united kingdom

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Original post by   via CNN Money

From left: Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Mason Cohn

* During Facebook’s big product launch event yesterday at its Palo Alto headquarters, Mark Zuckerberg announced some interesting new stats: users are sharing twice as much content now as they did the same time last year, with its 750 million users — yes, 750 million — sharing 4 billion items a day. Zuck and crew also unveiled three products: group messaging, a new full-sized buddy list design and Skype-powered video chat. While all are welcome additions, it was the last feature which made the biggest splash. So far, it’s almost everything it ought to be: easy-to-download and easy-to-use, with some pretty stellar video quality. No group video chat a la Google + “Hangout,” though. (Fortune)

* It’s just over a week old, but according to Search Engine Land, Google + appears to be off to a good start, at least if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by. The Web site already has 1,000 followers. (In comparison, it took the site 17 months to achieve that via Google Buzz.) Meanwhile, tech blog Mashable has 9,000 followers to its name. (Search Engine Land)

* According to The Wall Street JournalApple ordered components for a new iPhone it’s planning to launch by the end of September. If sources are to be believed, the newest model will closely resemble the iPhone 4, but offer a thinner and lighter design along with an 8-megapixel camera. (Wall Street Journal)

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Showcase panel to feature Founder-President Dominic Wheatley, of “Tech City,” London-based company SocialGO, the first “Social Website” maker.

Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare for their trip to Canada and California (Pic: PA)

LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Variety’s Venture Capital & New Media Summit, taking place at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Friday, July 8th, will explore how UK innovation is now on course to rival that of Silicon Valley and how the British investment community is driving technology innovation – so critical for the growth of the evolving technology and entertainment industries in the UK.

The summit will showcase London’s “Tech City” initiative, which was launched by the U.K. government to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in Shoreditch, East London. Dominic Wheatley, Founder and President of SocialGO, which creates next generation “socially-enabled” websites, has been invited to participate in a panel discussion beginning at 4:00pm. Along with Variety, the media summit is being presented in conjunction with the UK Trade & Investment Group, who are pulling out all the stops for this panel in particular; it will feature HRH Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duke and Duchess ofCambridge, in the very first appearance of their California visit.

SocialGO, a leader in private, or “niche” social networks, is launching the first website creation platform made for the social web. The company is one of many based in “Tech City”, an area that is home to one of the largest concentrations of small, fast-growing digital technology companies in Europe and intends to give California’s Silicon Valley a run for its money as a global hub of technology. Variety’s Venture Capital and New Media Summit will showcase some of its emerging technology stars, including SocialGO.

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Original post by  via Mashable

Gabe Zichermann is the author of Gamification by Designand chair of the upcoming Gamification Summit NYC, where top leaders in the field – such as those profiled here – get together to share insight, key metrics and best practices. Mashable readers are invited to register with special savings at GSummit.com using code MASH10.

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems. In other words, it means taking the best lessons from games like FarmVilleWorld of Warcraft and Angry Birds, and using them in business. Whether targeted at customers or employees, across industries as diverse as technology, health care, education, consumer products, entertainment and travel, gamification’s impact can already be felt.

While some have criticized the concept of gamification as shallow or demeaning, the initial findings from gamification specialists are nothing short of astonishing. Regardless of your business model, the following seven gamified innovations should inspire you to strategize via game analysis.


1. Make a Market: Foursquare


The first incarnation of the location-based networking field was littered with carnage, leading many to write off the entire concept. But Foursquare’s founders, veterans of the now defunct Dodgeball, succeeded with an ace in the hole: game mechanics. Exposed to the concept while working at Area/Code (Zynga’s recently acquired New York City-based game design shop), Dennis and Naveen concluded that mobile social networking would work if you were to change the dynamic from multiplayer to single player.

Instead of depending on the action of the crowd to provide intrinsic reinforcement (e.g. “Hey, you’re around the corner. Let’s grab a beer!”), Foursquare overcame the empty bar problem by becoming a single-player game. The user competes for badges and mayorships whether or not anyone is there to meet him. In the process, Foursquare proved that location-based networking wasn’t doomed to fail, that simple game mechanics can affect behavior, and that you can engage 10 million customers — all while raising $50 million.


2. Get Fit: NextJump


When you listen to NextJump CEO Charlie Kim describe his zeal for physical fitness, you immediately understand the energy that has propelled this interactive marketing platform into one of the nation’s fastest growing businesses. But keeping fit isn’t just Kim’s personal goal — he told me it’s also a practice he believes his employees should value as a tool for improving their lives, reducing company insurance costs and preventing employee absenteeism. To achieve those goals, NextJump installed gyms in its offices, and built a custom application that enabled employees to check in to each workout. Ultimately, they rewarded the top performers with a cash prize. After implementation, around 12% of the company’s staff began a regular workout regimen.

But Kim wasn’t satisfied. By leveraging the power of gamification, he retooled the fitness “game” to become a team sport. Now NextJump employees could form regionally based teams, check in to workouts and see their team performance on a leaderboard. Leveraging the game themes of tribalism and competition had an astonishing effect on behavior. Today, 70% of NextJump employees exercise regularly — enough to save the company millions in work attendance and insurance costs over the medium term — all the while making the workplace healthier and happier.


3. Slow Down and Smell the Money: Kevin Richardson


In many countries, speed cameras snare thousands of drivers each year — a quick shutter flash earns a miserable ticket in the mailbox. In some countries, particularly in Scandinavia, ticket amounts correspond with the driver’s salary, rather than his speed. But Kevin Richardson, game designer at MTV’s San Francisco office, re-imagined the experience using game thinking.

His innovative Speed Camera Lottery idea rewards those drivers who obey the posted limit by entering them into a lottery. The compliant drivers then split the proceeds generated from speeders. Richardson used gamification concepts to turn an negative reinforcement system into a positive, incremental experience.

When tested at a checkpoint in Stockholm, average driver speed was reduced by 20%. If the plan were scaled across the U.S., the results could mean thousands fewer injuries, millions of dollars worth of reduced costs and substantial environmental benefits.


4. Generate Ad Revenues: Psych & NBC/Universal.


 

Psych is a popular program on the USA Network, but these days, creating value for TV advertisers means connecting to the web and social media in creative ways. Enter Club Psych, the online brand platform for the show, and among the first major media platforms to get gamified.

The brainchild of NBC/Universal executive Jesse Redniss, Club Psych implemented gamified incentives to raise page views by over 130% and return visits by 40%. The resulting rise in engagement has generated substantial revenue for the company, bringing registered user counts from 400,000 to nearly 3 million since the launch of the gamified version. The media conglomerate has since embraced the strategy across properties, bringing gamification to ratings leaders like Top Chef and the The Real Housewives.

Other content publishers, like Playboy, have seen similar results. Their Miss Social Facebook app has achieved an 85% re-engagement rate and 60% monthly revenue growth with gamification.

GAME MECHANICS IN ACTION 5-7

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Original post by Pete Swabey via Information Age

The network equipment vendor hopes to fund entrepreneurs whose ideas can make the captial smarter and more connected. But on what condition?

In January 2011, networking equipment maker Cisco announced a goal to invest a staggering $500 million in East London’s technology sector over the next five years.

The investment project, dubbed the British Innovation Gateway (BIG), was welcomed by prime minister David Cameron. Cisco’s investment will “help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable economic growth”, he said at the time.

So what is Cisco going to spend the money on?

Broadly speaking, its intention is to invest in and support London-based start-ups, especially those that are focused on “smart and connected communities”, Cisco’s jargon for technologies that integrate business, government and civil networks.

For Cisco, the “enlightened self-interest” comes from the fact that if successful, these technologies will drive demand for network equipment and services.

The BIG programme is designed to do this in a number of ways. The most conspicuous components of the programme will be two ‘innovation centres’ – one located in Shoreditch, the other somewhere in the vicinity of the Olympic park.

What exactly is an innovation centre? “That’s a very good question, actually,” says Russell Craig, public sector manager for Cisco’s Internet business solutions group. “It’s a very broad concept, and we’ve deliberately refrained from being too precise about what it is.”

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Original post by  via TechEYE

Facebook is snubbing the so-called sillicon roundabout – home of start-ups around the Shoreditch area – to move into Covent Garden instead.

It will put Facebook in tube-taking distance to the East London Tech City, proposed by the government to be a bustling hub of start-ups and established tech powerhouses. Facebook has committed to a developer garage for the project.

Meanwhile, Google is interested, and so is Intel - along with Barclaycard and plenty of others.

But anyone who has taken the tube from the crowded Covent Garden in the evening would probably know it’s worth giving a miss.

Covent Garden’s 42 Earlham Street  office building was packed full of 600 Expedia employees who will now set up shop in Angel, Islington. It’s a fair bit closer to Old Street.

READ MORE TO FIND OUT FACEBOOK’S U.K. HEADQUARTERS

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Original post by Dean Takahashi via VentureBeat 

Gigya has made its mark by making web sites more social. Now it’s going to gamify them too. The company is announcing today that it will offer a Game Mechanics software as a service so that companies can make their sites more social and game-like as they seek to engage users who are otherwise bored with static web sites.

The company will compete with a lot of other gamification startups, from Bunchball to Big Door and Badgeville. But Victor White, senior marketing manager, said his company offers more like a one-stop shop where customers can add gamification as part of a wider selection of social features. The trend toward gamification — or making non-game web sites more engaging by making them game-like — has become a big bandwagon this year, as gamification is driving the next wave of web loyalty and rewards programs.

At this year’s Gamification Summit in January, Wanda Meloni, analyst at M2 Research, estimated that the production of gamification projects will generate $1.6 billion in revenues by 2015. That means it will grow from just 3 percent of social media marketing budgets in 2010 to more than 23 percent by 2015. The average growth rate for the next two years is 150 percent, in terms of revenues. Gartner also predicts that gamification will be a huge wave as big brands embrace it.

With Game Mechanics, Gigya customers can motivate users to get more engaged with a site through leaderboards and user achievements. Partners joining the launch include Fathead.com, CarDomain, VideoBash, GoodSearch, Shoebacca and Daily Racing Form. That’s a decent set of initial partners.

Gigya notes that gamification can get users stoked with virtual and psychological rewards in lieu of or in addition to financial rewards. Rivals such as Bunchball have years of experience, and it won’t be easy for Gigya to catch up. But Gigya says it makes gamification easier by letting clients incorporate it automatically across any of Gigya’s existing social plug-ins. Gigya’s main business is a software-as-a-service that makes web sites more social, allowing online businesses to integrate Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Gigya’s clients have more than 280 million users across 500,000 sites, with customers such as CBS, Fox Sports, Intuit, and The Coca-Cola Company.

“Gamification has been one of the most requested features from our clients, so we are very excited to bring to market a truly best in class social rewards product,” said Patrick Salyer (pictured), chief executive of Mountain View, Calif.-based Gigya.

Gigya was founded in 2006 and has 75 employees. The company has raised three rounds of funding; its investors include Benchmark Capital, Mayfield Fund, Dag Ventures, First Round Capital, and Adobe.

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Kam Star – Chief Play Officer, PlayGen

Kam Star is a digital media inventor and an award winning games developer. Creating his first computer game in 1986, he studied Architecture and is deeply passionate about innovation in play, social media and influence.

Founder of PlayGen, Kam designs and develops playful solutions and platforms for delivering engaging experiences across the digital landscape. He has produced games and gamification projects for the BBC, AVIVA, Eden Project, UNESCO, McKinsey, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, NESTA, Ministry of Defence, NHS, Technology Strategy Board, Wellcome Trust, Samsung and many more.

Kam will speak about the Elements of Gamification in the upcoming London Silicon Roundabout July Meetup (Gaming to Gamification) on Thursday, July 7 at the  Innovation Warehouse.

Session brief :

The Elements of Gamification

A quick session that introduces adding game mechanics to sites, brands and content to increase engagement. Discussing the underlying psychology and do’s and don’t of the new black art of gamifying!

 

 

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Grey Area is an ambitious young company out to change the way games are understood as part of the life in the city. Based in Helsinki, Finland, the Company was founded to create a breakthrough gaming experience using real world locations as the context for mobile games.

According to Grey Area, they see cities as playing fields and neighborhoods as front lines.

The core group comprises Mikko Hämäläinen, Andreas Karlsson, Teemu Tuulari and Ville Vesterinen with a network of world class investors and advisors.

The World’s first truly mobile MMORPG

Shadow Cities is a global location based MMORPG for iPhone, where you aim to conquer your real world neighborhoods for your team. In Shadow Cities neighborhoods and familiar streets in cities across the world are part of the global game world that is visible to you through your iPhone.

Shadow Cities is a new way to see and understand MMORPG games. Grey Area is building a whole new MMORPG genre by combining location aware mobile gaming with global social gaming. Take Part in the Battle for the Dominance of Your City.

In Shadow Cities you take the role of a modern Mage and join one of the two global teams, learning magic and seeing your surroundings with new eyes. Together with your friends you hunt Shadow Spirits and use spells and strategy to battle over the control of your own city and the cities all over the world.

Shadow Cities is available FREE to download. Click here to View in iTunes.

 

Grey Area will be presenting Shadow Cities at the London Silicon Roundabout July Meetup (Gaming to Gamification) on Thursday, July 7 at the Innovation Warehouse.

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Hackney Community College and Hackney UTC ties up with Techmeetups.com to help the Tech Startup community in Tech City – also known as London’s Silicon Roundabout

Hackney Community College is an exciting, vibrant and multicultural FE College, based in the heart of Hoxton, and is the lead sponsor of a proposed new University Technical College – Hackney UTC.

Students succeed at Hackney Community College! School leavers and adults choose from hundreds of popular courses, and study full or part-time. The college also has flexible opportunities for employers to train their staff. Qualifications range from digital media and IT to administration, to security. Always taught by talented staff, and always using most up-to-date software and facilities.

Hackney Community College is now proud to be working with partners to develop a brand new technical school for East London and the City – opening in September 2012 – the Hackney UTC, an innovative University Technical College.  Students will specialise in a technical subject as well as academic qualifications in a demanding and stimulating curriculum. The aim is for students to leave the UTC with the best possible chance of success in work or higher education.

One partner in the UTC is Techmeetups.com that organises The London Silicon Roundabout Meetup group of over 1000+ tech companies from the area.  As part of the partnership Techmeetups will advise Hackney Community College and Hackney UTC on the current skills shortages to help fine tune the training programs for the market.

Techmeetups.com is also planning to run training sessions to help students understand the importance of networking, current technology trends and how start-ups work. As part of the partnership HCC will host Techmeetups events at its award-winning campus, and also work on creating a space to help start-ups and students collaborate and work together.

Apart from mentoring & helping various Tech Startups, Techmeetups.com also advices the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), Hackney Council and various non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that work on the Tech City initiative, helping to make London’s Silicon Roundabout into the next Silicon Valley.

Hackney UTC is open for applications from 14 year olds to start in September 2012. Benefitting from such expert knowledge, resources and opportunities from Techmeetups, and the network that has turned east London into one of the most forward-looking centres of technical innovation, will put these local young people in the frame for future employment success.

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The government is paying a marketing agency close to £100,000 per year to promote David Cameron’s Tech City overseas, a Whitehall department has confirmed.

In the same week that saw ministers applaud major reductions in government advertising and the axing of around a quarter of in-house government communications jobs, business minister Mark Prisk told MPs that PR firm Hill and Knowlton would be paid £99,945 to promote Tech City overseas for 12 months.

Speaking to Publicservice.co.uk, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said no concerns had been raised in government about spending the sum on the marketing campaign, which they believed to represent “excellent value for money”.

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