2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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SXSW '14 Preview: Snowden, Gaga and Nye, Oh My!

Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 6, 2014 06:20 PM

Each year, it seems SXSW (South By South West) gets more and more curious—and this year is no exception. Once dedicated to music, the 2014 SXSW festival, running from March 7 through 16 in Austin, Texas, now defines itself as "Music, Film, Interactive." Indeed, the festival has served as the launch pad for some of the market's most high-profile startups, including Foursquare. 

Beyond that, SXSW is a potpourri of personalities, popular trends and brands vying for attention. Indeed, last year's extravaganza was a "feeding ground for viral campaigns and unique marketing stunts." This year? Well, you can expect more of the same—just amped up a few notches.

In fact, SXSW 2014 may end up being known for notoriety. None other than the world's most infamous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, will speak on March 10 via teleconference. He'll be conversing with Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "on the impact of the NSA's spying efforts on the technology community, and the ways in which technology can help to protect us from mass surveillance," according to the festival's site.Continue reading...

app watch

Could IBM's Watson Be the Next Big App Platform?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 27, 2014 04:19 PM

Amid the flurry of product announcements (even by left-for-dead BlackBerry) and buzz over wearables at this week's Mobile World Congress, there was a keynote speech by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty that may have long-term implications for the mobile application world.

During her presentation, Rometty announced the "IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge," a first of its kind global competition to encourage mobile developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson, the company's super-computer of Jeopardy! fame. The competition comes on the heels of IBM's launching of the IBM Watson Group, which it unveiled at CES 2014 in January.

While Watson made news by beating human contestants on the popular Jeopardy! television show more than two years ago, the commercial viability of the super-computer, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, has only recently gained traction. In November 2013, for example, Fluid, a digital shopping company, introduced its "Expert Personal Shopper" application, which incorporates consumer information to become smarter with each interaction and operates as a knowledgeable sales associate in the palm of a shopper's hand.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Boeing, Volkswagen, Adidas and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 09:28 AM

In the News

Boeing designs self-destructing "Mission Impossible" smartphone.

Volkswagen cuts European worker bonuses on slump in demand and recalls almost 600,000 vans. 

Adidas to stop selling sexually-suggestive World Cup T-shirts after outcry. 

Barnes & Noble swings to profit on cost-cutting. 

Best Buy posts sales decline but returns to profit with cost cuts. 

Bitcoin falls in crosshairs of nations' regulators. 

eBay leads $133.7 million investment in Indian shopping site Snapdeal. 

European Union bans e-cigarette ads. 

Ford gets Mustang tie-up to Need for Speed and improves convertible top to take on German rivals. 

GM now faces federal investigation of its handling of recall.Continue reading...

tech innovation

CES 2014: IBM Puts Watson to Work as Tech Consultant with $1B Investment

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 10, 2014 12:55 PM

IBM remains bullish on Watson, its supercomputer made famous on Jeopardy!, but it is having a hard time leveraging the super-smart artificial brain beyond trivia and into revenue-producing businesses.

IBM maintains that Watson has revolutionary real-world applications in a variety of verticals including health care and investing, with CEO Virginia Rometty projecting that Watson would generate $10 billion in annual revenue within 10 years. But according to Wall Street Journal, as of last October, Watson wasn't meeting revenue hopes, generating "only" $100 million. Setbacks include costs in “training” Watson “to master the particulars of various businesses.”

To better realize its potential, IBM announced at CES this week in Las Vegas that it is investing $1 billion into making Watson the centerpiece of a new business group based in New York—a group that will build out a productive and profitable ecosystem for the super-computer. Already employing 2,000 people, IBM projects the unit to create $20 billion in revenue by 2015.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yahoo, Alibaba, McDonald's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 8, 2014 09:23 AM

In the News

Yahoo overhauls its advertising platforms as Mayer puts on a show at CES

Alibaba integrates its payment service with China's Sina Weibo.

McDonald's looks to use sustainable beef by 2016.

Airbus names new US chief.

Amazon makes it difficult for new hires to stick.

Barnes & Noble promotes Nook head to CEO.

Bentley sees steady luxury sales in 2014.

BlackBerry renews its vows to the smartphone keyboard.

Boeing must slash costs of building Dreamliner.

Comcast halts erosion in video subscribers.Continue reading...

tech innovation

IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 05:43 PM

As the year readies to close out, it's time for the annual onslaught of year-end lists of best ofs, worst ofs, and 2014 look-aheads. So in due course, IBM has released its annual 5 in 5 annual technology predictions, highlighting what the company thinks will come to the forefront in the next five years. 

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Bernie Meyerson, VP Innovation at IBM, told VentureBeat. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

Among the expected innovations in cloud computing and smarter cities, IBM expects there to be significant changes in the way the medical community treats illness, and how our digital lives are made more secure.

The new list of tech trends and innovations that IBM expects to impact our lives in the years ahead:Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

IBM’s Supercomputer Watson is Now Your Best Shopping Companion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 28, 2013 03:22 PM

It’s been more than two years since IBM’s Watson made its hit TV debut on Jeopardy! And now, Watson is the latest “cognitive, expert personal shopper” developed by an early stage partner in the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, digital shopping company Fluid.

Their Watson-powered app—the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper—marries Watson’s transformational cognitive computing that provides dialogue-driven assistance with product recommendations and content, letting consumers make queries using Watson’s natural language processing (NLP). 

But, “Watson’s natural language capabilities are not what make it special,” Brooke Aguilar, VP Global Business Development at Fluid told brandchannel. “The big differentiator is that Watson is a learning machine and one that quickly learns from and adapts with each interaction. In the context of digital shopping this presents a tremendous opportunity for Fluid to give consumers highly engaging and rich shopping experiences that are personalized and become more so with continued use.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: GM, Crocs, Snapchat and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

GM could see exit of CEO Dan Akerson next year, Reuters says.

Crocs considers ways to go private.

Snapchat becomes one of most sought-after tech businesses after reportedly turning down $3 billion buyout from Facebook. 

AT&T creates mystery of locked, used iPhones.

Alitalia prepares restructuring aimed at getting more resources out of Air France.

American Airlines and US Airways set up major-airport route grab with their merger as deal cruises through courts.

Ateliers Pleyel stops piano production in France.

Baidu faces suits over video piracy.

Boeing sees unionists reject new labor deal for 777X production.

Burberry is weighed down by beauty business.

Cisco tells of big revenue dropoff in emerging markets.

Cracker Barrel shareholders reject activist's third bid to be on board.Continue reading...

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