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January 30th, 2012

Build A Rocket Boys!

Build A Rocket Boys!

When we were small and excited about space and stuff, my friends and I hooked up lemonade bottle rockets to our school laboratory air compressor and fired Star Wars figure parachutists up into the sky, littering rooftops and an ancient weather vane for months, earning weeks of detention.

But how times have changed! Two Toronto teens have now launched a Lego figure 80,000ft into near space attached to a balloon and four digital cameras – only to become instant local and internet celebrities. No punishment for these whipper-snappers – instead they’e receiving top-of-the-range cameras from Canon (which was delighted at all the free PR for those ‘balloon cams’), plaudits from Lego, invitations to speak at an undergraduate engineering competition, a behind-the-scenes tour of a university astrophysics lab, plus $400 to cover the projects cost from the pockets of impressed local residents. Whodathunkit?

“We are always amazed by the creative ways in which Lego fans use our products, and humbled by how many unsuspecting places we appear, like attached to a helium balloon in . . . space,” Michael McNally, an eager brand relations director for the toy company told the Toronto Star.

Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad are now joyfully dealing with press conferences, media requests and Twitter fame. But as well as being rocket scientists in the making, these two sparks are also bright enough to know exactly the right thing to say. Their next big project? Graduating High School.

Yeah, yeah, well done lads, just thank those lucky stars you didn’t grow up on the playgrounds of Essex, eh?


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January 27th, 2012

More tech news of the week from Prompt’s keyboard percussionists

More tech news of the week from Prompt’s keyboard percussionists

Joe E. Lewis  //  Wikipedia

Joe E. Lewis / Source: Wikipedia

In our last roundup post, we started with a famous quote about what could be achieved in just a week. This time it’s the turn of Joe E. Lewis, an American comedian and singer who made his name cheering people up during the Great Depression. He said: “I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.” A good point well made, I think most of you would agree? Well it IS Friday 27 January, the end of FOUR weeks’ post-holiday detox for many, and time for a well-earned trip to the local. But don’t set off until you’ve memorised a few gems from this week’s technology news with which to intrigue your barstool buds!

If viral vids are your thing, you’ll be pleased to hear that YouTube could soon have some proper competition. Vimeo is re-launching to improve “discoverability” of content and take the fight to its rival. Just in time for a global army of amateur video reporters to expose the FBI’s plans to continuously monitor the output of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, tattle on 02 or expose Symantec’s concerns over pcAnywhere.

Lots of people had a lot to say about ACTA this week, including the 22 European Union member states who signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, plus quite a few activists to boot. It was Kader Arif, the European rapporteur, who resigned over the whole shebang by Friday though. He told the BBC about “never-before-seen manoeuvres” over the treaty. If only his career had led him to work for Crave instead – he would have been happily attending the London Toy Fair, playing obliviously with a TARDIS smartphone safe.

Finally, mobile gadget fans had a few things to mull over this week. Did you know, for instance, that despite the fact neither iPhones nor iPads existed five years ago, they now account for 72 percent of Apple’s total revenue? We did, ‘cos the NYT told us so. Of course Apple’s aren’t the only handheld fruit, as demonstrated by Toshiba’s very cool looking new BookPlace DB50 eReader, as well as Nintendo’s much anticipated Wii U. So what about Blackberry and its new leader? “There is a lot of change. There is no standstill at any moment here at RIM”, we’re told by new CEO Thorsten Heins

Watch this space then eh?


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January 13th, 2012

This week’s technology news from the Prompt copywriting desk

This week’s technology news from the Prompt copywriting desk

Source: Library of Congress (free)

A week is a long time in technology, as a British Prime Minister once almost said. During this particular week, one heck of a lot of technology stories have been bandied around the copywriting desk. It’s not just the biggest deals and major brands that catch our eyes either– it’s the most interesting stuff too! We started the week applauding NY Mayor Bloomberg’s admirable resolution to “learn to code with Codecademy in 2012!” Most of us merely vowed to give up cheese or become awesome on
Guitar Apprentice for the iPad.

Our London writers were delighted to hear they’d soon be close to the ‘largest free wireless hub in Europe’ and finally be able to tap Netflix, but secretly wished they lived in Sweden where Kopimism leader Isak Gerson wants file-sharing recognised as religion by the government.

Were you as surprised as us to hear that Dell was readying a new attack on the tablet world? Forget the business-oriented Streak though – Dell now wants a slice of the consumer market. To be honest, brand spanking new technology will usually create more chatter than even very solid announcements such as AT&T’s backing for OpenStack or BBVA’s unusual move to switch all its staff to Google apps. That’s why we loved learning about the Aurasma virtual browser and trying to fathom why shouting would ever enhance the online experience?

It’s always great to read any news about cash injections in the technology sphere these days. We were delighted to note CBInsights claiming that venture capital funding was up last year to a 10-year high and loved the fact ten UK companies will get fifty grand each from the Technology Strategy Board to research the ‘Internet of Things’. How cool is that? We hope that once they’ve worked it out, they don’t get in a twist about ‘top-level-domain-things’, like the proposed .data TLD or the brand-specific suffixes which could cost vain businesses $185,000 a pop.

So which stories crossed the Ts and dotted the Is in your week? Why not drop us a comment and let us know? We rounded off Friday by nodding sagely with The Royal Society which says something must be done about the state of ICT teaching in UK schools, before being totally baffled as ever by nanoelectronics and finally laughing the whole thing off with the latest Guardian Viral Video Chart.


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January 12th, 2012

New Year resolutions: LinkedIn

New Year resolutions: LinkedIn

As 2012 gets into full swing, there has been a lot of talk in the office about professional resolutions for the year—everything from becoming more organized to cleaning out our coffee mugs at the end of each day. But the most popular New Year resolution seems to be surrounding LinkedIn. Many of us at Prompt, both state side and across the pond, want to begin using LinkedIn to the fullest, by connecting with others, nurturing prospects, advertising our company, searching for new employees, and (finally) completing our profiles.

Here are a few facts about the professional social networking site that might encourage you to become more LinkedIn savvy as well:

1. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 135 million members in over 200 countries

2. LinkedIn members made over four billion people searches in 2011

3. More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages

4. LinkedIn saw 87.6 million unique visitors in the third quarter of 2011, and is continuing to grow  

However, these facts got us thinking—while LinkedIn has extreme range and can certainly increase your visibility, the process isn’t all roses. Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Prompt-LinkedIn and give us your thoughts on LinkedIn, how you currently use it, how you’d like to use it in the future, and features you wish you could change.

We look forward to your responses!

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January 6th, 2012

Venture Café: a small part of the CIC world

Venture Café: a small part of the CIC world

While most cafés advertise fresh food and warm atmosphere, the Venture Café boasts fresh conversation and an atmosphere of innovation. Located in the Cambridge Innovation Center (conveniently one floor beneath Prompt), Venture Café is a hub for techiess and networkers. The Venture Café encourages those in the tech realm and those interesting in innovation to get together for a drink and community collaborations.

Open on Thursday evenings, the Café offers a chance for entrepreneurs to meet one another and develop relationships, whether personal or professional. Many in the CIC head down to the Café on Thursday evenings to chat with the neighbors and newcomers alike after a long day’s work.

Having recently joined the Prompt team, I visited the Café for the first time this week. Walking into the Café you can expect an array of CIC business people looking to converse and collaborate on business ideas and plans. The experience is a fun mix of business and pleasure, allowing residents of the CIC and Kendall Square residents to mingle and network.

If you’re nearby the CIC next Thursday night, stop by the café for a quick drink. You never know who you’re going to meet

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January 4th, 2012

Prompt appointed by visionary sustainable building software vendor, Ekotrope

Prompt appointed by visionary sustainable building software vendor, Ekotrope

Ekotrope Inc. has appointed Prompt Communications to conduct US public and media relations.  Prompt will work on media outreach and news announcements, starting with Ekotrope’s new product launch in mid-January.

Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Ekotrope’s unique optimization engine software is used to design energy-efficient buildings, maximize owners’ investments and comply with building energy codes.

The Ekotrope optimization engine was designed by Professor Edward F. Crawley, a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Professor Crawley founded the company in 2010 following his search a year earlier for an energy efficient building design for his own house. Finding there was no simple way for his architect to analyze component tradeoffs to find the best energy and investment combination, Professor Crawley drew on his NASA experience and assembled a select group of industry experts to create the Ekotrope solution.

Ekotrope’s flagship solution, HomeSEED, aggregates a wide range of construction options and building components. It is relied on by architects, builders and home-building consumers to calculate and incorporate energy and cost goals before the construction process begins. The fully automated software calculates energy and cost optimization to give users a breakdown of financial benefits for potential energy-related investments.  HomeSEED’s solution engine is proven to produce energy-efficient designs that lower out-of-pocket costs and provide necessary construction compliance codes throughout the building process. HomeSEED can be used with new construction projects or renovations, ranging from large-scale commercial buildings to single family homes.

Blake Bisson, VP of Sales and Marketing for Ekotrope, said: “We were looking for a public relations company that would work with us on a flexible and goal-orientated PR strategy.  Prompt will be focusing on top tier titles across channels: broadcast, print and online, working to set goals to support Ekotrope as we continue our expansion in the East Coast region and across the US.  The team at Prompt has a strong understanding of technology and sustainability initiatives, and there is also the benefit of working with a company that is local to us in the Cambridge technology community and the ease of meeting in person to discuss campaigns, brainstorm ideas, and ensure Prompt has every opportunity to work as a true extension of our team.”

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt Communications, said: “Ekotrope is a software company that fills a specific gap in the sustainability market and our US team is thrilled to be working with Blake and his team. The company has a fascinating background, a talented and proven management team, and a strong, relevant product. We’re looking forward to getting Ekotrope and HomeSEED in front of audiences that need an intelligent solution to the real-world problem of how to design and build sustainably.”

About Ekotrope Inc.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ekotrope is the advanced energy design and analysis software company for the building industry. Ekotrope’s products are relied on by architects, energy analysts, builders, subcontractors and consumers to visualize and compare opportunities for reducing energy costs. www.ekotrope.com

About Prompt Communications

Founded in January 2002, Prompt Communications is a communications agency with European offices in Chiswick, London and US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. Prompt Communications offers expertise across all marketing disciplines, teaming its consultants’ extensive knowledge of start-ups, technology market with experience of pan-European and American media, analyst and marketing campaigns. Using highly targeted marketing, PR, analyst relations, social media and corporate copywriting initiatives, Prompt helps its clients gain the visibility they need to achieve their business objectives, from increasing sales to enhancing reputation with stakeholders.  www.prompt-communications.com.

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January 3rd, 2012

How the US armed forces are using green technology

How the US armed forces are using green technology

There is no doubt that green technology has transitioned from a trend to a necessity all around the world. Last week, NPR published a story detailing how the US military has begun to minimize its energy use, through the usage of things such as more efficient insulation and solar energy, as well as the lofty goals it has set for itself in the coming years.  

While the military’s efforts to go green will have a substantial impact of the environment, sustainability is not the driving factor behind these changes. Cost is also an increasingly large concern, motivating the US military to explore new ways to go green, especially overseas.

Notably, the US Navy has set an ambitious goal for 2020, it wants to cut its use of fossil fuels in half. Recently it purchased 500,000 gallons of bio-fuel made from algae and cooking oil, a huge move towards sustainability. There has also been the implementation of solar equipment, greatly reducing the use of batteries. Additionally, small changes like tent liners are reducing energy costs.

Although the military is implementing new technologies to cut costs, governmental support will surely expand the green technology sector. To read the entire article visit the NPR website here.

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