electric cars are becoming more popular. However, we need more efficient batteries and battery-charging technology before they can become a mainstream transportation method.
Researchers at the University of Surrey have discovered new materials as alternatives to battery – a supercapacitor. Here’s what experts from the university have to say about it:
“The new technology is believed to have the potential for electric cars to travel to similar distances as petrol cars without the need to stop for lengthy recharging breaks of between 6 and 8 hours, and instead recharge fully in the time it takes to fill a regular car with petrol”.
A quarter of global emissions come from feeding the world’s 7 billion people. Part of that comes from the consumption of meat.
The livestock industry is a big contributor to climate change. It takes more power to make one burger than seven iPads. Beef alone requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and has five times more climate-warming emissions.
One alternative is to start producing lab-grown meat and substitutes that look, taste and feel like the real thing. Technology is making it easier to cut out the animal-based foods.
Hampton Creek is making egg-free substitutes for cookie dough and mayonnaise, with plans to do much more in the future.
Modern Meadow uses tissue engineering to make leather and meat products.
Beyond Meat, already supported by Bill Gates, has created the world’s first meat burger that is entirely plant based. It’s made mostly from vegetable protein found in peas.
These apps can help monitor and reduce your carbon footprint and waste.
Oroeco tracks your carbon footprint by placing a carbon value on everything you buy, eat, and do. It even shows you how you compare with your neighbours!
PaperKarma helps cut paper waste. Take a photo of your junk mail, send it through the app, and it will figure out what it is and take you off the mailing list.
GiveO2 tracks your carbon footprint as you travel. Turn on the tracker when you start a new trip, and it will automatically calculate a timeline of your carbon usage. At the end, you can “offset” it by supporting a sustainable project of your choice.
Thanks to the connected Internet of Things, it’s easy to use technology to track our household energy usage.
An unprogrammed thermostat can waste 20% of heating and cooling. Nest tackles the issue with a smart thermostat. Nest learns your patterns and adjusts to save energy.
The Internet of Things can save energy and carbon footprints with things as simple as using an app to turn off the lights or with apps.
IFTTT hooks up to many different types of systems. The IoT can involve monitoring your sprinkler system to save water, use sensors to tell you to take a different route when driving avoiding traffic and wasting gas.
It seems like a lot of information but remember – the world isn’t doomed just yet. Positive changes are happening daily, and still have the power to make an impact on our environment’s health.
Many technologies that are needed to move to a climate-safe society are already available so why not join in and use technology to create a better planet!
Let us know through our social channels @LuminousPR if you have any techy tips for fighting climate change!
As well as covering tech news, UKTN is building up a fantastic archive of advice pieces from thought leaders across the tech and digital sectors. We can’t wait!
Never heard of TCN/UKTN before? Try their excellent guide to the Norwich tech scene for size.
Universal broadband for everyone inthe UK
On 30 July, the government announced that homes and businesses around the UK are set to benefit from universal high-speed broadband. The initiative, which is being voluntarily provided by BT, will give everyone the right to request a high-speed connection of at least 10 Megabits per second (Mbps).
This is no small feat from BT: it’ll cost an estimated investment of £450m – £600m. It’s estimated that the UK will have 99% coverage by 2020.
Here’s what Culture Secretary Karen Bradley had to say:
“The government is taking action to ensure that people everywhere in the UK can get a decent broadband connection as soon as possible. We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses.”
Real-time translation earphones
Though we may be partial to the odd cat video (we’re only human, after all), it’s clips of clever tech that truly get us oohing and ahhing in the Luminous office.
Over the last month, it’s this footage of TimeKettle’s WT2 Real-Time Translation Earphones that has got us the most excited.
How do they work? Well, when you want to speak to someone of a different language, you both pop one of these little devices in your ear. You both chat normally in your native language, and the device will translate for you! There’s a little bit of a lag, and the gadget can be let down by patchy wi-fi. However, this is a big step towards bringing people from all around the world closer together.
Check out the video below from TechCrunch to see how it works.
A few weeks ago, we published an article about how technology is changing the way the insurance industry operates.
We have to admit, insurance isn’t generally a topic that thrills us. Quite the opposite, in fact. However, it turns out that InsurTech has some pretty interesting innovation involved.
When we made our tech predictions for 2017 back in January, we thought Blockchain would become more widely used, but Bitcoin wouldn’t. As it turns out, we were wrong.
In fact, miners have just developed a new type of Bitcoin – Bitcoin Cash. The new currency was developed as a measure to increase the capacity of Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain. Bitcoin Cash blocks can be as large as 8MB, which should allow for faster transactions and may encourage it to grow in popularity.
Perhaps we’ll all be mining our own Bitcoin soon?!
If you were wondering how you mine Bitcoin, by the way, here’s your answer:
“Mining involves computers being tasked with solving difficult mathematical problems in order to authorise transactions on the blockchain.
“Miners receive new bitcoins as a reward for this work – making it lucrative – and it has also been something open to individuals in the past, because the cost of small scale mining equipment has been relatively low.”
As marketers, nothing makes us cringe harder than a dodgy hashtag. Cardinal sins include hashtagging #every #single #word, and forgetting that punctuation marks break up a hashtag. We recommend this article from Social Media Today for more info on terrible hashtag mistakes, and how to avoid them!
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The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved from folklore to everyday life, appearing in our homes, our shops, our socialising, and our offices. Now there is another sector that has been integrating IoT into its every day – Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is now a thing.
The influence of IIoT is wide-ranging and is used across several industries such as manufacturing, logistics, oil and gas, transportation, energy/utilities, mining and metals, aviation, and other industrial sectors.
In fact, since the industrial sector accounts for two-thirds of world output, it’s estimated that Industrial Internet of Things could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
With a total spend of $178 billion in 2016, manufacturing is by far by the largest industry in IoT and IIoT, and as it moves from concept to reality, the future looks very exciting indeed.
What is it?
Also known as the Industrial Internet, IIoT connects the automation technologies and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication that have been around for years, with the newer machine learning and big data technology.
IIoT has been described as revolutionising manufacturing by “enabling the acquisition and accessibility of far greater amounts of data, at far greater speeds, and far more efficiently than before.”
This improvement in connectivity and efficiency is offering manufacturers huge time and cost savings. IIoT networks are providing essential data information – from the factory floor to the executives in their offices.
Breaking down the benefits
Basically, the IIoT connects sensors to analytic systems to automatically improve performance, safety, reliability, and energy efficiency. On top of that, 87% of business leaders say IIot will result in the net creation of jobs.
IIoT makes collecting data from sensors that are battery-powered and wireless more cost effective than ever before, and interpreting this data using big data analytics and delivering the actionable information to the right person at the right time, are all saving money and energy.
And with knowledge comes power…
Business owners can know exactly how the business is performing. With this knowledge, real and informed future decisions can be made with confidence. They can improve their potential, and let innovation run wild knowing that there is data to back it up.
Forward-thinking companies are jumping on board and scrambling to be early adopters of one the newest applications. However, the struggle to make the technology to bridge the gap between devices and machines, and the concerns surrounding security (a concern for all IoT) are causing other manufacturing companies to be a little more cautious.
It can be said that once they see it set in motion and hear about the IIoT tales of success, it will not be long before we all see a shift in the manufacturing sector.
“Electricity changed the way we live and work – and that scale of transformation is possible with the Internet of Things” – Ian Goldin, University of Oxford.
IIoT is making news
Word of IIoT is spreading, and the tech media is starting to take notice. With companies such as Accenture gaining traction in the media recently for its work with clients to digitally re-invent their industries through its Industrial IoT Innovation Centre, journalists are waiting to hear about how the sector is changing and shout loud about the success stories.
The long list of benefits will outweigh the few negative thoughts and a whole new process of manufacturing will be born. It will be the early adopters, risk-takers, and market leaders that stand tall now and be the case studies for others to learn from that will reap the rewards from PR.
Want to know more about how Luminous PR can assist with telling your IIoT story? Contact one of our team now!
According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. A clearly defined brand personality helps customers not only understand your brand, but identify with it too.”
Historically, the wealth of the industry has not translated to bigger budgets for innovation. Up until recently, the insurance industry has been slow to embrace new tech. Research and advisory firm, Forrester, advised in 2015 that insurance firms must embrace digital disruption, or risk being left behind.
Luckily for insurers, they’ve managed to think fast. Keep reading to find out five ways InsurTech is shaping up the insurance sector.
AI triage system
Anyone who’s ever made a claim on their insurance will know it can be a long-winded process.
While most claims handlers make the process as painless as possible, there’s a certain amount of questions they simply have to ask. It can be time-consuming, to say the least.
Now, insurers are starting to use AI to automate some of the claims-handling processes. Straightforward claims can be handled by an AI process, with more complex claims escalated quickly to human claims handlers. This will reduce claim times, and is much more cost-effective for insurers. This, in turn, can help push down insurance premiums.
In fact, since machine learning software has the ability to pick up subtle patterns in data, experts predict it may be more effective than humans when it comes to identifying insurance fraud.
Ageas is the first UK insurer to roll out AI in its claims handling process, but we reckon this will become the norm over the next couple of years. Watch this space.
As wildly futuristic as it may seem, we’re actually just a few short years from driverless cars becoming the norm.
According to Sven Raeymaekers, of tech investment banker GP Bullhound, “the majority of car manufacturers estimate the first highly to fully automated vehicles [AVs] will hit the market between 2020-2025”.
As the way we drive is completely reinvented, this will have a knock-on effect on the way we insure our cars. If nobody is ‘driving’, who’s liable for any accidents that might occur? Are self-driving cars truly safe enough to dominate our roads?
Some experts think so. This article by Jennifer Fitzgerald for TechCrunch suggests that car insurance premiums could drop by as much as 60% over the next 15 years. They believe that the majority of car accidents are caused by human error – without humans controlling our cars, they believe our roads will be much safer places.
Did you know that the UK has more insurance claims relating to whiplash than anywhere else in Europe? In the UK, 78% of low-value motor personal injury claims are for whiplash, compared to 48% throughout the rest of Europe. A whiplash claim is made, on average, once every minute in the UK.
This wouldn’t be a problem, except many of these claims are fraudulent. Check out the following from the Huffington Post:
“According to a recent survey of the general public by AXA Insurance, 2% of respondents openly admitted to filing a fraudulent or exaggerated whiplash claim, and 11% knew someone who had done the same. Two out of every 100 Britons, not just those who had been in an accident – or even necessarily motorists – openly admitted to gaming the system by filing whiplash claims they knew to be false.”
These fraudulent insurance claims cost insurers millions, in turn raising premiums for the consumer. Luckily, tech has a way to solve it.
What people don’t know is that only very specific types of car accidents are physically able to cause whiplash. New sensors being placed in cars are able to accurately tell whether an accident was able to cause whiplash. The data from these sensors is then analysed by Telematics firm, Octo, to decipher whether a whiplash claim is even possible.
If it saves us money on our car insurance, we’re happy with that!
Health insurance and wearables
For those devoted to being their best selves, wearable tech is a great way of monitoring and maintaining fitness. It allows you track things like heart-rate, sleep health, activity levels, stress, and even what you’re consuming. The data collected by wearables can provide a very detailed picture of someone’s overall health – which is why health insurance providers are starting to encourage this wearable trend.
Healthy habits, such as exercising regularly and managing stress, can be rewarded with lower insurance premiums, since you’re less likely to become sick and subsequently claim on your insurance. With the ability to feed data to insurers in real-time, the opportunity for fraud is low too.
For some, this can seem a little intrusive and ‘big brother’. They don’t want their health insurance provider to know about their cheeseburger habit, thank you very much. However, for those who are already tracking every meal and exhale, they might as well benefit from it.
Several US health insurance providers have already started utilising wearable tech among their customers. AXA offers customers who walk over 10,000 steps a day a $100 discount on their insurance, with many others offering similar schemes.
Data breach insurance
As the Internet of Things continues to grow, our lives are becoming increasingly connected. While this – on the whole – is considered a positive, it comes with its own risks. With all that data whizzing around our ears, it’s only inevitable that a breach occurs occasionally.
At the start of the year, market research firm Forrester predicted that 500,000 IOT devices would suffer a breach in 2017. While there’s no word yet on how that prediction panned out, this is a serious claim. Especially when you consider that the average cost of a data breach to a business is now over $7 million each.
While data breach insurance is available to help mitigate this risk for tech businesses, it is still a new product and has not yet fully taken off. Many businesses still don’t understand the risks, let alone the insurance. According to research from Business Insider, adoption rates for data breach insurance are low. For example, just 5% of business in the manufacturing industry have data breach insurance.
While an understanding of data breach insurance will grow, this will be tied – unfortunately – to an increase in risk. Business Insider estimates that annual cyber insurance premiums will more than double over the next four years, growing from to ~$8 billion in 2020.
With the potential decrease in car insurance premiums through self-driving cars, perhaps it will all balance out?!
With tech at its disposal, it’s only a matter of time that insurance shakes off its ‘fuddy-duddy’ image in favour of something a bit shinier. Not only are large insurance agencies seeking to
Not only are large insurance agencies seeking to innovate their processes, but new startups are also making waves in their insurance space. Perhaps techies like SPIXII – who won the 01/10/100 Pitch-Off at London Tech Week 2017 – will help cement insurance’s image as an industry that innovates?
Are you innovating in insurance? We’d love to hear from you.
With the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit arriving in New York next week, the spotlight has been turned once again onto the increasing prominence of digital journalism. Mashable, BBC Worldwide, CNN, The Washington Post, MailOnline, LinkedIn… the companies and media outlets attending the event highlight the growing importance of online to the industry.
At Luminous PR, we have already declared that digital journalism is the future, and explored its impact on tech PR, and it looks like the wider media are finally catching on what we’ve known all along.
Successful digital journalism needs some serious skills behind it. It is not just about putting what is in print on the web and leaving it at that.
From SEO, to choosing the right pictures, or using web analytics, there is so much to consider – and master.
So with digital journalism on the rise, just what do you need to know?
Making bite-sized news
When every word (and click) counts, writing shorter, sharper stories for mobile news takes focus and a new set of skills for journalists. Stories need to be stripped back and exciting headlines must immediately peak the interest of readers. It’s crowded out there, and we are now all competing for the shortest of attention spans.
In a generation of ‘pick up, put down, move on’, the first sentence is the hardest working one in the whole story. Articles cannot stretch into the thousands of words. There is only around 500 words available to share the news, before concentration wanes and we look elsewhere for the next big story.
All about the engagement – and analytics
What digital journalism offers above and beyond other avenues, is the opportunity to engage with their audiences on multiple platforms. From mobile, to tablet, and social media, the global population can turn anywhere for the latest updates.
To really understand what’s going on, and what is working, then in steps analytics. Digital journalism can’t work without it.
If good analytics can tell you how many clicks each article has received, who has visited the site, what pages they have viewed, and who has shared and engaged with the articles, then you will be better informed to produce the content they want.
Don’t forget the SEO
As with all things online, SEO lurks behind the scenes. We don’t need to preach about the need to use key search words in your content for higher search engine rankings, but when it comes to bringing your news to the online world, this is even more important.
Whilst tailoring your content to make it searchable is important, remember this is still journalism so don’t lose the essence of the story in the quest for key search terms. Just tone down the excitable headlines and place the strongest keywords at the start. Let the content that follows do the work.
Creating a good searchable headline could mean that the story will be high ranking for months or even years – meaning more visitors.
It’squality, not quantity
As we mentioned above, when it comes to digital journalism, the information needs to be bite-sized. And that goes for video as well as written content.
Even this visual journalism needs to change with the times. Most people discover this type of news via social media, shared online, so short and straight to the point needs to come across on video too.
When space and time are at a premium, it about the quality of the information, not the quantity that will get you noticed. Make it easy to view, and even easier to share.
Cut through the noise on multiple platforms
Whilst the prominence of social media as a news source is, at its foundation, a good one, sometimes the twitter and facebook rumour mill can lead many astray. Breeding fake news has damaged the reputation of digital journalism before it has really started. The time has come to take control.
Consistent and validated news across all platforms is a must. Don’t let good journalism fly out the window just because it is now online. Build a following who trust the news coming from you and make it simple for them to share it via social media.
Be both relevant and responsible, and be a leader within the digital revolution.
It’s not a phenomenon, digital journalism is here to stay (and probably take over!), so get wise to it now.
As the calibre of media leaders gathering in New York at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit shows, it could be the difference between survival or becoming yesterday’s fish and chip wrapping.