Cortana Defeats Siri in Windows Phone Ad

Siri is the world’s most famous smartphone voice assistant, but she’s hardly the only game in town. In fact, one of her rivals, Windows Phone’s Cortana, thinks she can do a better job.

In the latest ad from Microsoft, Cortana shows off her big differentiators over Siri. First, the owner creates a “person reminder,” a type of reminder that’s tied to a specific person instead of a time or location. Next, she creates a reminder tied to a generic location — in this case, a flower shop — which will push an alert when the user gets close to a business that meets the description.

Cortana saves the best for last, though. An alert pops up saying that, with traffic, the owner needs to leave for his next appointment in the next five minutes.

The traffic alert illustrates the “special sauce” that makes Cortana different among personal assistants: That because she’s aware of both personal data (your calendar, contact list, etc.) and external factors such as traffic, she can combine that knowledge and proactively alert the user about unforeseen factors.

Why it’s hot?

Although, Siri is the world’s most famous smartphone assistant and is more polished with regard to funny “chitchat” answers, I found Cortana to be pretty great out of the box.


Remember Mr. Sketch Scented Markers? They’re Back, With a Sketchy Ad

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers ad is a twist you may not see coming and is running on cable TV channels and online. This 30-second spot is the first advertising for Newell Rubbermaid’s classic drawing pens in nearly two decades. Ad agency BBH NY, now working with a variety of brands under the corporate banner like Sharpie, Paper Mate, Rubbermaid and Calphalon, is leading the reintroduction of the aromatic markers for the key back-to-school buying season. The ad, has a British voice over, and with using a little bit of toilet humor, shows how the fruit scented coloring pens supposedly got their smell.

“We wanted a simple, entertaining concept that people would get right away,” Creative Director, Caputo, said. “And since the name of the product isn’t intuitive to the benefit, we wanted to do a little education.”

That led to the “smell extraction room” in the cartoon-like ad, which, purely for storytelling purposes, captures the misty fruit fart and adds it to a bright blue pen. (The Mr. Sketch multi-packs also contain green apple, raspberry and other scents. That fruit apparently breaks wind, too, but with more discretion. The act is implied in the ad, not seen)



Why it’s hot?

Mr. Marker has not had a commercial or any type of ad in nearly two decades. This comeback has gotten plentiful comments on YouTube and that lean mostly toward the “this is marketing genius” opinion. In addition, most talk about their kids’ delighted reaction to the ad, at least one parent posted a Vine video to illustrate the point. The ad is a great way to target kids, especially with back to school season approaching.


GoPro’s viral video marketing campaign turns it into top YouTube brand in the world

Fireman Cory Kalanick rescues an unconscious kitten from a burning house filled with smoke. The video was one of the first user-generated videos that went viral — it has more than 23 million views on YouTube — that convinced GoPro it should release more submitted videos.

Picture: Fireman Cory Kalanic rescuing a kitten from a burning house. This video was one of the first user generated videos that went viral; it has more than 23 million views, which convinced GoPro to release more submitted videos.

The camera company GoPro has become the leader of a new trend among businesses to market its product and build a brand through online videos. Though many companies are using the strategy of creating viral videos to garner attention, no company is doing this more than GoPro, which is releasing multiple videos every day after stumbling on a technique that leads to thousands of hours of free publicity a week.

The marketing campaign started with hiring professional stuntmen and extreme athletes to show off the capability of its small high-performance cameras, which GoPro markets as the “world’s most versatile.”

But it has now become a new trend that sees an estimated 6,000 videos shot with the unique camera every day — with people mentioning the company’s cameras in hopes of becoming GoPro’s next star

The figures only continue to grow as GoPro reports the amount of video views on YouTube for its own generated videos has tripled in 2014 compared to the same time in 2013. Almost 100 of its videos have reached more than 1 million views.
They are starting to accommodate the contributions with plans to change their website to make it easier for people to know how and where to submit videos, Dornbusch said. There is also a new “bonus program” for users whose videos are licensed by GoPro, he said. They will receive $1,000 if their videos reach a million views, he said.

 Why it’s hot?

The San Francisco-based company launched its channel four years ago and started producing videos as a way to promote its cameras. But the popularity of the campaign took a life of its own, and now GoPro is taking a cue from its customers and producing many of its own videos as well. The change has tripled their amount of views so far this year. GoPro recently created an entire team of about 30 employees whose main focus is to search online daily for user-generated content featuring GoPro cameras and determine if it would work for licensing or marketing, Dornbusch said. Before the company had one or maybe two people who would do this, he said.

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Jibo Wants to Be the World’s First Family Robot


This is the functioning Jibo prototype.


Jibo is a desktop robot created by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, who was always interested on how to build a robot that could work and live alongside humans. It took her about twenty years to finally deliver the world’s first family robot.

When Dr. Breazeal asks Jibo to introduce himself, Jibo’s face lights up and its 11.5-inch body turns to face her. Jibo’s screen shows a large “blinking” ball, which is like the closing of an eye, and it responds “Hi, my name is Jibo.”

Jibo can also dance to a short tune. Jibo’s eye then changes to an image of a large camera lens, as it explains how it can capture and share special moments while its body reorients itself to face Breazeal. Then it starts to tell a story and the screen changes again into images for a tale about the three little pigs. Jibo doesn’t not only reads the story in its friendly, male voice, but also uses its body to act it out.

Built by a 20-member team with off-the-shelf mobile components, Jibo will cost $499 (in the Indiegogo campaign) and $599 for the developer edition (with SDK).

Why it’s hot?

One thing Breazeal wants to make clear is for people to see Jibo as a companion, rather than an appliance. It will be very interesting to see how people interact with Jibo. In addition, Breazeal also wants to build the developer and user community and inspire people to build apps for Jibo. “We want to engage our community with people who want to make Jibo part of their lives and with people who want to develop for Jibo early enough in our development cycle that we can really engage them and get their input and feedback.” said Breazeal.


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‘Smart’ Luggage Will Help Avoid Headaches When You Travel

When an airline losses your luggage, it can take hours or even days to get someone to tell you where it ended up, that is if it ever turns up at all. Hearing from the luggage itself would make things a lot more convenient for passengers.

The plan is to have GPS tracking chips embedded in bags in order to transmit their locations to travelers and even contacting airlines directly when they get lost.

The jumbo jet maker Airbus introduced a concept design for smart luggage at the Paris Air Show last year. The product, known as Bag2Go, can be tracked via a smartphone app. It also allows for self-service check-ins and can weigh itself to ensure that it meets airline requirements. AT&T unveiled a similar concept at a demonstration of its “next-generation technologies” in May. The company envisions integrating the product with standard suitcases and bags, perhaps through an attachable tag, though, it could also be built into suitcases directly. The ultimate plan is to for the luggage to work with airlines’ IT systems, contacting the carriers directly and arranging for delivery to your home or hotel. These products are still in the developmental stage and will need approval from federal regulators, but they’re sure to find some grateful customers.


Why it’s hot? 

I think this concept of having lost luggage direct carriers to its location would be super convenient. Also, it would make customers really happy to have their luggage delivered to their home, instead of them having to go on a search for their own luggage. There have been many scenarios where bags have gotten lost and are never returned to the owner.  U.S. airlines mishandled over 141,000 bags in April, according to government statistics, or about three bags for every 1,000 passengers. It will be very interesting to see how it will impact the airline industry.



‘Smart’ Football Helmet

For years now, after a player takes a hard hit to the head, a coach or trainer examines him to check the severity of the impact and his readiness to return to the field. But a visual inspection only reveals so much.

Now there is a wave of new technology, embedded in football helmets, aims to measure the force of on-field collisions and send alerts when a player’s health may be in danger.

Watch this video
Why it’s hot?
Having theses concussion helmet sensors is a great way to help keep players healthy. Head injuries in football have become a hot-button issue in recent years, from youth leagues to the NFL. Thousands of former pro players who have suffered brain disorders, like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease have sued the NFL, claiming the league knew about the long-term health risks associated with head trauma.

Seeing an opportunity, manufacturers are producing a growing list of products marketed as “head impact sensors,” small devices that fit inside the helmet and trigger a warning when a player sustains an especially hard blow. These products have names like Shockbox Battle Sports’ Impact Indicator and Reebok’s CheckLight.

Now Riddell is looking to incorporate such sensors into the helmet itself. The company’s newest helmet, the SpeedFlex, is the first designed from the ground up to include a polymer-film lining that develops a charge when impact pressure is applied.

The helmet’s crown contains a flexible panel that compresses upon impact, reducing the force of collisions. Meanwhile, the helmet can be fitted with sensors — Riddell’s InSite system, launched last year — that send wireless alerts to handheld devices on the sidelines, telling coaches when a player has sustained an unusually forceful hit, or series of hits, to the head.

A Riddell spokeswoman said the SpeedFlex helmet will hit the market this summer in time for the 2014 football season.


Riddell and other manufacturers are quick to point out that their products don’t diagnose concussions or any other injury. They say their devices do give coaches and trainers additional criteria that can help in determining whether a player should come out of a game. The helmet is intended to help identify players that are striking their head too often. If coaches see this happen, they can warn the player of a possible concussion. This is important because at the end it can protect them and make the game safer.



T-Mobile Will Waive Data Fees for Music Services & Will Launch Program Called “Test Drive”

The country’s fourth-largest wireless carrier said it is going to waive data charges when subscribers use music services like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Streaming 30 minutes a day of music would consume about 900 megabytes of data a month, according to T-Mobile’s own usage calculator—nearly half the amount of a typical data plan.

The majority of T-Mobile’s customers are on plans that offer a fixed amount of data and slow subscribers’ service after they reach the cap. For those on T-Mobile’s $80-a-month unlimited-data plan, T-Mobile will provide free access to a music service called unRadio through a partnership with Rhapsody. It will have no advertisements and will allow unlimited skipping of songs and let users choose the ones they want to hear. All other customers, including those on older and cheaper unlimited plans, can pay $4 a month for the service.

T-Mobile also said it will launch a program called “Test Drive” in partnership with Apple that will allow customers to try using an iPhone free on T-Mobile’s network for a week. After providing a credit card, customers will receive an iPhone 5s in the mail and can return it to any T-Mobile store. The launch will start this Sunday and it expects at least one million people to try the program within the first year.

Why it’s hot?

T-Mobile expects to attract more customers by waiving data charges for music services. It is a smart business decision because a majority of T-Mobile customers have a limit on the amount of data that they can use. This will be a lot more convenient for the customer because they wont have to worry so much about their data usage, or trying to find a Wi-Fi connection. The program, “Test Drive”, is a great way for customers to avoid “buying blind” before they commit to a service.