Keep an “I” on our week (June 28)

The top three articles this week were:

  1. How Smart is your Home?
  2. A Locker in-store to be as popular as a hole-in-the-wall?
  3. Make it Smart keep it simple 

So the word of the week appears to be smart which possibly might be attributed to Google’s device announcements , nexus 7 and Q,  at their Input/Output  (I/O) Conference this week. We are probably going to trial the tablet and will let you know our views later this month.

In the meantime here’s their promo video.

How smart is your home?

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Well to qualify as “smart”  Juniper research in their recent white paper Smart Home – Connected Life pdf reckon it needs “ … the following elements:

To us the main prerequisite for a smart home is on the connected infotainment side. This is largely born out by Junipers research which on their segmentation of Entertainment, Computing, Monitoring & control, and Health predicts that the Entertainment share of the  worldwide service revenues in 2017 will be nearly  $48 billion representing 82% of the total. They also see it as the main driver of an 18% CAGR in the market between 2012 and 2017.

A recent addition to the market is Google’s nexus Q which whilst still somewhat embryonic may prove to be a popular device although we have reservations about the social attributes!

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A brief sortie, initially into the UK provider market lead us to Cyberhomes Ltd and their impressive website where we found a slightly different smart home definition from one of their suppliers Control4.







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Another of their major suppliers – (again a US company hmmmmm) Savant gives us their pictorial definition.





Adding to our preliminary connected infotainment definition we heard in one of the videos a somewhat telling remark which impressed “Almost anything thats electronic can be controlled”. So if it can be controlled it can be connected – like the AGA we highlighted  a while back.

So a smart home is one where the majority of  electronic devices and systems are controlled  through connectivity!

Here are a couple of videos from the above mentioned US suppliers which are good teasers!.

Firstly Control4’s app to control their system:


Secondly here’s Savants virtual tour of a high-tech home. They’re a bit Apple centric but the video is good quality and we loved the ability to return an iPad doc back into a picture just under 5 minutes in now that’s really Smart!

A Locker in-store to be as popular as a hole-in-the-wall?

amazon are rolling out their UK locker delivery service to several more Co-operative stores in London and elsewhere around the UK.

They initially trialled it in their home town of Seattle with it subsequently spreading to New York and  London..

Their lockers they say   “provides you with a self-service delivery location to pick up your parcels.”

Looking at the amazon service in particular in the London area there seem to be the  following 4 types of location:

  • Shopping centres /Malls
  • Co-operative & other in-store facilities
  • Open locations like train and bus stations
  • A Library (Shepherds Bush)

The London shopping centres include Brent Cross, Lewisham, O2 Centre Mall, Southside & West 12. The opening times will link to those of the particular Mall but are in general extended at least into the early evening & in some cases the end of it!







The London Cooperative shops include  Chelsea (SW10) Greenwich (SE10) Parsons Green (SW6) and Poplar (E14). Photo is of Chelsea by Bryan Reynolds of Kantor Retail IQ. Shop hours apply but on weekdays are generally from before 9am until after 6pm




The open locations we identified (normally with 24 hour collections) are in Hammersmith Broadway, New Street Square &  Thomas Moore Square

The video is of Hammersmith Broadway.

amazon as ever have a detailed run over of the system and you can search by various means (post code landmark etc) to find your nearest location.

On a convenience basis the 24 hour variety could be available we hope in future in at least one location in all 66 of the official cities in the UK in the not too distant future..

At present London Manchester and Cheshire seem to have the widest coverage but we have a feeling they will multiply very rapidly, in particular the in store variety as they will likely attract additional casual customers.

So perhaps amazon lockers will be “good for everyone” at Co-operative stores!

We note that the Co-operative already, sort of, has its own gTLD .coop!


Google make it a Trillion dollar Tablet war with their nexus 7

7.30pm BST update  -  Google did announce the Nexus 7 today at their I/O Conference and it can be ordered they say from the Google Play store almost immediately for $199 and shipments start in mid-July to the USA Canada the UK (wicked) and Australia. It comes with a $25 credit for the Google Play store & some free content. Once it appears on the store we’ll post a link. Its here!

The UK price is £159 (we think VAT has to be added)! The credit is £15 – very reasonable UK/US pricing. If you want to proceed off you go!

We were wrong about the Ice Cream Sandwich version of android, it uses version android 4.1 Jelly Bean otherwise the rumours were pretty accurate.


The livestream of the Conference is here!.

Here’s their promotional video


Original post -  Google is widely rumoured to be introducing it’s own tablet at their I/O (Input/Output) Conference today.

So in market capitalisation terms (alphabetical order) the participants will now be:

cap. $ billion
amazon   100
Apple   535
Google   185
Microsoft   250
Total 1,070
Source rounded
info. 27 June 2012

We find it quite remarkable that the world’s largest, online retailer, internet search engine operator and software corporation have all chosen to directly compete in a specific hardware market already dominated by the worlds largest consumer electronics company!

Moving on to Google’s rumoured announcement, if we believe what we read, it will be a 7 inch tablet called Google Nexus (or Nexus 7) based on an Asus design manufactured by Quanta with pricing from $199 and shipments starting almost immediately. The android operating system version it will run on is likely Ice Cream Sandwich 4.1, rather than Jelly Bean 5.0.

Branding and naming practices between the companies are clearly different with really only Microsoft hiding it’s primary brand. We, of course, are huge “I” fans and therefore cannot fault Apple’s product naming polices!  Nexus (if  correct) is already in use by Google with Samsung on the mobile side and here’s a taster of their promo video


If the rumours are reasonably accurate then the secrecy regimes at Apple amazon and Microsoft v’s Google are also noteworthy. Product pricing and availability details will interest v’s Microsoft Surface.

The likely announcement venue of Google’s is their I/O (Developers) Conference in San Francisco  which starts at 9.30 am PDT which is 5.30pm BST.

They are doing some livestreaming of the event which we will carry here. The Keynote speech is scheduled for 9.30 PDT but their countdown indicates a 7.45pm BST time which confuses us which is 5.30pm BST (everyone seems to be in synch now)! Clarification communicated via twitter@ 4pm BST. Promoted to the 7.30pm update above.

Here’s the relevant I/O Live link where you can “ Stream the I/O experience through your browser, tablet, or phone.” whichever of the trillion $ constituent corporations have directly or indirectly supplied you with your device(s)!

Information – It’s a numbers game ($1.1 trillion & 2.2 zettabytes)

Symantec  have just released their State of Information 2012 Survey (pdf) which reports on worldwide digital information across over 4,500 global organisations in 38 countries among companies with 5 to more than 5,000 employees.

They reckon “ Tesco, in essence this British retail giant is harnessing the power of data analytics in order to help put the “I” back in Information Technology”. They believe “Businesses need to develop an “information-centric” model that helps address problems such as information sprawl, lost data and the high cost of storage.”

  • There’s lots of it! 2.2 zettabytes they estimate in “ …data centers, desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, backup systems and archives”. They help you visualise this by saying that “ …. if 10 kilobytes of text fills a sheet of paper, the stacked sheets would stand as tall as 1,287 Empire State Buildings, or 374 miles”. The average organisation stores roughly 100,000 terrabytes of information and this is forecast to increase by 67% over the next year!
  •  and it’s high maintenance!
    Worldwide spend on Information
    $ billion
    Access 117
    Compliance 295
    Storage 309
    Security 324
    Total 1,045
    Symantec State of Information Survey 2012
  •  But very valuable with respondents reckoning thst it represents 49% of an organisations total value and its loss would be catastrophic, in customer, brand, expense and revenue terms.
  • But they found it’s not being protected and 42% is duplicate!

So these are their five recommendations on how to get that “I” back into your IT:

  1. Focus on the Information, (not the device or data center)
  2. Not all Information is Equal
  3. Be Efficient
  4. Consistency is Key
  5. Stay Agile

The obvious one, to us, to prioritise, is that duplication figure, so were off to deduplicate!

Make it smart, keep it simple

Google TV for the UK has been announced today in conjunction with Sony . Their NSZ-GP7/9 will be available from July starting at £200.

You may be aware of  Walter Isaacson quoting Steve Jobs in his biography : “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use, It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

We think one of the keys to the Smart TV’s success is the “user interface” or remote control. There are already apps for both Google and Apple to download for your phone or tablet with voice control figuring for both. Whilst these will no doubt be useful there will we think in the foreseeable future always be the remote.

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Now Sony have come out with their two sided remote with on one side a touch pad with your (sort of) standard qwerty keyboard with about 60 buttons and a more traditional remote on the front with circa 20 buttons. Sky & other remotes seem to have 30+ buttons. Keyboards have over 100 keys.


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Apple TV’s remotes white (plastic) or aluminium have 6 or 7.

Some rumours concerning the Apple TV have indicated that it may incorporate a motion detector iPad like remote.



Now with all these “smart” covers around for both iPad’s and even the new Microsoft Surface tablet we wondered whether a single hand held remote, smartphone size ish, with a cover that slides from front to back revealing a limited (maximum 10 say) button set for basic controls switching to a touch screen on the reverse (with say 30-40 keys) is possibly the answer. The cover would be sort of rounded to give the friendly feel of the reverse of both the button pad and the touch screen.

Size wise it needs to be, we think, (following some personal research) definitely smaller than a 7 inch tablet but in landscape mode it could afford to be slightly longer than many smartphones.

Certainly Sony’s double sided remote, although over complex, looks, to us, like a move in the right direction.

Sony’s promotional pages are available here and Microsoft’s promotional video for the Surface follows.

Incidentally we have to admit to having got our mock up of the Surface totally wrong in that there is absolutely no mention of Microsoft anywhere on their Surface simply the Windows logo!

It’s had a mixed reception and for the anti brigade here is one of the most damning articles we’ve come across – “Top 10 reasons Microsoft Surface is DOA”  - “ouch” x 10!

Keep an “I” on our week (June 23)

The top three articles this week were

  1. LeWeb comes to London Day 1
  2. LeWeb comes to London Day 2
  3. Internet Retail Sales soar by over 20% in May

On the London LeWeb event if you are interested in Start-ups and their competition here are all the 16 semi-finalists with a link to a playlist of all their pitches plus on 2 above   we’ve loaded the video of the final.

On the other hand if you prefer a hiphop violinist (who rather impressed us) here’s her closing contribution to the event.

Lindsey Stirling. and her YouTubeChannel - LindseyStomp

Exciting New Mobile Features

It is becoming quite clear, as technology continues to advance and phones continue to evolve, that there are literally thousands of different reasons for people to enjoy and benefit from smart mobile devices. Obviously, these devices have combined the convenience of mobile phones with Internet capability, but there are almost endless features and apps that add additional utility and intrigue to modern mobile devices. For example, people can now do everything from download their favourite music, to search through Internet videos, and even take professional quality photographs all via the use of different popular apps and features. And it seems like the providers of mobile phones are just getting started, when you consider some of the newer and even more amazing features available on a brand new device like the Samsung Galaxy S III from O2.

Here are a few words on some of these features.

•           Direct Call – Probably the most exciting and popular of the Galaxy S III’s brand new features, Direct Call represents a unique ability among smart phones. Essentially, what this feature does is recognize when you want to call someone on your contacts list. Of course, the phone cannot pick the contact for you, but if you are already on that contact’s page – say, if you are looking for that person’s information, or reading a text from that person – and you simply raise the phone to your ear, the phone automatically calls that person. This can be extremely convenient in a number of situations.

•          Smart Stay – The Smart Stay features also offers added convenience while demonstrating impressive use of technology. This feature causes your mobile device to actually recognize eye contact, which can save you the problem of your phone going dim, or going to sleep, while you are in the middle of reading something on it. So long as you keep your eyes on the phone’s screen, it will stay brightly lit for you, as it knows that you are looking at it. This is the definition of a “smart” mobile feature.

•           Pop-Up Play – Built to enhance your ability to multitask with your mobile phone, the Pop-Up Play feature allows you to text or surf the Internet while watching a video on another portion of your screen. Previously, video content has tended to dissuade other activity, as you typically need to close the video in order to text or type. With this feature, you can literally do just about any two things at the same time with your mobile device, which is a very convenient development.

Take a look at this short Galaxy S III video.

This is a guest post brought to you by O2

Internet Retail Sales soar by over 20% in May

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It’s the third Thursday of the month so at 9.30 today The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  published the monthly retail sales figures for May (pdf) We’ve cut the pdf  down to exclude the 100 ish pages of tables. If you want these the full version is on the ONS site.

Overall the figures are a little ahead of “the median forecast of 20 economists”  (we’re sure there’s a joke there somewhere!) The weather is still being blamed for April which seems to have been revised even further downwards.

Our Internet sales headlines are:

May increases:

  • Year on year +21.6%.(+20.7%) the greatest increase this year
  • Year to date May 2012/2011 +17.6% (16.6%) another move upwards making 4 so far this year
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on April 2012 annualised +16.6% (2) on May 2011 +17.0%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group (Non store retailing) showing 23% growth on 2011 and contributing 9.5% to the overall growth of 21.6% (This is an area which is likely to just grow & grow unless further meaningful analysis is undertaken by the ONS)

As always the “history” has been revised by the ONS which this month went back as far as August 2011 with (to us at least) some fairly large increases in their estimates eg we reckon April’s headline weekly Internet sales figure increased to  £499.8 million from the original £489 million.

The ONS words are:

Internet Sales

Key points

  •  Internet average weekly sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in May 2012 were estimated to be £510.9 million, an increase of 21.6 per cent when compared with May 2011.
  • Internet sales are now estimated to account for 8.8 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.

Internet sales in detail

The Internet sales statistics measure how much has been spent online through retailers in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. The table below shows the year-on-year growth for total Internet sales, for each sector and the contribution that eachsector makes to total Internet sales.

Category Weight Year on year Contribution
(YOY) growth to YOY growth
All retailing 100.0 21.6%
(a) All food 17.3 34.1% 5.9%
(b) All non-food 41.4 15.1% 6.3%
Department stores 7.0 18.4% 1.2%
Textile clothing & footwear stores 11.7 21.9% 2.4%
Household goods stores 8.2 34.7% 2.7%
Other stores 14.5 -0.6% 0.0%
(c) Non store retailing 41.3 23.0% 9.5%

We have added our annotations to the ONS table) – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

We are disappointed that the ONS have not provided greater analysis and commentary on their internet statistics after all they are the only “sector” showing dramatic growth and on a specific point in their table the All food category has increased to 34% in the moth wheras Marh and April were stated to be 14.3% and 15.3% respectively!

As previously mentioned the figures are no longer experimental.

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The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007 being the first full year of reporting by the ONS) to an all time high of £26.7bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 1.38% annualised 16.6%. This is below the long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) of 25.9%.



Our previous forecast for April at £500 million weekly sales with the ONS restatements now looks as if it was spot on and we therefore underestimated this month by £10 million. For June with Diamond Jubilee contributions we’re aggressively going for £525 million with a MAT reaching £27+ million ish!

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We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity)  that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS. To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January

LeWeb comes to London – Day 2

LeWeb’ second & final day in London at the stunning venue (the Central Hall Westminster) (June 20).

The theme is “Faster than real time”.

The second day finished with the results of the Start-up competition which was won by

Blippar™ is the first image-recognition phone app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content.

They received amongst other prizes some rather impressive chocolate from Kraft!

There is a selection of  videos on LeWeb’s YouTube channel from day 2.

Here’s the final of the Start-up competition.


  1. @LeWeb
  2. #LeWeb

Social conversationsNice (live) graphics from LeWeb

The Plenary 2 Social Business Track can be viewed here

Hangouts can be viewed here

The Plenary 1 running order is provisionally as follows for day 2:

  • 9.05

Welcome back remarks

Geraldine & Loic Le Meur, LeWeb Founders

  • 9.10

Money Panel

Moderated by: Jonathan Goodwin, Lepe Partners

Roberto Bonanzinga, Partner, Balderton Capital

Jeff Clavier, Founder & Managing Partner, SoftTech VC

Michael J. Marquez, Co-Founder & Partner, CODE Advisors

Danny Rimer, Partner, Index Ventures

  • 9.40

Paul Davison, Founder & CEO, Highlight & Milo Yannopoulos, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Kernel

  • 9.55

Riccardo Zacconi, Co-Founder & CEO, & Eric Eldon, Co-Editor, TechCrunch

  • 10.10

Nick D’Aloisio, Founder, Summly & Bobbie Johnson, European Correspondent, GigaOm UK

  • 10.25

Gabe Rivera, Founder, Techmeme &  Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb


  • 10.30

All-Star Entrepreneurs Discuss the Future

Chad Hurley, Co-Founder & CEO, AVOS Systems

Kevin Rose, Angel Investor

Niklas Zennstrom, CEO & Founding Partner, Atomico Ventures

Moderated by Michael Arrington, General Partner, CrunchFund

  • 11.00

Shakil Khan, Head of Special Projects, Path & Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb

  • 11.20

Tim O’Brien, GM, Platform Strategy Group, Microsoft Corp. & Eric Eldon, Co-Editor, TechCrunch

  • 11.35

Henrik Berggren, Founder & CEO, Readmill

  • 11.40

Caroline Ghosn, Co-Founder & CEO, The Levo League & MG Siegler, General Partner, CrunchFund

  • 11.55

Sam Shank, Co-Founder & CEO, HotelTonight & MG Siegler, General Partner, CrunchFund

  • 12.10

Baratunde Thurston, Comedian


  • 12.30-14.30


  •  14.30

Welcome back

  • 14.35

Check in with Hugh MacLeod, Cartoonist, gapingvoid

  • 14.45

Efe Cakarel, Founder, MUBI

  • 14.55

Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman & CEO, Rakuten & Tim Bradshaw, Digital Media Correspondent, Financial Times

  •  15.15

Andreas Constantinou, Ph.D., Founder & Managing Director, VisionMobile

  • 15.30

Alexander Ljung, Founder & CEO, SoundCloud  & Jamillah Knowles, UK Editor, The Next Web

  • 15.50

Dr. DJ Patil, Data Scientist in Residence, & Josh Elman, Principal, Greylock Partners

  • 16.10

Nick Halstead, Founder & CTO, Datasift & Milo Yiannopoulos, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Kernel

  • 16.25

Frederic Montagnon, Co-Founder, OverBlog

  • 16.30

A Debate: Andrew Keen, Internet Entrepreneur & Broadcaster vs. Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author, Rackspace

  • 16.55

Juan Diego Calle, Founder & CEO, .CO Internet S.A.S & Loic Le Meur, LeWeb Founder


  • 17.00

Start-Up Competition Finals


Blippar™ is the first image-recognition phone app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content.

Hojoki works with your favourite tools for bookmarking, note-taking and reference management. Access everything from one place and discuss with co-workers.

Find and use in real-time relevant crowd-sourced photos from the smartphone generation.

All-Star Judges Panel:

Ethan Beard, Director of Platform Partnerships, Facebook

Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

Kevin Rose, Venture Partner, Google Ventures

Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO, Instagram

  • 17.35

Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“Revolution and Movement Making: Faster than Real Time”


  • 17.50

Awards Ceremony

  • 18.00

Closing remarks