Tag Archives: technology

Augmented Reality is now behind some great new apps

It doesn’t take a genius to notice that more and more people own a smartphone. As a society we love the convenience that they offer, the entertainment value they bring us and arguably, the connection they provide to our social networks, whether that may be in the form of a phone call or text message, or via social networks. It’s almost undeniable that they have the potential to enrich our lives.

Lately, I’ve found myself reading about a technology that is still quite young but growing and developing quickly. A technology that eventually could seamlessly integrate information from our digital/online world and the real world and is readily available everywhere we go. What’s it called? Augmented Reality.

Sounds scary right? Like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, something that would only benefit the gadget lovers of society or the technologically adept … right? Wrong. It may sound technologically advanced or appear to require gadgets or systems that aren’t available yet but that is not the case at all.

The increasing popularity and accessibility of devices such as smartphones, and the relative ease to develop and deploy software for them has provided developers of augmented reality technology the perfect platform to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible.

Just recently, an application called Word Lens was released which showcases not only what augmented reality is capable of but also how it can use existing technology to enrich our life was released. The hardware involved is nothing out of the ordinary, a typical smartphone and its camera is all it takes for this interesting piece of software to recognise shapes, letters and colour to provide information in real time.

Launch the app, point your phone at a sign and you are able to reverse the letters or remove them (the app replaces them with a solid background) but that’s just a demonstration of what it’s capable of. The key feature of this is far more impressive, the ability to translate the signs you point it at in real time. It will overlay the translated text over the original text as if it was never there. At the moment it will only translate from Spanish to English and back and with a few hiccups here and there when it comes to hand writing but it’s an excellent proof of how augmented reality can enrich our travelling experience and help break the language barrier down just that little bit further.

Check out the video and see for yourself!

Yours in technology,

Lee

Social Media – the reporters of the modern age

With the flood waters slowing releasing their hold on Brisbane, the city is very slowly stirring back to life. Not only has the event been life changing for young Brisbanites who never saw the fury of the 1974 flood, it’s been a momentous leap forward in the communication sector. Facebook and Twitter faced their biggest test yet – used as a call for help, to access information, to share the experience through video and photography, and connect with loved ones on the other side of the world.

For many years I refused to see the benefits of these social media sites, but the flood of 2011 has truly opened my eyes to the amazing capacity, and speed, at which we can now communicate. Visually, it’s been an incredible experience – with video footage of the Toowoomba flash flood spreading with lightning speed – seen on Facebook hours before it was shown on any other information and news channels. The Queensland Police Service embraced Facebook, using it like a notice board, and regularly posting information about press conference times, flood conditions and streaming live video. Facebook has become the ultimate channel of information from which even the news is now accessing its main stories and visuals.

But this raises a whole new set of questions that I think will become very prominent over the next few years when we fully begin to grasp just how much Facebook has changed from being a distracting smoko break, to the biggest media giant since News Corporation. As I found myself searching Facebook for flood information and graphics, I began to realise that the eyewitness account seems to have found more prominence and value, than a fumbling, put-on-the-spot news reader trying to ‘wing it’ with breaking news. The public has essentially become the reporters, photojournalists and film makers of the modern age – and for free.

How, then, do the creative industries expect their work to be valued in any monetary capacity if everyone can ultimately be the photographer, the reporter, the film maker… for free. In the race to be the first to report, when does the quality of the craft disappear to compensate for the speed at which it’s delivered to a hungry public? What does this continued evolution in communication mean for those whose careers are based on roles that could now become obsolete?

Yours where you see it first,

Tara

Apps for the uber rich

German luxury yacht maker Lurssen has designed an app that allows passengers to control onboard technology with an iPad.

Charter a yacht made by Lurssen, and when you embark you will receive an iPad, with which you can control many onboard systems. The iPad lets you select the temperature from the heating and cooling systems, and control the music and video. You can also raise or lower the blinds, and your iPad will summon a waiter to top up the drinks.

At over $600,000 a week to charter the entire yacht, plus expenses, the yacht also offers guests an aromatherapy shower and a gym, which converts into a discotheque, and incase it all gets too much, on board is a stewardess who is also a nurse whose specialty is heart problems.

Keep on with the apps, and who knows where we can go.

Here’s to a great 2011!

Yours in apps technology,

Richard

Where good ideas come from

This TED talk by Steven Johnson into the generation of ideas is sure to get you spending some extra time at your local coffee shop or dawdling a few minutes longer at the water cooler.

Johnson provides a wonderful insight into the benefits of team work and the open discussion of ideas. He dispels the idea of the ‘epiphany’ and credits good ideas to an intricate network formed through the sharing of ideas over time. The idea could have been building for a while, taking many years to form, but is often refined and polished with contributions from other networks and sources.

With the recent release of facebook movie The Social Network, where intellectual property becomes a precious, money generating commodity, it’s no wonder we protect our ideas with laws and contracts. But in the greater scheme of technological and scientific progression, are we hindering our potential to grow and learn by limiting how much of our knowledge we share?

Do you think intellectual property should be made more accessible?

Yours in idea networking,

Tara

Interested in more? Catch the Steven Johnson TED talk: Where good ideas come from

‘Twitter’ has movie potential

Poor Twitter. That little bird has always been the second idea, the afterthought. Just as facebook was the first to pioneer social networking, it’s also been the first to be made into a movie.

But don’t worry Twitter fans! I know you’ve been wondering how great the Twitter movie could be… so here’s a sneak peak of the fictitious Twitter movie! Enjoy!

[briotube]http://www.youtube.com/v/putQn89TQzc[/briotube]

Yours in social networking,
Tara

The digital revolution: how technology has changed the way we communicate

The digital revolution and changes to the Australian media landscape have changed the ways we communicate, use technology, and make informed buying decisions. The average Australian internet user spends 17.6 hours per week online1; meanwhile, mobile internet usage has almost doubled in the past year2. How has your business kept up with the digital revolution to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your audience?

Is your business keeping up?
According to the Sensis e-business Report Australian small and medium businesses are continuing to adopt a range of digital applications during 2010 including websites, social media marketing and e-commerce activities.

How many digital platforms and initiatives does your business use? From websites, emails, blogs, social media, mobile websites, to webinars, Skype and instant messaging, the way you communicate with your audience and colleagues has no doubt changed over the years. It’s important to keep up to date with what technologies your audience are now using. For example, Australian Facebook 2010 users statistics, according to Facebakers, are:
Number of users on Facebook in Australia: 9 169 220

  • Number of male users on Facebook in Australia: 4 119 160
  • Number of female users on Facebook in Australia: 4 805 300
  • Penetration of Facebook in Australia to population: 43.12 %
  • Penetration of Facebook in Australia to online population: 53.83 %

How has technology impacted on the consumer’s decision making?
Never before have we been so connected to the wired world, each other, and the businesses we buy from, thanks to the digital revolution. Power has been placed in the consumer’s hands to make informed buying decisions, exchange information with peers, make purchases on-the-go and shop across multiple channels. This increased use of technology has empowered consumers to become more vocal and demanding about their wants and needs, according to a 2010 IBM global survey of over 32,000 consumers3. Businesses therefore must engage their wired consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and encourage open communication for feedback and brand and consumer dialogue.

How has the digital revolution changed the way we communicate?
E-books are the new books, webinars are replacing seminars, and schools are introducing iPads. So when will mobile phones take over laptops, and Facebook replace email? According to statistics, it could be in the near future. The e-business Report shows that more than four in 10 Australians used mobile internet, and mainly at home or at work, where they have access to a computer. Meanwhile recent figures4 reveal that email usage has dropped by 28% between June 2009 and June 2010, while social networking use increased by 43% over the same time.

What does this mean for your business?
Never before have your website and digital marketing activities been so important. Ask yourself how your audience has changed the way they communicate during the digital revolution. And now, how do you communicate to them? How is your brand represented online? How have you been using brand-to-consumer dialogue and feedback to better market your business? Is a website enough…?

Despite Australian businesses embracing new digital applications, Sensis has reported that most companies do not have a digital strategy to align these activities with their business objectives and marketing plans. Meanwhile a Sitecore webinar in October 2010 reported that 60% of businesses do not have a social media strategy, and 70% of marketers simply do not have the time to produce one.

Without a connected marketing strategy, businesses are possibly not getting the best return on their digital investment. To embrace the digital revolution and ensure your business’s digital marketing efforts pay off, a digital strategy is vital.

How have you changed the way you communicate to your target market?

Yours in digital marketing,

Julia

iPhone Accessories

So you’ve got a brand new iPhone 4, what to do next?

Accessorise!!

The iPhone 4 is probably the most sought after smart phone on the market, even considering the recent hiccups in terms of reception, it seems that the world once again loves iPhone. What’s not to love about a phone that can provide entertainment and a whole world of fun in addition to being a fully functional business companion.

I was browsing the web today and came across some of the most ingenious (and yes of course there are one or two “out there”) iPhone accessories.

My most favourite iPhone accessory that I found today was the iPhone MacLove Titan Stand. The stand allows you to dock your iPhone on your desktop and features design inspired by Apple’s Mac. It allows for your phone to be titled to landscape view as well as being operated in portrait view. The stand has a non-slip base and seems to be very effective in holding your phone in place.

Have you come across any iPhone Accessories that you just have to share? What’s your favourite?

Yours in Tech Accessories,

Trish

High Speed Bullet Photography

If you are ever starved for a creative concept, think beyond space and form, consider ‘time’. Sometimes the most beautiful moments happen in the blink of an eye. Check out what Alan Sailer has captured through high speed photography!

Feel free to blink though, these photos won’t let you miss an inch of detail! Also, check out Alan’s flicker page for more high speed photography: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8763834@N02/

Yours in space and time,

Tara