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London Silicon Roundabout Weekly Roundup 08-July


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Today in Tech: Startup perks!

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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LSR member SocialGo to be introduced by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge at the VC & New Media Summit in San Francisco

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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LSR July Meetup (Gaming to Gamification) Live Broadcast via Bambuser

Bambuser broadcast by Techmeetups.

7 Winning Examples of Game Mechanics in Action

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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How Cisco plans to spend $500m in East London

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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Facebook snubs Silicon Roundabout for Covent Garden UK HQ

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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LSR July Meetup (Gaming to Gamification) Presenter: Simon Bennett (roll7)

Simon Bennett - Director (RollingSound / roll7)

Simon Bennett is a Social Entrepreneur based in London, England. Over the past 10 years, he has started and grown three businesses within the youth, education and multimedia spaces. His current focus is on roll7, a Serious Games Developer and Digital Agency based in London and Coventry.

This September, roll7 (in partnership with Neurocog) will launch ‘Focus Pocus’ a groundbreaking serious game for children with ADHD – the world’s first research based application using Neurosky, a consumer BCI device developed in the US. The game uses gamification in ways never seen before in mental health applications.

Simon is passionate about games and their ability to engage young people, roll7 are currently working on a number of exciting digital projects from an HQ in New Cross, as well as a forthcoming R&D centre in Singapore in partnership with the SGI (Serious Games Institute).

Simon will be presenting roll7 and their innovative application at the London Silicon Roundabout July Meetup (Gaming to Gamification) on Thursday, July 7 at the Innovation Warehouse.

Focus Pocus Screenshots

 

 

 

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MP Ed Vaizey mentions Tech City in his speech ‘The future of Digital entertainment’

Ed Vaizey (Intellect Conference, London) – July 5, 2011

Thank you to Intellect for inviting me back to speak.

I came to this conference last year, as a fresh faced Minister with an ambition for digital radio.   That ambition remains, but today I want to share with you the Government’s ambition across the wider digital space as well.

The UK has one of the most dynamic and successful media and communications sectors in the world.   According to a report from the Boston Consulting Group, the UK is now the world leader in e-commerce, with an internet economy worth £100 billion a year.  The availability of enhanced 3G for mobile data transfer is at almost 90 per cent of the total population.  Our content sectors continue to thrive with international sales of TV content exports growing to over £1.3billion in 2009.  Indeed the broadcast content sector invested around £250m on UK commissions in 2009.

We have built on this success with initiatives such as East London Tech City that is helping to support the creation of a world leading technology centre in East London. Hailed as the “Digital Capital of Europe” Tech City has become a tremendous attraction to ambitious young technology entrepreneurs making it increasingly the place to be for the world’s next generation of digital entrepreneurs. The success here has attracted other like-minded high-tech entrepreneurs and the area is booming.

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