Keep an I on our Week, – Three unwise monkeys edition


Our top three articles this week were:

  1. Over 90% of Brits regard email privacy as paramount
  2. Google’s Self-driving Bubble car
  3. State of the Internet

Our Tech Rich List for 2014 continues to be popular.

 The three unwise and injured monkeys sit outside our brand new Bristol Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department. which opened earlier this mont. It’s called the the Brunel building

Over 90% of Brits regard email privacy as paramount

The Joseph Rowantree Reform Trust  have just released the results of a survey on Privacy and personal data (pdf) undertaken recently for them by Ipsos MORI.

The headlines seem to concentrate on the Internet browser privacy result  but in fact in the context of the 14 categories polled it comes in at # 10 and it is clear that email content tops the internet related privacy concerns.

If solely the top “Essential” classification is considered Internet browsing remains at # 10 (34%) but Email content moves up to 4th equal (44%) with Financial records staying at the the top with 64%.

This importance is, sort of, reinforced by concerns surrounding the extent to which we are not confident of the web based email service providers protection of our personal information.

Much more in the post Snowden era in their survey on related privacy concerns.

State of the Internet

Mary Meeker  a partner of  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and ex Morgan Stanley analyst has released her slides of yesterdays presentation at the Code Conference in California.

Whilst numbering 164 in total we strongly recommend a complete viewing as there are many noteworthy exhibits including, we thought in particular, comparisons of the difference between the dotcom boom and the situation today, together with the impact of mobile technology and devices.

(Optional pdf version of the slides)

Whilst much of the research relates to the USA many global perspectives are included together with  macro economic data such as comparative GDP stats for China, Europe, India, USA and Latin America since 1820!

We rather liked her “One More Thing(s)” line and even the Appendix with the fascinating immigration analysis showing that “60% of Top 25 tech companies (by market capitalisation) Founded by 1st and 2nd Second Generation Americans” and that these companies have more than 1.2 million employees is an eye opener. Her definition of Tech companies looks to be remarkably in synch with our own wide interpretation!

Incidentally following yesterdays announcement by Apple  that they are acquiring Beats Music & Beats Electronics for $3 billion there is a rather nice live blog over at Gigaom (scroll to the end for the beginning!)  of Eddy Cue (Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software and Services) and Jimmy Iovine (co founder of Beats) appearance at this conference to explain the acquisition ending with the comment “…I’ll be really surprised if we see Jimmy Iovine speak on behalf of Apple too often in the future.”

Google’s Self-driving Bubble Car

As they tend to do Google put up a post on their blog yesterday to update us all on the progress of their self-driving car project effectively showcasing a prototype made available for the first time to a lucky few for their “first drive” .

The cars don’t “…have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work.” The speed is “… capped … at 25 mph. On the inside, we’ve designed for learning, not luxury, so we’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route—and that’s about it.”

They are “…planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles”.

We’re mightily impressed and if you are too you can keep up with the project over at their Google+ page

We couldn’t help but notice a passing similarity to the last mid century bubble cars, such as the BMW Isetta which was one of the first and most popular!

We’ll leave you with Google’s first drive (or should it be trip) video.

Get an iCon for the IoT

That’s Internet Connectivity for the Internet of Things of course. The iCon (we love the name)  is a recently launched Kickstarter project from Floyd Lau founder of Amptek Technologies Inc which is based just north of Toronto.

The project is a credit card sized single board computer with numerous connectivity options or as he puts it “…an affordable short range wireless platform for people to experiment and to develop their own unique machine-to-machine applications.” “uClinux is the default operating system for the iCon”.

He’s looking to raise $55k (Canadian) for the project and, currently you can sign up for an iCon for starters at $99 (Canadian).

(Update September 7 2014 See also in the comments that it is available for $90 US from

We’ll leave you with his video

Keep an I on our Week, – Swan Lake edition

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. Tech Rich List – 2014  
  2. How to make a Drone with a a 3D Printer 
  3. Scampering along to see if Mobiles harm children

There’s also our regular analysis and commentary on the monthly internet retail sales (April)

We’ll leave you with an extract from Tchaikovsky’s version (the finale) performed by the American ballet. If you want the full 2 hours version this is a link to a Kirov Ballet production.

How to make a drone with a 3D Printer

Well, sort of. To be a little more accurate it’s really how to make the body of a quadcopter with a 3D printing pen.

The maker is Matt Quest (@QUESTPACT  who describes himself as a Design Visualization Specialist.

Apparently it took him about 2.5 hours to make the copter using a 3D AirPen and the other bits ‘n pieces came from Rc Eye One Micro Quadcopter.

Here’s his how to video.

He is also an accomplished cinematographer and using a DJI Phantom  quadcopter he shot an amazing film of the Niagara Falls  which has had over 2 million views on YouTube

We suggest you add to the numbers!


All time records for April Internet Sales

Yesterday The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  published the monthly retail sales figures for April (pdf) Full details  are available on the ONS site.

Overall figures showed an increase in sales of  1.3% on last month which contrasted with expectations of a rise of 0.4% according to Bloomberg. Even the ONS on their preferred quarterly view noted ” The underlying pattern, as expressed by the rolling three month on three month growth rate, was one of growth, with the quantity bought increasing by 1.8%. This was the highest since March 2004 and was the 14th consecutive month of three-month-on-three month growth in the quantity bought.”

All the figures we quote are now the new seasonally adjusted statistics issued by the ONS. January 2014 was the one year in six when an extra week occurs statistically and we have annotated our headline graph to show an approximately comparable level of sales.

Our Internet sales headlines:

  • New all time highs in April
    1. Internet sales 11% all sales
    2. Internet Sales excluding food 17.3% all sales excluding food
    3. Internet Sales over £700 million (£707.5) per week…
  • April internet sales up 2.6% on March
  • Online food sales continue to exceed £100 million a week for the seventh consecutive month.
  • For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 49 pence was spent on non-store retailing 36 pence in non food stores and 15 pence in food stores!
  • We do think the ONS needs to do more analysis of internet sales as already nearly half (49% this month) are effectively categorised as sales by online retailers virtually irrespective of the underlying goods or services! These average YoY groth fidures of over 20%

April and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11% (10.8% last month 10.4 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 13.3% (7.9% last month 14.1 % a year ago)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on March 2014 annualised +12.4% (2) on March 2013 +16.3%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 16.% on 2013 and accounts for nearly 50% of all online retail sales. This is an area which SHOULD just grow & grow unless further analysis is undertaken of this channel!

The ONS words this month are:

“Key Points

Following a weak March, the amount spent online increased by 13.3% in April 2014 compared with April 2013 and by 2.6% compared with March 2014.

Internet Sales in Detail

Seasonally adjusted Internet sales data are provided within this release. These seasonally adjusted estimates are published in the RSI Internet tables (204 Kb Excel sheet) and include:

  • A seasonally adjusted value index; and
  • Year-on-year and month-on-month growth rates.

Internet sales are estimates of how much was spent online through retailers across all store types in Great Britain. The reference year is 2010=100.

Key Points

  • Average weekly spending online in April 2014 was £707.5 million. This was an increase of 13.3% compared with April 2013.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.0% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared with 10.4% in April 2013.
  • The online spend in all store types except other stores showed year-on-year growth with department stores once again showing continued growth of 30.3%.

Table 4 shows the year-on-year growth rates for total Internet sales by sector and the proportion of sales made online in each retail sector.

Table 4: Summary of Internet Statistics for April 2014 (seasonally adjusted)

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.

We have also added the weekly Internet sales figures by sector and the proportion they represent of all online sales.

The non-store retailing sector comprises of stalls and markets, mail order and those retailers that sell mainly online.”

+ 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.

The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since January 2009  to an all time high of £35.2.billion an increase in the month  of  1.0% annualised 12.4%. The average this year is 15.3%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 23%.

The published weekly figure was £707.5 million which exceeded even our estimate and we only missed the moving annual total at £34.9 billion by £0.1 billion! The average monthly increase this year has now moved up to 0.8% but we’re going for another above average May increase so are looking for £725 million and a moving annual total of close to £35.5 billion

Click to enlarge

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. Due to the exceptional 5 week month in Jan 2014 there is a 6 yearly jump to allow for the 53rd week!

Click to enlarge

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 (March June September and December are 5 week months). 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 which happened this year the previous one being in 2008.

A Third of Most Valuable Global Brands are Techs

BrandZ part of the WPP group  have just published their consistently excellent  Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2014” which is  commissioned by them and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor.

All you need and more is available from the BrandZ 100 site!

Now on to the results (our Technology categorisation is, as ever, our broad definition which adds 13 brands to the BrandZ category – mainly from their Telecoms and online only retailers sectors):

  • The top 4 overall most valuable brands are from the technology sector
  • 6 of the overall top 10 are from the technology sector
  • 11of the overall top 20 are from this tech sector
  • 32 of the 100 are from this tech sector
  • Of the Top 20 risers (the greatest value increases over 2013)  a staggering 9 are techs (Tencent + 97%,  Movistar +56%, Facebook +68%, BT +61%, Baidu +46%, Yahoo +44%, Amazon +41%,  Google +40%  and Siemens +36%.)
  • 3 of the 7 newcomers to the top 100 are techs Twitter at #71 {the highest new entrant) Linkedin at #78 and PayPal at #97

Click to enlarge

Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor commented “Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars,”

Last year we thought Google might make #1 which has happened but our hoped for top 5 for Amazon just d out on a top 5 position.

Next year we reckon Google will stay there Apple & IBM could both move down the charts allowing some uplift for Amazon. Tencent will also likely make further huge strides.

We’ll leave you with their Top 100 countdown video.

Scampering along to see if mobiles harm children

The SCAMP (Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones) Study is announced today led by researchers from Imperial College involving around 2,500 London school children aged around 11-12 with a view to ascertaining if  “…mobile phones and wireless technologies affect children’s cognitive development”.

The background they say is:

  • “Seventy percent of 11-12 year olds in the UK now own a mobile phone, rising to 90 per cent by age 14.”
  • “Current UK health policy guidelines advise that children under 16 should be encouraged to use mobile phones for essential purposes only, where possible use a hands-free kit or text and, if calls are really necessary, to keep them short. An NHS leaflet giving this advice was produced in 2011 and that advice still stands.”
  • “While there is no convincing evidence that radio wave exposures from mobile phones effect health, scientists remain uncertain as to whether children’s developing brains are more vulnerable than adults’ brains, due to their developing nervous system, enhanced absorption of energy in head tissue, and increased cumulative exposure over their lifetime.”
  • “SCAMP is an independent, three-year study commissioned by the Department of Health, on behalf of multiple funders” (these comprise both public & private sector organisations covering all of the UK including Vodafone; Orange; O2; T-mobile; Arqiva; and Carphone Warehouse).

This image from the Imperial College webpage almost says it all.

Many of the kids will have smartphones together with at least use of laptops, PC’s tablets and other connected devices. Also WiFi is virtually ubiquitous, existing on the high street in most homes and even in schools!

Quite possibly one of the challenges will be to find the children who ARE NOT using connected devices and who have no exposure to WiFi!

We see that whilst the listed website for further info is a little embryonic that least their twitter presence is fully operational! @scampstudy

Update pm All fixed now & worth a visit.