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The Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing on the Web

Every week in 2012, our team at Schipul will share the coolest tech gadgets, innovative digital advertising and marketing stories, website technology advancements, new mobile app and more.

Check out what we have for you this week!

This Week's Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing on the Web: 

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Big Data!

What is Big Data?

Big Data is just a Buzz word that refers to the growing industry of collecting, storing, managing, and processing a combination of structured data and complex data. The most common software platform in Big Data today is an open source project called Hadoop. Hadoop manages data using two services: a distributed file system to provide reliable data storage, and a high-performance parallel data processing technique.

Hadoop is not really all that new and was originally developed by large web companies like Yahoo, Facebook, and Google for managing all the random and complex data these organizations had to maintain and distribute on the Internet.

Why Big Data Matters to You

The Internet is now critical across an organization’s different departments for researching and analyzing data. Your organization probably goes online to research and identify your target prospects, learn what your competitors are doing in the marketplace, and manage customer relationships. This has led to an expansion of using Hadoop and other Big Data applications across virtually every industry, including finance, technology, media, oil and energy, and healthcare.

Infrastructure-level platforms like Hadoop can’t do the job alone though. Several new tech start-ups have popped up that utilize this and other data management platforms to provide custom and very inexpensive access to this data to bring real time business intelligence reporting and analytics to organizations.

Here are a few of the Newest, Coolest, Next Big Start-ups Bringing Big Data to You:

Datafiniti - Houston, Texas datafiniti-logo.png

Datafiniti provides precision reports from search engines with information that would take you all year to compile. For example, say you want to find people who have given large amounts of money to causes related to yours and are also retired military. Datafiniti can give you a list of names, their contact information, who they gave to and how much and anything else in a simple spreadsheet report for you to begin targeting with direct marketing.

Odiago - San Francisco, California

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Odiago is a software company that focuses on creating Big Data applications with the ability to provide companies better tools for analyzing and understanding their customers. Odiago recently introduced their Wibidata application at the annual User Conference HadoopWorld, along with a case study for one of the first products developed on Wibidata. Here are the slides from this presentation:

Wibidata will allow you to build applications on this Big Data product to gather and analyze data sharing how your customers use your product so you can improve and personalize their experience.

SkyTree - San Francisco, Californiaskytree.jpg

Skytree is keeping really quiet and is working on a Big Data application of galaxy-sized proportion. In fact, one of the co-founders is Alexander Gray, who spent 6 years working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and teaches machine learning at Georgia Tech.

Skytree aims to bring Big Data machine learning to companies with a system that learns and improves itself as it is analyzing data. Follow SkyTree on Linkedin while you wait for them to officially launch later this spring.

Platfora - San Mateo, California

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Platfora has taken the unique marketing position of making Big Data accessible to any business owner. Platfora’s goal is a user accessible frontend dashboard that is intuitive and visually appealing to their clients and a price that is feasible for any sized organization. This will give small to mid-sized organizations access to reliable, real-time business intelligence reporting.

 


January 24th's Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing in Real-Time Web Communications:

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What is WebRTC?

Google has brought Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities for voice and video chat to our web browsers – specifically starting with Chrome.  To accomplish this, Google has also created an open source, free project that other web developers can download and use to develop their own custom web applications. 

WebRTC packages all the key components for online voice and video chat inside an open source framework that uses a simple Javascript API and is implemented through a web browser.

Why is WebRTC so Cool?

Google is giving away software frameworks, voice and video codecs that they own the patents to via royalty free licenses.  This is giving the WebRTC project access to some of the best tools for online voice and video communications that Google has developed or acquired.

Currently, you need to use plugins or install RTC applications outside of the browser.  GoTo Meeting, Skype, and Google Talk’s chat plug-in are examples of our current options.  WebRTC runs directly inside your browser and doesn’t need extra installed software.

Many of these tools have costs associated with them from custom development, hosting and network fees, and these costs can add up for large organizations.  WebRTC is providing a free, quality packaged solution for online real-time communications. 

By opening up the codecs to these applications to the global development community in an open source project – WebRTC is creating a way for anyone with web programming training a way to create custom web-RTC applications at a far lower cost to businesses and consumers (You).

Go Get It and Try It!

WebRTC is currently still under development and is working with online open source associations like W3C, WHATWG, and IETF.  It also still needs more stable APIs for different browser vendors to be developed.

This means that if you want to try out in-browser, free real time voice and video chat right now – you’ll have to get a little high tech.  This is primarily recommended for web developers interested in adding real time communication capabilities to their apps.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out even if you don’t have mad programming skills. 

Just follow these steps carefully, and make sure you back-up your Chrome user profile first (instructions for this are in the Chromium Dev page, item 3 below)

First – Read the WebRTC blog post that talks about how to test out WebRTC:  http://www.webrtc.org/blog/webrtcnowavailableinthechromedevchannel

Second – If you aren’t already using Chrome, you’ll need to download the free web browser here: https://www.google.com/chrome

Third –You’ll need to follow the instructions in this article on how to access the Chrome Dev Channel: http://dev.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel

And finally - Read this article on Lifehacker with power-users Chrome tips and scroll down to the section explaining using switches because you’ll need to create a switch to load Chrome specifically for beta testing WebRTC: http://lifehacker.com/5045904/the-power-users-guide-to-google-chrome

 

January 17th, 2012 Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing in Mobile Web:

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Mobile Payments

What are Mobile Payments?

You might be thinking “I’ve been making payments online from a mobile device for a while, and even manage my financial accounts using apps from my smartphone; what makes this the next big thing?”

Mobile payments refer to something different from using PayPal or your credit card to make purchases from your mobile phone or iPad.  A mobile payment service allows you to use your smartphone, instead of a credit card or cash, to pay for goods and services in the real world.  Imagine leaving your wallet at home when you go to the mall or grocery store – just take your mobile phone and pull it out at the cash register to finish your purchase.

You can read all about Mobile Payments on Wikipedia (if Wikipedia hasn’t decided to shut down due to SOPA protestation.) 

Why Mobile Payments Matter to You

Fairly soon, businesses will have customers asking “Do you take mobile?” more than “Do you take credit cards?”  If your organization isn’t accepting mobile payments, you may find you’re losing business as more and more customers decide their phone is the only item they won’t “leave home without.”

Here are just a few of the benefits mobile payment acceptance provides businesses:  

  • Mobile Payments often have lower service charges and lower costs for equipment for payment processing and so are a cheaper option for organizations.
  • Mobile Payments make it really easy to create and measure your customers’ purchasing patterns and create personalized loyalty programs.
  • Mobile Payments can typically be linked directly to your bank account so you get paid sooner.
  • Mobile Payments remove the hassles of paper receipts making it easier for you and your customers to organize receipts, make returns, and keep up with your financial accounting.
  • Consumers are adopting mobile payments and like to use it.  Just ask Starbucks, who had 26 million mobile transactions in 2011 at their stores through their mobile app.  Starbucks has been testing mobile payments this past year and 1 of every 4 of their transactions are now through mobile payments. 

Mobile Payment Options

Check out these companies offering different mobile payment solutions for both businesses and consumers to start using the newest, coolest Next Big Thing on the mobile web:

ZashPay zashpay-logo.png

ZashPay let’s you send and receive money electronically and isoffered through financial institutions across the U.S. by Fiserv, the company that powers online banking and bill pay for thousands of institutions and millions of consumers nationwide. ZashPay has iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.


Square
 

Square features a number of cool ways to integrate mobile payments into your business including a free credit card reader when you signup and a digital wallet for your customers’ smartphones that keeps their credit cards and financial accounts organized on the go. 

SquareUp-card-reader.jpegSquareUp-Card_Case_Screen_Shot.png

 

LevelUp levelup-press_color_logo.png 

LevelUp offers mobile payments with the focus on creating and managing loyalty programs, coupons, and discounts for consumers and businesses.  LevelUp has iPhone and Android apps available and offers a new customers a free credit to use the first time they visit a location that accepts LevelUp mobile payments.  

Google Wallet 

google-wallet-infographic.png

Google wallet allows you to use any payment location that accepts the Mastercard Paypass system where you tap your phone on the paypass receiver to pay instantly.  Google wallet syncs with Google offers and if you are using Google for gmail and other Google services, then you’ll find it an easy way to manage all of your online shopping through Google’s online merchant services.   


January 10th's Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing in Consumer Technology:

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Last Gadget Standing 2012 Finalists

Update: The Winner of the 2012 Last Gadget Standing was Lytro

What is the Last Gadget Standing at CES 2012?

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest trade show in America and has become the place for consumer technology products to make their debut.  CES 2012 opens its doors this Tuesday and there are a lot of really cool new tech toys and gadgets being introduced.  

The Last Gadget Standing is a competition open to any of the exhibitors at CES and aims to select the best consumer technology product that will become a part of our daily lives and stand the tests of time. 

The top 10 Finalists for 2012’s Last Gadget Standing have been announced and there’s a good chance most of them qualify as the newest, coolest next big things this year.  You can go and vote for your favorite Gadget and the winner will be announced Thursday January 12th live at CES 2012.

Which Gadget Do You Think Will be the Last Gadget Standing?

In no particular order, here are the 10 finalists competing this year: 

Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA 13 Ultrabook -

The YOGA is the love child between your laptop and tablet PC.  The 13.3” HD multi-touch screen has a unique, patented dual hinge design featuring four different positions depending on if you are using it as a tablet, a notebook, for reading e-books, and watching Google.TV and movies.  The YOGA isn't available yet but Mashable has a great review you can check out.     

Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone -

This newest mobile phone by Samsung aims to combine the best of your tablet PC with your smartphone and comes with an S Pen writing tool to sketch and take notes plus screen capture and annotation capabilities.   The Note has the 1st 5.3” HD Super AMOLED display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and is on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform.   

Autom™ The Weight Loss Robot Coach -

We love Robots here at Schipul and this one interacts with you, learns all about you and helps you lose weight!  Watch Autom™ in action in this video: 

 

Codename: Cotton Candy

This USB sized device by FXI Technologies is your any time, any place access to your cloud applications.  All you need is a display screen to plug into. Cotton Candy has a Quad-core ARM® GPU, 802.11 b/g/n wifi and 2.1 + EDR bluetooth connectivity, up to 64GB of microSD local storage and software virtualization clients for Windows, Linux and Mac plus Android and Ubuntu!

Swivl -

Swivl provides remote control of video start/stop and taking photographs with iOS devices.  Just attach your iPhone, iPod Touch or pocket video cameras and Swivl makes sure you stay front and center on camera.   Watch Swivl in action: 

Lytro Light Field Camera

Regular cameras only capture a single plane of light while the new Lytro camera captures the entire light field and allows you to focus your image, and re-focus, AFTER you have taken the photograph.  The Lytro also has no auto-focus motor or shutter delay meaning photographs taken with the Lytro camera truly capture your moments in life.  Schipul has a Lytro Light Field Camera pre-ordered and we can't wait to take our first photographs and share them with you!

WIMM One -wimmone_watchstrap.png

When you get a WIMM One, your wristwatch becomes more than a timepiece. WIMM labs has created a wearable Micro App platform  that comes with a variety of different digital watch faces and Micro Apps that let you view your calendar, check the weather, check your email, tweet and more from your “WIMM-watch”.

PlayStation® Vita –  

The Vita is PlayStation's new portable handheld game platform that features all the things that didn't even exist yet when you were a kid and dreamed of mobile gaming.  The PS® Vita feautures dual front and rear cameras, wi-fi through AT&T, augmented reality and 3-D gaming experiences and so much more.  

Basis Band -

The Basis Band is your personal mobile health tracker.  Wear the basis band on your wrist and it will continuously gather information about your physical health like your heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen levels, sleep patterns, calories burned, and more.  The band wirelessly transmits the data to your personal health dashboard where you can view and share your information and use it to develop better habits for taking care of your body.

4Moms Origami Stroller -

The Origami Stroller is cooler than George Jetson's flying suitcase car and everything the mom of the future needs.  This stroller offers 1-button press power folding, an LCD display screen, daytime running lights and pathway lighting, and seat sensors to let you know when your child is in the seat.  This stroller can even charge your cell phone and has a built-in power generator that recharges as you stroll.  

Go Gadget Vote and More CES 2012

You can go vote for the gadget you think is 2012's Next Big Gadget  before Thursday, January 12th, 2012.  Then visit CES's website and check out all the consumer technology at this year's International CES online.  

January 3rd, 2012's Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing in Web Apps:

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ifttt Helps "Put the Internet to Work for You" 

What is ifttt?

ifttt is a new web application that allows you to create custom automated tasks online in minutes and make your entire year easier to manage. 

ifttt accomplishes this feat through a 2-step process.  After you create your free ifttt account, the first step is to connect your different online channels like your twitter account, facebook page, gmail and email accounts, and even SMS text through your mobile phone.  After you’ve linked your different social media accounts, the second step is to create tasks in the format: if {this}, then {that}. 

For example, one task I have created is “If {I upload a new photo set to my Flickr account}, then {post a message on my Facebook wall with the photo set link}. 

You can create your own tasks or use recipes, which are tasks others have created and shared.

Use ifttt to do things like:

  • send you an email when a new Kindle Top 100 free ebook is added
  • post to your facebook, twitter, and linkedin accounts when you post a new blog
  • add an appointment to your calendar when you get an email from a client.

Why You Want to Try ifttt

2012 is going to be the year that content marketing pulls ahead of outbound marketing for all-sized organizations.  This means you’ll be spending a lot more time writing and promoting all that content online across multiple digital communication channels including your twitter feed, LinkedIn Company Page, Facebook Page, corporate blog, YouTube, Flickr, and so many more. 

Ifttt will let you automate most of the online communication that you currently are manually posting.  Instead of going to each social media website and posting a link and comment about something new on your website or blog, iftttt will do it for you automatically when you create the content.  This will save even more time if you are on the go and have limited access to a strong Internet connection.  

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December 27th, 2011's Newest, Coolest, Next Big Thing in Web Development:

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HTML5 Challenges Adobe Flash and Changes the Way Web Displays Video and Animation

What is HTML5?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and the code your website, and ALL websites, ultimately use to communicate with browsers and applications.  HTML5 is the latest version and it now enables browsers to display video and animation on the web without a plugin or other special software.  

You can find out more about the specifications and the vocabulary for HTML on The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)website: http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/.

What Does This Mean for Your Website?

Flash relies on Adobe software to develop and display whereas HTML5 is open source and available for anyone to use.  Websites that use HTML5 to support audio, video and animated graphics instead of Flash will eliminate the need for Adobe Flash plugins and development tools.  This saves time and money.

Flash doesn't work on the iPhone, iPad, and most other mobile tablets and smartphones.  HTML5 does.  Mobile use is on the rise at an exponential rate and if your website is using Flash - chances are very good that your mobile site visitors are missing your content and they aren't going to remain on your site for very long.  

HTML5 is also easier for your IT department to support since it removes the need to constantly download and update plugins and re-configure user settings.  All you have to do is make sure your web browser is up-to-date and supports HTML5.  You can quickly check if your browser currently supports HTML online free here: http://html5test.com/.

Where Will HTML5 be at the End of 2012? 

HTML5 is still brand new and still under development.  It will take time to redesign website's that are using Flash to HTML5.  Most likely, Flash will still be prolific on the web at the end of 2012.  We predict the rate of adoption of HTML5 by web developers and organizations will increase at a rate that closely matches the increase of mobile usage by consumers.   

If your website has any Flash-based content, then 2012 is the year to budget a redesign to remove it.  This is particularly important if you have an increasing percentage of mobile traffic to your website.  Even Adobe recognizes the potential of HTML5 and is developing and testing a software tool for coding and building websites in HTML5 called Edge.  You can try Adobe Edge out and learn more here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/.

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