By Renato Telese , MSc Digital Marketing student at UCD Michael Smurfit Business School
Only 20% of world’s top farmers use any kind of technological device to track their animals’ behaviour. Connecterra aims at changing it by providing a dairy monitor for dairy cattle estrus detection and health analysis. This Amsterdam-based startup has been awarded as alpha category winner at Websummit 2015 pitch competition, where 200 of the world’s most promising startups presented their business ideas in front of judges selected among world’s leading investors and entrepreneurs.
Each of the three finalist alpha startups have been given three minutes sharp to present their product and one further minute to answer questions made by judges. The three-minutes idea presented by Connecterra founder Yasir Khokhar on stage was inspiring: “milk is a key ingredient in our diet and the answer to more milk is not more cows as this is not sustainable”.
The product: a real time-movement sensor hardware
The solution is what he called the “fitbit for cows”, a machine learning platform that can help achieving at the same time two objectives: improve animal health and reduce labour input. As CEO Yasir explained during his short presentation, the device processor, once installed on the farm, is able to determine if a specific cow “is eating, walking or ruminating” and answer questions such as “is my cow eating well?”.
Here is basically how their system works: each cow is provided with a sensor cube and each cube is connected with a device management platform that will transfer the flow of data to the cloud. Results of data processing are accessible on desktop, mobile and tablet. Thanks to this system, farmers do not need to watch every single cow in order to improve their productivity as the sensor is able to track real-time movement of each cow.
Putting in farmers’ shoes
However, the main question is whether farmers are ready to such a change in their daily routine or not. As matter of fact, one of the judges in charge of evaluating the performance during the one-minute Q&A session asked the founder: “What is the reaction of farmers? Are they technical enough to understand this?”. The answer was very straightforward: “the farmers don’t need to understand data. We tell them what to do”. In a few words, for a price of $10 per cow, the startup provides steady support in analysing animal real-movement data by giving farmers specific insights and recommendations on how to increase productivity depending on that data. The farmers do not really need to analyse data as Connecterra will do it for them.
But again: how to convince farmers that this system will really work? From this perspective, although Connecterra is only an early stage startup, it is already doing a great job in terms of traction and market research: they are running committed trials on over 1,000 cows and with international dairy products brands with over 177K farmers in management. Results so far show a 20% increase in productivity and an average of 250$ of savings per cow. Furthermore, it is not only about productivity: animal health is the first area of concern for Connecterra, and the solution provided by the startup makes cows living happier and longer.
By Aditya Labhe, Msc Digital Marketing, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
How many Startups does it take to change the world?
FoodCloud connects businesses with surplus food to charities that can use the food. They connect the businesses-charities through their website and app.
What’s the problem that gave rise to FoodCloud?
Food businesses frequently have a food surplus and on the other side there are charities which struggle to provide the food to those in need. Such a scenario can lead to a lot of food wastage.
How much food wastage are we talking about?
According to Environment Protection Agency, Ireland wastes around one million tonnes of food every year. Not all of this food is actually a waste, major quantity of this food is a surplus which hasn’t reached the end consumer and is perfectly good for consumption.
At the same time 1/10 in people in Ireland are living with food poverty.
On a global scale, approximately 30% of food produced for human consumption is wasted across the food supply chain.
The FoodCloud Story:
FoodCloud was founded by Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward. In 2012 they began matching charities with business through phone calls and by doing physical deliveries. Soon they realised that they needed technology to further improve and sustain the process and started working on developing the FoodCloud App.
The FoodCloud App:
FoodCloud App was launched in October 2013. They started working with a number of small cafes and one Tesco retail chain.
What are the kinds of charities FoodCloud works with?
FoodCloud redistributes food to charities across causes providing services in youth, childcare, homelessness, domestic abuse, addiction, education and unemployment. Together these organisations serve to almost 90,000 people every week.
With food redistribution which essentially means diverting food that is perfectly fit for human consumption and FoodCloud these charities have managed to reduce their food bills and focus their resources on the core services.
Tesco and FoodCloud
In 2014, FoodCloud partnered with Tesco to redistribute surplus food from their 149 stores to charities across Ireland.
What has happened since then?
FoodCloud has grown from redistributing 4 tonnes food in 2014 to over 453 tonnes so far in 2015.
FoodCloud has partnered with over 330 charities, over 150 business in 26 counties in Ireland and redistributed 667 tones food which is equivalent to 1.5 million meals.
How does the App work?
Matches – The app matches the businesses with surplus food to the charities in the area. The business can upload the details of the surplus food and collection time. The local charity is sent an SMS and they then reply to accept the offer. The business is then notified through the app.
Tracking– Both the businesses and charities keep a track on their donations. Businesses can take a look at the positive impact they have created through the donated meals.
Is FoodCloud the only app based food provider service?
This service using mobile application is not available in Ireland or majority of EU countries. 2 similar services are operating in USA.
The low cost technology solution makes the food redistribution food process fast and efficient and is not as capital intensive as the more traditional food banks.
FoodCloud’s goal is to be an innovative leader in distribution of surplus good by providing solutions that’ll bring communities closer, empower people and bring a real change. Connect with as many charities in Ireland. They recently launched a pilot in the UK in partnership with the non-profit organisation, FareShare, in 11 Tesco stores across London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Belfast and are aiming to launch in 100 Tesco stores across the UK this year.
Want to get in touch with FoodCloud? Connect with them on their website- www.foodcloud.net.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” St. Augustine
Is it your dream to travel the world? Experience new cultures? Explore outside your comfort zone? The release of the 2007 film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman catapulted the concept of the Bucket List into the minds of everyone and anyone. People around the world jumped at the chance to create their own Bucket List, filled with ideas involving the most exotic locations and adrenaline fuelled activities.
Various websites emerged, offering ideas and generating Bucket Lists, but that was the easy part. Completing the Bucket List was quickly recognised as a little more complicated. Some might describe it as daunting. The solution? A creative start-up from the heart of Canada named Neuwly.
Founded by Greg Stonehocker and Steve Christensen, Neuwly has created “a social platform that facilitates, enhances and tracks the world’s adventures”, helping users to achieve and track their goals through organised and collaborative experiences. Travelling to new locations and experiencing new cultures can be a daunting task, a task Neuwly simplifies using a four step plan.
Step one is ‘Discovery’. Neuwly provides users with all the necessary tools to discover all they have ever wished to experience, while introducing them to ideas they have never considered.
Step two is ‘Add’. Neuwly simplifies adding experiences to the user’s Bucket List, with goals such as Adopt a Rescue Pet and Attend Oktoberfest in Germany easily accessible on the website, all at the click of a button.
‘Act’ is step three – breaking down each goal into the smallest possible steps needed to achieve it. Step three encourages users to engage with friends on the social platform by encouragement, commenting on their achievements to date, and joining others as they realise their dreams.
Step four, the final step is ‘Experience’, when the user experiences those moments they have always dreamed of and ticks them off the Bucket List.
Neuwly co-founder Greg Stonehocker was at the Web Summit 2015 to promote his company as it begins its journey. Speaking with Greg, the start-up is still in the alpha stage, with a clear and focused future ahead. Having only launched on November 2nd this year, Neuwly is currently only available through the start-ups website. Greg stated that the launch of the Neuwly app, already in creation, is next on the agenda. User’s life-long goals and dreams will shortly be in the palm of their hand.
But what does the long term future hold for Neuwly? Greg hopes to eventually collaborate with companies and agencies around the world. Connections with equipment suppliers and tour organisers will further facilitate and simplify turning the user’s goal of turning dreams into reality.
Neuwly proved popular at the Web Summit 2015 and is quickly gaining traction across all channels. The website is simple yet innovative, playing on idealistic images to excite the inner explorer. For those eager to complete their Bucket List and experience adventures they never dreamed of, welcome to Neuwly: “Convince yourself to live, because when you do, others follow”.
For more information on Neuwly, check out their website at https://www.neuwly.com/ or follow them across their social media channels.
By Marcus Hide MSc Digital Marketing student at UCD Michael Smurfit Business School.
Tinder: The App That’s Bringing People Together or the Relationship Killer?
At the web summit 2015 Sean Rad, the guy that introduced swiping to the dating vocab, took to center stage to discuss his mobile app, Tinder. The company are taking the world by storm dominating the online dating landscape and have users in approximately 194 countries.
However, this application does not have the best of reputations and is seen by many as a tacky app for meaningless hook ups. This is an opinion I shared but would this talk change my mind? Is tinder bringing people together or is it simply killing relationships? A recent article from Vanity fair entitled “Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse” highlighted numerous negative experiences with the application. One individual was even quoted saying that;
“Romance is completely dead”
Tinder was portrayed as an app that was all about meaningless hookups and killing relationships. These opinions were also shared in a humorous video I came across where Senior Citizens try out Tinder for the first time and as you would expect, they did not like it.
But is it all bad? Currently an incredible 1,500,000 million dates a week are stemming from Tinder with over half of them resulting in second dates. This is a statistic I did not expect. Tinder is rapidly increasing the amount of connections in this world and breaking down the barriers of starting relationships. It’s not always easy to meet people. You have to walk over, get nervous and face the fear of getting rejected. It is not a fun process. What Tinder is doing is bypassing these barriers and bringing people together. Sean discussed how yes there may be those looking for hook ups but there are plenty of Tinder relationships, Tinder marriages and yes even Tinder babies!
“What we found was that over 80% on tinder are there to find long term relationships”.
The Future of Tinder
So what’s in the future for Tinder? According to Sean the company are working harder then ever to bring more people together and to make more meaningful connections. They plan to do this by utilizing all the data they have collected from over 9 billion matches and to further develop their connection algorithm. The more matches there are the better it’s getting. They are also introducing a new feature where you can express your interest to an individual rather than just match him. This is the equivalent of walking over to say hello and not just giving a wink from across the bar. All these statistics and hearing Sean discuss his vision of helping people make these meaningful concoctions portrays a different story. From this talk my opinion quickly changed. This application may not be for me but you can’t ignore the fact that it is breaking down the barriers of starting relationships. not killing them. It’s hard to deny that Tinder is bringing people together and making some genuine connections along the way. What they do with that connection is up to them!
Websummit 2015 has just wrapped up another successful year here in Dublin!
Yes, it was the BIG Tech Event last week in the RDS that caused mayhem in the city. If you haven’t heard of it by now, then some research into the technological and Digital World is required.
It is clear after attending Websummit 2015 that there is no end to the limit to Intelligence and Innovation It provided over 30,000 attendees with insightful ideas into the future of the Digital World.
FACEBOOK, I am positive most people in the world have heard of the worlds LARGEST networking service?
I attended an excellent talk on Tuesday November 3rd where FACEBOOK’S CTO Mike Schropfer spoke to the Digital Savvy Audience at Websummit in Dublin about two important developments within their Artificial Intelligence Research Team (FAIR) focused on connecting the world.
Digital Marketers are constantly researching for new ways to drive traffic to websites and connect different platforms through engaging content this means we must keep informed about the latest developments in technology and envision how we can adopt these new methods and pivot on our ideas to boost traffic.
Facebook – Artificial Intelligence
“We see AI as helping computers better understand the world – So they can be more helpful to people.” (Mark Zuckerberg, 2015)
This development will allow users to block posts they don’t want to see “Ad blocks”.
Motivation for this problem? ONLIINE DATA
They show the machine an image and tell the machine what it is E.g. A Dog, the machine stores this image forever. All of this wouldn’t be possible without “Memory Networks”
Facebook has developed a system of machines that enables computers to identify and notice actions in a photograph 30% faster and 10 times less training data than other industry and machine benchmarks. It allows people to ask the machine questions, such as what is in the photo.?
The example Schroepfer gave at Websummit was of a new born baby photo captioned “My new assistant” the user can ask, Is it a baby? Who is she with? What is the father doing?
This is an amazing technological advancement that will benefit with:
Taking Connectivity to the Next Level
Facebook are developing a laser system that will beam data from drones in the sky, they weigh the same amount as a MacBook Air.
‘Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10% of the world’s population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure.’ (Mark Zuckerberg, 2015)
(Example of Facebooks Satellite Aeroplane)
Problem – A billion people in world are impoverished and aren’t fortunate enough to live in the territory of existing wireless networks and Satellites are constantly moving and are difficult to track. The further you move away from the satellite the weaker the signal becomes.
Solution – Facebooks main goal being to allow Internet access to remote areas around the world including the developing countries. Providing world wide internet access is the proposal that will CONNECT the world. Develop a solar panelled air craft with lasers that will connect the satellites together to ensure high capacity data streams through the air resulting in high quality internet connections. These aircrafts will be able to stay up in the air for three months without refuelling.
(Example of Laser beams that connect Satellites)
Artificial intelligence will amplify everything we do on Facebook making it accessible to all its customers and satisfying everyone’s needs, making it an even greater platform to connect the world!
While at the Web Summit 2015, I was lucky enough to come across Pura Scents, an innovative new start up company. They are changing the way people add personal fragrances to their home.
Pura Scents is a Utah based tech company founded by Richie Stapler, Bruno Lima and Brian Jones. They have created the worlds first smart fragrance dispenser. The Pura fragrance dispenser plugs into a power outlet like any other plugin but the difference is that with Pura now you can fully control the scents in your entire home anytime, anywhere through the use of WiFi. This is controlled by an app which can be used on any mobile device.
Through this unique app, you have the ability to not only regulate the scents but also schedule certain scents to activate at specific times. For example, a calming fragrance at night or an energising scent in the morning.
The app also alerts the dispenser when you have left the house so it shuts off, therefore no scent is wasted. This will be economically beneficial to the home owner in the long term.
The plugin also contains a night light which can be scheduled to turn on and off just like the fragrance. You can choose the colour of the light to accompany the ambiance of your home.
As an innovative company, Pura Scents caught my attention because of their energy and passion for their product while on stage pitching to four judges to win the #AudiPitch. While they didn’t come first place, they did make it to the semi-finals which was a great achievement for such a new and exciting company and first timers to the Web Summit.
What makes this company so interesting to me and many others is that they are the first new technological developers for the home fragrance market. Previously it had just been traditional plugins, pauperie and diffusers which are generally over powering and don’t last long from the moment of use. With Pura Scents, the smart fragrance, these dilemmas are solved as you can control the intensity of the scent throughout your home.
This company has thought well beyond the box and brought home fragrance into the 21st century. We have seen this type of concept work well within the home energy appliances with Nest. Upon research I found that Nigel Carr, founder of Nest to be an advisor to this smart fragrance company. Besides Carr, John Richards is a well established senior advisor to Pura Scents and his expertise come from the Yellow Pages.
Another great element to this product is that you can sign up to a subscription based service which allows you to order new fragrances through the use of their app at a discounted rate, yet another way they save the consumer money in the future.
Besides promising great fragrances, Pura also promise that “every dollar we make, we’ll give a percentage back to help build schools, improve education and create jobs in third world countries.” Bruno Lima COO.
The Pura Scent team will be launching their smart fragrance on Kickstarter very soon and I for one can’t wait to see what new smart technologies they develop in the future.
For more information on Pura Scents, visit their website here:
By Tom Cronin, M.Sc Digital Marketing – UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School
We all love to share a tip. Word of mouth marketing – it taps into a social need, creating deeper friendships with other people. Doing other people this favour is as much for ourselves as them. It’s part of re-paying someone who gave us great service in the past.
At a CEXi Customer Experience workshop in the Chocolate Factory in Dublin last week I saw this first hand. Along with other large banks & service companies we were there to share best practice in the power of word of mouth marketing. But when we got to present, most of us relished in telling our own stories – the tailor who kept all his customer’s measurements in a black book over two generations of ownership. The gym instructor who called up after every class to see how his new member was shaping up! I raved about a holiday experience last year where a host organised everything we needed to see on a city trip to Lisbon.
But it works both ways – “social proofing” for buyers according to research (Duplinsky Kaptein- Combining Multiple Influence Strategies). Word-of-mouth marketing is the organic tool every business tries to harness in the online world and at the Web Summit there’s a start-up who’s got a plan to tap into its power.
What are the best things about social media that you use? Keep in touch with friends? Follow people you admire? What about the ability to make your real-life experiences shareable in a way that others can use? Many of us move into new neighbourhoods without building up a network of friends or neighbours and feel the lack of connection to the area. We need help in making ourselves part of the locality.
Daniel Eslava, www.knyou.com recognises this. He has developed a new platform that helps you to choose local business and services based on the ratings that other customers have given them. He describes it as a WOM guide for anything from restaurants to hardware stores in a safe & trusted way. The App uses a clever algorithm for registered users to develop a weighted influence based on their previous use. Relevant and continuous ratings move a service’s score up to prevent one-off or malicious ratings. With current concerns over the validity of Tripadvisor ratings (highlighted by the Sunday Times recently) this is an important safeguard to ensure the integrity of the site.
The site, while still in development intends to have all the local business in your area at your fingertips, meaning you can make real-time decisions on what restaurant to go to, takeaways to order from, bars & clubs to frequent. You can read the scores and reviews from people you can learn to trust over time. Unlike other ratings sites, it covers all experiences so feels like something that’s part of your armoury when you’re out and about.
And it’s simple to use. You move the dial on your rating from a plus to a minus ten that results in a happy or sad face (similar to emojis) and include a quick comment. It means that ratings can happen more frequently and spontaneously.
In addition, local traders can put their service up on the site to be rated and can pay for added value services such as consumer feedback and get profiles of their customers.
Go ahead and try it out – it’s the tip I’m telling everyone today!
By Brian Conlon, MSc Digital Marketing, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Audible is an audiobook service from Amazon in which you can sign up for a monthly membership or purchase audiobooks on a one-off transaction. Audible has been in business since 1998 and was bought by Amazon in March 2008. Audible offers more than 150,000 audiobooks to download and offers genres to suit everyone.
So why was this audiobook service on display at Web Summit 2015? Most importantly, why did it stand out from the crowd and peak my interest? Surely an audiobook service established in 1998 doesn’t offer anything new to the consumer, especially not in the largest tech summit on the planet?
That’s where you, me, and many others are wrong.
Virtual Reality: The Game Changer
There was one form of technology that was a pretty dominant force in Web Summit 2015, and it got many attendees quite excited. That technology is Virtual Reality (VR).
VR was one of the biggest trends of the Web Summit in 2015, with quite a lot of companies showcasing their product with the use of VR. Wherever you stood at the Web Summit, looking around you were bound to spot someone losing themselves in the world that is VR. I was amazed by the sheer amount of companies embracing the use of this technology to display their product or service. Among these organisations were Oculus, Google, Jaunt, a company called PMD, and of course, Audible.
From an AudioBook, To A Virtual Reality Experience
Audible stood out to me immediately, mainly due to its large eye-catching setup in the centre of the floor. There was always a significant group of people gathered around, listening, talking, and interacting with the staff and the product. The staff were notably quite friendly and interactive, always enticing the attendees to use the VR headsets and interact with the product.
This is where the beauty of the product was really displayed. This audiobook company, which should be completely out of place in a summit of this nature, was a huge hit at the Web Summit because of its use of VR whereby attendees were invited to use the VR headsets and listen to the audiobook ‘Locke & Key’ by Joe Hill. This audiobook was adapted for VR and totally immersed the user into the world of the novel to provide the complete experience for the user and “push the boundaries of a soundscape”.
Audible’s SVP, Barbara Ward Thall stated that they wanted to “truly surround our listeners with the story”. With Audible’s use of VR, they have achieved this and created an experience that genuinely excites users and this created a fantastic display at Web Summit 2015 whereby users could interact with this futuristic technology to immerse themselves into a whole new world of story-telling.
— Web Summit (@WebSummitHQ) October 27, 2015
Audible first displayed this experience at New York’s Comic Con with Thall stating “I knew we nailed it. When I heard a scream from one of the participants, that made my day.” The experience from the customers point of view can be seen in this video which was taken at the New York Comic Con.
Audible really impressed people at Web Summit 2015. The innovation behind their ideas really shows to the consumer. Most companies don’t stay in business half as long as Audible, and even less stay relevant. Audible came to the Web Summit and showed attendees, start-ups, investors, and some of the top global brands how to embrace technology, how to use it to stay relevant and stand out from the crowd and use this as an advantage going forward.
Immerse yourself and check out the trailer for the virtual reality remake of the novel, “Locke & Key”.
With many hours at the Web Summit 2015 spent learning about all the newest technologies, what fascinated me most was the technological developments in fashion and wearable items. This seemed to be a hot topic at the Fashion Summit.
Though we are seeing developments in the market for wearable technology, for example the Apple iWatch, such items are not very aesthetically pleasing and we still have a long way to go to bridge the gap between technology and fashion.
There was a general consensus amongst all speakers that focus going forward should be on keeping up-to-date with new technologies, with emphasis on creating hi-tech items that actually look good.
Liza Kindred, founder of Third Wave Fashion, jokingly commented that “The market for people who want to look like Androids is small”. Though many people are impressed with the iWatch functionality, the design is quite masculine and basic (made from rubber). Looks wise it doesn’t really appeal to female or fashion-focused male audiences.
Closing the Fashion-Tech Gap
To tackle this disparity between technological ability and style, it is advised that designers and techies work more closely together going forward. Instead of design and fashion being a mere “add-on”, they should be considered in the early stages of product development. This way there is more scope for the creation of products that represent the two industries (fashion and tech), both of which are extremely popular in todays society.
On a different note, shoppers are becoming more savvy to tech developments and rather than simply focusing on looks (this is still very important), they are also beginning to ask “What does this item do for me?”. With regards to the iWatch, the features of the watch are unmatched by any other. It’s no longer just a watch, but it is also an accessory that facilitates communication and entertainment all in one device.
In time, customers are expected to become more expectant, looking for items that not only look good, but ones that have sophisticated functionality also. This is something designers and techies need to consider.
The Digital Bra
One product that I saw at the Web Summit that fits this category of wearable technology is The Digital Bra. This is an app that uses the latest CAD precision mapping technology to take accurate measurements of your breasts, and uses this information to provide style recommendations and produce custom-made bras. You can measure, order, pay for and get items delivered to you all through the one app.
The Digital Bra also uses the finest X-STATIC® fabric (containing pure silver) for anti-bacterial and anti-microbial protection ensuring all day comfortable and freshness. The product range is currently limited, however their designs and colour schemes are very pretty.
I was very impressed and intrigued by this technology as, like many other ladies, I dread going bra shopping and especially going for bra fittings, due to the lack of privacy involved. The thought of standing in a small changing, half naked with a complete stranger is enough to make me squirm and put up with any bra that fits relatively well.
This technology is also appealing as it tackles the health concerns regarding ill-fitting bras. This is a massive issue with 85% of women wearing bras that are the wrong size, according to lingerie expert June Kenton.
The Digital Bra has been successful in using technology for wearable items. The app measures the bra size of their customers, within 5 minutes, in the comfort of their home. The positive implications on the comfort and potential health of the wearer is alone impressive. However, in order to properly succeeded in the market it is vital that emphasis is placed on design, style and quality.
Women looking for Lingerie want nice, pretty, sexy underwear that makes them feel good. They are unlikely to compromise on style in exchange for simple convenience. This goes back to the discussions at the Web Summit. Technology needs to be more fashionable!
By Farrah Buhaza