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June 12th, 2012

PromptBoston

Euro 2012: office or offside?

Euro 2012: office or offside?

We’re talking football here, not currency. Futbol, fußball, voetbal, fodbold, fotball, pêl-droed, tiki-taka – soccer.

Wherever you live and whatever you call The Beautiful Game, it can’t have passed you by that Euro 2012 kicked off last Friday – UEFA’s European Championship tournament. We mentioned it once or twice in our most recent newsletter, just in case you’d overlooked it.

The England team opened its campaign yesterday with a workmanlike 1-1 draw with well-fancied France. But due to the match’s location in Ukraine, most of the talk before the match revolved around how office-bound England fans would get to a pub in time for the 5pm BST kick-off.

Thanks to ever improving television online streaming services, coupled with far faster average broadband speeds in the UK and worldwide than even the last championship just four years ago, services like ITV Player, BBC iPlayer and TVCatchup are really coming into their own for al desko sports fans. But how are bosses reacting to it all?

Digital Spy posted a poll yesterday to discover how many of us were catching the France game on our PCs, smartphones and tablets rather than traditional telly or radio, and pointed out that a third of British workers will be staying late in the office at least once this week to watch a game, rather than miss out during a commute. An unprecedented number of offices are even buying new TVs to cope with the demand.

The only other option is to throw a sicky, or – perhaps more advisable – convince your employer to let you off early enough to give you time to get to the bar/sofa. Fans in Malta are certainly choosing the home early option whenever possible, while according to the local press, more than half of Cornish businesses are letting staff out to take in early games.

The good news is that following yesterday’s game, England now has two 7:45pm BST matches against Ukraine and Sweden to secure a place in the next round. But if the team is lucky enough to progress to the latter stages of the tournament and hit 5pm kick-offs once again, bosses and workers are surely just going to have to down tools that little bit earlier – and get the beers in.

What are your plans for mixing the Euros with work? Let us know!


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February 3rd, 2012

PromptBoston

Facebook: What the mark of one billion users means

Facebook: What the mark of one billion users means

It’s hard to go anywhere today without an advertisement asking you to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ a product online. So when I heard that Facebook expected to pass one billion users this August, it got me thinking – is social media even more powerful than we realize?

In its infancy, social media set out to connect people, and turned into a fun activity that many picked up in their spare time. Today, social media is still connecting people, but often within the business-to-consumer relationship. Social media is now a major part of the marketing and public relations plans of countless companies and individuals.

Founded only eight years ago, Facebook is one of the biggest players in the social media world. After many (and continuing) changes, the site currently has over 800 million users, equating to about one million new users per year. Although it is certainly not the only platform of its of its kind today, it certainly has the most participants.

This week, reports are swirling around that the social media giant expects to have one billion users by the end of this summer. That means an astonishing one sixth of the entire world’s population will be able to update their individual status and check in with friends whenever they like. of course that’s also one billion people that will see and act on placed advertisements. While Facebook doesn’t disclose its advertising costs, it’s amazing to think that companies can reach consumers on every continent in the world so immediately.

While Facebook has teased the trading world about going public for quite a while, it’s predicted that when it does, Facebook will become a $100 billion IPO. Where the giant corporation’s influence will go to next, it’s hard to tell, but we will be along for the ride to find out.


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January 30th, 2012

PromptBoston

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

PromptBoston

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

PromptBoston

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

PromptBoston

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 4th, 2012

PromptBoston

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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December 23rd, 2011

PromptBoston

Big Blue mirror on the wall…

Big Blue mirror on the wall…

IBM peers into its crystal ball...

Each year IBM offers up a gift of five technology predictions that it believes will make a big impact on our lives over the next five years. Call us festively sentimental if you like, but we’re prepared to listen to the musings of any technology company currently celebrating 100 years in the business.

Of course IBM is consciously using its crystal ball to shine light on the areas of technology it hopes to impress us with itself in that timeframe, but that’s a PR price we’re willing to pay. So without further ado, here are the five wishes that IBM thinks will come true before 2016 is out:

1. Human micro-generation of energy through motion which can be stored in batteries then used in gadgets
2. The abolition of passwords in favour of increasingly sophisticated but intuitive biometrics
3. The mental control of objects using thought pattern user interfaces
4. Powerful personal translation devices that break down all remaining language barriers
5. Intelligent, dynamic mobile search engines that do our thinking for us

I don’t know about you, but I’m way more interested in controlling objects with my mind than being served yet another sled of ‘tailored’ websites! I guess we’ll see how it all pans out very soon.


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December 1st, 2011

PromptBoston

A Googol of Green Energy Found Underground

A Googol of Green Energy Found Underground

Google Earth EGS map

We’ve been particularly focused on researching Green Technology here at Prompt over the last few weeks, but we have to admit to unearthing nothing quite as impressive as the ‘Googol of Heat Beneath Our Feet‘ that Google has been busy mapping.

The company has funded and provided the technology to enable Southern Methodist University to release a new map of geothermal energy potential. Like all good maps, it points to treasure, revealing enough viable geothermal resources (a googol of heat, no less) in the top 6.5km of the US part of the earth’s crust, to provide ten times the power capacity currently provided by coal.

If you’d like to explore the new Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) maps in more depth (quite literally), you’ll need to download and install the latest release of Google Earth. The maps then reveal the ‘EGS Potential’ for depths from 3km to 6.5km (lower than that depth is currently regarded as ‘theoretical potential’).

Google is keen to point out that its calculations “exclude inaccessible zones such as National Parks and other protected lands.”

Open the EGS map in Google Earth today and let us know your thoughts on this untapped energy and whether we’re likely to see Green Technology relaise its potential in our lifetime.


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November 30th, 2011

PromptBoston

Listen with Auntie: BBC Science

Listen with Auntie: BBC Science

BBC Broadcasting House

Apologies in advance for such a hugely indulgent post, but if you have similar weaknesses for the more geeky wing of the Big British Castle, then you at least will appreciate the links!

Earlier this week I sent a tweet out for @promptlondon which said: “Really enjoying @BBCRadio4 ‘The Life Scientific’ and ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ science programming: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/science-on-radio4″

I’ve always been a massive, unashamed fan of Auntie, but as I grow older I find that I click or tune-in to the comforting familiarity of Radio 4 with increasing regularity. BBC iPlayer Listen Again and podcasts just serve to feed the addiction further.

Recently I’ve been spending much more time than I’d like driving along dual-carriage ways, pacing corridors and sitting in waiting rooms. On the plus side, I’ve had my iPhone with me packed with the Radio 4 science shows I mentioned in the tweet. Of all the shows ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ is probably the most accessible, fronted as it is by everyone’s favourite contemporary physicist Prof. Brian Cox and comic raconteur Robin Ince. I was hooked from the first show I caught around this time last year, when Alexei Sayle was roped in to discuss whether philosophy is dead. If that sounds appealing and you think you’d also enjoy hearing Tim Minchin talk about probability, or John Culshaw defending the north of England, then tune in.

Once your latent geek has been unlocked by humour, it’s time to tap in to ‘The Life Scientific’ (worm DNA this week!), Stephen Fry delving inside mobile phones, ‘Material World’ with Quentin Cooper, or if you’re feeling really brave, ‘A Brief History of Mathematics’.

You can imagine how pleased I was to receive a tweet from @BBCRadio4 which asked “@PromptLondon – What do you think of our #science @BBCRadio4 collections page then?”

Well, what do you think? Radio 4 Collections is the hub of all Radio 4 factual content sorted by genre. Not only has this tweet helped me discover ‘Saving Species’, it’s also a useful launchpad for great programming such as ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’, ‘Bookclub’, ‘Desert Island Discs’ and more.

So what’s my point? There isn’t one really, other than a simple reminder of some great ways to expand your horizons, feed your head and pamper your techy soul with huge archives of great content. You’ve undoubtedly paid for this stuff already with your licence fee, and it’s all just sitting there waiting patiently to keep you company when you need a friendly voice or two to fill your wandering mind with baffling science.

Hook yourself up – tell us what you think.


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October 10th, 2011

PromptBoston

Mangos in a pub…

Mangos in a pub…

CNET Crave picks the latest Mango news...

Regardless of whether I’m ‘talking tech‘ in the City of London with IT executives or discussing the recent harvest with farmers in my local, the sticky bar-top remains cluttered with the same bunch of smartphone handsets: iPhones old and new, a couple of generations of Blackberry, some HTC Androids perhaps, maybe a Samsung or two…

So just who the heck is using Windows Phones, eh? Is it you and your friends in a suburban social scene I trundle through on an InterCity, unaware of your superior GUI and slick app environment? If you are a fan of Microsoft’s platform please let us know, but I suspect the population of Windows Phone users is actually pretty rarefied – somewhere out there with all the Zune subscribers…

Back in May I remember reading on Crave about the imminent Windows Phone 7.5 – codenamed Mango – which Microsoft had unleashed in hot pursuit of the Apple and Android handsets already disappearing over the horizon. To be honest, it felt a bit ‘Zuney‘ at the time, but I still assumed a brave but loyal following would support the platform and encourage further development.

But today the same news channel is reporting that Dell has pulled the plug on a planned Windows Phone Mango handset. Sure, Dell seems to be cutting back on support for Android too, but it’s still a pretty gloomy outlook for the Microsoft smartphone. The Dell Wrigley has allegedly been cancelled, and Dell won’t be producing any Mango handsets to take its place.

On the bright side, CNET has also found out that Nokia will announce its first Windows Phone devices at Nokia World at the end of the month. But who is waiting for these phones with even a scrap of the fervour a disappointing iPhone launch can muster at the drop of some leaked hardware?

What do you think about the likely future of the Windows Phone platform? And what do you feel the future focus of Dell’s product portfolio will be if smartphones are being pushed to one side for the time being? Please let us know.


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October 6th, 2011

PromptBoston

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011



“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

“If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email rememberingsteve@apple.com


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