Augmented reality in children’s books increases engagement translating into better learning outcomes.

53274772_384802738767478_1285140844453560320_nThe popularity of technologies like augmented reality is increasing as more publishers use them to engage young readers. In the US, only 38% of 4th graders and 19% of 8th graders report reading on their own time, and technologies such as AR are seen as a way to reach a generation which grew up constantly interacting with screens and digital content.

This also forms part of a broader shift towards empowering readers and engaging them in the creative process. A recent World Economic Forum report listed creativity as one of the top skills needed for workers to thrive by 2020, and such interactive technologies are key in accomplishing this.

Augmented reality is far from a new phenomenon, however, and many in the publishing industry have been investing in this area for some time.

Publishers in this space tend to agree that this technology has the potential to combine the best aspects of both digital and print. The personalized books 3.2.1 Publishing creates are printed and then coupled with a 3D augmented reality experience that can be accessed through a free mobile app on any smartphone or tablet.

We believe it is not about what AR as a technology can achieve—it’s about the way it is leveraged in the book so that it hooks and enriches the young reader’s experience in ways that a normal book could not.

It should address specific pain points perceived by those young readers, who tend to enjoy books in a different way and want to get involved, not just from a reading perspective. That is where AR can provide additional depth and richness to make reading more fun, interesting and engaging.

UK Lebanon Tech Hub conducted market research amongst a sample of parents aged from 25 to 45 to learn what factors might appeal to them and encourage their adoption of AR technology.

The surveys and interviews found that while the vast majority – over 93% – of parents habitually used devices like smartphones, tablets or PCs themselves (and often let their children use them), they were often concerned that the content their children consumed should be both educational and interactive. While many viewed AR as a gimmick, once they were introduced to it they often perceived it as a potential way of improving their children’s short attention span and enhancing interaction with them.

Many believe that augmented reality and virtual reality work on reading because it uses multimodal learning, meaning we are using more than one sense in the brain to learn.  Gerald Gentemann founder of 3.2.1. Publishing explains, “AR creates a strong emotional tie for young readers, like they are attached to the book and part of the story. If you watch any kid read with augmented reality it’s as if they are playing a game.”

Two PhD researchers at the University of Central Florida, Maria C. R. Harrington and Emily K. Johnson investigated how augmented reality has the potential to foster engagement, and their preliminary results chime with a recent article in Publishing Research Quarterly which notes the technology’s positive impact on literacy and overall learning effectiveness through cognitive attainment: ”Augmented technology contributes to increasing engagement, invites participation, and develops appreciation of the context. Augmented books are proposed to incentivize curiosity, facilitate the interpretation of text and illustrations, and provide a learning tool that relates to the reader,” the paper concludes.

In an article published in the Computers & Education Journal, however, researchers examining the potential of AR for education warned that while the technology did offer many new learning opportunities, it also presented significant challenges. It’s more productive, instead, to approach AR as a concept rather than a technology.

Dean Velez founder of Anvel Studios one the pioneers in VR and AR edutainment believes this is the approach publishers are adopting, ensuring that their titles are “future proof” by designing engaging experiences anchored on great stories. Velez concludes, “If you have robust content, it will engage readers whether they’re viewing it on a smartphone, through smart glasses…or using whatever new device comes next.”

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The Weather and Big Data Equals Big Business.

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The weather has a significant influence on almost one-third of the world’s buying everyday. “The old paradigm of business and weather was cope and avoid,” says The Weather Channel’s vice president for weather analytics. “With [big data] technology, the paradigm is now anticipate and exploit.”

The Weather Channel (TWC) is an American basic channel and satellite television company, owned by a consortium made up of Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The channel has broadcast weather forecasts and weather-related news and analysis, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather since 1982.

TWC provides numerous customized forecasts for online users through its website, weather.com, including home and garden, and event planning forecasts. Third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb rated the site as the 146th and 244th most visited website in the world respectively, as of July 2015. SimilarWeb rated the site as the most visited weather website globally, attracting more than 126 million visitors per month.

That massive web traffic is exactly how The Weather Channel has turned ‘Big Data’ into a completely new business.

TWC is before all a technology platform operator, which developed an extremely high-volume data platform, collecting and analyzing data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per days, and serves 65 billion unique access to weather data each day.

TWC collects terabytes of data everyday and uses it not only to predict the weather in millions of locations, but also to predict what consumers in those locations will buy.

In a very savvy move TWC married more than 75 years’ worth of weather data with aggregated consumer purchasing data. For example, air-conditioners sales increases during hot weather, but folks in Atlanta suffer three days longer than people in Chicago before running out to buy one. Such analysis has created a whole new business for TWC – ‘Selling ads based on big data analytics’.

For example, P&G Pantene and Puffs brands buy ads based on TWC’s weather and consumption analytics. A women checking The Weather Channel app in a humid locale receives an ad for Pantene Pro-V Smooth, a product formulated to tame frizzy hair.

Checking the app again on low humidity day or drier area results in seeing an ad for a volumizing product instead. Similarly, a consumer looking at a high pollen forecast receives an ad for Puffs facial tissues, with the message, “A face in need deserves Puffs indeed.”

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Currently, TWC is generating half of the company’s ad revenue to the business using web analytics.

Big data and web analytics helped TWC maintain an extensive online presence at weather.com and through a set of mobile applications for smartphones and tablet computers. These services are now administered by The Weather Channel’s former parent company, The Weather Company, which was sold to IBM in 2016. The Weather Channel continues to license its brand assets and weather data from IBM.

TWC’s case is the epitome of how effective use of big data and web analytics can lead to marketing opportunities. It also demonstrates how today’s big companies can advance through ‘Digital Marketing’ which can also help them to diversify and strengthening their business portfolios.

Blockbuster to go bust in 2011!

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For many years, Blockbuster has been the source that many gamers and movie fans went to for rentals on films and video games. As the internet grew in popularity, many movie fans changed to other delivery methods like Netflix and eventually streaming rentals. Blockbuster may have been sleeping.

Today Blockbuster is a shadow of what it was years ago. In its heyday, Blockbuster had six locations in my hometown of under 100,000 people and today there is not one single location left operating. Heck there were two in Tokyo. Redbox and Netflix have all but killed Blockbuster.

One analyst believes that as early as next year we could see the end of Blockbuster altogether. Analyst Douglas A. McIntyre form 24/7 Wall St. has pegged Blockbuster as one of the ten national brands he expects to go under in 2011. Blockbuster is also reportedly mulling over a Chapter 11 filing to eliminate debt.

They could have easily shifter to the digital distribution model and with its brand power kicked the newcomers to the curb.
Who will be left snoozing by the new mobile explosion?

Prince: The Internet is dead

The music industry might be embracing digital and online technology, but Prince is not convinced that it’s a good thing.
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“The Internet’s completely over,” Prince told British tabloid publication, The Mirror, in his first newspaper interview in 10 years. “I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”

Prince is currently set to release his latest album, “20Ten,” for free through various European print media, including the Daily Mirror and its Scottish affiliate, the Daily Record. Fans can snag their copy this Saturday via the different press outlets, but you they certainly won’t find any of the new material online.

Prince has banned both YouTube and iTunes from using his music, calling the web obsolete.

“The Internet’s like MTV,” he told the mirror. “At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Plans for a “20Ten” in the States haven’t been announced. What do you think, is Prince on the verge smart new alternative for releasing albums or does his approach seem misguided? I think it’s a marketing ploy, millions of folks will be on Google looking for the music now.

Does Mobile Marketing Infringe on Our Privacy?

Naturally, privacy watchdogs answer the question in this post title with a resounding “Yes!” The answer is so emphatic, in fact, that the Center for Digital Democracy and U.S. Public Interest Research Group are filing a complaint with the FTC alleging that mobile marketers collect so much “non personally identifiable information” that it infringes on users’ privacy—and are “unfair and deceptive.”
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Mobile devices, which know our location and other intimate details of our lives, are being turned into portable behavioral tracking and targeting tools that consumers unwittingly take with them wherever they go.

(Shh! Don’t tell them the FBI can remotely turn on the microphone of several cell phone brands and convert your phone into a roving “bug” even when it’s off!)
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But is the Internet really private? Should it be?

Is a profile that states that you are interested in outdoor recreation and currently in the Santa Clara, CA, area an invasion of your privacy? And if so, should we ban all outdoor rec stores and centers in Santa Clara from collecting personally identifiable information like, say, a picture of you when you walk in their lobby?

Should we prohibit all employees from asking your name and if you slip and mention it, make sure they never call you by it?

Naturally, there’s a limit to how much information a mobile phone can give marketers (without some sort of lead generation input or opt-in).

As with PC-based behavioral targeting, mobile marketing companies do not typically collect names, phone numbers, email addresses or other so-called personally identifiable information.

But advocates say the information gathered is so detailed that it poses a threat to privacy.

“They don’t need to know a name to know that Mobile User ‘X’ likes to search for fast food, bought a new car recently, and went on the mobile phone looking for a lower-interest credit card,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

The complaint says that they want the FTC to look into behavioral and geographic targeting in mobile marketing, and require mobile marketers to use opt-ins and to disclose to users how their information is going to be used.
Presently, text-message (SMS) marketing is opt-in, but other forms of mobile marketing, such as search and display, aren’t.

Ultimately, however, it seems that privacy advocates are hoping for a world where we can be “safely anonymous” online, whether we access the Internet from our computers or our phones. But remember, in this world, advertising is no more targeted or helpful than it is on, say, television.

What do you think—is mobile behavioral and geo-targeting an invasion of your privacy?

Clear Channel’s Streaming Audio Play with iPhone

Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio app has scored 2.5 million unique downloads on the iPhone and Blackberry.
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2009 has been an especially rough year for the radio industry, with revenue down a whopping 24% during the first quarter. But online radio is a small but fast-growing sector that continues to pick up steam, including a 13% spike in first-quarter 2009, thanks in large part to aggressive efforts by companies such as Clear Channel, which made a big bet on streaming audio five years ago as a source of organic growth in audience and eventually revenue.

Those plans accelerated last summer with the launch of Clear Channel’s first mobile app, IHeartRadio, which has gone on to amass 2.5 million unique downloads on the iPhone and BlackBerry. The mobile momentum has also translated to Clear Channel’s overall online audience, with 22 million unique listeners frequenting the company’s digital properties each month and over 9 million unique visits to the company’s digital media player, with streaming adding a 15% increase to the company’s total radio audience.
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The ultimate irony?

Clear Channel, the company most commonly associated with homogenizing the airwaves with restricted playlists and redundant oldies stations, wants to become the ultimate artist-discovery tool for music fans online. It’s even taking a few cues from satellite radio, tapping the likes of Christina Aguilera and The Eagles to curate their own radio stations. “We haven’t looked at ourselves as just a radio company for some time now,” said Evan Harrison, Clear Channel Radio’s exec VP-head of online.

The moves have also helped Clear Channel distinguish itself from No. 2 competitor CBS Radio, which recently acquired Last.FM and added Yahoo and AOL’s streaming radio players to its network. aggregating an audience that often competes neck-and-neck for online radio share. Keeping the competition healthy, Pandora, the web’s top streaming audio site, tapped Clear Channel to lead its audio ad sales, an ironic move for a startup whose founder set out to become the world’s largest standalone radio company.

Teens Don’t Tweet!

Why are teens Twitter shy?
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If you’re under 25 and use Twitter, you’re not the source of the site’s tremendous growth. While we recently questioned the findings of a largely anecdotal story from Morgan Stanley written by a 15 year old, Nielsen has now stats that confirm the trend: young people don’t Tweet.

More precisely, Nielsen has compiled data from its NetRatings panel of 250,000 US Internet users and discovered that there are fewer young people on Twitter than on the Internet as a whole: one quarter of US Internet users are under 25, Nielsen says, but only 16% of Twitter users lie in that age range.

While Nielsen is only measuring people who visit Twitter.com (not desktop and mobile clients), the analytics firm additionally claims that over 90% of TweeterDeck users are over 25, making it unlikely that there are masses of uncounted young people on third-party Twitter apps.
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