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December 22nd, 2014

PromptLondon

Prompt loves London: The London Eye

Prompt loves London: The London Eye

London Eye

Q: Why is the London Eye like a cell phone?
[A: Because it’s full of names and numbers!]

Most call it the London Eye. But this iconic structure is formally known as the Millennium Wheel. Depending on which company or corporation has sponsored it, it’s also gone by the British Airways London Eye; the Merlin Entertainments London Eye; and EDF Energy London Eye. Come 2015, the Ferris wheel goes fizzy: Coca-Cola will sponsor the wheel beginning at the end of January.

No matter what it’s called, Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel overlooks the River Thames, not far from Prompt London’s new offices on London’s South Bank.

Climate-controlled passenger observation capsules carry seated or standing passengers for a beautiful bird’s-eye view of the city. It’s beautiful to see it all lit up at night.

As for the numbers?

• The London Eye was built in 1999
• It is over 135 metres tall (it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel until 2006)
• It has over 3.5 million visitors each year
• Six countries supplied the wheel’s construction components
• It has 32 passenger capsules, carrying up to 25 people in each
• The capsules are numbered 1 to 33; Number 13 is left out
• One revolution takes about 30 minutes

So if you’re in London, be sure to get a ticket for the best Ferris wheel ride in Europe.

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October 27th, 2014

PromptBoston

Swiss startups: Start-up spirit in the Silicon Alps

Swiss startups: Start-up spirit in the Silicon Alps

Prompt’s DACH series, post #4: Swiss startups

Big bank accounts and ridiculously expensive real estate – Switzerland is known for attracting the richest of the rich. A good spot to launch a startup? When thinking of aspiring young entrepreneurs, rich in ideas but not a dime in their pockets, Switzerland is not the first place that comes to mind. But Switzerland is more than just chocolate, cheese and snow-covered mountains, it is also a hub for high-tech and medical sciences.

Silicon Alps

Support from prestigious universities such as ETH Zürich and governmental organizations such as CTI facilitates the start-up process for many ambitious entrepreneurs. This all has made Zurich the a hot spot for consumer-facing web technology: Booking platform GetYourGuide, note-taking application Memonic, GroupOn competitor DeinDeal and gaming platform Gbanga have found their way to the start-up forefront.

But it is not only the amazing scenery that makes Switzerland a great destination for young entrepreneurs and professionals – the alpine paradise offers easy setup and taxation, fast investment process and has become a great place for those in search for venture capital, R&D resources and incubation.

And not to forget: Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is also home to Google’s largest engineering office outside if the US, which is of great advantage for the entrepreneurial community. Swiss start-ups also benefit from the multilingual environment, they mostly operate in the country’s official languages, German, French and Italian, as well as English, which allows them to build a product in Switzerland before rolling it out to other markets.

But the dream of the ‘Silicon Alps’ has its drawbacks: The potentially high cost of living in Zurich or Geneva can make it difficult for startups to attract new talent. So it may not be a total surprise that some startups such as GetYourGuide have moved to other locations such as Berlin – and as we’ve written about in a previous post about ‘Silicon Allee’, Berlin is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting innovation hubs.

If Switzerland’s thriving start-up community is of interest to you, make sure you follow our blog: Prompt is working with an innovative sport technology company from Lausanne that will launch on Indiegogo this week. Launch updates coming soon…

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September 8th, 2014

PromptBoston

Tracking Tom Brady: How will this affect your Sundays?

Tracking Tom Brady: How will this affect your Sundays?

We often stop and think about the ways in which technology is changing our lives and as the years have gone by, frustrated sports fans have all-too-often been faced with game-time innovations their not sure how to feel about. Show of hands – who’s happy about instant replays finally making their way to the MLB?

Photo courtesy of: http://wickedtacosonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/football-by-keri-weiland.jpg

Photo courtesy of: http://wickedtacosonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/football-by-keri-weiland.jpg

As the football season kicks off and summer comes to a close, the National Football League (NFL) is taking steps to track its players. By wearing non-obtrusive tracking devices in shoulder pads, players will be analyzed in games and practices so teams, fans and the big organizations behind it all gain a better sense of individual performance – i.e. speed, position and accuracy.

Certainly, this type of tracking with take fantasy football to a whole new level but for those of us still watching simply for the love of the game – will this delude it even further? It’s no secret that the rise of fantasy drafts has changed the way fans watch and interact with the sport and, subsequently, the way the NFL presents it.

These tracking devices will present more data than ever thought possible to players, teams, managers and fans. It could impact trades, game-time decisions and rivalries. In short, it could change everything. As with every new innovation, the hot debate ensues – will it change for the better, or take a turn for the worse?

Let us know what you think on Twitter at @PromptBoston. Have a happy football season, America – whether you’re on the side of the devices or not!

 

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September 9th, 2013

PromptBoston

Technology PR travels: Around the technology world in 80 days – Day #13: Greece

Technology PR travels: Around the technology world in 80 days – Day #13: Greece

Plenty of cheap flights were ready and willing to hop us over to Athens, Greece – the birthplace of democracy as well as pretty much any scientific discipline you’d care to discuss (and we could definitely spend some time doing just that over a cracking moussaka and a bottle or two of Xinomavro…)

Image courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org

A history lesson in Greek innovation really would take some time, but for starters we could certainly attribute the development of gears, screws, mills, metal casting, automatic doors, plumbing, steam power, alarm clocks, and even the Antikythera analogue computer.

The technological prowess of the Ancient Greeks is well known and appreciated – but sadly so is the current economic and industrial malaise of modern Greece. Latest reports from the European Central Bank claim that Greece may need a third bailout – bringing the total level of support to €250 billion since the country’s financial meltdown.

But green shoots of technology now seem to be forcing themselves through all that financial rubble – a necessary but inspiring trend that journalist Alexander Besant attributes to “desperation and 60% youth unemployment”. It’s a small but encouraging movement that could once again transform Greece from a low-tech economy largely reliant on tourism and agriculture, to a renewed hub of creativity and innovation. In the meantime, why not read TechCrunch’s take on the potential rebirth, follow the Microsoft Innovation Center Greece, or check out promising start-ups, such as Bugsense and Pinnatta?

Next time, a voyage to Turkey!

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August 29th, 2013

PromptBoston

Prompt feedback on a Prompt project: Institute for Pediatric Innovation

Prompt feedback on a Prompt project: Institute for Pediatric Innovation

Prompt recently completed a web project for the Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI), a non-profit healthcare organisation founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts to improve outcomes care for vulnerable babies and children through new paediatric-specific technologies. Our consultants re-coded IPI’s website WordPress theme to improve page layout and allow greater user control of content with extra WordPress widgets and short codes.

Prompt London’s Sinead Gosai asked Ashley Carter, the communications contact we worked with at IPI, to reflect on her time working with Prompt:

Sinead: How was your general experience of working with Prompt?

Ashley: “Working with Prompt Boston was wonderful, even from the first phone call when we didn’t really know exactly what we were looking for.  The Prompt consultants were extremely helpful in pointing us in right direction and working closely with us to figure out the solutions that would best fit IPI’s needs. We greatly appreciate Prompt’s willingness to work with a small, non-profit organisation to help us accomplish our mission, and ensure we stayed within our budget.”

Sinead: We’re proud of the way that we work as a close team here – we believe that we can do a good job for our clients and be fun to work with! Would you agree

Ashley: “Yes, absolutely – Prompt’s PHP/HTML5 consultants were technically knowledgeable, friendly, patient and humorous! They worked step-by-step with us, explaining things such as page layout technology and browser compatibility, and then taking each of our edits and suggestions into consideration. As well as overhauling our new website, the Prompt team was committed to providing hands-on training for our employees, so that we can take on the task of maintaining and updating our website in the future. This will be instrumental in helping the site grow as our organisation develops, allowing us to continue representing our mission and our brand with a strong web presence.”

Sinead: Finally, how do you feel about the completed project?

Ashley: “We are thrilled! It’s met our online web goals and gives our organisation the update we needed. Thank you!”

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July 12th, 2013

PromptBoston

Results are in: The most creative way to ‘connect the lots’ between CIC buildings is..

Results are in: The most creative way to ‘connect the lots’ between CIC buildings is..

As we mentioned in one of our earlier blog posts, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), our Prompt Boston home, has expanded and we’ve made the move from One Broadway to 101 Main Street. As a technology PR firm, CIC is an ideal setting to work in, with hundreds of start-ups and technology-focused companies.

While getting settled into our new office building on 101 Main Street, and frequently traveling the 200 paces between both buildings, we asked our readers to share some of their creative solutions for connecting the two CIC buildings.

CIC is filled to the brim with innovators. So the great responses we received were no surprise. Some of the best #CICWalkway replies we saw were:

– Rebecca wanted to sail through the skies with a Tramway, ‘a la Roosevelt Island’
– B-Social Law was also looking for a view, wanting to turn the well-known CIC British phone booths into ‘ski gondolas’, and also suggested Pteronodon Flyers ride for a dinosaur-themed thrill
– Geoff Mamlet, a Harry Potter enthusiast, suggested the magic of floo powder
– Mitchell Bragg suggested sled dogs during the Boston winter and then magic carpets in the warmer months

CIC Phone boothAfter much deliberation, the Prompt Boston office has made its final choice. The winner of some great local eats from our two favorite establishments on our walk between buildings – Dunkin Donuts or Firebrand Saints – is B-Social Law!

We had an office-wide secret ballot to vote for the winner. With London counterparts, and an urge to soar (plus we could make phone calls at the same time!), we couldn’t resist the idea of hopping into a phone booth ski lift to get from our office to CIC’s Venture Café. A huge thanks goes out to everybody who had some fun with us, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as we settle into our new home.

B-Social Law – claim your prize today! Reach out to us via  Twitter, Facebookemail or phone at (617)-401-2717! 

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July 8th, 2013

PromptBoston

Three reasons why we use, encourage our technology PR clients to use, and train people to use WordPress

Three reasons why we use, encourage our technology PR clients to use, and train people to use WordPress

wordpress logoWe’ve already blogged about the importance of establishing a company blog.  You may be considering which platform to host your blog on – and we would recommend your answer be WordPress – and here’s why.

WordPress really has come a long way since it was considered a basic blogging platform. With plug-ins, new features and other enhancements, it has become the premier content management system, with over 68 million pages on the Web run on WordPress today.

Three reasons why we use, encourage our clients to use, and train people on WordPress:

Ease of use:  The best advice has always been to keep it simple. WordPress does this fabulously – allowing users to post content in visual or HTML text version. Whether you’re a diehard coder or an amateur, these options are designed to cater to all levels of experience.

Enhancing SEO:  WordPress’ blog code attracts Google robots and other magnets, helping boost your SEO and webpage traffic. With the right setup and plug ins (we like Yoast SEO), the platform will tell you just how high you rank when it comes to search terms and keywords, and where you can improve.

Seamless with social media:  With the right plugins, WordPress can post new content directly to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. As a PR firm with experience in social media, we can’t stress the importance of cross promoting on social networks, and this WordPress feature now makes it easier than ever to do so.

Want to try it for yourself? Then head to wordpress.org to install WordPress. Want some pointers?  Then join our  Google Hangout tomorrow at 2pm EDT or, if you’re in the Boston area, sign up for our ‘(Successfully) Wrestle with WordPress over a weekend‘ courses.

More reasons to follow tomorrow!

 

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July 3rd, 2013

Hazel Butters

Technology PR travels: Around the technology world in 80 days – Day #7: Rome, Italy

Technology PR travels: Around the technology world in 80 days – Day #7: Rome, Italy

Photo courtesy of: www.turismoroma.it

Photo courtesy of: www.turismoroma.it

It’s a bit of a dogleg down the boot of Italy from Geneva, but a very cultural one, so we catch an overnight plane to Rome for a hundred euro or so, and wake up smelling the strong Italian coffee.

I speak from experience when I say it’s hard not to be consumed with history in a city like Rome – the Romans and the Renaissance are literally around you, and then modern-day Rome around that.  Wherever you are you end up with one eye on the past as you walk  by the Coloseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Forum Romanum just to get an ‘espresso e cornetti’.  Meanwhile techies here stand on the shoulders of Galileo, da Vinci, Volta, Luria, Fermi, Meucci and the amazing Guglielmo  Marconi [sidenote: I highly recommend ‘Signor Marconi’s Magic Box’, it is the most brilliant book].

But what about the present and future?  Well, the Olivetti brand is one great example of the Italian presence in the market. Founded as a typewriter business in 1907, Olivetti built PCs and Unix boxes in the 1980s and early 90s before a crowded market forced an end to computer production. But in 2003, Olivetti became the office systems subsidiary of Telecom Italia, and today it specializes in interactive touchscreens, public terminals and a new line of tablet computers with their own app store – all as sharply designed as you would hope and expect.

But what other Italian players are tackling the tech market? There’s some great innovation – for example Beta Renewables is an interesting venture producing cellulosic ethanol for biofuel production. Digicom manufactures and OEMs devices for the gaming and home networking segments. Reply is a consultancy and systems integrator specializing in networking and digital media. And Assobiotec represents more than 120 biotech-related companies and science & technology parks operating in Italy. We think the Italian tech industry is interesting, so we will be back to visit again soon – perhaps to attend the country’s next Technology Forum, which is sure to focus on innovation and growth in the sector.

It’s ciao time, before the rosso and pasta take their toll – next destination, Croatia!

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July 1st, 2013

PromptBoston

Boston technology PR team ponders: How to ‘connect the lots’ at CIC …

Boston technology PR team ponders: How to ‘connect the lots’ at CIC …

Cambridge Innovation Center has recently expanded its business location, One Broadway, to a new building on 101 Main Street, just around the corner.

The technology PR team at Prompt Boston used to be based in the old building at One Broadway, but we can’t resist the lure of a new, shiny building, not to mention an amazing 14th-floor view of the Boston skyline and the Charles River (see below).  Plus, we’ll be back in close proximity to some of the amazingly talented individuals and brilliant companies that we got to know while they were based in our old building.

Boston view

Earlier this week, while we were making the increasingly frequent trip between One Broadway to 101 Broadway, we got to thinking: seeing that the CIC community is all about innovation, what are the most innovative ways that the two buildings could be connected? Zipline? Secret underground passageway?

We’re open to suggestions, and the person who comes up with the most fun suggestion wins a $50 voucher to one of the eateries* we pass on our Broadway-101 commute (I say commute, it’s about 200 paces). You can add your suggestion to our Facebook page, or tweet it to us at @PromptBoston with the hashtag #CICwalkway.

* So that’s Dunkin Donuts or Firebrand Saints!

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June 26th, 2013

PromptBoston

Prompt Boston launches weekend WordPress training courses

Prompt Boston launches weekend WordPress training courses

Here at Prompt Communications, we like writing, blogging and writing about blogging. Of course, when it comes to blogging, you have one important decision to make: which platform to use. We have a leaning towards WordPress, which has really come a long way since the days when it was a merely a basic blogging platform – now it’s a kick-something (we’re sure you can think of the word) content management system behind tens of millions of web pages.

As a technology PR firm we find that an increasing number of our clients agree with us, and WordPress is being used by a large number of companies – small or large –  to host blogs, websites, and more.

We’re spoilt to have our very own WordPress developer, Malachy (aka ‘Max’) McConnell, who really appreciates and understands the PHP lurking behind WordPress, and is eager to pass on his knowledge.

Whatsmore, Max will be paying a visit to Boston very soon to help us launch the Boston-based version of our ‘(Successfully) Wrestle with WordPress over a weekend‘ course. Having mastered the workshop at our London offices, Max will offer Boston attendees the know-how needed to utilize the site seamlessly from the ground up, over the course of two short days.

Why should your company learn WordPress? A few reasons include: ease of use, SEO enhancement, seamless social media integration, new media sharing, improved security, and the ever-convenient post scheduling.

Interested in learning how to improve your busniness’ web presence? Join Max for the ‘(Successfully) Wrestle with WordPress over a weekend‘at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA on July 13-14 or July 20-21. Limimted tickets are available via the Prompt Communications website or Eventbrite

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June 12th, 2013

PromptBoston

Prompt Boston attends Mass Innovation Night, #MIN51

Prompt Boston attends Mass Innovation Night, #MIN51

As a group of technology-savvy PR consultants, we’re fortunate to be located in a city full of innovation. With offices in Kendall Square, right across the river from the heart of Boston, we regularly brush shoulders with innovative individuals, start-ups and groups who are looking to launch a new idea into the marketplace that could completely change the way we think and act.

One event in the area that does a phenomenal job of gathering such innovators together is Mass Innovation Nights (MIN). Launched in April 2009, the monthly event showcases ten comMass Innovation Nights MIN51panies, and the community turns out to visit vendor booths, promote the products via social media and sit in on pitch presentations. In the last two years alone, MIN has helped launch more than 475 products and connect many job seekers with hiring managers.

Last night, Prompt Boston attended the 51st MIN at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (better known as the NERD Center). As soon as we entered and put on our flashing #MIN51 pin, which read ‘I helped launch 500 new products!’, we got the chance to learn more about some up-and-coming local innovators, including:

–       Agency Spotter: This integrated platform makes finding a creative agency a quick and easy process. Simply enter the type of agency you are looking for, and voila! In minutes, a refined search appears, taking the search process “from months to minutes”.

–       Delightfully: If you’re an online shopper and like sending e-gifts, this interactive webpage is just for you. Think of Delightfully as digital gift wrapping, where you can compile your favorite photos and content to present a customized e-gift.

–       Equiso Smart TV: This thumb-sized device plugs into TV screens and projectors to create a smart, interactive viewing experience. From Angry Birds, to Pandora and Pinterest, the Equiso Smart TV gives viewers access to 700,000 apps in the Google Play Store – right on a large HD TV screen.

–       Fuzzycover: Want a fun, creative way to protect your tablet, e-reader, iPhone and spiral bound notebook? Fuzzycover’s protective covers are the perfect solution, and are available in animal prints, cool colors, fuzzy or leather-bound material.

The event also featured delicious drink samples from Izze, and was topped off with Equiso Smart TV receiving the most votes as the best product at MIN51. It was a night full of innovation, networking and support for local start-ups, and we hope to relive it all again next month.

For more information on Mass Innovation Nights, be sure to visit the website here or read founder Bobbie Carlton’s round-up of the event on MIN’s blog. For those on Twitter, be sure to read all of the event’s tweets by searching #MIN51 or read the corresponding Storify piece here.

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May 31st, 2013

PromptLondon

Remembering London’s colourful past

Remembering London’s colourful past

LondonLondoner Claude Friese-Greene was the inventor of an additive colour film process called Biocolour, or the Fries-Green Colour Process. In 1927 he filmed one of the first coloured motion pictures ever made, documenting London life when the city wasn’t just capital of England, but remained the centre an enduring British Empire accounting for more than a fifth of the world’s population.

This remarkable film captures a snapshot of hatted Londoners enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the city between the wars. Interstitial captions point out that more than ‘4000 motor busses’ now patrol London’s streets, and that “more than one American has offered to buy our Tower and erect it on Palm Beach as a bungalow!”

By exposing alternate frames of black and white film through a different-coloured filter, then staining the resulting prints either red or green, Friese-Greene was able to project an illusion of genuine colour. The British Film Institute (BFI) has now used the very latest computer techniques to clean up the nostalgic film and reduce flickering so it can be enjoyed by a modern audience.

The results, which we first viewed courtesy of PetaPixel, are fascinating for anyone like us here at Prompt London who work in the city daily, and still walk the same streets, only with very different views. Still, some things haven’t changed – Petticoat Lane market is still impossibly busy, Hyde Park and St. James look just as inviting on a sunny afternoon, and we’re still winning Cricket test matches!

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