Stress management. Get it out of your head.

28 Jun

We all get stressed.

No matter how cool or collected you are, you are bound to have been in bed, past midnight, with things whirring around you head. The minutes and hours tick past and there is no sign of sleep.

The cure is simple. Get everything out of your head.

You don’t need to solve the worlds problems before the morning. Just jot everything down and tell yourself you will pick it up in the morning.

I would recommend keeping a notebook and pen next to your bed as tapping these into your phone just doesn’t seem to do the trick. Also, staring at the beacon of light it creates for a few minutes isn’t going to help at all.


1 hour meetings

28 Jun

Being efficient with time is a big thing.

With the pace of life and everything we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, we need to make the most of every minute. Especially at work.

If you’re work days are ruled by the Tetris like view of Outlook, then this is even more important.

So why do people insensately book in 1 hour meetings by default? It’s just crazy.

There should be se kind of code of conduct about meetings to ensure people time is not wasted. Because it’s their most valuable asset and we only get one pass on this world.

If every meeting was 1 hour, we could in theory roughly take part in 1,540 meetings per year.

If we only optimised them a little and made every meeting 45 minutes instead, working a bit harder to be efficient and direct, we could take part in roughly 2,090 meetings per year.

That’s a whole 550 other things we could have talked about. That’s a lot.

So before you invite someone to a meeting. Please think first.

Ad of the week – Condomania

27 Jun

This has to be the weirdest ad I’ve seen for some time.


Don’t Sell. Build Loyalty.

20 Jun

Uber adds black cabs

11 Jun

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 15.04.02

Controversially Uber have added black cabs to their offering sparking more debate about their service in London. This comes amidst cab strikes causing carnage in central London.

But you have to think why they have launched this today. Surely the most genius piece of marketing, impeccably timed and surely proving that all PR is good PR. They are even paying for sponsored tweets alongside “taxi strike’ related search terms.

Hats off to their marketing team for pulling this together alongside the app update.

So much so they reportedly had a 850% uplift in new account registrations on that one day.

Context is king

7 Jun

I love clever technology. No matter how complex or simple, it’s these little moments if delight that make me want to work in this sector.

One I’ve spotted today is in Citymapper.

As well as it’s normal highly intelligent travel advice, it also knows it’s bucketing down out there.


So it’s added a ‘rain safe’ route.



Failo. How could they have got it so wrong

3 Jun

Failo. How could they have got it so wrong

So it seems the world of mobile cab bookings is taking an interesting turn.

It’s all over the news that Hailo is now introducing exec cars / mini cabs to their service, which has sparked outrage in the world of black cabs.

But how does this effect the customer? From a competitive stand point Hailo has always, in my mind, won out over Get Taxi. The app is slicker, more reliable, has better accuracy and importantly the drovers appear to be better quality. And yes, before you say it, i know most drivers run both apps.

But then there is Uber. A service which is very much marmite for me. It’s reliable, the Exec cars and drivers are great. Plus Uber X is so cost effective, however this has to be balanced with useless drivers. But still.

In my opinion Hailo needs to stick to what it’s good at. I don’t want a mini cab. I want a black cab, with a professional driver who knows where they are going.

They need to keep innovating and if necessary find other ways to monetise.


The solar road debate

1 Jun

You’ve no doubt heard all about it by now. The potential for solar roads, created from high tech glass coated panels allowing energy to be farmed, road markings electronically reconfigured and it’s intelligent enough to notify drivers of problems ahead.

This is so very cool. You have to watch the video if you’ve not already.

But apparently there is some objection to the concept. Specifically Roy Spencer, a NASA scientist.

In his post he quoted some damming points as to why it would never happen with some fairly flakey points. With an attitude like that we would never have got to the moon would we Dr Spencer?

Never the less this is a challenging concept. But i am completely blown away and wish i’d invented it.

How Ford will let you listen to Spotify, book a hotel and order a pizza from behind the wheel

26 Feb

At this week’s Mobile World Congress Ford announced an update to SYNC AppLink, the service which provides smartphone connectivity and app experiences within its cars.

SYNC AppLink currently allows US Ford owners an upgradable option to access their mobile apps in their cars by connecting their smartphone, allowing control of the apps whilst driving, but this year we’ll see the service integrated fully into several Ford models starting with the Ford EcoSport, due to launch in the UK this April.

Brand experiences on the road

For brands, this deeper integration of apps provides a greater opportunity to tap into the captive audience of drivers and passengers on the road to guarantee brand engagement where it may have previously been hard to do so. Content-heavy brands that can translate this content across multiple platforms have a particular advantage. SYNC AppLink now provides the chance to deliver personalised content to the driver based on a whole host of data, including journey type, time of day, length of time spent in the car and location.

This means drivers on their morning commute could read the day’s top stories from their favourite news app, get an update on their current account balance or tell the car they’re hungry and receive a selection of localised restaurant recommendations. Partners already offering their services include Spotify,, TomTom and Domino’s, meaning drivers can listen to their shared playlists, reserve a hotel room and order a pizza from behind the wheel.

What this means for developers

App development teams will breathe a sigh of relief to know that integration with SYNC AppLink is straightforward – existing iOS and Android apps can be connected using Ford’s SDK to make adoptions as easy as possible. But brands will need to ensure that the information given to the driver and/or passengers is contextually relevant.

Towards the future

As the expectation consumers have to access the internet from anywhere, anytime, increases the onus will be on both brands and car manufactures to use the cloud to connect them to drivers. Contextual communication will go beyond using vehicle data to automatically optimise fuel consumption based on traffic. The connected car will talk to the connected home, telling the oven that the driver will be home later than expected so automatically record their favourite TV show, or lower the temperature in the oven to stop the dinner from burning.

We’ll see the introduction of biometrics in cars as consumers become more comfortable with using retina and finger print scanners to unlock devices thanks to the iPhone 5s. Cars will then use this data to determine who the driver is and adjust the car settings accordingly.

Connected-cars are here and in order for in-car apps to become universal, there needs to be standardisation across the industry to guarantee apps provide seamless branded experiences. At Nice, we’re partnered with Ford to connect brands and drivers through the next generation of in-car apps to give drivers the richest experience possible in today’s connected world.

Originally written for The Drum on behalf of Nice Agency

More than just catch up TV: how can brands benefit from video on demand?

26 Jan

Back in August the BBC announced its roadmap for iPlayer – stating that the service will be more than just catching up with TV shows online, and will become part of the Beeb’s vision of forming its primary digital entertainment destination. The new iPlayer is set to include a unique content offering, including pop-up channels – around specific events or festivals – giving users the ability to create their own viewing schedules and access to more content on iPlayer before it’s broadcast on linear TV.

So as consumers start curating and creating their own viewing schedules, will this mark a significant shift from linear TV to Video on Demand (VoD)? And if so, what does this mean for content-led brands and broadcasters operating in this space?

There’s no doubt that time spent watching TV on demand is growing. 4oD views in 2012 were up 5% to 450 million and the BBC iPlayer app has now been downloaded over 20 million times. The established OTT providers are also seeing success. Netflix, along with YouTube now make up over half of internet traffic in The States and ‘Netflix only’ content, such as House of Cards and the final season of Breaking Bad has no-doubt helped the company see its share price more than treble over the past 12 months.

But traditional linear TV viewing isn’t changing much. According to Thinkbox, the UK’s marketing body for TV in the UK, despite the ready availability of VoD, TV is being consumed in much the same way as always: in the living room with friends or family watching programmes broadcast on their main TV set.

So where does the future lie? Linear TV and VoD aren’t mutually exclusive. We’re starting to see a shift in broadcasters bringing together the two into one, device agnostic, service with a seamless user experience. Connected devices will continue to provide rich content discovery, and an overhaul in personalisation, will mean cherry-picked programmes can be implemented around the shows that users like to watch live. This gives relevant content based on the viewer’s preference, device, location and time available to watch, in addition to retaining the much loved social element of watching favourite programmes ‘live’ and sharing the experience in real-time. We’ll see viewers given the option to set reminders for upcoming shows, with the platform sending push notifications for these shows and adding them to the schedule – making it as easy as possible to be consumed.

As viewers spend more time on these dedicated platforms, this brings opportunities for broadcasters to form stronger bonds with users and create value exchanges, with branded content served through secondary interactions.

And this is key. Brands should be valuing this opportunity within existing platforms, instead of just creating another second screen app. Focusing on these secondary interactions means users can still be provided with a seamless, multi-channel experience to keep them engaged with both the brand and the content.

Channel 4’s Scrapbook is a good example of this. It gives viewers the option of downloading recipe cards from Jamie Oliver, style tips from Gok Wan and property advice from Sarah Beeny. Keeping users engaged on VoD platforms is key as broadcasters experiment with getting monetisation right, whether that be through traditional advertising, subscription payment models or other financial strategies.

The downside of these seamless, multi-channel experiences? One of the main challenges for broadcasters is whether to consolidate their services on existing platforms or move towards new platforms such as Xbox One, PS4 and beyond. Developing for a wider range of platforms brings with it higher development costs in addition to resource and time commitment. But, as Gartner predicts that over 300 million connected devices will be sold by 2020, the market is self-evident.

Originally written for The Drum on behalf of Nice Agency