Just hours remain for digital and creative companies in London’s Silicon Roundabout to submit their entries for the UK Technology Strategy Board's Tech City Launchpad contest. But for laggards, all is not lost. All that’s needed, at this stage, is a two minute webcam video clip, to be sent in by 12pm on Thursday 26th May. SME candidate companies seeking funding for an innovative project are then in with a chance of winning up to £100,000. And for those who have missed the deadline or who don’t qualify because they’re not based in or around London’s Shoreditch, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), has plans to roll out the competition to other UK clusters of technical excellence.
The Tech City or Silicon Roundabout area in Shoreditch and Old Street has been chosen because it’s by far the richest seam of new tech enterprise the UK has to offer and the TSB is seeking to support and extend this area of influence. But the TSB is also keen to foster collaboration and so companies partnering with Shoreditch based businesses are also invited to enter.
The TSB has up to £1 million in funds available to support 10 winning projects. It plans to fund up to 50 per cent of an enterprise and help the start-ups find the extra money needed through funding workshops with key investors and venture capitalists.
David Bott, the TSB’s Director of Innovation Programmes, explained:
“We want to support this hotspot of digital and creative by enabling companies to go further and faster towards commercial success. We are looking for projects that may be too risky for companies to go for alone, or that may take them to new areas. By showing our financial support, we hope to make it much easier for the business to secure co-funding.”
Businesses entering the competition will also gain automatic access to the TSB’s community network programme,IC Tomorrow, billed as:
“The place where big new ideas in digital can be worked up and tested in a safe supported environment”.
The community aims to foster collaboration and remove barriers to innovation. It also offers product trials in front of real audiences.
The three-stage application process starts with an open invitation to submit ideas through a two-minute video. Using both community and expert assessment to prioritise the proposals, about 20 project applications will then be invited to submit written proposals. Ten of these will then be selected and offered up to £100,000 funding, subject to these companies being able to secure the additional funds needed within 12 months. The TSB will work closely with UK Trade & Investment, the government department tasked with bringing new talent, entrepreneurs and investment to east London.
The two-minute video should address: the challenge or opportunity being tackled and why it is important; the approach that will be taken and how it is innovative; the relationship to the Tech City area; how the solution will be commercialised and what impact it could have if successful; why the Technology Strategy Board investment is needed.
The perimeters of London’s "Silicon Roundabout" have been the subject of much debate in Wired. The term is first attributed to Dopplr’s Matt Biddulph, who defined it in 2008 as:
"The ever-growing community of fun startups in London's Old Street area".
He created a Google Map in July 2008 charting the relevant firms in the area.
But other tech clusters are fast emerging in the UK, the Guardian has started a project to map these hotspots with tech start-ups, less than five years old, fewer than 100 people and less than £10m turnover). Currently Leeds is has the biggest agglomeration after London, with Bristol following close behind. Edinburgh and Belfast also have fledgling communities.
The TSB is the UK’s national innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business led innovation. It believes that the key to this is removing barriers to innovation and bringing organisations together. To that effect it continuously hosts competitions for innovative projects in areas such as Future TV, music, social gaming and opening up government data.
Do you think your city deserves to be the subject of the next Tech City Launchpad? Why not lobby the tsb to that effect. The next contest could be coming to your neighbourhood.
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Broadband TV News is reporting that some 1 million Philips Net TV owners across Europe use their connected TV set three or four times a month, according to Pieter Vervoort, VP Philips Net TV and during March 2011, the main news from the Dutch public broadcaster NOS TV App was requested 50,255 times on the Net TV platform (Philips and Sharp combined) and 33,313 times on the Samsung Internet@TV platform.
But it appears that the Connected Sony PlayStation is by far the most prevalent access point as the news is requested 10,000 times a day, or 300,000 times a month – a figure that is significantly higher than through Connected TV and Blu ray.
Few figures have until now been available on the Net TV platform used by Philips and Smart, which is working on releasing and API and SDK for third party developers according to Jordy Egging, Director of Business Development of Net TV Philips told Appmarket.tv at the recent Connected TV Summit in London.
Philips recently spun off their TV division into a new, independent venture in tandem with TPV Technology in China. But the brand will remain intact and it's business as usual, added Egging. TPV has traditionally sold computer monitors under its own brand AOC. The Dutch company will effectively give up control of TV manufacturing, but keep a strong stake in the new partnership.
Philips will have no longer have its own TV division but the staff and resources currently involved will be rolled into the new venture from January 2012. No layoffs are planned.Add a comment
YouTube™ tops the rankings globally as well as U.S. and UK; Milestone reached in just 14 months as growth rate soars
Online video applications topped the lists of most downloaded apps both globally and regionally today as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced that Samsung Apps, the world’s first application store for the television, has passed the five million download mark globally. Leading the way was YouTube™, which ranked as the most downloaded app globally as well as in the United States, the UK and numerous other countries around the world.
“The success of our developers and the rate at which our downloads have increased are evidence that this new medium of apps designed specifically for the television experience is taking hold in the consumer living room,” said. Kevin Kyungshik Lee, Vice President, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics, “These apps are one of the cornerstones of the overall Smart TV experience and they will continue to grow both in number and the diversity of experiences.”
Apps that promote shared experiences and bring the family-focused aspects of the TV to life have proven most popular to date. Joining YouTube™ atop the charts were apps such as Vimeo (No. 4 Global, No. 1 Latin America & UAE), Blockbuster (No. 6 Global, No. 2 U.S.) and DAILYMOTION (No. 9 Global, No. 1 Russia). Information apps such as Google Maps (No. 2), AccuWeather (No. 3) and USA Today (No. 7) also were featured prominently on the global download rankings.
“It’s no surprise that these applications would be at the top of the lists globally and regionally,” said Kang-hyun Kwon, Senior Vice President, Media Solution Center, Samsung Electronics. “The TV is a family-based device and people want to lean back and enjoy their time in front of the TV. These apps are the entry point for consumers to discover other experiences on their TV like gaming and social networking as well as the limitless possibilities being created by our third-party developers.”
More than 550 applications designed specifically for the TV are currently live in Samsung Apps, with gaming, video and information apps accounting for nearly 60 percent. More telling is how the rate at which Samsung consumers are downloading TV apps has rapidly increased. After reaching the 2 million download mark in January following the February 2010 launch of Samsung Apps, it took just four more months to reach 5 million. Samsung consumers are downloading Apps for their television at an average rate of 100,000 apps every four days. Samsung Apps is now available in 120 countries.
Samsung has championed the success of Samsung Apps for the television since its launch, holding a series of highly successful developer contests around the world to go with its multi-faceted marketing campaign in support of Smart TV. Samsung’s growing developer community is responsible for many of the top titles in the emerging paid apps category. Skyview, for example, which creates a variety of night sky constellations and sounds of outdoor atmospheres, is the second-best selling paid app in the United States.Add a comment
ActiveVideo Networks™ today announced that an order has been issued invalidating asserted claims of two key Verizon Communications patents in the year-long litigation initially filed by ActiveVideo in May, 2010.
In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson invalidated all asserted claims of the two patents: United States Patent No. 5,682,325, which was included in a suit against ActiveVideo Networks, and United States Patent No. 6,381,748, which was included in suits against both ActiveVideo Networks and Cablevision Systems Corporation.
"The decision is important to ActiveVideo and to our customers," said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of ActiveVideo Networks. "Obviously we're pleased at the elimination of Verizon's claims against our company, but it is equally important that the ruling removes claims by Verizon against our customer, Cablevision."
On April 7, 2011 Judge Jackson issued an order, called a "Markman order," construing the claims of five ActiveVideo patents included in the company's suit against Verizon. The patents, which are fundamental to interactive television services such as video on demand, include:
"We were extremely pleased with the Markman order," said Miller. "The court's construction essentially tracked ActiveVideo's proposals and provides powerful support for our infringement case against Verizon. ActiveVideo's patent portfolio covers the core technology required for delivery of Video on Demand, and interactive services offered by Verizon on its FiOS network.
"We are confident that we will recover not only damages for Verizon's infringement, but also enjoin Verizon from using ActiveVideo's patented technology," Miller continued. "Beginning in 2005, we shared our technology with Verizon and tried to reach an agreement to deploy our CloudTV solution on the FiOS network. Verizon declined to do business with us and instead has infringed our patents."
Trial is set for July 12, 2011.
Having pioneered cloud-based delivery of VOD and interactive television, ActiveVideo has a substantial and fundamental portfolio of patents dating back to the early 1990s. The ActiveVideo CloudTV™ platform is currently deployed with major cable system operators, including Cablevision. It offers solutions for video on demand navigation, interactive games, and many other interactive services.Add a comment
WorldTV.com (http://worldtv.com) today officially launches its TV Channel and Web Video Publishing Platform. After 4 years of development, and more than a quarter-of-a-million channels created by test users in 200 countries, WorldTV is now able to demonstrate the service's full complement of video publishing solutions and trademark ease-of-use, that has made it so popular with users worldwide.
WorldTV is a platform that enables any individual or company to create their own TV channel that can appear on the web or TV. A new breed of televisions that connect to the Web are already in the marketplace from manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. As 'connected' or 'smart' TV's become more commonplace, the need for a platform that can publish to these televisions becomes clear. WorldTV is the only self-serve platform dedicated to publishing to TV.
Users create collections of videos curated from websites like YouTube and Vimeo, and can add their own videos to a cloud-based video library. They can publish a full screen web TV channel; traditional TV channels viewable on Smart TV's; and entire video websites from this content. Managing the various outputs is remarkably easy with WorldTV's intuitive interface.
"For too long the world of TV broadcasting has been closed to individuals and businesses. With the new advances in connected, 'smart' TV's, the prospect of anyone being able to readily broadcast their own linear TV channel to the world, is finally becoming a reality," said Alx Klive, Founder and CEO, WorldTV.com.
The basic WorldTV service is free, additional features are added at low cost through an innovative 'pay per use' model.
WorldTV's official 'v1.0' release includes many improvements - a freshly redesigned look and feel, a raft of new features, and the new in-application payments system described. More details at http://worldtv.com/pages/features.Add a comment
The Connected TV Summit launched yesterday with some big questions, fascinating panels, and interesting answers.
Connected TV has been around for a while, and 2010 has seen connected devices, especially smartphones, go mainstream. One of the key highlights of today’s Summit was the fact that the second screen is becoming an important part of the TV environment.
New consumer behaviour patterns and the rapid pace of technology have given birth to TV everywhere strategies, companion apps, TV apps, and VoD adoption.
TV Everywhere Strategies
According to research by Ericsson there will be “50 billion connected devices by 2020 – 60% of which will be video enabled.
Increasingly, viewers are valuing convenience over quality, reinforcing the need for mobile TV and related platforms. As a result, pay TV companies have to give customers the content they want, when they want it, says Bo Olofsson of BSkyB. Pay TV need to allow viewers to trade money for time, but it needs to work well & instantly in order to provide value, says Paul Bristow (ADB).
Interestingly, there was a lot of discussion about mobile TV and TV everywhere, but it remains unclear how much TV viewing will happen outside the home. Will connected devices just be used to watch TV around the home, or will you see consumers catching up on their favourite show on the way to work?
Companion TV Apps
Developing apps for the iPad, tablet, and smartphone is becoming an increasingly common TV operator strategy.
Sky mobile apps Chief David Gibbs showed off in-development iPad apps that work to increase audience engagement. The apps are designed to fulfil 4 main functions: watching content, content discovery, and controlling and engaging with the shows. Whether this strategy is too fragmented for consumers remains to be seen.
Sandvine, a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, today announced the release of their Global Internet Phenomena Report: Spring 2011, including Internet trends from North America, Latin America and Europe, with specific spotlights on events such as Netflix adoption and March Madness® On Demand. Overall insights since the last report in the fall of 2010, reveal a growing appetite for on-demand applications that will continue to drive data consumption and network quality requirements.
Major findings from the report include:
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- In North America, Netflix is now 29.7% of peak downstream traffic and has become the largest source of Internet traffic overall. Currently, Real-Time Entertainment applications consume 49.2% of peak aggregate traffic, up from 29.5% in 2009 – a 60% increase (see Figure 3). Sandvine forecasts that the Real-Time Entertainment category will represent 55-60% of peak aggregate traffic by the end of 2011.
- In Latin America, Social Networking (overwhelmingly Facebook) is a bigger source of traffic than YouTube, representing almost 14% of network traffic (see Figure 4). Real-Time Entertainment represents 27.5% of peak aggregate traffic, still the largest contributor of traffic in that region (see Figure 5).
- In Europe, Real-Time Entertainment continues a steady climb, rising to 33.2% of peak aggregate traffic, up from 31.9% last fall (see Figure 6). BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocol, is the largest single component of both upstream (59.7%) and downstream (21.6%) Internet traffic during peak periods. In the UK, BBC's iPlayer is 6.6% of peak downstream traffic, reflecting the demand for localized content in many markets. Overall, individual subscribers in Europe consume twice the amount of data as North Americans.
Based on justAd.TV’s multi-device TV advertising platform, the new partnership will enable platform owners to use Ybrant Digital’s media sales experience and global network to generate revenues from the Connected TV environment, by selling innovative ad formats quickly and with little effort.
“justAd.TV’s innovations have always encouraged platform and content owners to embrace the Connected TV environment and find ways to support free content. Our partnership with Ybrant Digital takes that to a whole new level,” said Yariv Erel, CEO and founder of justAd.TV. “It will allow content and platform owners to not only create a dynamic advertising environment, but to actually sell that advertising space and start generating revenues immediately.”
Jacob Nizri, Ybrant Digital’s president, added that:
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“Online TV is showing one of the strongest growth vectors in the digital industry. Innovative companies such as justAd.TV, which has the correct mix between top-notch content and business applicability, are the kind of partners we want to go hand-in-hand with for the long term.”
BeeTV's new CEO, Yaniv Solnik, the company's founding CTO and product force, was responsible for driving the change in the company's direction and its entrance into the US market with consumer applications. Supporting the move, Innogest, the leading Venture Capital fund in Italy, topped-off their investment with $1.5 million, to launch this new consumer offering in the US market which leverages the company's existing engine and recommendation technology.
It's no coincidence that the most watched television event in history (this year's Super Bowl with over 162 million viewers) was also the most tweeted event ever (4,000 tweets per second when the game ended). TV moments are meant to be shared. And, it doesn't matter if it's the Big Brother final, the latest episode of CSI, or a hilarious moment from The Hangover, we all know that it's just not the same when you're watching TV alone. With BeeTV you can share your favorite TV moments with friends and others in real-time, as the action unfolds, so that even when you're by yourself you're not watching alone.Add a comment
It's a simple a start as you can get... two minutes of your time, a video clip from the webcam and a great idea. That's it to get to the finals with 20 candidates to submit a written proposal. And the new twist on this one is the fact that the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will fund up to 50 per cent to £100,000 first, then help the startups find money rather than the other way around where the external, private funding has had to be in place first.
Tech City Launchpad: a funding competition that will see the TSB invest £1 million to support the growth of creative and digital businesses in the Tech City area around Old Street and Shoreditch in east London and businesses outside the area willing to run their project in Tech City or partner with a company in the Tech City area. Competition is now open and runs until May 26, 2011. Apply now or Download the competition brief for more details.
Win £100,000. Join the Tech City online community and stay up to date and apply. Stimulating innovation through Collaboration - Looking for partners? The TSB wants to draw investment and people into the Tech City area, and to encourage networking and collaboration to strengthen the digital and creative cluster.
Who can apply:
Companies in the digital and creative industries sector
Companies with and maximum of 250 employees (SMEs)
Companies based in the Tech City area - We are focusing on the existing technology and media cluster in East London
Companies across the UK, if they wish to carry out a project in the Tech City area or partner with an SME in the Tech City area of London.
"We will provide the base funding for the projects and this will then act as a catalyst to attract more investment. Projects will be up to 50% funded by the Technology Strategy Board, up to a maximum grant of £100,000. We will then help approved projects gain the remaining 50% funding through a funding workshop involving key investors such as business angels, venture capitalists and other larger companies in these industries, who will then invest in the companies. By showing our financial support, we hope to make it much easier for the business to secure co-funding," said Nick Appleyard, Head of Digital at the Technology Strategy Board.
Tech City Launchpad, a funding competition that will see the TSB invest £1 million to support the growth of creative and digital businesses working in the Tech City area around Old Street and Shoreditch in east London, opened May 6, 2011 and closes on . Companies have the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £100,000 for their projects through a competition designed to support and extend the existing east London tech community. The Technology Strategy Board will help the companies find the match funding they need to deliver their ideas.
Businesses entering the Tech City Launchpad will also be introduced to the IC tomorrow digital test bed programme that will be relocating to Shoreditch during the summer. IC tomorrow removes barriers to innovation and provides a trial management system for application providers, service providers and rights owners.
Opening the Tech City Launchpad competition at the Digital Shoreditch festival recently, David Bott, the Technology Strategy Board's Director of Innovation Programmes, said:
"This unique competition is designed to promote the community dynamic within the Tech City area, encourage cooperation and grow business in the area. We want to support this hotspot of digital and creative industries by enabling companies to go further and faster towards commercial success. We are looking for projects that may be too risky for companies to go for alone, or that may take them into new areas."
Further explaining exactly how the funding will work, Nick Appleyard, Head of Digital at the Technology Strategy Board, added:
"We will provide the base funding for the projects and this will then act as a catalyst to attract more investment. Projects will be up to 50% funded by the Technology Strategy Board, up to a maximum grant of £100,000. We will then help approved projects gain the remaining 50% funding through a funding workshop involving key investors such as business angels, venture capitalists and other larger companies in these industries, who will then invest in the companies. By showing our financial support, we hope to make it much easier for the business to secure co-funding."
The three-stage application process starts with an open invitation to submit ideas through a two-minute video. Using both community and expert assessment to prioritise the proposals, about 20 project applications will then be invited to submit written proposals. Some of these will then be selected and offered up to £100,000 funding each from the total £1m budget. It is hoped that businesses from outside the area will also participate in this competition, by basing their projects in the area or partnering with businesses established in the cluster. The TSB will work closely with UK Trade & Investment, the government department tasked with bringing new talent, entrepreneurs and investment to east London.
David Bott concluded:
"This is a pilot competition. There are a number of such clusters of excellence across the UK. If successful, we may run further localised competitions to build on them."
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